Listen to the full show again and interact with other fans at our #ABGT050 hub here.
It’s been nearly 10 years since Above & Beyond
started a weekly radio show, with Trance Around The World
morphing into Group Therapy
after 450 episodes. Over the years, millions have tuned in from every corner of the globe to experience some of the best dance music on offer from hundreds of different artists. Their 500th broadcast was always going to be a special one, so as a result, the trio returned home for ABGT050
, taking over the spectacular Alexandra Palace in London for an event which promised to be spectacular.
The venue itself is a grand piece of Victorian excess which showcases the borderline insane side of 19th century architecture--a perfect place for 10,000 fans to experience the event. Many travelled far and wide, some even crossed oceans for the sole purpose of being there in person, dedication which would be well rewarded. The broadcast started live at 9pm BST, but a special treat for those on the ground was a two hour set from deep-king Jody Wisternoff
, who warmed up the crowds who arrived in droves as the doors opened at 7pm with some smooth and groovy deep house. Those who weren’t there will be pleased to hear that it was recorded, with the second hour available now on Jody’s SoundCloud
As the show went live around the world, young Israeli up-and-comer Guy J
took to the decks with his infectious and diverse brand of house that has made him a Group Therapy
favourite. Next up was Anjuna veteran Boom Jinx
, who kicked things off with his classic collab with Andrew Bayer
, To The Six
, which sent the crowd wild and pretty much set the tone. It was a varied set with tracks from artists like Armin and Seven Lions. Before the main act, Bayer himself took to the stage as a man who has made 2013 his own, with some stunning releases of late, many of which were showcased in his set. The club mix of Need Your Love
and love-letter to the country England
were highlights, and showed that while he may be a genius in the studio, he certainly knows how to wow a crowd.
Finally, after months of planning, years of broadcasting, and millions around the world listening, the main act took to the stage. The palace had been bouncing all night, but it was like someone had just lit the afterburners. The glass roof nearly blew off as Above & Beyond arrived, and it was clear to see that they were almost overcome with emotion at the sight of 10,000 in front of them. It’s often said that the novelty of playing to big crowds, in any medium, can wear off. Not with Above & Beyond, who responded as though they were meeting their fan base for the first time. It was a special set, with a wealth of exclusives on offer. New material straight from the studio was announced via Paavo’s messages on the big screen, and it went down with a storm of approval. Some of it had a title, like Marianas Trench
, which provided a taste of the uplifting riffs the group became known for. Sticky Fingers
showcased a soulful vocal from Alex Vargas, star of their recent Acoustic
gigs. One track was simply presented as ID
and briefly appeared on the group’s official YouTube channel before quickly vanishing.
Some older music also made an appearance, but with some surprise twists. A remix of all time classic Blue Monday
nearly shattered the sound system--we can only hope Hooky and Sumner give the go-ahead for a release. There was also a remix of Anjunabeach
courtesy of Genix, which opened the show, and a brand new remix of Alone Tonight
Before Russian prodigy Arty
took to the stage to give the crowd one last hour of big room bang, things took a very different tone. Sun & Moon
often ends an Above & Beyond set, and it did again at Alexandra Palace, but gone were the drums, the bassline, the massive synth stabs, and in their place was the poignant acoustic version. With vocals accented by a 10,000-strong crowd, it was the defining moment of the night, perhaps even the defining moment of the 13 year history of the group (video below). It wasn’t so much about the track itself, but the experience everyone had shared up to that point. Whether they’d been following the trio for 10 years or 10 weeks, it was their group therapy, and long may it continue.
All photos by Mike Davies, except header photo (courtesy of Paavo Siljamaki) and last photo.