Check out the Crowd Album from this event and more below!

There is always some form of palpable excitement buzzing around the venue in anticipation for the headlining DJ to take command of the decks. I’ve been there to see some of the most talented and famous DJ’s spin, however there is one group in particular in which the tension is more than tangible, so thick it feels like everyone in the crowd is toying with it and passing it on, building off of each other’s energy. This DJ group is none other than Anjunabeats head honchos, Above & Beyond.

Last Friday night at Echostage in Washington DC, Above & Beyond, represented by Jono Grant and Tony McGuiness took all of us in attendance on an almost 3 hour ride through trance land. There are few DJ’s in our dance music world who command such a cult like following, and A&B are a prime example of this. The A&B faithful were out in full force with Above & Beyond branded tanks and sweatbands, signs begging for the coveted opportunity to “push the button,’ and of course plenty of Walter White and Heisenberg gear, I felt like Bryan Cranston himself was somewhere in the crowd. The connection that Tony, Jono, and Paavo are able to establish with the crowd through their messages on the screen is quite amazing. Some of my friends, whom I brought to lose their Group Therapy virginity, compared it to two old friends sharing inside jokes they’ve had for years. Leave it to Above & Beyond to establish that kind of connection with the 1,000 + people in the concert venue.

On this night, Above and Beyond seemed to play more of a club atmosphere set, although Echostage’s mix between a venue and a nightclub are the perfect formula for an awesome party. Jono and Tony of course managed to be the emotional puppeteers they are, eliciting bouts of screaming, cheers and applause, and of course some tears from the crowd. One of the highlights early on in the set is when the words “WALTER WHITE” appeared on the screen, Echostage’s piercing lasers shot through the air and the song’s crashing breakdown took command of the room. It was at this point that I knew the DJ’s had us in their passenger seat and we were in for a ride. If there is one tidbit I always take away from a night with Above & Beyond it’s the incredible smoothness and ease of which they have the ability to take us from magical, uplifting melodies, into dark, relentless bass and back again all the while telling the audience a story through their track selection and screen messages.

Tony and Jono played too many tracks to keep count of, but started the night with their soft and subtle “Small Moments Like These,” and of course sprinkled in Group Therapy’s highlights and some of the best sing a longs with ‘Thing Called Love,” “Sun and Moon,” and “Alchemy.” They also paid homage to some of their Anjunafamily giving Norin and Rad’s remix to “Easy,” and “Aldo” a spin, as well as Audien’s “Wayfarer” love as well. Other notable tracks were their remix of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn,” Cosmic Gate’s vocal version of “Sirens of the Sea,” and of course the hard-hitting club remix of “Black Room Boy.” You better believe that Tony and Jono paid homage to Will.I.Am during the Arty & Mat Zo track “Rebound,” and passed along the next message, “thank you for the cash ☺” which got an awesome rise out of the crowd. Finally, in what seemed to be an almost half hour encore, the two switched pace and gave us a listen to one of their acoustic tracks which will be invading the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in October.

Last Friday was a magical night in the District. There is going to shows, and then there is going to see Above & Beyond. If you have never had the opportunity to personally experience some group therapy, I suggest you change that, quickly.

Written by: Brad Bobrow

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