It should come as a surprise to no one that Above & Beyond’s release party for their 10th installment of the highly praised Anjunabeats series sold out so quickly. With a fanbase as dedicated as theirs and only a small handful of U.S. performances a year, nabbing a ticket to one of their coveted shows is a must. Accompanying them on their tour are fellow Anjunabeats artists Beckwith, Norin & Rad and Andrew Bayer. Bayer himself described it as an “honor” to be in the presence of such legendary artists, let alone being on the 10th installment of the series. Anjunabeats is a name that holds tremendous weight, with artists like Super 8, Arty, Mat Zo, Tritional, Myon & Shane 54 and many more each new release is highly anticipated. The multi-disc releases have maintained a quality that is rivaled by few, and Volume 10 looks to be no exception to that rule.

Fans from far and wide lined up around 3 New York City blocks on a bitter cold February night to get a taste. Once inside, anticipation was in the air and you could almost feel the energy starting to build for what was to be an unforgettable night in the legendary Roseland Ballroom. Andrew Bayer served as a nice warm-up for A&B, jumping all around from uptempo to downtempo tracks as the crowd poured in and the dancing truly began. Throwing down a set with tunes vastly different from his more experimental album “It’s Artificial”, he played a few of his own more trancey tracks from previous Anjunabeats volumes as well as the unforgettable “Miami to Atlanta” by heavy hitter Eric Prydz. Bayer left the stage with a flurry of applause from a noticeably antsy crowd. The moment we had all been waiting for was almost here.

Any fan of A&B’s music will tell you that they deliver a special brand of trance unlike almost any other. They truly champion a special kind of deeply emotional music that is fully realized upon seeing them perform live. They opened with the very first track from the 2-disc 10th volume titled “Small Moments.” This was very fitting in that it was a slow, melodic, and beautiful indication of what was to come. Looking around you could see hundreds of starstruck fans who could hardly believe that this night had finally arrived. They wasted no time in showcasing the other talent they had brought with them, playing Bayer’s “England” and Norin & Rad’s “Aldo” shortly after. Giving us a little indication of what we can expect from the other artists on volume 10. Throughout the night, A&B had messages splayed out behind them. It truly felt as if they were having a conversation with us as they lead us through their set, without ever speaking a single word. For example, right as they began playing their gorgeous track “Alchemy”, they displayed “It’s time for a little Group Therapy” (The album on which this song can be found). A fan favorite, this track contains the gorgeous vocals of Zoe Johnson, sending shivers down the spine of the crowd. It was a truly breathtaking moment when the screen showed the looming crowd, showing us just how many of us were jammed into the venue. Moving right along, they played “On My Way to Heaven” accompanied by the written message “Heaven in New York.” This was met with cheers and arms raised high. It can be said that until you go to an A&B show, you really do not know the limits of your ability to keep your hands up. With each song, each beautiful melody, you find yourself reaching up for the sky, again and again. The crowd went particularly wild for their new unreleased track “Walter White.” This track contains the gorgeous build up that one might expect, but takes a much heavier turn at its climax, showing us a more dark, electro side to the group that we have rarely seen. By now, they have been dropping this track in a number of their sets, but they still teased us by writing “Walt Whitman?” to which they quickly erased and wrote “Walter White.” The crowd clearly loved this as there were multiple audible giggles. Moving right along into the club mix of “Black Room Boy” the energy in the venue was electric, with not a still body in our midst. Smiles could be seen all around as the sweat poured off our faces.

Although time seemed to stand still at the countless gorgeous build-ups found in so many of their progressive tracks, the two and a half hour emotional journey we had been taken on was moving faster than imaginable. So much of A&B’s music is not just beautifully produced, but is often paired with gorgeous vocals. Whenever these tracks played, the crowd followed in unison. Tracks like the aforementioned “Alchemy”, “Thing Called Love” and their monumental smash hit “Sun & Moon.” When “Sun & Moon” began, the crowd nearly fell silent aside from a collective sigh of happiness. They cut all sound as the chorus began, allowing us to sing and sway in one of the most intimate and heartfelt moments of the show - “I’m sorry baby.....” This was another one of those moments that we wished would never end, but like all good things, it did. This was not however, our final moment with them. Coming out to play one final song, they dropped their remix of the classic Gabriel & Dresden track “As the Rush Comes.” It seemed very fitting as their entire set was filled with that feeling: a rush of emotion and euphoria brought on by truly dream-like music.

A&B might have been finished, but our night was not. We were treated to another hour courtesy of young guns Norin & Rad from California. After a long night of dancing, the crowd was certainly tired. But, for those of us that were there for the entire ride, N&R delivered. Providing us with a few songs you might find in A&B’s set, they quickly switched up to a faster pace. Dropping songs like Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and a long drawn out incredible moombah take on Porter Robinson & Mat Zo’s “Easy.”

There is a clear reason why Anjunabeats is such a world renowned label: It’s CEOs are heavy hitting trance gods. I have been to many shows in my lifetime that I would call “Life-changing” but most of those pale in comparison to last Saturday night. It can be summed up perfectly in four little words, “take me back. Please?”"

Anjunabeats Volume 10 Mini-mix:

Photos by Oscar Vasquez / OPTIKELEMENTS.COM

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