At the end of April, British trance trio Above & Beyond kicked off their Acoustic tour in London. Since, they have been gracing audiences all over the world at some of the most renowned concert halls. I was lucky to be in attendance at day two of their first performance in the United States, which was held at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on May 12th.
When you think of typical electronic music events, a glamorous venue like this iconic Chicago concert hall does not come in mind. The Chicago Theatre was built in the 1920s and reflects the era in its stunning architecture and outstanding acoustics. After the performance, I realized that this was indeed the perfect place to hold Above & Beyond Acoustic.
The evening took off with a beautiful ballad by composers Solomon Grey, which set the mood for the rest of the performance. The other talented vocalists that joined the trio on stage throughout the night were Cobi, Zoë Johnston, Justine Suissa and Natalie Holmes. Between the amazing vocals and moving instrumentals, there was absolutely no lapse in quality from the studio versions of the tracks.
One of the things that contributed to the intimate performance was that each piece was introduced in an engaging, casual manner. It felt as though the audience and the musicians were on a personal level. As expected, many songs from the 2015 album We Are All We Need were played. Some of these included “We’re All We Need,” “Save Me” and “All Over The World.” A handful of songs from the first Acoustic album were also presented. Towards the end, member Tony McGuinness sang “Black Room Boy,” which was truly incredible to hear.
The concert concluded with possibly the most moving, three-part encore that I have witnessed. It began with the slow and quiet “On A Good Day” which led into “Sun & Moon.” The entire crowd joined together and belted out each lyric, as confetti fell from the ceiling. Above & Beyond departed with their inspiring hit “Good For Me.”
I would have never imagined trance to be transformed into anything else so gracefully but I was very mistaken. The synths and loops of steady percussion that are present in the original versions of most of the songs are replaced by thoughtfully composed string and brass instruments. The feelings that the lyrics planted in me before were significantly magnified and each song was more therapeutic than the last.
It’s not surprising that this night is one that the crowd will never forget. Since the early 2000s, Above & Beyond has put their heart and soul into their music. Each track that has been released and each performance has been crafted with their infinite passion and talent. It\’s exciting to think about what they\’ll come up with next.
Photo Credits: Luke Dyson