They came; they played; they created Group Therapy. That was the first time Above & Beyond was in India. On 23rd November 2012, Bangalore came alive as dance music’s favourite trio—Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamäki—gave the crowds something they would never forget for the rest of their lives. Two words: Group Therapy.
Cut to 2017. We’re in the middle of the week and the only thing we are looking forward to is the group of three people, three dates, three cities, two words and a myriad of emotions. Above & Beyond has transcended music. The name is no longer just about a group of EDM artists with successful radio shows that have become a cult among followers the world over. Above & Beyond, today, is a feeling. It connects people around the world in the most inexplicable way. It’s the music that you can feel pump through your nerves and get the blood rushing through your body. It’s like adrenaline and serendipity forged in to one beat. I don’t expect each one of you to understand it. But, you’ve got to have been living under a rock if you are one of those 80s, or 90s kids with a penchant for euphoric music that enlivens your soul, and never came across the phenomenon that is Above & Beyond.
© Skylar Greene Photography
I even spoke to two such loyal fans—Jashoda Madhavji, Founder, DNH Media and Sahil Gupta, Owner, Tabula Beach Café, Arriba—Mexican Grill & Tequileria and The Hungry Monkey—both of whom shared their experiences from their last encounter, back in 2012.
“TATW (Trance Around The World) laid a benchmark of sorts for other dance music gigs that followed suit in India,” says Jashoda. “They (Above & Beyond) broke away from the tons of monotony that crosses our paths on a daily basis and set a whole new standard in the emerging EDM festival circuit back in the days.”
“I’ve seen Above & Beyond perform live about three, or four, times. And every single moment is etched in my head forever. It’s almost like it happened yesterday,” Sahil tells us. “Bangalore was better than anywhere else because it was small an intimate crowd of around 3 to 4 thousand people gathered at an amazing location to experience Above & Beyond. There was Mat Zo and Andrew Bayer, amongst others and all of them played their best.”
But, I’ll not bore you on what Above & Beyond really means for millions of fans across the globe. I’ll tell you, instead, why you should cancel all other plans over the coming weekend, if you’re in Hyderabad, Bangalore or Mumbai, and head to Above & Beyond’s second tour in the country… for five simple reasons.1. For The Group Therapy
What was TATW 450 became ABGT 001! The last time the trio was here, Group Therapy happened to the world, for the very first time and that set us out on a whole new journey, on a whole new path. It was euphoria and ecstasy and it was pure magic. “Every time they said “Live from Bangalore India, hearts would skip beats,” Sahil tells us. What started at a live show in Bangalore went on to become a worldwide phenomenon that would continue to create ripples for years to come. Who’s to tell what new and historic the group will be giving us this time around? But, we can only let our imaginations run wild with the thought of it.2. For The Transcendence
If you ever listen to the group, you’ll notice the amount of variety in each of their tracks—from an Anjunabeats to a Group Therapy; from a Tri-State to their Acoustics; every song, every beat and every tune is unique and strikes a chord that is more than just about the dance. Each of their song tells a story and instills a feeling. Their music comes from a very deeper space; it’s not your average commercial EDM soundtrack; it’s not your quintessential party hit; it’s not monotonous and it’s definitely not repetitive. “They always put out emotionally divine sets and it’s never a rare sight to see teary-eyed front rowers,” Jashoda explains. They transport the listeners on a very personalized journey of yearning and love, heartbreak and pleasure through their music and that’s why a lot of music enthusiasts can relate to their music,” she adds. And never mind how many times you listen to it, on loop, it will always feel differently. It stirs you the way EDM doesn’t always and frankly, it’s incomparable.3. For The Crowd
One of the aspects that each and every Above & Beyond concert can boast about is a well-informed crowd that knows what they’re there for. You won’t find the average EDM wannabe crowding an Above & Beyond concert; you won’t find a throng of people getting high or drunk just to feel anything at their shows. “You will always witness a well synchronized crowd at their gigs who have been long standing patrons of their work and are just in rhythm with every synch. You’d never find the concert wannabes!” Jashoda affirms. The crowd is niche, exclusive and aware of Above & Beyond. “Above & Beyond generally shy away from an overtly commercial playlist and they seem to have upheld that logic over the years by restricting their gigs to an intimate gathering,” she adds.4. For The Slogans
© Skylar Greene Photography
If there’s one thing they’re known for, aside from the music, it’s their enthralling slogans that get everyone pumped up. Back in 2012-13, Sahil remembers, “every single time they mentioned a ‘first time in India’, the crowd went berserk; it was like a palpable energy—contagious and explosive”. If you’ve been one of the lucky few to have ever attended an Above & Beyond concert in your lifetime, you know this to be true. “Life is made up of small moments like these”, “Who knows the lyrics” and “This is Group Therapy”. It gets you every single time, unfailingly.5. For The Experience
If you were to restrict yourself only to a handful of EDM concerts to attend in the world, in your entire lifetime, Above & Beyond will top that bucket list. “I’ve been to many concerts around the world; but, there’s nothing like an Above & Beyond concert; it’s easily one of the best experiences, ever," Sahil says. The Above & Beyond concert is easily one of the best concert experiences you can give yourself—for the informed crowd who’s emotions and rhythms are perfectly in synchronization with the trio’s instinctive music; for the euphoric and nostalgic feeling that you experience every single time; for the awareness that you’re a part of a larger awakening; for the sense of being a part of the Group Therapy family. It has people crying because of the intense emotional awakening it brings about in them. It takes over and nothing beats that. “I just remembered, I cried because I simply couldn't control the tears in my eyes,” Sahil reminisces.
Honestly, we’ve given you more legit reasons than you would ever need to experience the phenomenon that is Above & Beyond. If you haven’t bought your tickets, yet, here’s where you should be heading right this second.
Without much further ado, I’ll just say this: See you next weekend when we create more such moments like these!