This past Saturday evening is one that will live forever in the hearts of more than two thousand New York trance devotees, both veteran and new to the scene. London trance trio Above and Beyond chose the Roseland Ballroom as the destination to host their official Anjunabeats Volume 10 Launch Party. With tickets selling out in a matter of minutes several months in advance, there was no doubt that this evening would be one for the history books. Tonight we would witness something that could only be described as a religious experience within the walls of the 91-year old building.
A line formed around the block almost an hour before the doors opened as fans eagerly awaited the blessing of delicious synths and dreamy melodies that the group is so famous for. As we entered around 10:15, we were greeted by Anjunadeep DJ Beckwith and his groovy, deep house beats. He kicked the night off right, slowly warming up our legs, arms and hearts for what would be one fantastic journey in music.
At 11pm, Andrew Bayer took the stage and visuals of unicorns; origami and film clips were emblazoned on the screen as perennial favorites like "In and Out Phase", "Halcyon On & On" and "Miami to Atlanta" vibrated in our ear drums. The sound system at Roseland is quite unique, as enormous speakers hang from the ceiling and allow the patron to hear the music perfectly no matter where they stand on the floor or sit on the balcony. The speakers can be notoriously "dubb-y", and heavy on the bass—but this wasn't an issue as Bayer blew us away with intense drops and beautiful transitions that seemed to attract the crowd closer like metal to a magnet, and bring us together in anticipation of the stars of the show.
At a few minutes past 12:30, the familiar group therapy visuals ensued. Ribbons of light danced across the screens as "These Small Moments" welcomed Jono and Tony to the stage. The pair sent Bayer off with his newest banger, "England". As is typical of any Group Therapy session, the screen behind the duo greeted us, this time with "Hello NYC, We are Above and Beyond"…
As the night went on, tracks such as Sunny Lax's "Isla Margarita", Jaytech's "Stranger", Mike Koglin vs. 7 Skies "Vision", Ronski Speed's new track "Pink Skye" and Above and Beyond's newest track "Walter White", (a nod to Breaking Bad) hypnotized our feet. Above and Beyond also treated us to classic Group Therapy tracks such as "Black Room Boy" (Club Remix), "On My Way to Heaven" and" "No One on Earth".
Perhaps two of the most memorable moments of the evening occurred during two long-revered favorites. During the chorus of "A Thing Called Love", the entire room was simultaneously happy—every single person was enveloped in emotion and singing along to that memorable message—not to forget about a thing called love. The second moment, and arguably the most recorded five minutes of the entire night was during "Sun and Moon". The track started slowly, with an agonizing build up that left us salivating for the eventual drop—after which the room erupted with voices singing along and the temperature rose noticeably from the wild dancing.
Seeing Above and Beyond is, as a friend put it, something akin to attending church. You are surrounded by thousands of people who are there for the exact same reason. Everyone is singing along and dancing in the same rhythm. The level of happiness, tears and emotion in general is almost overwhelming…but if you feel weak, simply reach out and grab anyone nearby—for they will gladly return the gesture and support you. It is almost impossible not to leave an Above and Beyond set feeling absolved, both of impurities from sweating and of sin from the purging of emotions.
The last song is often what leaves the greatest memory, and it truly sets up for the act that follows. We as attendees were truly blessed as Motorcycle's "As the Rush Comes" (Above and Beyond Remix) serenaded us, as the screen behind Jono and Tony read: "And by the way, your new tower looks fucking awesome". The entire room was singing along at the top of their lungs, for that is a song rarely heard in a live set.
As Above and Beyond left the stage, and our emotions and sins washed upon the floor, cleansing us all…the screen changed. "We love you so much, we give you, Norin & Rad"…and with that, any wholesomeness we felt was assaulted with filthy, hard, 140bpm trance. The California duo opened with "Pistol Whip Traffic" and finished the remaining hour of the night with some seriously heavy, progressive trance music, pumping out tracks like "Five Finger Death Star" and "Icona Pop". Anyone who was feeling fatigued after all that dancing was brought right back to life as the bass reverberated off every surface in Roseland until the conclusion in the wee hours of the morning.
The launch party for Anjunabeats Volume 10 was an absolute success, bringing great talent from the Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep labels as well as the catharsis of a Group Therapy session to New York City in one of our most beloved venues. Above and Beyond never disappoint and their style of trance is uniquely powerful, bringing together all types of people from all walks of life, united under one glorious and beautiful sound.