Seattle is a city that takes its music seriously. Last April, the city waited with bated breath for Kaskade’s Northwest date for his Redux tour to go on sale. It didn’t take long before an entire scene completely and utterly lost their cool on social media, as the supposed day of sale came and went without a link to tickets. Knowing it was all in good fun, Kaskade took to Twitter, telling us to take a step back and calm down as #RelaxSeattle began to trend. That hashtag has come to define us as a town whenever big artists pass through, and has been even more appropriate in the wake of Above & Beyond getting caught in the fog on New Year’s Eve.
When an artist as universally loved as Above & Beyond is forced to miss a performance, there’s no way everyone’s going to be happy, regardless of the eventual solution. When that “everyone” is comprised of fans as passionate as the ones in Seattle, things can get a little crazy. But after a little bit of a fiasco caused by 8,000 people competing for 2,000 tickets to the two-date make-up weekend, we were finally able to concentrate on the task at hand: Group Therapy.
On the very first night Above & Beyond was scheduled to perform, you could feel the energy the second you walked into the Showbox Sodo. There were posters with colored ribbons pasted on in the shape of the Group Therapy album cover. People wearing custom-made Above & Beyond outfits were everywhere. All that pent-up excitement from Resolution magnified tenfold while the wind and rain raged outside, almost as if the city itself was trying to ground our trance heroes’ plane once again.
But nothing was going to stop them from making it this time around, as they touched down in Seattle right around 9:30am on Saturday after jumping on a red-eye morning flight from Las Vegas. With Above & Beyond safely landed, we were finally assured the show we so dearly missed at Resolution. After our fantastic locals got us started, 11:30pm rolled around, the lights came down, and a quiet settled over the room. On to the stage jumped Jono and Paavo, launching into The Sky by Mat Zo as 1000 fans started in on the cathartic musical journey of a lifetime.
From vocal singalongs like Alchemy and A Thing Called Love to the deeper offerings of Walter White and Mariana Trench, it was a two-hour set that moved the hearts and souls of a Seattle crowd that had been anxiously waiting for a month and a half. A strong dose of Group Therapy defined the night; Jono and Paavo’s personalized messages filled the enormous LED screen behind them, each one filled with the love and appreciation that’s interwoven so completely into their music.
Every trademark moment was touched upon: Tears were shed as an overjoyed fan pushed the button, hugs were shared, and Sun & Moon was belted out by the entire room as everyone remembered a love long-since past. But even with these experiences occurring at almost every Above & Beyond performance, the true beauty of their live show is that it always feels specially tailored to each and every person sharing the small moments like these. No two nights ever quite feel the same, but ask any fan to describe the specific differences and you may very well find them at a loss for words.
Seattle’s Group Therapy may have come late, but in the end it proved to be more than worth the delay. What appeared to be the final song faded away into the din of the crowd, as the “one more song!” chant reverberated throughout the Showbox. Jono and Paavo quickly returned to the decks (“hard 1:30 curfew” be damned), and the second the word “acoustic” showed up on the screen the room exploded with energy. Closing out the first night was the stirring acoustic rendition of Satellite/Stealing Time, while the Sunday crowd was gifted with Alone Tonight (also off of the acoustic album). They were the perfect capstones to a weekend that will reside within the pantheon of great Seattle shows for years to come.
Thank you #Seattle for 2 wonderful nights! J & P
— Above & Beyond (@aboveandbeyond) February 17, 2014
#RelaxSeattle is a complex idea made simple. We’re a city famous for its passive-aggression, yet still we have the raucous insanity that is the 12th Man. That passion carries over to our music community: Sometimes we get a little too loud, but in the end it’s indicative of the love we’re not quite sure how to express sometimes. Thankfully, we had Above & Beyond here for two unforgettable nights, more than eager to teach us about a Thing Called Love.
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