In many ways, this was an amazing recap to write but in one way it was extremely difficult. I wanted to remember everything exactly as it was. I felt like as I was writing a new detail emerged and I had to go back and change something. I mean it’s been over a month since Above and Beyond made their two night sold out Portland stop, on their now finished Common Ground U.S. tour and details from that night are still refreshing in my mind. That’s what Above and Beyond do, they constantly refresh your mind.
After a long day of work, followed by a lab class, it was almost 8 PM by the time I got to the Roseland and scurried to the front to find my girlfriends on the rail. Hugs and introductions were exchanged with everyone around me because I knew we were all there for the long haul. There were flags hanging over the upper balcony, just as colorful and creative as the people and their outfits, each unique and beautiful in their own ways.
As the lights dimmed, Luttrell walked out to cheering fans and expectant faces and dropped Need You, one of my absolute favorites. Then he got dark and twisty and laid down some beautiful piano progressions followed by What You Are. Both of these were played several times at ABGT250 and they evoke the most indescribable longing in me. Right as I was feeling a bit lost in my memories, the big, booming chords of Don’t Forget to Breathe wrapped me in hope, picked me back up, and handed me off to his remix of Way Out West’s Set My Mind. As we all cheered, Luttrell responded with a pranam of appreciation back at us. Behind him were stunning visuals of starry skies and international locations. With each image, it felt like Luttrell had taken me by the hand on a journey around the world. He began playing tracks with more joyous tones, like the flash behind your eyelids after seeing lightning strike. Lane 8’s Aba remix started lifting us again with upward shifting beats and yearning notes. The mustachioed man didn’t just bring the fire, he danced with it, getting us close enough to thrill, but never to burn.
As Luttrell left the stage, we caught glimpses of Tony and Jono and heard the opening chords of Inconsistency Principle. Our raucous cheering grew as they walked out, greeted the crowd with fists in the air and moved right into Hello, their signature opener that gets me tingly every time! They flashed the first playback videos of the crowd behind the decks and it was such a beautiful view of ecstatic faces. The energy kept rising as Jono laid down some chunky, jumping beats before dropping into Tightrope. All the while, Tony was pumping out ego-stroking messages on the screen. “Portland, you’re so cool” had the crowd going wild, followed by “I think we’re going to have to rethink some of our favorite places to play.” As Jono hit us with Cosmic Gate’s Only Road remix, I couldn’t help thinking of how this collaboration brings together some of the best trance producers whose years of talent and experience brought us this phenomenal track.
The night just kept getting better with some Naked *SWOON* and Shout, one of my hands-down favorite throwback tracks. Of course, all the while I felt like I was in an early 2000’s rave with the sweeping laser lights fanning the crowd. Damn, those guys know how to bring the aural and visual nirvana! My heart stopped and tears welled up at the opening beats of Alright Now, a song that picked me up off the ground time and time again last year. As Happiness Amplified rolled over us, I turned around and stood to stare through the tears in my eyes at all the love in the faces behind me, as rainbow lights set us awash in beauty. With a full heart, I laughed as Tony did the Sun and Moon dance along with the music video in the background. And then back to some oldies but goodies with Personal Jesus. When Blue Sky Action started, I turned and grabbed my girlfriend, because Tony had seen her flag asking to make her King for a Day since it was her birthday. As John, Mark, and Josh bounced past us, in true Anjunafam fashion, she said “Don’t be sorry! I’m so happy for them!” I talked to the “kings” after the show and asked them about their experience pushing the button and it was wonderful hearing that they didn’t do anything special, all they did was have an amazing time dancing and sharing the love between friends.
Bringing us back to reality, Jono threw on Northern Soul with videos of decaying houses, the 6 Mile, Highland and Delaware street signs, interspersed with once glorious broken cars in dusty factories. Having grown up working in my dad’s mechanic shop and cultivating a love for sexy classic cars, these images matched the melancholy chorus and there I was getting all teary again. Though the tears were wiped away by laughter as a black bra went flying on stage. Knowing we were all getting sappy, the boys picked us up again with Ilan’s We’re All We Need remix, with those chunky beats the antonym to Zoe’s smooth voice. Though we’d been singing along all night, I didn’t see anyone in the crowd who didn’t know every word to We’re All We Need and Thing Called Love. Arms around my friends, swaying and singing along with Richard Bedford, all of the sudden, the confetti cannons blew and it was like the colors Above & Beyond always awaken in me were raining from the sky. “Fuck me this was good. Let’s do this again tomorrow” flashed on the screen and my heart about burst knowing I was lucky enough to be able to attend the next night.
Cheers of ONE MORE SONG! went up as they walked off and the lights started coming up. They didn’t keep their fans waiting long as they came back out and walked down the rail exchanging hugs, signing flags and taking pictures. Lucky girl that I am, I got a picture with both of the guys and that was really the cherry on top of the whole night. The smile Above & Beyond’s Common Ground show brought to my face has yet to go away as I write this days later. My health app said I danced 9.9 miles that night, but it’s my cheeks that hurt from smiling. Yet again they leave me with memories of one of the best nights of my life. Well, now I just have to prepare for Red Rocks and Anjuna Beach.