When I was younger, my favorite part of any movie was the classic movie montage. You know exactly what I mean. Our heroin is getting ready for a date and she’s dancing on the bed and the music is perfectly describing how she feels in that moment. I used to sing into a hairbrush to try to recreate these moments. As I was growing up, I would find that perfect song to describe how I felt, I would close my eyes, and I would imagine my own movie montage. You may not have taken this as literally as I did (I was quite the diva), but it’s true that some songs just seem to describe us. You know, that one song that makes you remember that one summer night. A lot of the time, this is unintentional. Yet, sometimes, these moments are consequential. Some artists speak to our souls so accurately and genuinely that we already know their music will impact our lives in these moments. Life is made of small moments like this. For me, and so many other diverse and unique hearts, it’s Above & Beyond that sets the soundtrack for the movie of our lives.
When I think of the first time I saw Above & Beyond, I don’t remember the faces of the people next to me. I don’t remember the names of the countless people I hugged and high-fived. I genuinely don’t even remember what I was wearing. But what I do remember, and in absolute clarity, were the feelings that rushed through my heart as they played. When you are at an Above & Beyond show, you are standing in the middle of your movie montage. Their music, the lights, and the energy they create communicate so freely with your heart and the hearts of everyone there. For those few moments, you are all experiencing the feelings that they are there to share with you. The feelings of hope, and love, and togetherness that I felt at my first Above & Beyond show, while I held hands with strangers, will never ever leave me. That was in 2012.
The same is true in 2018, after being treated to Above & Beyond’s Common Ground Tour this Saturday at Navy Pier in Chicago, following the drop of the trio’s fourth studio album. Yes, the music and production were incredible, and we’ll get there, but the #anjunafam and happiness they gave us will be the memories we cherish the most. As soon as we walked into the crowd, to the soundtrack of Lutrell we were already sharing hugs and stories with the happy souls around us who had been strangers only 5 minutes ago. That love continued all night. Corey from Iowa, Jonathan and Stephanie from Colorado, and Justin and Brandon from Michigan, if you’re reading this, thank you!
Now onto the reason we were all there – the wonderful two hours of music that Tony, Jono, and Paavo put together for us (spoilers ahead). The set opened, fittingly, just as the album, with “The Inconsistency Principle”. The crowd screamed, the boys took the stage, and our hearts grew with excitement of what was about to come. That moment was followed by “Hello” from their last Album: We’re All We Need. Over the course of the night, 8 of the 13 songs from Common Ground were played, mixed in with hits from the group’s 18 years together. The set started primarily with music from the more recent years, and came to a crescendo over the last 45 minutes with all of their crowd favorites. Everyone in attendance belted out the words to “Sun & Moon”, “Happiness Amplified”, and the push-the-button track “Blue Sky Action”, as we were all kings for the day (or night, you get the jist). Next, we were treated to Detroit’s tribute “Northern Soul”, and there were tears all over as they played “We’re all we Need”. Finally, everyone left satisfied after closing with “Thing Called Love,” and “You Got To Go.”
Everyone exited the venue with a smile on their face and overcome by the experience of seeing Above & Beyond again, or for the very first time. Some artists just put on a good show, but these guys really go Above & Beyond. We’d highly recommend making your way to one of their upcoming shows if you get a chance. You can check out where to can find your Common Ground below.