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Above & Beyond Deliver Spellbinding Acoustic Performance At Beacon Theater [REVIEW]

By Ryan Middleton ryan.middleton@musictimes.com | May 25, 2016 11:06 PM EDT

UK trance trio Above & Beyond normally occupy some of the largest festival and club stages electronic music has to offer, but over the weekend the group brought their act to "Broadway" as they said with big grins on their faces. It may not have been Broadway in the traditional sense, but the idea was still there. Instead of DJ equipment, they showed up to the gorgeous Beacon Theater in New York City with a full band and performed select numbers from the discography as part of their Acoustic II World Tour.

Above & Beyond were tasked with a three-night residency at the Beacon Theater. Catching them on the final night, this past Sunday, the group showed no signs of fatigue. The event was designed to be a bit classier than your normal rave and the audience dressed for the occasion. The kids were left at home as more mature crowd with folks in the 60s and 70s making an appearance. Many wore suits and nice dresses and a couple next to me donned their finest Sunday wear, but kept the rave spirit alive with wrists filled with kandi that is customary at a festival like Electric Daisy Carnival.

The trio was introduced by a fellow UK act Solomon Grey, who recently released their new self-titled album this year and performed soothing cuts from the LP during their 40-minute set to ease the crowd into the night.

Above & Beyond took the stage a short while later and immediately captured the attention of the sold out crowd in attendance. A crowd used to the, anthemic sounds of an Above & Beyond set were instead treated to something more thoughtful, complex and calming.

The set started with We Are All We Need single "Hello" and over the course of the next two hours they delivered a career-spanning set of acoustic covers from some newer stuff like "Last Chance" all the way back to 2004's "No One On Earth" and others from 2007's Tristate.

The three DJs occasionally spoke and at one point noted that this was refreshing since the acoustic versions are how they first write songs. All three play various instruments like piano, guitar and keyboard, taking turns on each. They were joined by some of their expected singers in Zoë Johnston and Justine Suissa, while also two newcomers including Colby who briefly topped the Spotify viral charts this week.

Fans were given wristbands that seemed innocuous at first, but they would intermittently all light up in a range of colors from blue to pink keeping the faint spirit of the rave alive.

Fans remained seated almost the entire show, but raucous outbursts were heard as each new song started. Fans would occasionally cry out and throw their arms in the air as if being touched by a powerful church sermon. In the beautiful, multi-tiered Beacon Theater, Above & Beyond delivered on a magical and spellbinding evening that proved they are more than just a DJ act.

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