Above & Beyond Group Therapy 100 was a milestone for electronic music. The gravity of this show manifests in the quality of the production, music, and social media response surrounding this historic weekend. The social media on both sides of the decks, from Above & Beyond’s pre and post-event updates to the fan-run ABGT100 community page, represents a relationship between a team and its fans that creates the most dynamic online presence of the year. The quality of ABGT100, from the music, visual production, infrastructure, social media, and dedication to the fans, reminded me that the intersection of live electronic music performance and social media has created a powerful and lasting mark on the music industry. Between festivals and shows like ABGT100—especially those headlined by positive and inspiring artists like Ilan Bluestone, Andrew Bayer, Mat Zo, and Above & Beyond—it’s hard to argue that electronic music isn’t one of the fastest growing and most promising genres and cultures in all of music. Case in point, this five-part musical journey:
Part 1: Above & Beyond Deep Set:
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Above & Beyond warmed up the livestream with a beautifully melodic deep house set. This marks one of the first major shows to open with a livestream-only set, treating those who couldn’t make it to the show with an exclusive preview of the night (well, exclusive to everyone except the ABGT100 attendees who were heading to Madison Square Garden at the time). This was also just a taste of what was to come later, at the Anjunadeep Afterparty.
Part 2: Ilan Bluestone
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Ilan Bluestone started the night off with one of the most surprising sets, uplifting the crowd with three Ilan Bluestone remixes, as well fan favorites like Tension. Ilan closed out with Big Ben Blackroom Boy, a mysterious mix that had dozens of fans posting on the forums asking for friends to ID the song.
“Ilan Bluestone blowing my mind once again.” –Brent Forrest
Part 3: Andrew Bayer
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Like Ilan Bluestone, Andrew Bayer opened his set with a powerful ID that floored fans in surprise. Peter Sather and Daniel Mendoza gave Bayer plenty of love on the ABGT100 group, sharing the sentiment that he had one of the most emotional sets. Kyle Bolmeyer praised Bayer’s club mix of Need Your Love for unleashing one of the best drops of the night, while on the more emotional end of the spectrum, Alchemy got plenty of its own love.
“Well that opening ID track from Andrew Bayer is incredible. Every time I hear it I get intense chills and tears in my eyes, pretty much sums up the entire event.” –Steve Reilly
Part 4: Mat Zo
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Mat Zo, funky as ever, received the most supporting act love from the ABGT community. He played an incredibly diverse set that displayed his mixing prowess, mixing the likes of Cirez D, Knife Party, Chromeo, and deadmau5. One of my favorite moments from the entire night was when Matan closed with Something Something Champs.
“Out of the three supporting acts… Mat Zo was hands down the best. I’ve since bought every track in his set that is obtainable because each track just made feel that great at the event.” –Marcus Spencer
Part 5: Above & Beyond
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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the main event. I’ve listened to this set five times (including seeing it live), and it’s up there as one of the most memorable of all time. Imagine yourself in the front of the crowd, watching Tony and Paavo walk on stage, raising up an Above & Beyond banner. David Blaine style, they drop the banner, revealing Jono as if he had appeared from nowhere. The trio opens with We’re All We Need, sweeping the crowd off their feet:
Over the course of two hours, Above & Beyond played an incredibly energetic set; uplifting in every sense of the word. When I wasn’t dancing, I had my arms around my best friends in the crowd, singing along to the classics and learning from the newly debuted songs. I had friends from around the world reunite for this show; many of us had met for the first time and bonded over Above & Beyond at festivals like Ultra, EDC, and Tomorrowland. Our Tomorrowland experience would have never been the same without Above & Beyond; as I was waiting outside London St. Pancras station for the train to Belgium, I struck up a conversation with Jordan and Gabe, who was wearing an Above & Beyond shirt. We bonded during the train ride to Boom, eventually camping together and forming a Tomorrowland family from London, Seattle, Boston, New York, Chapel Hill, Australia, and Canada. Nearly our entire Tomorrowland family was able to reunite for ABGT100. That’s the kind of connective power a group like Above & Beyond has.
“As sad as is it that ABGT100 Is over, how lucky are we that the best night of our lives is recorded. I’m so thankful I can watch this whenever I want!” –Erin Kate
Make sure to watch Above & Beyond’s entire set, as well as read Derek’s article, while the ABGT100 wave is still sweeping the world:
Photos from Drew Ressler a.k.a Rukes.