There are some musicians you will go out of your way to see just once, and you will be satisfied with that sole experience. You’ll cross it off the bucket list of concerts to attend in your lifetime and won’t necessarily jump at the chance to see them again, because you already know what they bring to the table.
And then. There are some musicians who you see time and time again whenever they play in close proximity. You refuse to miss any opportunity to lock down your tickets the moment they go on sale, because their live performance, stage presence and music mean the world to you. Witnessing them each and every time always lives up to that wonderful memory and hype from when you last left them. That is what Above & Beyond is to us.
We’ve dedicated our time to practically every Electric Daisy Carnival set of theirs, danced to their beats at the Los Angeles Forum, have traveled three hours to Pismo Beach and back TWICE just to be touched by their uplifting energy and sounds and have now officially been to two of their acoustic tours.
Today isn’t the first time we’ve shared the brilliant sentiment of Above & Beyond. Their beautiful songs and overall message are rooted deep into our souls, woven through our friendships, set standards for our romantic relationships and still continue to have a major impact on our lives. Paavo, Tony and Jono are more than musicians, because they have created something that exceeds all expectations of any fandom. If you’ve listened to their musical history, dating way back to the sounds of OceanLab, it’s truly no wonder why their name is “Above & Beyond”.
Landing the Hollywood Bowl as a venue was a first for this trio (a bucket list of their own, no doubt), and as they took the stage, looking dapper in their suits and ties, they politely asked the audience to refrain from recording the performance. They wanted everyone there to live in the moment before stating that they would actually take care of recording this one all on their own.
Highlights of the night for us included a young couple just a few feet to our left, who became engaged as soon as the chorus of “Satellite” started. Once we heard the words:
“and before you sleep at night // you pray to me // your lucky star // your singing satellite”,
we looked over and and saw a man down on one knee, all smiles. Seconds later, there was cheering, phone lights flashing and tears of happiness as he stood up to hug and kiss his future wife. That moment was pure magic.
If that wasn’t enough magic to last us the rest of the evening, we were in store for more. Everyone was granted a bracelet upon entry, and each one was timed to light up at precise moments throughout the concert to induce feels upon feels.
Zoe Johnston (longtime collaborator) and Justine Suissa (voice of OceanLab) took the stage to reprise their signature, angelic Above & Beyond voices upon the sold out audience of 17,500. Another artist, Cobi, who Above & Beyond refers to as “one of their stunning vocalists on this acoustic run” also graced us with his presence, revealing himself to be the perfect addition to an existential show along with another new talent, UK singer/songwriter Natalie Holmes.
When Above & Beyond graciously exited the stage, we knew in our hearts that they weren’t completely finished. They returned to perform “Sun & Moon”, and we sang along with Cobi at the very top of our lungs, clutching each other tightly (like we always do). After prefacing that their last song would be one that has been played at weddings around the world, they brought the night to an emotional close with the ultra romantic “Good for Me”.
As we walked out of the Hollywood Bowl that night, we couldn’t stop talking about how Above & Beyond did it AGAIN. This acoustic performance somehow topped their previous one from over two years ago at The Greek Theatre. We woke up the next morning, still texting each other to discuss just how incredible the night before had been. We’re already counting down the days until Above & Beyond’s Acoustic II album drops on June 3rd — new songs such as “We’re All We Need” and “No One on Earth” have FINALLY made their way onto the acoustic track list, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
Above & Beyond had one unforgettable experience performing for all of us, as well. The pictures they shared on Instagram show them bowing to their well-deserved standing ovation, captioning the photos:
“The day after the night before and we still need someone to pinch us.”
“Will take a while to digest this one.”
(All photos by Mario Herrera — @redb15).