With a new album having been released last month, British trio Above & Beyond are currently on tour across North America, supporting their new work and, as always, spreading the love. The group’s latest stop was in Toronto, where they took to the Direct Energy Centre for an incredible 2.5 hour set with support from labelmates Mat Zo and Lane 8.
Though the venue itself left a little something to be desired, the boys brought their all with them, putting the legion of diehard fans that showed up under a spell for the entire night. They ran through the classics, some more obscure stuff, and a good chunk of the new album. Of course, there was also some button pushing thrown in for good measure.
Taking the stage in Toronto were Jono and Paavo, as the group rarely does shows with all three members, and through their signature on-screen text messages and excellent selection of music, Above & Beyond truly did give a freezing cold Toronto a very special night.
Kicking things off shortly before midnight, Above & Beyond opened with “Quieter Is Louder” before transitioning into “We Are All We Need” and “Sticky Fingers.” Accompanying the opening songs was on-screen text that read “So good to be back in freezing Toronto. But don’t worry, we’ve got some hot tunes.” And they weren’t wrong about that.
For the most part, the boys stuck to their own catalogue of music (even dipping into some OceanLab stuff at one point for “On A Good Day”). However, they did play numerous tracks from several of their labelmates, with fan-favorite Ilan Bluestone’s “Tesseract” being dropped to an ecstatic crowd. And, of course, the boys also reached into other artists’ catalogues as well, sending fans into a frenzy at one point when they played the euphoric “Kuaga” by Pierce Fulton.
For most people, it was their first time hearing the group’s new material live, and tracks like “Hello,” the aforementioned “We Are All We Need,” “Peace of Mind” and more really got everyone going, and all sounded just as great as we expected them to. Jono and Paavo treated us to a lot of their classics, as well, as popular choices like “Sun & Moon” and “Black Room Boy” had the whole room singing along.
Roughly an hour or so in, the legendary button pushing took place, with one lucky girl beating out some fierce competition, and some creative signs, to hop up on stage and hit the button for the drop in “Blue Sky Action.” Inducing much excitement, and jealousy, from the crowd, the button pushing is always a great moment at any Above & Beyond concert, and though we all know exactly what to expect by this point, you can’t help but to feel giddy every time you see it live.
Embracing Above & Beyond with open arms, the Toronto crowd definitely has a special place in the group’s heart. Seeing as the boys headlined the city’s VELD Music Festival in the past, and were basically regulars at the legendary Guvernment nightclub, Paavo, Jono and Tony definitely go way back with Toronto, and it showed throughout the entire night.
“We go way back, Toronto. We’ve grown up hand in hand. Together we made The Guvernment rain. You gave us Goosebumps at Veld. And today, we’re together again. We are all we need,” the on screen text read at one point.
As Above & Beyond closed out the memorable set with one of their classics, one thing was very clear as those iconic lyrics rang out through the Direct Energy Centre, and that’s that nobody in attendance was going to “forget about a thing called love” any time soon.
The boys delivered another superb session of group therapy on Sunday night, and as the crowds filed out of the building and into the freezing cold temperatures, it was surprisingly easy to forget about the biting winds and snow on the ground, as the feels that Paavo and Jono had just provided were still present within all of us.