Above & Beyond Shared a Common Ground with Their Fans at Navy Pier

About 5 years ago, I lied to my employer about being sick because Above & Beyond was playing nearby and all I could think was, “This is my only chance to see them. They’re big in Europe and are never make it over to the US. Nothing will stop me from going.” And from there, my love of A&B all started anew and they took off. On Saturday, February 17th,, 2018, two-thirds of Above & Beyond played to 8,999 people at Navy Pier. Sorry old employer… Throughout the show I was overwhelmed with all the emotions that were washing over me, from thinking I'd never see this wonderful group again to experiencing them live once again. I want to share a story that perfectly describes the vibes that were at show on Saturday. During Oliver Smith's opening set, I was up in the pit grabbing photos. I started snapping pictures of the crowd along the railing. I snapped a picture of an excited woman in a spirit hood with a smile on her face. The picture stood out to me! She looked so happy. I asked for her phone number so I can send it over when I upload the pictures. After the show, I had a few rough days in my personal life. During that time, the woman in the photo reached out thanking me for taking her number and she was looking forward to the picture. I apologized it was taking me a while and without hesitation, she sent me texts of encouragement and love. She constantly reminded me that everything is OK and asked if she could help. Finally, she says, “By the way, hello! I’m Merillyn from Indiana. My birthday is tomorrow so I’ll be 24. Now that we aren’t strangers, I am here if you need someone to vent or talk to!” It hit me square in the face; this stranger willingly gave me so much love. She probably didn’t even remember what I looked like but was more than happy to extend her hand out to me to help, without even knowing my name. That’s what Above & Beyond embodies in their music. A&B is true emotions and acceptance and love. Hugs and singing too loud. Their essence is jumping around together and learning about the stranger next to you. It’s feeling what’s inside and reading the words on the screen. There’s a reason this trio has taken over the trance genre with their lyrics, melodies, and overall message. Jono Grant and Tony McGuiness brought all of that positive energy to Navy Pier on Saturday and more. Their latest album, Common Ground, took off on the charts as well as in our hearts. It stands as a reminder that we are barely strangers in this world anymore. We are all connected in some way. So Merillyn, thank you for holding my hand. I’m so glad to have you as a friend. I’ve included said-picture here in the album. She looks so amazing. I encourage everyone to use a sick day, if applicable, the next time Above & Beyond come to town.
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Katie Steensma