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In the words of Monty Python, “And now for something completely different.” Or, to paraphrase Solarstone, “It’s not the kind of thing I usually go to, but I liked it anyway!”

Dance music in a concert hall, with everyone seated, listening to a string quartet, piano and various brass instruments? Well yes, this was exactly what Above & Beyond Acoustic promised. This was the last concert in their round-the-world tour, and there have been two Acoustic albums, so in one sense we all knew what to expect. But in another sense it felt like a real step into the unknown, as I really had no idea how the music would come across in that environment and how it would make everyone feel.

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Of course, Above & Beyond are responsible for some of the very best trance ever recorded – and Zoë Johnston and Justine Suissa have the most divine voices, so there was reason to think it would be great. On the other hand, Above & Beyond are also responsible for a lot of the cheesiest trance ever recorded, a lot of their newer tunes leave me cold and the last DJ set of theirs I attended was just horrible – trousey EDM and not a hint of trance, even when their classics were dropped, in horrible travesty remixes. So there was also reason to fear that the night would fall flat.

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But the moment the show started, all my fears vanished and we got to experience a wonderful two hours of tunes old and new, fantastically arranged for the orchestral instruments, supplemented by bass guitar and two drummers. Yes, there was a bit of cheese – principally in the second encore, Sun & Moon – and one or two flat moments. But overall it was simply magnificent and I’m sure no-one there, myself included, wanted it to end.

13413601_10157046271065078_8294268395486030770_nThe stars of the show as far as I was concerned were Justine Suissa and Zoë Johnston. SatelliteMiracle and On A Good Day vied with No One On EarthWe’re All We Need and the closing encore, Good For Me, as the highlights. But Cobi sang Alone Tonight brilliantly and Natalie Holmes was fantastic singing Counting Down The Days / Liquid Love. And without a doubt, the best moment of the night came when the audience spontaneously held up their smartphone lights to give a sparkling backdrop to Justine Suisse’s voice as she sang On A Good Day.

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Although it’s unlikely that there will be another chance to catch Above & Beyond Acoustic, it’s clear that Jono, Tony and Paavo enjoyed it so much, you can’t rule it out. And if there is another tour, I’ll be there in a flash!

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Unfortunately YouTube has taken down my video of Good For Me, so you can’t view it here any longer. But I think it’s still on my Facebook page and I will see if it’s possible to host it here.

Thanks to the various friends whose photos I’ve grabbed for this review.

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