ABGT + The Gorge = Magic

It’s taken me about a week to collect my thoughts and reflect on the magical weekend we had up in George, Washington for ABGT 250. If you read my preview of the event you know The Gorge has been on my bucket list for many years. Finally the stars aligned as Above & Beyond decided to host their ABGT 250 live stream at one of the most breath-taking venues in the world.

ABGT stands for “Above & Beyond Group Therapy” and is the weekly radio show produced by the Trance trio Above & Beyond. ABGT 250 was the 250th episode of the trio’s podcast and as is now tradition they set up a live stream for this milestone episode. Moreover, this was the first time Above & Beyond hosted a weekend-long event with the main ABGT live stream taking place from 5pm-1am local time on Saturday and the Anjunadeep “brunch” running on Sunday from 11am-8pm local time. Above & Beyond even DJed a yoga set on Sunday morning for all those who wanted to stretch their way into the day party.

Saturday featured some of the hottest acts on Anjunabeats of 2017: Luttrell, Yotto, Oliver Smith, Genix & Sunny Lax, and Seven Lions b2b Jason Ross. Of course Above & Beyond headlined Saturday by opening up with a deep set and then later on playing their peak-hour set from 10pm-midnight. When the lineup first came out I was pleasantly surprised by multiple b2b sets planned for the weekend. I was also surprised not to see Grum on the lineup given he mixed the latest Anjunabeats Worldwide compilation. Not to mention Above & Beyond played his song “Price of Love” at the very beginning of their main set.

But that’s no matter because I thought all the artists who played Saturday brought the heat in their own way. I love Luttrell’s sound for chillin’ out and his set was a good way to warm up the night. Yotto was able to smoothly transition from sounds of Deep House to ones of more progressive stylings – that’s when things really started to heat up. From there Oliver Smith and Genix & Sunny Lax both brought their own take on Trance and Progressive by featuring uplifting melodies and devastating drops.

Above & Beyond’s own set was quite epic, featuring many new songs and tracks that were handpicked for this milestone event (full track listing below). We even got a mashup that included Mat Zo’s “Rebound” – possibly one of my favorite songs and artists to ever come out of the Anjunabeats camp. While fans were treated to the newer singalongs, we didn’t quite get many of the classics. That was quickly forgotten when Seven Lions & Jason Ross took the stage to lay down the most unique combination of Trance and Dubstep on the planet. And we were even treated to some Trap that had members of my group screaming “oh my God!” and doing that dance that Trap fans do (myself included).

But just when we thought the night was over, Above & Beyond took to the stage to play an encore of “Sun and Moon”. I think many fans were disappointed not to hear a classic like “Sun and Moon” earlier in the night but were pleasantly surprised it came across the speakers at the very end.

The scenery was amazing, the light show was fantastic, and the sound quality was through the roof at the Gorge. ABGT 250 was a success!

But wait…. there’s more! Sunday’s Anjunadeep was a great way to come down from the epic highs of the night before. After the yoga session, one of my favorite artists on the Anjunadeep label, Moon Boots, took the stage. His funky House beats had us dancing into the early afternoon when Eli & Fur took the stage followed by legends Jody Wisternoff & James Grant, 16 Bit Lolitas, and finally Yotto & Luttrell for an encore b2b set.

All the performances at the Meadow Stage on Sunday we perfect, keeping the packed crowd moving and in good spirits despite a bit of rain. Personally speaking I love the Anjunadeep label but Sunday did leave me wanting something a bit more energetic. In my opinion the Anjunadeep sound can be more for the bedroom than the dance floor. But no matter, everyone had fun.

I drove away from The Gorge sad to leave but happy that I had such a great time with friends old and new. Above & Beyond’s fans are truly special, the music united us in divided times, and The Gorge as a venue is simply magical. My one piece of feedback is that I think Above & Beyond should throw a proper music festival. The ABGT following is dedicated world wide and while certain parts of the ABGT 250 weekend felt like a festival, others did not. Hell it was great that on closing night many of the Anjunabeats artists were DJing a food truck in the middle of GA camping. But there was a certain lack of renegade stages, after parties, and general late night hangin’. I would have liked to see that opened up a bit more for typical camping festival shenanigans.

As always, thanks to Above & Beyond, the Anjuna families, and Involved Management for having us. We’re already looking forward to the next one!