If you read my review of The Armory’s grand opening, I called the building “a venue our Twin Cities’ vibrant music scene was missing.” On New Years Eve, the armory filled it role once again as the large music centric venue that we were missing by hosting Above & Beyond.
It was absolutely amazing experience from start to finish with bliss filling every corner of the room. For moment the audience got to let go of 2017, a year (that we are often reminded) was one of the most contentious in our lifetimes; and instead embrace what was in front of them. As Above & Beyond says “We’re All We Need.”
For those not familiar with Above & Beyond, they are considered one of the most successful and well-respected trance music groups in the genre today. Hailing from London, they are known for their elaborate shows that involve the audience and uplifting music. Their weekly Group Therapy radio shows (A successor to Trance Around The World) have also continued their radio influence across the globe, with weekly entries of new remixes and trance music. Each 50 episodes are celebrated with a massive show in a stadium size venue.
When this show was first announced the general reaction was “Seriously? Above & Beyond is doing New Years Eve in Minneapolis?” Nobody expected an artist of this magnitude to come do New Years Eve in the northern Midwest. Naturally, the tickets started filling up fast and people from out of town were even traveling to Minneapolis in the dead of winter. A big emphasis on dead of winter too, at show time Minneapolis was sitting at a balmy -10 degrees and dropping. However, that did not stop anyone from making the trek, the venue was still packed to capacity, and the one of the biggest New Year’s parties ever in Minneapolis was ready to go.
The night opened up at 7pm with sets by Aznpersuasion and Euphoric Nation. Jack Trash, one of the main cogs in The Amory’s founding took the stage to do his own set with Tyler Allix, and eventually handed the stage to Judah to open for Above & Beyond. Once Above & Beyond took the stage, the hour countdown to midnight began.
As I mentioned earlier, Above & Beyond shows feature more audience participation than most. Right when their set opened up out a message flashed on the big board. “Look at you Minneapolis.” All these messages were typed live from the stage; some highlighting how great is was to be together for New Years, others telling the audience to shout and, of course, a count down to New Years Eve.
One thing in particular that is special to an Above & Beyond show is the ability of fans to “push the button.” Fans will show up with elaborate signs hoping that they will be noticed by Above & Beyond and selected to push the button. What is pushing the button? It is very simple, if you are selected; you get to push the button that drops the beat on stage in front of everyone.
A true once in a lifetime experience that everyone gets a crack at every show (including one of my friends that got pulled from the audience this show.) The button push for this show was a little special, because whoever was selected pressed the button to usher in the New Year, dropping the beat and ushering (hopefully) a new year of revival.
On top of the NYE celebration, Above & Beyond played a set chocked full of their biggest tracks like “Northern Soul,” the ever popular “We’re All We Need,” and “Sun & Moon.” Their set had the audience going well into 2018 and all the way to 1am where Jason Ross, took over to take the party all the way 2am, where they legally couldn’t play anymore. Hurry up with that 4am bar law Minneapolis.
I’ll say it once again; the armory is the best new venue in town. The acoustics are incredible, the venue wows with its eye-catching renovation style, and the floor plan is very unrestrictive, allowing for large shows that you can still freely move around in. It was designed with music in mind, and with two full shows under its belt, it’s shown that it can absolutely deliver on any artist coming to town. Above & Beyond was one of the most memorable New Years Eve’s I’ve had. It had the crowds, the music, friends, and the experiences that you could only hope for at most NYE parties. I can’t wait to do NYE at the armory next year.