[divider]New Orleans, LA[/divider]
Traveling somewhere for a group you love is something special. That’s exactly what Staff Writers Lizzy Weibling, Phillip Francis, and Copy Editor Brenda Anderson did for Above and Beyond when they played their show at the Joy Theater in New Orleans. New Orleans holds a special place in all of our hearts. It’s the home of Jazz and Blues. It’s a place that can show you how persistent the human spirit is and its culture is alive and well. This trip also gave us the opportunity to see what rave culture looks like from another, almost foreign, community to that of the Northwest.
Architecture and and how a city is laid out can give you a real look into that city’s history and environment. For example, most of the streets in the city are no wider than a single car width. That’s because the city was founded far before the invention of the horseless carriage. Horse drawn carriages were something that only the wealthy could afford to have and so it makes sense that city planners never really took that into account or knew what traffic would become. Every building there has VERY high ceilings. The reason for high ceilings was to create an area for the sweltering heat to rise in the summer time in a world before the air conditioning that is depended upon so much in Southern summers. The history of New Orleans is far longer than Seattle’s and can be both beautiful and brutal.
I very much felt like Charleton Heston in Moses when he said “I am a stranger in a strange land.” As a raver, you have to go into every situation with PLURR, but it is hard coming from the liberal Northwest into the conservative south. It was interesting for me to see what the rave culture was like in New Orleans. In all honesty PLURR is universal. The people in New Orleans were extremely welcoming. It’s in their nature. We made instant friends in the front row at the Joy Theater, and even met some people with ties to the Northwest.
Early in the day after camping out in front of Above and Beyond’s tour bus, we decided to part ways and head to our respective beds for a disco nap. On the way I had to make a pit stop to pick up some essentials for my girlfriend (and our fearless editor) Brenda at the local CVS. On the way there, I received very sad news that a close friend of mine had passed away. Distraught, I kept on with my mission. I found what Brenda needed and headed for the check out counter. And right as I was about to make my way to the counter to pay for my provisions, Jono Grant turned the corner and entered the store. I have seen A&B 18 times now, I have listened to their radio broadcast since Trance Around The World 002, and I have traveled the country to see them. And did you guys know I was at ABGT100? To say that I was excited would be an understatement.
I had to take a few looks to muster up the courage to say “Are you Jono?” Jono greeted me with a smile and was kind enough to chat with me for a brief time. I didn’t inform him of what I was going through because I felt that he didn’t need to be burdened with my problems with how busy I am sure he is. After a brief conversation he kindly agreed to a photo with me. It seemed comical to me that my phone just decided not to work. Everything we did just couldn’t get the camera to work. It didn’t help that my hands were shaking uncontrollably and would have potentially ruined the photo anyways. Then he offered up his phone as the source for my memory. He took the photo, tweeted it to me with the caption “CVS Buddies” and went about his day. The sheer mental turmoil that I was going through made me almost pass out when I finally made it back to my hotel. To be that high and that low at the same time is nothing I can adequately describe.
— Jono Grant (@jonogrant) March 3, 2015
The show itself was so intimate. The Joy Theater is very similar to the Neptune Theater or the Moore Theater, only smaller. Even the crew had to tip toe around the the stage equipment. Honestly the best part about the venue was the lack of pushing and shoving from the crowd. Everyone got to their spot and gave a wide berth to everyone around them. 16 Bit Lolitas started off the night with a very good deep house set and a great way to lead into A&B. Naturally as the show progressed all the feels came out. One of my favorite lyrics in all of Above & Beyond is “Your elegant dinosaur limbs, so willingly bruising my skin”. The lyrics exemplify how talented Above & Beyond are when it comes to writing songs. Those two lines hold so much symbolism it blows my mind (but I digress).
I received a piece of Kandi from my cohort Lizzy that said Elegant Dinosaur Limbs that she traded to me during that line of Sticky Fingers. I began sweating from my eyeballs and this inexplicable liquid kept pouring from them (happens at every A&B Show, I should really have that checked out). The show continued on with a continuity of beauty resonating through the halls of the Joy Theater and like that *snaps fingers*, it was over. Jono and Tony were gracious enough to come into the moat and shake some hands and sign some autographs for their fans. Jono came by us and and reached out to me and said “Hey! My CVS Buddy! Good to see you again.” My jaw hit the floor and I proceeded to devolve into a 16 year old girl who was acknowledged by her favorite boy band member.
This is a trip that I truly will never forget. My hope is that I will return to New Orleans in the near future and truly enjoy all that it has to offer. Nothing makes a trip as special than the people that you are with when you take that journey, so I must acknowledge Brenda Anderson, Lizzy Weibling, and Matthew Grim for being the perfect people to share that Group Therapy with.
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