The Hard Rock Hotel hosted some of Above & Beyond’s first gigs in Las Vegas, an appropriate fit considering the trio’s diverse musical leanings and international appeal.
“There are two parts to the old Hard Rock I remember best,” Tony McGuinness tells the Weekly, reminiscing on a Zoom from Miami. “I was a smoker for so many years, and the [hotel rooms] had all these balconies. And there was a [room] there that had a display with Dave Navarro’s leather coat and leather boots, and I used to stand there and covet these boots, thinking, my God, I wish I could find where these are sold and get some myself. They were an extraordinary pair of boots.”
Like so many Vegas visitors and locals, McGuinness and his mates Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamäki will be looking to make more memories at the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, born from the Hard Rock site in March.
Above & Beyond will play its first live stateside gig in nearly two years on October 23. The group’s AnjunaFamily Reunion Tour stop at Elia Beach Club sets up as one of the biggest events on a loaded EDC Week agenda.
The Grammy-nominated British outfit has played a role in some of the most memorable sets in EDC history, so it’s safe to say the guys are excited to make their return to Las Vegas during the festival.
“That week in Vegas is the only time I feel famous,” McGuinness laughs. “It’s everywhere you go. There are so many people there going to the shows, it makes up a good chunk of the population. So you come out of a bar and there’s a good chance someone might recognize you.”
Each member of A&B spent last year’s shutdown exploring individual musical and creative pursuits, McGuinness says, staying in touch but not convening to work together until plans for the tour began coming together.
“The first big thing we did was [U.K. festival] Creamfields in August, which was a weird thing because in normal life, that’s our end-of-summer gig,” he says. “It was like starting your first big dinner in a long time with coffee. It felt wrong.”
Returning to the road was a bit of an awkward process, too—“like getting out of bed on camera”—until, McGuinness says, the group found its rhythm during its Group Therapy 450 shows in September in London.
“We had these two days that were really great, 10,000 people each day,” he says. “We played all these tracks and some brand new songs, our new single ‘Almost Home’ with Justine [Suissa], and it just felt like, here we are, back again.
“It’s still a little strange. And the Vegas show is going to be unusual, because it’s a place we haven’t been in so long,” he continues. “But everybody from our crew to the promoters have kind of remembered now what it is we do and how much fun it is, and that’s why we do it.”
ABOVE & BEYOND With Fatum, Gardenstate, Pretty Pink, Tomas Heredia. October 23, 11 a.m., $60. Elia Beach Club, 702-693-5570.
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