I don’t normally write blog posts straight after shows – I’m incoherent even when I’m mentally at my best – but this one time I feel an exception must be made. I’ve just come back from seeing Apocalyptica with Maria and I simply have to write.
I don’t normally feel both as exhausted and exhilarated as this after a gig. I guess the cycling home burned off the post gig adrenaline while my mind is still on fire from the experience.
I didn’t expect the band to be quite that amazing. I expected brilliance but they surpassed it. Wow.
|Everything ready to go!|
Apocalyptica are one of my childhood bands. I first discovered them back when I was first developing my own music taste. As I started to play the cello myself they became an inspiration. Seriously, one the first proper pieces I learned to play was one the parts of ‘Cortege’. They could have been pretty disappointing and it still would have been an amazing night but, trust me, they were anything but disappointing.
Waiting for the show to begin, I tormented Maria with my excited bouncing. Poor girl, she kindly agreed to accompany me even though she wasn’t a fan herself and then was subjected to an excited me! We decided to sit on the balcony which is not my usual style but was actually an excellent choice. The view was brilliant of both the stage and of the band. It was really interesting to watch the crowd dynamic from this angle – you don’t see the patterns when you’re a part of it even if you’re aware they exist. It would have also been a great place to take photos but I gave up in the end because the lighting was not nice to my little compact and, with the number of pro photographers there, there will be plenty of images floating around in a few days 🙂
Anyway, you’ll notice I’m avoiding talking about the show itself. It’s really hard to work out what to say, how to put it into words. The music was great. They’re talented live musicians not just talented recording artists so that was not surprise. I guess the tech was a bit odd to start with as the drums were too prominent but that was quickly resolved and then everything was great.
What did surprise me was the dynamic on stage. Something that’s to Apocalyptica’s credit is the way in which each member has their own role within the band’s sound. They’re not just several cellists, and drummer, attempting to play coherent music but they’re a band with defined roles melody, rhythm, bass… drums. While they make stray from this format from time to time it gives their music a real structure. But this wasn’t what I was wanting to say… oh what was it? Yes, the fact that, on stage, there is also a clear structure. Eicca seems to be cool and in control, Paavo really interacted with the crowd and got them involved, Perttu was 100% full of beans and all over the place, and Mikko drew it all together with the drumming. In this sense, you have a really rounded stage atmosphere. There was a real feeling of fraternity amongst the band and that was lovely to see as an audience member. It felt like they were loving being on stage and that simply transferred. Yeah, it was great.
Not only was the potential of the important bits of music and performance fully realised but the design of the performance, both visually and set-list wise was also on form. I will admit that there were times when the strobe lighting was simply to flashy for me but then there were also moments of beautiful lighting design that really set up an atmosphere to compliment the piece in question. The louder, faster pieces saw the stage divided with beams of light and colour while the quiet, peaceful numbers received a more harmonious treatment. And the balance between those fast and slow pieces was just right. While the majority of the set was centred around, as one would expect, Apocalyptica’s heavier pieces, it was interjected with two moments of calm. Not only were the tunes played in those moments stunning but this division of the set ensured that the heavier tunes did not fall into a monotony, allowing the audience to appreciate every moment.
So, a wonderful night? Undoubtedly. Did Maria enjoy it in the end? Well, from her grin at points during the show and from the brief discussion we had afterwards… I think she might be a convert 😉 Sadly, we didn’t manage to meet the band afterwards (and I couldn’t get my scrap-book signed!) but as I’ll be seeing them next year I think I’ll survive! Truly cannot wait to see them again – they’ve set themselves up at near top of my ‘best live bands list’ and exceeded the already high expectations I held. Wow.
Sorry for lack of decent images. I only took about 20 as I thought they were coming out even worse than they were. Of course, that means the semi-decent ones, and I use that term very loosely, are limited to no more than a few!