Gaia Live, Thessaloniki, Greece
I consider very fortunate the event for all fans of music around the world to be able to see each band they love. Especially when circumstances are all in favor of them. I also believe that all of us get even luckier when each band comes to what we call right momentum, or in the peak of their creativity, response and best studio work. Many could say that in the case of the Warzsaw, Poland, oriented progsters Riverside, fate brought it that way, so we all could see the band at its really best. And about 150 people attended the show, to further witness 100 minutes full of quality, honesty and undressed beauty turning into sound.
The time was ten o’clock sharp, when Riverside members entered the stage. First was gigantic drummer Piotr Kozieradski, followed by guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, keyboard player Michal Lapaj and in the end, the leader and soul of the band, bassist/vocalist Mariusz Duda. From these first moments, the group was in front of what would follow, with Greek fans embracing this first appearance of Riverside in our country in the best possible way, with the quartet can’t help but enjoying this during the whole show, despite the fact that sometimes they tried not to show it and stay concentrated to their organs. But some smiles here and there betrayed their joy and happiness.
The newest studio album entitled ”Anno Domini High Definition” was acclaimed as phenomenal by critics around the world, not unfair at all, as it stands out like a complete piece of music, that could be the milestone of where the band should focus on, in order to plan its future musical direction. It was presented in its entirety, all of the five songs were played live, with ”Hyperactive” being the first one to start the night, shortly accompanied with ”Driven To Destruction” and already all fans feeling worth the spending of their money, as the sound was tremendously great and the band in perfect shape.
Especially the vocals were from another world, Mariusz managed not only to prove us he’s a great songwriter, but also a steady bass player, not losing a note at all, drawing great pictures with his lyrical voice and proving that sometimes, there is no need to be aggressive if you want to be right to the point. Next was ”Cybernetic Pillow” from the previous album ”Rapid Eye Movement”. One of the most progressive tracks, with Michal on the keyboards creating obscure sounds and in the end of the song acting like he’s trying to reach a communicative antenna like he would try to be in touch with aliens. Exceptional moment in all ways.
The show kept going on with many beloved tracks finding their way into the band’s playlist like ”Egoist Hedonist”, which seemed to be the most recognizable one from the new album, ”Conceiving You” from ”Second Life Syndrome” making some couples embrace each other with its romantic atmosphere, ”Left Out” which may be a long one but not make you feel bored, ”Parasomnia” showing the progressive side of the band and how great players they are, ”Rainbow Box” casting a magic spell to all of us and make us stun at the presence of the band, and my personal favorite, ”Hybrid Times”. Maybe the most mature song in their career which marked the ending of the normal set.
Of course there couldn’t be else but playing an encore, where they left every soul in this warm club called Gaia Live satisfied, by playing a complicated progressive piece of music, just before they end the show with ”02 Panic Room”. The perfect ending in a clean and warm atmosphere between group and fans. The response they had made Mariusz tell us that he was very happy about it, as he didn’t expect it. I guess that this warm welcome from Greeks in general will bring them upon us once again, sooner or later.
I want to wish them the best, as I believe that they deserve it. I hope that they will stay themselves, as they seem to be very controlled and cool people, and we need such musicians nowadays, as many members even from greater groups tend to forget where they begun and they lose not only their identity but also all the incidents that made them loveable. Dear Riverside, thank you for this experience and see you hopefully on the next tour. You make Poland proud for sure, proving that it’s not only Vader and Behemoth that are worth keeping an eye on.
Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.