LKA Longhorn, Stuttgart, Germany 11.11.2016
LKA Longhorn, Stuttgart, Germany 11.11.2016
There is no better way for me to fill my evenings, but to visit concerts. And as OPETH were performing live in Germany, where I live the past two years, it was a great opportunity to see them again. The weather was pouring down with rain and I decided to go by car to the venue. That was a big mistake. I drove off and I was at LKA (the name of the venue) about twenty minutes before the show started and thought all was ok. But I had to drive almost half an hour to find a place to park my small car. Needless to say that LKA was packed when I was there and I had to push my way through to get as close to the stage.
On stage SAHG already were about to end with their first song. Yes once more I missed the first minutes of this gig. So I got closer and find a place to watch their set as comfortable as possible. Their doom riffs were flowing through the air and the haunting vocals of Olav Iversen were taking us to a journey to oceans of headbanging. The band from Norway, all four dressed in black, giving all the best on stage and as I was just introduced to them for the very first time live, they were quite impressive. Of course their new album “Memento Mori” was the focus of their 40 minutes set. Songs that I heard off their CD like “Devilspeed”, “Blood Of Oceans” and “Black Unicorn” presented their abilities in full as the performance of Sahg was unmistakably good. Another four songs one from each of their previous albums completed their set and left me with a beautiful memory of them. I think they deserve more attention than they get already. Well they definitely won another fan that night.
Immediately after the departure of the Norwegian doom quartet, the stage was transformed to a big worksite. The preparations were running for more than fifteen minutes until everything were ready. The anticipation was striking high and the first melodies from the intro tape sounded at last at the ears of the big crowd that filled the venue. One by one the Swedes were taking their places on stage, leaving of course the frontman mr. Mikael Åkerfeldt last, as the intro ended and the well known bass line accompanied with the hammond organ sounds of the self title “Sorceress” hit the speakers. While the basic really heavy riff took its turn, the voice of Mikael echoed the venue singing “I am a sinner and I worship evil…” and the audience followed. All were in place and the evening continued so good as it had started.
Most of the fans have worries about the lack of growls on the last OPETH’s albums, but that is not the case as you watch them on stage. The next song “The Ghost Of Perdition” proved it all the way. And the voice of mr. Åkerfeldt seems to have not lost the magic of a good growl. As always he stood in front of the microphone offering to all lessons on guitar playing while whispering or spitting the lyrics. On his right side also on guitars mr. Ǻkesson seemed to me as much younger as he is, headbanging on any given chance. On the other side of the stage the great Martín Méndez looked as the silent force that drives the wagon called Opeth. As he launched his bass lines, he seemed to me as if he was in a trance and not right there in front of me. On the back lines the other half of the rhythm section Martin Axenrot and a great keyboardist – and proved agreat vocalist as well – called Joakim Svalberg.
To be honest I expected more songs from the new album and a longer setlist as Fredrik told me on the interview a few hours before. Basically that didn’t prevent me to enjoy every moment of their performance. The track “The Wilde Flowers”, a personal favourite, and the encore song “Deliverance” were among the highlights of this show. Something that some find it tiring is the long pauses between the songs; songs for the devil like “The Grand Conjuration” and songs for a man’s past love like “Face Of Melinda”. I find it especially amusing as Mikael tries to be funny (sometimes he absolutely is) with his stories. There was also a proper introduction of the band from him somewhere near the end of the show. Overall a show of Opeth is always a good choice to spend the evening and they proved themselves again how good entertainers they are.
Photos: Kostas “Krotidas” Triantafilidis