Seeing Opeth live was one of my life goals, so I braved illness to see them play at L'Amour in Brooklyn. I arrived nearly two hours late, and I feared the worst. But as it turned out, some local bands had played first, and I didn't even miss God Forbid.
God Forbid, to my mind, is a basic death metal band trying to cash in on the melodic death metal scene by throwing in a few Iron Maiden harmonies. I don't think it's fooling anybody. Their set was a noisy blur.
Next up was Angel Dust, a quality German progressive power metal band. I expected that since they've been tending more and more to the progressive side, that they would eschew the throbbing-bass approach typical of metal bands in live settings in favor of actually making the lead guitar, keys, and vocals audible. The only metal bands I've ever seen who had a decent live sound were Dream Theater, Galactic Cowboys, and Fates Warning. It was not to be, and almost all the lead breaks were drowned out by the monotonous rumble of the bass. This was the set list:
- Let Me Live
- Come into Resistance
- Cross of Hatred
I may be leaving one song out. Overall, the crowd was enthusiastic. Later, the band's lead singer came out into the crowd to watch part of Nevermore's set.
The crowd was tense in anticipation of seeing the mighty Opeth on American shores finally. When they finally came out, everyone went wild, and the enthusiasm carried throughout the whole set, with some people even moshing through the acoustic sections. This was their set:
- White Cluster
- Forest of October
- The Drapery Falls
- Demon of the Fall
(I may be getting the order slightly mixed up.)
I thought their performance was superb, even if it was at times difficult to hear the lead guitar, especially on "White Cluster" and "Demon of the Fall." On the other songs, especially the ones from Orchid and Morningrise, the bass player actually had to play a sequence of notes, so the bass sound wasn't quite as overpowering and monolithic. The "acoustic" sections also broke things up. Mikael actually played the acoustic sections on an electric guitar, which reduced some of the effect, but after the first song I didn't really mind. Mikael had a very friendly and self-effacing manner on stage and connected well with the crowd. Between every song the crowd was chanting "Opeth! Opeth!," and he leaned over and said into the microphone, "We love it when you do that." I guess I can forgive him for not answering my interview requests. heh heh
When Nevermore took the stage, it must have been after 1 AM. As the thrashing opening riff of "Narcosynthesis" broke out, a cool strobe light effect showed all the members of the band headbanging in time. Here is their setlist as best I remember it:
- Inside Four Walls
- Last in Line (one of my least favorite songs from Politics of Ecstasy - I wonder why they always play it)
- Engines of Hate
- The Heart Collector
- The Death of Passion (I predicted this one would follow, since a lyric from "The Heart Collector" is "I won't be feeling hollow for so long," while "The Death of Passion" says of course, "I feel so ho-ollooow")
- The River Dragon Has Come
- Dead Heart in a Dead World (without the soft section at the beginning)
- Evolution 169 (which Warrel introduced by asking, "Who wants to hear some DOOM METAL?" The only one who cheered, I must have been the only doom freak in the audience)
- The Seven Tongues of God
- Beyond Within
- Believe in Nothing
- The Sound of Silence
I'd seen Nevermore before, so I just enjoyed the show from a relaxed spot at the back. The band was in top form, and the crowd was appreciative. The last time Nevermore was in New York, Warrel was drunk and the show was a joke, so I heard. Warrel was his usual nutter self, however, pulling people up on stage and so on. I get the feeling the rest of the band gets a little annoyed with these antics, but I guess they accept it as part of the Warrel Dane package, and something the fans like. The show finally let out at 2:30 AM. This tour is certainly one of the premier metal shows of the year, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
For those of you readers who may have been there, I was wearing a longsleeve Haggard shirt. I didn't get any comments on it, the way I used to get comments on my Opeth shirt from those in the know. I guess the word about Haggard hasn't gotten around yet.