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When my trip upstate started, all I knew was that it was going to be a long day. By the time I made it to the place, I walked past it, not recognizing the concert venue. I needed a second look to identify the Upstate Concert Hall as the place where magic was going to happen this evening, in between a store and a church building, all combined in a little strip mall – in the middle of nowhere.
The day passed by, the local radio station had organized a little meet and greet with acoustic session, and later on I had the chance to sit down with Paavo and drummer Mikko in their tourbus to have a catch up with them – the interview is coming soon!
The Finnish band, who was using the days off their tour with Sixx:A.M. for this headliner show, had two local bands opening up for them. They were both received quite well, even though the crowd grew bigger only late on this evening, so you could not expect too much atmosphere yet. The bands had a lot of fun on stage, and it was simply visible how much they enjoyed doing what they were doing – and that simply had to put a smile on people´s faces, even though the sound could have been so much better and more in the bands´ favor.
And after a break it was time for Apocalyptica to come on stage – the long awaited show started with “I-III-V Seed of Chaos”, which is also the opener track of the band´s latest album “Shadowmaker”, and it also continued with one of the new songs “Cold Blood”, which the band performed together with singer Franky Perez, who had just joined the band for this album. Having always been a critic concerning vocal tracks by this band, I had no choice but to fall in love with Franky´s voice, not only on the album, but especially during live performances. In course of this show, he surely convinced everyone, who had been sceptical about him being an amazing addition to the band, that he is worth every single bit of appreciation, not only for his work on the new songs, but also how well he fits into the older songs, such as “End of me”, “I´m not Jesus” (which the crowd loved a lot) or “I don´t care”.
I already might have given you a hint: the setlist was a healthy and entertaining mix of not only heavy songs and ballads, but also of vocals and instrumentals – and older and new tracks. Even a song from their “Wagner Reloaded” work made it onto their setlist and was enjoyed by the crowd, as “Ludwig – Wonderland” seemingly was one of the pretty well known tracks of this album.
Heavy songs like “Seek & Destroy” and “Inquisition Symphony” got headbangers going and fists were raised, just like during so many of those songs the audience knew perfectly well to sing along.
Moreover, just as on their album “Shadowmaker”, the band ended their time on stage with “Dead Man´s Eyes”. This was inded a very special moment: the band played this track live for the very first time ever. And it was a song causing goose bumps and bringing tears to many fans´ eyes, as Franky´s voice in combination with the cello sound can still be deeply touching.
All in all – what can I say. My doubts concerning Franky as Apocalyptica´s singer were blown away and it seemed as if I had never had any, and I know from many conversations that a lot of fans in the crowd just felt the same. The gig was a great experience once again, something you clearly should enjoy if you get the chance to see the band live!
Setlist: I-III-V Seed of Chaos
End of Me
I´m Not Jesus
Sea Song (You Waded Out)
’Till Death Do Us Part
Ludwig – Wonderland
Seek & Destroy
I Don´t Care
Nothing Else Matters
In the Hall of the Mountain King
Dead Man´s Eyes