Poets of the Fall – Artmania Festival, Sibiu; August 11th, 2012
It is 3 in the afternoon, I am sitting at Sibiu airport and have a 9 hour trip ahead of me. I am not looking forward to all these hours on the road, but yesterday’s Poets of the Fall concert was well worth the trip and compared to all the time the guys needed to get here and back I guess I can consider myself lucky that I had the possibility to fly here. Thus today, there was time for some sightseeing together with R. – a nice end to the three days I’ve spent here. Sibiu is quite lovely, I’m glad I had some time to actually see it.
And for my readers who have not yet left me after the boring “I’m a tourist and I like it here” start of this post, I shall now tell you what you really came here to read. 😉 Poets of the Fall’s concert in Sibiu was amazing. They had quite a large audience (at least from what I could see on the screens) and took them over in no time. I saw happy faces everywhere, on stage and in front. People where really having fun, singing along, jumping, dancing or just staring with their eyes full of wonder. Many had come from far away to see the guys, traveling from all over Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Germany (no, it wasn’t just me who did that), many saw the Poets for the first time that day. After the gig they were left in a daze, happy, unable to recall any details of the show or find words to describe what they had just witnessed. I love seeing that look on people’s faces, the knowledge that they have been part of something magical. I know I had the same look on my face after my first concert – I also know it’s still there quite often now, I’m sure yesterday was one of those days I looked just like that. My friend A. described my “after gig face” as flushed and happy” – that’s what I feel like after a POTF gig: Happy, elated, at peace with the world and ready to take on any task or challenge that may come my way. “Take care of yourselves, so you can take care of others,” Marko says at the end of every gig and for me these concerts are a big part of taking care of myself. They give me energy and balance during stressful times and just pure joy when things are going well.
I guess everyone who goes to their shows has their own reasons for having fallen in love with their music and everyone who goes there multiple times has their own reasons for that too. What unites all of us is our love for the music and the feeling they are giving us something unique, something beyond compare. I’ve never encountered any other band where the fans are so diverse in age, nationality, or background and yet when we speak of Poets of the Fall the words are so similar. And right there, connections are made and all differences forgotten. But not only does it seem easy for the fans to connect with each other through the music, the band also manages to build a lasting connection with their fans. I have yet to meet a fan who walks away from one of their concerts untouched. So, again, the Poets conquered a new country and left many people either speechless or babbling, searching for the right words.
The concert? Maybe I should start with the afternoon soundcheck: as R. had discovered the previous day the festival area was open in the morning and only closed up shortly before the actual concerts started. Thus I met with her and I. around 12:30, got some lunch and watched different bands soundchecking. When it was time for Poets of the Fall, we went to the front of the stage and watched the guys setting up their gear. They smiled and waved at us while testing out the different instruments. There were about 20 people watching and listening. Unfortunately they were next to last for soundcheck and we got kicked out before they actually played any song.
The gate closest to stage had quite a long line already so I went to the one where only two other people were standing and made a run for front row as soon as they opened. Managed to get a spot on the left for two of us. While waiting for he first band we chatted with the people to our left and I got to meet M. from Romania and N. and S. from Bulgaria, after only knowing them on the forum for a long time. Soon the first band, Alternosfera from Moldova started. They were enjoyable and had quite a few fans there. The half hour they played passed quickly.
The excitement was palpable as Poets of the Fall’s stage time drew closer. Most of the people there had not seen them live before, many had been hoping and waiting for years to attend a concert. Funnily enough, nobody screamed when the intro started, probably because nobody realized what it was. The screaming started as soon as Jari walked on stage. 😀 The others followed shortly and the show was on the road. Everyone in the audience was into it from the very beginning. The band could feed off the energy that coming from that and they gave it back a hundredfold.
There was a huge distance between front row and the stage, but it was easily bridged by an audience taking (almost) every cue, by the nice security guard who collected feathers from Marko’s boa and gave them to people in front row, by Olli and Jani smiling at everyone, and last but not least by Marko walking off stage to hug and hi-five people in the front.
Each song was just perfect. People sang along to every word and more often than not, all the guys were singing along too. The air was full of good vibes, a special “oh wow, I can’t believe this is really happening – I’m seeing my favorite band in my country!” feeling. There were so many first timers at the gig, taking in every move the guys made, hanging on to every word. Beforehand, some had discussed the songs that might or might not be played, but it didn’t really matter, as long as the Poets played at all. For these fans, everything was new and fresh and wonderful, because watching a video on youTube just cannot be compared to the real deal. For me, it was amazing to witness this, see the raised hands, hear the cheers, feel the love.
Looking at the guys, I knew they felt it too. They were playing and singing their hearts out, all tiredness from the long trip forgotten. Marko talked a lot, or maybe it just seemed a lot, because I understood what he was saying for a change. 😉 Before ‘Cradled in Love’ he asked who came to the concert with a friend and who came alone. If we came with a friend, now was a good time to hold on to each other and if we came alone “well, you never really are, because we’re all cradled in love”. 🙂 Before ‘Dreaming wide awake’ he commented that, even though he was the “head-man” Captain was the one running the show: “Whatever he says is the law” – which Captain vehemently denied. Then again, I did see Captain walk around and tell everyone something, to which they all nodded and judging by that mysterious smile, I would not be surprised if there was some truth in that statement. 😉 I will never know, but what I do know is that Captain looked really happy. Olli was on fire, lost in the music, moving in tune with the songs. He enjoyed all the cheers and attentions he got for his solos, so much that during ‘Late Goodbye’ he didn’t offer his guitar to Marko as he usually does and Marko called him over, saying “Olli T., come play with me.” 😀 Jari, Jani and Jaska clearly enjoyed the gig as well. I saw all of them watching the audience, smiling happily and each one of them had his moment in the spotlight, where the cheers were for him.
There were many more great little moments, cute gestures, funny things being said. I remember a single feather slowly floating down from the stage at one point, catching my eye. I remember someone yelling “kippis” when the band toasted to the audience during ‘Illusion & Dream’. I remember Olli winking at me and Marko blowing a kiss to someone, Jari getting up behind the drums to take a look around and Jani jumping off the drum platform in the end, Jaska taking pictures of the audience and Captain headbanging. I remember the beautiful sing-along for ‘Stay’, the deafening cheers for ‘Carnival of Rust’ and all the waving hands for ‘Roses’.
As usual it was over too soon. My friends and I left front row and waited by the side of the stage, hoping the guys would come out. We felt it was impolite to go around to the backstage exit and bother them there. Sadly for us they chose that place to invite people for a meet and greet and we missed it. I felt sorry for I., who did not get to meet them, but was happy to hear that the guys did not end their first concert in Romania without meeting their fans. All the pictures and reports of people who were there made me smile. 😀
So back home after a long trip, with 7,20 RON left in my pocket, my head full of memories and my heart yearning, I am ending this report and my summer tour. A huge thank you goes out to my tour family – without you by my side it wouldn’t have been as much fun. Also a big thanks to the POTF crew for your help in making all the concerts happen – without your hard work, there would not be much for us to enjoy. Last but not least, big hugs and even bigger thank yous to Poets of the Fall – I have no words! <3
POTF summer tour: 7 gigs down, none to go – next stop: home
Diamonds 4 Tears
Temple of Thought
Cradled in Love
Locking up the Sun
The Lie enternal
Illusion & Dream
Dreaming wide awake
Carnival of Rust