A warm welcome, respectful audience and a cocktail to end the day

Poets of the Fall – Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer; October 9th, 2014

Seeing a band I love conquering a new country is always a special treat. Each country’s audience is different in their reception of music and concerts, so whenever there is a new place a band goes to I am not only excited about the fact that they are going into a new market, but also curious as to how the concert will go. Being among people, who have never seen the band live before is a big plus on the excitement scale as well, because it always makes me remember what it felt like for me. Thus, when Poets of the Fall announced their first ever concert in the Netherlands, I knew I wanted to go and with working a few extra hours in the weeks leading up to the gig, I made it possible. It was totally worth the trip. The venue may not have been sold out, but it was nicely filled and the band was received with warmth and enthusiasm. People may not have known all the motions, but caught on quickly and delivered one of the best sing-alongs I’ve heard in a while. The guys should absolutely go back to the Netherlands the next time around!

Since the German railway is in a period of strikes at the moment, I spent the days leading up to the concert worried that my trains might not run and I’d have to find a alternative way to get to Zoetermeer. Yet, everything went according to plan and I even got a few hours of work in before I left. Met B. at our hotel, got ready and headed out to the venue where we were the alone for some time. Most of the people arriving had VIP tix. As opposed to Germany it wasn’t announced beforehand (i.e. when the tickets went on sale) that they’d include early entry to the venue. Thus, we settled for being second or third row for the gig. Everyone was really excited to meet the guys and didn’t know what to expect so B. and I told them a little about the other meet & greets. Apart from Dutch people there were a few Russians, at least one guy from Belgium and later I saw several people that looked Indian. Wow, quite a nice mix. 🙂

Once everyone was inside for the meet & greet, the line had gotten considerably smaller, but grew again before the doors opened at 7:30. I remembered the venue from the Árstíðir / Anneke van Giersbergen / Pain of Salvation concert last year in April and knew we had to go upstairs. B. and I were the first ones inside and to our surprise there were two spots available in front row (!) just slightly right of center. That was certainly unexpected and we immediately claimed them. Since the venue has an upstairs gallery as well, apparently some people had chosen to stand up there instead of staying at the front. Fine with me. 😀 It was full, but not overcrowded so we had a chance to get drinks before the concert. Shortly before 8 I got a text from P. – she and her husband had made it in time. 🙂

The support act Liquid Landscape were OK I guess, but I immediately noticed that the sound wasn’t great. The drums drowned out everything else and even though the drummer was good, I would have liked to hear the other instruments too. Also, the singing could not be heard at all. When the singer spoke it was OK, but when he sang it mostly got lost. 🙁 I sure hoped it would be better for the Poets and the that the sound was better elsewhere in the venue. Still, the band was listenable and OK to pass the waiting time. Changing of stage happened rather quickly and at 9:00 we were ready for Poets of the Fall.

Great cheers erupted as the lights went down – people were ready indeed! When the intro started and the first spoken part came along I turned to B. and said: “this is bad”, because it seemed a bit distorted and I could barely make out the words while it had been clearly understandable at the Tavastia. They started with ‘Daze’ and as I had feared Marko’s singing was barely audible from where I stood. Yet it didn’t seem to bother anyone, maybe people were just dazed. 😉 Either way, it got better a few songs into the set so all was well. 🙂 They guys seemed just a tad nervous at first, but soon they looked much more relaxed and happy to be there. Right at the beginning Marko looked at me and gave me a small nod and a smile as if saying “Yes, I see you there, it’s nice to have you here” – I smiled right back at him “I’m happy to be here”. During the course of the evening I got similar looks from Jani, Olli and Jaska too. <3

“We have some diamonds for you”, Marko announced and I thought “Wait, it wasn’t *this* early in the set last time.” For the life of me I could not remember what song was missing there, but fact was the setlist order had changed. Cool, mixing it up is usually a good thing. 🙂 During the “I will hold out my hands” part, Marko reached out into the audience, shaking some hands. Since the stage was rather large, I could not watch everyone at the same time, so I alternated looking at the guys. From where I stood I had a great view of Jari, who was all smiles all night and Captain, who seemed totally lost in the music and had his eyes closed for most of the gig. Jari’s drum kit must have changed since last year or he sets it up differently, because I remember that he usually was blocked from you by the cymbal for anyone standing on the right side of the stage and he was not this time around. Nice! The others moved around a lot as usual so I got a close up view of everyone and could admire some great guitar and bass playing skills. 😀

‘Love will come to you’, one of my favorites songs on the new album had me singing along, smiling happily. It was a beautiful rendition and one of the sweetest moments was Marko holding up his arms and forming a heart with his hands. “it’s the little things….” From the very beginning people were singing along to every song, knowing all the lyrics. It was wonderful! Next, Marko asked us if we could understand what we were saying, because “I’m starting to feel like a King of Fools up here”. The song was perfectly delivered. 🙂 Before ‘Running out of time’, Marko held up his name Coke bottle and announced “Time flies when you’re having fun. I haven’t even had time to have a drink of my Jose Cola. Is anyone here named Jose by the way? Not? Then it’s mine!” During the song, Olli stepped up on the drum riser to stand next to Captain and for a while they were looking at each other and headbanging together. 😀 Needless to say the song was brilliant, just as ‘Rogue’ was afterwards. Getting to watch the guys play is always a treat! Each one of them got a moment in the spotlight and they were pointing to each other to show us who we should be watching. I love their appreciation for each other!

“My dad used to tell me you can do anything you want in life, because you are a Choice Millionaire”. I still don’t like the song, but I do love the message it carries. Can’t sing along yet, but may get there eventually. 😉 People around me loved it though, dancing and jumping in tune with the song. I watched Jaska who was posing for someone for a long time, standing still with his fingers making a frame over his face. Olli came over and they were both moving their guitars in tune with the music. At some point during the concert I remember Jani walking up to Captain and telling him something which had both of them laughing. I would have loved to know what that was about. For ‘Illusion & Dream’ the “dishonesty” singing worked so nicely that Marko exclaimed “Oh my god, it worked” – shouldn’t that be “Oh my jealous gods”? 😉 (looks at A.) During the woo-hoo part in ‘Brighter than the sun’ he made the audience sing and sing they did, much louder and more enthusiastically than at the previous gig in Helsinki. Everyone in the band was happy about it.

Somewhere during the concert Marko made a little poll to find out where people had traveled from to attend the concert. There were not so many hands raised when he asked who was from Zoetermeer, Amsterdam go quite a cheer and quite a few came also from Den Haag. In answer to “who is from outside Holland” Olli raised his hand along with some of us. 😀 As usual there was a lot of interaction around going on among the guys too, including mock kickboxing fights, Jani stealing Marko’s beanie, instrument duels and hugs. When it was time for ‘Nothing stays the same’, Marko came to the front of the stage and asked us to make room for him so he could sit down. He sang the first verse there, then got up again. A woman who had been taking pictures called for him to come back, but he asked for her phone instead and took a selfie with all of us in the background before handing it back to her. 🙂 This time around he did not go into the audience during the guitar solos in the end, but walked off stage, giving the others some time in the spotlight. ‘Cradled in Love’, “a song for everyone who has ever been in love” ended the main set.

Everyone in the audience was clapping, cheering and yelling for more. Marko walked back out with a mischievous grin, asking if we wanted to see his happy dance. Everyone agreed so he instructed us to keep yelling “We want more” while he walked back off stage. We followed suit and he danced back, swinging hips as well as arms. I can’t really describe the movements, but it was funny! Olli followed him shortly and they treated us to a lovely version of ‘Late Goodbye’ with a great audience sing along. Not only was this audience good at singing along, but also nicely respectful. Whenever Marko leaned out to shake hands, people took care not to hold on too strongly or too long. I specifically remember one women next to me who hesitated for quite some time before gently touching his arm. It was adorable.

‘Dreaming wide awake’ followed and I thought that it could not be over already, it had felt so short. Luckily, it was not over yet, they had just changed the order of songs. 😀 ‘Jealous Gods’, the song that had been missing in the beginning, had moved into the encores. Marko introduced it by telling he’d been asked about it in many interviews and that we just needed to listen to understand. <3 ‘Shallow’ was still on the setlist as well and made me very happy. The energetic ‘Lift’ and the beautiful ‘Carnival of Rust’ ended the show and left everyone longing for more. While the rest of the band had already left and the outro was playing, Olli went along the front row and shook everyone’s hand. This lead to a chant of “Olli! Olli!” as he walked along. It was such a sweet gesture and a great way to end the show. <3

Setlist

Daze
Diamonds 4 Tears
Love Will Come To You
King Of Fools
Running Out Of Time
Rogues
Choice Millionaire
Illusion & Dream
Brighter Than The Sun
Locking Up The Sun
Nothing Stays The Same
Cradled in Love

Late Goodbye (acoustic)
Dreaming Wide Awake
Jealous Gods
Shallow
Lift
Carnival Of Rust

After the gig I managed to get the setlist that was taped onto Marko’s monitor – to my great surprise none of the people who were closer even tried to get it. 😀 B. and I went and said hello to Tiia and friends as well as P., before going to the bar in search of a drink. I really wanted a cocktail, but the venue’s bar only had beer or wine. the barkeeper told us to try the café in the same building. we asked there and were told they usually didn’t make cocktails. Yet, they had had a cocktail party a week before and some leftovers so hey offered to whip up a “Sex On The Beach” for us. Special thanks to the barkeeper who went through the trouble of getting the ingredients from storage and even opening a package of ice cubes for us. That’s truly awesome customer service. 😀 Thus, we ended the night with a good cocktail and a good chat before returning to our hotel and finally getting some sleep. It was raining as we walked back, just like it had in Helsinki a few days ago. Really, Marko, these rain-dances before ‘Locking up the sun’ have to stop!

Poets of the Fall European Tour: 1 gig down, 10 to go. next stop: Munich

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