Poets of the Fall – Glav Club, St Petersburg; April 8th 2011 and Pipl Club, Moscow; April 9th 2011
High as a kite on happiness, hung-over on too little sleep, full of love and very much in awe. That sums up my feelings after my second trip to Russia to see Poets of the Fall. Every time I see them I think “It cannot possibly get any better then this”, then I see them again and it just does.
All of their gigs are great and each has its special moments that make it unique, yet once in a while there is one where everything fits, that is so magical it’s hard to find words to describe it. This past Saturday, I was lucky enough to be part of one of those.
But wait, this is the end of the story, not the beginning, so let me track back and start the journey in St. Petersburg…
After four days of sightseeing, spring weather and lots of walking it was time to meet my Russian friends at the Moscow train station and start the adventure I had really come here for. We had a few hours to kill – time to chat and catch up, grab some food and finally set out to the Finland train station (yep, more walking).
When the train from Helsinki arrived our “welcome committee” consisted of about ten people. As expected, the Poets were on the train. We just stood there and waited how they’d react before any of us went over to them. Really nice actually, no screaming or running after the guys.
It was Olli’s birthday so he was clearly the man of the hour. I gave him his present and chatted with him briefly. Also talked to Jani and Jaska since I was missing their autographs on my ‘Alchemy vol.1’ booklet. Decided to leave the others alone just nodded “hi” and didn’t go bother them. We walked the guys to their bus. Marko came over to greet us because we had not talked to him at the station – unexpected and nice. 🙂
We arrived at the club around 5 p.m. – time for waiting, more talking and freezing, because it had really gotten cold. They finally let us in at 7 p.m. and we made it to front row. It took about an hour to get warm again, but it was so worth it. The stage was quite high and rather far away – about two meters between the barrier where we stood and the stage. It seemed a bit overdone for a club setting, but at least there was room to hang up my banner.
Around 8:45 p.m. the show finally started with the wonderful new intro, lots of fog and bright lights, ‘Can you hear me’ video style. One by one they came out on stage and the screams from the audience got louder. The stage was rather deep, but not so broad, so Jaska was in the back along with Jari and Captain. As usual, Marko came out last. He wore the striped shirt, hat and make-up from the ‘Can you hear me’ video and I momentarily felt like having been transported right into the video. Marko greeted us and noted that the place was packed. Not only that, but the noise level was pretty deafening.
Some of us tried singing “Happy Birthday” to Olli after the first song, but it was somewhat uncoordinated and failed. Oh well…
On to ‘The ultimate fling’ – time to jump around on stage and in front. Marko’s hat stayed on for a while, but the long sleeve had already gotten to warm. ‘No end, no beginning’ was the first highlight for me. It sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it and didn’t fail to move me.
The energy on stage was tangible, everyone was so into the show. The audience was wild, they loved it. I found myself screaming and singing along at the top of my lungs. Everyone was having a lot of fun. Time and again I looked at my friend A. who was standing next to me and we just smiled happily at each other.
The mixture of rockers and slow songs was just right. We got a lot to sing along to and there were times to just listen and enjoy (Stay, Roses, Sleep) and times to go nuts, dance, jump and scream (Dreaming wide awake, Locking up the sun)
During ‘Diamonds for Tears’ Marko jumped off the stage to come and hug people. When he climbed back up, Einari was busy untangling the microphone cable. Funny moment.
‘Illusion and Dream’ lead us to the encores and Olli came down from stage to high-five the front row. He was al guitar-god that night, completely lost in music. It was wonderful just watching him.
The lights were often so bright I could not even see much, but it didn’t matter. The atmosphere was great. I lost myself in the songs and felt such a rush of love for this band, I found myself saying “I love you guys so much” a few times. It was beautiful. When the show ended with ‘Lift’, everyone was elated.
After he gig we stayed in front row, sure the guys would come out and they all did. Jaska filmed us with his mobile phone, everyone else was busy signing autographs. I thanked the guys, briefly chatted with Olli and hugged Marko.
They left and it was time for us to go to the train station. Met a few more friends on the way out, chatted, finally got some water. At the station we had food and waited for our after midnight train to Moscow. We ended up on the same train with the Poets, saw them on the platform, walking in front of us.
Finally on the train we were wound up and talked everything over, then tried to get a few hours of sleep. The night train is quite comfortable, but I still kept waking up every hour listening to a few songs and then fell back to sleep. When we got close to Moscow in the morning there was snow on the ground. Suddenly I was glad for having brought my winter boots.
Arrival in Moscow around 9:30 a.m., got out of the train to be greeted by some waiting fans, about 20 in total. Since I already had all autographs and didn’t want to bother the guys too much I just hung back and watched the show. Jari came over and chatted with me for a while. 🙂
Off to my hotel, a hot shower, a little rest and out again to meet at the subway station. We got to the Club a bit after 2 p.m. and we were not the first ones. Meanwhile it had started raining. We all huddled unter the roof of the club and took turns going to a nearby cafe to warm up. I don’t speak Russian, but somehow every language becomes universal when you are out in the cold together waiting for a concert of your favorite band. 🙂
At 5 p.m. they sent us away from the roof and we had to wait in the rain. More people arrived, but it didn’t get any warmer. Just when I was sure my toes would freeze off, they let us in. The perfect spot I got in front row made it all worthwhile. The place was packed and I hardly had room to move. I was also afraid I was going to faint, because I had not had enough food and it was too hot (while I still felt cold). Yet everyone around me was smiling and happy and I just let that carry me. White ballons appeared that fans had brough. They also had markers so we all wrote stuff on the ballons and held on to them until the show.
Around 8:30 p.m. it started. The noise level from the audience was absolutely incredible, everyone yelling and screaming. They guys clearly enjoyed that. Balloons flew to the stage, the show started.
Marko was wearing hat and make-up again, but had exchanged the striped shirt for a tank top and vest. He was jumping around already during the first song.
As opposed to St. Peter, where Jaska was in the back of the stage with Jari and Captain, he was in front on the right in Moscow and Jani and Olli were on the left. Jani picked up a small balloon with a smiley face on and taped it to his bass. 🙂
When ‘Can you hear me’ was almost over, Marko was putting his foot on one of the boxes as usual. The box tipped over, he slipped and fell, rolled over and was lieing on his back on the second box. Collective intake of breath in the audience. I remember lifting my hands to my mouth, being shocked, thinking “please let him not be hurt!” However, he didn’t even stop singing, got back up, smiled and commented “Somebody needs to tape these things down” – Einari came and did it too.
The guys had so much fun on stage. They were kicking the balloons and Marko played with them all the time, using one as a mask, bursting a few, throwing them around. There was even more energy on stage than the previous night and the audience was wilder too.
I cannot describe how or why, but everything about this gig was magical. The guys played the audience and we hung on to everything they did, watched in awe, reacted to every move. Happy faces all around me and I was smiling so much all night that my face hurt.
Before ‘Roses’ Marko asked us if we liked flowers. Our reaction was not loud enough for him, so he asked again and we yelled so loudly he was blown away. He let us sing a lot too. During the gig Einari was taking pictures. The guys all looked so happy, smiling all the time.
Even though the club was packed we managed to swing our arms in unison and even jumped a lot – we just had to do it all at the same time. At least were I stood there was no pushing and shoving from behind me either, everyone just went with the flow.
The sound was great too, crisp and clear. Every note, every solo could be heard well. Hearing and seeing the guys play was pure joy.
There was so much noise when they left for the encores. ‘Late Goodbye’ started and suddenly someone to my right pressed a stack of paper with morphos on into my hands. I took one and passed the rest on. The first three or four rows had morphos and we held them up in the air all at once. They guys were totally overwhelmed by this – their faces showed that. The audience sing – along was perfect too.
For ‘Carnival of Rust’ Marko was posing again with the hat, much like in the video. Again, everyone sang along beautifully.
We all were jumping, yelling, screaming during ‘Lift’, felt and lived the line “You lift my spirit, take me higher, make me fly“. The guys all had huge smiles on their faces and for the first time in all the gigs I’ve seen Marko did not walk off stage. He announced that we should not go away, because as soon as Olli and Jaska were done with their stuff (i.e. their guitar duell) they’d take a picture with all of us. They ended the song and all came to the front, holding hands and bowed. After a few bows they turned, Einari got the camera and Marko instructed us to “give it our best shot” so we all cheered at the top of our lungs, lifting up our arms. I sure hope to get to see these pictures some days. 🙂
Before they left, Marko handed me his half-empty Coke can. That was a lifesaver, I really needed a drink.
Finally it was over and they left. I went over to my friends whom I had lost on the way in. We just waited, still speechless after this amazing concert.
Again, all the guys came out, signed autographs, took pictures with people. At first I stayed in front, because I wanted to thank them, then I had to stay because I could not get out. All the Poets agreed that this concert had been special, Captain even judged it as the best one ever. One last look, one last handshake, one last smile from each of them and it was over. What a night! I cannot wait to see them again.
The night ended with my friends walking me to my hotel. We hugged and said good-bye. Hope we can repeat this soon!
Can You Hear Me
The Ultimate Fling
No End, No Beginning
Dreaming Wide Awake
Locking Up the Sun
Given and Denied
Diamonds for Tears
Illusion & Dream
Carnival of Rust