Mad guitar skills, mixing languages and the acoumysticspecialshow

Poets of the Fall – Freetime, Jyväskylä; May 10th 2018

Poets of the Fall acoustic gigs are rare and therefore precious. I’ve been lucky enough to attend four in the 11 years I’ve been following them and I have loved every single one. I especially love the fact that they do not happen all the time – it makes them very special. What I do not understand though, is why the band always does the best to hide them from us. They usually announce them at the last minute or not at all and that makes it very hard to ever catch one of them. I assume they have their reasons, but I don’t get it. Why not celebrate them as a special treat and make them reachable for those of us who are dying to see one of them instead of keeping them a secret? Whatever the reason, there is no point in speculating I guess. All I can say is that I am very happy I found out about this one and managed to get there. It was a special treat indeed and the one place to be last night.

I booked my trip back when the tour dates where announced on the of chance that something might happen on this public holiday. I often book an additional day when there is any chance there may be another concert added. This time, I was lucky and over the moon with happiness that it was going to be a acoustic gig. The last one I had seen happened in Berlin exactly 6 years and 1 month ago. It was a long road to Jyväskylä on trains and planes from getting up at 2:30 am local time to arriving roughly 13 hours later at 16:40 local time. The gig was not going to happen until 11 at night so I could rest and explore a bit. 🙂 Met S. in front of the venue around 9 and we were the only ones for a while. 😉

By the time they let us in there was a long line though and once inside we were surprised at how low and small the stage was. There were seven (!!) people in front row and we were so close I could easily touch the mic stand. Another surprise was Captains keyboards on stage. I had never seen an acoustic gig with him playing. Anyway, I immediately knew that it was going to be impossible to film this unless I wanted some close up shots of Marko’s nose. OK then. While we waited for the gig to stat I took a peak at the setlist which was placed on the keyboards. Yes, there was a real paper setlist this time around. I have not seen one of those in quite a while either. 😉 We wondered if they were not going to be uncomfortable this close to us and would have liked to take a few steps back, but it was impossible due to the people standing close behind us. How were they even going to get on stage?

Well, they walked right through the audience on one side and gathered on stage – Jaska, Jani, Olli and Marko for now, all taking their seats. The first thing Marko did was move back the mic – apparently it was a little too close for comfort after all. It felt a lot less awkward too and at least this way the people at the back got a chance to see him as well. He talked a lot for introduction, first saying something about eating which made people laugh, then adding “as you do”. That was pretty much all I understood, but whatever else he said must have been very funny, because people kept laughing. The it was something about “new song” and he said “False Kingit” which made everyone, including the band, laugh again. Olli counted to four and they played beautifully. What a great rendition of the song! I had hoped they’d play it so my one wish for the night was already fulfilled. I sang along in silent mode as I did not want anyone to hear how terrible I sound. Everyone else kept respectfully quiet as well. It was really nice. In between Marko needed a drink,tried to grab his coke bottle but could not reach it while seated. He dramatically unscrewed the cap Olli was playing a solo.

Next was ‘Stay’ and before he said something funny again. I understood “Spring” and something about “drummer” I think. I really wish my Finnish classes had lead to more than this or even better I had a babel fish in my ear. 😉 The song worked nicely with acoustic guitars. I admired Olli’s mad skills. 🙂 They all looked like they were having fun that night. Especially Jani showed a big smile that he kept switching on and off through the entire gig.:) Marko introduced the band and we cheered for them.When he was done, Janj asked “Kuka sinä olet?” (Who are you?) Unfortunately I cannot translate his answer or the banter that followed, but judging by everyone’s reaction it must have been hilarious. ‘Illusion & Dream’ was about as perfect as it gets, but we did not sing the “Dishonesty” part this time. We all raised invisible glasses during the “I raise my glass” line and didn’t during “I raise my class”. Finally everyone did it right! 😉  I have always loved the subtle change in wording here, in fact it was the song that made me fall for Poets all these years ago. There is no limit to how much I love this song and this performance was so good. <3 (and here I am with the super-bole again, but I cannot help it when everything is amazing. The smile on my face was huge all night and at one point or another all of the guys smiled back at me. 🙂

Some amazing guitar work by Jaska and Olli lead into ‘Sorry go round’. Again, Marko introduced the song, but I have no idea what the words meant. It was the awesome Bossa nova version and the look of utter concentration on Olli’s face made me grin. I looked over to Jaska and he just looked very relaxed strumming away. Marko had us sing “the candyman can” which we all screamed loudly. The he made everyone laugh again by claiming “everybody wants to be just like me” – pause – “a rock ‘n’ roll star!” It ended with him singing melodies and Olli copying them on the guitar. Brilliant! 😀 ‘You’re still here’ is such a pretty little song. Its appearance in the set made me sigh happily. The last line “like a whisper in the dark of your soul”was indeed whispered and probably not even audible in the back, but I heard it clearly. <3

Before the concert, S. had asked me about the other acoustic gigs I had seen and apart from telling her how awesome they were and how much I had loved each of them I told her that I still regretted not filming ‘War’ at the Alan Wake release party, becuase it was “The best version I have ever heard”. Now imagine my happiness when Marko started talking about music for “the second computer game” and I immediately knew what was coming. He also mentioned the video where everyone was dressed as lumberjacks. What followed was beautiful beyond words. It was so emotional for me and I really had to restrain myself not to sing along loudly. Also I wanted to watch everyone and really wished I had the opportunity to see them all at once. The performance was gorgeous. That song alone was worth the trip.

Marko called Captain on stage. The first thing he did after joining this others was picking up the setlist, looking at it from all sides with a big smile and them puuting it on the floor. ‘Given and Denied’ was lovely and during the “Give me those wings” S. and I looked at each other, smilimg. This song really rings true with me lately. 🙂 ‘Sleep’ sounded very much like it always does with some great guitar work by Jaska and of course Captain shining on the keys. When it was over, Marko tipped an invidible hat to us. 🙂

Are you OK?, he asked and we all screamed in response. Of course we were! They launched into a great version of ‘Dreaming wide awake’ and whoever thought acoustic guitars could not rock needs to go and see a Poets of the Fall concert asap. It was such a joy to watch them, everyone smiling, Captain pumping his fist, Olli playing the most amazing solos without even breaking a sweat. Marko got up and as he sang “where are you now?” he held out the mi to us and we screamed in response. They all really got into playing, Captain leaning back behind the keyboards, Olli and Jaska raising their guitars. As I often do I pointed to each one of thm during the “I dream you, I dream you…” part and Olli gave me a big smile in return.  Marko counted down for us to sing “Wide awake” and the first time around he counted in German, then smiled at me. At least one spoken part of the show that I understood. 😉 The song was so much fun and rocked so much that I almost expected Olli to jump. 😀

At the beginning of the next song there was a lot of laughter from the audience again during the introduction that included some banter with Glen and Olli. Really, I need a translator for these gigs! ‘Late Goodbye’ has always been a good acoustic song and this time was no exception. It tuned funny though, because instead of repeating “We keep driving into the night…” Marko sang “And we keep sleeping til the afternoon. It’s a late checkout, such a late checkout!” 😀 The whole band cracked up laughing for a moment and still never stopped playing.

“Does anyone need a lift?” was the next question that was answered with happy screams. Of course we all screamed during the small break in the song too and we even did the “yet I go on and on and on” hand movement. That might have been the moment during the show when Marko first looked at S. then at me, but it might have been a completely different song. 😉 The most amazing part though? Holy s**t, how does Olli manage to play that song on an acoustic guitar? Captain bowed to him and rightfully so. We all should have. Instead we cheered for him. 🙂 It was great work from everyone else too. I can never get over how talented these guys are. <3 As always, we got to sing in the end with Marko taking the lead and all of us following. Captain moved his arm up and down in time with the pitch. It was funny!

Last but not least they played ‘Carnival of Rust’ for us. It was unbelieveable, like the entire gig had been. They played flawlessly all night, having fun doing it and I could have listened to them for hours. It was a great setlist too. The only thing left to wish for might have been one song any song off of ‘Clearview’. No complaints though, it was a perfect concert and I sure hope I will not have to waint another six years for the next one. After they left the stage, people screamed for more so loudly and persistently that the lights and the dj music stayed off for a while and momentarily I hoped they might come back and give us one more song, but that dream did not come true and eventually people left. We stuck around for a little while, feeling the need to say goodbye, but did not see any of the guys after the concert.

On the way out we met Glen who was just packing the car and told him how awesome it had been. He said they were having fun and they sure looked the part. We said goodnight and “see you tomorrow” before we left. Usually I feel like having a drink and a chat after the gig, but this one left me in a different mood. Iwanted to be alone with my thoughs for a while and reminisce about everything before drifting off to sleep. So it was time to call it a night and hug S. goodbye until the next day. Happily I walked to my hotel, still smiling, knowing how specialthis had been and feeling lucky to have been there.

Setlist

False Kings
Stay
Illusion & Dream
Sorry go round (bossa nova version)
You’re still here
War
Given and Denied
Sleep
Dreaming wide awake
Late Goodbye
Lift
Carnival of Rust

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