Life can be a love affair or a cage of sheer despair

Poets of the Fall – Sataman Yö, Jyväskylä; June 15th, 2018

It is evening now in Jyväskylä, but it doesn’t feel like it. It’s been warm all day and the sun is still high in the sky despite the fact that it is already past 8 pm. I have four hours to kill until a night bus takes me back to Helsinki and I’m planning to spend those with some Lonkero. It’s the day after my 200th Poets of the Fall concert. I’ve walked a lot, I saw a movie and had a nice dinner, all by myself which was exactly how I wanted it to be. I needed time to process everything that has happened on the road that lead me here and started ten years, nine months and eight days ago yesterday when I first saw Poets of the Fall live. Who would have thought it could turn into such a long lasting love affair? Last night’s show was just pure brilliant fun! Everything I wanted and exactly what I needed. Then and there I could do nothing but smile at everything, but I’ve shed a few tears since, all the emotions of the past weeks and months catching up with me. It feels right though, life is surprisingly good. 🙂

I arrived in Finland the night before the concert – when I booked I had no idea the doors would not open until 6. Got to Jyväskylä in the early afternoon, had time for lunch and still was the first person at the venue. They did not even have the barriers set up when I arrived. By the time they did, there were about ten of us and when the doors opened, maybe around 50. Welcome to Finland, where people are so much more relaxed about concerts than at home. Of course we ended up in the queue where the ticket scanner would not work at first, but we still got in quickly and stood in our usual spots just right of the microphone. S. and I that is, A. had not arrived yet. Prepared for my anniversary concert, I was wearing a T-shirt with a map indicating all the places I’d been to see the band, with the marker being their logo in red. Finland of course is just a gigantic red blob, but this one was in there somewhere. 🙂 The week before I hadn’t even been sure I was going to come. My dad’s funural had happened on Monday and that day I didn’t know it would feel right to be at a concert just a few days later. By Wednesday though, I knew I wanted to give it a try and see if the guys could work their magic and help me escape the emptiness and the grief I was feeling. I still wasn’t sure though, had no idea what would happen, but now I am glad I took the chance.

Since this was a festival, Poets of the Fall were not the only band to perform. Pariisin Kevät were up first and we did not have to wait long before they started. S. was especially happy to see them since they are one of her favorite bands. I like them too, even though I have no idea what they are singing about. This time, they played mostly songs I recognized. I think it was my fourth time seeing them. It was fun, I moved in tune with the music and enjoyed being there. A few songs into their set A. arrived and easily got a spot next to us at the front. There were only a few people around until just before they started and even now it still wasn’t packed. Perfect. Pariising Kevät played for an hour and totally got me in the mood. During the break, I unpacked the banner I had brough. It read “200th gig – thank you!”. S. took a picture of me with my T-Shirt and banner, then I taped it to the barrier in front of me. Ready to go!

We were talking about the concert in Jyväskylä the previous summer where absolutely everything had gone wrong and sending some good vibes to the guys for better luck this time. I had just checked my watch when the intro started and in turn the three of us started clapping in unison. Nobody else did though, they would have to work to win over this crowd. When they walked on stage, people cheered for them – it was only going to get better from here! Tuomas Rauhala was back to play the drums and he did it well. 🙂 In fact all of them were on fire, apparently happy to get a break from the studio and be on a stage again. From the first note on I was smiling, felt so happy to see them, forgot everything else for a while.

They got to play one hour so the setlist was shorter than at the previous gigs, but essentially the same. No surprises there. I did not come for surprises though, I came to have a good time and that’s exactly what they delieverd. Early on, Olli saw my sign and gave me a big smile. So did Jani. Marko saw it a bit later and pointed, mouthed “200?”. I nodded and he gave me a thumbs up. At the end of the show, Captain did the same and Olli mouthed “thank you” – I replied “thank you!” and he went “no, thank you”. We did that for a while, so sweet! I felt so much love for the guys, I just wanted to give them all a big group hug!

The intro sounded great already and so did everything else. It was perefct sound this time around. At one point early on, Jani threw a kiss to Glen and it felt very fitting. They must have all been so relieved that things were going well. It took the audience a bit to get into the gig or at least they did not sing along from the start. ‘Overboard’ is truly a treat for the fans, but not a song familiar to those who only know the singles. I loved it though and this might have been the first time I did not stumble over the lyrics. Things changed with ‘Daze’ where most knew when and what to sing along. I noticed that I was use to Marko singing the correct lyrics in first verse now and managed to do it right as well. 😉 there were quite a few photographers around for the first few songs and a film camera to bring the action on the big screens by the side of the stage. They guys had fun posing and Marko could not resist sticking his face into the film camera. 😀

By the time ‘False Kings’ rolled around they had won over most of the audience and how could they not? They were creating some magic on stage and they all smiled so much it was contagious. 😀 I had expected to be very emotioal during the show, but for the most part I was just very happy. I felt the songs though, all of them and some even took on new meanings that evening. Especially ‘Choice Millionaire’ sudeenly felt perfect. It’s a song a have a love/hate relationship with. I don’t like the music much, the “80ies Pet Shop Boys meets Robbie Williams’ Rude Box” really does not do it for me, so it doesn’t work for me on the album, but I have always appreciated the pure energy it creates when played live and enjoy jumping and dancing along. This time around I suddenly understood, really understood the line about life being a love affair or a cage of despair. It felt so true then an there. I have a choice between drowning in sorrow at home, being mad at the world and myslelf, giving in to feeling hopeless and sad (and have done it at times too) and facing the world, move on, doing things that make me happy instead, so I can slowly heal. That’s what was going through my head and it felt right to take care of myself, so I can take better care of others. 🙂

I wish I could have understood more of what was being said. It seemed to be crazy fun or at least the guys looked very amused. I remember at one point Marko kept repeating something about summer and everyone laughed, but I have no clue what it was. The main thing was that everyone was enjoying it though and they band looked relaxed and happy. They shared so many smiles with each other and from time to time with us too. Especially Olli was such a sunshine that day, smiling all the way through the gig. <3

The festival stage was large, but with the next band’s gear already set up behind them the guys only had the front of it to move. They made good used of it, wandering from side to side, playing to peaople here and there, trying in to get a cheering contest going between teh left and the right side of the audience. They looked cool, half of them waring sunglasses, they rocked, they played and sang beautifully. It was all about having a good time. The lights got a bit lost with the sun still being up and at times the band almost disappeared in the artificial fog that was used often. There was a lot of jumping going on too, especially for ‘Choice Millionaire’ and somewhere in the set Marko turned and turned in one spot until he got dizzy or at least it looked like he was. 😀

At times the audience reaction was a bit slow and when we were especially quiet between songs Marko leaned out and whispered “Don’t you just hate uncomfortable silence?”. 😀 That was not the only thing makig me laugh out loud. The girl next to me took pictures and Jani posed for her, true rocker style, showing the sign of horns and stickig out his tongue. I have a nice collection of such pictures. 😉 During the ‘Late Goodby’ sing along, Jaska took out his in ear monitors and put them back in so quickly that I could not help but think we must have sounded really terrible. 😉 Hey, we might not be the best singers, but we are dedicated. 😛

Everything went by in a heartbeat and before I knew it, ‘Lift’ was starting already. As usual I jumped with the first notes and Olli, watching me, gave me a big smile when I did. I remembered then, that I had once joked about him always checking if I actually do it. During the “on and on and on” A. S. and I did the hand moves of course and Marko looked at each of us in turn and gave us a thumbs up. 🙂 When it was time for the sing-along, Catain got really into it, raising his right hand in the horns sign and movig it up and down along with the melody we were sing. He might have been better in tune than we were. 😉 Some more pointing of guitars and bass, some more dancing and jumping on stage and in the crowd, some more air guitarring and finally a brilliant version of ‘Carnival of Rust’ to send us home.

It was a beautiful show overall with so many good vibes I knew I’d be high for days. The guys took a final picture in front of us, waved goodbye, gave me one last smile and were gone. What a show! What a band! I love you so much! When they had left we looked at each other and smiled happily. This was great. It was also a relief to know that nothing had gone wrong. It felt like they had walked the extra mile just to make sure everything was perfect this time around. The sound was great and so was the show. YES!!! Now we wanted drinks, but food was more important to get.

Setlist

Overboard
Daze
False Kings
War
Kamikaze Love
Choice Millionaire
Late Goodbye
Children of the Sun
Dreaming Wide Awake
Lift
Carnival of Rust

While we were eating. Disco Ensemble started playing. I’d seen them live once years ago and had no clue what they’d been up to since. The first two songs sounded amazing and I told S. I’d have to check out their newer material. We went for a closer look and just as we  had good spots the singer sang “All i can think of is my dick” – say what? We laughed. Sadly it didn’t get better from there. They were listenable, but after about 50 minutes I’d had enough, didn’t really feel like joining the crowd that was jumping in front of the stage. Still I suggested to go there to have a good spot for Manic Street Preachers – how could I have known Disco Ensemble would play more than an hour?

Anyway, we had a spot in second/third row and finally got drinks too, toasted to the guys and my next 200. Neither A. nor I really knew Manic Street Preachers, but we’d already stayed so long that we decided it would be stupid not to check them out. They started and it was fun! They really rocked and pretty soon I was moving along. Every time I looked over to A, she had this huge smile on her face, loved it too. Eventually I even heard some familiar songs. What can I say? They were good, it was fun and I am happy I stayed. It was a great ending to the festival. Precisely at 1 am they left the stage. We said goodbye as well, hugged and went our seperate ways. What a night! It took me quite some time to fall asleep and I only had happy dreams. 😀

Setlist

International Blue
Motorcycle Emptiness
No Surface All Feeling
Distant Colours
Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
You Stole the Sun From My Heart
Kevin Carter
Horses Under Starlight
Everything Must Go
A Design for Life
Faster (Acoustic)
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Frankie Valli cover)
You Love Us
Walk Me to the Bridge
Hold Me Like a Heaven
Slash ‘n’ Burn
Let Robeson Sing
People Give In
Tsunami
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

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