Can I get a ride with you?

Poets of the Fall – RCA Club, Lisbon; November 30th, 2019

The show in Lisbon closed the Spain/Portugal leg of Poets of the Fall’s Ultraviolet tour and left behind a lot of happy fans who finally got to see them for the first time. For me, as it often happens with a few shows in a row and too little sleep in-between, it is very much a blur in my head. What I do remember is the smile on my friend A.’s face, who had to wait for this so very long and now got a special show to look back on. I also remember the audience needing a bit of a push, but in the end being unable to resist the power of this band and getting drawn into the show. It was a wonderful ending to a great tour.

Under the impression it was impossible to make it from Madrid to Lisbon by bus or train, I flew in around noon and only later learned that a bus would have been an option too. Anyway, was happy I could walk to my hotel from the airport, checked in, took a deep breath, got ready and met A. and her mom near the venue at 3. First we went for a tea, but decided to go to the venue around 4 (or was it 3:30 even?) and were the first ones in line. The doors were still wide open, the tour bus parked in front and equipment set up. We said hello to the crew and settled in for the wait. More equipment was brought into the venue and since the venue staff did it, Poets’ crew watched them working, Marko H. even filming the whole thing. Isn’t it nice when others have to do all the heavy lifting?

Tiia came out and we all got hugs, then we talked to Tuomas for a while and I told him I’d loved his drumming the past two nights. It felt weird to be so early again, especially because I had not been able to buy a pre-show pass any more. I later learned you cannot do it on the day of the show. So here we were, chatting, joking and getting excited about the concert. A few people had just joined us when a car pulled up, spilling out Marko, Captain and Jaska. We said hello to them, I joked that we were security and they had to get past us. Marko hugged us, then a few people got pictures with them. “Do you want one too?” “Nah, just hugs.” So I got one from Captain as well. Only Jaska wasn’t in the mood for hugs so we said hi and let him go inside. This was a good start. A while later Olli and Jani arrived, walking to the venue. We chatted with them a little too and got hugs from Olli. A. joked with him that he had to speak Portuguese, because she had gifted him a dictionary once. He managed a “Bom Dia”. People got pics with them too before they disappeared inside. It has been a while since I’ve met all of them before the show or got so many hugs. I was happy already. <3

Slowly, more people arrived and except for one other woman, they all had pre-show passed. There was a couple that had come all the way from Brazil to see them – wow! Everyone was excited to see the band and we passed the time talking. A. had made a kerchiefs / small scarves with “Poets of the Fall”, the city and the date printed on the Portuguese flag for the guys and the crew. Before the show I got one too. <3 By the time the pre show guests got in a few more people had arrived and the line was slowly growing. We had some nice conversations and could listen to the acoustic songs through the door. It got considerably colder and our entry was delayed due to the support band having sound trouble. They sounded pretty metal from where we stood. Not bad though. Eventually we got inside and despite one free spot at the front on the far right, I chose to stand behind A. and her mom at the center. It was a narrow venue anyway, the stage smaller than the previous two had been. There was a nice balcony too – maybe next time. 😉

This was the smallest venue on this leg. I didn’t count, but front row can’t have been more than 15 people if that. The stage wasn’t that high either and there were no barriers so it was going to be up close and personal. 🙂 At 9 support Kandia started playing and they weren’t as heavy as they sounded from the outside. They also didn’t sound as good, sadly. It wasn’t their fault, but the drums were too loud, I could hardly hear the singer and the sound was a bit muddy overall. It was fun to watch them though, they powered through their set and seemed to enjoy being there. The music was good, but nothing I would remember later. They got us into the mood though and we were clapping along when they asked us to. It was a good start.

Setlist

Clarity
All is gone
Hold on to me
Alone
Into your Hands
Deviant + Scars

It felt like forever since I’d been at the front and center of the stage, so close to the action. I was already smiling. A. excitement was contagious too and neither of us could wait for the show to start. 🙂 Finally the intro was playing and we were clapping along. When it was time to scream, A. and I did and everyone cheered as the guys walked on stage. However, I caught myself thinking “You’re gonna have to do better than that!” Compared to the previous night’s audience the response here was a bit slow. People were clearly having fun though and warmed up to it after a while, getting more into it and growing louder. 😀

From the start I was watching A. often – this was “her” show after all, the one she never expected to happen and had been waiting for for a long time. It made me so happy to see her there, completely lost in the music and even though I could not see her face most of the time, I sure knew what the expression on it looked like – the mixture of awe and happiness that appears on all of our faces when we go to their concerts. 😉

Luckily the sound had improved since the support act, but the light was a bit harsch on the eyes at times and the guys at the back were often lost in the fog. (What is it with those smoke machines anyway – is there an unwritten rule that they absolutely have to be used if they are part of the equipment? 😛 I yet have to meet someone who doesn’t find it annoying when they can’t see the musicians on stage due to all the smoke.) So it was not a good show for taking pictures and I considered giving my camera a rest, but then could not bring myself to putting it down completely. None of this spoiledmy enjoyment though. It was indeed up close and personal and I got a lot of nice views from where I stood. 😀

With the smaller stage, it was difficult to see everyone, because the others got in the way and the band had less room to move, but they didn’t stand still anyway. Somewhere early on, Jaska moved across the stage at the same time Marko moved backwards and bumped into him. Both laughed about it and and hugged. There were a lot of hugs on stage that night, but I cannot remember them all. What I do remember is that both Olli and Jaska got their guitar hero moments when the rest of the band watched in awe and we all cheered for them.

Marko spent a lot of time singing to people at the front and even to the ones on the balcony. Every time he sang to A. I did my best to take pictures of it. Only when he turned to me I put the camera down and sang right back to him. It happened many times that night, but the only line I clearly remember is “Can I get a ride with you?” Sure, but I assume we’d be a lot faster in your car than on my bicycle. 😉 Each one of them was making connections with the audience, smiling, pointing or just showing us when to clap or jump.

The guys had to work a little bit harder than the previous nights, but their energy was enough to draw everyone in after a while. They are such great performers that one can’t help admiring their skills. I still marvel at how good they are. 🙂 People around me looked so happy, as if they could not quite believe their luck. It all came back to me then, what it was like seeing them for the first time. I, too, felt lucky to be there. 🙂 It was so much fun to sing along, jump or just watch them do their thing and listen.

I thought I might get sad at this gig, because I’d have to return to real life the next day, but that proved impossible. There was no room for sad feelings, only happiness and the band gave all they had to make it so. Often I saw them singing along to the songs just like we did and it made me smile so much. During ‘The Sweet Escape’ I turned around to see all the phone lights and it looked gorgeous. ‘Temple of Thought’ was announced as a song that someone named as their favorite so the band was going to make them happy now. 😀 Apart from that I believe ‘War’ and ‘Late Goodbye’ got the strongest audience reaction, but I won’t try selling that for a fact. The sing-along was wonderful though.

How we had gotten to the encores again this quickly I could not say. Why does time always go so fast when it is most enjoyable? Taking a deep breath I got ready for more jumping and singing, screaming loudly when the guys came back to the stage. I tried to get a good look at everyone before it all ended, noting the smiles on their faces and how much they were lost in the music. I held out my hands during ‘Diamonds for Tears’ as I always do. This time Marko held out his hand and motioned for us to grab it. I waited for someone else to go first, but then joined them. Marko’s hand was really sweaty, but he held on tight. 😀 For a moment that caused a flashback to a concert somewhere in Germany (Munich?), back in 2012 I think. I still have a picture of that moment. <3

‘Lift’ was crazy with lots and lots of jumping and ‘Carnival of Rust’ was just beautiful. It took people a little bit to figure out which song it was, but once they did the noise was unbelievable. Singing along with all my might I was willing time to stop, but it didn’t. Soon the guys waved goodbye, smiled, took a picture with us and shook a few hands on the way out. Each one of them looked happy with the show and they thanked us a million times before finally walking off. Maybe hey wanted this to end as little as I did?

When it was over the smile on A.’s face said it all. I remembered the first show in my city well, I knew the feeling. We stuck around for a bit, because she needed to pass her presents to the crew. Then we had a few words with Tiia before she needed to start packing. Afterwards, we decided to wait for the guys outside by the tour bus to say goodbye. It is something I usually do not do, because I do not want to bother them, but that night it seemed the way to go. We stood by the side of the bus and left it to the guys if they were in the mood to talk to us or not. Jani came and wanted to know how we liked the show, said they had enjoyed it very much. Olli asked if we were all good – of course we were! – and everyone else just waved in passing. We waved back, called out our goodbyes and watched as the bus drove away. When it turned the corner, away from us, it suddenly started raining. The seemed a perfectly fitting end to a great night. Even heaven was crying because it was over. Before the gig we’d thought we go out for a drink, but we felt tired now and decided to do that some other time. I said goodbye to everyone and slowly walked back to my guesthouse, thinking about what a great trip this had been, totally happy that I had the chance to be there.

Setlist

Dreaming wide awake
Locking up the Sun
False Kings
Temple of Thought
Rogue
The Sweet Escape
My Dark Disquiet
In a perfect World
War
Daze
Choice Millionaire
Late Goodbye

Diamonds for Tears
Lift
Carnival of Rust

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Hot show, loud audience and a lashing whip

Poets of the Fall – Copernico, Madrid; November 29th, 2019

After Poets of the Fall’s show in Madrid, I was talking to Tiia, trying to put my feelings into words. It came out like this “I cannot decide if yesterday or today was the better show. They were both up there. Yesterday was more emotional for me, but this one was – I don’t know – hotter?!” It was a hot show indeed not only in the sense that I was pretty much sweating my butt off. the audience was not only loud, but very passionate and this energy bounced right back to them from the stage. The band was on fire and for 90 minutes the venue was just a mass of moving, happy people. Absolutely insane. I loved it, could not stop smiling during the show and even started laughing afterwards because I felt so happy. Does it matter if one was better than the other? Not to me. Both were amazing shows with different vibes and both will be remembered as such.

Once again I am sitting at an airport, waiting for my flight to Lisbon for the next gig. I’m still teary eyed about the last two shows and overly emotional. Putting that down to lack of sleep would be easy, but this isn’t it. There was a time when it almost always felt like that, when I cried on the way home, because seeing these concerts made me so happy and – during some of the hardest times of my life – where the one thing that kept me going. Generally speaking I am less emotional about the shows these days. I still love the concerts and of course I still love the bands, but I have gotten used to the highs (as sad as it may sound) and while I still recognize a great show when I see it, mostly it is ore of a comfortable ride than an emotional rollercoaster. That is a good thing, it is like visiting old friends and I love it. Yet sometimes I forget what it felt like in the beginning, how strongly my emotions grabbed me every single time. And then Poets of the Fall show me again that it still can be like that, that nothing has been lost that saying “they are the best live band I know” is not an exaggeration. These last two nights were like that and as I sit here crying, trying to put my feelings into words the only thing I know is that I am grateful for having found this band when I needed them and for the good company they have kept me for the past 12 years. <3

Traveling from Barcelona by train I arrived at the heart of Madrid in the morning. Got to my hostel too early and had to wait for check in, but from then everything went smoothly. Rested, blogged, had early dinner and found J. in the same room at my hostel when I got back. What a nice surprise. She had a pre show pass though and left before me. Got to the venue around 6, happy the rain had stopped, said hello to those I knew and got in line, eventually chatting with the woman next to me, C., who had traveled from France to see the guys. We stuck together once we got inside and found a perfect spot by the left side of the stage up a few stairs. The whole venue was made like a ship, there was even a huge steering wheel (is it called steering wheel if it is a ship?) in the back behind the mixing desk. We had a great view and watched as people crowded in on the floor. I don’t know if it was sold out, but it sure seemed packed by the time the show started.

First up were local band Pan, singing in Spanish. Their music was good, pop-rock-ish and nicely varied. I enjoyed listening to them and wished I could have understood what they were singing. They had good energy and the crowd responded in kind, cheering them on. It was a good warm up for what was in store and I already had a huge smile on my face. I was still high from the previous night and wondered what was going to happen. I had a good feeling abut the show and whenever I assumed it could not get any better the guys have proven me wrong, so I also had high hopes, but still believed Barcelona could not be beaten. Well… While they changed the stage for Poets, we were already singing along and moving to the music and I felt good vibes from the crowd. The whole place was buzzing with energy.

It all got kicked up a notch the moment the house lights went down and the intro started. This audience was LOUD! “Are you ready?” Marko yelled, holding outthe microphone for our answer – hell yes they were! The band had them from the start and they were with it until the very end, cheering, moving, clapping along and generally having a good time. It was contagious, impossible to be there and not smile. The guys felt it too, happily grinning all night. Even though I was not on his side this time, Olli spotted me a few seconds after he walked on stage. Next was Marko, nodding at me the moment I declared I would dream them wide awake. Poetry! : )

If I’d thought this was as nuts as this crowd was gonna go they proved me wrong during ‘Locking up the Sun’. It felt like being at one wild party. People were going crazy from the front all the way to the back. They seemed to know all the words too. Somewhere early on, Marko decided to go off stage and into the crowd – a happy surprise for the audience. The band powered through their set and the songs kind of melted into each other for me. I was in a zone, watching them work, singing along, smiling all the time, but had you stopped me I probably could not even have told you which song I was singing. It’s all good, I love being caught up in the moment. 😀 C. next to me looked just as happy as I felt.

The sound at the venue was amazing. I smiled when I saw Olli, gesturing along to the start of ‘False Kings’ and even more whenI heard the audience singing every word of the song back to the band an. Marko told us it was great to be in Madrid for the first time and already noted all the crazy and beautiful people. There was a lot of passion in the crowd as they sang and moved along with the music. No band would be able to resist that and answering to the call the guys played and sang their hearts out. Everyone watched in awe during ‘Rogue’, cheering them on. All of the guys were smiling hugely, looking so very happy. All that reflected on my face, I could feel the smile all night long.

“How are you feeling? Feelin’ good?” came the question from stage “YEAH!” answered the roar from the floor. Of course we wanted to make it look more beautiful and put our phone lights up.It truly looked like a canopy of stars. It was gorgeous!:’) Had the audience been listening in quiet reverie to ‘The Sweet Escape’, they went into full on party mode for ‘My Dark Disquiet’, dancing like it’s mesmerizing indeed. 😀 The song is always so much fun, it’s impossible not to move along to it. Yet I often imagine string players joining the band for this and wonder if that would change the mood. (i even know a Finnish violin player who might be for hire. :P)

“Look at you!”, Marko exclaimed, “if we’re goo, it’s all because of you!” – he’s right, a good audience can make or break a show and no matter how hard a band works, if the audience is not willing to follow it’s rarely going to be a top notch show. This one was though, there was no doubt about it. 😀 Every time I hear ‘In a perfect World’ I like it better. When I first heard it, all the “Baby, baby” stuff in the lyrics threw me off, but the more I listen to it, the more I realize that it is a beautiful song. It works really well live too. *sigh* The combination with ‘War’ makes it even better. There is never going to be a time I won’t want to hear that song and won’t feel what I feel about it. It still carries so many reminders of a different time in my life and of how this band has saved me then. <3 When I looked around, I saw a lot of people getting very much into it. The song must have a special meaning for many. 🙂 Of course Jaska’s solo in the end was brilliant and he got lots of cheers for it.

Party time started up again with ‘Daze’ and of course we all sang along. It may have been around here that Marko decided to come over to our side of the stage and shake hands, even climbing up by the side to reach more people. Awww. <3 Then the band started clapping and jumping for ‘Choice Millionaire’ while the audience clapped along, chanting “HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!” Many of us were jumping as well, singing along to the chorus. It is really a feel good song. I don’t think there was anyone in the room who wasn’t feeling good already. During the “lashing whip” line, just as I was taking a picture, Marko looked in my direction. It was funny, because it is one of the few lines I always sing along to – how does he always know. I watched Olli and Jaska lift their guitars in rhythm and fell in love with the band all over again for all their energy and their silliness. 😀

Marko called out that it could not be better. We were all feeling it. Then he asked if we remembered them from when they were little and they started ‘Late Goodbye’. Again, everyone was singing along to every word and it sounded good too. He went into the crowd again as the others watched from the stage. ON the way back many people were taking selfies with him and he patiently stayed for them all. The guys were killing it, everyone focussed on playing and in their own world. I tried to capture the magic with my camera, but it is impossible to get a sense of the atmosphere by only looking at pictures. You had to be there! As soon as they walked off, we all yelled for more.

Earlier during the show I’d seen a woman with a hat at the front. During the encores said hat ended up on Marko’s head somehow, but I don’t know f she gave it to him or he took it. He wore it for a while, then gave it back. Meanwhile Jani was wearing a feather boa that someone had given Marko the previous day. I danced, I sang, I jumped and I smiled hugely. At one point I looked over at C., indicating how hot it was and she nodded in agreement. The sing-along for ‘Lift’ was loud and powerful, we were giving all we had. The guys were shaking many hands as they thanked us for the great night. Everyone cheered especially loud when Marko announced that they had one more song and more so when they recognized which one it was. I had a flashback to my first Poets concert in Finland (and my second Poets concert overall), a bit over 12 years ago and how this song did me in. I filmed it then and watching it takes me right back, but when I show the video to non-fans they don’t understand. You really had to be there, 12 years ago in Finland as well as in Madrid that night. I silently thanked them for this night and all the ones in-between, feeling lucky I had found them.

Not wanting it to be over, I sang along with all my might. “Are they always this good?” What was I thinking? The answer should have been a resounding yes. They are always special for sure! As they said goodbye, Marko said “So much love!” and that was exactly what I felt. There were more handshakes and I wished I’d been close enough to get one. I leaned in when Tiia took the final picture, waved and decided I’d buy a pre show pass the next day to thank them personally.

Once they were gone, C. and I got some water, stuck around for a while and watched. Tuomas came out and talked to people, but there was no chance of getting to him, at last not if I wanted to give an opportunity to meet him to the people who might not get another chance as soon as I would. Same was true for Jani. On the way out, we said hello to Tiia and I asked her to give them all a big hug from me. She promised she would. It turned out that C. and I were staying at the same hostel so we walked back together. That was FUN, I don’t think I will be sleeping now.. Still, we went to bed and eventually I did fall asleep, dreaming of a brilliant show.

Setlist

Dreaming wide awake
Locking up the Sun
False Kings
Temple of Thought
Rogue
The Sweet Escape
My Dark Disquiet
In a perfect World
War
Daze
Choice Millionaire
Late Goodbye

Diamonds for Tears
Lift
Carnival of Rust

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