Poets of the Fall – Roxy, Prague; April 23rd, 2019
With the Ultraviolet tour Poets of the Fall are exploring countries they have never played before and revisiting those where they have not been in a long time. They have continuously expanded their tours and added more countries, but this seems bigger than ever. This week alone they are adding three new countries to the list and there will be three more in the fall. Needless to say I just had to be there for their first time in Prague to see them conquer a new audience and it was totally worth the trip. They delivered a highly energetic show, giving all they had and I’m sure that by the end they must have felt as exhausted as I did. They surely looked like they felt as happy. It was the perfect start to my week on tour.
I was spending Easter with my mom, so when I had to get up around 5 a.m. to catch a 6:20 train I didn’t like this tour just yet. Had a long wait in Berlin so I could get some breakfast and arrived in Prague around 13:30. Felt tired, but that didn’t bother me much, because the city always gives me good vibes. I have many happy memories here. Checked in and met up with my friend A. for a late lunch. We just hung out and chatted until it was time to go to the venue where we were almost the first in line. Of the people already waiting, only P. had a VIP ticket like we did. Time passed quickly and to everyone’s surprise they let us in ten minutes before 6. None of the guys were waiting for us yet and instead of having us form a line we were told we could stand anywhere so we picked our spots at the front.
It took a while for everyone to get in and eventually the band arrived. Outside we’d been talking about being the first in line and how we feel pressured to move along quickly, because there are so many people still behind us. Thus, we let others go first. When it was my turn I finally handed them my Ultraviolet booklet to sign. I commented that it only took me 20 shows to remember taking it with me. Then I praised the setlist the had played in Helsinki, telling them how much I’d loved it and hope that it would stay the same. Olli and Marko confirmed they were not changing it. Marko told me he was exhausted after the Helsinki show and I fully understood why. He did not get as many breaks as he does with the more quiet songs. Moving on I asked Jari about his European tour with Ben Granfelt Band and he told me a little bit about it. With Captain I joked about never having seen each other before and Jani said it’s always good to have me. Only Jaska didn’t say a word – always shy. 🙂
We took a picture and I ended up behind Olli and Marko. He asked me if I was going to give them rabbit ears and I answered “If you want me to”. Did it for one picture, but not all of them. With Olli I joked about not even knowing them and never having been to Prague before, then told him that it was actually my 6th time in the city, but the first at that venue. 🙂 Soon then were up on stage to play some song for us and Marko told us where to find the picture, claiming it’s be there tomorrow. Captain tried to tell him that was too early and eventually yelled form the back “Not tomorrow!” so Marko had some fun with it, ending with claiming we’d see them pictures in December 2020. He asked us if we wanted to sing and some affirmed so he offered the mic to us. “You do it better than we do!” I said. The played ‘Late Goodbye’ and ‘Children of the Sun’. I enjoyed both.
There was still a little time before the doors opened for everyone else so I went upstairs (yes, this was a downstairs venue) and asked for my photo pass. They did not see me on the list so the called someone who went downstairs to ask, then came back only to say I was on the list all along. Next to my name it said “friend of the band” – my heart melted a little. <3 We watched Blackout Problems soundcheck and the next time I turned around the house was packed – wow. The venue had a nice size and a balcony that must have offered a great view. It made me happy to see that so many people had come.
At 8 Blackout Problems walked on stage and rocked the venue. They are always great fun to watch and I love their high level of energy. Sadly, the sound was pretty bad and I could not hear much of what they were singing. Thus, I didn’t recognize all of the songs either. They played ‘Difference’ and one song was announced as brand new. As usual, ‘Rome’ was last. The looked like they were having fun, but to my surprise the singer did not venture into the crowd this time. The stage was high, but that has never kept him back so far. Maybe they did not have the long microphone cable with them? Either way, it was a good warm up as always. I just really hoped the sound would improve for Poets.
Just before it started we noticed they had two new songs on their pre-show playlist. With the last one I wondered for a moment if the intro had changed, but no, they were just making us wait a little bit more while the audience was already chanting “Poets! Poets!” I had not heard this chant in quite sometime, at least not so loudly. It was just right to get me in the mood. And guess what? These people could scream too! 😀 I love being part of a crowd like that. What a great welcome for the band! The show rocked from the start and it was hot – literally, because the bright stage lights shone on the front rows much of the time and damn those are warm! I had the feeling that Panu was either trying to fry or to blind us. I really wanted sunglasses at times. Then again, while we took the group picture earlier, the band had yelled for him to put on more light, so here it was. 😉
I’d been told I was allowed to take pictures only during the first three songs, but I still wanted to enjoy those and refrained from having my camera up the entire time. The few photographers in the pit had to do just that, but I have more than enough pictures already even if anyone stopped me from taking any later on in the show. Had a great spot slightly right of Marko’s mic so I got a lot of close up views when he sang to people at the front. When he leaned out to shake hands I did that first, then took a picture. 😉 We looked at each other and I nodded as I sang along “I’d sell my soul to dream you wide awake” – still, after all these years! During ‘Dancing on broken Glass’ I was surprised how people around me knew every word and I can always enjoy ‘False Kings’, that song is just brilliant!
I needed a couple of songs to get into it, but suddenly it clicked and I loved everything about this show. The looks I shared with the guys and my friends, seeing the happy people around me, watching the band interact with each other and the audience, all the little gestures, the mutual teasing and of course the music that always, always makes me happy. So many gigs, so many memories and still I love it just as much as I did the first time around. <3 The setlist didn’t hurt of course. It is a close to perfect as it gets. No matter how often I may complain about songs I’d rather hear, fact is that the band knows what they are doing and always manage to create an arc of suspense that works and if you only allow ourself to be drawn in it will leave you happy in the end. 🙂
‘Rogue’ was great fun, from seeing Captain lost in playing to watching Jani grabbing a hold of Jaska’s whammy bar. I can never get enough of watching them being one with their instruments and going with the flow. Only Jari was barely visible from where I stood, always hidden behind the cymbals. Once Marko was back we somehow got into repeating melodies after him. No idea how it started, but he intonated something and we repeated so he decided to test our abilities and was much impressed in the end. : D
The drum and keyboard raisers were close together and Jani stood there a few times, one foot on each raiser. Olli stepped down in between to get from one to the other, but it looked like he considered jumping. During ‘The Sweet Escape’ Marko stood there too, playing his mic stand like a guitar. Unfortunately Jaska was in the way, playing a solo at the front, so I could not get a picture. Oh well, I was kind of busy waving my arm and showing the light on my phone anyway. I did manage to capture Jani sitting on the edge of the stage though.
At times it was so bright in the front row I could not see a thing, much less take pictures. It happened more than once thst I thought Marko looked at me, but was not able to tell because aI was blinded. I just looked in his general direction. Not only were the lights bright, they were hot as well. With sweat running down my back I understood how hot it gets on stage. 😉
None of that kept me from jumping and dancing though. I was really happy and whenever I looked at A. she seemed the same. There was a lot of movement happening on stage and in front. Olli did some new moves during ‘Choice Millionnaire’ and Glen was moving along with him. Both were perfectly synchronized too. 😀 Of course Olli stood with Captain often and this time he did not only seem to catch the music out of the air but motioned like he was feeding it to Olli. It made me think of brownies and giggle, but you had to have been at Sense8 con to understand why.
“You must be the loudest audience I have ever heard!” Marko exclaimed somewhere towards the end of the set. Right away we had to prove we really were. I must say people were totally into it, singing along at the top of their lungs and moving with the music too. The guys were on top of their game, everything fit. I smiled at all of them during the night and just enjoyed being there. I had the feeling Jaska wasn’t looking up much, very concentrated on his playing, but when ‘Lift’ arrived I finally saw him smile. Just before was over Marko looked at me wiping the sweat off his forehead going “phew!” 😀
On the Clearview tour I loved the ‘Shadow Play’ intro with Marko standing in the bright backlight, moving his arms. The song is still one of my favorites and I am happy it made a comeback at the start of the encores. It seemed that all bets were off now or all restraints gone. The band was just having fun with Marko chasing people around and trying to whip them with the long leather chords on his bracelet or Jani sticking the neck of the bass between Marko’s legs for no reason whatsoever. 😀 For ‘Locking up the Sun’ Glen joined Jari at the drums and they seemed to have lots of fun. Glen was blocked from my view at that point so I didn’t realize while Jari was laughing so hard until he walked away and I saw he was wearing a bird mask. 😀 Somewhere in all the craziness I spotted that Marko had a little plush teddie bear in his back pocket that he later took out and held in his hand. I also saw him pretending to catch a light beam with his hand. I’m sure there were many more such moments that I didn’t see, but the important part is that we all had great fun. There could not have been a better first show in Prague.
Afterwards we hung out until they kicked us out and when we took a picture in front of the stage Glen stood behind us on the stage posing. 😀 We went for drinks, happily reminiscing and took a walk across Charles Bridge at night, before returning to our respective hotels. Now I have even more happy memories of Prague to look back on.
Dreaming Wide Awake
Dancing on Broken Glass
Temple of Thought
The Sweet Escape
My Dark Disquiet
Locking Up the Sun
Carnival of Rust
Ultraviolet Tour 2019: 9 gigs down, 4 to go. Next stop: Vienna