Poets of the Fall – A38, Budapest; April 25th, 2019
This week, this tour has been getting better each day and Budapest was the highlight by far on pretty much every level. I feel like I have never loved Poets of the Fall as much as I do right now and I really cannot imagine any better gig than what I witnessed last night. It was insane, it was intense and to describe it as “a fun show” does not really do it justice. I’m not sure what happened there, but I felt every moment of it and I’m not even going to try and explain why this particular gig at this particular venue meant so much to me. Let’s just say that my expectations were sky high and the band exceeded them easily. This concert was absolutely everything I wanted and as I write this I am crying happy tears.
Was running on too little sleep when I left Vienna in the morning after more catching up and reminiscing with S.. It was a nice, several hour train ride to Budapest, but of course I did not feel sleepy until just before we arrived. Found my hostel and was lucky to be moved to a private room from the dorm I had booked. Went for food, spent a little time relaxing and left for the venue. As soon as I was nearing the river and saw the ship on the other side of the bridge I started smiling. I have good memories connected to this place. To me it seemed almost cosmic that I was returning here now to build new memories and honor the previous ones. 🙂
The waiting time was passed talking to a girl from Italy whom I’d met in Milano last time I was there. Except for her I saw very few familiar faces. Everyone around as was excited and they had brought posters to sign, flags and banners to welcome the guys. A lot of work went into those. 🙂
Meet and greet was really nice. Nobody seemed in a hurry even though there were lots of people. Olli told someone he’d been to Budapest many times so I asked how the language feels for him. He could not relate to my observation that the melody is like Finnish, but the words are different. Marko got it though. Olli asked if I wanted a card and I said yes so they both signed it ans Marko handed it to me with a bow. 🙂 I asked Jari why he’d been laughing so much the previous night, but he could not remember and joked he might have been drunk. Jaska again was not in a talkative mood. Captain joked he could not remember where we’d met before so I told him it was an age thing. “Voi saatana!” Jani exclaimed, but I’m not sure if that was in any relation to my joke. He wrote “We love you!” on the card so I was like “Still? I’ve got to complain more!” then added quickly that there was nothing to complain about.
During the picture I was behind Olli and Jari. When it was over they climbed up on the stage in front of me and Olli waited so I asked if he was gonna stay there today. In turn he asked me if I wanted to come up. It was a joke of course so I answered that I could not sing do Marko said that he could not either. Right! 😉 We also told Olli to keep his rather nice T-Shirt on and he joked he’d wear shorts with it. Before the guys actually started playing Marko and Olli got into a contest of who could go higher or lower with voice and guitar. The result was that Olli’sguitar can go higher, but Marko’s voice can go lower. 😀 They played ‘Late Goodbye’ and ‘Children of the sun’ for us and both were beautiful. I was gonna film and noticed too late that my camera was not having it. Oh well.
Already then I loved everything about this gig. The venue was just as nice as I remembered it (if smaller), I had a great spot close to Olli and there was not even a barrier. I had a really good feeling about this, especially when the venue filled up and there was excited chatter all around me. It was a sold out show after all.
Blackout Problems were loud, but the sound was much better than the two previous nights so I could actually understand some of their lyrics. Their set rocked and when the singer went into the crowd and stood on the bar people stared at him in disbelief. They loved it too! The setlist must have been the same as for most of the previous gigs. As usual they were jumping around like crazy and for once there was enough light to take pictures. I was already having a great time.
Sheep in the Dark
The venue was completely packed by now and we watched the crew changing the stage setup. It felt unusually exciting. I liked it. The room seemed to be buzzing and when they took down Blackout Problems’ backdrop to reveal Ports of the Fall’s many people cheered. 🙂 The mood was good, everyone seemed relaxed and awaited the concert. It was contagious.
Finally the lights went down and the last song transitioned to the intro. I took a deep breath, ready to scream on cue and we all did. Even more so when they walked out. I love those first moments when a new crowd gets to see them, some after years of waiting. Happiness rippled through the audience and through me. Since I was so close to Olli I looked for him to jump during ‘Dreaming wide awake’, but there was no keyboard raiser so he didn’t at first. With the third chorus he jumped from the drum raiser though and I had my camera ready.
‘Dancing on broken Glass’ was especially meaningful in Budapest – somehow a bridge in this city played a role before “all of the hurt and all of those words that we said” and we did not meet there again until we saw a silver lining. :’) Hearing the song now bought it all back to me and the lyrics have never felt truer. I was in such a good place and such a good mood that I did not only sing the words but also the melody to ‘False Kings’. The entire gig through I was moving and singing and still managed to take a gazillion pictures.
The audience was loud throughout, cheering for new and old songs alike. I could not have said if they had any particular favorite and that made the show even better. Everyone was really into it. Since there was no barrier the band got in touch with us even more than usual. Marko was leaning out and singing to prople all the time, shaking hands as well. The last line in ‘Temple of Thought’ was sung to Captain though. With ‘Rogue’ Olli, Jaska and Jani all stood in front of me at one point. I leaned on to the stage monitor and enjoyed. In the end, when Olli prepared to play the invisible whammy bar on Jaska’s guitar, not only Glen, but also Marko joined in, doing the same behind the mixing desk. 😀
The “sit down music” (not acoustic, not unplugged as Marko pointed out) had a funny intro again. Marko told us he had room 641 and we were all invited. Then paused. I laughed so hard that I almost missed what he said next “but I won’t tell you at which hotel”. He then mused about all of us moving from hotel to hotel in Budapest looking for him. 😀 Eventually they played ‘Standstill’ too. 😉 I think if they only played that one song I might still walk away happy. It is so beautiful and so reminiscent of the first album and the band I fell in love with in 2005. *sigh* <3 For ‘The sweet Escape’ Jani sat down at the edge of the stage to play and I was trying to hold up my phone with the light on and taking pictures at the same time. I failed and almost blinded myself in the process. 😉 Jari was filming us from behind the drums. Hopefully he did not catch that moment. Towards the end of the song when it was time for Jaska’s solo, Marko moved out of the way and motioned for him to go to the front with grand gestures. While he stood at the side in the back, Glen walked over and took pictures of him. Whenever there is no one else around to do the job he has double duty as stage tech and photographer.
‘My Dark Disquiet’ has become my dance song and this night I had enough room to do so. It was fun! Occasionally I looked at the people around me and saw only happiness. I loved seeing the looks on their faces when Marko sang to them or any of the others posed for a picture – gig face as I call it, pure joy mixed with a little bit of disbelief (am I dreaming this?). All night long I tried my best to sing along to every word (fail!) and did it especially loud for the songs I actually do know by heart, belting out the lyrics at the top of my lungs. I can’t sing to save my life, but that does not keep me from doing it. 😛 Especially right now with a setlist I adore. 😀
It was Olli I think who at the end of ‘The Game’ took the mic stand that was standing at the back of the stage and moved it front and center so Jaska could use it to play slide guitar. 😀 ‘Kamikaze Love’ rocked the house, the ‘War’ gave me a chance to breathe for a little while, before it was time to jump along to ‘Choice Millionaire’. Olli looked towards Jaska and motioned for him to come over so they could do funny dance moves in unison. They were new ones too – arms raised then bowing down and up again. Really, you’d have to see it to understand that description. It made me grin, especially when I noticed that Glen was moving along with them. As the guys jumped, people in the audience did too or at least that it what I seem to remember right now. I know I did. 😉 When ‘Lift’ started Marko playfully snapped at Jani’s finger, but I don’t quite know what lead to that. A bit later someone was trying to take a picture of Olli so he posed for them. Jani noticed and leaned in to be in the picture too. Then Marko saw it and snuck up from behind to photobomb them. 😀 I saw pretty much everyone in the band singing along and Captain had his fist raised in tune with us singing along to whatever Marko sang first. The whole song was a burst of energy, flowing back and forth between the band and the crowd, sending them off for a few moments before the encore.
Sweating all over I took the chance to fan myself a little with my T-shirt, trying to cool off, then screamed for more like everyone else did, nice and loud. Soon, the lone mic stand stood center stage, waiting for Marko to step up and sing ‘Shadow Play’. Even though I know what is coming I love the tension in the air at that moment when the audience is waiting to find out what they are going to play next. The song is the perfect choice, because it starts slowly with just Marko moving in the lights and then explodes into a powerful rock song when the rest of the band joins him on stage. During the song Marko motioned for the crowd to move aside and went off the stage and all the way to the back. Jani was watching him closely and Glen took the opportunity to take pictures, using Jani’s shoulder as a tripod. 🙂 I love everything about that song and even though I could not explains what it means I can feel it resonate with me. “Mark my words it’s never what you thought!” Olli looked at me smiling during that line as he did many times that night. All of them smiled at me at one point or another when they noticed me singing or gesturing or jumping.
Jani was wearing the feather boa again for the encores and at the beginning of ‘Daze’ Marko plucked a feather from it and stuck it on his upper lip, posing with the feather beard for a moment. 😀 A bit later he fanned himself with the collection of AAA passes around his neck and then borrowed a fan from a woman at the front for a moment. Captain and Olli stood behind the keyboards playing together, Captain for real and Olli in the air. Marko sang to someone behind me and looked at me out of the corner of his eye for a moment. I pointed towards Olli during the “We’ll be loving til the first light of the day’ line and he pointed right back at me. ‘Locking up the Sun’ came around and there was Glen with drum stick joining Jari and making a big show of it. The rest of the band were all pointing to him and the crowd cheered. Jari played standing up and I finally managed to get a few pictures of him. Jaska and Olli were duelling or comparing guitar skills or just admiring each other’s work. They were all smiles the whole time.
‘Carnival of Rust’ brought the show to a beautiful close. One last time that night I admired all of their skills, looked at Olli and Jaska playing side by side right in front of me and watched Jari, standing up behind the drums, hitting them with all his might. I sang along and felt every word. “Don’t walk away, when my heart is yearning!”. Everything about this night was really emotional for me in the best possible way. I truly lived the songs then and felt so much love and so much pride for “my” guys. The tears, of course did not come until long after and all of them were happy ones. We took a final picture with them and they all waved goodbye. Marko came over to shake my hand saying “thank you!” – I thanked him in turn, feeling deeply grateful. <3
Afterwards I gathered my wits and hung out for a little while. Jani came out and when he spotted me he asked me how I’d liked it so I joked that it was a shitty show except for all the songs, the band, the audience and the venue. 😀 truly happy I said goodbye and made my way home, stopping on the bridge to take one last look back with a sigh. There are so many new memories now, mixing with the old ones I have of Budapest. This city does have a special place in my heart and I’m glad my favorite band is now part of it too.
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: 11 gigs down, 2 to go. Next stop: Krakow