Love, magic and a brilliant show

Poets of the Fall – Roxy, Prague; September 10th, 2022

“That was fucking amazing!” Marko mouthed at the end of the show as he was looking our way, just before Glen took the final pictures of the night. All I could do was nod, lost for words. What an utterly brilliant show this had been. Magical, wonderful, just truly special. I still can’t quite compute…

Our day started early in Berlin with a morning meeting at the train station. After some confusion we found our compartment and arrived in Prague 4.5 hours later, relaxed and only sightly delayed. First order of business as getting some caffeine. Once our brains functioned a bit better we went for lunch and then to our respective hotels to meet again at the venue later.

We arrived around 4 and had 5 people ahead of us. That was a good start. Soon  we saw Tom Lumley and the Brave Liason (yes, the whole band) as well as Jani enter the venue and waved, then chatted some more. A bit later, A. was watching Formula 1 on her phone and I was busy checking Instagram when we heard a very familiar voice next to us. “Hi! Nice to see you again!” We looked up and it was Marko who stopped to say hello. If he had not said anything, neither of us would have noticed. Just the previous day I had thought how long it’s been since I hugged him and wondered if hugs were still a thing these days and now I heard him say. “Let me give you a hug.” <3 It was a good one too and we both expressed how long it had been. The he hugged A. and told us he’d been out to the square to see at least something, since he had never seen anything but the venue on previous trips to Prague. A little more chatting, a final smile and he said goodbye and entered the venue. We could hardly believe that had happened. Such a nice surprise. I’m sure he must have talked to everyone else on the way out since nobody tried to stop him now.

More people arrived shortly after and I spent the rest of the waiting time chatting with S., who had spontaneously decided to come after the previous gig in Berlin and came straight from the bus station. A. was watching football on her phone until the doors were supposed to open. The line moved closer to a venue and one of the security guys told us it was going to be a bit longer. Then we heard Tom Lumley and the Brave Liason were still sound checking. At 7 they let us in and after almost going to the balcony by mistake, we scored front row spot on Jani’s ad Jaska’s side. Judging by the tape markings on the stage, we thought we were pretty much in the same place as the night before, in front of Jani, only that this stage was wider. So far, so good. After the surprise meeting with Marko outside, nothing could have spoiled our good mood anyway. 😀

Since they let us in half an hour later than planned, the waiting time was rather short and at 7:30 Tom Lumley and the Brave Liason hit the stage. Once again their energy won over the audience. They are just so much fun too watch and it’s hard to resist them when they ask you to participate. 🙂 I clapped, I cheered and loved watching them play, step on monitors to jump (Billy) off and even venture of off stage (Jake). I only wished I knew their lyrics already so I could sing along. Tom told us how excited they were about being there and it showed they were having a good time.

So far, I can’t really say which song is my favorite, but I definitely like ‘Modern Age’ and ‘No Trust’, which is always announced  as a sog about the current UK government, being a shitshow. Not sure that was the exact phrase, but the meaning is the same. I was enjoying their set a lot and could not believe how quickly it was over.

Setlist

Modern Age
Anchor
Shrink
No Trust
Comedown
Say Nothing
Fake Friends
Crawling

Watching the crew change the stage is usually entertaining (to me at least) and definitely helps with the waiting. This evening though, it brought another big surprise. There were three stage monitors and I had expected Marko’s mic to be between the two to our right, but it was set up between the one in front of me and the next one, so we had the perfect center spot (i.e. slightly to the left of the mic from our point of view). Just when I thought it could not get any better! 😀

Moments before the show started i realized I had to pee, but there was no time and I counted on the concert to make me forget. I was right. As soon as the intro started, all my focus was on the music and the guys on stage, with everything else fading to the background. 🙂

The first thing I noticed when the guys walked on stage was that Jaska was not wearing the golden pants tonight, so the only golden thing was Oli’s tie. From the start it felt especially good to be there and during ‘Requiem for my Harlequin’ A. and I were having fun already. Before they started, we had wondered if the drum and keyboard raiser were too far apart for Jani to stand with one foot on each of them and moments into the song he did just that so we looked at each other smiling. While Olli was playing a solo, Marko snuck up on him and blew on his hair, but Olli remained unfazed.

I was already fully absorbed in the music, grinning ear to ear and with ‘Dreaming wide awake’ I started jumping as well. Compared to the previous day we had a lot of space so jumping was even more fun! Hell yeah, this was great already! There was so much action on stage, I didn’t know where to look first. Captain, in the back, lost in music, Tuomas, keeping a perfect beat and Olli and Jani playing together. Marko played along on his mic stand – air guitaring with props? I have no clue where Jaska was at that moment. He probably was doing something amazing and I missed it. I caught Olli’s jump off the keyboard raiser on camera and  moments later I watched Marko bumping fists with a guy to my right, making him really happy.

Two songs in and they were already on fire, barely slowing down for ‘Temple of Thought’. As Marko instructed, we were waving our arms during the chorus and everyone was singing along. Then ‘Rogue’ gave us the opportunity to admire the band’s amazing skills, but not before we were clapping along to Jani’s satisfaction. 😉 There was so much pointing at each other and mutual appreciation, I am sure I missed half of it. I remember Jani was standing with Captain for a while, before playing with Tuomas and I think it was during this song that Olli stood between the two raisers, one foot on each of them.

Glen, who seems to be doing everything around the stage these days, was running back and forth with the camera, capturing the best moments. In-between, he dealt with the stage monitors too. I saw him fixing Olli’s and Captain’s monitor during the gig, magically being in the right place, whenever he was needed.

With ‘Firedancer’ Marko joined the others again, danced across stage, then crouched down right in front of us and later ended up between the two raisers in the back, giving the others space to play. He held the mic stand across his knees for a while, then raised it high up in the air. The audience had been a bit slower than the previous one for the first few songs, but somewhere around here they suddenly grew really loud and never stopped. It was unbelievable.

‘My Dark Disquiet’ was a flurry of jumping and dancing in front of the stage, while Jani, Jaska and Olli played together. I was blown away when Marko pointed at A. and me while singing “Can I get a ride with you?” Sure! 🙂 Everyone powered through the song, but there were calm moments too, when Jani leaned on to Marko’s shoulder. ‘Sounds of Yesterday’ was beautiful and gave us all a moment to breathe before ‘Choice Millionaire’ had us jumping and dancing and waving our arms once more. I’m not sure how many of us moved out arms up and down with the guys, but it sure looked good to me.

Everything about this show was perfect. The sound was great, I was really into it and, more importantly, felt really connected to the band, watching their every move, smiling all the time. I saw so many little things that warmed my heart, from Olli standing with Tuomas, watching him work and Tuomas playfully threatening to hit him with a drum stick to Marko sneaking up on Jani from behind and hugging him tightly. Whenever Glen wasn’t needed to fix things or take pictures, he stood behind the mixing desk watching with what only can be described as a proud smile.

Several times that night Captain and Olli did their “catching notes out of the air” game and whenever I looked at Jaska he seemed one with his instrument, completely absorbed in playing. At one point, I remember Marko and Olli were chasing each other around stage, going in circles and during ‘Chasing Echoes’ Jani and Marko stood on the raisers in the back, giving Jaska and Olli room to play. Later, Marko sat down to watch Olli play his solo. Then Jani joined him and they sat there facing each other

For the first time this tour I saw Marko walking over to Olli and playing with the whammy bar on his guitar. 😀 With ‘Stay forever’ the main set ended and at one point everyone was at the back sitting down on the raisers in front of Tuomas and Captain. We had a great sing along too – little things that make the world indeed! It was clear that we all wanted them to stay and cheered loudly for them to return.

The encores started with ‘The Sweet Escape’ and lots of phone lights. I enjoyed waving my arm with the rhythm and just watching them play. ‘Daze’ and especially ‘Lift’ had the audience go wild and the guys were moving all over the stage, with Captain coming out behind the keyboards to point at Tuomas and Jani getting down on his knees in front of Marko, playing to him. At one point I remember Marko repeatedly raising his arms and trying to get us all to bounce up and down. I was too busy trying to take a picture of it to do it though. 😀

The grand finale was ‘Carnival of Rust’. At the beginning, Tuomas stood up behind the drums and once more the guys gave their all. The entire audience sang along to every word and as the song ended they were all hugging each other, then stood their for a moment, just as dazed as we were, bowing to us. Marko indicated how his heart was beating and mouthed “that was fucking amazing”. Jani lifted Captain in the air and Captain lifted Olli in the air, there were more hugs and fist bumps with the audience and finally they all gathered to take a pictures with us.

I bowed to the guys, waved, smiled and mouthed “Thank you”. On the way out, Olli and Captain shook hands with many of us. I had loved every minute of the show! What an incredible performance that was! Long after they had left, the entire audience was still cheering for more and just for a moment I thought they were going to come out again, but it didn’t happen.

Once they were gone and the security personnel told us to leave, I remembered that I needed to pee. For 90 minutes I had forgotten all about it. A., S. and I sat together and talked things over. Jani came out and said hello, asking how we had liked it and I joked with him about enjoying myself “just a little”, then added, more seriously, that I thought this would be a tough one to beat. He agreed. Some time later, we saw Marko on his way out. He waved at us, clearly tired and wanting to be left alone. We called a thank you out to him, waved back and left him in peace. He smiled and walked on – everything came full circle.

We left the venue eventually and after a night walk of some Prague sights, we had some final drinks at a bar, comparing notes about the concert. We all agreed that it had been fantastic. Later, we said goodbye with hugs. Thank you for the great company.

Setlist

Requiem for my Harlequin
Dreaming wide awake
Temple of Thought
Rogue
Firedancer
My Dark Disquiet
Sounds of yesterday
Choice Millionaire
Chasing Echoes
Stay forever

The Sweet Escape
Daze
Lift
Carnival of Rust

Ghostlight fall tour: Three gigs down, six to go. Next stop: Munich

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