Poets of the Fall – Amarillo, Kotka; October 5th, 2012
My first Poets gig after an 8 weeks break started with meeting Jani at the hotel reception – he checked in at the same time I did, we briefly said hello and I felt that I had arrived. 🙂 Now all I needed to do was wait for my friend C. to get there. After she did we hung out at the Amarillo downstairs, said hello to the Russian travel group, grabbed a table behind the night club and watched the soundcheck through the window. We could hear quite well too and the first notes of ‘Signs of Life’ brought a huge smile to my face that got even bigger when they played ‘Running out of Time’ – I had been hoping to hear these two. <3 We sat there singing along, smiling. After the 3rd newly added song, ‘The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper’, Marko spotted us and said something, but we could not hear him and gestured that we could not understand. Funnily enough the one thing we heard him say clearly was “You can’t hear what I’m saying?” Soundcheck continued with ‘Fire’ and ‘Miss Impossible’, promising a rocking show. It was a nice treat to be able to listen to the new songs beforehand.
Lining up was somewhat confusing because none of the staff seemed to know which doors to the club would be opened. It was also quite annoying that the Russian travel group thought it was perfectly OK for them to have 4 people waiting at the front of the line only for the rest of the group (about 12 more) joining them later, cutting the line and pushing their way in front of everyone else who had lined up behind the first four. When we said something they pretended not to hear. I know this behavior from many fans of many bands in many countries and it always annoys me. Until now, however, I had thought Poets of the Fall fans were better than this. Apparently not. 🙁
Either way, we finally made it in where C. and I found a spot on the far right in front of Jaska. The stage had a high railing, but there were a few boxes in front so we didn’t stand right up against it. The usual wait for midnight started and the music was turned up way too loud to have a conversation. 🙁 We still managed somehow. I went to say hello to Petri who had a real sales booth this time. He came out of it to hug me and we chatted for a bit, i.e. we mostly screamed at each other. It was nice though, he joked that surely the concerts in Germany would be way too easy for me to go to and thus I would not come. 😉 He also hinted that the guys had a few surprises in store for us setlist wise.
Midnight rolled around and the band walked on stage. The intro to ‘Running out of Time’ came from the speakers, Marko started singing and – nothing. For the first minute or so there was absolutely no sound from his microphone, at least none that we could hear at the front. It was quite a letdown to not hear anything the first time they were playing this song in front of an audience. Most were yelling and screaming anyway so I’m not entirely sure if Marko noticed we could not hear him and just decided the show had to go on or if he didn’t realize what was happening. Fortunately the sound came on somewhere around second verse, but it surely spoiled the song for me and I’d been dying to hear it.
It took me a little while to get into the right mood, but I still enjoyed ‘Diamonds 4 Tears’, ‘Temple of Thought’ and ‘Cradled in Love’. It was a good choice to play ‘Locking up the sun’ after ‘Cradled in Love’ and not before. This works much better in my opinion. Also they added ‘Fire’ after so we really got the chance to rock out.
The guys were in great form, they might have missed playing live, even though they didn’t get much of a break. The setlist wasn’t the only change that night compared to the spring and summer tours. Marko had also changed his make up to his version of the Joker with black lips and black make-up over the eyes – it looked awesome if a bit sinister. A variation of this make-up had already made an appearance in India and I had been hoping to see it live.
‘Sings of Life’ was next and really worked well. I loved hearing it and had my personal “Ha!” moment when Marko pretended to smoke a joint for the “High on coffee shop produce” line, since this has been my interpretation of it. 😀 ‘Stay’ and ‘Illusion & Dream’ were still there and made people happy, myself included. ‘The Ballad of Jeremiah Peacekeeper’ was beautiful, just as I had hoped for. I had feared it might be a bit out of place, being slow and quite long, but it fit right in. The set changed back to faster songs with ‘Kamikaze Love’ and ‘Miss Impossible’. For the latter the sound problems were back too and again we could not hear Marko. In between, I could not hear all of what he said either. Again, the problems didn’t last long. ‘Late Goodbye’ took us too the encores. I had been wondering if the acoustic set would make a reappearance, but since the new setlist is much more focused on the rockier songs, it wouldn’t have fit in so well.
‘Dreaming wide awake’ and ‘Carnival of Rust’ started the encores, the latter being largely spoiled by some commotion in front of the stage with a drunk guy pushing some of the girls standing there, being pushed back and landing rather hard on the box that stood in front of us. He kept holding his head that he had hit on some metal part apparently. I could not followed the conversation, but it took lots of effort from a security guard to get him to move out since he was quite uncooperative. All this brought worried looks from Jani and Jaska who were watching everything. Yet the show must go on so they kept playing and Marko kept singing – it must have been difficult for him to concentrate on that.
By the end of ‘Carnival of Rust’ the commotion was over and we could watch the stage again. Much to my surprise ‘The Happy Song’ was next – perfect choice! It made me smile again and I even headbanged a bit. Eventually it seamlessly flowed into ‘Lift’ and the show did end on a positive note.
On the way out we said hello to T. and S., chatted a bit with Petri again and left. Good thing we only had to go next door to be at our hotel. We saw Marko walk by and he wished us a good night, but clearly wasn’t in the mood for talking. C. and I stayed up for a bit, discussing the evening. We were both happy to have another concert to look forward to the following day.
I’m sorry I can’t be all happy go lucky about the concert, but it’s just not how I feel. Usually I try to avoid getting hung up on minor annoyances in my reviews. After all, I make my own memories and I want them to be good ones. In the overall scheme of things the occasional bad experiences are outweighed by the good so why dwell on them? This time, however, it was just a little bit too much of the negative to completely ignore it and I can’t pretend that I enjoyed the concert in its entirety when there were so many moments that didn’t work for me. I guess it was bound to happen eventually in all the gigs I have seen to have one that was not perfect. I am not blaming the guys here – they clearly did all they could to make it a good gig and there was plenty of energy coming from stage. I’m not blaming the crew either, I’m sure they worked hard to cure the sound problems and managed eventually. Still, it’s the little things that make or break everything and as much as I wanted to love this first gig of the fall tour (and did in parts), I was unable to fully succeed. Blame it on the mood or state of mind I was in. That being said, I still don’t regret going there. Even a less than perfect Poets of the Fall concert is still miles better for me than most other band’s gigs.
Poets of the Fall autumn tour – 1 gig down, 14 to go. Next stop: Porvoo
Running out of Time
Diamonds 4 Tears
Temple of Thought
Cradled in Love
Locking up the Sun
Signs of Life
Illusion & Dream
The Ballad of Jeremiah Peackeeper
Dreaming wide awake
Carnival of Rust
The Happy Song / Lift