Poets of the Fall – Autumn Muse Festival, Bangalore; August 29th, 2015
It’s just after midnight in Bangalore, India. Sweat-soaked, incredibly happy and just a tiny bit tired I am sitting at my hotel room with a huge stupid grin on my face, still not quite believing that I am actually here and just saw a Poets of the Fall concert that was beyond awesome. Currently I am very tempted to take a late night dip in the pool and the only thing that’s keeping me from it is that I want to jot my memories down while they are fresh. The gig covers quite a few superlatives: It was unbelievably hot, unbelievably loud, with an enthusiastic audience, great atmosphere and just general happiness. Oh and it was unbelievably much fun! Totally worth the trip here.
Looking back I remember the first time I wanted to see Poets of the Fall in India was in 2011 – I saw every gig that year, every gig but one, the one in Bangalore. I really wanted to go even then, but quickly realized that it was not only way beyond my budget, but impossible because it was announced too short notice. In 2012 I went as far as booking a hotel (I believe it was in Hydarabad), but once again it was too short notice to get a visa before the gig. The next time around I was too scared to travel to India to even check possibilities. This year, when I had almost given up on the idea, two things came together: a) India had just made it possible for German citizens to get an online visa, which cut the time for getting one down from four weeks to three days and b) the concert was announced early for once.
So as soon as I heard about it I decided that it was now or never, booked a hotel, booked a flight and applied for a visa, all before flying off to the US for my birthday concert (different story, to be read elsewhere on this blog). The visa was granted within a day, I was set to go and pretty much forgot about it until it was almost time to leave. At least I didn’t have weeks to get nervous about it. 😉 The first time I worried whether the visa was actually legit was when I arrived at the airport in Düsseldorf. Then it occurred to me that I had never checked if the site I used for application was actually affiliated with the Indian government at all. They told me it was OK though. Phew! After a long flight via Abu Dhabi I arrived in Bangalore very early on Friday morning. My hotel turned out to be awesome, but I won’t bore you with any details of my first day and a half here.
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon: My friend V. and her mom were gonna pick me up at my hotel so I was sitting here and waiting. Gates were supposed to open at 6 so we had roughly agreed on meeting at 5. As the time got closer we exchanged exceedingly panicky messages. Eventually it turned out that their driver got lost so we changed plans to meeting at the gates. I got there shortly after 5 (it is a 20 minute walk from my hotel to the venue) and they finally arrived about 30 minutes later. I was so glad they made it on time. It would have been hard to find each other inside and it’s so much more fun to have someone to share the concert with. 😀
They let us in a bit late, but it was a lot less chaotic than I expected, people were rather nice to each other. After some initial pushing and then another shift during the support act, everyone settled and V. and I had made it to front and second row respectively. Such unbelievable luck! Had brought my Prowlers of the Fall banner, but had no place to hang it so I kept it round my neck to show it to the guys when the time was right.
We settled in for some waiting, but it didn’t take all that long until support act Girish and the Chronicles started at around 7:15. They were a good warm up – classic hard rock pretty much with their own songs and some covers. 30 minutes of rock, nice playing, good rock voice. I liked them! People were singing along and rocking out to their music and of course everyone screamed especially loud when they mentioned Poets of the Fall. This was going to be a good one! I had no idea how big the venue was, couldn’t really see by looking back, but judging from the picture I saw later, it was a lot bigger than I thought. Must have been a few thousand people I would guess.
Anyway, I remember checking my watch at 8:20, thinking “it can’t be long now” and just moments later I saw Nina walk out and signal with a flashlight. Soon after the intro started and the crowd went nuts! It was awesome. Eat your heart out, Moscow! Nah, just kidding, I’d say it was about equally loud here and there. The energy of this crowd was amazing right from the start. We had been singing ‘Late Goodbye’, ‘Carnival of Rust’ and ‘Temple of Thought’ even before the concerts started and now everyone was singing along to pretty much every line. Yes! I had a huge grin on my face from the very start and kept exchanging happy glances with V. who looked liked she would never stop smiling again. 😀
The guys kicked the show off with ‘Daze’ and I started jumping or tried to. It took a few songs before everyone who wanted to jump found the right rhythm and I certainly hope I did not step on too many feet in the process. ‘Diamonds 4 Tears’ was next and by then sweat was already streaming down my face. Warm temperatures, lots of people close together and moving with the music – nothing else to be expected. By the time the show was over I was completely soaked to the skin. This was for sure one of the hottest concerts I have ever been to. 😉
From time to time I tried making eye contact with the guys and wondered how long it would take them to see me. I had kept my trip to India off Twitter until I got here, wanting to surprise them. Luckily I got close enough to the stage for them to actually see me and see me they did. It was early on, during ‘Diamonds 4 Tears’ or ‘Jealous Gods’ when Marko first looked in my direction questioningly, but I wasn’t entirely sure if he recognized me. The fact that he was wearing sunglasses and I could not see his eyes did not make it easier. It was all about being there though and I stopped worrying about it immediately and just enjoyed myself. It was so easy to get lost in the music, move with it and forget any and all of my worries. Everything was beautiful, everyone around me was happy, the band gave all they had and the sound was great too. There was nothing more I could have wanted.
Yet, it got even better. During ‘Roses’, Marko pulled down his sunglasses, looked straight at me and gave me a huge smile. I smiled back happily and V. hugged me. <3 This made an already perfect concert even more perfect. The setlist was amazing too. A mixture of the early and the later ’Jealous Gods’ tour setlist. I loved each and every song they played, danced for ‘Love will come to you’, jumped for ‘Locking up the sun’, cheered for the band during ‘Rogue’ and very nearly cried during ‘Nothing stays the same’. In between I sang at the top of my lungs, except for ‘Rumors’ – I still don’t know the lyrics and I even had the feeling Marko was checking if I did. Nope, sorry. 😉
I should not only talk about Marko though, because everyone in the band did a fabulous job that night. Of course I already know their skills are amazing, but this was something else. Every note was spot on and they were playing with ease, apparently having as much fun as the audience did. For 90 minutes everyone at the Autumn Muse festival was lucky enough to attend one big and happy party with amazing music. Each time I looked around, I saw only happy, even elated faces and the smiles of the audience were mirrored by the guys on stage. It was mind-blowing, really.
In-between then amazing music and the general good vibes there were so many little things that make the world and will be remembered later like small gestures between the band members, Jaska and Ollie, Jani and Ollie or Jani and Jaska playing together, Captain checking out our sing-along, Jari coming to the front to whisper something to Ollie, several of the guys playing with Captain and of course all the smiles and other signals exchanged with the audience. I’m sure everyone felt involved and it showed, every time Marko asked us to sing along. It was loud! 😉
The beautiful ‘Nothing stays the same’ ended the main set. I was surprised, people didn’t scream louder for an encore than they did. That was a bit lame, all things considered. Maybe it is already too well known that the concerts usually last a little longer. Either way, the band did not keep us waiting and when Marko asked us if we wanted more, we screamed loudly. He jokingly announced ‘Lift’ as “the elevator song” 😀 More jumping for me, another smile exchanged with Marko during the “on and on and on” part and finally a look first of disbelief and then recognition from Ollie when I waved at him. 🙂 A bit later, Jani saw me too and also gave me a big smile.
The nicest surprise song-wise was a beautiful rendition of ‘Sleep’. No matter how many times I hear it, I always adore it – it was lovely. Next was their first song, ‘Late Goodbye’, which got such an amazing audience reaction that I really enjoyed it! Afterwards one last chance to jump and dance with ‘Dreaming wide awake’ before they gathered at the front to take a selfie with all of us. Marko noted that we looked great from up there and the audience was partying to all the way in the back. He also made a comment about us getting a view of their beautiful butts ;). The guys closed the show with ‘Carnival of Rust’ because they could not leave us without that one. Before walking off stage, Ollie threw his remaining water bottles to the audience and gave guitar pics to a few lucky people. Jari threw his drumsicks far into the crowd. One final thank you and they were gone. Not much more I could say, other than perfect concert was perfect. 😀 From the first second to the last I loved it and I would not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world. This night certainly held a special kind of magic! <3
After the gig we stuck around a little bit and ran into Marko H. from the crew. He asked me what I was doing here. Really? What do you think? 😉 Outside, just before we said goodbye, A. found me and said hello. We still remembered each other from the early days of the POTF forum. It was fun to meet you! Soon after, I hugged V. and her mom one final time and made my way back home under a beautiful full moon, all the way smiling to myself.
Now, as I am slowly unwinding at my hotel, I let everything run through my mind again and I still cannot stop smiling. It all feels a bit like a dream, but I know it wasn’t. I actually did make it to India and I have no regrets. So let me end this where I started with repeating how absolutely awesome it was. I know I will cherish these memories for years to come and I still have a stupid grin on my face that will surely accompany me into my dreams. Thank you Bangalore and thank you Poets of the Fall for making this night so memorable. I love you!
Setlist (in roughly this order I think)
Diamonds 4 Tears
Clear Blue Sky
Locking up the Sun
Love will come to you
Temple of Though
Nothing stays the same
Dreaming wide awake
Carnival of Rust