I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Poets of the Fall – Korjaamo, Helsinki; December 17th 2016

From the moment the Clarview tour was announced I had been wondering if there was going to be a Poets of the Fall Christmas concert this year as it had been a tradition of sorts since 2011. I even asked Nina if there was going to be one and she confirmed, so I kept waiting. When the date was finally announced, I booked my flight straight from Berlin, looking forward to ending the tour in Helsinki. Several times during the tour the guys and Nina hinted it was going to be special. I had no idea what to expect, but I took their words for it and was really excited about the gig. Even with all the excitement and my high hopes they still managed to surprise me. It was by far the best concert of the tour, a tour, mind you, where I thought it difficult to find enough superlatives to describe all the highlights. It was the absolutely perefect ending to one amazing tour and left me with many happy memories to return to.

I arrived in Helsinki on Friday to beautiful weather, but felt too tired to enjoy it. A day of rest was just what I needed. C. arrived late that evening and we had a brief chat before calling it a night. The next day started with a good breakfast and moving to a hotel closer to the venue where O. was already waiting for us. We caught up, then met K. for a yummy Thai lunch and said goodbye until later that evening. O., C. and myself got to the venue long before everyone else and spent time at a nearby cafe until I got too nervous about not seeing the venue entrance. Too early it turned out, we were alone for at least half an hour. The fun part was that we got to watch a bit of the preparations for the gig and at one point the others heard me exclaiming excitedly “OMG the brought the double bass!” 😀 Also, while I was already freezing, Nina came out  without a jacket, having to get somethig for the car and asked us to hold the door for her. On the way back she was joking “not as cold as Russia” because that was what I had said almost every time she let us in to a meet & greet. 🙂 We in turn told her that we could have gone in and left her out there, but of course we never would. Eventually more people arrived, we said hello to S., H., S. and a few others and learned that Z. was not going to make it. We all missed her. 🙁

They let us in, we walked into the hall, got our spots and had to go back out for taking the picture with the band. C. and I were first and witnessed Olli and Jaska showig each other the brand of their underwear. Yeah, we really needed to kow that. 😉 😛 C. and I had out picture with them taken together. There were quite a few people at the meet & greet, but I still had the chance to talk to each one of the guys. I was on a mission, thanked each one of them for the wonderful tour and told them that I love them. It was something I had wanted to do for a long time. Life is much too short not to tell the people you love that you do. 🙂

Soon after the meet & greet the doors opened and K. ended up right behind us. I didn’t see any other familiar faces, but I’m sure there must have been more people I know. While waiting we checked out the decoration – both, keyboards and drums had been covered in Christmas lights and we joked if they guys were going to wear lights as well. 😉 Glen, the stage tech was dressed up as Santa. I wondered which songs they would play with the double bass and what the surprises were they had all spoken about. I had a really good feeling about this gig. 😀

The lights went out and I waited for the ‘Shadow Play’ intro to begin, but it didn’t. Instead all the guys walked out, taking their places on stage. Jari and Jani were wearing their white shirt / black tie combination, Jaska and Captain were cool in sleeveless black shirts and both Olli and Marko were wearing black shirts with a red tie, Marko in combination with a white jacket. I didn’t have time to be in awe about how stylish they were that night, because the first song took my by surprise. It was a cover of ‘White Christmas’. Between thinking “This is beauitiful” and “I hope someone is filming this” I felt a rather dorkish grin spread on my face that didn’t leave me for the entire concert. I never thought I’d hear them perform Christmas songs, even though it had very much sounded like they might during soundcheck. That alone made it all worthwhile. <3

From there on in they launched into the regular tour setlist and Marko lost the jacket a few songs in. I did my best to capture the moments, but spent even more time enjoying the show, jumping and dancing. Every time I looked at any of my friends around me I saw the same smile on their faces that I felt on my own. There as no barrier to separate us from the guys so we got some up close looks at them. Luckily the stage was high enough so here was no danger of being hit in the head with a guitar or bass. 😉 The stage was pretty big too and they made good use of it, moving all over the place, so quickly that it was impossible to follow them all. Being front row center, I spent a lot of time looking up at Marko, but made sure to see as much as possible of what everyone else did too. They had fun! Santa Glen was busy setting up and taking away chairs as well as handing over instruments and seeing his red coat made me smile even more.

I felt so happy to be there and grateful to be part of this special concert. The sound was brilliant, I heard everything clearly and the lighst were so bright, I sometimes had to close my eyes. good and funny moments happened plenty, so many I am sure I did not see them all. At one point Olli said somethig to Jari and he doubled up with laughter – wonder what that joke was. 😀 Of course they were busy making fun of each other too, checking out how the others were playing and showing of their skills. Marko made sure to sing to pretty much everyone in front row, causing minor heart attacks by taking a few hands. 😉 I had my own special moments too with all of them looking at me, winking, smiling, posing for me at one time or another.

I remember Olli jumping off the keyboard raiser, flying high in the air, Jaska standing on the box right in front of me and Marko playing a guitar solo on his microphone stand. I remember Jani sticking his tongue out, doing rock poses for pictures and Jari always smiling. I remember Captain, at times only illuminated by the Christmas lights wound around his keyboards, lost in music and Nina walking around at the back smiling happily while taking pictures.

The second big surprise of the night happened after the acoustic set when the band added ‘Roses’ to the setlist. Always a fan favorite, it resulted in great cheers. It was a beautiful version of the song, but absolutely everything they played was perfect that day. It seemed like every one of the guys was determined to make this a great show. <3 It was a feast for ears and eyes alike, I loved every second of it. 🙂

During the entire gig I sang along (even to the parts where I still don’t know the lyrics ;)), danced and jumped. Whenever I turned to my friends I saw them do the same, lost in the moment. I cannot imagine anyone in the audience not being happy with this gig. People sure looked like they were enjoying it and they made the noise to prove it. The sing along part for ‘Stay’ worked beautifully and so did the screaming during ‘Lift’. Everything fell into place and for 90+ minutes there was no room for any sad thoughts. This is what a brilliant concert feels like!

For the encores everyone came out wearing Santa hats. From the moment I saw it was not only Olli and Captain I knew they would not play ‘War’ right then. We got treated to ‘Silent Night’ in English and Finnish. It was beautiful and the fact that Marko completely missed his cue for the second verse made it all the more precious. <3

We got to hear the regular encore as well, complete with Olli’s intro even. The coolest part of ‘War’ was Jaska grabbing the bow from Jani’s double bass and playing his guitar with it. Absolutely awesome! 😀 The Santa hats turned out to be a nice toy, especially Captain had fun spinning its top around. Eventually all of them lost them though, because it must have been just too warm. Captain, Marko and Jari threw theirs to the crowd in the very end. <3 It was a long goodbye with hugs on stage, many bows, handshakes for the first two rows or so and a final picture with all of us in the background. What an amazing night! The guys looked very happy all the way through and so did the audience. They had promised something special and surely delivered. I would not have wanted to miss this for the world.

Once the band had left we had a hug fest in front of the stage, each one of us overwhelmed with emotions. I did not want to leave and we stuck around for a while. After waiting for a bit I got the chance to say goodbye to Nina. We hugged, chatted for a while, wished each other a merry Christmas and I thanked her for a great tour like I had thanked all of the guys earlier. They, as much as my POTF sisters, feel like family to me. 🙂 On the way out we met T. and S. – more hugs. The night ended at a bar with drinks and yummy unhealthy food before finally heading home around 3 am. Can’t wait to see all of you again next year. Love you all!

Setlist:

White Christmas
Drama for Life
Daze
The Child in Me
Dreaming Wide Awake
Diamonds for Tears
The Game
Stay
Someone Special
Roses
Sleep
Running Out of Time
Once Upon a Playground Rainy
Locking Up the Sun
Carnival of Rust

Encore
Silent Night / Jouluyö, Juhlayö
War
Lift
Children of the Sun

pictures of this concert

Clearview tour 2016/17: 20 gigs down, 4 to go, next stop: London

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