Poets of the Fall & Flight Brigade – O2 Institute2, Birmingham; January 12th 2017
Seeing Poets of the Fall play in a new city for the first time is always something special. There are so many fans who have never seen them before and after years of waiting, finally get their chance. The excitement they bring to the show is hard to beat. No matter what they know or how many youTube videos they might have seem and no matter what they expect they still do not fully realize what is in store for them, how powerful this band is at drawing people in. The guys, feeding off the energy that comes from the crowd, get even better with an enthusiastic audience. In Birmingham, the crowd was pretty amazing and the band rewarded them with a great gig.
My day started with breakfast in London with my friend M. who had graciously hosted me for the night. We had a good conversation about music and I would have loved staying longer, but had a bus to catch. Luckily the snow that had been forecasted did not arrive and I got to the bus station and to Birmingham with no trouble. A. picked me up at the bus station and we retreated to our hotel, fleeing the rain. Later e had some food and went to the venue to stand in line in the cold. By the time the VIP crowd got in, the rain had stopped, but it did not get any warmer. While Nina was around, I quickly sorted out the question of taking my camera in. By the time we got inside we were both frozen and needed to thaw. From the pictures I had seen on the Internet I had expected a venue with two floors, but it wasn’t. Must have been one of the other O2’s in Birmingham. Eventually we found a nice spot on the stairs though from where we had a great view of the stage. Bumped into R. on the way to the bathroom and chatted for a bit.
They made us wait until 8:30 before Flight Brigade walked on stage. Judging by the cheers quite a few people in the audience had seen them in London the previous day. The stage, previously bathed in red light, lit up and for once I could see all of the band members without anyone being hidden in the back. They launched right into ’39 Steps’ and I immediately noticed how brilliant the sound was. Wow! It might have been due to our position in the room as it usually is best close to the mixing desk and that was right beside us. Either way, it was loud and clear and made me happy.
Somehow it seems as if Flight Brigade are getting better each time I hear them. They are for sure the best support band Poets have had since Phoenix Effect. Despite my best efforts I still don’t know the lyrics, but the songs are becoming more familiar and the setlist changed a little once again, ‘Our Friends our Enemies’ being exchanged for ‘Thick as Thieves’. It was great seeing them rock. Had the perfect view of Neal, pounding the drums, lit up by two spotlights. Tom and Thomas were on the move a lot, playing together or with Ollie and Dorrie. They move around so much it is contagious. I found myself moving along with them, smiling the whole time. Their set was over in no time and they left the stage to great cheers. They must have made a few new fans that night!
Where Eagles dare
You kill me
Thick as Thieves
While we waited for Poets I took in the view with a smile. I rarely stand at the back and once in a while it is fun to have a different perspective. My hope was to see more of the action on stage or rather not miss so many interactions between band members, because, while being up close, for one thing I see them do I miss two going on at the other end of the stage the same time. I did get a more complete picture from the back, but at the same time I missed out on some of the details, could not see the expressions on their faces clearly unless I zoomed in with my camera. Didn’t matter though, it was enjoyable, especially because we had room to move and nobody was blocking our view. 🙂
We also got to see most of the audience and their reactions. I loved seeing the band win over everyone in the room. They did so almost as soon as they stepped on stage, being greeted with great cheers. Hands were raised in the air and people clapped along nicely. The energy floating through the room gave the guys an extra kick and they gave back everything they received and more. Some people had already been to the London show, some had seen other concerts before, but many in the crowd saw them for the first time. Whatever the expectations may have been, surely they were fulfilled. The guys were on top of their game that night, delivering a powerful show for everyone to enjoy.
During the break between bands I had told A. about the one concert in London where we had also been on the stairs, right below and exit light and the guys had spotted us as soon as they walked on stage. At this concert though, I was dark on the stage and I doubted they’d be able to see us back there. Or so I thought. Yet, towards the end of the show, Marko clearly waved in our direction, so it was not impossible after all. 🙂
It was such a fun show. When I wasn’t taking pictures I was dancing on the stairs, soaking in the atmosphere, breathing every line of every song. It was amazing to see so many hands in the air when the band cued us to clap along and hearing people cheer was even better than that. Unexpectedly the show also became and emotional one for me. During ‘Sleep’ I suddenly choked up, close to tears. I love the song, but it has never made me cry before. There was just something special about it that night. Later, during ‘War’, the tears finally came out and I let them. The song and all the memories that go with it still mean the world to me and the tears signify happiness and relief rather than sadness and grief.
I loved seeing the band interacting with each other and the audience, showing their skills and just enjoying the gig. At one point Olli tried to get past Jaska and he made room for him with great gestures. They shared so many smiles with us and each other, they checked out each other’s playing, they clapped to show the audience how it’s down and Marko leaned out grabbing hands, surely making a lot of people happy. It was one of those nights where everything felt right: The sound, the lights, the atmosphere, the audience and last but not least the music were perfect.
When it was time for the acoustic set Marko told us, referring to Jaska and Olli that he was here weith “20 of the fastest fingers in the universe” and that he’d have to hit all the high notes. He did while dueling with Olli’s guitar playing. It was absolutely beautiful. Each time they do this it is incredible how Olli manages to play what Marko sings and vice versa. Just wow!
Too soon we had reached the encores, I had sung and screamed at the top of my lungs, danced and jumped. I had taken pictures, cried and smiled, in short done everything I do when it’s a good concert. One more time I tried to take everything in, enjoy the view from the back, seeing and hearing the audience reaction. One more time I lost myself in the music, floating on a cloud of happiness. They guys must have loved the show as well as they were hugging in the end with Captain lifting Jani up in the process. I felt like running up to the stage and hugging them too, but that would have to wait until the next show.
A. and I gathered our jackets, said goodbye to Flight Brigade and went back to our hotel for drinks and chats deep into the night. 🙂
Intro: Shadow Play
Drama for Life
The Child in Me
Dreaming Wide Awake
Diamonds for Tears
Running Out of Time
Once Upon a Playground Rainy
Locking Up the Sun
Carnival of Rust
Children of the Sun
Clearview tour 2016/17: 22 gigs down, 2 to go, next stop: Manchester