Finding Music for my Soul

Poets of the Fall – Ryan’s, Odense; September 7th 2007

The first words I ever heard Marko Saaresto say were something along the lines of „the purpose of tonight’s show is that you all see my underpants.“ My reaction? I probably rolled my eyes, laughing. I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was in for…

Coincidence had brought me here – what are the chances of a business trip sending me home from Copenhagen the exact same day my favorite band was to play on the other side of Denmark? So instead of choosing the quick route home via plane I opted for leaving my colleagues behind and taking a train to Odense instead. I didn’t have a hotel or an idea of how long the concert was going to be, but I had a train connection and a ticket that would take me home the next morning and I knew in my heart that I’d regret making any other choice.

Ryan’s was easy to find. A few fans were already there, but I was not very communicative that night and wanted to experience that first gig by myself. I knew I loved the music and the lyrics so I was curious how this would come across live. Having read a lot about how good the concerts are my expectations were high. Yet I was convinced that after having been to well over 150 gigs of different artists I’d seen it all. I soon learned I was wrong.

Shortly after 10 p.m. the show started and with the first notes of ‘Fire the guys walked on stage. I noticed that there were more people on stage than I had expected and that they were my age. Marko grabbed the mic and greeted us with the words quoted above. I looked at him thinking: “So this is the man with the amazing voice. Just a normal guy.” Until he started singing…

I know I just had enough time to realize “wow, they are really good” and to ask myself what the hell was going on before my jaw dropped to the floor and I was lost. It took the guys only a few minutes to win me over. I fall in love with music easily. I often find songs that fit the mood I’m in or temporarily become part of the soundtrack of my life. But to completely and utterly fall in love with a band, a specific sound, a way of performing has only happened to me once before. Back then I were mere 15 – faithful, helpless and nowhere near as cynical as I am now. Had someone told me the same thing would happen to me again 20 years down the road I would have laughed in their faces. And here I was touched more deeply than I was ready to admit and blown off my feet. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life.

I could not say if the concert lasted five minutes of five hours, but it was over in the blink of an eye. Apart from ‘Fire’, I remember ‘Sorry go round’, ‘Don’t mess with me’ and ‘Locking up the sun’ rocking the house. ‘Carnival of Rust’ and ‘Late Goodbye’ showed the softer side. They played ‘Lift’ and ‘Overboard’, ‘Delicious’ and ended with ‘Illusion and Dream’ (during which I had a complete blackout on the lyrics). The sound was generally good, but there were times when I could not hear Marko at all. Yet it didn’t matter. I was still mesmerized. I absolutely loved every second of the gig and it was well worth the time and money spent on the trip.

There are many good performers, many good live bands. There are a few bands that are great live, in the way they work together, or their ability to master their instruments. For the Poets, both is true. They have fun on stage, they play together well and they are all great with their instruments – there is not a wrong note to be heard. There are many frontmen (and frontwomen), who believe they’ve got it. Some really do: They have charisma, the ability to win over any audience and fascinate them so much they will forget everything else. Marko is one of these people, drawing the audience in effortlessly.

After the concert I had the chance to meet the band and listen to some stories about the new studio and the upcoming album. Captain, Olli and Marko posed for a picture with me too and patiently waited for me to figure out how to set my camera right.

Soon everyone was gone and I spent the rest of the night at Ryan’s before a long train ride took me home. The smile on my face lasted for weeks.

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