For those that didn’t know Fernando and I went on a pretty epic journey to Los Angeles, CA to see one of Death Metals greatest bands Opeth on their 20th anniversary show. The mini-tour went for six stops only, two of which were in the United States, we hit up the very last show of the tour this past Friday April 9 in LA. The tour dates were as follows:
03/30 – Cirkus – Stockholm, Sweden
04/01 – Lichtburg – Essen, Germany
04/03 – Bataclan – Paris, France
04/05 – Royal Albert Hall – London, UK
04/07 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY
04/09 – The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
If you were unaware of this tour happening basically Opeth wanted to give to their fans a special, intimate show with two sets. The first of which being their breakthrough epic “Blackwater Park” and the second being composed of rare songs from each album that are rarely ever played live.
We arrived at the Wiltern around 7pm to a massive line wrapping from the main entrance of The Wiltern to the back-end of Ralph’s (a grocery store). Our first mission was to hand out flyers to the California Metal Fest as we were given a box of flyers from Sumerian Records earlier that day, while doing so we made a lot of friends and met a lot of interesting people. Once we finished with that we went into Ralph’s and bought ourselves a whole roasted chicken and a couple of drinks to fill up our stomachs. Once in line we had about an hour left to wait til the doors opened at 8 but we knew we had to chow down fast just in case. While eating we met a few people from Seattle and a couple from the Huntington Beach area whom offered us some beer since we had traveled all that way. We also saw our friend Brian whom we had met the night before at the Amon Amarth show, he was from Minneapolis and a very cool guy. The couple from Huntington Beach had offered us to come down to chill with them at the beach on Sunday if we didn’t have anything going on (ended up not happening but it was a kind gesture to say the least).On to the show.
Once we entered the venue, which a review for that will come later along with the House of Blues, we immediately got our wristbands for the pit section and walked over to the merch booth. They had a selection of about 8 shirts,(most of which were exclusive to the tour with all the dates and one exclusive for that particular show), the Blackwater Park cd w/ the 5.1 enhanced sound, etc. a hoodie, a Opeth Evolution tour book and believe it or not Coffee Mugs!! I purchased the Tour date exclusive shirt w/ the Blackwater Park cover on the front as well as the book. The book is filled with many pictures of the band throughout the years, a ‘family tree’, and a year by year breakdown as to where the band was at, really cool actually. The merch by the way was out in the lobby it was basically a theater so you had the outer lobby with the merch and a concession stand, bathrooms, etc. Once you walked into the main room there was I believe another bar to the immediate left which you could walk in front of to a ramp that took you directly to the floor. We made our way to the front, surprisingly it was about that easy we were dead center and only had one person in front of us, prime position to watch what was easily the best concert I have seen this year. The floor and seats slowly filled up as many people were in line for merch or food at about 9:30 the lights went out and we all went crazy. Immediately you could hear the intro to ‘The Leper Affinity’ with the haunting sounds as they walked onto the stage and owned the theater for the next 3 hours. They played through “Blackwater Park” almost flawlessly, there was one mistake, but nothing they couldn’t recover from. . . after all they are only human.
The crowd was completely chaotic throughout the set and it only got crazier as the night went on. The second set was compromised of rare tracks, one from each album, that are rarely played live they played them in chronological order which was awesome and in between each song Mikael had some stories about the evolution of the band and introducing each member as according to which album they first started the band in, he went through the entire line up really. Between sets is also when I discovered that not only is Jazz saxophonist Kenny G a Opeth fan as well as his sons, but they were pitting it up almost the whole show (ok so not Kenny G but his sons were). Unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of him but I am hoping some of the people we talked to do. Opeth’s second set lasted about 2 hours so it was nice to see that while they did one song from each album they didn’t go the cheap way and pick the shorter songs. The set lists were as follows
Blackwater Park Album – Set List 1
- The Leper Affinity
- The Drapery Falls
- Dirge For November
- The Funeral Portrait
- Patterns in the Ivy
- Blackwater Park
Second Set – Set List 2
- Forest of October
- April Ethereal
- The Moor
- Hope Leaves
- Harlequin Forest
- Lotus Eater (not the best choice from ‘Watershed’ but I really couldn’t complain I love this song)
All it all it was a very epic 3 hours saw some of my favorite songs that I had been wanting to see for a long time including (Harvest, Funeral Portrait, April Ethereal, The Moor, etc.) and like I said I would have picked a different song off watershed, but that being the last album they toured off of it was probably hard to pick a song they don’t play from it, I was hoping for Hessian Peel, but I’m sure they will play that someday. Also, before they played ‘The Lotus Eater’ Mikael did mention that they were in the process of writing a new album, not sure when it will come out but I am sure it will be brutal indeed. Pictures and possibly video from the show are coming so keep an eye out for those. If you have yet to see Opeth live do yourself a favor and go the next time they are touring near you, no matter how far the travel it is worth it I promise you that!
Also be prepared they will be releasing a DVD from this tour, most likely the Royal Albert Hall show I am hoping for a release later in the year, and I can only imagine that they will have a little bit of footage from each show. And when it comes out run and buy it, support them and enjoy the 3 hours in the comfort of your home, I know I will.