Sound: With the release of a brand-new album, "7th Symphony", the masters of what can be described as "cello metal", Apocalyptica, start an European and North-American tour. And what better place to start, than in Casa da Msica, in Portugal? Casa da Msica is a venue specifically built to host musical events, especially in the classical, jazz and world music genres. So, the acoustics of the room were extremely favorable to achieve a great live sound. Personally I felt that the mix was a bit louder than necessary, but apart from that the sound quality was excellent.
For those who doesn't know the band, Apocalyptica is composed by three cello players and a drummer. Only for one song, "Beautiful", Mikko Sirn (the drummer) played double bass. It's also worth mentioning that Tipe Johnson is performing vocals on this tour. // 8
Perfomance: The performance was awesome. So good, that when was leaving the venue with my friends we were speechless, in absolute wonder. It was my first time seeing Apocalyptica live, and i enjoyed every last second of it.
Eicca, Paavo and Perttu are extremely proficient musicians, and really fun guys onstage (Eicca even cursed, "Porto perkele!"). It was also funny seeing Perttu's fight against the stage's low friction pavement; the post of his cello (that spike on the bottom of the cello) was constantly slipping due to his aggressive playing stance, with frequent headbanging. One of the slips was a bit more violent, which even made the wireless transmitter of his cello come loose; a difficult situation that was quickly solved by a tech running to him and plugging a cable into the cello (the wireless transmitter was fixed during the pause before the next song).
On the other hand, Mikko Sirn was funny by bad reasons. His playing was very sloppy, to say the least, and he had a couple of really embarrassing moments: the first time he threw his drumsticks into the air, he let one of them fall between his legs into the ground. The second time he did that he wasn't so fortunate, and one of the drumsticks fell even further away from his drumkit platform, into the stage below... But Paavo quickly picked up the drumstick and handed it back to Mikko.
The setlist was varied, but focused on the new album. It started with the beggining of "Rage Of Poseidon" being played on the speakers. When the band entered the stage, the songs performed were:
01. On The Rooftop With Quasimodo
04. Master Of Puppets
05. End Of Me (with Tipe Johnson)
06. I'm Not Jesus (with Tipe Johnson)
08. Wherever I May Roam
12. Last Hope
13. Bring Them To Light (with Tipe Johnson)
14. Through Paris In A Sportscar
15. Seek & Destroy
16. Inquisition Symphony
17. At The Gates Of Manala
18. I Don't Care (with Tipe Johnson)
19. In The Hall Of The Mountain King
The performance completely blew my mind. Definitely a very solid cello ensemble, and their songs gain a whole new dimension live. For slower, mellow moments like the "Beautiful"/"Sacra" combo, the audience was seated, but as soon as the faster, heavier songs started, the band urged the audience to stand up, and everyone promptly obeyed.
The only thing I didn't enjoy as much was Tipe Johnson's singing. Personally, I would prefer the instrumentals of all songs (like they did with "Bittersweet"), because, in my opinion, his vocals didn't fit the songs perfectly... But I guess that would be expected, since one gets used to the vocals of the guest musicians on the albums.
As far as the stage decoration goes, it was pretty simple. There was a huge greyscale banner in the background, with a tower of cellos surrounded by destroyed cellos, which was replaced with a "7th Symphony" album cover banner during that album's songs. As i mentioned, the drumkit was on top of a platform, and there was one smaller platform in each side, where Perttu and Paavo started playing. // 9
Overall Impression: The 12th of October, 2010, marked the beggining of another Apocalyptica tour. At Casa da Msica, in the city of Oporto, Portugal, the band played live the new album's songs for the first time. The opening act was London-based rock band Livingston, and they delivered an enjoyable set of songs.
The ticket cost 30, and it was worth every last cent. It was an incredible show, and it made me love Apocalyptica's music even more. Even with a sloppy drummer and a guest vocalist that isn't my cup of tea, I will definitely attend their gigs in the future. It was a gig I well never forget, simply because both the music itself and the cello players' musicianship are THAT good. // 9