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Opeth - Portsmouth 5/11/06

Discussion in 'Metal Concert Discussion' started by Tom Strutton, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. Tom Strutton

    Tom Strutton Member

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    Opeth
    5/11/06 Portsmouth Pyramids
    Review by Tom Strutton

    It pains me to say it but Opeth's first show on this November tour of the UK was something of a dissapointment. I have seen Opeth perfom three times over the past twelve months (Mean Fiddler, Forum, Portsmouth Pyramids), and now I can confirm in my mind that there are many more live acts that wipe the floor with the Opeth of today. I stress that I rank Opeth among the greatest recording artists past and present, but last night's performance highlighted some glaring faults that the band need to work on in order to retain my favour:

    Performance:
    Anyone who has seen a lot of live performances will understand that some bands come closer to replicating the exact sounds as heard on cd than others. The engineer and particularities of the venue may influence this outcome but largely the impression received is from the bands performance. Whether or not one approves of verisimilitude between cd and live show is of course subjective, but when the studio recording is so painstakingly good why should every effort not be made to replicate it in performance? Here is my gripe: Mikael's voice was great but the songs miss the vocal harmonies that make the studio recordings transcendental. There is no excuse for this...get a keyboard player that can sing. Another thing that found its way under my skin and refused to budge was the lack of care put into replicating the studio guitar tones. CD = near perfect guitar tones, Live = rookie guitar tones. Oh, and the bass drum was barely audible. These may sound like minor gripes but, again, there is no excuse. I really just think that little effort had gone into the whole affair, which refelcted the band's couldn't care less attitude that characterised the whole evening. I expect a lot of retaliation for these observations along the lines of "If you wanted to hear the cd you should've stayed at home", to which I answer that live performances should have the professionalism of a cd plus an added particular sense of occasion and flair.

    Mikael's banter and crowd rapport:
    This was probably the lowest point in the evening, at times embarrasing, although some comments garnered a few laughs uncomfortable laughs from the patient crowd (kudos to the fans by the way, extremely well behaved and great atmosphere). Mikaels' extended commentaries between songs were boring, uninspired and delivered in a 'don't give a shit' and I'm too cool for school' manner. A little bit of dignity and a little less childish amusement in making 'the sign of the devil' wouldn't go amiss (Guys, if you're reading this, you're not 'rock and roll' and, contrary to what you might have planned, Ghost Reveries on the whole does not have an Occult flavour about it).
    The final insult came when Mikael introduced The Grand Conjuration as a song 'many people hate', and then issued the cringeworthy cliche along the lines of 'fuck those people, we're gonna play it anyway'. If a lot of people hate it wouldn't it be so bad to re-appraise the song rather than casting off your fans opinons like they don't matter?! I for one think that The Grand Conjuration is a low point of Ghost Reveries, althiugh I will admit that they pulled it off with some force last night, probably because there was a certain need to prove a point with this song that didn't fuel the other song's. However, the final nail in the coffin was Mikael's rendition of the strummed intro to Tom Petty's classic Free Fallin', an embarrasing interlude that preceded the encore of Deliverance. It was hard to tell if this little bit of 'fun' was impromptu or contrived, but it killed the mood, and even more sadly it signalled a band that seemed tired of touring and resigned to inventing ways to make performing bearable.

    On the Plus Side...
    The setlist was very good. I was pleased by Windowpane, though I thought it was strange coming straight after The Grand Conjuration and would have benefitted from an earlier or later appearance. Mikael told us that this was the first time Opeth have played The Night and The Silent Water in the UK and it's inclusion will no doubt make many fans jump for joy. Finally, despite my criticism's I actually had quite a good night and maintain that a bad Opeth gig is still better than a good gig by most other bands.

    I am very interested to hear from anyone who attends shows from the rest of this tour, particularly if people agree with any of my criticisms. And of course I am more than willing to listen to those who disagree.

    Setlist:

    Ghost of Perdition
    When
    Bleak
    Face of Melinda
    The Night and the Silent Water
    The Grand Conjuration
    Windowpane
    Blackwater Park
    ---------------
    Deliverance​
     
  2. Caeros

    Caeros go shag ur camel

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    I saw 'em twice on this tour and loved it. Maybe it was an off-night, but I found Mikael's stage banter hilarious and a necessary part of their show.
     
  3. biggsy

    biggsy New Metal Member

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    Many people complain about Mike's stage banter but he loves it and I guess people just have to put up with it. You mentioned they seemed tired of touring... well at this stage they'd been touring for nearly 18 months straight so that's probably fair. Ghost Reveries was going to have an occult theme but it never eventuated. And that's quite an awesome set list there too.
     
  4. biggsy

    biggsy New Metal Member

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    Oh and do you have any comment on the drumming? As you might know, Axe is the new drummer for the band and recently there's been some bitching on thee Opeth forum ( wow, rare hey!?:p) that he's not good enough. What did you think?
     
  5. Tom Strutton

    Tom Strutton Member

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    Hey guys, thanks for your comments :) I posted this a while ago and was a little concerned when no-one replied, thinking I might have offended some Opeth fans (which was never my intention)

    Biggsy - You ask my opinion on Axe vs. Lopez. This is an easy one. Basically, Axenrot is a superb drummer, no doubt one of the best Opeth could have got on board. However, Lopez is an exceptional and inimitable drummer, and Opeth will probably miss his moments of unique genius. I am holding back on passing full judgement until I hear Axenrot's studio work with Opeth, though I imagine he will impress us all and silence the doubters.
     
  6. Turbo

    Turbo Natursekt Black Metal

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    Im only a casual listener to Opeth, and I didnt see, or havent seen Opeth live yet. I actually wanted to say how impressed I was at the review, and how it was worded. Fucking good job man!
     
  7. BrandonS

    BrandonS Member

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    Great review, man... Sounds like it was a drag. I've been noticing certain eccentricities on Mike's part that are running Opeth into the ground. He's always been an arrogant guy but now he's on the verge of saying "Hey, I'm Justin Timberlake, screw you, Backstreet Boys" and just walking off stage.

    The kickdrum is very important for a live show, and metal in general.
     
  8. The Heartbreak Kid

    The Heartbreak Kid Afterimage

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    I was there, and yes the review is very much what I thought. Overall I did enjoy myself but it could have been much better. Not playing the Moor was something I was disappointed with, and Mike's random talks, saying 'this is the sign of the devil' showing the horns, ten times was stupid.
     
  9. Skoosh

    Skoosh New Metal Member

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    thats a great setlist The Grand Conjuration and Bleak are great songs
     
  10. duncang

    duncang Ultimate-Guitar Reviewer

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    Admittedly it was my first Opeth gig, but I loved it.

    The 'sign of the devil' thing got a bit tiresome, as did the Freefallin' thing, but the performance was great.

    Certainly better than having to watch Paradise Lost. I was so dissapointed by them.
     
  11. challenge_everything

    challenge_everything Active Member

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    I agree with the review. I've seen Opeth three times, some good and some bad. Mikael's banter is stupid, just play the music. And I agree about the need for a decent backing vocalist.
     
  12. Anarkissed

    Anarkissed BOK CHOY!!!

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    To be honest, I enjoy Mikael's banter. There are just so many bands out there that take themselves way too seriously on stage so - even if they do seem childish - I find his playful comments refreshing.

    I agree that the vocal harmonies have always been lacking when they play live. I'm hoping that Per learns to sing a few more of them in future shows.
     
  13. Seance

    Seance Still Writes in Crayon

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    that is just fucking stupid and childish when you know for a fact he's kidding around on stage. grow up.
     
  14. Jeh123

    Jeh123 New Metal Member

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    I saw Opeth live in North Carolina, it was unbelievable. They were great, and their sound was unparalleled.
     
  15. varunamarth

    varunamarth metalochak!!

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    I've seen DVD's of opeth's performances, having never had the opportunity to view them live, i can't comment comment on the audio because frankly that's all adjustable and modifiable on a DVD, but as for stage performance goes, i think Mike's conduct is bearable. A bit of games does no one any harm...
     
  16. Splinterx

    Splinterx New Metal Member

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    I wish i could see them live one day
     

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