Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Opeth!

It’s not like India features on every metal band’s list of places to visit, in fact we’re hard pressed to find a few that are willing to visit India AND are not getting on in years and trying to salvage failing popularities. We’ve had Maiden come in on a regular basis, but to tell the truth, having been to both the Bangalore and Mumbai concerts, I think the Bangalore one rocked, while the Mumbai one was ho-hum. Yeah, I love Maiden, LOVE them, but I’ve got to admit the last concert wasn’t all that great. Waters did a good show, and I missed Satriani. Tull was decent, but I’m not really one for his kind of music. So when in the midst of agonizing over why good bands didn’t visit India, a friend of mine commented on an earlier post with news that Opeth would be performing in India, I dismissed this as an especially sadistic rumour. But a little reading up online told me that they were indeed planning to perform in Chennai, and I was pretty hyper about it. But what I found most interesting was that while the big entertainment companies were trying to get the fuddy-duddies of metal/rock to India, Opeth was being invited by an educational institution – IIT Madras. (Just for that, you IITians are now way above in my list of esteemed people.)

So Opeth was scheduled to perform on the 25th as part of the pro-nite at IIT, and I frantically tried to get my tickets. A few emails between me and the organizing committee established that tickets were to be available online but there had been a glitch, which caused a delay in the dates tickets became available. Pavan agreed to tag along, which was another surprise, because he is now married and more likely to be catching the opening show of ‘Tara rum pum pum’ than a metal concert. (I’m pretty sure A woke up in the morning to find P had disappeared, with probably a small note on the dresser saying he would be out of town for a couple of days on business.) Relatively cheap flight tickets on Cleartrip and concert tickets on Bookmyshow enabled me to plan without breaking the bank.


The show:

Rules required me to reach IIT in the morning of the 25th to exchange the e-tickets for physical ones, which I did. I caught up with Rohan and Ruchira (you guys are an awesome metal head couple) at the venue as we stood in line to get in. Arrangements seemed systematic; tight security equipped with breath analyzers frisking everyone; sadly, I had to let go of my comb and pen because they were deemed security hazards. The open air theatre seats about 4000-5000 comfortably, and I figure it was totally full by the time Opeth came on stage. Demonic Resurrection was the opening act, with the lead singer ‘Demon Stealer’ taking pot-shots at other organizers for preferring ‘old, classic rock bands’ to open for big bands. After a few decent numbers, DR was off stage, making way for Mother Jane. MJ played some popular originals, and I admit they have talent. The band has brilliant timing, especially the drummer. While the guitarist was good, I felt he got a little repetitive with the solos, sort of bringing an amount of similarity to each song. Originally scheduled for 8 PM, Opeth actually came on stage round 8.40. Quick sound checks and they started, and the crowd went wild. They did play gooood, and the crowd enjoyed every single moment about it.
Set List –
1. Heir Apparent

2. The Grand Conjuration

3. Godhead's Lament

4. Wreath

5. Hope leaves

6. Lotus Eater

7. Bleak

8. Night and the Silent Water

9. Deliverance

10. Demon of the fall

Encore

11. Baying of the Hounds

12. Drapery Falls

[Thanks to KK for the complete set list]

My special favourites – Wreath, Deliverance, Godhead’s Lament, Bleak, and Night and the Silent Water, especially Night and the Silent Water.

There seemed to be some issues with the sound quality, but it could have been because I was in the ‘gallery’ to the left of the stage. Mikael had great stage presence, and a good sense of humour. He did seem to manage the Nokia mess at the end quite beautifully.

Highlights –
1. Opeth!

2. Awesome set

3. Loud crowd

4. Opeth!

5. In India

6. Progressive death metal

7. Chicks at the concert – Yay! [There was an especially cute girl in a purple top to my
left]



Lowlights –

1. Very few head bangers

2. Crowd seemed not to be able to handle prog – off timing

3. Seated older people with families in chairs in a special area

4. Shameless
Nokia plugs
5. A.R. Rehman in the middle of the concert?

6. “Free hugs” [You’re not going to see me going around hugging metal heads anytime soon]
7. “Touch Opeth, see Opeth, Play Opeth” WTF!

8. Sound quality

9. WTF was the crowd doing the hip-hop finger pointing thing instead of head banging?


All in all, an excellent concert! And a bonus - they played for 2 hours; I assumed they'd stop at 10 PM. A pre-booked call taxi ensured I got back safely early enough to visit a Chettinad restaurant for food before I went off to sleep.

3 comments:

opiated said...

"the big entertainment companies were trying to get the fuddy-duddies of mental/rock to India"

you do mean metal and not mental, right? :)
Very Cool. The setlist was great. Yeah, Mikael is awesome on stage. He was not always so fun. I remember on his early tours how quiet he used to be.

iNFiNiteSaDNeSS said...

Typo. Corrected.

Pavan said...

Dude...Tara Rum Pum Pum is pure art....u forgot to mention Race, Om Shanti Om..123..and these are the ones i can mention in public:-)