Apocalyptica - Tallinn City Hall, Estonia, October 10th

Event: Apocalyptica: European Tour
Written by: destroyah
Published: 23.10.2007

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Apocalyptica - Tallinn City Hall, Tallinn, Estonia, 10.10.2007 by Ivor (24)
The day of the gig didn't start too well. Nor did the day before, or the whole week for that matter. As I walked down the street towards the office I wondered how weird it was that my new socks were actually slipping inside my shoes. I was really hoping Apocalyptica would unscrew me and calm the stormy sea that is my libido. "I think I should wear a suit," I thought to myself, but quickly discarded the idea, which was frankly quite corny. I remember the last tie-party I went to. Long story short, I was drinking alone in a bar at 3 AM, looking like Vincent Vega. "Goddammit, which part of the 'no suit' do you not understand. Control yourself!" My head was clearly running loose. I couldn't blame it though - the venue for the event had "class" written all over it. Never mind the fact that the City Hall was a decaying concrete fortress, a Gargantuan Battle Station against classic architecture. It has the subtlety of a mammoth and climbing it in cold October storm winds is an incredibly difficult task even though the monstrous structure is relatively flat. And who puts the door on the roof anyway?

The night fell swiftly. Amidst the hordes moving to conquer the peak of the City hall I met up with Ivor. After a brief struggle against the mother of all hurricanes we managed to break into The Sarcophagus (henceforth, I will be referring to the "City Hall" as "The Sarcophagus"). Having deposited our life-support systems and successfully located the bar, I managed to frustrate a lot of people standing in line behind me by ordering a beer despite having witnessed before just how incredibly long it took the bartender to pour it out. Many folks were left thirsty whereas I had to practically force my beer down my throat. The Sarcophagus was engaged and hot, the section doors separating the bar area from the core were beginning their slow descent. With the skill of Indiana Jones I avoided violent death by slipping in from underneath the ominous trap doors. I was in. And so was Ivor, with significantly less hassle. Well, good for him! I must remember to interrogate him and find out how he did it...

We didn't have seats assigned to us. In fact we were told to grab a vacant spot in one of the sectors either side of the semi-circular stage. We were in no mood to fight a bloody trench war only to find below-average seats so we stayed up high on the verge of the descending gorge. The sight was magnificent, but strange. Under the massive jointed ceiling were hundreds of people, sitting, mostly dressed as if they were in theatre. "Well, they're not entirely off," I reckoned "You should've worn the fucking suit! You fool!" I smothered my dark side - it was time for Stam1na to warm up the crowd.

This is where it gets awkward. Imagine a Slayeresque Thrash Metal band performing on a spacious stage with excellent, albeit quiet sound to an audience that closely resembles a parliamentary session. The band gave a hundred percent and they're stage presence was strong, clean Finnish vocals were a refreshing touch. But the whole performance was odd. In the end I could count the people moshing on my fingers. To be specific - six headbanging metalheads versus eight slightly overwhelmed security guards. It was clear by then that nothing could stop people from overrunning what I could only assume was the "Exclusion zone."





As Apocalyptica took to the stage with "Harmaggeddon," the security zone was indeed overrun. People one, System zero. The Sarcophagus finally lived up to the task of housing Apocalyptica. The acoustics were great, although the sound suffered, blunting the strings and letting the drums overlap the lead-cello - a big turn-off. Still, this didn't ruin "Fight Fire with Fire" and "Refuse/Resist." However, during "I'm Not Jesus" a far more fundamental question arose. As expected, Corey Taylor wasn't present. Nor was Nina Hagen or Till Lindemann. It meant that we'd be served the very core of the band only - was that enough?





When Apocalyptica started out, they became a cult item by playing first only Metallica covers, then gradually including songs from bands like Sepultura to finally writing their own material. However, certain original pieces desperately require vocals in live shows, "I'm Not jesus" being the prime example. The instrumental version was seriously suffering. This raises the question - is it right to serve Apocalyptica as a stand-alone entity, with all the add-on vocalists uninstalled? Merely adding a permanent drummer and stopping there is like leaving the band in mid-air. Perhaps it's time for the quartet to acquire a "spokesperson?" Cause if you're going to make a simple radio-hit you might want it to have a third dimension unless you're going to dazzle people with Tomcats-grade solo flights.





While the drummer occasionally felt somewhat redundant with his merciless battering, the gig went on with ever increasing power. The solo of "Last Hope" was pure ingenious cello playing. When the light technicians were clearly dozing during Stam1na's performance, then during Apocalyptica The Sarcophagus lit up in a rather enjoyable display of colours. A volcano lamp of massive proportions. It was during the slow pieces like "Faraway" and "Nothing Else Matters" when this spectrum really hit the G-point. Speaking of tearjerkers, "Seemann" was a worthy choice to end the night.





Having dried my imaginary tears I immediately moved on. No long-lasting high this time. While finally seeing Apocalyptica was surely a hell of a way to spend a cold October night, the whole experience added up to chaos in the conscience. Although The Sarcophagus wasn't a terrible venue and the concert was decent, it never gave me the thrill and the simple joys in life - sweat covered, liquor coated bodies bumping into one another in a swarming hive that is a decent Metal gig. You know, the higher end of the collective conciousness. As far as the average Joe was concerned - he probably got off from listening to slower cello-only songs but may have been left with a bad taste in his mouth due to the aforementioned sound issues. All these troubles aside, there was one thing that really made the whole thing worthwhile for me. You see Apocalyptica struck me where Sepultura had tapped the vein a few months earlier - the inclusion of "Inquisition Symphony" made me... well, let's just say if i was a girl, my ovaries' would have reached their absolute productive peak. And seeing the pink faces of all the teenage girls who just found out the whole truth about their nether regions, I knew I wasn't the only happy camper.

Walking away from a Wednesday night live is rarely a fulfilling experience as the responsible person I am, going to work early next morning was a must and doing so sober was absolutely necessary. But it wasn't just the weekly routine that held me back. The Sarcophagus seriously limited pre-, post- and mid-concert activities. It wouldn't have been a big deal if Apocalyptica still were a cultural anomaly, but with the current line-up they're much more integrated into the Metal scene and introducing them as a theatrical piece just doesn't cut it. The olden days of classical deviations are over and as a universally accepted Metal act, Apocalyptica must walk the whole nine yards to be a complete item - not only on record but also on stage. A fact that promoters also have to acknowledge. And deep down in my whiny cynical heart there is a tiny smiley face and I'm sure Apocalyptica can only go forward.

Oh and the tiny angry face in my heart has a message for the sound-engineers: "never mind the drums, where's the god-damn cello!?"


 




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Bararey - 23.10.2007 at 01:17  
Reading this concert review feels more like reading a guy who is preparing for battle!

Anyways, I have seen Apocalyptica a few years back, and I don't think I will go out of my way to see them again. It is not the band they put on a great show, it is just the crowd they attract I felt like I was at a Goth show vs. a Metal one.

And I agree on them needing a vocalist it'll be much more exciting to seeing them live, it does not have to be a permanent member, a touring musician will do.
velvet - 23.10.2007 at 02:03  
Very, very good review.

And I'm still worried about seeing them when they play England soon simply due to the lack of vocalist as you mentioned. Seemann is for me one of the greatest covers a metal band has done, different enough that I can still love the original as well as the cover, and I don't want it 'lessened' by seeing it live :S
destroyah - 23.10.2007 at 07:54  
Don't worry aout "Seemann", it was awesome As long as the songs have a decent melody and structure, they can be done instrumentally.

And sound was really an issue this time cause on many occasions you couldn't hear Antero play :-\
Ivan - 23.10.2007 at 12:08  
Awesome review, man! You definitely have your own unique style, and your reviews are always interesting to read. Ever thought of becoming a professional writer?
destroyah - 23.10.2007 at 14:29  
Written by Ivan on 23.10.2007 at 12:08

Awesome review, man! You definitely have your own unique style, and your reviews are always interesting to read. Ever thought of becoming a professional writer?


Thanks man. As for going pro - well, i'm infamous for acting against my benefit. But we'll see I'm keeping my sights on the Tallinn University.


By the way, what'd you think of the gig? Would be cool to know...
Ivan - 23.10.2007 at 15:02  
Written by destroyah on 23.10.2007 at 14:29

By the way, what'd you think of the gig? Would be cool to know...

I pretty much agree with the review on most points. Me and my brother were discussing the concert on the way home and we also felt very strongly that Apocalyptica would benefit a lot from having a permanent tour vocalist (or preferably two - male/female). Other than that, I think it was a very good show - and although I've seen Apocalyptica before, I enjoyed it a lot. Also, the venue was rather fitting (but the audience not!)
GT - 23.10.2007 at 15:04  
Awesome review and very entertaining...nice with the story-like structure. Have seen Apocalyptica once and would definitly see them again if I get the chance
hanna of steel - 23.10.2007 at 19:56  
Interesting review and nice pics.

I , too , think a vocalist of some sort would be a welcome addition.
It would add more variety if nothing else.
After all , if they feel the need for vocalists on albums why not on stage too ?
wrathchild - 23.10.2007 at 20:36  
Hum, everyone seem to agree they lack a tour vocalist. I must say I'd rather like that they stop playing songs that have vocals on CD (I mean, their own songs, not the covers). Even better, they should stop composing songs with vocals as I often think they're the weakest songs they do.

Nevertheless your awesomely written review made me look even more forward to attending their show late in November in Paris. I have seen them just once before and it was one of the best gig I've ever been to.
Ernis - 23.10.2007 at 23:04  
Awesome review....I wish I could write like that....very enjoyable to read this...lol...the Sarcophagus....brutal...it's an Indiana Jones style sinister Mayan pyramid indeed....no wonder if they used to sacrifice virgins on top of the roof....
Bad English - 23.10.2007 at 23:32  
Redaing rewiew somehow I think It was wright desision to dont go to show(saveing money to WASP)
Der Meister - 24.10.2007 at 15:49  
I knew Stam1na wouldn't get a good reception. Which is a shame! They kick Apocalyptica's ass with a capital K, I, C and another K! Of course I'll have to add that that's just my opinion....
Darkside Momo - 24.10.2007 at 19:19  
As everyone I'll compliment you for your writing style, that's great !
And I suppose you could still be self destructive while being a professional writer, if you need so

Well, I'll se Apo in november, now that's sure !
Ivor - 24.10.2007 at 19:58  
It was nice to finally see Apocalyptica. I wanted that ever since I had heard the first two albums. However, I'll deviate from general opinion and say that I like the cello-only version of Apocalyptica. It sounds rawer, more cult and less standard heavy. Ever since they added drums I've been thinking of it as a bad move, which made them sound more like a typical Metal band. No, the addition of first singers, I believe Sandra Nasic was the first, was already a bad move.

However, I can't say I don't like Apocalyptica the way they are. They are still great to listen to. As destroyah pointed out, singers being present would have been great. The songs that were written particularly for singers don't sound good enough without them. As a sidenote, Christina Scabbia was supposed to have made a stage appearance at the Lithuanian gig, pity she wasn't in Tallinn.

While taking pictures during the first songs in front of the stage I met up with Ivan and his brother and I just kept myself with them until the end. Had a nice place to view the gig. As for acoustics. It's annoying when suddenly a left hand side speaker drops off. Lousy technicians. However, the hall is great sound-wise. It is a concert-hall after all. As pointed out, the hall was generally great, the crowd wasn't entirely appropriate for such a band.

I.

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