|Opeth, Cynic, The Ocean - Madrid, Spain, 26.11.2008|
The doors open at around 21.00 p.m., though it should have been done at 20.00 according to the schedule. Unfortunately this is becoming a nowadays trend in Madrid.
After a ciggy and a wee, during the first two songs of The Ocean, I came downstairs and found a place at the left of the bar. This venue is really bad for watching concerts. Sound and sight do not really fit for gigs.
The Ocean delivered a fierce and skilled set. The first two songs were absolutely brutal - a mixture of death metal and hardcore especially conceived for wild headbanging. Then, they started with symphonic songs and I liked that mixture of "grave" seriousness, melody and brutality coming along a highly developed skill in movements and technique. And I know it is so difficult to play hard parts moving the way they did. After playing two of those songs, they delivered another hardcore-like song and then they finished with 2 wildly melodic ones again. The best about it was their technique, then their stage skills, moving around as if inside a battle and, finally, their involvement with us, the audience, from both the vocals and the guitar.
I read in a Spanish metal blog that the day before this last one even started bleeding in Bilbao. Both of them came to play and sing in the security warden area touching and sweating alongside the people from the first places. In the review I read from last night in Bilbao some of this public even admitted to be afraid that the guitar player would hit them in his headbanging frenzy. All of them moved to and from the stage as if possessed, and that cheered us up efficiently coming down to the pit and even up to another platform beside the onstage amps in the middle that I could not distinguish where it was located after their show. The bass player made a kind of contrast with elegant movements as opposed to the complete savagery of the guitar and vocals. These last two could be even considered punk for their looks and performance - but luckily not in their playing. The vocals even displayed half a rooster comb. The drummer bewildered me for its technique and mastery of "counter-tempo". He was becoming more red and red and red and I thought he was going to explode just before finishing. Hurray for all them. Impressive!
After an eternal 15 minutes' break in which both Ocean and Cynic members were dismantling the stage, Cynic made their entrance with a magical environmental set of lights and sound. Time for intimacy had come and they began with "Nunc Fluens". The performance was both sweet and energical. The public's response was astonishing. It was clear that some people were waiting for them for a long time.
They were using guitars with tuning pegs in the bridge, not at the end of the neck and Masvidal's one was particularly small - as if for a child - with no more than 16 frets or so as far as I could see and I could see kinda well as from then. It is amazing to see two sides in a band: in one corner - well, more in the middle - Masvidal delivering this kind of introduction, "Nunc Fluens", with a bit obscured tones in his usual melodic intimate perspectives and, in the other corner, the rest of the band displayed a savage rhythmic that made the contrast astonishingly magical. This is worth listening and amazing to watch, as they are really playing a complete different song coming together just sometimes. I mean, Masvidal's voice and the guitar scales and intervals that he is playing have nothing to do with the riffs and notes played by the other 3 members. This is really hard to be done and I can speak about it. I have some knowledge of music and attempted to do this technique with bass and guitar in my old times' bands. The most difficult thing is to concentrate in your riffs and scales if the rest of the band is playing something so different. The result is superb when you possess the technique and necessary feeling to "Twist it Into Form". Fantastic.
This song was joined to "The Space For This", as in the album. This is one of the more catchy and melodic opuses in that album…altogether superb. Audience and myself echoed both singer and "growler" in this exquisite act of the set. The time for contained fury merging with shy melodies had come. Just after that, they played "Evolutionary Sleeper". Then, the speaking started, in Spanish. Mr Paul Masvidal started telling us that his family is from Cuban origin and that his grandparents came originally from Spain itself. Paul Masvidal explained all this with his usual humbleness and shyness to present "Celestial Voyage" from "Focus" hugely acclaimed by the audience. Then "Adam's Murmur"."King of those who know" attacked us now. I don't need to mention now the sublime technique or the feeling that this song exhales.
Then "The End, My Friend". The song chosen was another great track from "Traced" named "Integral Birth". Again the catchy tunes and technical chords made a fine piece of art loaded in chemical musical poetry. Public demanded another song "Otra", but there was a schedule to be fixed to. Masvidal shyness came together with sadness saying "no". I was dumbstruck in realising this deep shyness from their leader that matches perfectly with the intimacy of their music. Again, they helped the roadies "pipas" dismantling their material and instruments as they made before their set started and another tormenting wait was "Threatened In The Air".
After "unveiling" Opeth drums - every band used their own kit - a roadie came by checking microphones and all guitars including bass during eternal moments.
Then the lights went down and euphoria became sound with a short intro full of zoomed light and smoke effects. A general "Primal" scream devoured the venue when we saw a shadow, apparently Mendez's. Then they said "hello" and Martin started his particular comedian crusade as if posing for a photo smiling innocently and showing the horns at the same time. Then, somebody screamed something that even I could not understand and he paused, hesitated and with a "question-face" made the o.k. hand gesture before attacking with "Heir Apparent".
Clean sound as with the bands before and with the correct loudness - The Ocean perhaps sounded a bit loud- The band started moving to and fro and, above all, headbanging except Akerfeldt himself. Specially, I liked very much Mendez and the keyboards style of feeling their own decibels. The accurate display of lights and our "opethwish" encouraged a general sentiment that something awesome was going on. Mr Akerfeldt was wearing a "Conan the Destroyer" T-Shirt. As from now on, there will be a new guitar for every song… and…of different colour, as some people behind me noticed. "Grand Conjuration" followed .Wonderful, wonderfully played. It was once more hugely acclaimed and sung along by audience. Their movements diminished a bit, though the song is also speedy. Their necks will be quite harmed then after their display of energy in the starting song. He presented us to the bass player, Mendez, as he is from Uruguay and can speak Spanish. He dedicated the song to his mother as her birthday had been short time ago. Mr Akerfeldt then said "Congratulations Mama Mendez…if we were to have time we would play a death metal happy birthday" and the laughs exploded again. This person has something, a kind of charm, because some of the jokes were not good, some obscured and not easy to comprehend, some quite sarcastic and with British-like humour, but he always makes us laugh.
He then presented one of my favourites from "Still Life", "Godhead's Lament" and the audience shouted even more than before. They started making some improvisations in the songs from now on, as only geniuses do. This interpretation was again "terrifically" amazing. Me and many others there were having one of the best times of our lives. "Lotus eater" came then. The showdown of lights and smoke created the magical environment to deliver this "Art In Motion". It was fantastically played, as all the others. Opeth gestures and movements are made with passion. Then "Along came perfection", the cruel intimacy and extreme power beauty of "Hope Leaves". Every soul sang along and they communicate a kind of secret to us in a bewildering way, a secret veiled in this perfect ballad. Absolutely perfect and… perhaps… the main moment in the show.
The roadie came by to change the guitar again. It was all the time the same roadie that was checking the instruments before the start. They do that usually playing the same riffs…Akerfeldt imitated that riff when the roadie was reaching his hands to collect the "Hope Leaves" guitar. Then they started to "deliver" Deliverance, another main moment in the show. People were asking during the whole show to play "Demon Of The Fall" and Opeth did now. Another key moment in the show. Savagery came back and it became clear that you can be melodic and cruelly fierce at the same time. Long live the extremes! Then the curtain falls and after the encore.
Akerfeldt presented the band and when the turn was for himself, he hesitated and said "well…and my name…my name is Jorge" Tons of laughs again, as this is a typical Spanish name equivalent for George. The name of their last assault was "The Drapery Falls". Really hugely, really enormously acclaimed and cheered up. I waited 5 minutes in the same place I have been for longer than 2 hours and then, as planned some days before…as I do in every concert … I went to have my second wee of the night and then came back to a place more near the exit.
I waited until the fucking lights were on again telling that the show had finished and hurried to take "Le Dernier Metro", well really the last but one.
I hate this station -Plaza de España-, I always get lost, unless I am drunk. For some weird reason, I am always more awake at night to find my directions if I am drunk. It is a pity that I do not drink at concerts…well just water…from the toilet.
After 1 hour or so I was home and yet frenzied. I put my mobile to load. 6 hours and its clock alarm will fuck me, even with the beautiful tune from Bach that I have as alarm.
Cynic Playlist (22:00 - 22:35)
01. Nunc Fluens
02. The Space For This
03. Evolutionary Sleeper
04. Celestial Voyage
05. Adam's Murmur
06. King Of Those Who Know
07. Integral Birth
Opeth Playlist (23:05 - 00:30)
02. Heir Apparent
03. The Grand Conjuration
04. Godhead's Lament
05. The Lotus Eater
06. Hope Leaves
08. Demon Of The Fall
09. The Drapery Falls
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