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AmorphisTavastia, Helsinki, Finland
16th October 2020
Amorphis - 30th Anniversary Show

AMOPRHIS is a Melancholic, Dark Rock / Dark Metal band from Finland, who often merge Rock / Metal elements with some folkloristic elements and often their lyric refer to Kalevala or other classics from Finland. The band is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. http://www.amorphis.net

When AMORPHIS announced special gigs covering every decade of the bands history, I was thrilled and bound for Helsinki Finland. But then, everything changed due to COVID 19. The gigs were postponed several times and when they finally happened, fans from all over the world couldn’t go to Finland to see them, because there were tight restrictions for those who wanted to enter the country. So first of all my thanks go to Markus at Nuclear Blast, Alma at Grey Beard Management and our editor in chief Dani Vorndran for making this possible.

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When I arrived at Tavastia on this rather cold October Friday, I had already generated a QR-code providing all my contact data, so that the venue had the data of everyone who attended the show, just in case the authorities would demand them. Hand sanitizer was provided everywhere and signs reminded the people to keep their distance. The upstairs gallery was open and there were plenty of seats provided upstairs and downstairs. The places for standing were divided into rows that allowed a maximum of 12 people in one row, barrier tapes made sure, that there was space between the rows. Wearing a mask was highly recommended and sold at the bar for those willing to wear them, if they didn’t bring their own. In the media pit, that was rather small, a mask was mandatory and being used to wear it working in the media pit, ever since the government in Germany ruled, that masks are mandatory, it was not a challenge anymore. Before the show started, an announcement in Finnish and in English reminded us of the recommendations and the safety rules.

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AMOPRHIS made sure, that many of their fans could see the anniversary shows and played two shows a day for three days in a row, with is a challenge for every band and I must say, they did great, even on day three. I was quite curious which song AMOPHIS chose from their enormous back catalogue and put it on the setlist for the day that would cover the band’s first decade and how vocalist Tomi Joutsen would perform them, since he joined the band only 15 years ago. The stage had a fantastic decoration and many spots indicated that there would be an amazing lightshow as well. The piano intro of ‘Tales from the Thousand Lakes’ sounded from the speakers and the audience first went silent and then started cheering, the members came on stage one by one and the tension in the audience grew until the first chords of ‘Into Hiding’ started the show.

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I have to admit that the spots and stroboscopic lights during the photo-time were not always easy to deal with, but they definitely heated the audience up and created a fantastic atmosphere. AMOPRHIS had chosen the opener of what is a classic among their fans, their album ‘Tales from the Thousand Lakes’ and the fans screamed and sang along, highly appreciating what they were hearing and seeing. The sound was clear and perfectly mixed, a thing I had not encountered during the bands previous tours in Germany, where the sound sometimes was muffled or unbalanced. ‘The Castaway’ with its folky elements followed suit and Tomi Joutsen asked the fans to make some noise, before he began with the vocals. After this song there was a short moment to catch some breath, while Tomi Joutsen addressed the audiences. Looking around I spotted many happy faces in the audience and AMORPHIS seemed to be more than happy to be on stage at a life concert again.

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The next part of the show covered tracks from ‘Elegy’ that was released in the mid-nineties. A song I hadn’t heard live for a while and that was obviously highly appreciated by the audience was the next surprise, ‘Better Unborn’ opened a firework of AMOPHIS live-qualities and ‘On Rich And Poor’ with its high dynamic and energetic riffs brought an enormous amount of energy and power to this rather dark times. The next song then brought us to the bands rather psychedelic song ‘Tuonela’ and offered a good chance to catch some breath and I tried to remember when I had heard this song live during the last ears and I came to the result, that it must have been quite long ago and AMOPRHIS really caught me by surprise when they changed into ‘Divinity’ without a break.

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And the time of surprise wasn’t over, yet. TOMI JOUTSEN left the stage while the intro of ‘Karelia’ filled the venue. TOMI KOIVUSAARI who nowadays is on guitar duties and occasional backing vocals suddenly was in the centre of the audience’s attention while his fellow musicians saw to the perfect performance of ‘Vulgar Necrolatry’, Tomi performed amazing growls. The audience was pretty stunned to hear this song from the bands very early days in their original line-up. The band’s past more Death Metal roots were underlined by Esa Holopainen’s amazing very trashy guitar solo and it seemed that the band really enjoyed performing this song. Tomi Koivusaari got a big applause from the audience and his bandmates and seemed happy to swap duties on vocals for duty on guitar again during the next song ‘The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu’ where Tomi Joutsen on vocals showed us one of the darkest sides of AMORPHIS, that was perfectly supported with reduced lightning effects.

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‘Drowned Maiden’ brought us back to the bands more melodic side and the up-tempo song and the lights added to a lighter mood in the audience, that was increased by ‘Magic and Mayhem’. The show was already nearing the end and ‘Black Winter Day’ a fan favourite saw Tomi Joutsen delivering one of his best performances of the song so far. The final song was one of my favourite songs from their old days, that got a perfect alternative arrangement for ‘Under The Red Cloud - An Evening With Friends At Huvila’. We heard ‘My Kantele’ and I saw many people in the audience who knew the lyrics by heart.

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Then the show was over and I wished that the setlist had been longer, but due to the restrictions and the tight schedules there was no chance. I’ve seen AMORPHIS live many times on big festivals in small and larger venues, but this show was so intimate and somehow relaxed due to the reduced capacity, that I felt happy and relaxed when I left Tavastia after buying the fantastic 30th Anniversary t-shirt. The setlist was a fantastic choice of the bands enormous catalogue, the performance was flawless and once more I marvelled at ESA HOLOPAINENs guitar solos. It was unique setting and I was happy I could be part of that. The people at Tavastia had succeeded in creating a safe setting that gave band and audience the opportunity to enjoy a live show nobody will forget.

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I hope that we will see AMORPHIS on tour again, soon and I hope, that the audiences reaction might encourage them to add some of the old songs to the setlist like they did with ‘Sampo’ on the setlist of their fantastic live-stream.

Setlist
01. Into Hiding
02. The Castaway
03. Better Unborn
04. On Rich and Poor
05. Greed
06. Divinity
07. Vulgar Necrolatry
08. Exile of the Sons of Uisliu
09. Drowned Maid
10. Magic and Mayhem
11. Black Winter Day
12. My Kantele

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 10
Light: 8
Sound: 10
Total: 9.5 / 10

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All pictures by Munich Vampire
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