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P1730054Allas Sea Pool, Helsinki, Finland
12th June 2021
Michael Monroe with Sami Yaffa & Linde Lindström

When I entered Allas Sea Pool to attend the MICHAEL MONROE show in their yard, I realized that his show at TBA Suvilathi in August 2020 had been my last outdoor show last year. On Friday SAMI YAFFA had released his first solo single ‘The Last Time’ from the new and coming album and it turned out to be a good song to get ready for a promising summer season.

The weather forecast had not been in our favour but it seemed that everyone who obtained a ticket was determined to attend the show. Allas Sea Pool had worked out a brilliant health and safety concept. At the entrance people got a coloured wristband that allowed to take a seat in the designated zone. Masks had to be worn whenever leaving your seat, masks were provided for those in need of one and the security made sure the rules were being followed, though most people followed them anyway. Overall, I felt perfectly safe without feeling patronized. There was a minimum of rules for a maximum of safety. 

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As mentioned above the weather forecast promised rain and wind during the show and just in time before the band got on stage, rain started falling. You could see an entertaining transformation as people started covering their precious battle vests and leather jackets with rain covers in all colours, but this did not spoil the good in the crowd. I still wonder how artists who are used to stirring up a crowd feel, if people are sitting in front of them during a dedicated performance, but I guess this will be the case for a while. Today’s band line-up consisted of MICHAEL MONROE, SAMI YAFFA and LINDE LINDSTRÖM and those who had seen the band’s live-stream recently, already knew that tonight good music would be for granted. http://michaelmonroe.com / https://www.facebook.com/michaelmonroeofficial

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Music & Performance
When the intro music stopped, the audience started applauding and the band came on stage. “Rock’n’Roll!” I thought when they opened the show with ‘Hammersmith Palais’ (DEMOLITION 23 cover) followed by ‘It’s Cold Outside ‘(THE CHOIR cover) rocking all over the venue. I got quite busy catching MICHAEL MONROE rocking all over the stage, doing the splits or sitting on the edge of the stage playing guitar, while SAMI YAFFA gave us the beat on base. ‘Gone Baby Gone’ stirred the audience to life and one of the authors favourite songs followed suit: ‘Last Train to Tokyo’ saw the audience rocking’ as good as you can, while being seated. The weather took its toll and once in a while someone had to adjust the tune of his instrument, but the audience took this with a matter of fact smile and the show went on.

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During the show Michael addressed the audience frequently and the musicians smiles during the performance proved, that they were really happy to perform in front of a live audience again. After ‘You Crucified Me’ Michael announced a song written by DEE DEE RAMONE and the audience happily joined him during the chorus of ‘Under the Northern Lights’. ‘All you need’ marked the half-time of the regular set and by setting ‘Let’s Live for Today’ on the setlist the band chose a song with lyrics that might have gotten a new meaning during the past months. Anyway, once more the audience joined the chorus and song by song the show grew in intensity. The cover of GRAHAM PARKER’s ‘Get Started, Start a Fire’ became a frequently played song on my playlist after MICHAEL MONROE’s show in August 2020 and so I was more than happy, that it was on the playlist on Saturday night once more and Linde played a brilliant solo-part that gave the song a really unique touch.

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‘I Will Stay’ is a song Michael Monroe covered several times and I still get the chills if I hear the version, he played with the HURRIGANES in Helsinki’s Icehall back in December 2018. Tonight, we got a slightly different version, no saxophone but Michael’s harmonica and a brilliant intermediate play on guitar by Linde made it a song worth paying attention to. You might ask yourself why there is no drumkit visible on stage. The answer is quite simple, there were no drums and their absence did not derogate the show. SAMI YAFFA is a genius on bass and it was a welcome fact that the other instruments were not drowned out by the drums. Now that the end of the regular set was drawing close, it was time for some hits of HANOI ROCKS. ‘Don’t You Ever Leave Me’ and ‘Motorvatin’’ saw many in the crowd singing along and when it was time for ‘Up Around the Bend’ Michael asked the audience to sing the chorus part, while he climbed down the stage and over the barrier to meet the crowd. The reward was loud cheering and some people danced to the last tune of the song.

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When the band left the stage under loud applause, an encore was immediately demanded and when the band came back to perform ‘Brick by Brick’ and ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ the audience was quite happy to see a rocking end of the show. The outro was ‘Always Look on The Bright Side of Life’ and looking at the faces of the people leaving or staying to chat with their friends, I thought that the band succeeded in giving the people a few hours of bright life during times, where these are really needed badly. MICHAEL MONROE will be live on stage in Finland several times this year, you can find the dates here http://michaelmonroe.com/web/tour. In these special times, it’s not easy to cover live gigs, so my thanks go to Warner Music Finland and our editor in chief Dani Vorndran for making this possible.

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Setlist
01. Hammersmith Palais
02. It’s Cold Outside
03. Gone Baby Gone
04. Last Train to Tokyo
05. You Crucified Me
06. Under the Northern Lights
07. All You Need
08. Can’t Go Home Again
09. Let’s Live for Today
10. Get Started, Start a Fire
11. I Will Stay
12. Don’t You Ever Leave Me
13. Motorvatin'
14. Up Around the Bend
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15. Brick by Brick
16. Do Anything You Wanna Do

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 9
Light: 9
Sound: 8
Total: 9 / 10

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All Pictures by Munich Vampire
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