photos by Paul Bachmann, words by Stefan Raduta
Has it really been 20 years? Unbelievable, Opeth have been around for this long, since Mikael Åkerfeldt was 16 years old. I remember the day when I first heard Orchid and I just fell in love with their unique, stunning sound. Without exaggerating, they are one of today's most successful metal acts and seeing them sell out Terminal 5 on their own is something expected and so well deserved. I'm sure people flew in from everywhere, it was either NYC or LA.
To commemorate their 20th anniversary, Opeth put together 6 very exclusive shows across the globe: Stockholm(Sweden), Essen(Germany), Paris (France), London (UK), New York City and Los Angeles. Needless to say, all sold out months in advance. To make these events as special as possible, they announced they'd play 2001's Blackwater Park from beginning to end, and as a bonus they'd even perform some songs they never played before from their previous albums.
Having seen them live numerous times before, I can safely say that their performance on April 7th is one of the most memorable, and definitely their longest set ever, over two and half hours long! They always were a great live band, but now it's ridiculous to see how good they've become, how natural and relaxed they are while playing every single note to the perfection. It just makes so much sense to see them where they are now. Theirs is not just a simple success story. It took Opeth eleven years to finally break through with Blackwater Park, their fifth album that came very close to never being released. During the recording they almost broke down and abandoned everything - tensions were high, but Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree) saved them. He helped the band with the albums that followed too. The band has never compromised though. They always stood their ground, even while struggling in the underground for so many years, releasing the most out of the ordinary music - a stunning medley of heartbroken melancholy and neck breaking riffs. They had a serious loyal fan base but no real label support.
In New York City the fans just went berserk as soon as they came on stage. I've rarely seen such an enthusiastic crowd. Blackwater Park goes very deep with a lot of people, and even for the band it was a real turning point. So you could pretty much cut the excitement with a knife. People came for an experience to remember, and Opeth gave the audience their money's worth, and more. So many young kids who were probably barely born when Opeth started were even going nuts with every song, singing the lyrics, crowd surfing, moshing, you name it, a real metal show. As for the set list...you really couldn't ask for anything better. Anyone who's been at these exclusive events really got the best Opeth deal of their lives...I could go through every one of these timeless classics, but there's just no point. Check out the setlist with more pictures from the show below....
1. The Leper Affinity
4. The Drapery Falls
5. Dirge For November
6. The Funeral Portrait
7. Patterns In The Ivy
8. Blackwater Park
9. Forest Of October (Orchid, 1995)
10. Advent (Morningrise, 1996)
11. April Ethereal (My Arms, Your Hearse, 1998)
12. The Moor (Still Life, 1999)
13. Wreath (Deliverance, 2002)
14. Hope Leaves (Damnation, 2002)
15. Harlequin Forest (Ghost Reveries, 2005)
16. The Lotus Eater (Watershed, 2008)