When my friend and I finally made it inside (there was also the biggest line I've ever seen), we headed straight to the merch booth. There was no way I was going to leave another concert without a new t-shirt. Once again, we were met with another one of the biggest lines I've ever seen. By the time we made it to the front, Varg was already on stage and playing. Though I did get me a sweet Wintersun North America tour shirt. I have not taken it off since.
|Except to take a picture of course!|
The sound quality was also great for this concert. Opera House is pretty inconsistent in that regard; sometimes it has great sound quality and others you can barely make out the band over the double kicks. Maybe the venue replaced their speakers recently, I don't know. Or maybe they just had to crank up the quality because Wintersun was playing. Either way, it was really nice.
The crowd was already going crazy for Wintersun the moment Varg left. There were even cheers when the banner was raised behind the stage. There was never any doubt in my mind that the majority of the crowd was there for Wintersun. It was around this time that the venue became wall-to-wall packed as I described before. The notes started playing, the band came out to Sons of Winter and Stars and everything just melted away. Seeing Wintersun play doesn't feel like you're at a concert, it's an experience. The song sounded the exact same as it does on the album. It just added to the experience when the crowd started singing along and everyone threw their hands in the air. I mean, normally I'd be pretty uncomfortable being pressed up against the wall, but it didn't bother me much here.
|The Opera House looked something like this.|
It was nice seeing Eluveitie because half the crowd had left by that time. At that point, the crowd was as dense as it is at normal concerts. There were still quite a few people there, mind you, but I could actually move a couple feet to either side. The band took quite a while to set up, for really no good reason. They brought out Chrigel's little hangar of tricks with all the instruments that he played strapped onto it. It was cool seeing what he'd pull off of it at any given song. The instruments included a small harp and a flute. Then the roadies took away Wintersun's drum kit and replaced it with... not much. Eluveitie's drum kit consisted of a snare, two or three toms, a single bass drum, a high-hat, ride and crash cymbals and nothing else. Being one of the most customizable instruments, and with Eluveitie consisting of so many different sounds, it was an interesting choice to say the least. They had more of a drum kit the last time I saw them.
Elueveitie is definitely one of the heavier folk metal bands around and they know it. Chrigel was constantly trying to make the (already large) mosh pit larger and larger. It all culminated in one of the biggest walls of death the venue could hold after he stated that he wanted it "to look like Braveheart". Anyway, the band played the entirely of Helvetios. It's not a bad album by any means, it's just a lot to take in at once. Just a constant barrage of melodeath. That's sort of what Eluveitie's set felt like. It definitely wasn't bad, and they are actually also one of the better bands I've seen live. It was just that, after Wintersun, I had already spent a lot of my energy and Eluveitie kept wanting me to give more. I did however eventually make my way to the front of the crowd and got a pretty good view of the show from there.
The folk elements were alive and well in the songs. They were definitely louder than the previous two bands, but it didn't take away from the performance much. The songs that worked the best were the ones that had flute and violin playing the same parts since it was much easier to distinguish between the folk and the metal. The most surprising part of the whole set though was during The Siege. My mouth was wide open when I realized it was Anna who was doing the screaming vocals alongside Chrigel. Between that and the clean vocals during Rose for Epona, I have to say that girl is talented. And she can play the hurdy-gurdy. Bonus. See the video below for some Anna. After they finished Helvetios, Eluveitie took a quick break and came out for the longest encore ever, playing songs from their previous albums. It wasn't an Eluveitie show unless they played Inis Mona! The songs all sounded good, and it was interesting to see how much the band has changed over the years. They even played that unreleased song that they included on their most recent compilation. And it sounded pretty good live.
The entire concert felt more like an experience than a show. Every band was amazing. The only downside to that though is how much energy it takes out of you. There were definitely some people who were moshing and stuff the entire time, but the crowd was noticeably more quiet after they had finished all singing along to Death and the Healing. I guess that's why it's better to have unknown local bands start off the show sometimes. But yeah, everything was good. Everyone should have an idea by now about how Eluveitie is live. Wintersun is like listening to the album with hundreds of people. Varg is also a very good live band. And they're from Germany. Buy their stuff. In fact, buy Wintersun's and Eluveitie's stuff too. Every band on this card should be supported to no end, they're all amazing.
Also, I'd like to give a shout-out to the guys wearing the bear costumes.