In a quasi-repeat performance of the show from December 12th, 2013, local Finnish bands Turisas and Ensiferum paired up once more for a show in Helsinki on Easter Sunday (April 20th, 2014), this time leaving Nosturi behind in favor of the somewhat larger venue, The Circus. Musicalypse went to check it out, to see how the 2014 show compared to the one from 2013.
The bands swapped places this time around – while in 2013, Ensiferum was opening the show, this time Turisas got things started (after opener Thaurorod finished, that is). They started things off right on time at 21:33, opening the show once again with the spoken intro – the words from “To Holmgard and Beyond” – and came on stage before starting things up with “Ten More Miles.” This song has grown on me a lot as a live song, and while on the album I don’t think it’s anything special, it does have a good feel with a crowd, where they can shout the “Turisas, you can count on us” part with the band. It also works decently as an opening song.
“Take the Day!” again followed, and while not much differed from the last show, I noted some really nice turn-taking going on between Olli and Jussi. They had a very nice back-and-forth on stage, with Olli ending the song with a bit of shredding. Continuing with the trend from their last show, “To Holmgard and Beyond” came next. This is still probably one of the greatest songs of all time, but I’m certain that it will never be the same without the accordionist. The piano part during the drone doesn’t have the folky sound. Perhaps it could be fixed if they used a more appropriate-sounding keyboard setting for the part, but I don’t think this song holds a candle to the way it sounded back in 2009, for example.
This show dropped “Greek Fire” and “Rex Regis Rebellis” and swapped in “Land of Hope and Glory” and “One More” instead. In fact, setlist-wise, this was probably one of the best shows they’ve done in their later era. Fan favorites like “Battle Metal” and “No Good Story Ever Starts with Drinking Tea” were naturally in the set, but some nicer older tracks were a good change. “The Land of Hope and Glory” has an excellent atmosphere with the chanting and the violin line though, and Olli was sounding great during “One More.”
“For Your Own Good” is a bit of a downer following the more powerful older songs, and it’s obvious that Jaakko Jakku is a very talented drummer, what with all the stick tossing he does, so it seems like his skill is wasted on the “disco drums” that are getting more and more common in their newer songs.
One of the best parts of the show was, however, the fact that they brought back “Miklagard Overture” for the final song. That is easily one of their most grand and dramatic songs and has been on some people’s list of songs they didn’t expect to hear live again. Even better than that though, was that after “Stand Up and Fight” as the first encore, they brought back “Rasputin” to finish the show (taking the place of “Täällä pojantähden alla” from the Independence Day show).
All-in-all, it was a great performance. They’re a tight live band and their music is energetic and fun. In fact, if you prefer their older music (like myself), these non-promotional gigs can be a better option because they’re more likely to play an even variety of tracks spanning their whole discography. They are a very dramatic band, and perhaps the only thing that is separating them from a musical stage show is the lack of choreographed dancing on stage with them. Now, if only they’d play “March of the Varangian Guard” live, I could die satisfied!
1. Ten More Miles
2. Take the Day!
3. To Holmgard and Beyond
4. The Land of Hope and Glory
5. One More
6. For Your Own Good
7. Battle Metal
8. No Good Story Every Starts With Drinking Tea
9. We Ride Together
10. Miklagard Overture
11. Stand Up and Fight
12. Rasputin (Boney M. cover)
Turisas may have gone late, and as a result, Ensiferum was 15 minutes late starting. The first thing worth noting was that, in the Facebook event, there was a message mentioning that vocalist Pete Lindroos was suffering from a case of tenosynovitis, and therefore would not be playing guitar. His replacement was Jukka-Pekka Miettinen, who fans may remember as Ensiferum’s bassist from 1998-2004.
The band started the show with the “Symbols” intro, right into “In My Sword I Trust,” like Turisas, following the pattern from the last show. Pete was indeed not playing guitar, but his replacement proved right away to be capable of doing his parts. The only real thing of note was that Miettinen looked a bit out of place next to the long-haired be-kilted men, with his shorter hair and khaki pants.
Pete spent the gross majority of the show with a foot up, focusing on the vocals, and I was admittedly a bit shocked at how good he looked as a vocals-only frontman. One might think that if a vocalist has spent his career with a guitar in hand, he might be bored without it on stage. However, that wasn’t the case. He looked just as natural with a mic in his hand as he did with it sitting in the stand in front of him, smiling and mouthing the words to the clean parts and chants and paying a bit more attention to the crowd than a guitarist is allowed. He was also able to share the mic with the crowd and engage the fans a lot more.
“Windrider” from the December show was replaced with “Guardians of Fate” and “Unsung Heroes” was left out altogether. Like Turisas, Ensiferum used this show as an opportunity to play some of their older tracks, like “Tale of Revenge,” “Treacherous Gods,” and “Hero in a Dream.” Pete even got to take a break and go off stage during “Lai Lai Hei,” which incidentally, I have never heard in a non-encore context before.
In fact, the only other new song that Ensiferum played was “Bamboleo” (Gipsy Kings cover), which they used to end the night, before playing “Iron” and the “William Tell Overture” as their encores. This was again an ideal show for people who were bigger fans of their first few albums as most of the songs were from the pre-Pete Lindroos era of the band. Like Turisas, they are a fun and energetic live band.
There were no drastic or overly notable differences between the two shows, except the setlists that the bands played. Apart from Pete’s apparent prowess as a hands-free vocalist, there was not much to behold in these shows that one hasn’t seen in any of their shows before. Both bands are great to see live, and to catch them both in the same event is always going to be worth it!
1. Symbols (intro)
2. In My Sword I Trust
3. Guardians of Fate
4. Tale of Revenge
5. Treacherous Gods
6. Token of Time
7. Hero in a Dream
8. One More Magic Potion
9. Battle Song
10. Lai Lai Hei
11. Bamboléo (Gipsy Kings cover)
13. William Tell Overture (Gioachino Rossini cover)