POETS OF THE FALL – Virgin Oil Co., Helsinki, 30.04.2010

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It has been quite a while since Poets of the Fall played a concert in Helsinki. They have spent the past year writing their latest album, Twilight Theater, and the job is finally done. The album hit stores in March and went gold almost immediately. After that, it was time to get back on the road. The band did a tour in Russia first and then it was time for Finland and Helsinki. In April, Poets of the Fall graced the capital city with two gigs, one on the 3rd of April at Tavastia and another one on the 30th at Virgin Oil Co.

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At both shows, the warm up act was what I call PotF’s ‘child’ -band, Phoenix Effect. I have seen them a few times already and they’ve always been good. Yet there is something that doesn’t allow them to overcome that level of simply ‘good’ and become ‘excellent’. Maybe it is because warming up for a band like Poets of the Fall is always a challenge, as they are impossible to outshine no matter what you do.

At the concert in Tavastia, the band’s vocalist, Marko Saaresto, was really sick, but luckily in Virgin Oil he seemed to really fit into his stage persona. They started the gig with the hit single off the new album, “Dreaming Wide Awake.” People were feeling rather festive as it was Vappu evening (a big holiday in Finland before May Day), so the upbeat and cheerful mood was set for the whole concert from the very beginning.

I have always been amazed by the diversity of the audience you can see at Poets of the Fall’s gigs. There are teenage girls in search of their Prince Charming, there are long-haired metalheads who are not afraid to show their tender side, there also people close to the retirement age trying to enjoy some youthful nostalgia… whatever their motives are, they all find what they’re searching for in the band’s music.

So let me tell you what it’s like to be at a show in the Twilight Theater. They play the most spellbinding music there. It makes you open your eyes wider and face your vices; meanwhile letting you float on the waves of such compositions as “Smoke and Mirrors”, “Diamonds for Tears”, “War”, and “Given and Denied.” You can’t help but to open your heart to some of these new songs and sing along.

All kinds of interesting and amusing characters can be seen on stage. There’s the waggish jester, Olli Tukiainen, playing his guitar. That night he decided to add something new to his looks and borrowed funny-looking glasses from the audience to everyone’s entertainment. There’s the Tin Woodman, Jani Snellman, who has been always too absorbed in playing his bass-guitar. However, nowadays Jani is playing his instrument with a big smile on his face. There’s the big bear, Jaska Makinen, on rhythm guitar and behind the keyboards there’s the genie “Captain,” Markus Kaarlonen, and the man you can hardly see behind the sparkling purple drum-kit, Jari Salminen. The main character on this stage is the Magician, Marko Saaresto, who will charm and lull you with his voice.

You can’t shake off the enchantment so easily as the show goes on with “Dying to Live”, “You’re Still Here”, “Illusion & Dream”, “15 Min Flame”, and so on. The actors in the Twilight Theater know their job too well. They were on fire that night and as Marko went across the stage, shaking hands with people in the first rows, he lets the audience share some of that flame.

The last act of the play ended with the most powerful and bright moment – “Carnival of Rust.” This song swirls you in the vortex of your deepest emotions where it goes deep down and touches everyone, even if you’re made of tin.

As the last notes died away, it was time to leave the theater. All of the guitar riffs were played and all of the goodbyes were said. The curtain falls.

Setlist (Tavastia):
1. Dreaming Wide Awake
2. More
3. War
4. Given and Denied
5. Dying to Live
6. You’re Still Here
7. Illusion & Dream
8. Rewind
9. Change
10. Locking Up the Sun
11. The Ultimate Fling
12. Heal My Wounds
13. Lift

Encore:
14. Carnival of Rust

Text: Tanja Caciur | Photos: Jana Blomqvist

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