This was my first time at the Birmingham Academy and I liked the venue – easy to get to from where I work, easy parking at a reasonable price (even if I do think it should be free parking at that time of night), big downstairs, good location for the merchandise. And most importantly, the sound was good.
Opeth had two support bands, and I will comment on them after I have seen them again at London and Nottingham. This meant that to comply with the curfew Opeth’s time on stage was effectively reduced. They often play for 2 hours, but this set was at least half an hour shorter than that. It was still a set filled with power and energy, excellent musicianship, and a Conan the Barbarian tshirt. Also interesting to note that Per Wiberg ..boards was wearing a Discharge tshirt, and Martin Axenrot on drums was wearing a Queen tshirt. And all this probably explains why Opeth are a band standing alone – at least until someone else tries to copy their sound.
Mikael Akerfeldt was his usual understated self, full of dry humour, irony, self-deprecation – it all adds up to being a brilliant combination, and at an absolute counter to the music. The music is upfront, in your face, demanding, intricate, assured, powerful, but not too loud so that the edge is lost – and the band are so tight right now. The set included two tracks from the latest album, Watershed, and then a selection from all but the first two of their albums. All songs of the highest quality, brilliantly performed, and well appreciated by the audience. There may well be changes to the setlist at London and Nottingham, so I am looking forward to see what they might swap around – there are some favourites I would enjoy seeing featured.
The Grand Conjuration
Demon Of The Fall
The Drapery Falls