Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

14.5.2020 Apocalyptica: Online concert @ Private Venue, Helsinki

Due to COVID-19, APOCALYPTICA was forced to cancel their “Cell-0” tour after one show in Turku. The band previously did a casual online performance, but back then they had already announced that they would have a more serious streaming concert on 14 May 2020. Sitting in the front row behind our computers, we were ready to watch their show.

Fans who were subscribed to their newsletter could vote for songs they wanted to hear during the concert. The band would pick the most popular song as part of their setlist. The stream started with “Ashes of the Modern World,” one of their latest songs from “Cell-0.” The song is an excellent opening track, as it starts off softly but then progresses in a cello shred-feast that creates an exhilarating energy.

Without a break, the band threw themselves into a fast and heavy version of “Path.” After they finished playing the classic, Eicca Toppinen greeted the virtual audience and introduced the next song, “Cell-0,” the title track of their latest album. The band had only played this track live once before, but immediately showed off how well they were able to play it and how this is an incredible song to play live, especially considering it’s one of the heavier tracks on the album. As the intense riffs progressed, you could see the band threw themselves into the show, which resulted in a lot of sweat and probably one of the heavier sets ever.

Apocalyptica at Hartwall Arena (2019) – © Laureline Tilkin

The band continued with an old classic, “Hope,” but not before Perttu Kivilaakso grabbed the mic and introduced the song to the virtual masses. The instrumental version of “Hope” is one of APOCALYPTICA‘s most legendary tracks and with its hauntingly beautiful melodies, it was great to finally witness its live version. Drummer Mikko Sirén grabbed the microphone and explained how Perttu Kivilaakso had decided that the next song would be “Last Hope,” even though the song apparently had maybe only 2 or 3 votes for “Last Hope,” but nonetheless they would play it. Sirén continued, explaining that “Last Hope” on “Worlds Collide” was originally played by SLAYER-drummer Dave Lombardo and he would be even more out of breath after this song. How “Last Hope” got so little votes is really unclear to me, as it’s a killer track live and shows just how skillful drummer Mikko Sirén is as he channels his inner Dave Lombardo.

Without introducing the next song, Sirén explained how this is a brand new version and it’s the first time they would play it: the instrumental version of “Bittersweet” followed and the chatbox clearly rejoiced in excitement, as an incredible amount of hearts passed by. The new version worked perfectly, although in the end, I don’t think it matters that much which version the band is playing, the effect is still the same: goosebumps.

Apocalyptica at Hartwall Arena (2019) – © Laureline Tilkin

The band dove straight into “Scream for the Silent,” after which “En Route to Mayhem” followed. The vast number of “Cell-0” tracks makes the success of the album clear, as a lot of votes from fans went to the new tracks rather than old classics. Next, the band would play a song they hadn’t played in ages and was definitely a welcome surprise, “Quutamo.” The instrumental track (which also has variations in three different languages) was a great addition to the setlist and is truly a fan-favorite.

APOCALYPTICA, among fans, is also known for their funny stage banter and personalities, which was clear with the next track. Apparently, a fan named Steve had sent in his request a song named “Yeaaaaah,” which the band would now improvise live on stage. The NAPALM DEATH-styled song was the perfect heavy comic relief before a more serious track, “Grace.” Before grabbing his cello to play, Perttu Kivilaakso jumped around goofily dancing to the song and then, later on, grabbed his cello and danced some more, showing the audience how it’s done. “Inquisition Symphony” and “Nothing Else Matters” are tracks the band has played most live and are definitely worthy of their spots on the APOCALYPTICA by-request setlist.

Apocalyptica at Hartwall Arena (2019) – © Laureline Tilkin

After such heavy songs, the band ended their set with the highly demanded (and probably my all-time favorite APOCALYPTICA track) “Farewell.” Unfortunately, before the song reached its ultimate climax, the stream was interrupted between the screens. Nobody likes a cliffhanger, but luckily the band fixed the problem and fans could watch the full version later on. The band ended their set with the mandatory “Hall of the Mountain King,” which never gets old.

Altogether, the streaming concert was a great success (even though the intense cliffhanger was a bit of a let down at the time). The band had an interesting setup, where they were facing drummer Mikko Sirén, allowing a bit more of an intimate atmosphere among themselves and a unique perspective for us to see how Sirén gets things done. The band created a great atmosphere with fairy lights and the production was outstanding. All-in-all a great experience again!

Setlist

  1. Ashes of the Modern World
  2. Path
  3. Cell-0
  4. Hope
  5. Last Hope
  6. Bittersweet
  7. Scream for the Silent
  8. En Route to Mayhem
  9. Quutamo
  10. Yeah
  11. Grace
  12. Inquisition Symphony (Sepultura cover)
  13. Farewell
  14. Hall of the Mountain King (Edvard Grieg cover)

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