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23.9.2018 Apocalyptica @ Tavastia, Helsinki

Apocalyptica started their Plays Metallica By Four Cellos tour in 2016. Two years of touring with a conclusion of three dates in Tavastia in Helsinki. I had the opportunity to go to the legendary very last day of the tour on 23 September 2018.

I have been following the band for over ten years now and they have caused a rollercoaster of emotions to me. Their music can bring me to highs and lows. So, admittedly, I was pretty stoked for the show. Even though I had seen the exact same show last year during Lokerse Feesten in Belgium before.

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The show consisted out of two sets. The first one simply being the four cellists on chairs, playing their debut album from a to z. Whatever made the album so successful in the first place, has survived 20 years and still has a dedicated place in everyone’s heart. Not only did they manage to bring classical music into metal, but they also managed to rebrand classical music and take it to a whole new level. Let’s be honest. These tracks may be covers of Metallica, but when I hear them, it’s not Metallica playing, it’s Apocalyptica and I even forget about their creators.

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The first set kicked off with “Enter Sandman”, I find myself singing along with the guys in the photo pit and hear some enthusiast fans singing along behind me. I take a glance over my shoulder and notice that the evening, after all, sold out. Tavastia was packed and all for our favorite four cellists in the world. Going into “Master Of Puppets” I find myself wondering what it is they do to those instruments. I play cello myself, but no way I could ever turn my cello into a shred machine. And track by track that’s proved again. The beauty of a band like Apocalyptica really lies in their shows, where the furious thrashing of four cellists skillfully recreating metal masterpieces offers a truly unique concert experience. As the band played through the album, they closed down the first set with “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”. I was excited about the little break, as I found myself at the end of a fully packed venue and felt that the atmosphere didn’t quite reach the back of the hall. As the mass of people was getting some refills, I made my way towards the stage and managed to get fairly closeby once again.

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The second set included drummer Mikko Sirén once again. His drum kit is probably one of the most aesthetic ones I’ve ever seen and yes, we have to admit he is a pretty excellent drummer and with a drum kit so impressive it’s very entertaining to watch him play.  Starting with “Fade To Black” the quintet took us through a journey of our favorite songs of Metallica. I have to say that, coming from a country like Belgium, the contrast of both nations was very drastic. Belgians are loud, they sing along loudly and often during Apocalyptica concerts there are a lot of things going on in the audience, such as crowd surfers, mosh pits, you name it and it’s there. I felt a bit out of place and loud, surrounded by people who seemed to enjoy the show quietly with a very deep respect. The only time that I managed to hear some singing in my direct vicinity was when the band played a snippet of the national anthem “Maamme”, a hymn that I don’t know the lyrics to. Don’t get me wrong, the atmosphere may have been different to what I was used to, but it was because it felt like pure magic on stage. Everyone was so focused on the performance. It was almost as if everyone was in a trance.

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The show ended with “Nothing Else Matters” and “One”. Aside from hell of a performance, the show was also a bit emotional as it was the last time Antero Manninen would perform with the guys. He would go back to his trusted seat at Lahti Symphony. The guys got him a little goodbye present for the 2 years of touring, what from afar would have looked like Ukko’s hammer, was actually a phallus-shaped pendent. I’m sure Antero Manninen will wear it with pride.

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And now Apocalyptica has deserved a break. Hopefully, they will be back soon with new material to blow us away, one thing is sure, these guys never disappoint!

 

Setlist

Set 1

  1. Enter Sandman
  2. Master of Puppets
  3. Harvester of Sorrow
  4. The Unforgiven
  5. Sad but True
  6. Creeping Death
  7. Wherever I May Roam
  8. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

    Set 2

  9. Fade to Black
  10. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  11. Fight Fire With Fire
  12. Until It Sleeps
  13. Orion
  14. Escape
  15. Battery
  16. Seek & Destroy
    (With a snippet of Maamme at the end)

    Encore

  17. Nothing Else Matters
  18. One
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