Following the release of her new record, “Waiting for the Daylight” (out October 7th, 2022, via Tuohi Records), we paid a visit on an autumn Sunday night to Tavastia on October 23rd, 2022, in order to behold Erja Lyytinen’s talent with our own eyes. The internationally acclaimed guitarist has only grown in fame over the past few years, gaining praise from critics, fans, and fellow musicians alike, and tonight was the first of a series of shows in promotion of her latest effort.
While waiting for the show to begin, we had time to glance at the merch table, where a dedicated line of three different kinds of tea stood out among the more traditional products, as well as guitar pick earrings and necklaces (later spotted on the artist herself as part of her stage outfit). As the venue filled up with fans, Erja and the rest of the band (Iiro Laitinen on the drums, Tatu Back on bass, and Harri Taittonen on keyboards) made their entrance to the stage.
Erja’s new record, as is the case for many artists who found new inspiration during these uncertain times, is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is an emotional blues rock record filled with powerful guitar solos as well as a strong songwriting, all of which came out very nicely in this somewhat intimate live setting. The show began, however, with “Don’t Let a Good Woman Down” from her fifth studio album “Voracious Love,” followed by “Cherry Overdrive” from “Another World.” The connection with the crowd was immediate, nicely supported by the other musicians on stage, and the audience. In fact Erja – who had a set of five different guitars prepared behind her to change depending on the song – was quick to conquer the crowd’s favor with her attitude, her smiles and overall playful vibe, and, of course, the music.
The title track from the new “Waiting for the Daylight” album was followed by what is probably one of the highlights of the record, “Bad Seed,” pulling us into the heart of the show, as the other new tracks followed one by one. It’s hard to not be captivated by the guitar playing during the gig, and she has a strong and energetic presence. The encore included a cover of Elmore James’ “Hand in Hand,” performed with two special guests, Teemu and Esa, who participated in the crowdfunding campaign for the album, earning themselves the spot on the stage. This was followed by “Lover’s Novels” and “The End of Music,” the latter of which is the final track on the album and also worked well as this show’s finale.
This night fully delivered on and and all expectations and was but a showcase of Erja Lyytinen’s talent, particularly along with her bandmates. The setting worked quite nicely and the “Queen of the slide guitar” offered a performance that left little to be desired to her fans.