Written by: Marianne Jacobsen
Pictures by: Jonathan Sippel
After a summer of unbelievable live festivals and concerts, I really had no expectations for Opeth and The Sword, except that I was sure that the beloved Massey Hall would make for a great venue to showcase two such amazing acts.
When I first got there I was completely relieved to see that the “facelift” that had been whispered had never actually happened and that the place my own grandmother had attended a Roger Whittaker concert at 46 years before was exactly the same. No escalators, no chairs in the balcony – and no modifications to the inside structure of the Hall itself. (Pastafarians like me say Ramen to good stuff like this).
I honestly didn’t know where I was going and figured the press would be shoved off in some corner just being lucky enough to witness such a great idea and two amazing acts.
Again, I am wrong. Not only was I escorted to my seat by a very pleasant gentleman, I was also 5 rows from the stage. But before I could hurl chunks over my luck or have someone “recheck” and “confirm” this was the correct seat the houselights went down and the show began.
I have to admit I saw another “review” of this same performance by a guy I could swear was sitting beside me. Dude – you missed The Sword? You missed the grooviest jam I have heard in fucking ages – TOO BAD FOR YOU!
I had last heard The Sword this summer of all summers at the Carolina Rebellion and took note when I realized their set was better than Clutch (who went on next). I knew when the announcement came about them playing Massey Hall this would really give me a chance to give them a chance and not make me believe it was just a “lucky gig” back in North Carolina in May.
No luck here – just pure musicianship, quality players which the music on their mind, not the stage show. Showing once again that Texas is not a State you should mess with when it comes to their metal.
Since my last run in with The Sword – they have given us the gift of Low Country – for which they opened their set with the first track Unicorn Farm and adding four more to their set including Empty Temples, Buzzards, the Dreamtheives, Seriously Mysterious and Empty Temples.
Groovy is a bit of a dated term for me – but the warm approval from the crowd of The Sword’s performance (which ended in a well-deserved standing ovation) just made me walk out into the lobby during the intermission with a contact buzz of appreciation. So much so that I journeyed downstairs and bought their baseball shirt (IT GLOWS IN THE DARK!) I had no idea till I went to the bathroom the night in the middle of the night – tmi?!?)
Cloak of Feathers
Mist & Shadow
Maiden, Mother & Crone
Find enough time, and realize that there are a lot of needers of alcohol and band merchandise squashed into the same area, but whatever, the girl’s bathroom is not heavily occupied – these are bonuses when you get older and your bladder smaller.
So polite they are at Massey Hall, in between all the beer and swag chaos an elevator chime rings and we are advised that the show is about to return from intermission.
Again I ask the nice man to check my ticket and point me somewhere other than this throne I have been granted for Opeth.
I think I have seen Opeth once before at Heavy T.O. I appreciate the superior beings they are as Representations of the Swedes (if you had forgotten Mikael reminded the hall NUMEROUS TIMES)
Now, Massey Hall is a very very traditional place. And with that, I saw a lot of fans dressed up like a night at the symphony – totally cool and well done – way to put the icing on an already special occasion. Also when you are in the orchestra you have paid for a better seat (enter Lepper Messiah) – and without saying – the seats at Massey Hall were made for sitting in and enjoying the show.
Unfortunately, I was not of like mind with the fans in front of me. So honestly all I saw was the back of two big dudes and fucking great light show. All my focus was on Frederick the guitarist because he was the only one I could see – so I watched the fans.
As Opeth opened with the title track from their new album Sorceress as well as adding in the crowd were on their feet and this did not slow down during their 12 song setlist and an encore that drained every last fan of any energy they had left – all donated to a good cause.
They worked their way through the setlist with the primary target the opportunity for them to share many contributions from Sorceress as well as some classics and fan loving The Drapery Falls and The Devil’s Orchard. The passion that these fans put forth into their interpretation or “sing along” was as rapturous as the music. Song after song they would rise to their feet and the physical release and exchange of energy was so powerful.
The antidotes, the whoops from the crowd to be responded back to by the band and the insanity of talent – it’s one of those things that if you weren’t there you won’t get it. No video or audio recording can capture the vibe. So don’t be a dick and get out to a show and buy a t-shirt! RIGHT NOW!
10/10 and my top 3 shows of the year for sure.
Ghost of Perdition
Demon of the Fall
The Wilde Flowers
Face of Melinda
In My Time of Need
Will O the Wisp
Cusp of Eternity
The Drapery Falls
The Devil’s Orchard