This was a first for me tonight as I had never witnessed either of the two bands before, but I had read plenty of good press on both, so I was looking forward to the live experience. It was a very wet autumnal night in Glasgow and as a consequence I was later arriving than planned and on entering the already packed hall Anathema were already in full flight, thankfully they were only on their first number namely ‘Untouchable parts 1 & 2’. The guys clearly have a lot of friends in Glasgow and the reception they received at the end of the openers was loud and energetic.
Vincent Cavanagh was in good form up front and was obviously enjoying the crowd reaction as were the rest of the band. The short 8 song set was a powerful showcase of the band’s talents with skilful playing throughout, especially the guitar work from Daniel Cavanagh. There was one comical moment though at the start of ‘Closer’ where Vincent took to the keyboards only to find they were a mile out of tune, they did persevere for about a minute but finally gave up much to everyone’s amusement. They redeemed themselves however with a closing duo of ‘Empty, and ‘Fragile Dreams’ by which time success had been assured and the band left the stage to resounding cheers.
Opeth’s success however was never in doubt. The band entered the stage with little fuss and with dramatic lighting which was a feature all through the show, their lighting engineer clearly knows his stuff. Opener ‘The Devil’s Orchard’, from the band’s latest album Heritage, was a good introduction for me to Opeth live. From the song’s disjointed opening through to its climactic ending the guys were note perfect. Mikael Akerfeldt was in excellent voice and proved to be a bit of a wit with his between song banter which focused on, amongst other things, ABBA and why he dislikes Stevie Wonder!
For me though the guys came into their own on the older tracks that followed, ‘White Cluster’ in particular was a real tour de force with mesmerising guitar work from both Mikael and Fredrik Akesson, stunning stuff. The crowd were with the band every step of the way and as Mikael kicked off the ballad ‘Hope Leaves’ there was a revered silence with everyone hanging on every word and chord, again the lighting engineer was earning his keep with some atmospheric backlighting to add to the mood. ‘Burden’ followed but the other highlight for me was ‘Hessian Peel’ which was a real prog metal workout, twisting and turning through dark and light passages with highly impressive playing throughout.
The set finished off with ‘Reverie/ Harlequin Forest’ before the band returned for an encore of ‘Blackwater Park’ to round off an fantastic set which went down a storm. As a live experience Opeth are well worth a trip out, even on a wet and windy night, I recommend you catch them very soon.
Review and photos by David Wilson
Interview (Mikael Akerfeldt)
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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.
Featured Albums w/c 6 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 JESSE DAMON Damon’s Rage (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 STORMFORCE Age Of Fear (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 GARY FLETCHER Rivers Keep Flowing (indie)
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