So, we made the necessary arraignments and took off for Tulsa, OK over the weekend to watch the bands rock the NRHP listed ballroom.
In a word, the concert was amazing. Katatonia, a band that I have been ambivalent about for sometime, really won me over with their performance. It was a muted, focused affair with little banter, a lot of thank yous from the band, and a large degree of crowd interaction. They exploded on with Buildings, then hit into their back catalogue with Day and the Shade, My Twin, Burn the Remembrance, Soil’s Song (one of my favorites), before returning to Dead End Kings with The Racing Heart, Lethean. They finished with the Longest Year, July, Dead Letters, and Forsaker, hitting their heaviest as they were leaving the stage.
Katatonia came across as a very tightly focused and cohesive band, doing everything they could to get everyone into the music. The bass ripped right through you, and the guitar solos hit hard.
Opeth’s set was all over the place musically, as was the band’s singer (who failed to make one dick joke during their set – this, based off other commentary regarding the concerts, should be regarded as a disappointment). They broke into to Devil’s Orchard, nailing the prog rock piece hard, as the crowd began to get pushier and pushier. WE decided that since we were there for the music to step away from the stage and listen, which worked better with Opeth.
Ghost of Perdition followed Devil’s Orchard, as Akerfeldt took the time to explain his affection for the Ghost Reveries album. Then, they went old school and hit up White Cluster from Still Life after which Akerfeldt began talking about his favorite headbanging experience. He asked if the crowd liked ballads. The crowd responded positively. So, he talked about a formative experience in headbanging, talking about how he really headbanged hard to Skid Row. Then the band played Hope Leaves and Atonement. Deliverence came next, starting a mosh pit in the center of the ballroom that could never quite get off the ground thanks to the tempo shifts in the song. Akerfeldt then taunted the crowd about headbanging and said if this is what they wanted, then just hold on. They band played Heir Apparent, one of the heaviest, yet most progressive songs in their catalogue.
After this was over, Akerfeldt cooled the set down, starting a discussion about prog rock and asking if people liked Heritage. A crowd member booed, causing the singer to ask “Why do you boo, motherfucker?” Then he broke off into a diatribe discussing how Heritage was liked Judas Priest’s Turbo album and may be remembered fondly in 10 years. The band then played Haxprocess and the acoustic version of Demon of the Fall (which he introduced by explaining to the crowd what drums Axenrot would be playing, and that the guitars were acoustic). The band finished with Lines on My Hand with Blackwater Park as their encore.
Overall, it was a great concert. The Katatonia experience was better because the crowd actually seemed to respect them; Opeth’s set was filled with attempts to get mosh pits started with a band who’s penultimate experience would be a sit down, jam style performance.