The opportunity to photograph some of my true heroes was to to be missed, so when Opeth stopped off in Glasgow on their current tour I was just a bit excited when the confirmation for my photo pass came through. The Barrowlands is an iconic venue, famous among photographers for the obstacle course of a photo pit, so this was going to be special. The air of anticipation in the venue was incredible and as the lights went down the whole place was buzzing.
Opeth arrived on stage in their usual laid back way and launched straight into the title track from last year’s Sorceress album which flowed seamlessly into Ghost Of Perdition which just happens to be one of my all time favourite Opeth songs. This showcased the range of styles that Opeth have, being much heavier than the opener from the band’s more extreme metal days. Opeth have been around for a while now, and the crowd noise increased when they they went back , really back, to 1998’s My Arms, Your Hearse for Demon Of The Fall.
The setlist was a great mix of old and new, with The Wild Flowers from Sourceress more than holding its own against the classic Windowpane which dates all the way back to 2003 and the Damnation album. This was where guitarist Fredrik was let off the leash and really had a chance to show off his skills! Amazing!
We’re given a brief lesson in Swedish too, did you know that Häxprocess means Witch Trial? Well so Mikael says and who are we to argue?. Opeth show their meandering, groggy side next with the incredible Moon Above Sun Below which features some amazing percussion, Ax is such a great drummer. This song’s rhythm changes so many direction throughout it’s 11 minutes length. It’s so complicated yet so right and it really is a masterpiece in my opinion!
We got a treat next with Blackwater Park getting it’s first airing on this round of tour. Apparently they were gonna play in Manchester the night before but they had technical issues so, to quote Mikael, they “chickened out” . Opeth may have varied their style over the year but fans clearly still have a soft spot for the band’s heavier tracks, this was one of the heaviest songs of the whole set and people really went crazy for it. We were asked to stump our feet before he started to sing the whole place was soon filled with an incredible stomping sound, like thunder. It was a beautiful moment. They finished off with Deliverance which was another heavy as hell crowd pleaser that really ended the gig on a high note .
I have always loved Opeth and I have seen them before at festivals but this live performance really was something so special , the setlist was well put together to pick just a few of the many highlights of the band’s whole career, with over 20 years to chose from that can’t be easy. Do much class, so much diversity, I think after tonight I definitely love them just a little bit more. More than just the music, Mikael was extremely funny in between songs really created this great vibe in the room .
What an experience. Photographing any band is special, but this was definitely one of the best gigs I have to this year..
Opeth, how can something be so epic yet feel so intimate?