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Live Reviews : Opeth (Sydney) – 23/11/2009

By on November 26, 2009


w/ Contrive

The Enmore Theatre, Enmore – 23th November 2009

The other week I was reading through an interview with Opeth mainman, Mikael Åkerfeldt, where he discussed how he had been recording and listening over their shows from the current tour and he had come to the conclusion that Opeth were now at a level where the difference between a night where they had played a ‘killer’ or a ‘bad’ show had become almost unhearable. When I was reading this, I sat there thinking, I’ve seen Opeth around ten times now and have they ever put on a bad show? And the only the answer I could come up with was…no. Not once. And tonight definitely did not disappoint.

After rushing away from work early, and dealing with an hour and a half long train trip where the lingering stench of a deranged, homeless man seemed to be the flavour of the day, I arrived at the Enmore Theatre where I was greeted by an ocean of black clad Opeth fans. Seeing that Opeth has always been a band that has pulled music fans out from the woodwork each tour, I was not surprised to see such a mass of enthusiastic fans all counting down the minutes till one of their favourite bands hit the stage for their second Australian tour in support of their latest album, Watershed.

Due to the predictable delays on my trip down, I only managed to catch the tail end of Melbourne support band, Contrive’s set. I remember hearing these guys’ debut album a year or two back and not being too impressed but I have to admit, seeing them live this time around definitely helped change my opinion of them. While still not the best band I’ve seen support Opeth in Oz, they put on an extremely tight performance and their new stuff definitely seems to be going in a direction for the better. Will definitely be interested in checking out their new album once it is released.

To kill that inevitable wait between the support band and headlining band, I caught up with a few mates at the bar next door before getting back inside just in time to see the venue lights dim and all focus suddenly centred on the massive Opeth logo behind the stage. The time had come for the Swedish quintet to grace the stage and take us away on a night of musical euphoria. After the infamous gloomy intro tape, Opeth kicked into the unexpected opener of Windowpane, from the Damnation album. At first I thought this to be an unusual opener but it definitely worked in their favour with the audience screaming out louder than the band at times, and each accent, note, beat and solo receiving the highest of praise.

And with a grand juxtaposition from the light to the dark, Opeth launched into Ghost of Perdition which sent the crowd absolutely ballistic. I swear at some points there were people in the crowd jumping higher than the stage. From here on Opeth spanned through a history of tracks, executing them with expertise and perfection. Ranging from new tracks like The Lotus Eater and Hessian Peel to old classics such as April Ethereal and Face of Melinda, Opeth never missed a beat, and the fans lapped up every moment.

Each member brought their own flair to the stage, whether it had been the amazing encore solos we witnessed from guitarist Fredrik Åkesson, drummer Martin Axenrot and bassist Martin Mendez, to the well developed backing vocals of keyboardist Per Wilberg, to the comedy stylings of frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt, the crowd were never left a moment without being solidly entertained.

Closing their close to 2 hour set with Deliverance, Opeth left the stage with promises that they’ll be back for the next tour once the new album has been released. While many bands make this pledge at the end of their shows, Opeth is one band that I know will be true to their word, and after witnessing the audience reaction to their show tonight, I’m pretty sure that the band will be looking just as forward to coming back as the fans will be. Another solid Opeth performance that did not disappoint! Kudos to the Swedish five.

Opeth Set List – The Enmore Theatre, Enmore – 23th November 2009

1. Windowpane
2. Ghost of Perdition
3. The Lotus Eater
4. The Leper Affinity
5. Victim of Changes (partial Judas Priest cover)
6. Hessian Peel
7. April Ethereal
8. Face of Melinda
9. Reverie/Harlequin Forest
10. Hex Omega

11. Guitar solo/Drum solo/Bass solo
12. Deliverance