LEAVES' EYES & Kamelot @ProgPower USA, Sept. 10, 2010

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6 Oct 2010, 21:02

Fri 10 Sep – ProgPower XI USA

Believe it or not, after four years on last.fm this is my first concert review ever (aside from this which doesn't count). And I'm doing it os_teriyaki style which means MASSIVE TL;DR ABOUT EVERYTHING except I'm kicking it to the NEXT LEVEL because I'm also chronicling the EPIC AND RATHER EVENTFUL JOURNEY or at least what I still remember of it as this was over two weeks ago -_- (EDIT now almost a month ago cuz this took to write)

To preface, I'm not really a fan of power metal or progressive music; I haven't bothered to listen to much of either but my current impression of power metal is "sometimes fun but often boring" and my impression of progressive music is "sometimes amazing, often boring, sometimes annoying," and definitely requires a time commitment to appreciate that I'm usually unwilling to give. (Check out my Dream Theater plays... how are they even in my library? I must have fallen asleep with last.fm radio playing at some point) On the other hand I am a lifelong fan of orchestral film music, and so I love "symphonic" metal/rock, and I'll give almost anything with enjoyable female vocals a listen. Female-fronted symphonic metal has been my genre of choice since shortly after I joined Last.fm four years ago and discovered that it was not just something I hoped might be out there, but actually existed; but this festival was my first time seeing any metal band from Europe live.

Part 1: Leaves' Eyes and Kamelot
(everyone else who played were just support acts as far as I'm concerned, sry)

Set off September 7, I had to get my dad to drive in the end, as I still can't drive and I couldn't find anyone to ride with.



WOW

Stopped on the way at a motel in Tennessee. I checked the bed for bed bugs and was a little disappointed to find none. But then I found one, and then I found two whole families of them! ^_^ I filmed them in HD:



The management moved us a few doors to the right, where I found only one bed bug, and then a few doors more to the right, where I found none, so we stayed there and I MUTILATED THE FLAG OF THE NETHERLANDS






I used a "Painter" gold fabric paint pen. Very happy with the result :D

The next morning I used the hotel's computer (free for 20 minutes) to spend some eMusic credits, and discovered that Kamelot had postponed/canceled their US tour D: but that they were still going to play ProgPower ^_^ THAT WAS INTENSE.

Arrived in Atlanta that day (the 8th) and went to the Georgia Aquarium on the 9th. It was awesome, and generally lit well for photography, at least compared to the Shedd Aquarium. :D Some HD clips I shot:



Photo album

Click any photo to view full size >_>




<-PENGUIN TUNNEL




WHALE SHARKS <4444444444

MANTA RAYS <44444444







"Emerald catfish" THAT'S A CORY :D I LOVE CORIES I've had pet cories for 10 years ...any way on to the festival >_>

Day 1 Concerts Photo Album

September 10: I woke up feeling like I needed to throw up, I managed to make it through the day but had a lot of stomach pains and severe tiredness. Probably some kind of 24-hour virus as it was gone the next day, it hampered the experience a bit though.

I wore my black Leaves' Eyes shirt and cargo shorts, got to the venue and (doesn't look like it in this picture but) ALMOST EVERYONE was wearing a black band shirt and cargo shorts @_@



At one point someone driving by yelled "BUNCH OF WHITE PEOPLE" at us XD

After a little while standing in line, Alexander Krull of Leaves' Eyes randomly came out :P



He and the guy he was talking to walked by me and I covertly shot a little video of them >_>

I met Akumuness (whom I'd made the acquaintance of on the Kamelot box shortly before) while standing in line; I didn't know what she looked like but she was standing on the steps, happened to catch my attention and shouted "BLACK TOWAH" at me, to which I replied "O HAI." :D She and Sander of Leaves' Eyes are, to date, the only people I've met first on Last.fm and then in real life.

Once the doors opened I headed straight to the rail, where I took up a post at the extreme left edge; I needed the support to help me stand because of the sickness, aside from the fact that I need something to hold onto any way in order to headbang without falling over.

After some delay from the scheduled starting time, Illusion Suite opened the festival proper (not counting the separate kickoff show headlined by Accept, which I didn't attend). Despite having bought my tickets when Leaves' Eyes were added to the lineup in November 2009, I had put off getting into most of the bands because of uncertainty about whether I'd actually be able to get the time off work to go, and I was further distracted in the final two weeks by my work on this, but I did manage to listen to Illusion Suite a little, enough to sing along... to one line. The singer held his mic out to the audience at one point, but unfortunately no one knew the lyrics, so people just went "WOOOOOO" instead XD

Setlist:
Scarlet Skies
The W.I.R.E.
Once We Were Here
The Passage
A Ghost From The Past



Next up were Blackguard, a band I had first heard of when a girl who had favorited a photo of mine on DeviantArt was hired by them to do some art for a shirt, but who have since somehow got onto Epica's last US tour, the now-canceled tours with Kamelot and Leaves' Eyes, AND Epica's upcoming US tour. I had been surprised to discover that they have a metalcore-ish sound similar to Alestorm's "pirate metal," very fun :) I love In Time, which appears to be an adaptation of Ecclesiastes 3 :P IT HAS AN AWESOME BREAKDOWN.



About halfway through the show, someone threw a bra on stage. The band proceeded to pick it up and take turns hanging it from their guitars:



The singer remarked, "Thanks to whoever threw that bra! It smells like SEX!" My question is, can anyone verify that it was actually a woman who threw it...?

Setlist:
Allegiance
In Time <3
The Sword
Cinder
The Fallen
The Last We Wage
Scarlet To Snow
Farewell
This Round's On Me

After the show, they threw their water bottles into the crowd and I caught one. Later I drank its contents... woulda brought more water bottles but I wasn't sure if security would allow them :P I ended up refilling them from the taps in the men's restroom.

ANY WAY THEN THEY PUT UP THE LEAVES' EYES BANNER @_@ OMG OMG OMG



I saw Liv in costume and standing in the darkness off to the right, but after a while she had to sit down. The delay from the scheduled starting times had increased a bit with the prep for Blackguard, but with Leaves' Eyes the delay became EPIC; MONUMENTAL; THE STUFF OF LEGEND. IIRC they ended up starting 15 minutes after they were supposed to have finished. ^_^ I don't know what happened, but I do know it wasn't their fault; at any rate I didn't mind, although the delay did lead to my missing Seventh Wonder (more on that later). All we saw in the crowd was that the Njord ship banner on the right wouldn't stay up:



It was erected, and sooner or later fell down, THREE TIMES before the crew simply gave up on it and took both it and the other one off the stage. :P Alex later commented "It's this Spinal Tap thing!" while talking to a fan at the signing table. Leaves' Eyes do apparently keep running into Spinal Tap-like occurrences, including never being able to keep a drummer for long. (If you somehow have never seen This Is Spinal Tap....) They also had a miniature Viking ship lowered onto the stage at one show in homage to Spinal Tap's miniature Stonehenge.... *hurr leaveseyes fanboy rambling durr*

Meanwhile I hung my German and Norwegian flags from my neck; I asked Akumuness how dorky this was and she replied "VERY DORKY" :D

Finally the lights dimmed, they began playing Njord and AWESOME CONFUSION DESCENDED as the crowd went wild (at least I don't think it was just me) and I tried to take pictures and fistpump and headbang at the same time while screaming every word as loud as I possibly could IT WAS AMAZING.

Being at the edge of the stage turned out to be kinda lame, but on the plus side it gave me a great background that kicked my grainy photographs into HYPER-GOTHIA!!!










^okay I photoshopped this one cuz it wasn't BLACK BLACK enough v_v

Going in, these would have been my top 5 DREAM songs for them to play:

1. Twilight Sun (Never played live as far as I know)
1. Legend Land
1. The Holy Bond (Never played live as far as I know)
4. The Dream (Never played live as far as I know)
5. Through Our Veins

And my top 5 REASONABLE (?) picks:

1. Legend Land
2. Through Our Veins
3. Northbound
4. Njord
5. Emerald Island

But the actual setlist was pretty much what I feared: the Njord tracklist, minus some tracks, plus the single from the previous album, Elegy. Don't get me wrong, it was an AMAZING show, but must Leaves' Eyes always use such predictable setlists? :-/ Oh well, next time I see them they'll have a new album out (or two... or more.... -_-), and maybe then my favorite track will finally be one of the ones they always play. There is always hope. XD

Here's the tracklist of [album artist=leaves' eyes]Njord
:

1. Njord
2. My Destiny
3. Emerald Island
4. Take The Devil In Me
5. Scarborough Fair
6. Through Our Veins
7. Irish Rain
8. Northbound
9. Ragnarok
10. Morgenland
11. The Holy Bond
12. Frøya's Theme

And here's the setlist for PPUSA:

1. Njord
2. My Destiny
3. Emerald Island
4. Take The Devil In Me
5. Ragnarok
6. Elegy
7. Frøya's Theme

Njord was amazing, see above. Highlight of the entire day? YES. :P

My Destiny was great, it's not one of my favorites but I do love the chorus - "I'm falling into the deep, I'm falling...."

Emerald Island was the other highlight. "Stay with me, stay with me!" (I was definitely wildly gesticulating and singing/shouting along with every song >_>)

Take the Devil in Me has a pretty amazing chorus, especially "Save me for I've been mistaken, save one moment of my life" - it's excellent live.

Ragnarok is a good song but it's not one I would have chosen, it seems to be popular with people who don't like Leaves' Eyes much (including Akumuness and someone else I met there) but IMO it's overlong and lacks a good climax; it builds up well but the buildup leads to nothing. Still, very enjoyable live.

Elegy was one of my early favorites but got overtaken by other songs; still, it was nice to hear ANYTHING from the era I discovered Leaves' Eyes in three years ago. And since the concert it's grown on me a lot all over again; I love the lyrics, all of them.

Finally, Frøya's Theme... yeah, honestly, I would have rather heard two other songs than this epic, but it was cool to see live. Liv and Alex performed the spoken parts to each other and everything - too bad no one knows what they mean. XD I hope Leaves' Eyes attempt another epic in the future, there's definitely potential in their sound for something mind-blowing.





I think Leaves' Eyes did very well, despite being given a slot far too short to satisfy me, and despite somehow tending to always appeal to me the most with songs I'll probably never see them perform. XD

Seventh Wonder were up to play next, but the delay had become so extreme that is was drawing close to the time for Delain's signing, and reluctant as I was to miss Seventh Wonder - they were one of the earliest bands I'd got into in anticipation for the festival - the choice on this was clear :P If I'd realized then that I didn't have to stand in the (LONG!) line all along, but could have simply ducked in and out of the show to check on it and joined it towards the end, I could have caught most of their show, but instead I missed their entire set.

The Seventh Wonder show I missed:

1. Unbreakable
2. Hide and Seek
3. Tears for a Father
4. Alley Cat
5. Not an Angel
6. Welcome to Mercy Falls
7. Taint the Sky
8. The Black Parade

A great setlist. v_v

At the Delain table I asked Ewout if he'd get to do some awesome guitar solos on the new album, he said "We'll see..." but now he's been fired so I guess not. ;(

Charlotte Wessels is indeed, as everyone says, amazingly sweet - I said (truthfully) "It's a great honor to meet you, your music means a lot to me!" and she replied, "Awww, thank you!" ^_^



YES I look like a total dork in all my pics with bands BUT if you compare this to SOME PEOPLE'S pics in which they're trying to look all SRS TRVE METAL AWESOME or SRS TRVE GOTH AWESOME (and failing) while for example Tarja is just smiling happily and SUCCEEDING at being awesome next to them THEN I WIN, I WIN I WIN I WIN WIN WIIIIIIIIN

Okay next time I'll make sure I trim my beard first and not face the camera head on like that v_v SIGH

HEY AT LEAST THE LEFT HALF IS A NICE PICTURE OF CHARLOTTE HUH? HUH? HUH?

I don't entirely understand the taking photos with band members thing anyway, I did it cuz YEAH ALL RIGHT COOL but really I think some people are trying to fill a void in themselves that music and musicians were never meant to fill >_>

Finally, after getting Martijn's signature, he said "Thanks for coming," I said "Thank you for your music!" and he nodded and said something I couldn't understand. :D

Then I was going to catch the last couple tracks of the Seventh Wonder show, but some people saw my Leaves' Eyes shirt and invited me to join the Leaves' eyes signing queue they'd just started, so I did. This also meant missing Týr, which I did not regret AT ALL. :P Had some cool conversations about symphonic metal with them while we waited, then Leaves' Eyes came out and I became really nervous -_- Nevertheless I made good on my promise to Poisoned_Heart to leave my camera recording video while I went through the signing line....

(uncut version: uncuuuut)


VIDEO HIGHLIGHT:
Sander: "This is the guy from - who does our Last.fm page!"
Alex: "Ahhhhhhhhh! That's great."

VIDEO LOWLIGHT:
Liv: "DID YOU ENJOY?"
Me: "Ummm actually my dad drove me...."

There aren't enough F's and U's in the would to make a FFFFFUUUUUUU- long enough for this BUT SERIOUSLY TYR WAS SO LOUD IT SOUNDED LIKE SHE WAS SAYING "DID YOU DRIVE?" I KNOW THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE BUT I WAS SICK AND TIRED AND NERVOUS OKAY?!?!?!? I SHALL SEE THEM AGAIN! AND I SHALL EXPLAIN THIS TO LIV EVEN THOUGH SHE WON'T REMEMBER IT! AND I SHALL TELL LIV THAT I LOVE THE LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP THEME IN LIKE 2/3 OF LEAVES' EYES SONGS AND ASK HER IF THAT WAS INSPIRED BY HER OWN LIFE, AND THIS I SWEAR BY THE STAAAAAAARRRRRRS I love Les Misérables.

Then I had my picture taken with Liv and Alex but I STUPIDLY HAD THE CAMERA SET WRONG AND I WASN'T EVEN IN THE PICTURE AND IT LOOKS LIKE THIS


So I walked away defeated BUT THEN I WENT BACK AND TOOK A SEAT AND WAITED FOR THE LINE TO END AND GOT A PICTURE WITH THE ENTIRE BAND







ALLLRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. @_@

Nocturnal Rites were up next, and I was hoping to get a good spot on the floor for Kamelot, which I did... but I was so tired I couldn't stand, and I sat on a patch of floor relatively free of beer puddles... at least I think that's beer. How long have you guys been standing here any way....?



Nocturnal Rites were the one band I'd never got around to listening to before the show. They were good, as I recall, but I was still extremely tired, so after three songs I left and made my way to a seat, where I proceeded to sleep through the rest of their set, and continued to sleep right up until Kamelot were about to start their set.

Here's what Nocturnal Rites apparently played:

1. Call Out To The World
2. Never Again
3. Cuts Like A Knife
4. New World Messiah
5. Shadowland
6. Never Trust
7. The Iron Force
8. Strong Enough
9. Not The Only
10. Leave Me Alone
11. Fire Comes To Ice

(BTW if any Nocturnal Rites fans are reading this, click the photo above, I took a few more (: )

At that point I was quite refreshed, but still didn't feel up to standing for an hour and a half of Kamelot. This must be the true test of whether you're a true Kamelot fan: WILL YOU GET OUT OF YOUR CHAIR FOR KAMELOT WHEN YOU'RE SICK AND TIRED? And I failed. Oh well, I had a great time any way ^_^ I definitely should have got up and moved around to get more interesting photo angles towards the end, but oh well.

My Kamelot pictures are way too numerous (cuz the show was loooong, and featured WOMEN) and boring (cuz of where I sat) so at this point if you want them in bigger then FIND THEM YOURSEEEEEELF

Kamelot I'd known about since 2007 but was reluctant to check out at first because they didn't have a female vocalist; later I got The Black Halo and Ghost Opera and liked them a lot, but only loved a few songs (mainly Memento Mori and EdenEcho). When I bought my PPUSA tickets I listened to their entire discography, and began following the Kamelot shoutbox, but I didn't really get into their older stuff until a few weeks before the show; nevertheless, in that timespan Epica became my favorite of their albums, while their long-awaited and delayed new album, Poetry for the Poisoned, didn't grow on me as much as I would have liked - as with the previous two albums, I only love a few tracks on it, not the album as a whole the way I now love Epica.

As a fan of film scores - to the extent that "soundtrack" is the highest tag in my taste chart - one of my favorite things about (aside from the tendency to imitate the sound of film scores) is the tradition of sorts to open and/or close shows with tracks taken from movies, as Nightwish and Sonata Arctica have done in the past. Kamelot opened this show with To Victory from the 300 score by Tyler Bates, set against footage from The Great Pandemonium video. I thought it fit very well and made a great intro, except for the baffling inclusion of "THE COUNTDOWN," the "FIVE! FOUR THREE! TWO! ONE!" from the notoriously bad Poetry for the Poisoned album trailer.

Opening track was the rockin' good Rule the World; Circus Maximus' Michael Eriksen quickly put to rest any remaining fears that he'd be able to fill Khan's shoes, and the crowd's response was great.






Unfortunately he did forget the lyrics on Ghost Opera, but the crowd sang along and kept up the positive vibe; the band got right back on track with The Great Pandemonium (OMG I LOVE THAT GUITAR SOLO) and the rest of the night went off without any hitches as far as I could tell or can remember.

They played one of my early favorites, The Human Stain, and then a song from Epica I'd been hoping they might play - Center of the Universe! When I first heard it (via Artanna's page) last year I thought it sounded primitive and unrefined, and for that matter I'd only listened to that album three times until this August, but now I love it :D And it's a very fun track live.

A duet with Elize Ryd (Kamelot's touring female vocalist and singer of Amaranthe) followed on A Sailorman's Hymn:



...After which the singers took a break while the band played the new instrumental, Thespian Drama.

Next up was Nights Of Arabia, and out came Elize in her bellydance costume....


I can picture it now

Kamelot: Hey uhhh... Elize
Elize: Yes? =)
Kamelot: We really appreciate you singing for us and putting up with our farting contests on the tour bus and everything but uhhh...
Elize: Yes? =)
Kamelot: *whips out bellydance costume* WOULDYOUDANCEAROUNDONSTAGEINTHISFORUS?
Elize: ...Sure! =)
Kamelot: EXCELLENT


(lol caught someone else's flash)


=P



Then came When the Lights Are Down followed by a Keyboard Solo by Oliver, AND THEN CHARLOTTE CAME OUT TO SING GUEST VOCALS as it turned out the song was The Haunting (Somewhere In Time); I had been expecting her to do Season's End, which I would have sort of preferred ("Don't say goodbye like we'll never meet again...") even though I don't know it as well BUT ANY WAY IT WAS AN AWESOME DUET :D



Delicious irony having two substitute singers performing a song about mistaking someone for someone else because of their voice innit :P CHARLOTTE > SIMONE, THERE I SAID IT well it depends on the song I guess >_>



Really though... CHARLOOOOOOOTTE @_____@




Oh yeah.



It was a bit odd seeing Thomas Youngblood being all cool with a guitar, I mean yeah I guess I've seen him play in videos, but mainly I know him from promo shots and he always looks so grown-up and serious and un-guitaristy. :P

After thanking Charlotte, Michael announced that new next song would be a new one (I yelled "HUNTER'S SEASON" because 1. I looooove that song and 2. I knew that in Europe this year it was the only other new track they hadn't played yet, and it was unlikely they'd play anything more without Khan); he then added that it was written for Thomas's mother, who passed away (in response to this someone else yelled "YEAH HUNTER'S SEASON," I think my timing was better than his....) Any way it was indeed Hunter's Season, and it was good.

I had said before the show that Hunter's season would make up for no Memento Mori or EdenEcho, but as it turned out they played Edenecho right after Hunter's Season, with Tommy Karevik of Seventh Wonder on lead vocals. I don't really remember what it sounded like. :( It was great though.




but how come I want you

like the soil yearns for the rain

LIKE EDEN ECHOES IN MY HEAD



Casey did a drum solo. And the crowd saw that it was good.



Elize came out in costume again, this time for a little skit in a white coat, anyone know what that was about?



I don't even remember whether it was for Forever or The Black Halo >_> but any way Forever was awesome, it was one of my first favorites, the version on One cold winter's night, and Michael led us on the singalong at the end just like Khan did then :D Except WE succeeded where the OCWN crowd lost itself. ^_^

Then Jake the backup singer took up vocals on... was it Karma? I WAS SO TIRED I CAN'T REMEMBER :(

YES Setlist.fm confirms it was Karma.




Finally they closed with March of Mephisto, except they kinda didn't make it clear that was the final song so I was a bit surprised that the show was over >_> Oh well :D




A great show, and a great performance by Michael Eriksen. Glenn Harveston (ProgPower USA's creator and promoter) gave a little speech afterwards, suggesting the festival's slogan be changed to "shit you can't see anywhere else in the world," calling this show a great example of professionalism, and asking a favor of everyone present - that when we came online, if we should see anyone who wasn't there criticizing it, Kamelot or Eriksen, on his and the crew's (?) behalf (at this point some people were already cheering), "FUCK OFF." (Wild cheering ensues) ^_^



We sure did leave a lot of trash though. :-/ I picked up a few cups and beer cans and took them to a trash can. Seriously, is it that hard to hold onto a couple of empty drink containers? Crush them and put them in your pockets or something :P

I don't remember Akumuness's account of this at all XD


On the way out I found the Forum Poster, containing pictures of ProgPower attendees from the Ultimate Metal forum.



And there I am (in the middle, the DYU spoof pic) :P


Found this SUPER CUTE MOTH sitting outside the window at the motel. ^_^



My epic signed Delain flag :D


The Leaves' Eyes card - they had a bunch of these sitting out, all of their most embarrassing picture ever, so I went ahead and sent one through the line :D


And my new Leaves' Eyes shirt, signed - twice by Liv, first in black and then in gold XD


TOSSO WHY'D YOU SIGN IT LIKE THAT? XD

To be continued

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