A rare double gig played by Amorphis was a part of programme of the Helsinki Festival this year. A rare special gig indeed, as they played two different sets and there were a few guest musicians along.
Sakari Kukko played a saxofone and a flute; this versatile musician is known from his instrumental jazz/world music band Piirpauke, played on Amorphis' experimental albums Tuonela
and Am Universum
(and on Circle
as well) and naturally been special guest at their gigs also earlier. Pekko Käppi played jouhikko (this old traditonal Finnish instrument sounds like "an ancient fiddle", looking like a crossing of kantele and violin), which playing was interesting to hear live. And the bright female vocals were performed by Anneke van Giersbergen herself, known for being the frontwoman of The Gathering.
The first set began as atmospheric acoustic part, with some ethnic and progressive vibes. Enigma, really rarely played Far From the Sun, Silent Waters and of course My Kantele were performed as these new kind of arrangements. The jouhikko certainly brought intriguing, unique "ancient sound" to the music - besides Kukko's original style for playing sax and flute is always pleasant to hear live as well. Personally I could have listen to this kind of playing even more, thought also that acoustic EP done by similar arrangements could be intriguing to listen to!
The rest songs of the first set were played as normal versions with electric guitar, yet both Käppi and Kukko were still along. The definite highlight was Her Alone, that Tomi and Anneke sang together as duet. This song is always beautifully emotional, and now bright female voice brought totally new vibe in it.
As is known, Amorphis' lyrics are written by performance artist and visual artist Pekka Kainulainen, who is strongly inspired by old Finnish mythology and traditions. Between the sets he performed some of his poems in Finnish. He was playing a giant thrilling mythological creature: "a flower-head" that was dressed in fur
and had a cane which was decorated by big silvery star and white feathers
. Even though the poems were performed in Finnish, it could be understood how well the feeling of these texts inspired by human mind and nature do fit to the music of Amorphis.
Then it was time for the second set. The band played the newest album Under the Red Cloud
in it's entirety from the beginning to the end. I think that my personal favourites - or the title song, The Skull, "kebab-influenced" Death of A King and folk-influenced Tree of Ages worked well live as well.
The last song White Night was beautifully devoted to the memory of Aleah Stanbridge, who sang the original female vocals in this song and was intended to be one of the guests at this gig.
Not surprisingly House of Sleep was played as an encore: but this time it was cool to hear how this more than familiar hit song got a completely new vibe in it, as Anneke was again dueting with Tomi!
So the great evening was finished. Yet the special gigs will continue later in this year: it's ten years since the release of Eclipse, so these gigs will celebrate also the ten years that Tomi Joutsen has been as Amorphis' frontman. They will play Eclipse in it's entirety from the beginning to the end, besides there will be songs from both Silent Waters and Skyforger along as well. So, to the next time!