by Sylvi Taürie
Station of Porto San Giorgio, here I am, agitated and ready to go to Milan for attend to one of the stages of the Heritage Tour of Opeth. My emotions tripled because in addition to the fact that this was my first concert in more than I was even able to grab the VIP ticket, which would give me the chance to go backstage to talk with Åkerfeldt and companions.
The trip went well, I tried to sleep but there was nothing to do, the excitement had taken over. Arrived at the Milan station at about 5pm, I met two friends who helped me to get in front of Alcatraz: The first thing I saw were the Tour Bus of Pain Of Salvation and Opeth parked, and in the queue, that wasn’t yet very long, I was able to meet other old friends. Of course could not miss the various stalls and guys who were trying to sell and buy tickets. After leaving my boyfriend and my friend for do the queue, I went to join those persons who, as me, had the Vip Ticket. Suddenly a guy from the staff told us that the Meet&Greet would be held after and not before the show as we all expected.
At about 7pm all of us, the Vip Ticket-holders, started to enter the venue, heading to the front row seats, obviously I placed in the center right in front of the microphone. position by chills moreover because between the barriers and the stage there were only 2 or 3 feets distance. Ten minutes later entered all the others. At 8pm Pain Of Salvation took the stage and although until that moment I had snubbed this group, I must say that I liked very much see they on live, very engaging and adrenalinic. They played for about 45 minutes and then the staff began to move the instruments and change the scenography.
After an anxious pause of 20 minutes the lights were extinguished and between the smoke and the notes of Through Pain To Heaven of Popol Vuh finally Opeth entered, a mirage for my eyes, I could not do anything else except applaud and remain with open mouth meanwhile The Devil’s Orchard started. Shaking my head to the beat of those fabulous notes, I tried to enjoy every single moment. The band proposed some songs from the last album such us I Feel The Dark, Nepenthe and Slither (a tribute to the timeless Ronnie James Dio) alternating with the great classics such as Face Of Melinda, Porcelain Heart, Hex Omega e A Fair Judgement with more an central acoustic part where they played The Throat Of Winter, Credence e Closure.
That great genius of Åkerfeldt, entertainer by nature, did not miss with his classic jokes and pearls, making various references to Eros Ramazzotti and to the Italian music, telling private anecdotes of the band and making us laugh with phrases like “I always like to come to Italy, I like the food, women and pornography!”. Opeth was really very good, clean sounds and perfect execution but personalized, sometimes seemed almost hear the studio album. The sweet voice of Åkerfeldt, the seriousness and the power of Åkesson, the rhythm and energy of Mendez accompanied by the “destroy ribs” drums of an Axenrot which, though not too fit (maybe for an intestinal virus) has shown great professionalism not to mention the newcomer Joakim Svalberg an infallible musician that playing very well has meant that also the Italian fans promoting him like a new family member. And so to the tune of the nostalgic Folklore, the show was closed.
All had passed too quickly, but the Meet&Greet was approaching. After that the Alcatraz had almost completely emptied we were told to go in front of a door where we waited more or less than a 15 minutes before entering: A hallway where in the distance one could descry Opeth and me at the end of the queue, I had cross my eye immediately with Akesson who in turn, greeted me with a nod of the head. Finally here they are, much closer and in a more human and intimate vision. Really genuine guys, almost timid, my agitation has subsided immediately because it seemed to be with friends. I pull out of my backpack the Sweden’s flag for autographs: Mendez was the first, handshake, two kisses and autograph. Same thing with Svalberg and Åkesson. But here’s the time to meet Akerfeldt: First I gave him a very warm embrace, a few seconds but very intense, then the photo with him and autograph. Great was my satisfaction when hearing Mikael’s phrase: “This is really a hug! I prefer a hug like this rather than just a handshake!”. Unfortunately Axenrot was sick so we hadn’t the pleasure to meet him. The security guy was already there to get rid of us but Mikael told him that he had promised us still another picture with the whole band so one by one we started to put ourselves beside them for photos .. and then, the time to go away had come for real. Outside of Alcatraz I felt both happy and sad in the same time… and people like me, who has lived through a similar experience can understand why .. Before that Opeth leave permanently the place, Mikael came out for some more pictures and to sign other autographs and then again entered quickly to the bus. The few who were with me started to greet the band that we saw between the tinted windows. It looked like the classic and yearning final of a movie but it wasn’t a movie, it was a dream finally come true ..
Thanks to Mark who introduced me to this band, thanks Ale for creating the page Opeth Italia because without it I would never have met some very special people. Thanks to Rocco, Mary, Monty, Mitch and Luca. And lastly, thanks to Opeth because all the roads that I took in my life brought me to you, and this means that until now I’ve never taken a wrong path.
Article: Sylvi Taürie