First Apocalyptica Romanian gig. I've waited for it for too many years to remember, so when 'the day' finally came, I was a nervous wreck.
The Apocalyptica gig was supposed to start at 22:30, but they had a few bands playing before them. So, in spite of the burning heat, I took Alexandros by the hand and headed to Stage 1 of the event, where our favourite Finns were to play. We quickly made our finishing touches to the banner and took our places in the first row, with the serious intention of not moving for the next 5 hours or so. Without the occasional waving at that (damned) webcam that I knew Anna was watching us from at a certain point, we didn't move an inch from the front row.
It was around 21:30 when the band that came before Apocalyptica ended their setlist and left the stage. Thanx to Alexandros, we got to stay in the front row, exactly at the middle of the stage, where a small podium was built so that the bands could get closer to the crowds.
I must admit I paid no attention whatsoever to the band that was playing before Apocalyptica. I might have been jumping up and down like a Duracell bunny, but that's only when I noticed that some people began to change the sound equipment. I went totally nuts when I saw Meelis, their sound guy. That's the point when I half realised that Apocalyptica really are going to play. Noticing my obvious excitement, Alex decided to call Meelis. And he did so: he screamed his name in a loud voice, only to get the poor man really scared and confused. He turned to us, probably smiled, I don't remember, I was too busy blushing, and then looked at the drummer (he was on the stage too at that point) and exchanged a few words and smiled a bit surprised. That was the first time Alex's voice was heard that night. The rest are equally funny.
I got a call from Anna (DeVille) when the gig was supposed to start and she told me about the live-cams not working. It got me worried, and stuck there as I was, I couldn't find out anything that was going on. That also included the question 'why isn't the gig starting?' The show started about 15 minutes later, due to a reason that remains unknown to us. We could hear cellos being played all this time - a sort of a sound check- and at a certain point you could even spot the guys backstage playing.
Then the lights went dim, the guys calmly walked on stage and Hell broke loose. Everybody around me screamed so loud I thought I was gonna be deaf for the rest of my life. The guys didn't even twitch, even though the crowd's reaction was fierce. They sat and began to play 'Path', calmly, with blank expressions, with little moving. They played their first three or four songs while sitting down, and still the reaction of the crowd was louder than hell.
Soon, Perttu stood up and that's when I truly realised that I was at an Apocalyptica gig. They finally let their energy loose. When the song was over, Alex gave in to the temptation to scream 'Perttu soita alasti!' and he did so, from the top of his lungs. Related or not to his mind-shattering scream (Alex has a loud voice and he was sitting just behind me) Perttu took his T-shirt off. *pat-pats Alex for having a loud voice*.
One of the first things Eicca did when he finally got up from his chair was to go and play Antero's cello with his own bow. Antero didn't move a muscle to this unwanted invasion.
Some time later, Alex thought Eicca was a bit overdressed as well, so he screamed again, only this time 'Eicca, soita alasti!' Again, related or not, Eicca took off his T-shirt only minutes later.
Then it became all blurry to me. The guys played their souls out, Paavo spanked Eicca with his bow, Antero didn't move a muscle other then the absolutely necessary ones, Perttu was as much of a show off as he possibly could, Eicca drummed a bit with his own bow (and he drummed extremely good, too!) and at a certain point he did a dazzling spin around with his cello.
After the first few songs, Eicca took the mike and introduced themselves to us, only to get a huge scream from the crowd and then said that this might be the first time they visit this lovely country, but it definitely isn't going to be the last. The crowd went mad when they heard this. They screamed so loud you couldn't hear what else Eicca was mumbling in that mike.
When Eicca introduced 'Bittersweet' as the next song they were going to play, the crowd went mad again. He tried to say something, but when he saw that the screams showed no signs to ever stop, he concluded: 'It appears you know the song already'. The screams turned into laughter. No really.
The whole crowd sang along during all songs that had lyrics. Judging by the guys' surprised looks, I suspect they enjoyed that. We were as loud as hell, head banging and immediately copying whatever moves Paavo 'ordered' us to do. Great crowd entertainer, Paavo.
And then they stopped playing and left the stage, ignoring the crowd's ferocious screams. Of course, I knew they were going to come back for an encore since they hadn't played HOTMK, so I took out the banner again (I sincerely don't think they saw it when the gig started) and I began to ask around for people to help me hold it. This time, the people around me just pulled the banner from my hands and I was left to hold only a small part, just to make sure I won't lose it.
Eventually, the guys came back onstage. Before starting to play, Perttu turned curious about what was written on that banner so he approached and began to read. He was so close I thought that the klutz he is, he's gonna fall. On my head. Fortunately, he didn't. However, it took him dubiously long to read it. Smiling rather satisfied, he left. They began to play 'Enter Sandman', and then it was Eicca's turn to check out what the banner said. The people around me were waving that banner frantically, trying at the same time to straighten it out so that it could be readable. But it was placed right above my face, so when I saw just an outline of Eicca in the light behind the banner, I pulled it up from my face, annoyed as hell, and found myself looking at Eicca. What can you do when you are holding a banner that says 'be naughty'? Well, I looked at Eicca and poked my tongue out at him. As a reply, he looked back at me and poked his tongue out as well. His expression could've been put in the dictionary next to the word 'naughty'. =)
At the sight of the banner, Antero didn't even twitch. Was he unimpressed or just not amused, I have no idea. He just kept co^ol...
After 'Enter Sandman' was over, I felt obliged to remind them what to play. I couldn't help screaming 'Hall of the Mountain King' when Eicca paused after the "And now we're going to play you something classical" introduction. To make sure he heard my suggestion, I shouted it twice. Good thing they have us fans, eh? *Hides*
They were called again for another encore after HOTMK was over and they left the stage, but they only came back to take bows and hug each other. Co^ol would be the definition of Antero's reaction when someone intends to hug him. Paavo went to hug him, hands ready in the air as he approached, but as he got closer Antero took a step back and gave him his hand to shake. Bwhahaha!! I laughed my head off when I saw this. Poor Paavo was a bit pouty after this cold treatment but seemed satisfied with a handshake too.
The gig was barely over and we tried to find our way to their tourbus, for a possible autograph. We got word form an organizer that the guys 'or rather their management' decided there'll be no autograph session. I was disappointed as hell, especially that I had a few photos to be signed for my friends that couldn't be there with us (Anna and Flavia. Sowe, hons!). The bus passed near us, and even though Alex had the banner rolled out again and the fans were all shouting something - I don't remember what - they just drove by without looking at us. It seems Eicca rolled down the window and shook hands with a couple of squeenagers that actually ran along the tour bus, screaming like doomsday was coming. However, they didn't stop the van, they just continued driving.
I understand that they were tired - they played their souls out on stage, it's understandable they were tired - however I couldn't help feeling disappointed as hell. Actually, I still am. Oh well, at least I'll get to see them again, and maybe have some more luck next time.