Friday, 15th October 2015
Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
Article and photos By Jeroen Henstra
When it was announced Opeth would bring their 25th Anniversary Tour to Brussels and would play
their 2005 album Ghost Reveries (thus now celebrating its 10th anniversary) in its entirety,
I didn't hesitate. Ghost Reveries is one of my favourite albums of all time and I
let too many chances to see this band go by, so now was the perfect opportunity.
When the concert started, the venue was partly empty due to the ridiculously early starting hour
(7 PM) and traffic jams. Lights dimmed, candles burned onstage and on the background screens.
Without any intro music, the band came up and kicked in with the fantastic opener Ghost of Perdition.
It was immediately clear that the band played flawlessly and were able to
translate the huge dynamic range of their music to the stage very well.
The use of acoustic guitar emulators made the quieter parts sound far better
than during the tour in support of this album in 2005.
After a short adjustment time, the sound was absolutely perfect and crystal clear.
Mikael Åkerfeldt's grunts were perhaps a little low in the mix and I
do think his grunts were better some years ago, but this didn't distract.
Whereas a lot of bands use backing tracks and samples these days,
it was nice to see that Opeth seemed to play everything live.
For example, the percussion parts so typical for Ghost Reveries
were played either by drummer Martin Axenrot or keyboard player Joakim Svalberg.
Most songs were played faithful to the originals,
with the exception of Atonement, which featured a rather long solo section.
The light show and projections on the background screens were well designed and added to the atmosphere.
The set flowed very well. Only after highlight The Grand Conjuration,
the long ovation and Åkerfeldt's announcements took some time to start with Isolation Years.
While missing the grandeur of the layered guitars and vocals of the original,
this song was still very convincing and a beautiful closer before the break.
The second set had a different feel. Despite being their 25th Anniversary Tour,
this set wasn't a representative outline of Opeth's career.
In fact, the first four albums were ignored and no less than three songs of
their latest album Pale Communion were played.
This may have disappointed some fans, but I really like their recent work
and these songs sounded more powerful live.
There were some other nice choices too, for example To Rid the Disease,
my favourite track of the moody Damnation album.
The other obvious differences with the first set were the amount of
talking that Åkerfeldt did and the playing of snippets of requested songs halfway down the set.
While this was entertaining at first, in the end I think it killed the flow of the concert a bit.
Moreover, I would have preferred one more full song (Deliverance for example...)
instead of a lot of talking and snippets.
However, the band still played in top form and with the venue now filled to capacity,
the atmosphere was great. The main set ended with a strong performance of
Master's Apprentices and soon the band came back for one more heavy number, The Lotus Eater.
The band played for about 2:45 hours and although the first half was the highlight to me,
in fact the whole concert was of extraordinary high level.
Opeth are five incredibly cool and talented guys, with a unique sound
and the guts to keep developing their style.
Ghost of Perdition
The Baying of the Hounds
Beneath the Mire
Reverie / Harlequin Forest
Hours of Wealth
The Grand Conjuration
Eternal Rains Will Come
Cusp of Eternity
The Leper Affinity
To Rid the Disease
I Feel the Dark
Voice of Treason
The Lotus Eater
Opeth Official Website