A day after the Rockpages 20th anniversary epic concert, the road took me to Fuzz for another performance by my beloved Katatonia. In terms of the event, the schedule was followed to the minute. The Swedes hit the stage on time and just before 23:00 we were already out of the venue. At some point this should be established in every live show but it is not our issue now.
As for the evening. At first, I think most of us were surprised that we didn’t see Anders Nyström. And we’re not talking about just any absence, but one of the founders, main composer and only constant member along with Jonas Renske in the history of the band. In mid-January he had announced that he would be missing the European tour that was about to start due to family issues and that he would be replaced by Nico Elgstrand (ex-Entombed/Entombed A.D.), but would return in the spring for the next tour. There was no announcement from the band of a further absence or a replacement, so the guitar parts fell entirely to Roger Öjersson. Also, by Katatonia’s standards, the mere fifteen songs lasting an hour and a quarter were too few. One guitar solo was also unnecessary, probably to cover the gap of “Untrodden” which was not played due to some problem with the backing track.
On the plus side, the sound was crystal clear and at the right volume, the light show was excellent and the band achieved high levels of performance as usual. After all, they have so many fantastic songs and so many incredible melodies that you can’t stay apathetic. When they play, everything around ceases to exist and all that matters is living the moment. That’s how I feel and I guess many others, since you could see the audience having their eyes fixed on the stage without talking to each other. Renske was much more talkative and smiling than we are used to and his thanks to the people who filled the venue didn’t stop. The atmosphere during the iconic anthems “My Twin”, “July”, “Forsaker” and “Evidence” with the fans singing loudly brought goosebumps and were definitely the highlights of the night.
Setlist: Austerity, Colossal Shade, Lethean, Deliberation, Birds, Behind The Blood, Forsaker, Opaline, Buildings, My Twin, Atrium, Old Hearts Fall, July, Soil’s Song, Evidence
It may not have been their best appearance in our country, but it was satisfactory for all of us who love them and follow them all these years. A Katatonia concert is always special and that cannot be changed easily. I hope on their next visit things will be even better.