I’ve seen them five times so far. And yet, whenever another appearance of theirs is announced in our country, I will welcome it with the same enthusiasm. And that’s because we’re talking about a very special band. Whether they come with a new record or a best-of setlist or an anniversary set in which they play an entire release, the result is the same. An evening that will remain etched in the memory of those present. Their quality on stage is unquestionable. They won’t let you down. It’s not in their DNA. While waiting for their upcoming visit to Athens, let’s check their live releases which show that in this area too, the Swedes will look for ways to give something beyond the usual to their fans.
2005 – The Black Sessions (Peaceville)
It is not a purely live release, but it is the first time that a concert of the band has been captured on video. In “The Black Sessions” we have a double CD with all the b-sides they had released up to that point as well as selected songs of their career, while on the accompanying DVD there is an appearance of them from 2003 in Krakow with a very remarkable set of fifteen songs. It is worth noting that for some reason many metal bands at that time released DVDs from the same venue (e.g., Rotting Christ, Anathema, Gorgoroth, Green Carnation).
2007 – Live Consternation (Peaceville)
Recorded and filmed at 2006’s Summer Breeze Open Air, “Live Consternation” is Katatonia’s first attempt at a live release, a year after the masterpiece “The Great Cold Distance” that made their name grow even bigger. The advantage is that they played at night, so there is the corresponding atmosphere. The downside is that there are only eleven songs, since at a festival you have a very specific time on stage. However, the show is still delightful. You will find it on single vinyl as well as single CD/DVD.
2013 – Last Fair Day Gone Night (Peaceville)
Now we’re talking. The tour for the ten years of “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” (2011) in which the historic album was played in its entirety, followed by a best-of that also included some excellent b-sides that are rarely heard in their concerts. This release is from a flawless performance in London, with a highly satisfying set of twenty-three songs totaling almost two hours! Athens was one of the lucky cities on the tour, since they visited us in May 2011 at Fuzz. A must for any fan of the band. Also, a good opportunity for someone who is not familiar with them. Both in terms of music, since it is representative of their sound, and in terms of appearance, since you can see the powerhouse they are when they set foot on stage. You will find it on triple vinyl, single CD/DVD as well as double CD/DVD which also contains a documentary about this anniversary.
2015 – Sanctitude (Kscope Music)
A very special concert, inspired by the album “Dethroned & Uncrowned” (2013) which is the fantastic “Dead End Kings” (2012) in an acoustic version. Here Katatonia play at London’s Union Chapel and select acoustic adaptations of seventeen of their songs. Amazing performance, unique atmosphere accompanied by candles, beautiful venue that makes an ideal setting. Here the Swedes show that they can experiment with different things with great success. You will find it on double vinyl, single CD/DVD as well as Blu-ray. As a bonus there is again a documentary about the concert.
2017 – The Great Cold Distance Live in Bulgaria (Peaceville)
Our neighbors were extremely lucky on this one. Another case where Katatonia tried something special. Their performance took place in September 2016 in a Roman amphitheater in Plovdiv, where they played “The Great Cold Distance” in its entirety, on its ten-year anniversary accompanied by a philharmonic orchestra. The result is excellent. After all, this is an album that is considered among the five best they’ve ever released and this unique performance is remarkable. Unfortunately, it is the only live work of theirs that was not released on video but initially only on double vinyl and then on a bonus CD on the reissue of “The Great Cold Distance”. I hope it is filmed and will see the light of day at some point, but until then there is an amateur clip on YouTube that shows the whole concert with very good sound.
2020 – Dead Air (Peaceville)
A band that is constantly on the road and lives (also) from touring, could not be left out of the live streaming events during the lockdowns. All objections are welcome but somehow so many artists had to do something for the loss if income they had during this situation. In an hour and a half, we hear and see twenty songs from their entire career. It’s certainly not something visually impressive, but musically it has the high standards that the Swedes are used to and can also serve as a good opportunity for a listener to learn them for the first time. You’ll find it on double vinyl as well as double CD/single DVD.