Show Review: Opeth in Tokyo 30 April 15: The Full Report
If you have been following A Metal State of Mind, you may have noticed that Opeth gets mentioned quite a bit for one reason or another. I guess you could say, as a whole, we like them here. Just putting the bias up front. This time it’s yet another show review; my first from the island nation of Japan. The Roppongi district of Tokyo was the setting for the show; my third time seeing Opeth and my first ever concert that actually ended at a very reasonable time. In short, it was a great night for many reasons and here is a rundown of the evening.
First, I will say that the cost of a show in Japan is more than I have ever paid to see one band. As a result I will have to pick and choose my future shows carefully. ¥7,500 ($62.41, €55.75, kr524.30) seems to be the average price from what I have been seeing lately. The cost was for a standing ticket. If I wanted a seat it would have cost ¥2,000 extra. Seems to me being closer to the action would cost more, but I am sure there is a reason to price tickets that way. Anyway, throw in train tickets (took about an hour to get there), a shirt for ¥3,500 and it adds up to an expensive night out…for one band. There was also a pre-show dinner for about ¥2,800. But, for metalheads it’s always worth it to see a band you love. I don’t have to explain this, you know…
Second, let’s talk about the crowd and venue. The venue was quite nice and super clean. I have been to places in England that have cloak rooms which is great, but the Ex Theater had personal lockers you slip a coin into and shove you stuff inside; sort of like at a bowling alley in the U.S. Absolutely brilliant! No waiting to get your crap after a show. Not sure how it is in some other countries, but when they open the doors here, they call everyone in by ticket numbers to help facilitate traffic flow. At least, I am assuming that’s the reason. There was no translation, but after we figured it out, it seems to be a nice process to get everyone inside in a somewhat orderly fashion. The only thing that was a head scratcher was that my concert bud bought his ticket later than me, but had a lower number. Nice of him to wait for me anyway. Good chap!
Once inside there was some kind of forced drink ticket I had to buy. I tried to say no since I do not drink alcohol at shows because it will result in me having to hit up the bathroom. Once the show starts I do not like to leave. Luckily, I was able to use the ¥500 ticket for a Coke. What happens is that everyone gets in line to get their drink. The process is very quick and prevents long waits at the bar for that first drink.
Now, my experiences pre-show are basically the same. There is music on the house PA. People socialize and usually the roadies or band members themselves are doing a last-minute sound check. CHECK! CHECK! CHECK! YEAH! CHECK! CHECK! There might be an occasional smelly no-shirt fuck-weasel trying to push to the front. There was none of this. The stage was empty and the fuck-weasels were nowhere to be found. However, there were some other firsts for me in the 30 minutes leading up to show time.
There was very little socializing or if there was it was very quiet and polite. I could talk to the very few Americans around me at normal voice. I could barely hear the house PA…couldn’t tell you what they played before the show except for Year Zero from Ghost was the only song I heard. We managed to easily position ourselves about 5-7 feet back from the barrier on the left and get this…not one abominable belligerent asshole motherfucker (you know the type) pushed passed us to get to the front barrier. Once people got into position, no one moved…very content crowd. But, this is Opeth and if it were a band that induced serious circle pits, I am sure the peaceful setting might have been different. Only time will tell.
Also, get this…the show started at exactly 7pm according to my trusty iPhone. Yes, iPhone! When the lights went I out realized there were actual people there because when it got dark it must have meant, in Japanese, it’s time to get loud. And, they did. Opeth kicked off the show with a couple of songs off the Pale Communion album because, you know, it’s the Pale Communion tour. Other than one other track from that album, the rest of the set was from their fairly recent, old, and much older albums. See the list below for additional details. Mikael brought his sense of humor with him and the crowd seemed to understand and respond to him quite well. Other than some minor technical difficulties, the show went off without a hitch for two solid hours; two hours that goes by quickly when you are enjoying the music selection. As far as the stage set up itself, it was very basic stuff; no fire and flames. Just Opeth. See associated photos within this article.
One thing I appreciate about seeing Opeth more than once is that they do not bring with them a core set of songs like some bands…at least not for the three shows I have been to. In fact, for all three shows the only song that spanned all of them was The Devil’s Orchard. Opeth likes to mix things up quite a bit resulting in a unique experience that is going to drive me to see them whenever possible. The gems of this set, personally, were hearing The Grand Conjuration, The Lotus Eater, and Deliverance. Those three songs rounded out an excellent show that was about 50/50 hard stuff and not so hard stuff. Though, I have to say hearing their prog songs in a live-setting is way heavier than on CD.
Throughout the show, I stood in my spot and believe it or not I did not make any bodily contact with anyone whatsoever. That was a new thing for me standing on the main floor so close to the stage. Then again, here was no pit. I am sure such a thing happens in Japan, but not so much for Opeth. I did not smell any pot or smell anyone’s body odor…all new experiences for me at a show. Maybe I dreamed all of this. No, I do have a shirt as proof, and a guitar pick courtesy of Fredrik.
It was an excellent night; another where Opeth did not disappoint. Getting to start my journey home at 9pm was nice as well. It’s not often I get showered up and in bed before midnight on the night of a show that included a 60+ minute train ride home. I would like to give a special shout out to my wife who understands my personal interest in shows and never stands in the way. She knows how much this means to me. Thanks babe.
Below are the three set lists from the three shows I attended so you can see how their choice of songs differs from tour to tour.
Also, I did not take any personal video of the show.
30 April 2015, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan (No Opening Act)
- Eternal Rains Will Come
- Cusp of Eternity
- The Drapery Falls
- The Moor
- Elysian Woes
- The Devil’s Orchard
- April Ethereal
- The Lotus Eater
- The Grand Conjuration
- Deliverance (Encore)
21 May 2013, Boulder, Colorado, US (Katatonia in Support)
- The Devil’s Orchard
- Ghost of Perdition
- White Cluster
- Hope Leaves
- Heir Apparent
- Häxprocess (Acoustic)
- Demon of the Fall (Acoustic)
- The Lines in My Hand
- Reverie/Harlequin Forest (Encore)
- Blackwater Park (Encore)
13 Nov 2011, London, England (Pain of Salvation in Support)
- The Devil’s Orchard
- I Feel The Dark
- Face of Melinda
- Porcelain Heart (W/Drum Solo)
- The Throat of Winter (Acoustic)
- Credence (Acoustic)
- Closure (Acoustic)
- A Fair Judgement
- Hex Omega
- Folklore (Encore)
Below are just a few occasions we discussed Opeth in one way or another. Enjoy!
Opeth: Pale Communion Review
Opeth Show Review: Boulder, Colorado, U.S.
Opeth Full Album Streams for Orchid, Morningrise, and My Arms Your Hearse
Opeth: Monday Metal Madness Poll – Old or New
Opeth Show Review: Gods of Metal
Opeth Show Review: Milan, Italy
Opeth Show Review: London, England
Opeth: Heritage Review