Apocalyptica @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (9/26/2008)

Logo - Apocalyptica

Artist: Apocalyptica
Venue: Nokia Theater (New York, NY)
Opener: DJ
Date: 9/26/2008
Label: Zomba Music

While I wasn’t too sure about attending another Apocalyptica show after only seeing them a few months ago, I had to let my love of how these guys do things be my guide for this evenings performance. Apocalyptica is a band that is best witnessed during a live performance and the last time around they prowled the comfortable Fillmore NY but tonight would use the sizable space of the Nokia Theater to their best advantage. The entire floor area and sidelines were packed with people as was the level just above this region but the seating was blocked off by a huge curtain and this was the very first time that I saw that going on. The group had recently released the album “World’s Apart” which found a number of notable singers offering up their vocals against the music of the cellists and in the end it delivered an album that brought the band some added attention in the minds of Metal heads. Tonight would be what appeared to be one of the final appearances in the states for the bands current tour and lucky for everyone present the guys were not showing any signs of being tired and instead were a super-charged outfit that while beginning the show seated were soon on their feet and in everyone’s faces. To refresh everyone’s memory, the core cellists of the group are Eicca, Paavo and Perttu and they are the most active in the group. Their original fourth member is Antero Manninen, and while he performs with them on tour he is strictly a “for hire” gun in the enterprise at this point. Together there is an incredibly full sound that will surprise any new listener and with the drumming expertise of Mikko Siren keeping the time in the background, the audience will hardly seem to miss the presence of a lead guitarist, singer or bassist.

Tonight the band would remind us of why they are so special to the Metal community because of all the difference that they bring to it by using their cellos. Remember the guys are all classically trained and this comes forth with every single note that is played. They switch around the “lead player” role from time to time based on the song that they are doing and tonight’s set was loaded with a lot of impressive material. Given there is a new album to sell, a good amount of songs would come from this release and the last time around the band had a couple of guest vocalists come out during the show. One of them was Toryn Green from the band Fuel and the other Adam Gontier from Three Day’s Grace. Tonight only Green would make an appearance and it seemed as thought a few folks around me found that to be a little bit disappointing. My guess is they were hoping for either Adam to come back out, or maybe even Corey Taylor from Slipknot who sang the new CD’s magnum piece “I’m Not Jesus”. Green would also handle the bands rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes”, which when done in German is called “Helden”. Tonight he impressed me by doing the track in both languages after polling the audience about which one to do and finding it to be a draw. The band is also rather engaging to their fans and when it comes down to it, the key “speakers of the house” come by way of Perttu and Eicca. Perttu speaks in a much softer voice than his blond haired peer which makes his subtle humor a little more amusing. At one point the band performs shirtless based on the heat of the moment and the overhead lights. It was around this time that Perttu mused about how the audience had no idea how lucky they were to have the few feet of barrier between them because they as result didn’t get to realize just how bad the “pretty Finnish boys” had smelled by that point of the show. Eicca speaks in a more serious tone but is no less friendly, it’s just his voice is far deeper than that of Perttus.

For many members of the audience, including myself, the entire evening was a musical highlight and while some songs go over better than others – the whole show seems to keep everyone’s energy level very high. The important thing to know about an Apocalypica show is that despite their being cellists, they are very clearly Metal heads and into giving the audience a rousing affair from the minute they begin until the moment they end. I am often left with my jaw wide open as I see them brandishing the giant cellos as if they were the much smaller and lighter guitar or bass. They seem to love their audience very much and with our shows in the states, the barrier between audience and band is not as wide as we see during many European festival shows. It’s only a few feet and this allows the group to literally reach out and touch someone. Be careful if you are a crowd surfer and somehow end up in the space because those cello bows are moving at breakneck speeds and you sure don’t want to be on the business end of that. They would play the expected Metallica classics and this time around would include “One”, which I don’t remember as being a part of the show the last time around. I do think that tonight’s show was a little shorter and it was clear that only one vocalist would join them, but perhaps my view of the time was based on the lack of necessary intros of these other players again and again. Everyone was on their feet and this group remains a high recommendation from me for any open minded music fan. Their sound is interesting and they remind us of just how wide open the field of musical expression is when it comes down to it. My only reservations were the lack of an opening band and the blocked off seating area. I felt having an opener would have been a great way to find the group exposing us to new talent and the seating region would have let more straggler fans inside the venue. Oh well, in any event this was a great way to kick off the Finnish invasion that was hitting town this particular weekend. Tomorrow the one and only Nightwish would be invading the Big Apple with Sonata Arctica as their direct support and performing at this very venue. Monday would be Amorphis with some other cool acts, and the city will need the whole week to recover from all the fun without question.

Set List:
1. Refuse Resist
2. Grace
3. Somewhere Around nothing
4. Fight Fire With Fire
5. One
6. Burn
7. I’m Not Jesus (Toryn)
8. Helden/Heroes (Toryn)
9. Betrayal
10. Bitter Sweet
11. Last Hope
12. Life Burns
13. Seek And Destroy
14. Inquisition Symphony
15. I Don’t Care
16. Enter Sandman
17. Hall Of The Mountain King

Official Website: http://www.apocalyptica.com

I’m pretty sure that all the visiting tourists didn’t know what to make of the Nokia Theatre marquee this evening as it announced “APOCALYPTICA”.  Hopefully some of the curious chose to buy a ticket and rock with the rest of us.

The Marquee: Apocalyptica In NYC Tonight

2 thoughts on “Apocalyptica @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (9/26/2008)”

  1. that was really a great show at the Nokia Apocalyptica gave us Fans :D!
    & once again Ken, great kick ass job on the photos man!! |,,/

    and Indeed Apocalyptica makes Cello’s cool 😀 lol lol

  2. Wow you really are on a Finnish kick! Sweet! God……all of these photos came out amazing, Ken. I can’t find one I don’t like. Again I wish I was at this show. God……see I move out of NYC and all the awesome shows come in….

    Vanessa N. Moylan
    Sales & Marketing (WHOLESALE)
    JSR MERCHANDISING
    sales2@jsrdirect.com

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