BLOODY WELL WRITE
Missives, musings and tweets from Planet Prog.
an unfair judgement?
I was dismayed at some of Martin Kielty’s review of the Opeth show at Glasgow Barrowlands on November 16, 2017.
As a Glaswegian who was at the show, I was insulted to read the word ‘haters’ in his review, and he does the Glasgow audience a great disservice with this kind of careless language.
Firstly, I would like to say that I agree wholeheartedly with his review of the music itself. I have no issues here. My issue is with his negative description of the audience and our interaction with the bands. This made me wonder if we were in fact at the same show.
There was indeed some heckling from the audience, but as an Opeth fan who has seen them on numerous occasions in many different countries, Mikael Åkerfeldt gives as good as he gets and he did so on this occasion, just like every other. Part of Mikael’s appeal at a live show is his perfect English and his ability to tune in to the sense of humour of his audience, wherever he happens to be. His comment that we could “take the piss as much as we liked because he couldn’t understand our accents anyway” had the audience in stitches laughing.
Glasgow audiences are very discerning and, as far as I could see and hear, no one hated the show. Who would pay upwards of £30 to see a band they don’t like? Glasgow audiences heckle. It’s a thing we do, and bands from all over the world talk about the welcome they get in Glasgow and the atmosphere the audience create.
As a lifelong fan of Pete Townshend and The Who, I have been to dozens of shows where Pete Townshend insulted the audience. It’s an icebreaker and a whole lot of fun. Mikael Åkerfeldt was more than ready for us in November and I felt that there was absolutely no offence taken in either direction.
I was at the Manchester show the previous night too, and a lot of the people around me were younger and there was a bit of crowd surfing. Does this make them a better or more engaging audience? I think not. That was a great show too, apart from some sounds hiccups that thankfully were sorted out by the following night in Glasgow.
I know a lot of people who were at the Glasgow show and they all love Opeth and enjoyed the show immensely. As Martin said, they played some surprise songs and it was an absolute joy from start to finish.
Opeth have become a force to be reckoned with in the progressive music world. Their change to prog has been taking place for years, going way back before Heritage, Pale Communion and Sorceress. I personally like to enjoy their music standing, rather than moshing or diving around. I stood at the side of the stage and watched and listened in amazement and enjoyed every minute of the show, as did my friends and everyone else I could see. You don’t need to be jumping around and crowd surfing to enjoy a show.
As for the lukewarm reception Enslaved received, I don’t agree with that either. Firstly, support bands rarely receive a fanfare of a welcome, but on this occasion I felt that they were very well received – a lot better than some support bands in my experience. And when you consider how long Glasgow waited to see Opeth again, I think our response to Enslaved was both patient and respectful, which of course they deserved.
As a musician who understands what it feels like to be the support band, I’m always acutely aware of this at gigs and show my appreciation for the hard work they do. I personally am not a huge fan of Enslaved, but they deserved respect – and got it, as far as I could see and hear.
Hi Michaela. As a seasoned Barras attendee and a Glaswegian all my life, please believe me when I tell you I meant no insult to the ‘Glasgow choir’ in my review. But a review is an opinion, and mine was that a notable number of the crowd didn’t appear to be fully engaged with the show… and they were entirely free to feel that way if they wanted to. As you say, the heckling (which is indeed a bonus feature of many gigs) was well managed by Mikael, who at no point lost his usual good humour and command of the show. He won every round!
Opeth audiences are as unique as the band themselves, and every night is different (as it should be), but I was disappointed in some of the Glasgow choir that night, and it
GIVING AS GOOD AS HE GETS: MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT ONSTAGE WITH OPETH.
PROG 83: GENTLE GIANT FEATURE, HARSH OPETH REVIEW?