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Opeth Live in Los Angeles With Pictures

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Sunday, March 26, 2006 @ 7:53 PM


At The Wiltern Theatre

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Long live Swedish death metal!

In all its black mystique and unpretentious grandeur, Opeth played three hours of music during a highly anticipated, sold-out show at The Wiltern in Los Angeles. This memorable night of music was appropriately named An Evening with Opeth.

While not bathing in the fleeting light of rock stardom, Opeth is a band, which really defies any description like “death”, “black”, or even progressive metal. Opeth vocalist/guitarist Mikael Akerfeldt said that he and his bandmates grew up on “proper metal”, like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. There is no doubt that the band has the color, flavor and bite of these legendary hard rock bands, yet Opeth’s music and stage presence possesses something indescribable. It is real music, with real musicality -- full of exciting twists, passages and doorways in lyrical structure alone. Sonically the band is nothing like what’s playing these days, but the heredity from other bands, like Deep Purple, is apparent. The quintet had moved out of their relative obscurity a bit last year when it released Ghost Reveries, which won a good amount of critical acclaim, but more importantly Opeth fans love the record. Being billed on last year’s Sounds of the Underground tour (after turning down a slot in Ozzfest ’05) alongside heavy music bands who’ve raised the metal bar, Opeth woke the unconscious opening some eyes and giving hungry headbangers a sore neck here and there.

In all its black mystique and unpretentious grandeur, Opeth played three hours of music during a highly anticipated, sold-out show at The Wiltern theatre. This memorable night of music was appropriately named An Evening with Opeth. A dramatic display of lights set the mood dark and ominous before the first notes ripped out of the amps. It was impressive, and somewhat unexpected, that singer Mikael Akerfeldt plays guitar so well, with fluid guitar leads accentuated and accompanied by guitarist Peter Lindgren’s axemanship. The keyboard sound of Opeth was manned by a somewhat showy player, Per Wiberg (formerly of the Spiritual Beggars) whose hair- flying, key-stroking movements were matched by his Uriah Heep sound and style of playing. The fusion of bass and drums was brilliant. I was kind of bummed that in my photographic angle I couldn’t catch these two, who were a very rock-solid rhythm section providing brilliant timekeeping -- concise and unexpectedly off the beat. Akerfeldt sang melodic and mellow, contrasted with occasional fierce death roars.

Although the band has been playing dates with Devil Driver, Dark Tranquility and the Devin Townsend Band on its current tour, the Wiltern show was a real live three hours of Swedish death metal with no intermission that was satisfying and will be remembered as a “real live one.”

    SETLIST
  • Moonlapse Vertigo
  • The Night and the Silent Water
  • The Amen Corner
  • White Cluster
  • The Leper Affinity
  • A Fair Judgment
  • Deliverance
  • Windowpane
  • Closure
  • Ghost of Perdition
  • Baying of the Hounds
  • The Grand Conjuration
Opeth is:
Mikael Åkerfeldt-guitars, vocals
Peter Lindgren-guitars
Martin Lopez-drums
Martin Mendez-Bass
Per Wiberg - keyboards

Click on the thumbnail shots for large pictures.









Photos by Charlie Steffens, aka Gnarly Charlie


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