By: Samuli Keskitalo
Right after their summer tour the Swedish metal band and one of the best-selling metal bands of today, In Flames announced a new tour, which started few days ago in Tampere, Finland. There were five gigs in Finland during the week and I was again in Oulu to see them. All of those gigs in Finland were at clubs, but the show in Oulu was held at the icehall. In Flames has always been very popular and famous in Finland, like many other bands from Sweden. And even though there is always some fights between old-schoold and new-school In Flames fans, the shows are almost everytime sold-out. You can always make a discussion, that which era is better, but I really think it doesn’t matter: Old classics are not going to disappear anytime soon. And my personal favourite album comes from the new era (Sounds Of A Playground Fading).
In Flames is nowadays one of my personal favorite bands. There are many reasons for that, but I can definitely say one reason: how they mix their setlists. I have seen In Flames live many times during the last several years and everytime those setlists have been very different to each other. When the tour started in Tampere the people was little confused with the setlist, which was very interesting: The point was to play many songs from the past and many of these songs were last played something like in 2002, or 2004 etc. If you have read my reports about concerts before, you may have noticed, that I always give my sympathy for bands, who make changes in setlists and I denifitely gave my voice for that setlist! Many, many rare songs, like Superhero Of The Computer Rage, Black & White, Like You Better Dead etc. And couple quite new songs, which they played as a live premiere on this tour, like Siren Charms’ tittle track and Enter Tragedy. And let me say… Enter Tragedy was cool to see and hear! Please, In Flames, keep that one on the list for a long time. Generally, the setlist was very well received by the fans, who have seen the band on stage a few times, or more. But if you were there for the first time… well, there were Only For The Weak, Cloud Connected and stuff like that, so the hit singles wasn’t totally forgotten. ”Everybody wins” situation, maybe? And those old classic ones also were there. Ordinary Story, Food For The Gods etc.
Band started to play about fifteen minutes late and the first one on the setlist was Superhero Of The Computer Rage, then came Enter Tragedy and Darker Times. I love to see Swedish musicians on the stage, because of their happiness: they are always happy to play and you can see the smile on their face – they definitely love to play. So they’re always passionate and it’s nice to see, when a band gives you 110%. Of course you can complain about something, that if the singer Anders Fridén had taken too many whisky shots, hah. Anyway he can sing and make growl voices still – good. And in my opinion his special skill is how he make his speeches and take the crowd with him.
A little speech and the show continued. Siren Charms, Black & White, Square Nothing etc. Like I said, the setlist was full of good material from the new era and old era as well. And the stage was full of cool LED and light panels, which was pointed with live videos from the cameras. Very cool, cheerful and lively. I love when bands have that kind of stage thema.
Only For The Weak were also played, even though that one wasn’t on the setlist in Tampere, Jyväskylä, Turku and Seinäjoki. Anders spoke about, that the former Finnish icehockey player Janne Niinimaa forced In Flames to play that one in Oulu, and the band did it. Janne Niinimaa is the of the owners of Club Teatria, which was the biggest concert club in Finland. For me that was very fine, that they played this one again – it’s awesome to see how that song makes people to jump everytime. In Flames has always been such a polite band for fans and they have for example given a chance for fans to get up on stage during Only For The Week, or some other song. I was last year in Berlin to see In Flames and there I was the lucky guy, who got up to stage during Only For The Weak and filmed the song with a camera.
Now, when I mention, that I got up to the stage in Berlin, so it happened again in Oulu – but this time one of the crew members asked me to to come to the stage and shoot some photos. And I had also chance to stay at the side of the stage for the rest of the show, which contained the songs like Ordinary Story, Crawl Through Knives, The Hive etc. It was very cool to see how smoothly the crew and band played together and everything seemed to go as planned without issues. And Anders: if you read this one day, next time I can sing Cloud Connected for you! Hah.
The encore was about to come, with five songs. Cloud Connected, Where The Dead Ships Dwell, Deliver Us, Paralyzed and My Sweet Shadow. Cool set of good songs, but I have never understood the idea of My Sweet Shadow song, or why this song has to be part of the setlist? Clearly the people like that one, but by me for example Take This Life last year was the better one as ending song. So almost about two hours of In Flames from era to era and side to side and the band seemed like they have been sweating, like a small lake. And Anders’ whisky bottle was also getting to empty, hah.
I think I really can’t say anything bad about that show, not even about My Sweet Shadow. The Swedish metallers showed again why they are so popular, cool, passionate and simply strong on stage. There is also one thing I would love to see in the future: Maybe In Flames could some day play one of their albums in it’s entirety? Because that seems to be a theme of today. But which album that could be? Whoracle? Clayman? A Sense Of Purpose? Maybe that would not be great idea after all: there would be an even bigger fight between old-school and new-school fans.