Opeth -- San Antonio, TX -- April 20th, 2012
Forgive me if I leave short sentences, don't make any sense in this, or do some other shit like that, my head is still killing me from when I kissed a support beam during Mastodon's set.
I left Austin for this show around 3:00 and arrived around 5:30 to some heavy traffic due to a hotel fire (no one was blocking the highway, so apparently the citizens were fine with sitting still and watching it instead). Originally, a very good friend of mine and I planned on going to this show, but she had a series of schedule conflicts, and that plan went straight to hell. An otherwise eventless twenty minutes passed, and I was standing at Backstage Live - a decently sized venue on E. Houston literally right next to the railroad tracks.
When I had arrived, a small line was circling around the porch of the building and was growing fast (it eventually stretched its way around the block - I'd estimate a good thousand people - give or take - came out), so I got in line as fast as possible and wound up shooting the shit with some really cool people - one of which was attending their first concert that night.
Eventually the doors opened up, and I wound up getting really lucky that night - a guy who I was talking to also had a friend who couldn't attend that night, but the difference was that he had already bought the tickets at Will Call, and he didn't want to waste the money, so I wound up getting into Opeth for free.
After thanking the guy like, five times, I went to the merch booth and bought a signed copy of Heritage ($12) and a tour shirt ($30). They had three other shirt designs for thirty bucks, a football jersey type-shirt with the Opeth "O" and "Heritage" on the back for $90, and a tote bag with Deliverance, Damnation, another CD, and a DVD for $50. I didn't really get a good look at Mastodon or Ghost's merch, but they were all around the same price.
After about an hour of the crowd gathering, smoking weed, and shouting for the bands to come onstage and get it over with, Ghost came onstage with incense burning and a fog machine roaring for their first San Antonio performance (if I recall correctly) and fucking killed. The Nameless Ghouls had a rather haunting presence that night and Papa Emeritus' mask seemed to lift from his shoulders, giving off a look of a decapitated victim coming back to life, adding to their vibe. After "Elizabeth", Papa had a tiny bit of dialogue with the audience ("Not bad for a quickie", I believe was something he said). Around the end of the show, he started positioning himself in poses stereotypical of the Pope, mocking the man and giving the audience something to laugh about.
Con Clavi Con Dio
As soon as Ghost left the stage, several people began to put Mastodon's shit onstage. The audience roared in approval several times throughout the night before Mastodon took the stage, however, I was kind of on the fence. I wasn't a huge fan of The Hunter (Black Tongue was the only song I really liked on that album - and I was hoping for some more songs off Leviathan and Crack the Skye), and when I heard they were playing almost the entire album live, I wasn't exactly thrilled. However, regardless of my feelings on the album, I really have to admit, those songs translate very well live. I definitely feel like I have to give The Hunter a second (technically third) chance.
Mastodon took the stage to an amazing show of lights, pounding right into Black Tongue, easily getting the best response from anyone that night in those three minutes alone. Fists pounded, horns were thrown, joints were smoked, and the pits started forming on and off (only reaching their peak during Blood and Thunder - where I was slammed into a support beam by some fat dude in the pit - fortunately, I didn't break my Opeth CD or lose the shirt I had in my waistband...or of course, pass out). Oddly that night, the vocals seemed a bit...off. I can't tell if the sound guy didn't do the vocals right, or if the band was a bit tired that night, but they seemed a bit muddy to me. Aside from that, honestly, the rest of the set blurred on in my mind, but goddamn, it was great. I...really don't have all that much else to say about the set aside from that. Honestly, Mastodon and their stage presence alone are worth the ticket price alone if you're going to this show.
Hand of Stone
Dry Bone Valley
Octopus Has No Friends
Crack the Skye
All the Heavy Lifting
Curl of the Burl
Blood and Thunder
I have to admit, Opeth was a little hard to face this night, since my aforementioned friend loves this band to death and we had been planning to see them since the dates were announced in January (I think?).
A little after their soundcheck, the band came onstage with their usual intro for the Heritage tour and started off the same way they did when I last saw them - with The Devil's Orchard and I Feel the Dark. The audience sang together, moved together, smoked together...honestly, I don't think I've seen a crowd so harmonized by any band other than Opeth!
Mikael's banter with the audience was a bit humorous (some of it is in the post below) as usual, and the band seemed...more "on" than they did in Austin six months ago. A little after the band played Windowpane, I went to the back to get some water (call me spoiled, but I'm still not used to paying for it, since most of the venues I've been to in Austin offered it in the cup for free), and wound up meeting a guy I had seen at an Anthrax concert a while back and spent the rest of the night...standing around, I guess. I knew Opeth's set would get heavier around the end, and I decided to wait it out and see how that went.
Sure enough, right after Folklore, Mikael announced that the band was playing their last two songs of the night, and that "these are not beer-drinking songs". The audience knew exactly what he was talking about, and roared in approval. The band launched into Demon of the Fall, leading into massive amounts of headbanging as Mikael growled the lyrics into the microphone. I can't tell for sure whether his growling is back for good (or if it sounded 100%), but it sounded pretty good last night to me. A little after the band finished, they all gathered in a single spot onstage and bowed to the audience. I left the building to chants of "Opeth! Opeth!", intending to wait by the buses to meet them, however the venue's security basically told me to fuck off. Even if they didn't, I don't think I would have lasted long around the exhaust fumes from the buses.
...Maybe next time.
The Devil's Orchard
I Feel the Dark
The Lines in My Hand
Demon of the Fall
The Grand Conjuration
8/14 - Nine Inch Nails
9/16 - Prong
10/23-26 - HHFF
10/28 - Mike Watt
10/29 - Melvins
11/7 - 7 Seconds
Last edited by RampinUp46; 05-03-2012 at 03:41 AM.