MOONSORROW – Olympia, Tampere 29.2.2020
As soon as I heard about MOONSORROW’s ‘Verisäkeet Alive‘ tour, I knew it was going to be a big, epic affair. From previous experiences of catching Finnish bands on homeland tours, they have always been unparalleled to those in the elsewheres of the world. This time would be no different. I caught two nights of this four-date tribute tour for the band’s fourth album ‘Verisäkeet’. In this report I will be mostly referring to the fourth date, which occurred in Tampere, Finland on the 29th of February, 2020.
While this tour was not my first time witnessing a live Moonsorrow set, the Helsinki night of this tour was certainly was my first time catching them headline. Within the first five seconds of that gig, I was blown away and instantly decided that I’d be heading to Tampere the following weekend to catch the final night of the tour.
My first impression upon arriving to Olympia was that the venue is fitting to Moonsorrow’s music – theatrical and the aesthetics reminded me a lot of the ‘Verisäkeet’ album cover. I can’t speak for actual numbers, but I would dare to say the place was oversold. Hoards and hoards of metalheads in the bars, waiting in the merch queue, trying to squeeze through to somewhere where there was enough visibility of the stage. I was one of the latter and I still don’t know how I managed to make it all the way to the front row before the band started. At this point, the only sound to be heard was that of the crowd chanting ‘MoonSorrow, MoonSorrow’ over the faint sound of the venue’s house music (which was Venom and early black metal bands, if I remember correctly.) The fans’ almost impatient excitement was causing even more anticipation then seeing the stage almost ready sans the band. The wait felt eternal, but it wasn’t long before the band took stage and then the highlight of everyone’s Saturday night began.
As expected, Moonsorrow opened their set with ‘Karhunkynsi’, the first song off ‘Verisäkeet’. The crowd didn’t need any further fuel for the fire. Everyone was already on fire and the energy exchange between the band and the fans was mutual.
The band swiftly continued with ‘Haaska’, the second track off ‘Verisäkeet’.
Following the order of the album, ‘Pimeä’ was next, of course. The lights were shut off and the song was played mostly in the dark, with only silhouettes visible. This was the perfect choice, considering pimeä means darkness in Finnish. In case by some chance you don’t feel enough gloom and despair when listening to this song, this setting would make sure you did.
‘Jotunheim’, a song that has become almost a classic for Moonsorrow was next and the crowd was even more excited for it. Everyone was singing and chanting along as if there was no separation between stage and floor. The perfect timing of the band’s frontman, Ville Sorvali, spitting into the fire was the icing on the cake of an already glorious performance.
The first moment of slowing down was for ‘Kaiku’, the last song from ‘Verisäkeet’. It wasn’t really slowing down though, since the audience was still singing along. If anything, it was a little breather for what was still yet to come.
‘Verisäkeet’ is about 70 minutes long in total. At this point many bands would have already called it a night. However, Moonsorrow is not most bands. After a brief intermission, they took the stage once again, all bright eyed-and bushy tailed, ready to continue the party.
The first encore of the night was, of course, ‘Sankarihauta’, which built almost as much anticipation as 70 minutes ago, before the band took the stage the first time.
Minus the outro, ‘Sankaritarina’ was the final song of the night. This was a great song to close the night with. Everyone was chanting along and felt like a natural farewell to the night.
Overall, it was an amazing experience to see ‘Verisäkeet’ played from beginning to end live. The band chose to play the tracks in the same order as the album, which was the best choice, in my opinion. The fans are already used to hearing the songs flow a certain way and breaking that would have removed some of the magic of the album’s sound. Even though I saw two nights of this tour, same exact setlist, they both felt like two completely different shows. Although, the Helsinki night was amazing and a hometown show for the band, I feel like the Tampere night ended up being more epic. Perhaps it had something to do with it being the last night of the tour and energies being extra high for that reason. From what I’ve read, this ‘Verisäkeet’ set will not be repeated, so I am stoked I caught it while it was possible. I am looking forward to catching Moonsorrow once again, in another headlining tour someday. If you’re on the fence on seeing them live, do it, you won’t regret it!
Before the chants, the epic fire and the gathering of the wolves, the band’s guitarist Mitja Harvilahti was kind enough to sit down and chat with us for a few minutes.