Hi guys. It's been a while! I'm not gonna act like that's not an issue, I just have no excuse other than shear lack of willpower. DA has been depressing as hell for me going through art block, but at last I finally have some pictures to share! *Gasp*
A drawing is coming up in the next few days, but at the moment I have some photos of Apocalyptica in Finland to share
. I've decided not to upload any from the actual trip this time because I have hundreds upon hundreds. I uploaded some on Tumblr though so you can see them here: www.tumblr.com/blog/viahhapoca…
So let me tell you about it!
Firstly my friend Ida and I met in Vantaa and then travelled to Turku, which is a town in southwestern Finland. From my home in England that took about 12 hours altogether (And then we couldn't find the apartment, fun times!), so we took it easy for the rest of the evening. The apartment was lovely!
Had a balcony and was almost next to the cathedral too.
So over the course of the four days in Turku we wandered all over town. We visited the cathedral which is absolutely beautiful inside! Typically Finnish/Nordic but with small hints of Italian-esque grandeur and frescos painted on the walls. We also went in the dark to take pictures which was also gorgeous
On our travels we also visited a tall and pointy church called Mikaelinkirkko (It was very tall and pointy, like.
) Also the castle which was certainly different from the ones I'm used to in England, not quite so needlessly grand. We also wandered up a huge hill to get to the observatory and look over the whole of Turku, I almost got stuck a few times... There aren't any hills where I live, let's put it that way.
Also shopped in a lot of nice places like Kauppahalli, thought I found British Royality stuff in one of the shops in there... Can't get away from my fucking country anywhere.
Though Finland scored points for accepting rock/metal fans yet again, Olli Herman and Timo Rautiainen were on a TV show singing Hip-Hop (It was as hilarious/ridiculous as it sounds
) and we saw Michael Monroe walking in the street
Casual as fuck!
One night we also went into a restaurant called Shamrock where they kept playing random older songs by bands that we love, which was nice. The service was appalling though! The staff did not seem to like their jobs very much
Yeah I'm not gonna lie, as nice as Turku is, it's small and doesn't have a whole lot to offer in terms of activities, so four days was plenty. But it's very pretty
I loved the walk along the river's edge all the way to the castle most. I would visit again, just not soon.Tampere
Okay, so Tampere was very nice, but we had next to no time to actually see it which was a shame. I was absolutely shattered from the show the night before and a lack of sleep too, so that didn't help. But still we mustered up some strength to visit the cathedral which I've always wanted to visit as it was decorated by Hugo Simberg (Art freaks and Nightwish fans please look him up!).
First things first, I recently stopped being vegetarian after eleven years and I had THE BEST. Tuna freakin' sandwich outside
But onto the church, I've never actually said "Wow" walking into a church outside of Italy, until this time. For some reason, it's just a really beautiful sight to behold. I don't understand Simberg's idea to paint nekked boys carrying a long... Tree? Vine? Along the entirety of the balcony, but still it was interesting. They also had my two favourite pictures of his on the wall, sweet! The Wounded Angel and The Garden of the Dead are two pictures I used in a project in school years ago, so it was nice to finally see them (Or the prints where they used to be) in person. Hopefully I can see the real ones sometime.
Then onwards to the Pyynikki tower to eat the famous doughnuts and climb to the top! Luckily it's not too tall 'cause the whole place is on a hill anyways. No Eiffel Tower-esque climbing is always a plus.
Hysterics about LOTR characters' personal lives behind us, we stayed and stared at the whole town for quite some time, Finnish towns are so green! Plus they're usually surrounded by it too so we had some gorgeous views, not to mention the lakes as well, a lot of them around Finland were frozen. I've never seen anything so beautiful! God can't you tell I'm from a city??
Definitely will be visiting again.Helsinki
Well Helsinki is pretty much a second home to me now and yet I'm still finding things I've never seen before. My friend took me to Kaivopuisto to look over the partially frozen sea (Again, never seen anything like it!) and a Fazer cafe which was full of chocolate to buy. I had some kind of BBQ chicken salad which was amazing, whilst trying desperately to claw at the chocolate that they'd put inside seethrough parts of the tables
So mean! The next day we wandered a bit in the nice sunny weather, then visited the Olympic tower because somehow I hadn't done it before
Gaaahhhhh Helsinki is so beautiful from above. Well hell, it is on the ground too
But still, so many trees, the sea and a beautiful
town, it's not big enough to be a city ffs
city, altogether as one big goo of awesomeness. Oh god why couldn't I take any of this back to England with me?
Anyways, the temperature seriously dropped when we were up there so we had to leave to rescue my fingers from frostbite XD
That night we hunted down a small cafe in Sibeliuspuisto that we'd seen on facebook. It's a tiny hut built on a pier and it was full of antiques and such, the atmosphere was gorgeous
So cosy and warm, since it was quite cold outside so to sit in with a cuppa was absolutely delightful. We sat and watched the sun go down too, as planned
(So we got to one place on time during this holiday at least
) Anyways, it's called "Regatta" and I recommend it
After that we wandered back through the park to visit the Sibelius monument in the dark. No tourists, just us, bloody marvelous! We both spent a little while trying to get nice pictures in the dark and sticking our heads in the pipes
I believe there is also a photo existing of me booping Sibelius on the nose
Ida had managed to tear her trousers so as you can imagine on a cold dark night, there was only so long before she needed to go back to our apartment and change before her leg froze
The morning before we left we went shopping. First off we stopped in Cybershop which was a hell of a lot more "Scene" than I was expecting. Not an issue, just sad that I didn't find any trousers like I'd hoped. Whilst in there though I found myself a little disgusted at how many things had the Union Jack flag on them. I'm sorry but what the hell? If you're a tourist in the UK and want something to remember your trip then fair enough, buy all the goddamn flag merchandise, but I was in the middle of Finland trying to forget my life in England. I asked my friend and a couple of Finns what they'd think if they saw their flags printed on everything in different countries and they all said they'd be horrified. Welcome to my nightmare! ANGLOPHILES EVERYWHERE LISTEN UP - STOP.
Okay? Just stop
My country's flag is not a fucking fashion accessory.
Anyways, rant aside, we left Cybershop and went into Morticia next door, oh my god. The staff in this shop are amazing! One of the ladies ran up to me and said something along the lines of "Not to be weird but I saw you come in and I just thought 'I know some trousers that would make your butt look amazing'"
The clothes in this shop are gorgeous too by the way, so if you're of the uh, "goth" persuasion, I highly recommend paying them a visit in Kamppi! They also had some really nice steampunk clothes in there
Anyways they got us to try on a butt tonne of beautiful clothes just for the fun of it (Including a corset, I couldn't breathe but it did look really good hahaha) and spoke to us about Finland, England and Apocalyptica. Bought myself some very nice trousers
God they barely let us leave, but we had to unfortunately. Ida almost missed her plane, but it was totally worth itInteresting people collected:
- Joonas-from-behind guy: Basically we thought this guy looked like Joonas from Nerve End, but only from behind. He was walking the same way as us so we were both giggling the whole way about shouting his name and seeing if he looked... Alas, he disappeared before either one of us found the courage
- The bus wanker: Pretty damn sure it was exactly what it looked like.
- The drunk agreeing guy: When in Tampere we stopped to look at something and as Ida ended her sentence, a drunk guy wandered past and just muttered something short to her, and he continued drunkenly waddling. I was like "I think he agreed with you"
- The lady walking her pet rock: Pretty much self explanatory... I hope so much that it was a bet or something, since she was with a group of people.
- The lady walking her fancy cat: I cannot even stress how pretty this cat was. Kind of looked like a fluffy grumpy cat if she wasn't y'know... Grumpy.
The Apocalyptica concerts
There's not much point in splitting the three shows apart since the setlist was the same every night, but I shall add little bits of interest as I go along
So, the orchestra entered stage and the intro music was that bizarre opening track from Apocalyptica's Wagner Reloaded that sounds like the beginning of the apocalypse (of course). The orchestra then started to play a medley of Čohkka and Farewell which was absolutely gorgeous
Mikko wandered on to join in with the drumming and then the rest of the guys came on to finish the ending of Čohkka, to give it that extra unf like it has in the song normally. Had I been sitting on a seat in Turku (Unexpected standing ftw
), I would've surely been on the edge of it already. I was the next two nights that's for sure!
Anyways, Burn was next. The orchestral parts were far more subtle in this one as you can imagine, it's quite an aggressive song at times after all. Though the usual quiet middle eight had been transformed into a graceful little segment that almost paints a picture of walking through a beautiful garden and finding something incredible at the end of it as the song comes crashing back in with the last "chorus", the power of which heard me saying "Oh my god" over and over again in one of my short videos (It's my mum's favourite song, so I thought I'd bring her back a recording!).
Onto Quutamo. Honestly I think this one went as you can imagine, a song named after moonlight is bound to be (and is!) beautiful enough on it's own, but with an orchestra? Gobsmacking. Truly.
Fight Fire With Fire. Okay so this one made my neck hurt! The intro was left to the orchestra, and then in came Eicca with the absolutely mental riff at 500 miles per hour and of course everything turns to madness. The "choruses" sounded so epic with the orchestra. The orchestral parts in my opinion were actually quite funny, I don't know why. I suppose the whole song is a big bit of fun though, isn't it!
Next was an unexpected one: Peace. I love parts of this song, but I must confess that I don't listen to it that often. However if I could have the orchestral version at home, that would change!
I heard a new dimension to this song that is not immediately apocalyptic, but more like an internal conflict... It's very sad and hopeless in a way, very powerful. It hit home for sure, and I thoroughly embraced it!
Birth Pain, the first of the Wagner Reloaded songs on this tour, was as delicate and beautiful as you can expect. Didn't quite transport me back to the Wagner shows but I'm glad in a way, it gave me a chance to hear and see them being played in a different light. I could really see all of the emotions of them playing it this time, and this is why I love being so close to the stage. Perttu was stamping his foot making some noises to himself, Eicca was swaying and Paavo looked like he was going to explode with joy
Ural - So much win! I was so stoked to hear this one I can't even describe it. Literally, actually, I just remember awesomeness and Paavo telling off Perttu in Tampere for throwing his weight around during the middle eight
Cortège was next, oh good gravy I was too busy headbanging to hear much of this one
It was dramatic, it was a kick in the head, then it all descended into gloominess. Good gloominess. Apocalyptic gloominess.
But seriously now, the orchestra did a fantastic job on this one, it worked beautifully in the end.
Rage of Poseidon. Yes. YEEEEEEES! IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Along with Paavo shouting and the sea-themed stage lighting, I was having visions of big-ass sea monsters crashing through waves and dragging innocent souls all the way to hell, oh god I'm drooling just thinking about it; the sheer POWER. I performed many a metal claw throughout this song.
Here is where we had a short intermission, good thing really 'cause after raging so hard about Poseidon, I needed a drink.
After the intermission we were treated to three incredibly emotional songs in a row. Better get the tissues ready
Psalm 1 - Perttu's solo. Perttu is always in a world of his own, but not more so than when he's playing a song like Psalm. Every night it was different, every night it was just as incredible. You can see all kinds of pain and beauty in his expressions and movements when he plays, but it was most fantastic in (I think) Tampere where he was quite clearly in a trance but then finished the song and sort of looked up and was taken aback at all the people gawping at him and he started laughing
Next they played Lullaby. I had a great conversation with Ida after the first show about this one and why we both love it. She said it sounded like something out of LOTR (She's a LOTR nerd, so it's self explanitory
) I personally love it to a point of tearfulness. I'm a soppy bastard who wants kids some day, I'm also an artist. Eicca is an artist too, so I know that even without thinking about it, he will put his soul and life experiences into his songs. For me, Lullaby was a window into his soul on those days when he got to hold his kids for the first time, how else would a song about a baby's birth be so powerful? It's simple, he's been there
. There's few things on this earth that make me weep more than the beauty of an emotional father.
I don't care if that's weird, it's bloody beautiful. Now go listen to Lullaby and hear it for yourself
They then went straight into Bittersweet, oh god the tears were rolling so violently down my face at this point, I had to take off my glasses and sob for goodness sake! The orchestral sound just made me wail even more, oh god my whole life was falling apart. It was like this every night too!
Bittersweet was the first song I heard by Apocalyptica a good ten years ago now, can you believe it? All I could think about was how Apocalyptica had given me so much hope throughout those severely unhappy years. It was nice but incredibly emotional to come full circle like that. They played the full version with the heavy ending too, oh the power. I felt like I could scream at everyone who's ever wronged me all at once!
Here they went on to play Creation Of Notes, which is basically Worlds Collide but Wagner Reloaded-ised.
A real foot stomper this one, Worlds Collide has always been one of my favourites so I was happy to hear it.
Path! Paaaaaaaaath! PAAAAAAAAAATH! OMG PATH WHAT DID THEY DO TO IT. This was in all honesty the song I looked forward to every night, because of THAT BEAT. In the choruses Ida and I could not stop dancing like idiots, to the extent that Paavo started laughing at us one night
It was almost... Latin-y?? We were singing it and dancing throughout our whole trip, it was just fantastic
It was also a mix between Vol 1 and 2, so I could sing along to the second half as well! SCORE!
Ludwig Wonderland. Unfortunately lacking the flamboyant angel guy in a martini glass this time (which was a shame 'cause I thoroughly enjoy his one-man moshpit) but still as fantastic as ever.
Grace was a fine example of kicking one's own butt. The song is normally a beautiful piece of optimism, but with the small parts of entirely classical interludes and such, it was simply stunning. It has been finetuned into a masterpiece
At The Gates of Manala, oho I was sure as hell looking forward to this. Somehow I was sure they'd play it, so I was very happy to hear the intro play! After all that excitement, I can't even find a way to describe it now to the extent that I'd like to. Some parts of this were the most powerful fist-clenching stuff I've ever heard, methinks it wouldn't be out of place in a movie alongside a hero travelling into battle, then dying heroically and waking up in some afterlife (hopefully not the underworld as the name suggests
). Well, that's what I saw anyways!
Inquisition Symphony, introduced as usual with Eicca screaming in Finnish "DO YOU WANT TO HEAR SOME METAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL?!" in his most terrifying voice and pulling a truly horrible face as he did so
To be honest, I was headbanging too much throughout this one to remember anything. When that got painful, I'm usually so gobsmacked by how fast they play this one to think of anything else! I'm not sure if the orchestra were even involved here, they must've been though
After a standing ovation, Apocalyptica came back to play Nothing Else Matters. The orchestra didn't join in here but it's always a pleasure to hear this one
What a gorgeous example of a love for music that knows no genre, as I watch three classically trained cellists belt out an acoustic rendition of a Metallica song
After another standing ovation, the band hold their fingers to their lips as the orchestra begin to play an orchestral version of I Don't Care. Strangely, when played this way it sounds more like a love song. Funny, since it started out as a love song on Eicca's Black Ice soundtrack
Incredible, a million times more powerful and meaningful than the boppy radio song it became. I don't dislike that version, but still.
The guys crept in for the ending too, for that extra punch in the gut. Stunning.
Another standing ovation later (Actually people didn't sit back down after this one either), they moved onto Hall Of The Mountain King. During the beginning the orchestra would play the intro whilst the guys plebbed about, pretending to be giants and such. This was hilarious every single night! In Turku, after pretending to worship the Contrabass player, Eicca turned around to find Perttu making little animal claws with his hands and jumping towards him. Perttu then proceeded to make a high pitched "BLEEEGHH!" noise at him loud enough for the whole venue to hear and Eicca doubled over in laughter
Perttu then went to try and kiss him I reckon (Or at least that's what it looked like from where I was), but Eicca just put his arm around him and cuddled him instead
Apocalyptica's friendship is second to none, really. This was proven on the second night by Perttu and Paavo, who as you may remember had to tell Perttu to calm down earlier in the show. During HOTMK Perttu walked up to Paavo and glared at him in a joking way, so Paavo held out his arms. They then started dancing in a way that was like Cossack dancing (I wish I was making this up) and had a nice cuddle
It was like watching a little boy talk to his dad after a good telling off, hahahahaha. So cute.
On the third night I recall Eicca and Perttu getting all riled up with the music and having a stare down, with their faces almost touching. They stared fiercely for a good couple seconds, then Eicca quickly kissed Perttu on the lips
I was dying because I knew his family were in the audience that night, I could just imagine Kirsi laughing her arse off whilst their boys are like "Dafuq dad
"Eicca and Kirsi
Anyways, after all that, I got the biggest surprise of my life in Tampere. Ida and I stayed after the show to meet anyone we could, Paavo and Mikko didn't have time to stay but we still got hugs and that's good enough for me! Perttu was nowhere to be seen which, considering how long we waited, I'm actually more impressed about. But when Eicca came out, Kirsi was with him too!
I was pretty sad about not being able to see Cherry & The Vipers whilst in Finland, so I was ecstatic to see her there. I greeted her with a hug and she said "Nice to see you again!". I was like "Again? You say that like you remember me?" And she said "Of course I remember you!"
My brain exploded. That was that. I love this lady even more. We had a nice talk about the show, Cherry & The Vipers shows and songs, coming back to Finland etc. Then Eicca wandered over to speak to us and he thought Ida was Finnish, hahaha :'D What a compliment. He greeted me in English, and with a hug! Squeee!
Spoke about all the shows, and I fiiiiiiiinally remembered to shake his goddamn hand! Yes I can hug him all I bloody want but there's no feeling of accomplishment quite like shaking the hand of someone you've admired for as long as you can remember. Gah, he's so sweet, both of them are! No wonder they get along so well
I got a new display picture out of it too haha
The next day Kirsi and their two kids were at the venue, just casually walking around, chatting to everyone they knew. My god, the boys are so tall now! I feel old. I saw them with their dad at Bloodstock when they were a lot younger you see, so broodiness is inevitable. Upon almost walking into one of them after the show (I had just taken off my glasses and couldn't see where I was momentarily
), I had to act in their best interests and like I had no idea who they were - I think I deserve a medal for that one, especially when my inner woman is screaming "YOUNGLINGS OMG CUTE"
When I saw Kirsi later on though I couldn't help but wave, and she just started up a conversation there on the spot! Oh god how is Kirsi so nice
I thought it was funny how her sons were so good at being nonchalant whilst Kirsi talks to everyone, haha. I felt like it was best to leave them to it anyways, assuming they were on their way to see Eicca and be out of public eye, I didn't want to keep them. So we bid Kirsi farewell and I thought to myself (Or maybe even aloud) "Did that just happen?".
Always a good way to end a bunch of concerts, having to pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming or something.
I tried to keep this short, and actually it kind of is considering how much happened, but still holy shit I don't expect anybody to read it.
TL;DR: Finland and Apocalyptica were amazing and I don't want to be back in England, I have a new Tumblr here, aaaaaand expect a new drawing this week.
I hope everything has been good here in my absence.