DR Koncerthuset, Copenhagen - 2018

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

It’s been far too long since we saw Apocalyptica, and even longer since we saw them in Copenhagen. Luckily for us, Copenhagen was one of the stops they were making on their “20 Years Of “Plays Metallica By Four Cellos”” tour. Well, technically, it’s their sophomore album, Inquisition Symphony, which is 20 years old this year, but let’s not get hung up on details…

“Since this is all going to be instrumental, it means you will be the singers of tonight! Are you ready?!”
- Eicca Toppinen (cello)

That this night was going to be something special, we gleamed already when the show was announced - an evening of Apocalyptica, once again sporting four cellos, and playing in no less of a place than DR Koncerthuset! This is not a venue readily available, or at least seldom visited, by metalbands, as it is set up more for the likes of classical concerts. Since Apocalyptica blends the two better than anyone else though, this was obviously the perfect setting for them. This was also to be our first ever concert here - back in 2009, we saw D-A-D in the same building, but they were playing in the foyer, not the actual concert hall.

So, after finding our seats (yes, this was a seated concert - we’re civilized people, ok?), it was time to take the place in. The venue was something of an architectural artwork by itself, with all the odd angles and natural materials - it also turned out to be perfectly set up for sound to travel, which was perfect for the band, and maybe not so perfect for those parts of the audience who couldn’t stop themselves from making comments underway (yeah, we could hear you - everyone could).
On the stage, four boxes were placed in front of four dark screens - very simple, very stylish. These were what the band members would be sitting on, as soon as they took the stage. Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Perttu Kivilaakso, and to my great delight, the return of Antero Manninen - the best of both old and new Apocalyptica.

The evening was split up into two acts, as it were.
The first act was, not surprisingly, the entire first album of the band played through and through, the very album that lent its name to the present tour.
Performance ways, the band started out calmly, actually staying seated on their boxes for the first few songs at least. This was fine, as the lightshow got to work its special form of magic, creating some sparse and highly artistic images to go along with the music. Little by little, more advanced plays with colour and shape crept in, and after a while, the boxes couldn’t hold the band members anymore either. Lötjönen was the first to engage the audience, and even though he had apparently hurt his leg somehow (he was wearing leg braces on his left leg), this didn’t seem to hold him back too much - he wasn’t up and about as much as usual, but he was up and about!
Toppinen and Kivilaakso took turns talking to the audience, and Kivilaakso also walked about a bit, and did a bit of headbanging here and there.
Manninen, the embodiment of indifference and the perfect counterweight to the liveliness of the others, sat still on his box, sunglasses on, and didn’t so much as change his facial expression.

“Go meet our merchandise guy. Even though you don’t believe it, spring is coming, and you’ll need a new t-shirt for that.”
- Toppinen (cello)

For the second act, the setup had changed somewhat. Gone were the screens, and what we had only glimpsed behind them before, was now in full view - the large, and very peculiar drumkit of Mikko Sirén. Yes, for the second act it was four cellos and a drumkit. You know, I’ve been ranting on and on about how I prefer my Apocalyptica solely with cellos, but you must realise that this has never been meant as a negative comment on Sirén - he is an excellent drummer, and as time goes by, and his gear becomes more and more complicated to behold (honestly, by now it looks more like a scrapyard than an instrument), he also becomes better and better. My problem is solely this - the drums have such a prominent sound, that they easily overtake the finer details of the cellos, and that’s sad as the cellos are the major thing this orchestra has going for it. This was extra true for this show, as the drums came in loud, and nearly drowned out the sound of the cellos, until the soundtech managed to even the levels out a bit better.

A positive surprise was that, for several songs, Sirén played more as a percussionist than a drummer, hitting away on his odd spiral cymbals, large metal canisters, and other assorted stuff he had standing around.
The rest of the gang really let themselves go this time around. Toppinen and especially Kivilaakso were all over the place, headbanging hard. Lötjönen followed close behind them, as much as the leg would allow, and always keeping that great connection he has with the crowd.
Manninen sat still on his box, and didn’t so much as change his facial expression. During the presentation of the band, Toppinen explained that; “Antero is a little different. He smiles upside down.” It should be mentioned though, that during Battery, Manninen played a special cello, from which there billowed smoke, and had lights inside. This looked especially good, when they took the room light down, so that we could get a good look at the skull design the lights and cut-out of the cello body gave.

Even though there were no more songs to take from the Plays Metallica By Four Cellos album, the second act stayed true to the concept of the tour, and only contained Metallica covers. Most of them were taken from subsequent Apocalyptica albums, but there were two specialties slipped in as well - Orion and Escape. Neither ever recorded, by this band, but now presented in glorious live versions, which can only leave us hoping for more.
All of this was extremely well received by the sold out hall. While it was a seated concert, and people mostly stayed in their seats, the band received one standing ovation after the other - the cheers seemed endless! And of course, there were some songs that commanded us to stand and headbang with the band, and by Toppinen’s proclamation at the beginning of the show, even more songs that demanded a proper sing-along.

This was, when all is said and done, a magical night. Even in playing covers, Apocalyptica does something that nobody can replicate. This is a band that comes alive on stage, and it is no wonder that we count them among the best live-bands of the world! This position was firmly set in stone by tonight’s concert.


Act 1:
Enter Sandman (Metallica cover)
Master Of Puppets (Metallica cover)
Harvester Of Sorrow (Metallica cover)
The Unforgiven (Metallica cover)
Sad But True (Metallica cover)
Creeping Death (Metallica cover)
Wherever I May Roam (Metallica cover)
Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (Metallica cover)

Act 2:
Fade To Black (Metallica cover)
For Whom The Bell Tolls (Metallica cover)
Fight Fire With Fire (Metallica cover)
Until It Sleeps (Metallica cover)
Orion (Metallica cover)
Escape (Metallica cover)
Battery (Metallica cover)
Seek & Destroy (Metallica cover)
Nothing Else Matters (Metallica cover)
One (Metallica cover)

Latest uploads: