Dark Tranquillity

Metalfest - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As the avid reader of our gathered anecdotes here that you are, you should know that I put Dark Tranquillity quite high in the list of bands that always deliver excellence on a live-stage, and for that very reason Dark Tranquillity was one of the bands I was looking the most forward to on the final day of Metalfest.

It all started out quite well, the band beginning with Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive), the large crowd which was ready for action, the weather being warm and sunny.
Actually, there was nothing really new in any of that; the only thing that really surprised me was seeing Martin Henriksson, and the immense change in his appearance. Only last year he had still been large and muscular, with long dreads flying all over the place, whereas now the muscles seemed toned down in favour of a sofa-masculinity body and a more aerodynamic hair-style. In short, the man had become fat and had cut his hair! I know this doesn’t necessarily reflect on the music, but I mention it only because it was such a surprise, as I wrote above.
Be that as it may, soon enough some real problems began sneaking in, and already a short way into song number two, In My Absence, about three seconds to be exact, Dark Tranquillity had to put their show on hold because of some drum problems which we never got fully explained. The pause wore on, and even though Mikael Stanne tried to keep the spirit up by saying; “Short, but sweet” and then going on to acting quite surprised and asking if we really wanted more of it, there was no helping it. The ball had been dropped.
The audience stayed with it for a while, even beginning to shout “Zugabe” for fun, but as the band-members could do little but have a drink of beer while the stage-crew worked feverishly to fix the problem, the atmosphere dropped off like morning dew on a desert flower.

“This is a heavy song, so let’s see some banging heads!”
- Mikael Stanne (vocals)

When the time finally came to begin again, the band jumped straight to Misery’s Crown instead of redoing the other song, and even though Stanne managed to create a decent clap-along, the majority of the crowd was now only standing still as they listened to Gothenburg’s finest.
Between songs some shouts of appreciation were raised, but even though Dark Tranquillity played such crowd favourites as ThereIn and heavy tracks like Dream Oblivion (where was Lost To Apathy by the way?), there was no helping it. Like the lyrics go in the former of those songs, Dark Tranquillity had been starved for energy, as had the audience, and the show never got properly back on its feet again.
It was obvious that Stanne and the boys tried, they even wanted to bring us something unusual to listen to with the brand new Zero Distance, but at the same time the band seemed tired, and even though Stanne spent as much time out on the catwalk and nearly hanging on the fence as he usually does, the band still failed to reach over the edge of the stage.

Well, what can I say? This was certainly a completely new experience for me, being disappointed and slightly bored by a Dark Tranquillity concert, but it was just as certainly not an experience I cared for. At all.
I really do hope that this was only a one-time fluke, and not a beginning trend, but only time will tell. Let’s hope for better tidings, shall we?

Setlist (incomplete):

Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)
In My Absence
Misery’s Crown
Treason Wall
Zero Distance
Dream Oblivion
The Fatalist

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