Copenhell - 2022

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Pulling them back nine years after their first visit, Copenhell had secured Down to play the Hades stage. During those nine years, Down had released a new single and an EP, so how would they go about bringing something new to the table? We were about to find out…

“If you know it, sing it!”
- Phil Anselmo (vocals)

This year, the headliners were all about the bling and gear of the stage. Let’s just say, Down took it in another direction. Showing up with only a simple backdrop with the band name on it, and an inverted cross decoration, they were the epitome of minimalism.
So, it would be up to the band and the songs to get us through this, which is fine. Lot’s of bands play it this way, many highly successfully.
The band kicked things off with Lysergik Funeral Procession, and things were going alright until the big P, Phil Anselmo, started singing. While the rest of the guys had been grooving so far, he had been slouching around, and when he opened his mouth, there just wasn’t any real power to it. Let’s just call the kettle black, shall we? Anselmo looked and acted like he was stoned out of his mind. He was talkative and tried his best at being entertaining between songs, which worked to some degree, I’ll give him that, but he didn’t seem present and especially engaged with what was going on. He even managed to mis-announce a song, calling Lifer for The Seed, a song not even on the setlist. And on top of everything else, he made himself guilty of that number one pet peeve I have about musicians in a live setting - he was constantly chewing on something unnamed, and a constant chewing has no place on a stage.

“Great audience. Great audience. We have this thing called the next song, so what do you want to hear?”
- Anselmo (vocals)

Despite the lukewarm performance, at least some people seemed to enjoy themselves. There was a bit of crowdsurfing going on, there was a small moshpit, and when the band hit the hit potential at the latter end of the show, people really lit up. It got so good, some 20 seconds into Bury Me In Smoke, Anselmo stopped the sound, and the band had nothing but praise for a crowd that was, by now, really going at it.
In that same song, Down had a little surprise tucked up their sleeve - all of a sudden they started changing instruments with each other, going so far even, as to take outside personnel in to help them out. Robert Trujillo took over on bass, and some other guys I didn’t recognize, took over the rest of the instruments. The main surprise was actually that Trujillo was still at the festival, given that Metallica had been the headliner the day before.

To the best of their efforts, especially that of Pepper Keenan, this Down show would not go down in history in any way. Anselmo’s (probably) doped out lulling about, and a general lack of enthusiasm, made this concert disappear like a puff of smoke in the air.
And one would think that after nine years, they’d be able to change more than one single song on their setlist.


Lysergik Funeral Procession
Hail The Leaf
Ghosts Along The Mississippi
Losing All
Pillars Of Eternity
Swan Song
Eyes Of The South
Stone The Crow
Bury Me In Smoke

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