Orphaned Land

Loppen, Copenhagen - 2016

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As any reader of this page should know by now, I’m quite partial to the music made by the Israeli prog/folk metal band Orphaned Land, and I would jump to the chance of seeing them play in my hometown.
So, when said band announced their 2016 European tour, which included just such a show, I did. Without hesitation.

Apparently though, I was only one of few who did. There can’t have been more than 20-30 people in Loppen on this cold November night, roughly estimated. As I recall, their last two headline visits, while being played in small concert halls as well, have both been crowded with people, so this was a little bit unexpected.
Not unpredictable however, and I reason there were two major issues that played a part in the low attendance. First and foremost, there was another big metal concert in town on the same day, Obituary and Exodus, which certainly had attracted much of the desired audience. Secondly, the schedule for the Orphaned Land concert must have been written by someone who has never done a concert before. Either that, or there were logistical complications that I simply don’t know about. Why else would you have a show with four bands in, and not have the first band begin playing until 21:30? Honestly, Orphaned Land didn’t get on stage until 23:45, and by then they not only had to rush their show because of a curfew on music played, but anyone traveling by bus or train was royally screwed!

Oh well, we had our transportation in order, and were ready to enjoy the show.
It opened with an intro, The Holy Land Of Kna’an if I’m not mistaken, which is the latest Orphaned Land related release on the market. I say related, as it is not a straight up Orphaned Land creation, but a cooperation with the band Amaseffer, and thus not exactly in the same tone as we are used to. On the other hand, Orphaned Land themselves have rarely been what we are used to from release to release, so maybe the step isn’t that big after all?
After this, it was pure Orphaned Land all the way though, so if you hadn’t picked this album up, you could still easily follow along.

And we did, those of us who were there.
Support for the support bands hadn’t been very impressive, but when the main act took the stage, the audience finally felt an inclination to approach the stage, and eve follow along with what happened on it.
When Kobi Farhi bid us to clap, we clapped. When Uri Zelcha headbanged, at least some of us headbanged. And when there was song, we sang.
I believe that the only way all of this could have been improved, was if there would have been more of us. There wasn’t, fine, but those of us who were there did what we could, did all we could to make sure the band felt welcomed back into our town.

And even though the show was rushed, as I mentioned previously, it looked like the band members were enjoying themselves as well. We didn’t get the usual jokes between songs, nor did we get any unusual ones. There simply wasn’t time for Farhi to talk, except for a quick “good to be here”.
Orphaned Land has often incorporated belly dancing in their show, and this was one treat we weren’t going to miss out on however! Only, it was Matan Shmuely doing the dancing, and even though this wasn’t exactly what we had expected, he seemed to enjoy himself immensely. And sure, it was entertaining, right enough.
There were much entertainment to pull from the show actually, if you wanted to. During most songs, there was either a clap- or sing-along, most times combined even. And standing close to Chen Balbus as I was, one couldn’t help but smile, because that is what he was doing. Throughout the entire concert. And it was contagious. The only one headbanging in the band was Zelcha, which was a bit surprising, but there was a good energy going nonetheless.
Orphaned Land had also played around a little with their material, possibly to make it fit better with what they are doing now. It was especially noticeable in El Meod Na’ala, which had gone from a delightfully heavy doom track, to a playful funky thing. I’m not going to say I’m against evolution, even though I do love the original, but I will say that it will take some getting used to. On the other hand, I was very excited to hear Let The Truce Be Known, my favourite track from the All Is One album. And again, where was The Beloved’s Cry? Play it, damn you!

As you may gather, I liked what Orphaned Land gave us, and I like the fact that they help bring out lesser known and varied acts as support band, but there was simply too little of everything to get me really excited. The show, although entertaining, was too stressed, and we could have done with both more songs, and more crowd recognition (i.e. some more speaking and the like).
Then again, I fully realise the challenge of performing at your best under these circumstances. Orphaned Land were very professional about it, and didn’t let on that things weren’t optimal, but I can only hope that this has not made them think twice about visiting Denmark again, at a later point. Maybe at Copenhell? That would be a good venue for them.


The Holy Land Of Kna’an
All Is One
The Simple Man
Let The Truce Be Known
The Kiss Of Babylon (The Sins)
Ocean Land (The Revelation)
El Meod Na’ala
In Thy Never Ending Way
Norra El Norra (Entering The Ark)
Ornaments Of Gold (snippet)

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