Pain Of Salvation

Amager Bio, Copenhagen - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

It took five years almost to the day before Pain Of Salvation returned to Denmark. The last show, March 17 2012, and this show, March 29 2017.
Pain Of Salvation hadn’t been lazy though, with two new full-length albums in the bag, a rerelease of the classic Remedy Lane album, as well as a live album of the same.
And that’s not mentioning Daniel Gildenlöw’s harsh hospital visit, which became the basis of the band’s latest album, In The Passing Light Of Day.

“It’s good to be back and see you all! We’ve missed you!”
- Daniel Gildenlöw (vocals/guitar)

This wasn’t any old return either, Pain Of Salvation actually opened their European tour here at Amager Bio!
And that the feeling of saudade was mutual was easy to see – the size of the crowd had grown impressively since the support band, Port Noir, had played. Sure, it still wasn’t overwhelming, but it was a good-sized crowd for this kind of gig.
Now, when I say opened the tour, some warning signals might have gone of for you, and I can’t blame you. Things like simple mechanics not working properly, a sloppy band, the energy not being in place yet. We’ve all seen it before, even for the best of them. Well, spoiler alert people – this didn’t happen!
After having set the tone with some low-level blinking lights accompanying a rhythmic one-not beeping intro, Pain Of Salvation kicked the show into gear with Full Throttle Tribe. A fitting song to open with, with great energy, a message that called us in directly as equal parts of this show, and of course a chorus that gave an instant sing along possibility. Which of course was picked up by the crowd, and taken home, as they say.
Gildenlöw, possessing the stage in full vigour, led the show perfectly, and was well backed by his fellow musicians to his left and right. No new faces this time, although Gustaf Hielm (bass) and Ragnar Zolberg (guitar) have transcended the position of live musicians, and are now both of them full-time members of the band.
Standing in the same side as Zolberg, it was entertaining to hear the drop of his large boots accentuate each beat of the bass drum, as he was treading in time with it. Quite the opposite, I’m sure, of Gildenlöw who once again performed barefoot.

“We’re going to play some old songs, demos from 1989! No, we’re not going to do that…”
- Gildenlöw (vocals/guitar)

It’s hard for me to point at anything specific, that made this concert as outstanding as it was. Sure, the whole band was really energetic, moving around and headbanging a lot, and Gildenlöw even jumped at specific, fitting times. And sure, the band, frontman in particular, was observant of the crowd, picking up on their behaviour as well as answering comments. Gildenlöw even pointed out one particular girl in the front, saying she was the wildest thing in the place, and that the rest of us should take note of what she was doing. Apparently, she had come all the way from Russia, which in itself is pretty impressive. Back to the band though, it should also be noted that they had crafted a particularly nice setlist. It could have been longer, and some favourites were missing, but the songs picked worked perfectly. I’ve known about it, but didn’t until now as they were played side by side, realize just how dark the In The Passing Light Of Day album is compared to the older albums. The lyrical themes have always had some dark sides to them, but musically the latest release must be the heaviest and darkest one the band has released so far! Maybe it’s the closer personal connection to the subject, maybe the subject itself, who knows? All I know, is that it works!
But no, there isn’t a specific detail that I can point to and say, this is what did it. It was the whole picture, the overall atmosphere, the entire experience. That’s what did this, that’s what made it work.

“Disco Queen? Oh, you Danes…”
- Gildenlöw (vocals/guitar)

So, it would seem like opening in Copenhagen only bought benefits with it. Just as I can’t point to a specific thing that went right, I cannot point to any specific thing at all that didn’t work. If anything, it would be the short setlist (but with long songs, so it wasn’t a short show).
I will point to a specific point of surprise though – ending a show on a total downer, and still pulling it off, that’s a feat! What I’m talking about, is the fact that the only song played as a so-called encore, was The Passing Light Of Day. Now, while this is a very emotional song, and probably the most heart wrenching performance I’ve seen in a very long time, it is most definitely not an uplifting song. Ending it in turn with the rhythmic sound of a hospital’s respirator and slowly blinking lights, mimicking the opening sequence, didn’t exactly help.
And yet it was so beautiful, such a perfect way to close the show. I wouldn’t have it any other way. So full marks, flying colours, and all that! Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another five years before we see this band again.


Full Throttle Tribe
A Trace Of Blood
Rope Ends
Beyond The Pale
Silent Gold
On A Tuesday
The Physics Of Gridlock
The Passing Light Of Day

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