Paradise Lost

Le Bataclan, Paris - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Paradise Lost? Check!
Special Draconian Times show? Check!
Me happy? Words can’t begin to describe it!

When I first learned that Paradise Lost would be playing a few select Draconian Times shows around Europe, the term bittersweet is the best way to describe my feelings.
Paradise Lost is one of those few bands which I never tire of listening to, and Draconian Times was the album which introduced me to the band and to this day holds an indisputable position right up there on the top of their discography.
Sadly, at the same time I could see that there was no earthly chance that I would be able to attend any of these shows…
Suddenly though, Lady Luck (in the guise of Lunah Lauridsen) would present me with just the thing that was needed; plane tickets for Paris, and nothing short of VIP tickets for the show! As this was a well kept secret up until the very end, I can’t imagine the hardship she must have gone through when the show was nearly pulled away from her as the first intended concert hall, the Elysée Montmartre, burned down only a week and a day before the show was originally scheduled and there were no places it could be moved to on the same date. Luckily, Le Bataclan, another concert hall not too far away offered shelter for the Britts, and within a time-limit which we could work with. All this I was blissfully unaware of though, as I didn’t know what was going on until I practically was at the doorstep…

Having procured us both the VIP tickets, this meant that we, and the handful of others who had also gone the extra mile for the band we all love so, were allowed to step inside long before the rest of the crowd and have a sneak listen to the sound-check, as well as having a meet & greet and photo opportunity with the band. As if this wasn’t enough, it wasn’t your regular everyday type of soundcheck either; Paradise Lost actually played two entire songs for us, two songs which weren’t on tonight’s setlist! As you can imagine, this was all pretty big for me.

As the rest of the crowd had settled in the hall, and the support band Arkan were done with their show, we all knew what was coming.
A slightly extended version of the piano intro for Enchantment came rolling out of the speakers, as now familiar guest musician Milton ‘Milly’ Evans took the place behind the keys, and as the band came walking on the sound was drowned out by the screams from the crowd.
Nick Holmes wasn’t terribly chatty this evening, but he did want to check that we all liked the Draconian Times album, and after the ensuing roar of appreciation died down a little he wittingly commented that this was convenient. He also wanted to make sure we understood that The Last Time didn’t also mean the last song, and throughout the show similar little comments would come out once in a while (oddly enough, he never mentioned anything about the Elysée Montmartre and the re-scheduling). Mostly it was all about the music though, and what sweet, sweet music it was! All members did a great job, especially Aaron Aedy always strikes me as someone having the time of his life when on stage, and Holmes’ voice kept up well throughout, but the biggest hand should undoubtedly go to Adrian Erlandsson who had had to learn many of the songs for the first time for this tour, and he played them excellently.
As for Draconian Times itself, I have always felt that the most recognizable songs are all placed in the first half of the album, whereas the last few tracks have a somewhat different vibe to them, more free-flowing without the same sort of structure as the first ones. Not that this should be understood as a bad thing in any way, simply different. The same feeling came up in me here at the concert, but somehow the songs worked even better in this form than on the album, and almost blended into a whole where I could almost reach a sort of a meditative state of mind where the pressure of the crowd and the extreme heat in the hall simply drifted away and I felt one with the melodies and rhythms…
The last notes of Jaded died out, and as the band left the stage, I was left with as warm a feeling within, as the sweat on my shirt told me I had without.

The main set should be no surprise as I have mentioned what kind of gig this was, but still there was someone in the crowd who called for One Second; not surprisingly he was denied at first, but the band did have an encore planned with a select four more songs from other albums. As if the entire Draconian Times album wouldn’t have been enough to satisfy us…
Anyway, out came the band again, to an impossibly higher roar this time as greeting, and they quickly picked up where they left off with the title track off their latest album, Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us.
After this the band took a trip down memory lane to Icon street where True Belief resides, after which they turned their eyes forward again for one second (pun intended). Say just words we were told, and that we did, but then it was sadly time again for the band to leave the stage.
No more songs left on the setlist printout, but the voices of the crowd wouldn’t be denied, and sure enough, the band came on for a third time (fourth for some of us) and hammered this show solidly into first place on the gig of the year with two more songs; the new The Rise Of Denial and the ever-present As I Die.
Sure, I know we are still early on in the year, but this will be a hard one to beat.

Completely exhausted, and shaking dizzily from lack of breath and fluids, I smilingly went over to the merch stand and spent the rest of our economy on memorabilia.
There is really nothing left to say except thank you to the promoters for fixing the show for us, thank you to the guard in front of me who was kind enough to share his water-bottle with the rest of us, and last but certainly not least, thank you Paradise Lost!


No Celebration

Main set:
Hallowed Land
The Last Time
Forever Failure
Once Solemn
Elusive Cure
Yearn For Change
Shades Of God
Hands Of Reason
I See Your Face

Encore 1:
Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us
True Belief
One Second
Say Jut Words

Encore 2:
The Rise Of Denial
As I Die

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