December 17 was a frigid night in Philadelphia as I entered the Electric Factory. This would be my seventh IN FLAMES live show. For those who don’t know from previous A&GS pieces written by yours truly, they are my favorite band of all time. Needless to say, my excitement and happiness were off the charts! Shortly after my arrival, RED FANG opened the show as I watched from the second floor balcony bar. Not having listened to an extensive amount of their catalog, I will say that the four piece from Oregon put on a solid showing. The riffs flowed over a sea of banging heads in the Philly crowd. Although I am not well versed in their material, I recognized the song “Wires” and felt it went over even better live. Kudos to those guys for setting the pace for the night!
Up next was the moment I had been waiting for since I bought tickets the instant they went on sale. IN FLAMES were ushered in by their always excellent light show as they burst forward with the opening track from Siren Charms, “In Plain View.” The energy level in that song got the crowd immediately engaged and I was already headbanging, singing, and screaming my ass off!
They quickly transitioned into the next and heaviest track from their latest LP, “Everything’s Gone.” I looked at Damian and my other friends in attendance and I quickly hurried to finish my beer so I could move from the second floor bar to the pit area. Anders Fridén addressed the crowd stating that if anything went wrong during the set, it was the fault of the folks at Yards Brewing Company (one of the area’s greatest beer makers), as he had been enjoying their product earlier in the day. As I slithered my way through the crowd, “Trigger” from 2002’s Reroute to Remain began. I met fans in the mosh pit as we all traded hits. “Cloud Connected” followed, gaining a huge chorus sing-along from the entire venue. This moment sent chills down my spine; something IN FLAMES’ music has done to me since my first time seeing them.
“Delight and Angers” ramped up the speed of the pit again. The production of the IN FLAMES live experience is always seamless. The band absolutely crushes their material in a live setting and their stage lights add so much to the impact of their music. Also, the band’s crowd interaction makes you feel like they are just hanging out with you. Some of Anders’ stage banter involved telling people to not watch the show through their phone screens when there is a hot Swedish model in front of them, pointing to a laughing Björn Gelotte.
And, as usual, Anders encourages the crowd to be on their “worst behavior,” citing that our president wants to make moshing and crowd surfing illegal, which of course resulted in a larger pit and a sea of bodies heading over the barrier (myself included). The band visited more of their most recent record with “Paralyzed” and the lower tempo “Through Oblivion.” The five new songs went over extremely well in a live setting, and sounded even heavier in person! As if I didn’t like these songs enough before (see my album review of Siren Charms) they became even greater after this performance. Clayman’s popular “Only for the Weak” followed and I made a direct line back to the mosh pit. while smashing each other around, we all sang in unison with Anders during the chorus. Everyone was absolutely ecstatic to be in the building that night. It was a true celebration.
The ballad “The Chosen Pessimist” was a song I had never experienced in person before. It was chilling and very impassioned. The pace shifted to a faster speed with “Where the Dead Ships Dwell” from 2011’s Sounds of a Playground Fading. “Rusted Nail” was the final showing from this year’s release. As explained in my review of Siren Charms, the opening always strikes me. Sure enough, I had goose bumps down my arms as the first few notes of the intro rang out. I took my last crowd surfing trip during the song, singing my heart out with Anders during the chorus, to which the frontman met me with a high five after I got over the barrier. That moment completely made my night and is one I won’t soon forget. Up next was the “gateway drug” track to my IN FLAMES fandom, the first song I’d ever heard by the Swedish metal legends; “The Quiet Place.” I met my fellow fans back in the pit and we all went berserk! Even after hearing this song an innumerable amount since it debuted in 2004 on Soundtrack to Your Escape, it hasn’t lost a bit of its epic content and appeal!
Soon after, Anders criticized the circle pit abilities of my Jesterhead brethren and I, demanding we do better for the next three songs. The band whipped into “The Mirror’s Truth,” to which the pit expanded and we ran as fast as we could like it was 1987. “Deliver Us” delivered up some more moshing and sing-along greatness, before IN FLAMES capped the night off with Come Clarity’s incredibly heavy and melodic “Take This Life.” This song prompted the most intense pit action of the night, and damn near the loudest crowd participation.
Just like that, the 15-song set ended all too soon and the band took their bows, thanking the ravenous Philly crowd. Overall, this was an absolutely stellar performance. One of the best I’ve seen them put on, personally.
The lights, the energy, the precision of the band, it was all so perfect. This is why I never miss a chance to see them, and why they will always be the best in the world in my mind. Like a fine wine, or should I say an ale or barleywine, these guys keep getting greater with time! Do yourself a favor and see them the next opportunity you get. You can thank me later! I know Damian certainly did right after their set. It is safe to say they won another dedicated fan at A&GS! IN FLAMES, thank you for never letting me down, guys.
LIVE REVIEW: ERIC THE BULL
LIVE PHOTOS: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY