As IN FLAMES concluded their stellar set, an immediate swap of equipment took place. Before we knew it, OPETH was taking the stage. They entered sight of the eager fans at Electric Factory as they began to perform “Eternal Rains Will Come,” the opening track from their latest LP, Pale Communion. The band sounded pristine from the gate, especially the vocal harmonies. For my first time hearing any material from their new record, I was impressed as expected. They continued the night with the next track from that record, “Cusp of Eternity.” I have to say that this song sounded much heavier in a live setting than it does on record. While it sounded heavier, it still maintained that old school progressive vibe like its predecessor. Again, I can’t stress enough how well the new album’s material went over in a live performance. If you enjoyed this year’s release from OPETH, you’d surely love these two songs to start the night.
Dipping into their back catalog, OPETH continued with “The Drapery Falls” from 2001’s critically acclaimed Blackwater Park. The crowd was extremely pleased with how the set was going, and the opening notes of this track gained a large round of applause accompanied by cheering. The ups and downs of the song came across brilliantly through the sound system. Everything was being executed with the utmost precision and there wasn’t a dissatisfied fan in attendance. Venturing further back into the band’s material, they pulled an unexpected surprise out with “The Moor” from the Still Life LP. Thus far, the four-song setlist was filled with songs I had never seen performed live by OPETH. It was almost like hearing these tracks all over again for the first time. As much as I love their new music, there’s nothing like hearing something from Still Life performed by the band, in the flesh.
The crowd went absolutely nuts after hearing this epic track come to an end. The band once again switched gears, this time to a softer song. The fifth selection of the night was my personal favorite from the Damnation record, “Windowpane.” The somber number began and the crowd was silent minus the sections of singing along with frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt. This is a song that, although slower and softer than the other ones performed, demanded all attention in the room. While I typically lean towards the heaviest numbers of the night being my highlights, this ballad was the standout of their set for me. “Windowpane” served as a calm before the concluding storm of the set. In the span of one track, OPETH went from delicate and beautiful to the raging “The Lotus Eater.”
The technical and punishing composition from 2008’s Watershed took the crowd from silent to raucous in an instant. With the audience at an energetic peak, the band finished their set with the title track from Deliverance. Out of the entire OPETH catalog, I’m not sure that there is a more incredible song to end a set. The power of this tune in a live setting always strikes me. The Philadelphia crowd was absolutely satisfied with the band’s showing, and I can truthfully say that this was one of the best live performances I’ve seen from them out of the five chances I’ve had. The seven-song set was full of epic compositions, all unique in their own ways. And, like all great bands, an OPETH live show always has you begging for more at the end. I anxiously await my next live experience with them, as I’m sure everyone in attendance that night does.
LIVE REVIEW: ERIC THE BULL
LIVE PHOTOS: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY