Finnish Metal Tour 2011 - Parts 9-15

TOUR DIARY FROM THE FINNISH METAL TOUR 2011

by Kasper Mårtenson

Part 9 - 16.02.2011
Part 10 - 18.02.2011
Part 11 - 21.02.2011
Part 12 - 23.02.2011
Part 13 - 25.02.2011
Part 14 - 01.03.2011
Part 15 -  05.03.2011


PART 9

16.2.2011

The support bands on this tour don’t have their own mixer guy/girl. This means that we have to rely on the venues’ personnel to take care of our live sound. Even though we obviously can’t hear how we sound onstage, by all reports the sounds seem in general to have been quite good so far. But there was a certain venue where we were warned about the sound guy. It was said he couldn’t be trusted with a food mixer, let alone a sound mixing desk. But there was very little we could do about it, so we had to put up with him. Listening to the way he did the sounds for the next band, one could understand the complaints: the sound was truly rotten. But considering that the band in question was Rotten Sound, this was actually quite befitting.

In Seattle we had connections of our own. Travel-weary rock musicians were provided refreshment, nourishment and sight-seeing by friends and relatives. We thank thee.

Schedules on venues have in general been quite reliable, with the exception of Seattle. Two local support bands were running a bit late, and once we got our stuff onstage, there were a number of connection problems, the sources of which were seemingly impossible to locate. We had already passed our starting time, and were contemplating on having to omit songs from our set. This would’ve been a shame, since we are only playing for 30 minutes on most nights anyway. However, as the problems were finally resolved, the tour manager said we could play our whole set, if we ‘played it quick’. As a result, the Seattle gig was a hyperactive set, with tempos a bit faster than usual. It was actually quite fun. Maybe we should start playing speed metal.

After having travelled from the furthest southeast to the furthest northwest of the US, Canada beckoned. But there were one or two issues hampering with our travel plans.

The travel distances on this tour are quite long. The bus usually starts for the next destination at around 4 a.m., and arrives at the venue around noon or later. So, as one wakes up in the morning, one can expect the bus to still be in motion. (Obviously some of us do not wake up before the afternoon or even later. Don’t know why. Maybe it’s the jet lag...) But on too many a morning the bus has prematurely stopped. And this is because our bus has been beset with numerous technical problems from the word go. It seems that we have been unlucky in our choice of vehicle, since the problems just keep on appearing.

Leaving Seattle on early Sunday morning, we had a lengthy drive ahead of us. And yet at around 9 a.m. the bus was not in motion. ‘Oh, no. Not again. What’s the matter this time?’ It transpired that there was a problem with one of the hubs of the tire, and we were parked outside a garage which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. We were told that with any luck, the tire mechanism could be fixed in a couple of hours, but in the worst case the bus would not be moving until the next day. It somehow seems that when such alternatives are represented, it is always the worst-case scenario which materializes. And this was no exception. It soon turned out the bus couldn’t be fixed there and then, and yet we couldn’t afford to wait for another day, since it would have meant the cancellation of the next gig in Calgary. Tension was mounting. Tempers were rising.

-Where’s the tour manager?, somebody asked.

-He’s in the other bus tearing his hair out, came the reply.

Well, that was almost true. He wasn’t in the other bus, he was in the parking lot. But he wastearing his hair out.

It was then decided that the other bus would continue as planned, and the rest of us would wait for a replacement bus, which would be arriving in ‘a few hours’. Few hours and a few hours more passed with no sign of the bus. Supplies were running short, there wasn’t much water left, it was getting dark, we didn’t really know where we were, and the nearest gas station was 7 miles away. Then the phone rang. It was the driver of the replacement bus saying he had only just embarked on his journey, and it would take him about four hours to reach us. Four hours. Four hours? FOUR HOURS?!! So what was the original talk of ‘a few hours’ then, many people could be heard asking.

Four hours was clearly too long for us to survive without the necessary supplies, so a four-man expedition set off. We ordered a cab (which took about half an hour to get where we were, since only 2 were on duty in the area) and drove to the relatively near-by town of Moses Lake to buy the necessary products: water, fruit and bread (and SPAM for Mikko).

Five hours later the replacement bus driver called again, this time to say that he was about 30 miles away. Another hour passed and there still was no sign of the bus. By now, quite convincing conspiracy theories were being formulated: There will be no bus. There never was any bus. It was all a lie! We are on our own now…

But eventually, two lights appeared in the distance and sure enough, at long last, that was our bus. We made it after all!

 

PART 10

18.2.2011

The replacement bus seemed to be adequate enough. It was clean and smelled quite nice, which could not be said of the old one: 2 weeks on the road had taken its toll, and the sights and smells were not always pleasant anymore. Indeed, although us passengers have often complained about the buses, I am quite sure that the bus vehicles themselves, were they able to complain, would probably file a complaint or two towards us travelers, because there has been the occasional abuse, and negligence of common hygienic matters on our behalf. But since bus vehicles can not complain, what do we care!

On Monday morning we were yet again at a standstill, this time somewhere in Montana. With luck, we would just have enough time to make it across the border and up to Calgary. Too tired to worry about buses and schedules anymore, it was nice to just observe the beautiful scenery while driving through the Rocky Mountains. Joe Walsh got it right: the Rocky Mountain Way really is ‘better than the way we had…’

We finally reached the Canadian border. At Border Control the Customs Officer looked at my passport, and asked all kinds of questions, amongst them this one: ‘So do you play country music or hiphop, or are you a real musician?’ I said: ‘No country or hiphop for me, sir!’ He opened a drawer, reached for a delicate little pin with the Canadian flag, handed it over to me, and said: ‘Welcome to Canada!’

So far, so good. We had a four-hour drive to Calgary, and providing there weren’t any hassles on the road, we might just make it on time. And we did. We arrived half an hour before we were meant to be on. A quick load-in and a line-check, and off we went. It was not the most focused performance due to all the hassles of the past two days, but could be still classified as a worthy Canadian debut. From Calgary the Canadian sojourn would continue to Edmonton.

The original plan was for the old bus to get fixed and sent after us, so that we’d be using the replacement bus only for the minimum amount of time. On Sunday it was said that the bus would be fixed on Monday, and we would get it on Tuesday afternoon in Edmonton. On Monday it was said that the bus would be fixed on Tuesday, and we’d get it on Tuesday night. However, and not unexpectedly, on Tuesday night (or early Wednesday morning at 2.17 a.m. to be precise) it was said that the bus was fixed but we wouldn’t be getting it before Wednesday afternoon, by the time we’d already be in the next destination, Regina, Saskatchewan. Again the conspiracy theories raised their ugly heads: ‘The bus hasn’t been fixed. It was never meant to be fixed. We will perpetually be told that we will get it tomorrow at the next location. We will never see it again!’

I suppose we could’ve put up with the replacement bus, if it wouldn’t have been for one thing: it was a 12-seater, and our entourage consists of 15 people. This, coupled with heating problems, resulted in a few very uncomfortable nights for those without a bunk in the Province of Alberta, Canada, where the night-time temperature was around -25 C. Even the people with bunks were shivering. Despite the hassles with the old bus, at least there were bunks for everyone, and at least it was warm. Well, warmish. Actually, more like lukewarm. Still, surely anything was better than this.

And so it happened, that after many delays, we finally got our old bus back in Regina. The tire hub had been fixed, and equally importantly, the bus had been thoroughly cleaned, with new bedsheets and pillowcases. Ah, the joy and bliss. Of course, this would not last for long.

 

PART 11

21.2.2011

We brought our own backdrop for this tour, but we’ve only used it once. This is because putting it up and taking it down in such difficult and tightly scheduled circumstances has proven to be too much of a hassle. In fact, no band on this tour has a backdrop, but ‘Ferum and ‘Troll use a certain type of screen onto which visual effects are projected. We and Rotten Sound also use this screen, by projecting our own respective logos onto it. It doesn’t look as good as the real thing, but it is better than nothing. The projector is quite easy to operate, but there has been the odd technical blip. For example, in Regina there might have been confusion as to who was performing, as Rotten Sound were blasting away against a Barren Earth-logo projected in the background…

Snow seems to be ubiquitous on this tour. In Winnipeg the snowstorm was so heavy, that entering the bus, and leaving a few minutes later, the falling snow had already completely covered the footprints. It was in this snowstorm that we entered the Canada-US border. Whereas the previous border crossing had been an easy affair, this time there seemed to suspicion about our traveling party. We had to wait quite a bit at the border station, as the guards checked our bus inside and out. A prevalent fear in the group was obviously: will they find it? This was of course a reference to the vegetables and fruits in our fridge, as it is forbidden to carry such items across the border. Upon returning to the bus, it was apparent that they had checked the bus quite thoroughly. Bunks had been tampered with, personal possessions had been investigated. Yet mysteriously, the bananas and onions were intact in the fridge. Maybe they weren’t searching for fruit and vegetables after all…

The following morning in Annandale, Minnesota, our bus driver took us to visit his home, where his wife had prepared a ‘Finnish breakfast’. A delicious breakfast of the highest quality was served for whoever happened to be awake at 11.00 a.m. Our hostess had baked a Finnish pancake according to a recipe off the internet. The pancake was Finnish enough, i.e. very good. We did not dare mention that although the pancake was quite close to Finnish in taste and texture, it is not a food to be served in the breakfast table, but more as a dessert. But so tasty and savoury was this pancake that one starts to think maybe it is time that the Finns too learned that the best way to start a day is in fact just that, a pancake. And bring out the maple syrup, too.

Some people who missed the breakfast were slightly disappointed that they hadn’t been woken up. As a consolation, we did show them photos of the various delicacies: the tasty pancakes, the fantastic salad-salami wraps and the mouth-watering omelette, so all was not lost.

Upon arriving in St. Paul, Minnesota, it was time for the other bus to have some technical problems. For some reason the vehicle started losing air pressure, as a result of which the brakes did not work. Also our bus was stopped there, since the drivers tried to fix the problem together. As we were only 4 or 5 blocks away from the venue, we decided to complete the journey by foot. After arriving on the venue, me and Oppu went to Macy’s. Whilst walking back, we bumped into Rotten Sound who had been looking for the venue for the last hour or so. They had been given confusing instructions about the venue’s location, and were quite literally lost in Minnesota, drifting blindly along the streets. Lucky that they saw us, otherwise they could’ve been lost in St. Paul forever.

After doing our sound-check in St. Paul, I was asked to move my keyboards half a metre backwards, in order to make room for the local support band. I did this, but left the sustain pedal where it was, since I was to move the keyboards back to their original position later anyway. But by the time we were due on stage I had completely forgotten to move the keyboards back. About half a second after starting the piano intro, I realized that the sustain pedal which I desperately needed was situated about 50 cm in front of the keyboards. And I just had to reach it, otherwise the intro would’ve been ruined. This resulted in an uncomfortable but acrobatically impressive stretching of legs which would have made even David Lee Roth jealous…

 

PART 12

23.2.2011

On Saturday morning we were approaching Chicago. The mood in the lounge of the bus was one of impatience, as once more the toilet door had gotten jammed. About 20 minutes earlier the driver had said that we were 20 minutes away from our destination. But as we were only in the outskirts of the city and the traffic was heavy, it was obvious that it would take more than 20 minutes (and had, in fact, already taken). To make matters worse, a bit later both buses happened to drive down a narrow street, only to find that we were facing a bridge too low for us to go under. We had no choice but to reverse back the way we came from, and try to find space for turning around. Just to make it clear: reversing a bus on a narrow street, accompanied by honking horns and abuse from road-raged drivers whilst desperately needing to use the toilet isnot the ideal way to enter Chicago for the first time. But on this particular morning, this was the type of entry that fate had bestowed upon us, and who are we to act in defiance of fate?

On a more positive note, the show at Reggie’s Rock Club, Chicago was sold out. Unfortunately, some people who had come specifically to see us, were left outside. If it was any consolation, we did give them our autographs; with our shaky handwriting.

As Chicago is a city of blues, as well as the city of The Blues Brothers, we decided to go listening to some blues. We had no idea where to find a good blues club. But somebody pointed out that maybe, just maybe, one could find blues at The House Of Blues. And we did, courtesy of the excellent Jimmy Burns Band.

Upon returning to our bus, we heard strange news: some people in our entourage were to change buses. Stories relating to buses on this journey would deserve a blog of their own. Both buses have been constantly experiencing technical problems, buses have been exchanged, drivers have been changed, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes involuntarily, and now this. For various reasons, some people from the ‘party bus’ had aspirations to move to the ‘silent bus’ and vice versa. As a result, our bus currently consists of Barren Earth, Rotten Sound, 4/6 of Finntroll and the drum tech, while the other bus consists of Ensiferum, 2/6 of ‘Troll, and the rest of the crew. Can you, o reader, guess which one is the ‘party bus’?

In Detroit we had the pleasure of doing a bit of sight-seeing with a friend of Mikko’s as our guide, although sight-seeing is perhaps not the best word to describe it, since the heavy snowfall meant very low visibility. But at least we could feel the city. Detroit seemed like a ghost town, as we drove around the abandoned houses of the city on Sunday, amid the ever-present snowfall. We were taken to see the Heidelberg Project, which is an outdoors art installation. Gloomy, sullen and even macabre, but impressive nonetheless.

In the Greek Town district of Detroit we went to have lunch in a Greek restaurant. The atmosphere was nice, the service was efficient, and the food was excellent. The only thing which wasn’t all right was the hyperactive waiter constantly enquiring if everything was all right.

The venue in Detroit was the legendary Blondies. The walls were adorned with historical rock’n roll artefacts from famous bands who had played there in their early years: concert contracts, advertisements, etc. for performers such as Megadeth and Faith No More. It would seem by this, that Blondies really is the way up to the stars. Then again, they also had artefacts from bands which rock history may have already forgotten. Speaking only for myself, I do not recall the likes of Beer Whores, Feisty Cadavers, or Bulimia Banquet…

The shows in Detroit and Cleveland were the worst attended so far. This can at least partially be blamed upon the bad weather, since advance sales in both cities had been reasonably good. Even people who had bought tickets beforehand failed to turn up, since heavy snowfall had once more made the traffic conditions terrible.

After Cleveland it was time to cross the border to Canada again. This time it was an easy affair, since we didn’t even have to step outside the bus. Somebody collected our passports for a quick inspection, and soon we were able to resume our journey. This was slightly disappointing, since on the last border crossing to Canada I received a gift in the shape of a Canada pin. I had secretly been hoping for more pins. Not necessarily Canada-pins, though. This time I would’ve preferred something more exotic, like a Burma-pin or a Burkina Faso-pin, or whatever else they would have had to offer…

 

PART 13

25.2.2011

…and then it was time for Canada, again. This time we were in the eastern part of Canada; the Province of Ontario and the city of Toronto. The Toronto gig took place at a venue called the Opera House. During this tour I’ve been constantly referred to as Kasper the Friendly Ghost by the drum technician John. I do not mind this. However, in Toronto I made it clear that the ghost references would have to be upgraded. As we were at the Opera House, I was to be referred to as the Phantom of the Opera. To stress this point, I played a bit of good ol’ Andrew Lloyd Webber with high volume on the keyboards in the echoing auditorium.

Later on, we learned of the grim history of the Opera House. The building had actually functioned as a real Opera house earlier. But a tragic fire with numerous victims had put an end to the activities. Indeed, one could still smell smoke in the corridors. In addition to this, we heard rumours that the house was haunted. But walking down the corridors, I did not meet my phantom colleague. And maybe that was for the best.

As the conditions in the tour bus are often quite cramped, there is a danger of getting a bit claustrophobic. The perfect cure for claustrophobia presented itself in Toronto on a visit to the CN Tower. The CN Tower looms 553 metres high in the centre of Toronto, and offers great views of the surrounding area. As it was a sunny day, one could really see far. An additional bonus was the glass floor. Walking on a glass floor on an altitude of 342 metres, whilst looking down, truly removed every symptom of claustrophobia. On the other hand, it did introduce a whole range of symptoms of vertigo…

Midway through the first song in Quebec City, the audience started to applaud for no apparent reason. Upon watching the performance later on video, the reason became clear. Unbeknownst to us at the time, Mikko’s microphone had been muted, and the vocals became audible only in the middle of the song. That, if any, is a perfect reason for applause, and had we realized at the time what had happened, we would’ve probably applauded too.

It was a very good thing that the three last Canadian shows (Toronto, Quebec City, and Montreal) took place towards the latter part of the tour, since the venues were the biggest, and the audiences the most enthusiastic so far. It was good to have been playing more or less the same set for weeks before entering concert situations of this magnitude. The concert in Montreal in particular, with its 2000-seat auditorium almost full, was most exhilarating.

After Montreal, it was again time to cross the border to the US. As before, it was a time-consuming affair, since our merry traveling party seemed yet again to arouse the suspicions of the border officials. Investigators of the canine breed were employed, as commands such as ‘step out of the bus!’ and ‘get your hands out of your pockets!’ echoed in the chilly borderline air at 5:45 in the morning. Some people had gone to sleep prior to the border check, and had been woken from deep slumber. Others had been awake all night. But everybody was knackered to the full, and therefore our appearance probably did very little to mitigate the guards’ suspicions. However, as we are law-abiding citizens of the highest order, the canine snoopers didn’t have anything to work on, and eventually our bus was back on the road.

Then the bus broke down. Then it somehow got fixed. Being fast asleep at this point, I don’t know what happened, nor do I even want to know anymore. Problems with the buses have become so frequent, that they are almost part of the daily agenda. With less than a week to go, we are just hoping that our bus will somehow hold together for the final leg of the tour.

We have mostly been playing the same set throughout this tour. As 30 minutes seems to be the norm, the set has usually been as follows: Piano Intro, Forlorn Waves, Flicker, The Leer, Cold Earth Chamber and Floodred. With repeated performing, this set has formed into a kind of atour de force, and we could probably play it back to front right now. However, for the last two gigs of the tour, a change will take place. As Marko must leave on Thursday for a Moonsorrow tour in Europe, the drummer of Finntroll, Beast Dominator, has kindly offered to stand in for the two final shows. This means that from now on, the setlist will be altered, so that Beast Dominator (or Beasty D. as he is known in the hiphop world) can better learn the songs he will eventually be playing.

In Rochester in Upstate New York on Friday, we played the ‘Beast Dominator-set’. But so accustomed were we to playing the ‘classic’ set, that Oppu started playing the old numbers by default. As we moved into ‘Our Twilight’, Oppu was happily playing ‘Flicker’, and it wasn’t until 10 seconds into the song, that an angry ‘Oppu!’-shout to the mic from Marko brought him back to the right song. Tour de force? More like a tour de farce… Fun gig, though.

 

PART 14

1.3.2011

On Saturday morning we arrived in Manhattan, New York. We parked in front of the venue, the Gramercy Theater, only to find that the evening’s headliners were billed as Flinntroll. Perhaps Gramercy Theatre was expecting to host the Flinnish Metal Tour?

Another prestigious city and venue, the New York gig stood out as one of the more memorable shows of the tour. An extremely supportive audience with people singing along to the lyrics, and in some cases even along to the guitar solos, made us feel right at home.

After New York we drove a bit norther up to Worcester, Massachusetts, where we played at the Palladium. The Palladium has two venues, a small one and a big one. This package of ours was booked to the smaller one. In retrospect this was perhaps a mistake, since the show was sold out, and there were loads of people left without a ticket. The people who did get in proved to be the most energetic crowd so far.

As has been established in this diary earlier, this trip has left little room for watersports of any kind. Yet in Worcester the gig proved to be a complete diving and surfing feast. Stage-diving and crowd-surfing, that is. Even though we have had the occasional mosh pit during some performances, this is an activity mainly reserved for the other bands on the bill, since our music has lots of mid-paced and lighter moments. But this didn’t seem to hinder the Worcestrians, to whom our gig was the perfect excuse for incessant stage-diving and crowd-surfing. Even in the quieter moments, there seemed to be an ever-flowing stream of enthusiasts surfing towards the stage, from where they then proceeded to stage-dive back to the audience. Bizarre, but a lot of fun, and a particularly high-level energy gig for us. Surfin’ USA, indeed.

After Worcester, we were to be moving southwards for the remaining 4 dates. After having played a gig per day for two weeks, it was time for a well-deserved day off. On Monday morning, as we had just arrived in Philadelphia, we heard for the umpteenth time that there had been trouble with (surprise, surprise) the bus. Luckily for us, it was the other bus. During the night, the passengers had been awakened to the shouts of ‘The engine is on fire! Get out of the bus!’ Indeed, the motor had caught fire, the fire department and police were there, things had been chaotic, and they had been stranded at some gas station. On Monday morning they were still somewhere in Massachusetts.

At this point it seems that no piece of news regarding the buses can surprise us anymore. But as it was a day off, this was not the catastrophe it could have been, since there was at least time to get the bus fixed. The plan was then for our bus to go back to Massachusetts the following night to bring the remaining people to Philadelphia, since the broken bus wouldn’t be ready for the road by that time. For the rest of us this was actually a good piece of news, since it meant that we would be spending the night in a hotel in Philadelphia. After four weeks of sleeping in the bus in a 1X2m bunk space, a modest room in a Travelodge hotel felt like a De Luxe suite in Hilton. Not that I’ve ever actually been to a De Luxe suite in Hilton, but you get the picture, I trust.

The recurring problems with the buses, in addition to other hassles, have resulted in frustration. For example, last week we received advice from Finland, that we should obtain an American Social Security Number. However, visiting a Social Security Office in Philadelphia, we were told that getting the number is impossible, since our visas were only valid for 11 more days. The minimum time would have been 14 days. Why weren’t we notified of this earlier? That was another hour wasted, then. Marko, in particular, was very much dismayed by all of this. So much so, that in Philadelphia he decided to immortalize his sentiments towards the bus company, and the world in general, by taking a tattoo which summed up his feelings. Visiting a local tattoo parlour, he had the letters VMP 2011 tattooed into his right arm. This is a Finnish abbreviation of F**K THIS S**T. I leave it to you, Finnish reader, to do the translation.

It is customary for us to receive ‘day sheets’ with all the necessary information regarding the day’s gig, including schedules for sound-checks, showtimes, etc. It is also customary for us to take bottled water with us from the venues. However, Tuesday’s day sheet had the following text:

We don’t need no water for the bus, let the motherfucker burn.

This was a sentiment everyone was happy to concur with.

 

PART 15

5.3.2011

Last week somebody knocked on the door of the bus. It was a drunken man who was looking for his friend. We heard that this missing friend was dressed merely in a Finnish flag, and didn’t speak any English. We were asked if this friend was in the bus. He wasn’t. We were asked if we’d seen him. We hadn’t. We were then asked to tell this lost friend, should we see him, to go to the venue. Since the lost friend didn’t speak any English, I don’t know how we were expected to accomplish this. Anyway, this man came over again and again, drunkenly slurring exactly the same things. The point of irritation was reached, after which we chose to ignore him and locked the door.

A bit later there was somebody at the door again. Peering out the window into the dark night, I saw a figure of a shirtless man, who had a cloth of sorts around his head. ‘Oh, no! It’s the missing friend of the annoying person. This is trouble!’ I refused to open the door, and went back to the lounge. As the knocking continued louder than before, I returned to the door window to have a second look. And then it dawned upon me. It was not the missing friend, but Mathias from Finntroll returning from their gig, with a towel wrapped around his head, shivering in the cold, wondering why I had refused to open the door for him. I had a bit of explaining to do…

After Philadelphia, the 3 remaining shows were Springfield in Virginia, and Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina.

It seems to be very hard for us to make decisions. In Springfield our playing time was scheduled for 19:45-20:15. At 19:38 we were told that we could start right away, if we wanted to play for 7 extra minutes. We decided to start right away, but by the time we had eventually agreed upon which would be the extra song, it was already 19:44…

In Charlotte, the posters for the gig announced not 4 but 5 bands, the fifth being Moonsorrow. Weird, that, since obviously Moonsorrow would not be appearing. Even weirder, considering that Barren Earth’s only official member of Moonsorrow, Marko, had left for Europe the previous day, handing the drumsticks over to Finntroll’s Beast Dominator. Though very different in style compared with Marko, he played very well, and the gig went smoothly. We even did a record for the amount of CDs sold per gig. Well done, Beasty D!

While learning our songs, Mr. Dominator wrote charts for every track. So now we have thorough drum charts for our songs. These could come in handy in the future, if ever we should happen to need a replacement drummer again. On the other hand, any drummer might have difficulty in understanding Beast’s mysterious code language: ‘vilauttaja-iskä’ for Floodred’s middle section, or ‘siltaputouskekkuli’ for the main riff of The Flame Of Serenity. The former could be translated as ‘flasher daddy’; the latter is probably untranslatable to any language.

For the sound check in Raleigh we noticed that Oppu was missing. Not to worry, as Ensiferum’s Pete stepped in on bass. For a brief moment the supergroup got even more super.

The final show was a fitting finale for the tour, as there seemed to be a notably huge number of people who were well acquainted with things Barren. Quite a lot of singing along, as well as many BE T-shirts. Nice!

There was a lot of onstage inter-band mingling, as both Oppu and Janne made a guest appearance during Finntroll’s encore. Exit the long-sleeved black collar shirts, enter the shades, bodypaints and party hats. A surprise treat for Americans and Finns alike.

After the show, we drove to a hotel where we spent a few hours before leaving for the airport. Post-show activities included a radical, yet consensual reshaping of Mikko’s facial hair. As Sami aptly put it, the former gutter hobo-look made way for a trailer park-hobo look, with a hint of Lemmy Kilminster.

Saying goodbye to all the other bands and crew, we then watched as the green bus drove away to the horizon. We were glad of never having to see it again. But we sure would hope to see America again.

When we came here 5 weeks ago, we didn’t know what to expect. But although this tour was pretty much Ensiferum’s and Finntroll’s tour, it seems that we went down pretty well, too. (As did our friends Rotten Sound.)

We had some great gigs, saw many a great sight, and met a lot of really cool people. Thanks to all who came to see the shows, and let us hope that in the not-too-distant-future Barren Earth shall return!

Over and out.


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