Pain of Salvation & Kingcrow in Hamburg – September 9, 2018
What a grandiose Prog night for Hamburg: On September 9, 2018 the mighty Pain of Salvation returned to where it all started for them: The prestigious Markthalle in Hamburg saw the first ever concert by the Swedes – back in 1999 they played on the venue’s small stage, MarX. Now they were back, and they brought the Italian rising stars Kingcrow with them for what truly was a night to remember.
Having just released their excellent album “The Persistence”, Kingcrow had a bunch of new songs in their pocket and were eager to present them live. Due to the typical Hamburg traffic jams we only arrived at the start of the second song, missing ‘Right Before’. Some minutes into ‘At The Same Pace’ from their 2015 record “Eidos” the crowd was already captured by the energetic performance of the five Italians (Keyboarder Cristian Della Polla sadly could not make it due to other obligations). After ‘The Moth’ the latest album’s first single ‘Night’s Descending’ (originally sung by no other than Pain of Salvation’s Daniel Gildenlöw, but not an inch worse when performed in its entirety by Diego Marchesi) opened a row of three new songs, which left the audience enthusiastic. After ‘If Only’ Kingcrow made space for the night’s main act – too soon for many in the audience, who clearly got an appetite to see more of Kingcrow – next time as headliner, maybe?
But of course, tonight was Pain of Salvation’s night, and they indeed went massive, playing the best show that we have ever seen of them and one of the best of this year overall. PoS is always about emotion, but that connection on the stage seemed even bigger than ever, the joy and energy sparked over to the crowd and made for a one of a king prog party. There could not have been a better opener than “On A Tuesday”, which simply kicks ass with all its heaviness when played live.
While the main focus was obviously still on the 2017 record “The Passing Light Of Day” (talking about big emotions…), the Swedes pulled out some gems along the way – like playing the classic ‘Pilgrim’ from “One Hour By The Concrete Lake”, which made it to a tour setlist for the first time ever this year – performed stunningly by Gildenlöw and Gustaf Hjelm on electric contrabass. But this had not been the first tear-jerking moment of the show. minutes before, Gildenlöw went to an old record player at the back of the stage and (thankfully) instead of “Boney M.” we suddenly heard ‘Happy Birthday’ – a special surprise for premium roady Mikael Eriksson, better known as “M1”. Cake, candles, hugs and wet eyes included, there could not have been a better demonstration of the spirit in this band. Every birthday needs a party, and so ‘Disco Queen’ was the obvious choice for the next song. Together with an amazing light show and a crowd going mad this was one of those moments that last for long after the show is done.
‘Kingdom of Loss’ and ‘Full Throttle Tribe’ saw some impressive hair swings from the returned guitarist Johan Hallgren, who was nothing but a muscular pack of smiles and heavy riffs all throughout the show. After ‘Full Throttle Tribe’, the band left the stage – clever observers in the front row had caught a glimpse of the setlist though, and soon got the Markhalle chant ‘Getting used to pain’ from hundreds of mouths. And yes, the band returned to play that iconic song from “The Perfect Element, Part I”. And it went on: by special request of the venue (as Gildenlöw said, though we noticed it might have been because of a perfectly timed broken string during the previous song which prompted a change of guitar), ‘Beyond the Pale’ followed, and paved the way for the last song of the night – the emotional highlight, which left the always-active Daniel Gildenlöw alone on stage, on a chair with his acoustic guitar. ‘The Passing Light Of Day’, the latest album’s title song and a beautiful hymn to Gildenlöw’s wife. Undoubtedly one of the best songs ever written by this band, and one that has to be heard, seen and experienced live to make it crawl deep into your heart. The perfect ending for a show that could have gone on forever, and that left a deeply pleased and satisfied audience. Pain of Salvation are back to their old strength, I might even say better than ever!
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