There are a few bands in metal that can guarantee you that you will have a great time at their concerts, if you like their music that is. Whether their albums are masterpieces or something less it is irrelevant. I believe that Arch Enemy is one of these bands. Whenever they announce a live, it 's a sure thing that they will be great performance-wise and that the fans will have fun. Their last release, “Khaos Legions”, may have received mixed reviews, but the fact that the band will take a long break after their tour is finished, made many metalheads run to Gagarin last Friday.
The time was about 20:15 when Insidead came on stage. Having only one full-length album on their back-catalog, but having performed live many times, Insidead appeared to be very comfortable on stage, full of energy and in good communication with the audience, which wasn't very big at the time. Their setlist was based on their album, “Chaos Elecdead”, but we also heard two songs that will probably be in their next album, coming out some time around April, and of course the traditional covers. Around the middle of the set, it was time for Metallica's “Blackened” and for the first mosh pits of the night. I have to say that I was quite surprised by the response of the fans. The majority was headbanging right from the start, some even knew the lyrics of Insidead's songs, and when the band played “In My World”, they formed a wall of death. After 45 minutes, Insidead closed their set with another cover, “Blood And Thunder” by Mastodon, and a small part of Pantera's “Domination” as the cherry on top. So, Insidead did their job really well. Not only they warmed us up, they almost burned us. And we would have enjoyed the songs even more if the sound wasn't that average.
Gagarin was now almost full, and everybody was waiting for tonight's headliners. At 21:30, “Khaos Overture” started playing and we knew it was time. The band hit the stage and the first thing I heard was some guys shouting “Marry me, Angela!”, or “Strip!” (or something less polite) and the answer they got was “I hear you guys shouting and I don't understand what you're saying, but if you're asking me to strip, you're a bit unlucky tonight”!! So, after that the set started powerfully with “Yesterday Is Dead And Gone” and “Revolution Begins”. It was clear that we would listen to many songs from the last release, but we also heard many songs from “Wages Of Sin”. After the third song, the sound was top notch, and I was amazed by how good Angela's growling was live (maybe Michaels Amott's guitar should be heard a bit more clearly). The band was in a very good mood, and Angela didn't stop headbanging and running up and down the stage, not for a minute. And she spent quite some time talking to the fans about the crisis and other stuff, prologuing this way every song. “Ravenous”, “Enemy Within” and “My Apocalypse” were next and the crowd responded with crazy headbanging and mosh pits. When the band left the stage, it was time for Daniel Erlandsson to demonstrate his skills in a crazy drum solo, a nice break for everybody's necks. The headbanging started again with “Under Black Flags We March”, and there was Angela waving a big black flag, and continued with “Dead Eyes See No Future”. This time, the band left the stage once again and the two remaining were the Amott brothers on guitars. Christopher Amott's guitar solo turned into “Intermezzo Libertè” by Michael Amott. It was a truly beautiful moment. “Burning Angel”, “No Gods, No Masters” and “We Will Rise” followed. The third time the band left the stage was for the encore. Yes, the crowd wanted more, and Arch Enemy granted them with “Snow Bound”. During “Nemesis” the fans went totally wild, and the set closed with “Fields Of Desolation”.
All in all, Friday night was great. I had fun and so did the majority of the people that was there. Some might have wanted to hear something from the Liiva era, but that didn't happen. Arch Enemy gave us exactly what we expected. There were no surprises, but the good performance along with energy between the band and the fans made sure that no one would regret his being there.