Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog, for another metal post! Today, I would like to share with you the incredible experience I had on the latest Apocalyptica concert in Zagreb! This was my third Apocalyptica concert – I attended previous ones also in Zagreb, in 2015 and 2017.
My first Apocalyptica concert was in the midst of their Shadowmaker tour, and it was held in the same place, Culture Factory. I wanted to attend one of their concerts for years, but something has always came up; for this one, the expectations were high, and I was extremely excited. However, I was also extremely disappointed – the sound was so bad that, at times, I had difficulties discerning the songs they played. Sadly, that’s not uncommon in this venue – I had the same problems when attending Hypocrisy, Children of Bodom, and Wintersun concerts.
When Apocalyptica announced their “Plays Metallica With Four Cellos” tour for 2017, I immediately got the tickets, mainly because they also played in a concert hall, rather than any of the usual metal music venues. The concert was, as expected, wonderful. With that in mind, I had some reservations when purchasing the tickets for the concert that was held on Monday, January 20th, 2020, but I decided to give Culture Factory one last chance. And I’m glad I did!
Disclaimer: Some of the gifs feature strobe & flashing lights – watch at your own discretion
I attended the concert with my sister, and in the venue we also met my friend, who asked us to save her a place in the first row. Although my sister and I wasn’t planning on it, we stayed in the first row, because why not? We were standing on the far left, and chatting while the place was slowly filling up. I am not quite sure what the capacity of the venue is, but it was crowded. Apocalyptica started couple of minutes after 9pm (there was no opening act) and from the very first notes, the atmosphere was amazing, exactly what you expect from a concert – singing along, chanting; the band is also famous for their continuous interactions with the crowd, and that day was not different, despite almost all of them having a flu.
What I was the most happy about was the fact that I could not only hear every song, but almost every note very well; I can honestly tell this concert is one the best I attended so far! Although famous for their instrumental songs, Apocalyptica often collaborates with vocalists from other bands on their songs. On this tour they brought singer Tipe Johnson (previously of Leningrad Cowboys) to sing with them again. Tipe, a fan favourite, did not disappoint, even though he had a double duty of singing and broadcasting the whole concert on Instagram Live. Personally, I would have loved to hear one or two more songs with vocals, but this concert was part of the promotional tour for Apocalyptica’s new and completely instrumental album, Cell-0; their “back to the roots” as Eicca said couple of times. They played “Rise”, “En Route to Mayhem”, and the title track “Cell-0” – the tracks sound as fantastic live as their studio versions. They also played their biggest hits, such as “Nothing Else Matters”, “I Don’t Care”, “I’m Not Jesus”, “Refuse/Resist”, “Seek and Destroy”, “Not Strong Enough”, “Thunderstuck”, and they ended the concert with, in Eicca’s words, true norweigan black metal song, “Hall of the Mountain King”.
Couple of times, I attended concerts where band members seemed bored and uninterested, or worse, were visibly drunk. Apocalyptica on the other hand, on all of the concerts I went to, was always engaging. This one was not exception. The members also have a strong stage presence, where they switch places, dance, sing along, and, in Paavo’s case, flirt with the audience, at any given moment. They look genuinely happy to be exactly where they are, touring more than 20 years after they started; happy to play, happy to see their fans, happy to be on the road. I don’t know if it’s something in Finnish water or mentality, but this has became a rare sight in metal community. In addition, even after the concert (which lasted for almost full two hours), I was told that all members of Apocalyptica came out of the bus to hang out with fans who waited for them.
When it comes to human interactions, I know the crowd can get rough sometimes, and people often try to push through in order to get closer to the stage – here, however, that wasn’t present, and everyone was really respectful to each other, at least how much could I see. There were some minor downfalls, though: from time to time, I felt like music way too loud. I forgot to bring my ear plugs and feared that I will suffer from tinnitus for couple of days (this happens often), but luckily I have no noise whatsoever in my ears.
Another, much more important, thing that was quite bothering me, was the lighting show. I understand flashing lights are very fancy now, but at certain moments, it was too much. Strobe lights can trigger seizures in people who suffer from epilepsy, but also migraines, headaches, and dizziness. None of my friends suffers from it, or ever experienced something as serious as a seizure, but I had migraines develop in minutes during some other concerts I attended. I would honestly like this trend to die out a bit, or that bands at least lower the frequency of the flashes – people who suffer from the epilepsy are also fans, and would naturally like to attend concerts.
General experience: 5/5
Setlist and playing: 4.5/5
Band interactions: 5/5
Was it too loud? A bit
Flashing lights? Too strong
Wardrobe (per item): 5HRK (fair)
Beer (per glass): 20HRK (too much)
Parking: public parking only, 12HRK/hour, 2 hours max (too much, but these are typical Zagreb prices)
Do you like Apocalyptica and did you attend one of their concerts? Let me know in the comments! I’m also interested to hear what you think about this review and if you’d like to read more of similar articles in the future!