Wintersun live in Athens 2017

Talk about an eventful night! First thing first, before going to the show I had an emergency with a water pipe bursting, outside my home that needed immediate attention, so I was sure that I would be “late” to the show; having dealt with that, I got into the car and headed down to Piraeus Academy, only to receive a message midway by a friend that, because the bus that was carrying the bands got involved in an accident, the whole performance would be delayed and or shortened to keep on schedule, since the venue has a rather steep curfew, due to it being in close proximity to a residence area.
Wintersun Athens 2017 poster

Black Therapy, an Italian combo, got completely canceled for this performance, while Finnish band Whispered, who are melodic death “wierdos”, who wear Japanese Samurai regalia and use some folklore Jap influences in their songs, did a 20 minute performance, of which I was only able to catch a portion of the last song (so no photos, sorry).
Catching my breath and a beer, I waited for Wintersun to take the stage right on cue, which they did as scheduled, omitting to put on the whole stage set, but still doing most (the backdrop and some smaller decorative pieces). What was a little weird, was the complete lack of amps on stage as the band used emulators to get the job done well and had all their orchestral parts pre-recorded of course (which I guess a keyboard player – might have been able to sufficiently emulate, while performing or not), but they opt for twin guitars, with Jari Mäenpää, handling vocals solely on live performances. The sound was good and balanced, not too loud or too low and the overall performances of their rather complex pieces, as good as you’d expect them to be. I suppose, having been in Ensiferum there’s a bit that has rubbed off, but the music of Wintersun is more adventurous, more symphonic and ambitious and without all the fake Viking shit. “Live” they did come across a bit lighter than on the albums, to the point where I though, hmm the illegitimate child of Blind Guardian of late with also latter day Dimmu Borgir – a fair comparison, I guess.
The crowd, they managed to attract, was comparatively disproportionate for such a large venue, roughly a bit more than 300 in a venue that can fit 2500 people, but with the top section off limits and the people spread out it didn’t seem all that “terrible”, even if you could possibly get a football and pass everyone to reach the stage in under ten seconds...
They did start with “Spring : Awaken from the Dark Slumber” and went on with “Winter Madness” and “Beyond the Dark Sun” during my time in the photo pit and kept on with “Death and the Healing” from their eponymous debut. Despite the crowd not being too numerous, almost everybody in that concert hall had consciously attended and was reacting to, every time Jari taunted them, 100 % into the performance of the band singing along, something that was especially evident on this fan favorite. “Sons of Winter and Stars” went a bit funny when J requested that people turn on the flashes of their mobiles (I guess lighters are too out of vogue these days) during its slower part. Finally something from “Time 1” possibly the band’s most ambitious and considered by many to be the best of their three albums so far, I thought. Two more “Seasonal” song were also performed, sandwiching the rather eastern flavored “Starchild” between them, “Winter: Loneliness” and the pretty awesome “Autumn: Eternal Darkness”… signaling the “end” of the normal show. The band took a few minutes off the stage and returned for the titular “Time” a pretty cool way to round off a show that lasted slightly more than one and a half hour.
Overall, a very well rounded performance, but given the very low turnout, versus the band’s status being quite on the rise, I presume this is the first and last time we’ve seen and heard of them “live” unless they become “ultra-mega” in the near future… OK?! (just to ref SG)…
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