This was Opeth's second time playing in Turkey, as they'd appeared at the Rock The Nations festival in 2003 before, playing with bands like Kreator and Dio. Unfortunately, they only stayed on stage for about an hour, leaving their die-hard fans wanting more. Now, with the release of their amazing new album Ghost Reveries, the band returned to Turkey for a two-gig show, the first one in Istanbul on Mar 29, and the second one in Ankara on Mar 30. I was lucky to see them at their Istanbul gig.
Read on for Murat Batmaz' full review of the Istanbul show!
The band hit the stage at around 10 p.m. and played lots of songs from both Ghost Reveries and their older material. It was a pleasant surprise indeed, as we thought the setlist would consist of mainly songs off the new disc, but Opeth knew the last time they were here they couldn't play nearly as many songs as they'd wanted. They started the show with "Ghost of Perdition" off the new record, and everyone in the crowd (over 2,000 people) went crazy. This was followed by "White Cluster" off Still Life and "The Amen Corner" off My Arms, Your Hearse, two songs that got the audience even more excited. The fans joined the band in almost all songs, singing and growling along to Mikael Akerfeldt, whose sense of humour cracked people up. I was surprised to see even some people from Lebanon had taken a 25-hour bus ride just to see Opeth. The place was packed, with almost no room to breathe, and it all goes to show how big Opeth are here nowadays.
Perhaps the best part of the show was when the band played "Under the Weeping Moon" from their first album Orchid. It's not too common that Opeth will play songs off their debut, so it was a pleasant surprise to say the least. The song was performed mercilessly heavy and in your face with an impressive instrumental break. The other highlights included the wonderful syncopation on "Deliverance" (with new drummer Axenrot doing a fine job) and they closed the concert with "Demon of the Fall", perhaps the most energetic number that night.
It was a great show. Many of us are positive we'd go see them again if they come back in the future.