Earlier this month, Korpiklaani released its first live DVD ever filmed at the Masters of Rock Festival in Czech Republic. As they’re a regular attendee, there is not just one but two concerts which were shot in two different years. This also means two albums, two atmospheres and one super band who, once again, did not take the easy way to make a quality and worthy product.
The first part is from the 2014 festival, on the Manala tour. It starts with “Tuonelan Tuvilla” and it instantly reminded me of the first time I saw them live in Strasbourg and all the magic that surrounds this period. It was a cold night on the eve of Christmas in the most beautiful region of France and the first meeting with a frozen paradise. By the way, did you know that “Manala” is one of the names for an Alsacian treat?
Anyways, let’s go back to this concert, broad daylight and wide packed crowd. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed being in there but let’s take advantage of being comfortably sat back to enjoy the party thrown by Korpiklaani at their best. Because wherever they play, they’ll always smash it.
Among the fresh new tracks of that time from “Uni” to “Petoeläimen kuola”, older and less expected ones were brought up to date like “Kantaiso” and “Louhen yhdeksäs poika”. The brilliant mix of both were “Ievan polkka” and “Pellonpekko”, which I haven’t had the chance to hear live yet.
And some other ones pleasantly get away from the generally positive and festive mood of the setlist. “Sumussa hämärän aamun” was the ultimate audience test to me. Such a gloomy and heavy song of which the bassist Jarkko is at the origin, himself a fan of Black Sabbath, was poorly expected from them. I admit I rarely listen to it but I’ll never get tired of it in concert.
It’s in these kind of moments I realize how crucial the performing style and the charisma of the musicians are in Korpiklaani. They are all, without exception, born performers so it is not the matter here. It is all about knowing how to bring the crowd to where they want and more importantly through songs that are completely different from the picture, in fact the cliché, people made out of them. And it’s quite a challenge in festivals like these.
This idea of foiling the general expectations is strengthened in the 2016 show with Noita in the spotlight.
Korpiklaani really sock it to the audience from the start with their last hits “Viinamäen mies” sung in English (= “A Man with a Plan”) and “Pilli on pajusta tehty”. The first part of the setlist definitely rocks, it’s hard not to get dragged by the catchy anthem-like “Journey man” and the heavy dancing “Erämän aarjyt”.
But more importantly, there were two fiddle and two accordion players that night to set the stage on fire! It’s already great to see the usual lineup standing there but here, it was real impressive, especially during “Vaarinpolkka”. The concert is full of duos between musicians, complicity and adorable moments. Every concert of Korpiklaani is like this but the more, the merrier!
Simultaneously, the filming is better and more developed than the previous part. It seems that it was really taken in consideration when each solo on “Lempo” was literally enlightened. The different surroundings surely played a lot there visually speaking. The dark blue tones of Noita were perfectly exploited to plunge the audience into the melancholic yet catchy mood of “Kylästä keväinen kehto” and “Ämmänhauta”. This is also true for the surprise track “Kipumylly”, which is the personification of one of those miserable days in one’s life to me. Once again, Jonne gets to embody this song and share all the pain and despair through his voice, and everything around is just like life and things that keep going on with such an implacable strength, so fast and merciless. The whole performance is quite simply incredible. I admit that so far I couldn’t properly grasp this song in concert but now it’s becoming my favourite.
If I have to pick a favourite, I think 2014 prevails over 2016 even if this one was seriously hot stuff. There are some common songs like “Rauta”, “Kultanainen” and “Ruumiinmultaa” I preferred on the older part. And I still have a fixation on “Ievan Polkka” and “Pellonpekko”, though. Who knows, maybe we’ll be entitled to hear them in Paris, shortly before the Cernunnos Festival. It’ll feel like a sunshine on the month of the dew.
Also there was a funny little mishap that was worth gold to me, more than flawless filming. It’s ridiculous but I really love these kinds of moments; it’s worth seeing. Everything is worth seeing with Korpiklaani, go see them on this DVD or even better, in concert. As mentioned before, they’ll be on tour in Europe soon. But, not in the UK – make a holiday of it!