Opeth Front Man Issues Tour Road Report
Band Photo: Opeth (?)
Opeth front man Mikael Akerfeldt has issued the following road report about their recent tour dates:
"Unbelievably enough I'm home again...for a few days. Actually leaving again tomorrow for the UK and Hammerfest which we're headlining. I have a good vibe about that one actually....a little resort in Wales turning into a metal camp of some sort. I love festivals too. Hanging out with other bands, talking metal....nothing new I guess.
"Melinda and Mirjam are doing fine and so is Anna. Whenever I'm home I should really relax, but it's impossible. Obviously I want to hang out with my family, but I also have lots of "maintenance" stuff to take care of. Sort receipts, fix my declaration, change tires on the car, fix the car (broken generator, I don't know shit about this fucking stuff but yeah, I'll "fix" it somehow)...my beloved '88 Volvo deserve the velvet hands of yours truly every once in a while. Car broke down on me as we're driving back from a Bloodbath video shoot...we're all covered in remnants of fake blood as the tow-man came along.
"I have to fix the fucking studio and have it properly connected too. Well might need some help for that. We have a meeting with the US embassy as well today...ugh! Hate it! Boring! I need to assemble my new bike I bought. Haven't had one since I was a kid. I have to go to the local landfill with garbage.
"Why is it that my life is so schizophrenic? One moment I'm out sippin' on a nice Cab Sav (hehe, sorry) in Istanbul, the next I'm vacumming the bottom floor of my house. Either way, I like it...I love to be busy even though I lament it too since I'm still a slacker. I like the scizophrenic lifestyle too I guess.
"OK, I've not reported on the Dubai trip yet. Well, it was fantastic! Our first show in the real middle east. I'd no idea what to expect actually. The flights down there went real smooth, immigration went smooth. Driving into Dubai city was a pretty marvellous experience. It's hyper modern and clean and well, it's like the future!
I'd expected the 7 star hotel (they have one there, the only one in the world) but ours was pretty regular. It means a lot by now that you have a decent hotel since we spend so much time in hotels. Basically, as long as there's a bar, a bed and a shitter I'm fine. As are the rest of the crew.
"We had a TV crew with us from Stockholm, a serious culture program called "Kobra" had decided to document our trip and also report on the metal scene in the middle east. I mean, it's flourishing, yet kept under wraps in a way. Some countries in the area have placed a ban on metal music, and you can basically get imprisoned for listening to or performing it publically I guess.
"The first morning we spent there myself and Mendez took a long walk round the city. We went down to the docks when we suddenly heard "Opeeeeth" behind us. A cab pulls up and out jumps a bunch of guys who happened to have flown in from Saudi Arabia. They got some pics and autographs, and even the cabbie, who I guess had no idea of who we were, were taking pics from inside the car.
"Dubai was beautiful, by the docks the commerce was going on at full level. Luxury yachts everywhere, and the skyline focus right opposite to it was crowned by the tallest building in the world...whatever it's called.
"We walked into the old town and immediately got harassed by wristwatch salesmen. Apparently bootleg Cartiers, Rolexes and whatever is the shit over there. We passed them quietly and went into a beduin clothing store. The dudes in there we're real sales professionals and soon enough we'd bought a full beduin suit each, complete with the rope-ring you place on your head over the red and white scarf. We looked like proper sheikhs, especially Mendez. The dudes in the store were crying with laughter and pulled us out of there to put us on display to the locals. I'm not sure whether they thought we're taking the piss or not, but I later heard storiest that it's not super popular with westerners dressing up like we did, but what can I say, that big white gown is fucking comfortable. We decided not to wear them on the spot anyways.
"We passed several mosques on the way back and people were on the street praying. I hope we didn't interrupt them, but we certainly drew attention to us, stumbling around like idiots over their feet and carpets. I think we must have walked for 3 hours, just basically going wherever we thought looked cool. Never thought I had a sense of local street knowledge, but we managed to find our way back to the hotel without a map and without having a single clue of where we were.
"After a short nap it was time to go to the festival site. We're third from the top, Motorhead headlining, then Arch enemy and then us. To be honest, we should have been higher up I think. It seemed as we're the reason for most of the crowd there. Unfortunately we only had an hour to play. It was magic to be honest. Had a blast, and the crowd was insane. Afterwards we met so many people from all over the middle east. Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and more. It was real cool. Everyone's talking perfect english too and we're hanging out with all these super cool dudes downing beer after beer. These cats had some real cool stories to tell and even though they were massive Opeth fans they really gave us our space and in the end it was just a bunch of people hanging out having a good time, no fake metal hierarchy or anything, just a bloody good time.
"The Kobra show went on and it was OK, but the sound from our show was real wierd...where's my voice???
"Well, there you have it...overall a GREAT trip....really enjoyed it! The last trek took us to Greece and Turkey. All shows went alright apart from the one in Antalya/Turkey. We'd gotten crammed inside a tiny café as the original venue went bust. It was the smallest stage we'd ever been on, we literally couldn't move, and quite frankly I didn't enjoy the show.
"We'd spent a few days on the beach outside of the city and just had a blast. The manager of a hotel there happened to be the same guy that put out our early records back in the day. And now he'd set us up with rooms in his hotel even though the season hadn't started yet. It was insane! Right on the beach and the surroundings looked like that of a national park of sorts. Beautiful!
"Had a few dips in the ocean, and even though it was cold it was pretty amazing to take a swim in early April. Everyone's hanging out, playing beach football, freesbee and tennis and whatever. Beer in one hand, racket in the other, cigarette dangling from the mouth. Beerguts everywhere....hey, Opeth's in town!
"Me and Mendez played some volleyball in the sea when I suddenly felt my wedding ring fly off. Arggghhh! I saw it disappear into the ocean, and the water was at chest level. It seemed futile at the time, but I had Mendez run off and buy me a pair of water googles to see if it'd find it on the bottom of the ocean. Obviously I though there's no chance in hell, but hey, I fucking found it! Insane! Lucky me, had it been lost I'd been castrated.
"The shows all went well. We did 2 in Greece and 4 in Turkey. Greece is always fun. Our mate and promoter Kostas took great care of us as usual. Apparently Axe turned into Erik in a bar one night, but luckily I'd decided to snooze that evening.
"Now, I have to scoot since I've got shit to do. Just thought maybe some of you wanted to hear about the above. Listening to Rainbow Ffolly (sic) now...great Lp!
"Take care people!"
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