Opeth and Mastodon in Boston – November 18, 2021
When Opeth and Mastodon announced their fall co-headlining tour, you may have had a bit of deja vu. This pair previously toured together in the spring of 2012. It clearly worked for them, so why not give it another go? Back in 2012, opening the show was Ghost, before they struck their huge level of success, while touring their first album. This time, Swiss band Zeal & Ardor is providing support.
Zeal & Ardor
Hailing from Basel, Switzerland, Zeal & Ardor is an interesting band. Their music contains elements of many different styles, ranging from black metal, death metal and industrial, to blues, folk and motown. Wait, do those things all blend together? Zeal & Ardor find a way to make it work, with powerful vocals and beats engaging the audience. My only complaint, is that the band was performing in near darkness, with just a few spotlights backlighting the band. Backlit performances was a theme of the night, but was certainly the worst with their set.
Wake of a Nation
Ship on Fire
We Can’t Be Found
Death to the Holy
On this co-headlining tour, Mastodon and Opeth are playing equal length sets, and are trading off who performs first each night. From the shows I’ve seen details on, I haven’t seen a pattern to who plays first. The bands are sharing a video screen setup on the stage, so with no banners, backdrops or amplifiers on stage, I honestly wasn’t sure which band was going to be performing next. But when the time came, out walked Brent, Bill, Troy and Braan. If you’ve seen Mastodon before, they likely had a backdrop featuring psychadelic artwork on it. They utilized the video screens tonight to encompass the stage in artwork fitting their style, but it would change for each song, and would feature motion to add to the vibe.
Touring in support of their recently released album Hushed & Grim, half of their 14 song set was made up of material from this album. If fans were unfamiliar with the material, you couldn’t tell, as they seemed to enjoy it just as much as their classics “The Czar,” and “Blood and Thunder,” which finished the set.
Pain With an Anchor
Skeleton of Splendor
Pushing the Tides
More Than I Could Chew
Blood and Thunder
After the second intermission, Swedish progressive metallers Opeth closed out the night. Opeth has a reputation for long, intricate songs. While both Opeth and Mastodon played 75 minute long sets, Opeth only performed 8 songs, compared to Mastodon’s 14.
They opened with “Hjärtat vet vad handen gör”, off of 2019’s In Cauda Venenum, an album that was released in both Swedish and English versions. Opeth had begun a US tour in support of this album in early 2020. We were on our way to the February show in Worcester, MA, when about two hours before showtime, the show was canceled due to frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt coming down with laryngitis, making it impossible for him to perform. Within a few weeks, Covid-19 would cancel the rest of the tour, and that show would never be made up. Åkerfeldt addressed it at one point between songs, apologizing for not being able to perform the last time they were in Massachusetts.
The opening track was the only one off the new album, while old favorites like “Demon of the Fall,” “The Drapery Falls” and “Deliverance” were highlights through the rest of the set. Åkerfeldt often spoke to the crowd between songs, often making funny comments that would really get the crowd laughing.
A few days earlier, just before the first show of the tour, Opeth parted ways with longtime drummer Martin Axenrot. For at least this tour, Sami Karppinen of Swedish band Therion is filling the role. It sounds like this was a fairly last minute replacement, to the point that the tour nearly didn’t happen. The setlist was apparently crafted around what songs Karppinen knew, and what he wanted to play. For having a short amount of time to rehearse, he did a great job behind the kit tonight.
Hjärtat vet vad handen gör
Demon of the Fall
Cusp of Eternity
The Devil’s Orchard
The Drapery Falls