About a week ago, I had my last rendez-vous with Poets of the Fall at l’Alhambra in Paris for the first show of their last leg from the 20th Anniversary Tour in Europe. This became my eighteenth Poets of the Fall concert since 2018. November 6th, 2023 was a day filled with memories and mementos forever engraved in my heart. A very special weekend full of laughter and new encounters. I met beautiful people I know I will meet again soon. I can say this: it is now official, a new Poets of the Fall French “gang” was born that day 🥰.
“By a happy mistake…” I arrived at the venue at 11:30… I hung around a bit, had a nice lunch at the “Bistro Le Cercle Saint Martin“, hoping to see a familiar face coming by, and I did. Liz joined me and we talked until Myriam caught up to us as we were leaving around 2.00 pm. Suddenly I said: “They’re here!” I had just had a glimpse of Tuomas’ head… I’d recognize him anywhere, weird 😂. We pressed on and were welcomed with warm smiles, as always. I went to Tuomas, as he stood there, and we had a nice chat about their trip. He told me that Jari had asked him to step in just a couple of weeks prior to the start of the last leg. We exchanged a few other words and he hurried inside as he wanted to see the venue.
Suddenly I realized that Marko was there, and in the blink of an eye, I was finally talking with him. Starting with “Thank you” to which he answered “Thank you“… and “me and myself” were screaming in my head: “To the point, girl! Come on you can do this! He hasn’t got all day.“…
– “Thank you so much for the interview.”
– “You’re welcome, it was fun to answer your questions.”
– “Yet, there was one question you did not understand.”
– “Which one was that?”
– “You know the one about my theory on the setlist.”
– “Oh Yeah! I got really lost with that one.”
– “I was referring to the article I had just published. But you probably did not have the time to read it.”
– “Or I just forgot about it. Thank you. Alright, gotta go inside and see the venue.”
Nothing fancy, but I finally got to tell him face to face – even though I know he got the message from Glen 😅.
Now, fangirl much, yes… star-struck, probably that too… It is difficult to explain why it is easier to talk to the other guys, but when it comes to Marko I just become like this inarticulate teenager 🤣. He represents everything I am striving for. I have said it before but his artistry is awe-inspiring. The way his mind works and how he turns phrases the way he does, then delivering them with such raw emotions that touch me – us – so deeply. All this contributes to temporarily making me losing my faculties to express what I want to. The respect I have for him, for all of them really, has no boundaries… It is good, but it can be crippling sometimes 😘.
Anywho, enough of this! Olli quickly greeted us and took a selfie with Dominique – a member of the new Poets of the Fall French “gang”. Jani… dear Jani, arrived a bit later as I believe he did some sightseeing at Le Louvres Museum and no wonder, the architecture is fascinating – a 40 minutes walk from the venue I think. When I don’t remember much of a gig, I picture Jani and his smile as he plays and the memories flow back in my heart.
I said hello to Vesa as he passed me by, he answered: “Oh it’s you!” probably wondering who was talking to him 😂 and “I did not order this weather!“… the tone was set: light, friendly and loads of fun to be had. Glen all smiles as always… seeking solitude 😉 still ever so kind. I could go on and on about each and everyone of them, but you all know this. What you do not know is the staff from the venue Alhambra…
Stunning venue: Alhambra, Paris 10th arrondissement.
The Venue/Production Manager, Maria, is a kind lady who loves what she does and it shows. The other nice people from the venue I talked to while we were waiting, I do not know their names… but as I said to Maria after the show, they all contributed in making this experience the best one ever which is saying something. She thanked me for my kind words and yes, she was touched which is how it should be. Never be shy to express good and positive things around you… 😍
They have been so friendly, whenever I asked about the cloakroom, how the priority pass would be handled etc. All of them were patient and did everything in their power to get us answers… which they did eventually. Maria had arrived a bit later in the afternoon and started talking to us, asking if we knew when the priority pass people would come. We said we were it. Oh well, that’s perfect she said.
By that time, I was standing first in line with Liz, Myriam, Marie, Dominique, Cinthia and Sylvie and a few others I knew but don’t remember the names… sorry ❤. It started raining like pouring – as it usually does this time of year in Paris. Maria came out and handed out umbrellas. I mean seriously!!! This is the nicest thing ever that has happened at a venue. “Bestest” of venues! Poets, please when you come back to Paris, do play at l’Alhambra again. Besides, the sound was actually great in the venue, even from front row I noticed.
Although I know it by heart by now, I still wanted to pay extra attention… and guess what, I did not cry this time 🤭. I heard Cynthia say: “Aha! She’s in the zone now” or something like that 😂. It just made me feel warm and I realized how “ceremonious” the audience was… they were listening intently which was very cool. This intro does make me happy, I cannot explain why though. By the end of it, when Marko says these words:
They are here with you, tonight.
– excerpt from gig intro, relaxation way, spoken by none other than Marko –
My friends Ana, Charlie and Erika were there with me… They weren’t but they were… which made me smile.
A quick shout out to Olli who gave me – or someone beside me – a complicit smile as he’d just finished some tricky chords… or just because he just wanted to acknowledge me while I was having a blast – if he was indeed looking at me 🙃. This was a fun moment and Marie caught it 😘. This is one of Poets of the Fall‘s secret to success, the connection they have with their audience – fans and new comers alike. This gives a special tone to their gigs, and – although we are all special in our own ways – it makes us feel extra special even when the show’s over. No matter how life treats us, this is the extra boost they offer us all, every single time… 🥰
The complicity between Olli and Marko at the end of the song was in the continuity of the atmosphere set by Vesa earlier on. They were all so happy to be there it was truly contagious.
Illusion and Dream – “I raise my Coke…”
This is the first tour I attended where Poets of the Fall sings Illusion and Dream and to get to witness this moment when the audience says “Dishonesty” is beautiful. Then there is the moment when they all come at the front of the scene with their bottle of water – except for Marko who sticks to his Coke – and raise them to the audience. I never get tired of experiencing this… “Chin-chin mes amis!”
I raise my Coke and say here’s to you
Now that a week has past since the show in Paris, it all feels almost like a dream…
Dreaming Wide Awake
Talking about dreams, one of the most interactive songs the band plays… you know what I just realized that I am still in withdrawal – Poets of the Fall gigs withdrawal 😂, yes yes, that’s a thing. Anyway, I love that song! Live, you feel so alive when they play it. I know I love all their songs… but because Paris was such a unique experience to me, every song in that gig gave me something very special and Dreaming Wide Awake, I remember the sheer joy I felt all the way through. From one show to the other, it is never the same and yet, it is the same song.
Surprised fangirl again
Requiem for my Harlequin… a very unknown fact about me, is that this song is one of my absolute favourite songs live – after Choice Millionaire. As I am watching videos on YouTube to see if the special moments I’ve experienced were caught by someone in the audience, I found this song and I realized that Marko usually sings to me on Requiem… maybe not every time but the past few gigs at the very least. This time he chose the only part of the song I cannot sing without the lyrics in front of me… I mean, it does not really roll off the tongue… his English is better than mine and he wrote the damn thing too – which helps I suppose 😂. So, of course, I have to laugh at it while cherishing the moment.
[…] never heeding the warning
Of the silver glint of knives in hungry eyes
The worse part? I love that line and I cannot, for the life of me, articulate it properly when Marko sings it to me… freaky 😂!
Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
The surprise song, this time, was not introduced the same way as it usually is… the music had started when Marko finally told us what it was, although the first notes got my heart skip a bit – for I knew these chords… “Oh, be still my heart cause this is the soothing song you like so much”, I said.
I filmed it, of course, and I must tell you: even if Marko has sung brilliantly so far, his delivery of Someone Special that evening really impressed me – yes, that still happens. Hence my video being exclusively focused on Marko 😅, now I wished I caught more of Jani, Tuomas, Olli, Captain and Jaska… but you’re all in my heart anyway ❤ You know this.
The truth is, he did open the doors towards the Stairway to Heaven with Someone Special. Gorgeous! I wished for another song – Hello Cabaret – but I believe I got the one I needed… this is what Poets of the Fall are all about, and it is never planned, never intentional… I believe they are connected to their audience in such a way that we are all riding the same wave… yet they’re goofy as hell 😂.
Why are you always drinking Coke on stage Marko? Even if it is too technical, I am sure we can keep up 🙃. Do explain!
This song is very special to me, because it is the first song that made me cry during a concert – it was not sadness, but I remember feeling it ever so strongly… and it was not the lyrics, nor Marko‘s voice… it really was Jaska‘s playing. So, for this last gig, I only wished that Jaska‘s solo before the bridge could have lasted a little longer as it had once done. I did not have the time to feel it enough this time which is a pity as it is such a gorgeous melody filled with the condensed emotions of the song. He plays this so beautifully that it never feels like it is enough… do you know what I mean? 😉
And then we’re caught up in the arms race
An involuntary addiction
And we’re shedding every value our mothers taught
So will you please show me your real face
Draw the line in the horizon
Cos I only need your name to call the reasons why I fought
– War, Twilight Theater – 2010 © Poets of the Fall
This is the most powerful part of the song and live it takes me in this whirlwind roller-coaster of emotions that I can barely describe… Perfect! 😍
Before the first chorus, when we are all doing that wave with the guys… I was facing Jaska and it was very tempting to touch his fingers, but I did not dare… though it would not have been much of an effort to do so 😂. Concert after concert, this song is absolutely magical. The energy is to the roof, the guys jumping… even Jani got some energy back to join the guys this time. They continued with another high energy song: Daze. I know it is their job, but they must be completely worn out after this 😅.
I love the way Olli and Kapu goof around the keyboard during the song… I am just wondering, what kind of side story are they playing, ’cause it is hilarious. Thank you Marie for catching this 😍
Encore with Lift and Carnival of Rust
Lift is another high energy and interactive song on the setlist. When Marko makes us sing, it is so much fun but actually, the whole band makes us sing and it is impossible to look back without hell of a smile on my face. 😁 Tuomas‘ moment… short solo but efficient and it probably could get me go on for another hour of concert 😂. I love it that there is a drum solo now.
One of the best!
Said Marko about the show, before introducing the last song, Carnival of Rust. As the song was ending, he took his time looking us in the eye, saying “thank you”. Then the way each band member hugged each other at the end gave me chills 🤭.
I cannot say I love this moment better than this one. For every song, they give their all – they really do – and Marko‘s delivery was flawless, the audience was fantastic, the band was incredible. One thing I always find really cool to witness is the complicity that the guys have on stage, I’ll never say this enough and it is part of the magic.
Finally, after the gig, when Jani was patiently taking selfies with all who asked, signing autographs, he caught sight me. “Oh hello!” he exclaimed and stepped towards me to give me a hug. I don’t have great photos of the show in Paris – my photos actually suck – but I have some of the most beautiful memories I could ever ask for. I even talked a bit to Markus… finally! He was in a rush though, so no picture either 😭. I did not dare to ask and so I still only have one photo with him where he is closing his eyes.
Now, these people I admire so much are more than just pictures and I am more than just a name in the wasteland of cyberspace to them… Poets of the Fall are all about connecting, although they keep their distance, they are still close to their audience. They are special and at l’Alhambra in Paris, they delivered the best show I have ever attended.
“Also… when you go home tonight, please remember to be very very kind to yourself and everybody else that you’re meeting, take that with you into your everyday life. It really means a lot in these times.” – Marko at the end of Paris gig.
I am not sure I did justice to the gig in Paris. I have too many heart-warming memories, some I couldn’t possibly put into words. This is what will keep me warm during the upcoming winter: the new friends, the amazing music, the smiles, the connections, the love, the kindness, the care… and all this could not have happened without you Poets of the Fall 🥰. Thank you!
Enjoy a bit of a video montage – very amateurish – from all short videos my friend Marie sent to me for this article. And if you haven’t seen Poets of the Fall live… well, hurry… there are a few shows left in Finland – although one of them is already sold out I believe.
Until next time you beautiful readers,
“Hello Cabaret” is in the making so don’t go anywhere…
Love you loads,
/Yours truly, Claire
- Locking Up the Sun
- Illusion & Dream
- Temple of Thought
- Requiem for My Harlequin
- Dreaming Wide Awake
- My Dark Disquiet
- Someone Special (Tour debut, first time since 2017)
- Diamonds for Tears
- Choice Millionaire
- Late Goodbye
- Carnival of Rust