It was Sunday, November 19th, 2017, 20:00, at Teatro Royal Center, located in Bogotá, Colombia, when the doors closed behind us and the curtains slowly opened to unveil the highly anticipated performance of the Finnish neo-classical, cello-driven chamber oriented rockers, Apocalyptica.
The magistral music collective’s entrance reminded us why they are one of the most important advocates and representative acts of the genre with, what would soon turn out to be, a stronghold tribute to Metallica, a band that has inspired its musicians throughout the years. Apocalyptica, are currently celebrating their twenty year career since the release of their debut album, ‘Plays Metallica by Four Cellos,’ an epic album released on September 30th, 1996 by Mercury Records. On this remarkable occasion, Apocalyptica paid tribute to their debut release by entitling their tour as ‘Plays Metallica by Four Cellos,’ in which they interpreted different cover songs that made the audience feel without a shadow of doubt, absolutely delighted.
At the beginning of their live performance, they began their musical delirium with a recital resounding in an acoustic mode with four cellos, beginning with cover songs like ‘Enter Sandman,’ ‘Master of Puppets’ and ‘Harvester of Sorrow.’ An interesting fact is that Antero Manninen — the session violinist and former musician of Apocalyptica — was accompanying the act alongside his colleagues Paavo Lötjönen, Eino Matti Toppinen and Perttu Päivö Kullervo Kivilaakso who demonstrated to be honestly honoured by his presence on stage and further, to be able to perform live once again as a collective.
The second chapter of their magnificent performance took place shortly after a well-deserved mid-tempo break. This time, Apocalyptica stepped on stage accompanied by drummer Mikko Sirén, who gave the act a more massive sound while they played cover songs such as ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls,’ ‘Until It Sleeps,’ ‘Orion’ and ‘Seek & Destroy.’ They kept a very welcoming posture, and friendly attitude toward their audience, by even inviting the heated public to sing the song choruses, this gave a unique voice to Apocalyptica’s musical momentum.
Eino Matti Toppinen revealed to be quite familiar with the public and shared with everyone that the intention behind beginning as a cover band for Metallica due to admiration. They played ‘Battery,’ a song that was not included in the original tribute release due to its complexity and musical challenges, somehow difficult to achieve with four cellos, however, the very same cover song was later included on in the reissue of their tribute album, making it the perfect time to present it live to their beloved audience.
Finishing their eloquent journey on stage, they undoubtedly left the attendees of the show genuinely dazzled with their live performance as well as their friendly disposition, yet, somehow the public still eagerly cheered for more. Hearing the cheering of their audience, they returned once more to the stage with an encore that would catch everyone unprepared.
‘Nothing Else Matters,’ ‘One’ — with a surprising and unexpected touch of AC/DC’s recognisable ‘Thunderstruck’ — echoed through the theater’s hall as a homage to the late Malcolm Young, one of the founders of AC/DC who unfortunately passed away last Saturday, November 18th, 2017, certainly leaving many followers of the musician with a sorrowful nostalgia that could be felt during their homage with a heavy heart.
With a unique appreciation to the Colombian audience, the act vowed to return to the country and reminded us that during their now, fifth visit to Colombia, they felt wholly assured that they were in front of genuine enthusiasts and became one of the most memorable shows of the year, a show that in fact, marks the inaugural preview of what will soon be, the full-fledged Festival del Diablo III that a legion of Colombian followers have been waiting for with tremendous expectations.