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Dustbowl Finale: POTF @ Octoberfest, Blore

The moment that some had been waiting for years… presenting, Poets of the Fall, in the flesh!

Between various acts on the center stage, there was maybe a 15 minute time gap on average, as the previous musicians unplugged their equipment and left, to make for the preceding artists and their last minute sound checks.

PRE POTF: Audience Gab

But just before the headlining act on the very last day of the Octoberfest, the sound check and setup seemed to be taking an unprecedentedly unbearable amount of time. Security was doubled up, in the meantime, to prevent crazed teenage fans, predominantly female, from breaching the barriers and running amok, in search of their beloved idols. The male audience was also equally raucous, heckling the security guards and cameramen for being barely inches closer to the stage from their own locations.

While all this was happening, there were some roadies and techies up on stage, talking to each other in a strange sounding language. The pretentious few at the front of the crowd could be heard boasting that they spoke German and French, and claiming that since Finnish was linguistically close (they are NOT), they could actually understand what was being said – “Ok, so they’re going to turn off the lights for a dramatic entry and all. It’s no big deal, you know.” I merely shook my head dismissively, but just at that moment, the lights did go out for a few seconds…

SEEE!! I told you so!” Before this was uttered out completely, the lights came back on, and a few very, VERY fair skinned, light haired giants were seen running around on the stage, carrying keyboards and acoustic guitars. ITS POETS OF THE FALL!!!!” yelled out the same voice from before, but fortunately, it was hushed out by others in the vicinity who accurately pointed out that bigger bands tend to have more than just a couple of roadies, and that every foreign looking person on the stage is NOT a member of the band.

But… but… I saw them before, 3 years back, when they played in IIT Chennai, and they looked JUST LIKE THAT!” the voice insisted. “Oh shut up, you. You were in the 9th standard at that point,” someone pointed out; “And that was at IIT Kanpur. And it was in 2007” someone else corrected. At this point, all jeering and comic relief aside, I couldn’t help but wonder: it’s been almost half an hour; what is taking them SO long?

Poets Of The Fall Take The Stage!

As we waited with bated breath, our excitement reaching new highs and lows every time someone new was seen on stage, some 25-30 minutes had gone by. FINALLY the stage was lit up in a blur of blue, as the various band members started appearing, one by one – Jaska and Olli on guitars, Jari on drums, Markus on keyboards and Jani on bass.

A huge uproar went up the through the crowd when Marko made a dramatic entry, clad in a black vest and spandex, bedecked with a fluffy black boa and a black top hat, with black countershading face paint under his eyes. The sheer amount of cheering within the crowd was deafening at that point; it seemed that they would have to increase the volume on Marko’s mic significantly for him to be audible above the din that we were making.

Throughout the night, Poets of The Fall played out an excellent setlist which comprised a good mix of old and new; it would be hard to classify any of their songs as particular favorites, primarily since this is one of those few bands whose every single composition is excellent, and it is very, very hard to pick and choose. Somehow, Poets of The Fall did manage to select some songs, and each one was performed with flawless finesse.

The Setlist

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How could we not help but get carried away with Marko’s voice as he serenades the audience?

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Fluid movements and inimitable charisma are all a part of Marko’s stage presence.

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They threw in an all acoustic set, just for us.

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Something more contemporary, after a costume change.

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An oldie but a goodie. Acoustic and electric, both guitars could stand their own.

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Ahhh, the change in pitch, the melding of melody, the wavering voice… enough to make anyone melt.

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Is it just me, or do they sound better live than on CD?

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Much to our delight, Poets of The Fall even played the ever popular “Carnival of Rust.” Unfortunately, I had run out of memory cards by that time, and it was with a mixed feeling of sheer pleasure and downright disappointment that I watched them perform the same, enjoying it immensely, yet unable to capture it digitally for my own memories (and to share with you all, of course).

POST POTF: Retrospect

Throughout the performance, there wasn’t a single glitch. The audience conducted themselves well, giving even the security guards a few moments of genuine relief, and an opportunity to witness the magnificence of the Poets playing live.

For the entire hour and half long span of time that they played, I couldn’t help but fall in love with their music, over and over again, renewing my affection with every new song they played. It was only when Marko announced how happy he was to perform before 50,000+ people that it dawned on me… these guys are bigger and WAY better than I thought they were in India… why, they even beat some other more established and illustrious bands (Metallica, anyone?).

In those few magical moments that I spent watching Poets of The Fall play for us in Bangalore, everything else seemed distant and irrelevant. Gone was all the previous exhaustion. Gone was the worry about trying to get back from KTPO to wherever I needed to get to next. Gone was the depression over having to go back to a relatively mundane morning. Gone were the memories of dust, smoke, rickshaw rip offs and other souvenirs Bangalore presented me with. In fact, even Day 2 and earlier happenings of Day 3, despite their relative awesomeness, seemed like distant past…

And then, it all ended, almost as soon as it started. It was time for the Poets to end this chapter, and let the stage lights fade… but the memories shall remain. We were given this chance, this wondrous opportunity to see them play, but we were denied from recapitulating the same…

… until the next time, when Marko decides to come and seduce his Indian audience again.

Extra points for anyone who guesses correctly the songs that have inspired the phrases in the last paragraph!


Special Thanks: Gaurav Sachdev for his “excellent interpersonal skills and improvisation”

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