The opera house in Oslo. A symphonic orchestra. Oslo’s philharmonic choir. And Kaizers Orchestra! No way this could be anything but good. Except it wasn’t good … it was awesome, amazing, ingenious, breathtaking, crazy, enchanting, enormous, pompous, and indescribable! And since it was indescribable, this is the end of the report … =;-)
Naah, okay, maybe not. *g* I had planned to see two concerts – I mean, it must be worth traveling to Norway for it -, and then Kaizers announced a matinee concert in addition, where they filmed the DVD. So that meant for me that I got to see three concerts in the 36 hours that I was in Norway … pretty awesome. It made things quite stressful as well, actually (a big “hello” goes out to everyone I could just quickly say hi to because there was no time – sorry!), but hey, who cares if you get such amazing concerts for it? Of course, the three concerts were very very similar, because you have to tune down spontaneity on such a huge production like this. So this why there is only one report for all three concerts – Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night. The concerts mostly differed in the atmosphere, and a little in the announcements, of course. In my opinion, the concert on Saturday night was clearly the best, especially regarding the atmosphere – not really that surprising, as it was the first one that was sold out as well. And maybe it was also due at least a bit to the alcohol intake – at least the Jackal suspected during the concert that maybe he had had a glass too much … or maybe WE had a glass too much … well, there must be some reason for ALL announcements being incredibly funny? *g*
The Friday concert wasn’t really far behind, though! Only the DVD concert was a little bit weaker, I thought, and I think it was mostly due to the audience. There were quite a few little kids up front, which is nice of course, but I think it affected the atmosphere a bit. At some time during the concert, the Jackal made a kind of “kid announcement”, before he decided that he’s just not any good at this. Hellraizer is much better with kids! And yep, he managed a “cootchie cootchie coo”, and afterwards he explained to the kiddies who’s the one who decides (namely the market – Markedet bestemmer *g*). Shortly after, the Jackal imitated the little girl that was standing and dancing in front of him for a while – which was ridiculously funny, but maybe not the best for the atmosphere, in my opinion.
So actually, for me the DVD concert ranks lowest of the three concerts I saw, but don’t worry – the DVD will surely be awesome. It’s just that the other concerts were even better! With the audience even louder and more enthusiastic and the band even more confident. And actually, from what I gathered, all three concerts were better than the opening concerts – the premier was (fully understandably) a little unsteady, and on the second day, Janove’s voice wasn’t quite like it was supposed to be. And after an off day, they picked up again on Friday, confidently did the DVD recording, and then let it all out during the second concert of the day. Hach. =:-)
But well, after all this talk I should maybe get to the concert itself now. =;-) It started with Omen walking out in front of the curtain, greeting the audience with a sympathetic nod. Then the curtain rose and … wow! A gigantic stage with the band up front and the orchestra in the back, and in the second half a choir on the side as well. Orchestra and choir with white face paint and dressed really old-fashioned. The band as always (but without any oil barrels!), the stage dressed in red velvet (well, it IS an opera, after all *g*), a canon and a baby stroller as decoration. Thus, even if there had been a time when nothing was happening on stage, you would have had more than enough to look at! And by the way, I was really surprised by how different the view was depending on where you were sitting – and for a change, the rule was: the more to the back, the better! At the first two concerts, we weren’t really in the very front, but in the 2nd/3rd row behind the orchestra pit (where there were also seats). And even though the view was great, it was still a bit too close to really see the full stage. Not that that hurt the concert or the fun in any way. *g* But our seats for the third show, row 10 in the center and just in front of the FOH, were absolutely perfect.
They started out with Aldri vodka, Violeta. First it was only Omen at the piano, and then the band came out (to huge applause), followed by the Jackal (to cheering that the opera probably hasn’t seen – or rather heard – before *g*). And after the first few lines, he suddenly pointed the microphone at the audience and had us sing – argh, and that was exactly the moment where, during the first concert, I got really uncomfortable and confused, because this … was the opera, goddammit, you don’t sing along in the opera?!? Shortly after, the Jackal made a point though: “Det er jo bare Operaen!” – what’s the problem, this is only the opera! And after a few songs, I got it. This wasn’t an opera show. It was a Kaizers concert. As simple as that. A Kaizers concert with a >50 strong orchestra in the background. Wooaaaah!
We already know the orchestra version of Aldri vodka, and (at all concerts!) I was so busy with the general atmosphere and surroundings that I don’t really have anything to report about that song. *g* Next up was Svarte katter & flosshatter. We also know that one live – but NOT with an orchestra. And therefore this was the ice breaker in a way. I really don’t know how to describe that, except for “woaaaahhh”, but that’s exactly it. Woaaah. And then desperately try to close your gaping mouth. Impressive. Bombastic. Massive. Music everywhere.
During Drøm videre, Violeta, we had to sing along again – but interestingly, only at the concerts at night. Maybe the audience wouldn’t have been loud enough for the DVD recording, not sure. But that was the moment when the “you must not sing along in the opera” rule was finally forgotten about. =:-)
After the nice song, it was time for the ugly one: Det polaroide liv. Definitely not a bad song, I always liked it, but I “only” liked it. Until Friday. Holy shit, was that awesome or what?! The Jackal jumped around on stage as if he was stung by an adder, and when he was out of breath (okay, pretended to be out of breath *g*) he put in a dramatic pause, before the song ROCKED on. At that time, it really was hard to quietly remain seated. But well, who said you had to sit quietly? Chair pogo! =;-) And then I was really amused by the part where the Jackal suddenly shouted “guitar solo!”, but you couldn’t hear a thing of the guitar throughout the whole solo, because the full orchestra was playing the same solo – only louder. *g*
The music definitely went into the legs. And as a result, every of the Jackal’s steps after the song was accompanied by a beat by the orchestra. Until he managed to get himself into “safety” on his microphone stand rim. From there, he tried several times to very carefully put a foot on the ground again. This was SO funny! I was so busy laughing the first night that I didn’t even notice that the accompanying laughter came from the speakers, uhem. *g* But holy cow, that was so ridiculous. Management’s idea: “That will be funny!” – oh yes, it was!!
The next song, Siste dans, is a really cool song, but since there’s no orchestra in there, it didn’t really feel extra “special” in this setting. Quite in contrary to the song following it, Tvilling! The Jackal started out explaining what the song was about, and then, to illustrate this even more clearly during the song, the twin came on stage and danced! First behind the drum set (which you could probably only see right from the balcony, a bit of a pity), and then in front through the band.
After Tusen dråper regn, which was as great as always, it was time for my personal highlight that surprised me most: Markedet bestemmer! I liked the song quite good before, but I didn’t really see much in it. But that changed SO SO much in the live version! The beginning was just amazing already; so much orchestra, so much guitar, great vocals. And then the ending!! Hellraizer’s guitar solo part – sheer madness (and having in the back of your mind that a bit over a decade ago at the first concerts, that guy couldn’t really play the guitar … =:-o); add in the orchestra, a flute solo, strings … hach!! I know, I wrote “hach” before, but that’s just how it was! At some point in time, I will marry this guitar. And the song will be the maid of honor.
Next up, the Jackal started hunting for a scarf in the audience. At the first concert, he wanted a green one; at the second, it didn’t matter; and at the third, three scarves ended up on stage at the same time. Which was one song early, uhem. But the Jackal was quick to admit that he just did the first mistake in his career. Killmaster: “Det måtte jo skje” – “That had to happen” … *g* As expected, the next song was Hjerteknuser, but it didn’t start until we extensively thanked the respective scarf donors: “Thank you xxx for the scarf, which Janove will now throw high in the air, and when it falls down, then the song starts” – in different variations, of course. *g* And it’s no surprise that there was a lot of singing again during Hjerteknuser, and waving arms in the air. For sure, that was also a sight that the opera hasn’t experienced very often before. And neither the orchestra – but actually, I have to point out here how “into” it they were throughout the concert. It was splendid to just look at the orchestra in between. Everyone was having fun, they were rocking back and forth, waving their arms along with the audience, waving their horns, hopping up and down; they jumped up on the beat, beat down on their instruments, were kidding around – pure entertainment.
And that’s just what we got before the next song as well, this time featuring the White Russian! I admit that I was a bit confused what that was supposed to be about (and that wasn’t only because some people look twenty years older when wearing a suit *g*) – a guy in a white suit came up on stage, drumming his chest and clapping his hands. Cool and entertaining, no question about it, and the audience went along quickly and started clapping as well. But I didn’t really get the idea behind it … but I assume that the main reason was to allow the band and orchestra a short break (’cause 1:45 can be quite exhausting without any breaks or long announcements), and also to get in the pun: “And on percussion: The White Russian!” *g*
After that, we got I ett med verden, followed by the song that started the trilogy, namely Sju bøtter tårer er nok, Beatrice. I’m always confused about the beat in that song, but it worked perfectly with the orchestra.
Then it was time to get even more people on stage: Oslo’s philharmonic choir (in smokings and with their faces painted rather “dead” *g*) entered the stage on the side, because Kaizers needed some more reinforcements for Satan i halsen! One of my favorites on Vol. III, but it seems to be a bit difficult – the xylophone part worked out right in only one out of three attempts, hehe. Luckily, the “good” version was at the DVD concert. =;-) Apart from that, the song was just as impressive as expected. During the heavy metal part, the Jackal leaned over to Omen and screamed into his ear with the bullhorn, the guitar players almost touched the floor, trying to look ROCK, and the orchestra covered their ears. Well, no, they didn’t, but it would have fit. *g* The only “weak” point was that the Jackal’s voice in the middle part wasn’t quite low enough. As I said, that song is one of my favorites, so I’m extra critical. Well, at least after I’m done romanticizing. *g*
Next up was the song on Vol. III that I hardly know because my skip finger is always a bit faster: Perfekt i en drøm. I just think that this song is a bit too slow, lengthy, and monotonous. The orchestra version didn’t quite convince me otherwise, but it was definitely a goosebumps song. Chandeliers on the ceiling, the stage all in dark blue/violet, a spot on Janove, strings strings strings, vocals. You could have heard a pin drop, that’s how much everyone was focused on what was happening on stage – no matter if you liked the song or not. Strong.
As conclusion, we got Forloveren – a perfect ending. Seconds after the last note, everyone was on their feet, the band came up to the front, the curtain dropped, a few bows, and off they went. While the audience started to demolish the opera house … or at least that’s how it sounded. Madness. But fully deserved.
The break before the encores was quite long (but well, a potty break for 100 people can take a bit *g*). Then it started again just like in the beginning, with Helge marching on stage in front of the curtain. A short wave to the maestro, and then it was time: for the Begravelsespolka.
All reports of the first two shows had mentioned it as the absolute highlight, and what can I say: It cannot get better. So absolutely bombastic, intoxicating, breath-taking – and since everyone was still standing from the cheering for the encore (or, like at the DVD concert, stood up again when the Jackal started with “All rise!”), this was the song where we finally arrived in the middle of a typical Kaizers concert. And honestly, this was the right time to get up; it wouldn’t have fit before that … what would you do when there is a beautiful string passage? Stand there and twirl your thumbs? Naah, it was much better to sit through a few rock parts and wait until it fits to stand. And during the polka, it did: Everyone was clapping throughout the whole song, and of course singing, and stomping. And – just a side-note – the dialogue between the Jackal and the audience, “Kva synes du om meg?” / “*screech*” was incredibly funny. *g* And then we got the tap dance. Wohoo! Sheer madness.
And that leads to the only negative thing about the concerts (and to make that clear right away, “negative” means something like “maybe not 100% perfect” here *g*): The Begravelsespolka was just TOO great. The rest of the concert was fantastic, incredibly amazing. And then it was time for Begravelsespolka, and that one was even better, by so much – that made the rest of the concert pale a bit in comparison. During the first concert, there was just a little thought in the back of my mind that they would play Begravelsespolka later and that everybody said that one was so great. During the second concert, I constantly thought: “Wow, that was great, and then they will still play Begravelsespolka, YAY YAY YAY!” – and during the third one I suddenly realized after they had played the polka: “Actually, I wouldn’t mind them playing only Begravelsespolka over and over and over again all night, because it cannot get any better”. And the rest of the concert didn’t deserve that, because it was fantastic as well. But that part was “only” fantastic, not FAENTASTISK!!
After that, they had to “calm down” the audience again a bit, and that worked perfectly fine with Sekskløver (including an introduction of the band). A beautiful ending to the night … before the audience started tearing down the house again. Incredible! Of course Kaizers came back on several times and were cheered wildly, together with the arranger and conductor, the orchestra, and the choir. At one of the concerts, all “Kaizers” (including the conductor) actually switched places, which was quite funny I thought. *g* The orchestra threw their hats high in the air, “Violeta” danced again, and the White Russian swinged, until the curtain dropped a last time. And walking out, blissful faces all around …
Hach. Did I say “hach” already? =:-))