For those who don’t know, Apocalyptica is a group of 4 Finnish cellists who play covers of Metallica songs, along with their own material. I learned of their existence in university, and have since dreamed of seeing them live. Finland gave me the opportunity to make this happen.
When looking for somebody to host me in Oulu, one guy told me that he couldn’t host me, but he suggested that I stick around the city the day after the World Air Guitar Championship because there would be a bunch of Finnish rock bands playing, along with Apocalyptica. I had no idea until he told me. And tickets were only 10€! I don’t know how much it would cost to see Apocalyptica in Canada, but it definitely wouldn’t be 10€! Thankfully, I was staying in Oulu that night anyway.
I spent the day hanging out with Pablo and Chiara, my hosts for the evening. They’re both students in their early 20’s. Pablo is from Spain, while Chiara is from Italy. We spent the afternoon sharing stories and playing an Italian card game called Buraco that Chiara taught us. It’s a long and complicated that involves two decks. You know it’s a serious game when it involves two decks. Wikipedia tells me that it’s somewhat similar to Rummy. It involves laying down sets of the same number and straights of the same suit. Pablo kicked my ass.
The two of them were a lot of fun to hang out with. I enjoyed their company enough that I didn’t even bother going to see the Finnish bands that were playing at the festival. Apocalyptica didn’t go on until 9 pm. My favourite thing about Chiara was that, being from Naples, she’s actually more passionate about pizza than I am! And I love my pizza! Apparently Italians do a variation on pizza where they just cover the dough with Nutella and they pop it in the oven. I’m very curious to try it!
We eventually biked down to the city centre, grabbed a quick bite in the international market, and headed to the venue. The band came on, and one of the guys made an announcement to the crowd in Finnish. The response was an eruption of excitement. The guy beside me explained that the guy just said that they were only going to be playing Metallica songs tonight. Hells ya!
Hearing familiar riffs that I’ve been listening to my entire life sound entirely new was an unbelievable treat. I thought they were going to sit in their seats all night and rock out, and I was totally okay with this, because they’re playing cellos after all; but man, was I wrong. The two guys on the end do, but the two long-haired fellas run around with their cellos, they twirl their hair in majestic metal fashion, they pump up the crowd. At one point, one dude was on his back embracing his cello as he rocked out. And it sounded sooooooo good!
“Master of Puppets” was the opening number. The chorus sent chills down my spine. “Fight Fire With Fire” sounded downright evil. “Nothing Else Matters” never sounded so tender and beautiful. Every song was a masterpiece, but it was the closer, “One,” that almost broke me. I didn’t even bother recording it because I was too consumed in the song. The beginning floated like a freakin’ feather in the wind. The frailty and tragedy of the song resonated so crystal clear. I can’t put into words how much this night meant to me.
Again, thank you, Finland.