With Turkey being an easy country to access without the need of visas for us Lebanese people, and with Pain of Salvation being known for their great live performances with their immense repertoire, covers and jams, we went to Istanbul where a POS concert was to be held in a venue named “Romeo and Juliette Performance Hall” near the famous Istiklal Street. Joining Pain of Salvation on tour were Von Herzen Brothers, a Finish band playing Progressive Rock.
Our 5-day journey in Istanbul wasn’t without any surprises nor physical strain, and so was the band’s case as the event was pushed further one day due the tour bus breaking down in Europe. To see one of the most respected Prog bands in the world today playing in a relatively small venue to less than 300 people is more than we could have ever hoped for.
Von Hertzen Brothers were really impressive and proved they’re worthy of touring with Pain of Salvation. Their show was exciting, energetic and musically interesting as well. They gave the crowd a great performance of Progressive Rock music and they’ll surely gain more recognition with this tour. Here’s their official Youtube channel.
Now the first surprise of the night was no other than Mike Portnoy running on stage to introduce Pain of Salvation… he happened to be in Turkey playing with Hail! a few days later at the Istanbul Park. For those of you who don’t know, Daniel Gildenlöw and Mike Portnoy played together with Progressive Rock band Transatlantic and Zeppelin tribute band Hammer of The Gods.
The cozy pub atmosphere was the perfect vibe for the kind of music Pain of Salvation plays, and we felt pretty good standing less than an arm’s length away from stage with some 20 other fans who bought the front line tickets. We even got a sneak peak at the band’s setlist, one which featured several songs from the Road Salt albums, along with classic Pain of Salvation songs such as Used, People Passing By and Linoleum (view entire setlist below).
The show itself was pretty intense, we laughed to Daniel’s humorous remarks as he took on the drums for an extended jam with the band, we stood in silence as he performed Leonard Cohen’s emotionally charged ‘Hallelujah’, we listened well to the messages behind Kingdom of Loss, and we sang and screamed to the songs of the Road Salt albums. As a bonus treat, Mike Portnoy shared the stage with the band to play ‘Ashes’ from POS’s ‘The Perfect Element Part I’ album, with a drum performance that fit his renowned drummer stature.
In short, our experience with Pain of Salvation was almost exclusive and private in a relatively small avenue near Istanbul’s Taksim area, and we loved every minute of it. If you haven’t listened to Road Salt Two, get on it and you’ll be instantly hooked.