It’s hard to believe that progressive metallers Opeth have been around for 20 years, but the Swedish quintet stormed through our fair city on Friday night for the final show of their sold-out anniversary tour. Evolution XX: An Opeth Anthology was limited to only two stateside shows, with the latter being held at the historic Wiltern Theater. Blackwater Park was performed in its entirety, along with an extensive list of classic tracks, many of which were being performed for the very first time.

Opeth - Blackwater Park

Formed in 1990 by Mikael Åkerfeldt, Opeth successfully made the transition from an obscure death metal outfit to one of the heaviest experimental bands in metal today. Incorporating acoustic elements, clean vocals, and piano on top of black and death metal roots, Opeth have continued to rive the very foundations which they were formed upon, amassing a deeply devoted fan base along the way.

Having seen the band perform on several occasions, I was quite aware of how inspiring their live show has become over the years. Upon entering The Wiltern, I noticed signs throughout explaining that their set would be broken up into two segments, clocking in just under three hours. While under normal circumstances I’d be hard pressed to watch one band perform for such a duration, Opeth’s fluidity made the entire performance whisk by. And as Mikael Åkerfeldt announced the final song for the evening, I found myself secretly hoping for an extended encore.

Opeth

Each song was lucidly played to perfection, and the band seamlessly flowed from track to track. Åkerfeldt’s voice eminently shined throughout, most notably on “Harvest” (fan-filmed footage below), the third track from Blackwater Park. Taking the time to give insight on individual albums and songs as the night progressed, Opeth took the occasion as an opportunity to truly chronicle the past twenty years for their reverent supporters.

The evening closed down with Watershed‘s monstrous classic, “The Lotus Eater,” which was my favorite part of the set. The 9-minute track veered from light and somewhat jaunty to utterly ferocious, all while maintaining that simple air that Opeth has perfected. Åkerfeldt took a moment to divulge that the band will commence work on their tenth studio album upon arriving home, a statement which was met by tremendous roars of applause. The band bowed out and the crowd slowly withdrew from the theater, thus finalizing the chapter of Evolution XX.

This historic concert was a remarkably defining moment in Opeth’s enduring career. They have created an indisputable legacy, proving themselves as one of the greatest bands of our time.

Evolution XX: An Opeth Anthology Set List:

01. The Leper Affinity
02. Bleak
03. Harvest
04. The Drapery Falls
05. Dirge For November
06. The Funeral Portrait
07. Patterns In The Ivy
08. Blackwater Park
09. Forest Of October (Orchid)
10. Advent (Morningrise)
11. April Ethereal (My Arms, Your Hearse)
12. The Moor (Still Life)
13. Wreath (Deliverance)
14. Hope Leaves (Damnation)
15. Harlequin Forest (Ghost Reveries)
16. The Lotus Eater (Watershed)

For more information on Opeth, check out:

www.opeth.com