Live Report: KATATONIA Live at Izmir Arena, Izmir, Turkey – January 31, 2020

Katatonia at Izmir Arena

Izmir’s Izmir Arena might have been home to some great shows over the past few years, but I don’t know if it’s hosted any I’ve been excited over as when Katatonia was announced to play there in January this year. A longtime favourite of mine, Katatonia were a band I never thought I would see live growing up. With expectations already high, it was one of the most surprising shows I’ve ever seen.

Swedes were the only band for the evening at a venue located along the Aegean shoreline. Scheduled for 21:30, the band took to the stage a few minutes later, and to put it simply, I don’t think I have ever seen a crowd get so emotionally swept by a band’s set as I did once the Stockholmers made their entrance with “Forsaker,” the opening number from their 2009 critically acclaimed Night is the New Day. I saw people smiling and laughing. I saw people visibly happy. Have you ever been to a show where people got this emotionally invested?

Those uninitiated to Katatonia’s music would probably balk at the idea of people expressing such feelings at a show, but I wasn’t surprised at all to see people reacting this way. Katatonia put a marked focus on their most recent material, although the show was billed as “The Best of Set,” but the setlist was chosen excellently. Crowd favourites like “My Twin”, “Ghost of the Sun,” “Soil’s Song” and “July” were played, but one of the highlight moments was undoubtedly in the middle of the set with “Old Heart Falls”, where the emotional impetus of the performance reached its highest point. Closing the main set with a cover of Judas Priest’s “Night Comes Down” was pretty surprising for many according to the reactions I heard after the show, but after seeing it performed, I think it was a great way to cap off the performance.

The emotional resonance of Katatonia’s music was heightened by their stage presence. Put simply, it was obvious that the band themselves were as emotionally affected by the atmosphere in the crowd.

Seeing Katatonia live finally was something of a revelation for me. Having been a fan of them for years now, to see one of my favourite-ever bands perform right in front of me was something I’m sure to remember forever. Until the next time.

Setlist:

01. Forsaker
02. Serac
03. The Longest Year
04. Burn the Remembrance
05. My Twin
06. Old Heart Falls
07. Leaders
08. Day and Then the Shade
09. Passer
10. Dead Letters
11. The Racing Heart
Ghost of the Sun
Soil’s Song

Encore:

July
Lethean
Night Comes Down (Judas Priest cover)

Katatonia 2

 

Katatonia 3

 

Katatonia 4

 

Katatonia 6

 

Katatonia 7

 

Katatonia 8

 

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Katatonia 1

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