Back in November of 2021 , Dark Tranquility announced an extensive North American tour for early 2022. Many within the metal community in New York City were excited and hopeful.The pandemic forced the cancellation of this tour initially and with the current state of our world we were eager to finally hear some good news. Covid-19 had many implications, teachers taught remotely, medics found themselves in overcrowded hospitals with limited supplies. The entertainment industry suffered many losses as well. As a result, musicians adapted by creating livestreams and relying on social media. Fast Forward to the present moment and the imposed restrictions are being lifted! Fans can now enjoy seeing live music the way it was meant to be!
The last time Dark tranquility took the stage in NYC was in 2018 at the Gramercy theater. This same venue for this tour was quite fitting. The turn out was large as expected. The openers of the night were the German band, Nailed to Obscurity who set the tone with their Death-Doom style. They performed a few songs from their 2017 album King Destroyer and their new single “Liquid Mourning.” They delivered a high energy performance and left many impressed. This was their first US tour and by the end of the night everyone knew who they were.
Canada’s Kataklysm were up next. With a back catalog of 12 records the band has a wealth of material to choose from, and they did not disappoint. Every member showcased their own personalities and showmanship and are authentic every time they perform. Kataklysm has been at it since 1991 and shows no signs of slowing down. After a covid- forced absence from the stage this set was a reminder of just how good of a live show they put on. They will be heading back on tour this August with Deicide.
By the time Dark Tranquility took the stage the venue was filled with anticipation and intense energy, proving that three years was worth the wait. The fans were treated to a 90 minute setlist and finally heard new tracks from their album Moment; “Phantom Days” ,“Identical To None”, and “Transient.” Emotions were flying high when Mikael Stanne introduced a song that they have not performed before. “Punish My Heaven” was dedicated to former guitarist Fredrik Johansson who tragically passed away from cancer at 47. Stanne explained that this track was the first that he and Johannson had recorded together. Stanne went on to share that Johanssonhad replaced him as guitarist so that he could focus on his vocals and that they will continue to perform music that Johansson and keep his memory alive. After everything that we have been through live shows being canceled, rescheduled, walking into a live setting after such a long time was truly gratifying. So what else could go wrong ? A fire alarm was heard and fire fighters appeared on the floor. As the band left the stage the crowd stood in confusion. The time was passing by and curfew was approaching. However, to reassure his fans Mikael Stanne joined the crowd and interacted with his fans proving to be just as determined as we were for the band to finish out their set. As the sirens dissipated the band returned on stage to the stage to finish out their set. It’s not a Dark tranquility show without hearing “Misery’s Crown” , the final song of the evening. Mikael Stanne is known for the way he interacts with his fans during live performances, it was no surprise that he jumped into the crowd to sing this fan favorite. Human interaction changed drastically during the pandemic and having such moments brings hope that things are finally getting better.
Dark tranquility had proven on this tour that they are one of the hardest working bands in their genre. They performed 18 songs in 37 cities and always gave 100 percent each show. Their tour will continue in April with Ensiferum in Europe.
Music is something that we all need and this tour is a good reminder of what things can be in the future during these pandemic times.
Words by Sebastian Benedict Bjorn
Photos by Anya Svirskaya