Five tickets. Before Moonspell entered the stage at the Arts and Entertainment Center of Figueira da Foz five tickets remained unsold for this leg of the tour. At some point in the event, Fernando Ribeiro stated that ‘As we were informed in California that more and more tickets were being sold for this concert, we were surprised.’ Ironically, a few weeks after storm Leslie nearly decimated Figueira da Foz, with news of cranes bent in half, adult trees ripped apart by the roots, and millions of euros worth of damage, the boys from Brandoa prayed for the attending 795 souls with their interpretation of the largest cataclysmic event ever recorded in Portugal – the great Lisbon earthquake, so well represented in “1755”.
At the opening moments of “Em Nome do Medo”, the band received a huge ovation from those that were seated and those that were standing. ‘Sou sangue do teu sangue, Sou luz que se expande’, shouted Ribeiro, dressed as a Baroque man of the lantern, and that was replicated in unison in an auditorium surrendered to the evidence in almost immediately. ‘1755’ manages to be the most ambitious, complex, and daring work of Moonspell’s career, as well as one of the most well-known record in specialized media. The secrets are simple: they relied on the deepest natural (and real) drama of our country, bet on symphonic elements that aimed to mimic the chaos, fear, despair, and death that the people of Lisbon suffered with an event that took in its entirety less than an hour, and they composed an album integrally written in Portuguese. This last detail makes all the difference to the public and fans, who not only perfectly understand the lyrics, but also repeat them much more easily – so it was with the following theme, ‘1755’, and with what came next, ‘In Tremor Dei’, in which fans echoed ‘Lisboa, em chamas’. By this time, few people were seated, and even fewer were uninterested.
Moonspell then took a stroll through the avenues of the past with a set that included the mandatory ‘Opium’ and ‘Awake’. After that the band intertwined ‘Ruínas’ and ‘Evento’, both from ‘1755’, with the classics “Vampiria” and “Herr Spiegelman”, finishing the first part of the performance with a cover of “Lanterna dos Afogados”, which is also part of the last long play. More light tricks like green lasers spewing from the hands of Fernando Ribeiro or a cross that emitted red lasers and that the frontman wielded throughout the event were patent. After the first part, the general feeling was that time flew by, a clear sign that a well-achieved concert is not only a musical demonstration, but mainly an act of entertainment, and this one convinced the youngest children glued to the stage and the elderly who, driven by curiosity and the lack of culture in this bathing city, attended and sometimes even banged their heads.
The set was closed by ‘Todos Os Santos’ and the indispensable ‘Alma Mater’, but also with the call of the wolves with ‘Fullmoon Madness’ in which the alpha male howled to the betas and the omegas, gathering the ever-increasing pack and establishing the supremacy of the species in its area of origin. As usual, the pack insisted on giving autographs, socializing with the fans and taking pictures with anyone who wanted to, spending almost as much time dedicated to this as it did to playing – it’s a very metal thing, something very much of ours.
Playing at home, Moonspell are scoring and always gathering more recent and old generations of fans alike, all fruit of the seriousness with which they face their work, an unquestionable talent and an unprecedented effort and belief in our scene. Like it or not, check their live show for at least a gratifying experience of sound and visual effects, as well as watching a veteran band on stage that gives 100% on stage each night.
Photos & text by João Correia.