Photo: John Wins

Rising again: The Rasmus live at Black Box, Helsinki

Author John Wins - 8.10.2022

The last day of September was a very special night for all The Rasmus fans who attended Black Box on a not so cold Finnish autumn night.

Just a week after the release of their 10th studio album “Rise” and a few weeks after the release of their official biography, the band prepared a different show than usual. They are enjoying an excellent moment after their participation in Eurovision earlier this year and with the success of “Jezebel”, which introduced the new member Emppu Suhonen, the band renewed their blood, delivering even more energetic performances.

The first thing you noticed on stage, after Ramses II‘s opening concert, was a slightly different stage from the “yellow box” that the band had for live gigs earlier this year. With strips of lights covering both sides and back of the stage, what caught the eye was a big screen with the screen continuing just below the drum floor. Special production!

When the four members entered the stage, it was visible to perceive the type of atmosphere that the show would have from then on: a positive one! With a trilogy of sounds from the classic album “Dead Letters”, the band showed excitement with “First Day of My Life” and “Guilty”.

Lauri was already interacting with the audience and in these first songs it was already possible to see one of the best things that this recent visibility has generated. Fans since the early 2000s shared the audience with teenagers and many children, showing how the band managed to rejuvenate and renew their fan base. Many parents sharing the pleasure of a concert with their children.

Closing the sequence with “In My Life”, this time with a special attention to Emppu who walks around the stage with a lot of joy and enthusiasm, also interacting with the charismatic drummer Aki.

Despite not having a keyboardist, the backing tracks worked very well, as for example in “No Fear”, which was a song sung by everyone present. With a special guitar intro, it was time for the single “Paradise” to show how The Rasmus sounded a few years ago when they experimented with something more electronic with synthesizers. Interesting vibe in the air. If before we heard something more relaxed, “Time to Burn” aimed to change that with heavier guitars and strong backing vocals from bassist Eero. Another mix of effects on the screen and also below the drum set, which matched a lot with the lyrics of the song.

Photo: Venla Shalin

The first guest of the night was none other than the legend Michael Monroe, who just a week earlier presented a three-hour show at the same venue and also performed a Hanoi Rocks reunion. This time with his saxophone in hand and his usual charisma, he joined the band to perform, in his own words, his favorite song of the band, “Chill”. An interesting and very pleasant combination that should be repeated more often, hopefully!

The most recent single “Live and Never Die” didn’t get much enthusiasm or applause in its presentation, besides having proved to be a song a little difficult for Lauri to sing, but it’s an upbeat song that shows the new phase of the band. On the other hand, Lauri delivered incredible vocals on “Wonderman”, which brought a good balance between the heavy and the melodic, another highlight for the audience chorus.

The tenth song of the night was the beginning of a small acoustic set, with the members in the center of the stage in a very intimate atmosphere. “Sophia” opened with Lauri playing kazoo and voice effects from bassist Eero, rescuing the spirit of the band in the 90s. One of the funniest and most fascinating moments of the show.

The string quartet Triosis+ made their first appearance of the night to perform “Ten Black Roses”, which gained even more drama with this new arrangement. The effect of lasers on the lighting had its final act with “October & April”, this time with Emppu replacing Anette Olzon‘s vocals who recorded the studio version, and the guitarist did a very beautiful job with her deep voice.

A long time ago, The Rasmus was known only as Rasmus and four young boys had fun on stage with their teenage spirits and a lot to say. 25 years later, the quartet shows that it still has that energy when they played “Playboys” and the cover of “Ghostbusters”, with a saxophonist on stage. One of the most contagious moments so far.

Straight from the album “Hell of a Tester” from 1998, “Liquid” brought back the presence of Triosis+ to deliver blue tones and a lot of emotion in the vocal performance of Lauri and great backing vocals from Emppu and Eero. By the way, what a vocal support from The Rasmus‘ bassist so far!

The title track of the new album injected a new dose of joy in most of the audience, showing that the new work already has a special place in the band’s discography. A pity that the part with string arrangement was performed through backing tracks, as it would be nice to see with a live arrangement featuring Triosis+.

The classic “Immortal” showed how the setlist was well balanced and showing a sharp band. A very solid performance by vocalist Lauri and guitarist Emppu. As mentioned, the setlist had heavy and more introspective songs like the beautiful ballad “Justify” from the album “Black Roses”. Another fascinating work on the big screen and a beautiful arrangement of voices with Emppu, Eero and Lauri, while Aki remains precise and intense in the rhythmic section.

Photo: Venla Shalin

Then one of the most emotional moments of the night happened. Ellinoora is a Finnish pop singer, who during the Vain Elämää tv show, in which Lauri also participated, created a finnish version of “Funeral Song”, reaching the charts and revitalizing a classic through another perspective. When the singer appeared on stage everyone already knew what the next song would be, but while some expected a mix of both versions, only the recently recorded version was presented, bringing a lot of emotion and both vocalists singing in their original language. Sublime!

“Livin’ in a World Without You” has a register that goes well with Lauri‘s voice, but drummer Aki stands out with his excitement. With green and orange lights, one of the biggest hits of the Finnish rock scene echoed in the hall as the first riffs of “F-F-F-Falling” made everyone present sing each verse and witness the band’s happiness on stage.

Without a doubt, the band’s biggest hit and anthem of a generation, “In The Shadows” had smoke and smiles everywhere you looked. The interaction with the audience during the middle of the song is what makes a show by The Rasmus sure to have good energies. An absolute classic that resists time with great quality.

The return for the encore has already started with the first chords of “Jezebel”, the song that once again put the band in a place of prestige, presenting the new lineup and phase of the Helsinki quartet. Unfortunately the performance that night didn’t have all the impact and strength of the Eurovision performances, but still a song that is already part of the band’s history and will hardly leave the setlist. With yellow and black colors blinking on the screen, the band ended the story of the fictional character and prepared for the last song of the night.

The ending with “Sail Away” brought the last participation of Triosis+, but I confess that “In The Shadows” could have been chosen as the final act, such is its quality, but the track from the album “Hide From the Sun” has lyrics that work well as a final act to say farewell.

With a good part of the guests present on stage, The Rasmus said goodbye with applauses and ovation from every fan present. From the fans since the time when the band was formed by teenagers, to the present day, when young people are daily falling in love with a rich and lovely discography. Lauri, Eero, Aki and Emppu delivered a night full of emotion and joy, which was certainly something special for every fan there.

May The Rasmus‘ feathers still be the look of a generation’s soundtrack, because those smiles and tears of joy were real that night.