The renunciation of guttural singing, which began with "Heritage" and continues at least in the studio, has already lasted seven years. A live document of this era (apart from an exclusive magazine release in 2011) remained indebted to Opeth for a long time. On "Garden Of The Titans: Live At Red Rocks Amphitheatre" they now show how well "old" and "new" Opeth go together - and that according to guitarist Fredrik Åkesson they sound even better than on record.
The history of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre as a sought-after place for musical culture begins with the former owner of the fashion magazine "Cosmopolitan": John Brisben Walker organises the "Grand Opening of the Garden of the Titans" in 1906. For Fredrik Åkesson, who appears exactly 111 years later, the rock formation is one of the most remarkable venues of all. Opeth therefore decided to do the same with U2 and Neil Young and produce a concert film there.
eclipsed: Mikael Åkerfeldt jokes during the concert that all playing errors could magically disappear afterwards thanks to post-production. How much truth is in this?
Fredrik Åkesson: (laughs) Not much. It should stay real. For a short time a rhythm guitar was totally out of tune, we had to re-record it. That was the right decision. I actually wanted to rework a solo, but I wasn't allowed to. It had zero degrees in the night of the concert, and a storm came up, in fast passages we had to fight really because of cold fingers. In "Heir Apparent" a note slipped. But we didn't want to cheat too much. We do not use clicktracks or other machines live.
eclipsed: How involved were you in postproduction?
Åkesson: Mikael and I sat in the studio with mixer David Castillo and had some influence. We always compared the live versions with the originals of the songs, and sometimes they sound even better, I think, especially the newer songs, they sound heavier. Today hardly anyone is interested in live albums anymore. We wanted to bring back the vibe from before. For example, when you bought Iron Maiden's "Live After Death" back then, it was a magical moment!
eclipsed: The concert in Red Rocks was part of a tour with Devin Townsend and Gojira. So you had less playing time than at headliner gigs. Why did you film this performance anyway?
Åkesson: Yes, normally we play for about two hours, which means one or at most two more songs for us. But the opportunity presented itself and we seized it. Red Rocks as a location certainly influenced our decision - geographical phenomenon, open air, for a change not in the UK. It's probably the coolest venue I've played so far. In addition, the predecessor "In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall" is a long time ago. The setlist should contain many new songs to distinguish it from the old live albums. I think we have succeeded in creating a good musical footprint. The band was in top form.