Originally written by Juho Mikkonen
For your average dickface-cum-festival-goer the third and final day at Tuska is not usually that much about resurrection of biblical proportions. In lieu of getting a new life or a chance to wipe the slate clean, the rising sun will most probably roll in with a reminder that nothing is uglier than life itself. Weekday routines will come back to haunt you with their soul-devouring monotony, and whatever it is that festers in your mind at that very moment − the workload on your desk, a missing limb, you name it – will magnify in size and gravity until you almost make use of that knitting needle you always keep handy for lobotomy purposes.
Not for me though; not this time.
Granted, my Sunday wake-up call showed scarcely any contrast to that of the previous morning, but when I stepped out on the patio of my friend’s apartment, the sun rays were already there to deliver their unorthodoxly excruciating heat by Finnish standards and bring it out to the open that I’m not only an awfully sweaty bloke but a chipper lad to boot. Realizing that and the fact that I would not have to return to punch a clock right after the festivities but, instead, advance on a month-long vacation in mere 24 hours, I was actually fine with the thought of a third day of worrying about filming, interviewing and panicking with schedules. No biting the bullet, no tough pills to swallow – just having fun without the possibility to go overboard with painting the town red. And maybe today we could actually stop and listen to some music at some point.
At the appointed rendezvous of our little-yet-forceful film crew, it was noticeable that all the others were a bit on the weary side of the fence. I guess the joyous spirit, that had chosen me as its vessel of whoopee, was kind enough to give a helping hand to these knuckleheads, as well, because soon we were again busy with bustin’ our asses – only this time with a smile. We worked like ants on meth and, lo and behold, before the day had even properly begun, we were finished with filming and building a nest for our morbidly obese queen. I took a short breather with our two cameramen, lying on my back on the grass of Kaisaniemi, and then headed back to the eye of the storm with a purpose to…you know…listen to some fucking metal.
When I had found my way to the festival area, W.A.S.P. – my very first introduction to the world heavy music back in the 80’s − was already finishing its gig. I still recall how my friend prided himself upon a kick-ass poster he had received with some German Musik Zeitung. It depicted Blackie Lawless drinking fake blood straight from a skull. Yeah, from a fucking skull. For a six-year old Junge…er…kid that symbolized nothing but sheer, awe-striking bad-assery, and I was sold in a flash. Unluckily, my mom wouldn’t let me hang such a picture on my bedroom wall, but a few weeks later she kindly bought me The Last Command on cassette. Now, 23 years later, hearing “Wild Child” performed live for the first time in my life felt like a Freudian mind-fuck, where you regress back to the no man’s land between libido and Thanatos. Come to think of it, I guess rock’n roll was made to do just that.
All in all, our last day at Tuska was thoroughly enjoyable in the terms of awesome concert experiences, although I have to admit that by trying to stand through the whole 75-minute set of Cannibal Corpse I was biting way more than I can chew. Nile, instead, has finally got rid of their muddy live sound, and this time you could really hear almost every single note they unleashed upon the banging heads inside the tent. By the time the gorgeous and crystal clear ending lead of “Sarcophagus” started dancing with slow, palm-muted chugging and George Kollias’ thunderous double bass drumming, I had already decided that this was, hands-down, the best performance I had ever seen from this Egypt-obsessed quartet.
Deservedly, the grand finale of the night was Megadeth, led by its self-proclaimed “international shit-stirrer.” For a casual fan like me, the set list covered basically everything essential from “Holy Wars…” to “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells”, whilst “Head Crusher” had to settle for its role as the sole representative of Endgame. Skillful and professional as the band members are as individual musicians, together they are far from a tight live unit. Put simply, the energy and focus is just not there. Otherwise, there’s no explanation in this cosmos for the fact that Dave Mustaine doesn’t care when his vocals go a bit off tune and a pedantic musician like Chris Broderick fucks up with simple pinch harmonics. The army of thousands and thousands of fans didn’t seem to care, though, and they got the groove on from the very first notes of “Wake up Dead”. Somewhere between “Hangar 18” and “Tornado of Souls” the vibe sucked me in, leaving me no other option than to put my dancing shoes on and end the festival with style.
As a worthy representation of a very cool ending for a very busy excursion, the last, death metal-tinged episode of our three-part video report contains some serious whiz-bang material: interviews with Nile, Torture Killer and Bloodbath, respectively.
See you again next year…although I do hope that I’ll get something else written before that. Lazy bastard…