October 20, 2017 - 872 views

Scott Burchfield recently travelled to Plovdiv, Bulgaria to watch Devin Townsend perform a special concert. Check out his show report below.


Devin Townsend in Plovdiv.
Walking into the ancient Roman amphitheatre was a spectacle in itself, the 2000 year old worn stone stone steps buzzing with people from all around the world.

This is the Devin Townsend Project (DTP) and the orchestra of the Plovdiv state opera. If you're not familiar with Devin Townsend then firstly why are you here?? Also go listen to him now!!!
It's epic prog metal with a lot of other elements, as well something for everyone...You just have to find it!

After grabbing a beer and getting comfy on the kindly provided padding for my rump, I was almost like a kid at Christmas!! Quick chat with the dude next to me- from Australia no less- we confirmed to each other that this was something special.

Then the orchestra walkout to a big metal "roar!" and we were all on our feet as the DTP came on stage. After a long set of very genuine "thank yous" to everyone that made it possible, they started.

Opening the "By Request" set with "Truth" which, after the first bar or so, I was happy I could have left then and it would have been enough; just the perfect sound and epicness of it was almost too much to comprehend.
The orchestra possibly a little quiet but definitely there and adding something.

Another highlight was "By Your Command", from the "Ziltoid the omniscient" album which seemed other worldly (Nobody said that before I'm sure! )
The fast pace breakneck speed was something else, the ridiculous double kick drumming from Ryan Van Poederooyen even distracted one of the violin players for a bit.

Devin was on form trying to be proper and not talk bullshit even though the crowd had other ideas. He did look like he was struggling in pain with some of the screams; having to take on lots of water and a mouth spray. Still pulled them off like the true pro he is.

The rest of the DTP were on form as well... Brian "Beav" Waddell had a bass tone that was just thunderous and was possibly in danger of collapsing a nearby big rock on the side of a cliff edge that was tied on with a bit of rope in the true Bulgarian way.

Talking of big rock... “Higher” was another song that was a big moment with the chorus of the title of the track being helped by the crowd and choir, making us the mere mortals watching involved.
Dave Young on guitar had no trouble keeping In time with the band or orchestra which I can only imagine is quite distracting. It felt all well practiced but not robotic.
The band are a very tight knit group that all seem to enjoy it and look chuffed at jobs well done.

Other highlights included Bad Devil which had everyone dancing to the jolly tune on the "not to code steps"...
Slight disappointment, the brass bit of the song wasn't done by the orchestra... perhaps they couldn't quite nail it, but still more than good enough to make up for it!

Was a truly epic set finished off with some fireworks, a sense of awe, astonishment and almost relief that it was as good as we had hoped! And that was just "the support act" as Devin said.

A small break allowing time to admire the venue and take in the fact that 2000 years ago a Roman was sitting here watching gladiators do battle (probably not too unlike the fight to get to the bar) ...very metal !!

And it was gladiators ready!! (Yeah I went there)

Then the DTP came back this time, without the orchestra but this time with bassist John ‘Squid’ Harder, who played on the original recording.
It felt a little off at first being that way round for the set but when it got going and the emotions and feelings of the song sank in it was definitely something special, not as fast, but still heavy grabs at the feelings that are hard to talk about and to deal with. Almost making some cry, perhaps some did.

With the end screams looking like it took every once of energy Devin had left it was done, the crowd were giving a standing ovation and in the way that usually wants more.
Though it felt like there was an understanding that it didn't need more and that it was fair that there wasn't.
They had done more then enough.

Best concert I have been too, big claim not sure if I'd commit to that, but I struggle to think of anything quite that special.

Photos by Scott Burchfield.