The Flower Kings was the first concert that I saw by myself almost 20 years ago. I saw them in my hometown of Caracas, Venezuela after having run into Roine in a little souvenir shop, where, not knowing who he was and curious to see what a group of Swedish tourists were doing there, he told me about the band and told me to go see them that same afternoon.
I was about 17 years old around that time and this realization came to me the day of the concert in Montreal. In my mind and according to my memory, I had seen this band about 10 years ago but as I did the math, and I remember that the 2000s were not a decade ago but actually almost 20 years ago, I froze in place and realized once again that I’m growing old, and it is all happening faster than I thought.
At the time of the concert in Venezuela, the band was only about 5 or 6 years old and was considered one of the newer groups on the Prog scene. Nowadays it is regarded as a classic progressive band, and they’ve already gone through several changes in their lineup and a dozen albums. And it is as a classic band that I am seeing them this time, two decades later.
Roine was happy to be back in the cold city of Montreal and took the initial moments on stage to mention that they only toured every 5 years or so because in between tours and albums they all have their own businesses and lives, and it is only when they have a project, time and a concept worth pursuing that they sit down together and produce something worthwhile.
In between tours, both the singer and the bass player have played with Steve Hackett’s band and they joke that, at this rate, maybe the rest of the group will also perform with Steve Hackett at some point of their lives too.
During the show they only played 8 songs, and although this might sound like little, for a progressive rock band, where each song can amount to more than 30 minutes at times, it was actually a lengthy show, where each of the compositions played seemed less like a short story and more like a small novel.
Each of the songs was about 60% without lyrics, but this meant that it was up to you and your mind to get into the music and the mood, and to be part of the song as the first couple of minutes introduced you to the bigger theme and the story that needed to be told.
The crowd was not that big, with only the first floor filled, but the people that were present were so into the music that, with the exception of a few people that lived the concert through their phones and cameras, you could see that it was as if they were at a private concert in a vast stadium arena.
If there is one song that stuck with me, in the concert of 2000 and the one from 2019, it was “Stardust We Are”, both for its beautiful arrangement and the alluring lyrics. Other noteworthy songs, philosophical and poetic, that were played that night at Club Soda were “I Am the Sun” and “The Truth Will Set You Free.” If you can, listen to any of those three for a nice introduction into the world of this Swedish band.
I do hope that I don’t get to see them in 20 years again, doing so and realizing again how time flew by might be too much to handle. I do hope that the band, the crowd and I can make the best of the years we have in between tours and realize, whenever that may be, that we have aged well and each day was lived to its fullest. Long live The Flower Kings.
Review – Ricardo D. Flores