It was as if the the sky itself was aware of the extraordinary event happening this night, the 27th July, in a very interesting ambient near Pula, one of the most beautiful cities of Croatia. It had certainly felt that way, under a full July moon that shed its glittery bliss to all who came to Monuments to witness something trully remarkable and special. The first ever performance by The 69 Eyes in Croatia (and as a matter of fact, in this part of Europe entirely), which, since its first announcement back in May, has sent a sort of ripple effect throughout the dark communities in this region. It must be felt, it cannot be missed – these words came out instead of heartbeats from the insides of all the vampires around.

Of corpse, almost nothing goes without trouble when organizing something like this (inspite all our efforts – of people who really tried to get them here in the first place), hence certain difficulties both band and the crew had to endure in order to put their show in motion. This is the reason why my own extreme respect for the one and only Helsinki Vampires went a step higher (which was almost impossible I thought, it reached before heights unimaginable) after Viva La Pola! festival. Nevertheless, nothing of the difficulties could be deducted really, from the show itself. From the beginning and the bewitching “Cry Little Sister” intro, all the way to the end of the show, while crowd still cheered for more, the performance was brilliant. Perfect, but not polished and soulless. Just perfect.

It was delightful and heartfilling to see everything happen right then and there, after years of going to other places, travelling thousands of kilometers and before that, going through complicated administration proceedings in order to get a small paper stamp on another piece of paper – a visa (but everything and always everything – for The 69 Eyes). It wasn’t Bosnia, but it was so damn close! And suddenly a dream of seeing Jyrki, Jussi, Archzie, Timo and Bazie live in my country wasn’t that far away… Enjoying the show with several hundred souls who almost all spoke my language was definitely refreshing, and the bright glow in Ivy’s eyes (my dear partner in crime) reflected my own – hell, they’re really HERE!

The setlist was well-known for our “stalkerish” group of possessed vampire fans & webmasters, going through releases and singles of several eras, from “Blessed Be” to the latest, “Angels”, while the audience followed the Eyes through all. Watching Jussi behind pearlish white drums was certainly a site not to be missed! Comments that poured all around us about the vampires on stage were making our grins broader, and the sight of all the croatian and other fans gathered that night in front of them seemed to have a similar effect on the Eyes! Jyrki smiled, danced, jumped, teased, gave an intro for every song on the setlist, even gave his mic on more than one occasion to the singing crowd right in front of him (which is something I either totally erased from my mind, or he actually never did before – on shows I was attending). Bazie gave his absolute best on stage with surprising sollos and riffs definitely not heard before, Timo was jumping all around on amplifiers, showing his appreciation and his trademark – a totally heartmelting smile! Archzie smiled at us and sang a part of the chorus of “Never Say Die” with me, and when Bazie and Timo spotted us it was like blinding beams of light came at us – that is the power of their look and smiles. Jussi – showing his great new hair-do and as always, talent beyond words to describe it, amazed the audience who, for the most part, have never had a pleasure to enjoy a 69 Eyes show.

During the sleazy 21st century anthem “Perfect Skin”, Jyrki charmed all the girls in the crowd by singing “You’ve got a croatian style”, not to mention the intro of “Gothic Girl”, which I know from experience always has an naughty ring to it – this time it was Jyrki speaking about how impressed he was by the beauty of gothic girls here in Croatia. One more reason to come back, right? “Rocker” was again about what they do, and they certainly showed it on the festival’s main stage that night, showing just what kind of a deal the incredible Finns made with the Devil. On “Dance D’Amour” everyone danced with The Eyes into the serious moonlight… (and I remembered this lyric just few hours before the beginning of the show – driving in the van with Jyrki 69 and Bowie’s “China Girl” on the radio does this to an obsessed vampire fan such as myself) or so it seemed, while hundreds of throats shouted and screamed lyrics of both new songs and evergreens e.g. “Brandon Lee”. This was an incredible gift from The 69 Eyes, and Jyrki acknowledged the band’s graditude towards their loyal croatian team and all the fans. Looking at the audience on that special July night of ’07, it felt this was a gift for them as well.

Everyone who was there went a bit different after the performance. I must mention a special moment when Jyrki dedicated “Brandon Lee”, to Brane, a singer of croatian gothic rock band Embrio, who covered the song itself not so long ago. Branimir was a great fan of The 69 Eyes, was supposed to perform on the festival, and looked forward to seeing the band live there…. but he was killed in a motor accident just few days before this day. Intro that gave chills and tears in the eyes of all, even those who haven’t known Brane… and the unspoken “motherfuckers” part of “I would never give in” didn’t even have to be said out loud. That night every song was stronger, the way colours on the horizon get stronger after a sudden storm.
Alas, the show ended too soon, as every other time before… “Lost Boys” gave their last strutting as a present, and Jyrki’s words still ringed in our ears – “We will definitely come back soon”!

Ivy and I said goodbye to our dearest guests and parted ways with them for now… and above us, July moon continued its silent walk, lighting the unspoken dark wishes and future paths to nights like this.

Thank you and have mercy, ma cheries!

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