One Desire is a melodic rock band from Finland with just the two albums in their catalogue despite forming as long ago as 2012. The early years were spent tinkering with the line-up and sound so it wasn’t until 2017 that the eponymous debut saw the light of day. The time was obviously well spent as the first record proved to be an excellent and formidable smooth and delicious melodic rock delight. The album was well received with the second album, Midnight Empire, then coming out last year and this pretty much continued the fine work of the debut and, again, showed a band very adept at US styled melodic rock give but with a special Nordic twist. Both albums show that the band has a hard edge too and they can really rock out when necessary but are also most adept at the anthemic stadium ballads which makes up a fair part of the band’s repertoire. As with every other band on the planet, the last year has been a perfect storm as the band set out in March 2020 to promote the new album but it wasn’t long before all tours were pulled and the band returned to Finland to then discover that they had all caught COVID but, thankfully, they subsequently recovered. This then led to the idea of a one-off gig to showcases both them and the new album and this was hastily organised for 3rd October at the On The Rocks club in Helsinki. In turn, the show was then recorded for CD/DVD/Bluray release with the audience restricted to meet COVID requirements but you would never guess this from the noise that they make; this is an audience that has bought into One Desire big time and they are not afraid to show it!
The set list is a well put together and representative of the band’s output with each album supplying six tracks each to the gig which only lasts a slightly disappointing 57-minutes but the band put everything that they have to give into the show. One Desire has built up a solid reputation as a live band and this live album certainly shows that they know how to deliver a hard rocking set and can keep an audience thoroughly enthralled. Sadly, I’m a little old-fashioned and still measure success in terms of album sales but it is all so different now with Hurt, from the debut, racking up 3m views on YouTube and over 5m plays on a well known steaming platform which are impressive figures by anyone’s standards. Of course, this song features in the set and is the penultimate track so is received rapturously. One Desire plays thrilling melodic AOR backed with a steely determination and can rock with the best of them which is most definitely shown on Live In Helsinki. There is plenty of banter between band and audience which is in a mixture of Finnish and English and it is obvious that the band becomes rather emotional during the gig which is understandable given the pent up stress, anger and desire which each member had bottled up which gives them the energy and passion to play a totally killer set. The audience is close and intimate and the band feeds off this and the numerous close ups and differing angles really put you at the centre of the gig which can only be described as amazing. The sound is exceptional but this is only to be expected given the quality of the band as they are note perfect and totally enjoy experimenting with each track.
The pairing of André Linman on lead vocals and guitar with Jimmy Westerlund on guitar and backing vocals is awesome as they work so well together with Westerlund being far more than a backing singer. Indeed, he also takes lead vocals on Godsent Extasy making this a band blessed with two thrilling singers. It’s great to see close ups of drummer Ossi Sivula and bassist Jonas Kuhlberg as they work so hard for the team which then allows the two singer/guitarists to truly shine. Keyboards also play a big part in the sound which comes courtesy of Antti Roslander and he truly enhances the bands all sound dynamic. The stage is small and tight but One Desire play to it perfectly and this enhances the intimacy of the evening and these more intimate gigs are so much better than the cold and sterile arenas where you often need binoculars just to see the band so please let’s keep music live and an event between band and fans please. I often feel that it is in the live environment that a band and its songs truly come alive and One Desire are perfect examples of this as their two studio releases have been really excellent albums but this live set shows them with so much more power, life and vitality. They are on top form, the audience totally on board and you too will have a great time watching a band taking a major step forward in their career. The band closes the too short show with the epic and anthemic Buried Alive which is a real tour de force and a song destined to close barnstorming sets perfectly.
It is a perfect summation of a near perfect band and shows that if you also want symphonic metal then you got it! The end credits take 5-minutes of so and feature interesting pre and post gig footage which is a nice way to close the DVD. This is a great live show with a neat light show that does not detract from the band as they deliver a show to remember. The set also comes with a documentary on the making of Midnight Empire but this was not available for review but it is always nice to see some extras even if you only watch them once. The live set, on the other hand, is sure to be watched many, many times.
One Night Only – Live In Helsinki track list
- Shadowman (5:56)
- Apologize (3:43)
- Down And Dirty (4:43)
- Heroes (4:26)
- Godsent Extasy (4:42)
- This Is Where The Heartbreak Begins (5:29)
- Only When I Breathe (1:46)
- Falling Apart (5:22)
- After You’re Gone (4:57)
- Whenever I’m Dreaming (4:36)
- Hurt (5:53)
- Buried Alive (10.39)