All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

An Evening With Opeth

Arriving at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre at 5.30pm to meet with my contact from the promoter, I overheard a pedestrian comment as she looked at the venue’s marquee, “Who is Opeth?” That kind of struck me for a moment. Opeth, such a seminal worldwide and revered band, remain an unknown quantity to the layman. I thought to myself had Opeth been around in the 70’s they’d be regarded right up there with your Pink Floyds and Led Zeppelins of the world. Heck, they may have been even rated higher. But to this passer by, they remain completely unknown. Such a shame.

Photographing Opeth is never work, it is an experience that creates memories, everlasting memories. I was hired tonight to photograph the Opeth Meet & Greet for Metropolis Touring. Over the years, I have done a ton of these shoots for Metropolis (Ace Frehley, Motorhead, Switchfoot, Uriah Heep). For the most part, all have been a very pleasant working experience. Most of the acts are genuinely pleased to be amongst their fans with happy banter and a willingness to sign everything. (Are you taking notes Mr Frehley?)

Opeth arrived at the Forum and proceeded to be as courteous and friendly amongst the throes of VIP fans who had paid for the opportunity to be with their heroes in such an intimate setting.


With the band seated at a table, each fan got their merchandise signed by the band. Once the signing session was over, I photographed each fan (all 56 of them!) posing with the band amongst the confines of the gorgeous Forum Theatre.

The meet and greet finished just before 8pm. That gave me some time to grab a bite to eat, dump the meet and greet photos onto a portable drive I had with me, and then head back to the venue to catch the Opeth live. From memory, I have seen them about 8 times in Australia and got to photograph them three times. Tonight would be my fourth.

Opeth live is an experience, a journey if you will. Travelling through their vast catalogue of music it is often spellbinding watching each member, command their respective instruments. Almost virtuoso, almost orchestral – always brutally honest and oftentimes sublime.

Tonight, after photographing the band for the first three songs, I put my AAA pass to good use and went backstage to watch the band from the side of the stage. There is a totally different perspective from that angle. The sound isn’t as ferocious and one can hear a more raw version of what the band is playing as opposed to the front of the house.

It was a bit of a pinch myself moment as it dawned on me I’ve had a pretty close encounter for the duration of this entire night with one of my favourite bands of all time.

Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did getting them…

With thanks to Metropolis Touring.


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