There was no blog on Tuesday because I arrived home too late after seeing Heilung in concert, two hours away from where I live. Not only was it the middle of the night, but I was exhausted both from the lengthy drive and the intensity of the emotions I was feeling from the performance.

Two years ago I’d bought tickets to see them when they came around to my area. I’d bought them six months in advance from the show date. I tested positive for Covid-19 the day before the show, and was devastated. I was convinced I’d missed my one and only chance to see them live. The opportunity arose again this past week, years later, and I took it.

This Heilung concert was, without a doubt, one of the best concerts I’ve ever experienced.

And it was just that: an experience. Well, they call their concerts “rituals” and for good reason. Every moment, every movement, every aspect of their two-hour show with no opening acts and no breaks was choreographed. From the complete commitment of character and atmosphere to the actual rituals performed on stage, this was not just a concert. It was truly a ritual, and the closest thing I’ve ever had to a religious experience at a music venue.

The ritual wasn’t only in reverence of nature, but I felt as though it was in reverence of the act of performance itself. It’s rare that every person on a stage has a commanding presence, but every member of Heilung’s ensemble embodied the phrase, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Every person, from those who were on stage for the entire show to those who were frequently on-and-off in brief appearances, knew how important they were to the show as a whole.

I am going to be thinking about this show for the rest of my days. I am going to remember the throat-singing shaman, the haunting high priestess, the shield-bearing warriors, and the thunderous drummers. I am going to reflect on the reverence and the ritual that Heilung shared with us that night. I am thankful that I can now think of them as an unforgettable concert, rather than an opportunity I missed thanks to the pandemic.