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On stage: Sonata Arctica

- Stratovarius, Rhapsody & Sonata Arctica - Apr. 2000 - Cologne (D) -
- Stratovarius, Rhapsody & Sonata Arctica - Apr. 2000 - Tilburg (NL) -
- Gamma Ray, Sonata Arctica & Vanishing Point - Sep. 2001 - Bochum (D) -
- Monsters Of Rock - April 2006 - Herne (D) -
- Noisegate Festival - May 2006 - Langen (D) -
- Sonata Arctica, Pagan's Mind & Vanishing Point - Nov. 2008 - Saarbrücken (D) -
- Sonata Arctica, Delain & Winterborn - Dec. 2009 - Dortmund (D) -
- Sonata Arctica, Powerglove & Mutiny Within - Apr. 2010 - San Francisco, CA (USA) -
- RockHard Festival - May 2010 - Gelsenkirchen (D) -
- Sonata Arctica - Mar. 2011 - Saarbrücken (D) -
- Sonata Arctica, Labÿrith & Triosphere - Mar. 2011 - Cardiff (GB) -

- Sonata Arctica, Labÿrinth & Triosphere - March 23rd 2011 - Cardiff (GB) -

Supporting Sonata Arctica tonight were Norwegian progressive metal band Triosphere. They were an all right band, and the musicians were competent enough. Although not a brilliant band, they did put on a good show, and the audience that were there at the time did seem to enjoy it.

After Triosphere were Lab¨yrinth, an Italian progressive power metal band who have aged well, to say the least. Singer Roberto Tiranti had an inhuman voice, reaching pitches that should be inaudible to human ears. He was also good fun, being very casual and light-hearted with the audience, while at the same time putting a lot of effort into his performance. Guitarists Andrea Cantarelli and Carlo Andrea Magnani also performed spectacularly, as did the rest of the band.

Headliners Sonata Arctica were breathtaking, to name just one quality. The countdown lights to open their set were a wonderful touch to start off the show, and the music and show just got better from there on in. They kicked off with a beautiful rendition of Flag In The Ground, and then headed swiftly on to The Last Amazing Grays. They played other such popular favourites as Replica, Paid In Full and Fullmoon, doing each song the justice that they deserve. Their encore, which consisted of Caleb, Don't Say A Word, Vodka (Hava Nagila) and Everything Fades To Gray was an absolutely superb way to end the show, which, judging by the reaction of the audience, was enjoyed by the vast majority of attendees.

Sonata Arctica truly put on a fantastic performance at this concert, and this reviewer was certainly impressed, just as everybody else seemed to be. They're definitely worth a look at, and a must-see live.

Stephanie Malin


- Sonata Arctica - March 7th 2011 - Saarbrücken (D), Garage -

Live at Rock Hard Festival 2010

Live at Rock Hard Festival 2010

Live at Rock Hard Festival 2010

© Claudia Ehrhardt
Photos: Rock Hard 2010

Unfortunately I missed the opener. When I entered the Garage, they hit the last chord. Changing break. Labÿrinth entered the stage approx 20 minutes after that. I didn't know the five guys from Italy before so I don't know really what to write. They seemed to be very professional in their way. Their mixture of melodic power metal showed, that Italian metal bands got the proportionality to get attention in the German audience. The songs are well structured and won't get boring while listening. I have to praise their singer. He did a very great job! After 45 minutes they left the stage.

After a 20 minutes change over, Sonata Arctica hit the stage. It was sad to see, that only approx 350 people were in the audience. Last time in 2007 and 2008 when Sonata Arctica have been here, the Garage was nearly sold out (1,500 People). Ok, after an intro I didn't know, the real intro Everything Fades To Gray was played and they kicked off with Flag In The Ground followed by The Last Amazing Grays. The band seemed to have fun and didn't care about the few people in front of the stage. Tony did a little announcement and they continued with Juliet. Replica and Blank File (especially that one) brought the little audience to rock the house. As If The World Wasn't Ending was nice to listen to but Paid In Full was a real blast. Then they continued with Victoria's Secret and an instrumental part. I really was happy when they got to play The Misery. This version was very emotional. Last two songs of the much too short set were Full Moon and In Black And White. As encore they hit the stage again with Caleb and Don't Say A Word before they ended the show with the Vodka Song and Everything Fades To Gray.

All in all I have to say that the gig was great, but much too short. Many fans were disappointed due to this. Next time we want to get a longer set.

Philip Thelen


- Sonata Arctica, Powerglove & Mutiny Within -
- April 22nd, 2010 - San Francisco, California (USA), Slim's -

Remarks: Finally. After seeing Sonata twice as openers, they finally get to headline again. With the massive amount of energy and cheers they got with DragonForce back in September, it was no doubt that Slim's was full of people who have been waiting 2 years for them to headline again. We arrived right as the doors had opened and planted ourselves stage left/house right, just in front of Henrik's keyboard. It felt kinda odd since traditionally I've been on the house left side of things. It ended up being a great spot though.

We were treated to two opening bands this time: Powerglove and Mutiny Within. Powerglove was just how we remembered them, loads of fun with metal video game remixes. They guys were very friendly just like last time and Bassil was kind enough to chat us up as he worked the merch booth. They had said how much Sonata Arctica was a big influence for them so this must've been an awesome tour for them. They donned their traditional VG Metal outfits and shredded our collective childhoods, much to the amusement of the crowd. At the end, they also promised to play Power, Wisdom, Courage next time; something we intend on making them keep!

Powerglove's Setlist

  • Tetris - Themes B and C

  • Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man - The band handed out some inflatable swords as well as well as a giant (inflatable) bat and told everyone that it was time to do battle! Then they threw out a beach ball too for good measure.

  • Storm Eagle - While Nick brought out the bird puppet, Chris told the tale of how he could never get past Storm Eagle's stage when he was a kid. He obviously didn't use Sting Chameleon's weapon against Storm Eagle. Or use the dash move properly. Regardless, he still made us chant 'Fuck that bird!' through out the song.

  • X-Men - They debuted a new track for us, one that came from the land of Marvel. Specifically, from the X-Men cartoon. Man I remember that show. I also remember the awesome arcade game they based off it. Like usual, they metalized the song perfectly.

  • Transformers - Another new one. This one, dedicated to Optimus Prime himself. Another great rendition. But why couldn't they dedicate this one to Shia LaBeouf? I digress...

  • Mario Minor - This time, Chris grabbed the Mario doll behind him and dedicated it to him. I can't get enough of that Bowser's castle theme in the middle. That part rocks so much!

  • So Sexy Robotnik - How do you go from a Mario cover to a Sonic cover? Oh well. This one seemed to be a big hit this time around. And while I had no problem beating Storm Eagle's stage in Mega Man X, I had a hell of a time beating the Carnival Night Zone in Sonic 3. So I suppose things are even.

  • Power Rangers - Fact: They brought back the original series of Power Rangers and are playing it on Saturday mornings. Fact: They should have used Powerglove's cover of the theme song as the new theme song. Fact: This song was their closer. Fact: This song was awesome.

Mutiny Within filled up the tiny space they had on staged with 6 musicians. Somehow they were still able to roam around and keep us energized. Their music was very powerful and tightly woven together. They used an interesting mix of clean and growled vocals; not unlike Opeth for example. It was very much enjoyable for me despite not knowing any of their songs. At one point we got a very mellow piano solo. And at another, the vocalist simply proclaimed "e;Catch me San Francisco!"e; before stage diving. I don't think you can call it crowd surfing since he pretty much went nowhere at all before being pulled back up on stage.

Sonata Arctica delivered the exact same package that you come to expect after seeing them for a while: playing awesome music and having fun on stage doing it. Tony has developed into an excellent frontman, being able to make the crowd laugh, sing, and chant on cue. He kept us laughing in between songs and kept the energy going during the songs. And he yodels. Enough said. The other guys were definitely on top of their games, blasting through riffs and solos like it was nothing. I think I even saw Marko smile. A little. After a nice dose of beer. There was a group by us that held up the 'Underwear Music!' sign that was at the DragonForce concert. It sadly went ignored. Hopefully next time. And hopefully they'll be back sooner as well.

Sonata Arctica's Set list

  • Everything Fades To Gray (Instrumental) - As the screen playing Terminator 3 started to rise, this song played over the speakers. Then Tommy appeared. Then Henrik. Then the other three. All to much screaming. After a short greeting, they launched right into...

  • Flag In The Ground - I can only describe this track as 'fun.' Lost of energy and great to listen to.

  • Black Sheep - Wasting no time with this one either. It kinda took me by surprise, I didn't expect to hear it this early in the concert. As always, the solos rocked!

  • Paid in Full - Another one of their 'new classics.' Pleasing song to hear. Naturally, I had to keep the tradition going by recording the keyboard solo.

  • The Last Amazing Grays - A great track off their new album. You really can't go wrong with listening to a Wolf Song. Tony introduced this song by talking about loss and mother nature will eventually take those we love and us too. Kinda a downer. Good thing the song picked us right back up!

  • Last Drop Falls - Good choice for the ballad of the evening as it was a crowd favorite. Tony initially started talking about Ecliptica and if anyone knew of it. Elias had to point out that Tony couldn't read his setlist correctly. Sheepishly they started this song. Also, there is nothing like hearing a roomful of people yelling out "e;Without underwear"e; on command.

  • Fullmoon - Needless to say, this was an absolute fan favorite. Instead of starting the intro to this song, Henrik decided to go for a beer break, leaving Tony to entertain us. He chose to do it by yodeling. It was confusing as much as it was awesome. Anyway, they really had fun on the stage during this song. We even got to see a nice mini drum solo by Tommy at the end. RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

  • Juliet - Time for Tony Kakko's History Lesson Of The Day. He asks us if we knew a guy named William H Shakespeare. He tells us that Shakespeare wrote some plays and lived in the 1600s. Oh, and the next song was titled after one of his most famous characters. Juliet. This one was abso-fucking-lutely awesome to hear live. It sounded much better live than Caleb did. Those last choruses were wonderful. It ended with Tony kneeling on the ground and singing.

  • 8th Commandment - And just like that, he was up and running around stage while he left the crowd to push each other around. As they sang "e;Can you feel the fire burning?"e; Tony thought it would be a good idea to tug on Henrik's goatee. I don't know why. Henrik showed his skill under pressure by singing, playing keytar, and slapping Tony's hand away in the span of a few seconds. Skills indeed.

  • Broken - Tony tells us that they've unintentionally ignored one of their albums in recent concerts. Winterheart's Guild. Instead of opting for some 'Underwear Music', instead they opt to play Broken. I suppose it was a good choice to calm us down after the last song.

  • The Dead Skin - Another new song. Billed as kinda a love song. Tony really showed off his wide range of vocal abilities here. He also ended the song by doing his own echo, pulling the mic farther and farther away from him. That had to be the coolest, most absolute badass moment of the concert.

  • The Cage - Another song I didn't expect to hear until later. Once again, a huge fan favorite. There ended up being lots of pushing in this song. It did end nicely with their 'wooooooaaaahhh' arrangement. Tony started talking about zoos to introduce this song along with cages. But as Henrik was going for another beer instead of doing an intro to the song, Tony walks over and hijacks his keyboard and does a sweet piano solo. Henrik can only stare in awe as Tony shows off a little.

  • Keyboard and Guitar Solos - It only takes about 2 seconds after the guys leave the stage for the crowd to start chanting 'Sonata!' and 'Encore!' Eventually, Henrik comes out and asks us if we want some more. The crowd responded with an enthusiastic yes. So he tells us he'll see if he can figure something out. It ended up being a keyboard solo set to some soothing chords in the background. He absolutely rocked the hell out of his keytar. As he wrapped up, Elias took the stage for a guitar solo. I was unable to capture that much awesomeness on camera though. After they were done, Tony comes back out for some more crowd interaction. He asks us to repeat back some stuff like 'Woah!' and 'Yeah!' Then he asks the guys to say 'Yeah!' Then he asks the girls to say "e;We can't navigate a map but have a highly sensitive emotional center!"e; There was much laughing and many raised middle fingers after that.

  • In Black and White - When Sonata Arctica said they were gonna shake up their setlist a little, I didn't expect this to show up this late in the concert. Still good stuff though, very forceful and rocking song.

  • Don't Say a Word - Sad times for their last song. Always a great song to hear though.
  • Vodka - The band asks us if there's something we need. More songs! No? Vodka! So they naturally proceed to do the best outro ever. As the other guys wail on their instruments, Tony proceeds to thank us for the awesome show. And we were in the top 1 crowds of the tour. Then they gracefully segue into...

  • Everything Fades to Gray (full version) - I must say, I do like the way they bookend the concert with this song, just like it is on the album.

As they wrap up and start thanking the crowd, they do their usual thing of tossing stuff into the crowd. One of Tommy's drumstick landed just to the left and behind me. Tony's towel landed not too far in front of me. As it landed, I heard someone next to me yell "e;That's disgusting!"e; Heh. The band buddied up and hit center stage and took their bows. Until next time Sonata!

(guest writer)


- Sonata Arctica, Delain & Winterborn -
- December 2nd 2009 - Dortmund (D), FZW -

Winterborn - live in Dortmund

Delain - live in Dortmund

Delain - live in Dortmund

Sonata Arctica - live in Dortmund

Sonata Arctica - live in Dortmund

When we arrived at the FZW early for an interview with Delain there were already fans queuing, waiting in the cold to get a place right in front of the stage. The Finnish band Winterborn entered the stage at 8 PM. To be honest it was the first encounter with Winterborn, so I can't tell you a lot about them. Musically the Finnish offer melodic heavy metal which should the Sonata Arctica fans dig... The sextet played songs from both albums - Cold Reality (2006) and Farewell To Saints (2009) - incl. Land Of The Free and Last Train To Hell. Guitarist Pasi Kauppinen showed some tapping parts while his counterpart Antti Hokkala were more into the riffing. Singer Teemu Koskela did quite good and I think Winterborn made some new fans. They had only a limited stage time, so Chaos Dwells Within marked the end of their set.
After a short change over it was time for the Dutch symphonic metal band Delain. The fivesome played live a lot recently to promote their 2nd album April Rain. Former Within Temptation keyboarder Martijn Westerhold founded the band and caught some interest, but by now Delain showed that they aren't copycats. Delain kicked off with Invidia and Stay Forever. With The Gathering they offered something from their debut Lucidity, but continued with Go Away and Virtue & Vice. Charlotte Wessels did an excellent job, very expressive and with her sympathetic performance she enchanted the fans. Before they headed into Shattered Charlotte stated "I'm having so much fun, I'm breaking my mic stand!" She laughed and put it away. Time to rock again! And after Control The Storm and Nothing Left it was over. Too soon. I would like to see more of Delain soon.
Finally it was time for Sonata Arctica and the fans were anxiously waiting to hear the first notes from Tony Kakko, coz due to problems with his vocal chords some shows have been cancelled... The instrumental Everything Fades To Gray was leading into the set while the band entered the stage and kicked off with Flag In The Ground from their current album The Days Of Grays. The quintet offered Paid In Full and Caleb - Tony introduced it.. "So William Shakespeare had Romeo and Juliet. And we have Caleb and Juliet." - before they returned to their recent album with The Last Amazing Grays. It seems that video / image projections are a trend these days and Sonata Arctica also used this to visually support their show, but depending on where you are in the audience you can't see them very well... More songs like As If The World Wasn't Ending and Juliet were played, but spiced up with FullMoon, Replica and some solos by Elias Viljanen and Henrik Klingenberg. During the encore they played In Black And White and Don't Say A Word, but no show without Vodka, the Sonata Arctica version of the Jewish Hava Nagila. Personally I missed My Land, but I know that quite a few were waiting for The Cage... Anyway, the Finnish-Dutch package rocked and all bands delivered a tight performance. Tony Kakko did a great job, even if it seems that he hadn't fully recovered... He didn't hit the high notes the way he usually does, but there was nothing to complain. If you haven't seen them on the current tour, try to catch them on one of the re-scheduled shows or e.g. at RockHard 2010!

Claudia Ehrhardt


- Sonata Arctica, Pagans Mind & Vanishing Point -
- Nov. 19th 2008 - Saarbrücken (D), Garage -

Vanishing Point live

Sonata Arctica live

Sonata Arctica live

Sonata Arctica live

Opener at this great event were Vanishing Point from Australia. I knew that they were great, but I never thought that they kick ass like this! Man, they spread this power around, not every band got this! Unfortunately I didn´t could crap a set list of them and Pagan's Mind (I'm sorry for this).
Ok, let's go. Their job was to fire the crowed up. And they DID! Such a love to play the music, it was awesome. You could really feel the music and their mood! They played some new songs and some old stuff, I only could remember songs as Season Of Sundays, Reason and Hollow, all from Embrace The Silence album. Sadly, they had to leave the stage very soon and they didn't play the song Two Minds, One Soul which is known as a cover version Sonata Arctica did on their Don't Say A Word EP.
Now it was time for Pagan's Mind. I never listened to that guys from Norway before, so I can't really write much about them. Their show was well done, but I didn't like their very progressive style. Of course, they are really great musicians, but somehow, it was a bit boring.
After that it was time for headliner Sonata Arctica. And they blew me away! It was much better than a year ago - and I thought, that this in 2007 was their best gig I'd ever seen!. After the intro they started with In Black And White, followed by Paid In Full and the crowed was hot! More power on stage, a power I never had seen before. They also played White Pearl, Black Oceans for the first time, Draw Me and Last Drop Falls. The set also contained their standard repertoire Full Moon, Caleb, The Cage, Vodka Song, Don't Say A Word.
Elias Viljanen did a great guitar instrumental solo and of course, We Will Rock You sing-along was played, too. After all, it was a very great concert!!!

Setlist Sonata Arctica:

In Black And White
Paid In Full
White Pearl, Black Oceans
8th Commandment
Last Drop Falls
Black Sheep
Draw Me
Full Moon
We Will Rock You
It Won't Fade
Don't Say A Word
The Cage
Vodka Song

           ©2008-2011 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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