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GAMMA RAY/ SONATA ARCTICA / VANISHING POINT
What can I say, I was really looking forward to this show as I saw and met Vanishing Point in Wacken 2000 and immediately liked their music. Though I only heard about three songs from their new album before going to this show it didn't matter. What I had heard before got a good grip of my attention.
As we got to Nosturi we had a great surprise, the line in front of the doors was one of the longest I've seen in a while. The show was sold out! Kinda hard to believe Gamma Ray is that big in such a small country like Finland.
We stopped for a while to wonder about the line and suddenly someone grips my arm. Damn ! It's Chris Porcianko of Vanishing Point ! How in the heck does he remember my face ? Well, as I've always understood the Australians are really nice people and maybe they've got a great memory as well! So we changed a few words and went inside and finally Vanishing Point came on stage and played just about every song from the album "Tangled In Dream". And the crowd really liked them ! The band seemed to be really amazed about it too, after all VP has sold such a small amount of albums here. But they really kicked ass and the show was otherwise fantastic as well. They didn't have any stage decorations, but both VP and the guys from other bands put up a great show.
In the beginning of the show the guys were singing on their knees 'cos someone had pulled a prank (?..probably...) on them and the microphone stands were really low. You have to think it was a prank, as you watched the show go on there were more fun stuff: while VP is playing SA's singer Tony comes on stage to brush his teeth holding this alien in his arms and starts rubbing it like a horny animal against Silvio's face while he is singing, then Silvio comes on stage while SA is playing only wearing a towel and a sock on his "you know" and starts shaving his beard and Tony holds the mirror for him.
VP ended their set with huge cheering from the crowd that wanted them to play more. They only played for approx 45 minutes. Vanishing Point was a nice surprise to a lot of people, though the show ended way too early.
Next came Sonata Arctica on stage. These guys are really popular in Finland and they can also play and they've got really catchy tunes. Their 45 minute setlist was: "San Sebastian", "Full Moon", "Last Drop Falls", "Destruction Preventer", "My Land", "Black Sheep", "Wolf & Raven", "I Want Out" (actually half of it), "Kingdom For A Heart" and then some specials like jamming to James Brown's music and the National Finnish Anthem "Maamme" which the crowd sang. SA had quite a show too, at least VP guys showered them with cereals and stuff and condoms were involved. You figure that one out!
I was too busy having fun (you don't get to see these guys live much), so I didn't notice that Tony didn't sing too well. I praised the show to him later on and I think he thought I was just being kind, but I didn't notice him not doing too well. But everyone has bad days, so you can't judge someone if you haven't seen other shows too.
Finally Gamma Ray's turn. And what a noise the crowd made. These guys have only been in Finland once before. Though if you were a Helloween fan in the late eighties you had a chance to see Kai Hansen in Giants Of Rock festival in Hämeenlinna. I've never listened to Gamma Ray much, though I've got three albums from them. So what I remember from the setlist was "Valley Of The Kings" which is a good song and of course it was the last song to be played and the crowd was waiting for that one too, "Land Of The Free", "Rebellion In Dreamland", "Somewhere Out In Space". During this song came the Gamma Ray "beast" on stage and wanted the stage all to itself and started singing the crowd together with Kai. And this lasted for about 10 or more minutes ! Some other songs included "Deathrone Tyranny", "New World Order", "Follow Me", "Eagle" and "Fire Below". But not "The Heart Of The Unicorn" which many fans were expecting to hear.
In the end of the show we got some good old Helloween, "Future World", where Kai stretched his voice as far as he could. Seemed like his head would blow any minute. And then "I Want Out" as the last song. I was expecting this. All the bands came on stage to do the song. Too bad Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius didn't join them 'cos he was present. He did this song when Gamma Ray was here the first time and I didn't see that. But these bands put up a helluva show. They changed their instruments, SA's Jani surprised everyone by singing really loud and long (which I heard he did a lot on the SA's tour in Japan) and everyone got crazy on stage. Imagine that huge bunch of guys on stage fooling around ! What a sight. And then the show was over. The last show of this tour. Everyone stayed up till morning saying goodbye to each other. Hopefully we'll see these guys in Finland again someday.
By Satu Reunanen,