Halloween, Rage & C.O.P. U.K. in Logomo, Turku, Finland 13 February 2016
International metal bands playing live in the Turku area isn’t something that happens every month. There’s an underground extreme metal scene here which is a bit more lively, but for the more melodic metal/rock gigs one usually has to travel to Helsinki. Even when an international band plays a few gigs in Finland, Turku is hardly ever in the schedule, despite being one of the biggest cities.
Now that Sunborn Live chose to organize this gig, I purchased tickets quite soon and hoped that a lot of people did the same thing. There’s always the risk of the gig being cancelled if the pre-sales are slow. Well, this time the show went on, and the turnout was pretty good.
When C.O.P. UK - That’s Crimes Of Passion but they prefer the short version these days - was about to start, most people were still on their way. Maybe because of that the band started twenty minutes late… They impressed me right from the start though, kicking off with a couple of songs from their new album ”No Place For Heaven”. ”The Core” and ”Catch Me If You Can” were both excellent melodic, hook-laden tracks and the band’s latest album went straight to the shopping list.
The band put on a good show, with vocalist Dale Radcliffe and bassist Scott Jordan being the most lively performers on stage. A special mention must go to the ”new boy” Henning Wenner on keyboards, who wasn’t running around the stage obviously, but still managed to stay ”in the spotlight” and was almost like the second frontman of the band. The ex-Jaded Heart keyboard player sang a lot of the background vocals too.
Unfortunately the band suffered a little of the worst sound of the day. It sounded like somebody turned up the volume half way through and the clear sound of the first couple of tracks became distorted and ear-splitting.
After the C.O.P. set we went to buy the CD and get a drink. The band would have been at the merch stand later, but we didn’t have time to meet them as RAGE started surprisingly soon. I was sure the schedule would be messed up because of C.O.P. starting late, but the stage was set for Rage in mere minutes.
I must say that I’ve probably owned one Rage album in my lifetime, and didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t expecting much from them, maybe a set of meat & potato metal with thrash elements. I hoped that they’d play ”Don’t Fear The Winter”, the only song I remembered from them. Well, I was very positively surprised - the band played a fine set which included the ”Winter” song, but also a few other songs which sounded even better. They were far more melodic than I had thought, and despite of being only a trio, they sounded rather ”full”.
Rage 2016 has only one original member, vocalist/bassist Peavy Wagner. The guitarists and drummers have changed a few times, and the current band members joined last year. Both Marcos Rodriguez (guitar, vocals) and Vassilios "Lucky" Maniatopoulos (drums, vocals) are long-time Rage fans living their dream playing in the favourite band, and somehow you could tell that. They simply looked very happy on stage, as did Peavy.
Rage were almost as popular as the headliners, people were singing along and spontaneously chanting between the songs. The catchy ”Higher Than the Sky” was a definite highlight, including a lot of crowd participation and the band playing snippets of ”Sweet Home Alabama” and ”Holy Diver”. The latter snippet was sung by guitarist Marco, who did an excellent Ronnie James Dio impression.
HELLOWEEN then… The last time we saw them was actually on this same ”My God-Given Right” tour last summer. They played at the South Park festival and it was a short festival set, but now they were headlining and gave us our money’s worth.
To this day, the band has released 15 albums (compilations etc. excluded), so they have a lot of material to choose from. Not every band can throw in two of their big hits to kick off their set, but Halloween can and so the 80’ies classics ”Eagle Fly Free” and ”Dr. Stein” start the party. The title track of their latest album follows, and the crowd gets their first chance to sing along with Andi Deris and the band. Andi’s voice is in great shape by the way, he hits the high notes effortlessly. The other members of the band are enjoying being on stage, especially bassist Markus Grosskopf is constantly smiling or pulling faces. The stone-faced guitarist Michael Weikath isn't quite as cheerful but he still puts effort into the performance. His young co-worker Sascha Gerstainer seems comfortable in his role as the band's leading axe hero, while drummer Dani Löble sits on his throne, surrounded by drums, drums and more drums.
Most of the set features songs from the Deris-era Halloween albums. ”Lost In America” from the latest album is one of the most popular songs, while the ballad ”Forever And One” probably made some grown men feel like they had something in their eye…
The classic ”Keeper Of The Seven Keys” are revisited during the medley which includes parts of the band’s two ”epics” ”Halloween” and ”Keeper Of The Seven Keys”. Between these Big Songs the band play ”Sole Survivor”, ”I Can” and ”Are You Metal” in the medley format.
”Before The War” starts the encores, followed by Sascha Gerstner’s short solo. When he moves smoothly from the widdly-widdling to the instantly recognizable ”Future World” intro, the crowd naturally goes wild. I believe it’s the song that introduced many of us ”old geezers” to the band. At least it was the first Halloween song I heard back in 1987.
A classic track can only be followed with another classic, possibly the biggest Hello-hit of all time: ”I Want Out” might be almost 30 years old, but the message is still loud and clear. We all want out of the rat race every now and then, right?
This was our first visit to a concert in Logomo, and we really liked the place. We’ve been to see a Metal musical and a Circus of Horrors show there, but not any gigs yet. The versatile place can be transformed from a theater to a big rock club-like place easily and bands can bring quite a big show there. Very impressive!
I don’t know whether the gig was sold-out, but it looked quite packed during Helloween’s set. One could come down to the floor area even if one had a ticket to the seated balcony. Another cool thing was that even though there was alcohol served, there was no age limit to the seated balcony. That’s the way to go, why should the young ones to be denied to enjoy the magic of live music?
Review by Kimmo Toivonen, photos by Mira Suutari-Toivonen