Tuuri is located basically in the middle of nowhere, a few hundred kilometres from Helsinki and most other major cities in Finland. Still, the "village shop" of Tuuri is the biggest tourist attraction of the country, not to mention the second biggest deparment store, with sales of approx. 135 million Euros last year. During the ten years he's been leading the company, The "shopkeeper" Vesa Keskinen has not only made the sales go through the roof, but he has also created a series of highly successful events with the theme of "miljoona (=million)" in them. Miljoona Rock is the latest one, and it proved to be a success as well.

The first act that was confirmed for this event was the headliner, the legendary german hard rock band SCORPIONS. As the rumours leaked out, people seemed to be puzzled - what, why, where?!? Well, the festival was held at the construction site of the latest "village shop" extension, a massive store/warehouse building, and apparently this festival was a late birthday party for Mr. Keskinen...

The festival expanded to a two-day event a couple of months prior to the scheduled date. We were only there for the second day, as the line-up of the first day didn't include anyone we would have liked to see. The line-up of Saturday consisted of five acts, four domestic bands and of course the mighty Scorps. The opening act was Pizza Enrico, an embarassingly bad humour/dance pop "group" who were a totally weird inclusion to the line-up - wasn't there any actual rock acts available, huh? The actual "rock festival" was really kicked off by Maija Vilkkumaa, a very popular female pop-rocker whose energetic, hit-packed show got the crowd jumping and singing along.

The first big gig of Jani Wickholm, the first runner-up of the Finnish Idols competition was something we were rather interested in checking out. It proved to be a rather dull event, mainly because most of his set was covers, and not very interesting ones...of course that's just our opinion, the crowd did seem to enjoy. The opener was a very heavy and cool version of "Joutsenlaulu", an eighties' classic originally recorded by Finnish band YÖ, but after that the intensity of the set was gone for good...the few songs from his soon to be released first album weren't too exciting either, standard pop tailormade for Finnish mainstream radio.

Then it was time for the main attraction, and I headed to the media area to get my photo permit. "One song and then you're out of there" we were told, and to add salt to our wounds, the use of flash was prohibited. The only bearable results of this are on the right side of this page...

The band was in great shape, with all of the members running around the stage (well, drummer James Kottak didn't run around that much, understandably :)). They may have been around for a while, but they look almost as young as 20 years ago - Rudolf Schenker looks even younger than that, with his "trendy" goggles and hairdo...

The set consisted of classics and new stuff, with a surprisingly large number of tracks from "Unbreakable" - they played about half of the new album. A brave choice, since it meant that some of the old classics had to be left out - no "No-One Like You" or "Rhythm Of Love" for instance. In fact, apart from two tracks off "Crazy World", everything from the late eighties or nineties were ignored! We also thought that the two solo sections were rather unnecessary, Kottak's drum solo was somewhat entertaining but Jabs' solo was quite dull. Two extra tracks instead of these solos would have been most welcomed...

The big hit ballads "Still Loving You" and "Wind Of Change" were saved till encores, and needless to say that they were very well recieved. Klaus didn't have to sing too much during those two songs, as the audience gladly took care of that!


New generation
Love'em or leave'em
Bad boys runnin wild
The Zoo
We will burn the sky
Deep and dark
Coast to coast
Through my eyes
Remember the good times
Tease me please me
Drum solo, James Kottak
Blood too hot
Guitar solo, Matthias Jabs
Big city nights

Still loving you
Wind of change
Rock you like a hurricane
When the smoke is going down

Interestingly enough, the Scorps weren't the last act of the evening, as they were followed by Finnish veteran rockers Popeda. We had a long drive ahead of us so we (and quite a few others) didn't stick around for them, but apparently they performed a very good, "greatest-hits" type of a set. The evening was ended with an impressive display of fireworks.

All in all the first Miljoona Rock was a good experience, although there were some problems regarding the communication between the organizers and the staff. Nobody really seemed to know where the media was supposed to leave their cars, and some of the media folks, me included, got into trouble when entering the festival area with our cameras - despite the fact that we had photo passes. Still, these kind of details can be easily sorted out next year, if there's another festival to be held...nothing has been confirmed, but the name BON JOVI has been mentioned!

Photos and review by Kimmo Toivonen
Assistance by Mira Suutari-Toivonen
(c)2004 RockUnited.Com

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