Sauna Open Air festival 2011, Tampere, Finland (June 9-11)

Friday June 10th

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Blood is thicker than anything in this world. The Cavalera brothers, Max and Igor “Iggor”, have had Cavalera Conspiracy ‘project’ going on since 2007 – and these two brothers that have achieved their stardom through the Brazilian thrashers Sepultura back in the day, seem to be even popular nowadays around the world with Cavalera Conspiracy than the current Sepultura lineup, which in many people’s opinion haven’t been any real Sepultura since the days the Cavalera brothers quit the band (Max in 1996 – and Igor 10 years later in 2006). The band has recorded 2 studio albums thus far – INFLIKTED in 2008 and BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA in 2011 that also were both well represented in the CC’s set of songs at SOA – added naturally with some mandatory Sepultura classics, of course.


From the very first moments of CC’s show, it became evident that Max loves to play in Finland. I even remember, when he was in Sepultura, how openly grateful to the Finnish fans he was for their support toward Sepultura – and the same goes for his current band, Cavalera Conspiracy. The band that besides Max and Igor, consists of Marc Rizzo on guitar and Johnny Cow on bass (also in LA-based stoner act Fireball Ministry), played a pretty darn good show altogether – Sepultura songs sort of highlighting their gig as they always tend to do for a very obvious reason. They just always seem to go down so well for the audience, kind of pumping up an extra dose of energy into the crowd and causing some nostalgic vibes in many of us as well.

There was lots of sheer brutality and catchy groove involved in the CC part of the songs that worked really well live, too. The stage sound was thick and heavy, and the chemistry in between each member in the band appeared to be somewhat seamless. I was especially happy myself to notice that the Cavalera brothers seem to have found each other since their parting of ways in the days of Sepultura. Max obviously needs his brother Igor – and vice versa. Blood is much thicker than anything indeed…

01. Warlord

02. Torture

03. Thrasher

04. Inflikted

05. Terrorize

06. Sanctuary

07. Territory (SEPULTURA cover)

08. Refuse/Resist (SEPULTURA cover)

09. Killing Inside

10. Propaganda (SEPULTURA cover)

11. Blunt Force Trauma

12. Ultra-violent

13. Bloodbrawl

14. Troops of Doom (SEPULTURA cover)

15. The Doom of All Fires

16. Dark Ark


17. Roots Bloody Roots (SEPULTURA cover)

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One of strongest candidates to win the title ‘The Best Performer of SOA 2011’ would have undoubtedly belonged to Joey Belladonna and co. Just too bad for them Judas Priest was booked for the same festival, enjoying justifiably the strongest and most ear-catching performer of the festival this year.

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In any case, Joey Belladonna and his band mates succeeded in delivering the goods in a fantastic way. The whole band was truly on fire, but then again how anyone can possibly go wrong with such Anthrax’s hit songs as “Medusa,” “A.I.R.,”, “Madhouse,” “Antisocial,” “Among the Living,” “Caught in a Mosh”, “Indians,” etc. – and even hearing “Metal Thrashing Mad” as the final encore, pretty much summed it all up what Joey Belladonna’s gig was made of: Pure dynamite!

The man himself was interacting a lot with the excited crowd, letting everyone in the mass of people to notice as well that he was very enthusiastic about this band – as well as enjoying single every moment while he himself was on stage. Joey Belladonna was like a Duracell -driven rabbit; never intended to slow down and giving his 100% effort in front of as enthusiastic crowd at least as he seemed to be through the whole performance.

The same words can be used especially for guitarist Dave King who brought a few extra aces into the show with his own very energetic and relentless individual performance. Also, what made their show even more special, was the band’s tribute to the greatly honored Ronnie James Dio. Joey and Dave did an acoustic version of Rainbow’s “Man on the Silver Mountain”, which the audience took really well. I have seen quite many Heavy Metal bands giving tribute to Ronnie both this year and last – and Belladonna’s heart-tearing version of “The Man on the Silver Mountain” was one of the best ones I’ve personally got to hear during my whole life… absolutely fantastic! Respect.

In a nutshell, Belladonna was great – and obviously according to all the very positive response they received after the well done show of theirs, I strongly doubt this was their last gig in Finland.

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DIO DISCIPLES (Park stage)


Former Dio members Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy and Scott Warren – teaming up with Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest, ex-Iced Earth and so on) and Toby Jepson (ex-Little Angels, Gun),and  to form a band called Dio Disciples, looks very darn good on paper, doesn’t it? Well, it truly does, but even better it looks and sounds live, I can tell you. As it was previously carved to the silver mountain by Ronnie’s widow and manager Wendy, there will never be another Ronnie, but it’s still important that his music will live on – from generation to the other. And that’s what this Dio Disciples is all about, too: To keep Ronnie’s music alive – and at the same time, not only showing to the whole world what Ronnie James Dio meant to them personally but also to thousands and thousands of other people as a true inspiration, mentor and true gentleman; a man who cared for what he did – and who cared for his fans. That was Ronnie James Dio all about – and undoubtedly even more even.

DD1.jpgHaving all these things in mind, when the ex-Dio guys and Tim Owens marched on the stage for the first time to perform “Stand Up and Shout”, it surely made everyone to realize why this type of bands getting formed in the first place. Call it a true uniform ideology of Metal or brotherhood of Metal or being in the same family thing or whatever, but it’s a very intimate and touching moment to hear something like this happening. Dio Disciples could not possibly bring us any closer to Ronnie James Dio as it does; of course the ex-musicians of Ronnie have a great part to do with it.

When the DD show went further, there was definitely some of the same untouchable ‘magick’ in the air that Ronnie left to his ‘disciples’ if this word can be used as a metaphor in here. The spirit of Ronnie was constantly present during the whole performance – and the atmosphere was simply unbelievable between both the band and the crowd that was also singing along to the Dio-era songs surprisingly loud and well, with a great passion. I am certain the guys in Dio Disciples felt very ‘homey’ for getting such a warm and instant support from the active audience.

Both Tim and Jepson did a great job by singing Dio songs as duet and alone – and there’s no way how someone couldn’t enjoy hearing a set like this, full of Ronnie’s some of the biggest and most liked hit stuff ever. Out of the whole pack, I think songs like “Holy Diver,” “King of Rock and Roll,” “Stargazer,” “Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll,” “Man on the Silver Mountain” and “Heaven and Hell” seemed to cause the strongest reactions amongst the sweating crowd, but then again when it comes to Dio songs, it’s like people are offered a pot of gold – just no matter what’s there included on the set list.





01. Stand Up and Shout (DIO cover; Owens on vocals)

02. Holy Diver (DIO cover; Owens on vocals)

03. Don’t Talk to Strangers (DIO cover; Owens on vocals)

04. Egypt (The Chains Are On) (DIO cover; Jepson on vocals)

05. King of Rock and Roll (DIO cover; Jepson on vocals)

06. Catch the Rainbow (RAINBOW cover; Jepson on vocals)

07. Stargazer (RAINBOW cover; Owens and Jepson on vocals)

08. Neon Knights (BLACK SABBATH cover; Owens on vocals)

09. Last in the Line (DIO cover; Owens & Jepson on vocals)

10. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (RAINBOW cover; Jepson on vocals)

11. Man on the Silver Mountain (RAINBOW cover; Owens on vocals)

12. Heaven and Hell (BLACK SABBATH cover; Owens & Jepson on vocals)

Encore 1:

13. Rainbow in the Dark (DIO cover; Owens on vocals)

Encore 2:

14. We Rock (DIO cover; Owens & Jepson on vocals)


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SAXON (Main stage)


The metal eagle has landed in Finland how many times already… cannot even remember any more how many times exactly. However, it’s the first time for Saxon to land to the SOA festival anyway – and seeing all those people in the packed crowd that had gathered around the venue, it was very clear that they knew exactly what they had come to see as the last act of that day.

For the Saxon-camp, the main focus – surprise, surprise – was mostly on the past, most classic Saxon material, added with some songs off the band’s 19th studio record in order, CALL TO ARMS. Bands that have come to this long age (for some detail-hungry people, Saxon has existed under the Saxon moniker since 1977), they usually tend to offer some nostalgia trips back to the heydays of their whole career – and this is what also Saxon does these days. We really cannot blame on them for doing so, can we?


Either way, after all the world tours and hundreds – or even preferably thousands of gigs they have done so far during their entire career, seeing a Saxon show in 2011, makes one respect and admire the band for surviving this long way – and carrying the flag for the NWOBHM concept for well over 4 decades. Saxon – among a very few other aging Heavy Metal bands, still has something in them that makes their shows worth seeing, and to experience. The feeling seeing a band like Saxon live is very different to, say, seeing Hammerfall or Stratovarius performing. No doubt it has a lot of to do with the times and bands one grew up with, but in Saxon’s case, there’s even a bit more than that, I guess. An honest sounding Heavy Metal music is still the key factor for any type of success – and there’s no question Saxon has plenty of that under their belts, just like the band’s recently released CALL TO ARMS album proves it so loud and clear.         

Saxon was in top form in Tampere, too. Whilst newer songs “Hammer of the Gods,” “Back in ’79” and “Call to Arms” still seemed to receive careful reactions from the enthusiastic audience, it was once again the guys’ well-chosen set of evergreen Saxon hit tunes that were received and greeted the best amongst the fans of the band. Vocalist Biff Byford – even if turning 60 already this January, did not show any signs of aging while being on the stage and doing his very best to provide a satisfying Saxon show for the fans. The rest of the pack – Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt on guitars, Nibbs Carter on bass and Nigel Glockler on drums, were all great as well, securely squeezing the very best effort out from themselves for their show – and basically letting the music do all talking in front of nonstop supporting Saxon maniacs.

In an old Saxon hit song “Denim and Leather”, Germany’s own ‘Metal Queen’ Doro came on the stage like straight from the bushes, and sang the song together with Biff, which provided something extra for the sun-bathing audience. After all, it was a pretty neat surprise to see her there, both Doro and Saxon enjoying each other’s company.

Friday night couldn’t have ended any better than seeing Saxon on the main stage as the last act of the night. Goodnight folks.

01. Hammer of the Gods

02. Heavy Metal Thunder

03. Never Surrender

04. Motorcycle Man

05. Back in ’79

06. Atila the Hun

07. Demon Sweeney Todd

08. Call to Arms

09. Crusader

10. Afterburner

11. Denim and Leather (with Doro Pesch; last chorus only)

12. Princess of the Night


13. 747 (Strangers in the Night)


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