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

Saturday June 11th 

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ACCEPT (Main stage)


Accept is going strong again. These German veterans’ 12th studio album, titled BLOOD OF THE NATIONS, was a true chart breaker in many countries in 2010, and could be considered Accept’s comeback album in many ways, too. Since the band’s previous album, PREDATOR that still featured one of the true key members of the Accept line up, Udo Dirkschneider on vocals, the band has been sort of on/off state for years. In May 2009 the band regrouped in a permanent basis, and at the same time, introduced Mark Tornillo (ex-TT Quick) on vocals. After recording BLOOD OF THE NATIONS, it’s been uphill for Accept’s sort of ‘new coming’, the band crisscrossing actively around the whole world, doing gigs and basically letting everyone know: “Hey, we are still alive and doing great!” Within one year or so, Accept has also made three separate visits to Finland – and their 3rd visit hit Sauna Open Air festival, which was also the first time for the band to play at.

Accept3.jpgAlso this time, Accept performed without Herman Frank as a 4-piece, Herman still being and recovering in a hospital after injuring himself on a gig in San Antonio in the beginning of May. Therefore one roadie was covering him on the background of the stage in a couple of Accept songs off their latest BLOOD OF THE NATIONS album with some necessary guitar parts that needed to have 2 guitars.

The show logically opened with “Teutonic Terror” and “Bucketful of Hate” off the band’s highly acclaimed BLOOD OF THE NATIONS record. The band’s sound was tight and it looked like the guys had also taken their time in sharpening up their stage movements, which overall had a nice effect on the band’s performance. Then it was time for Accept to really blow the bank high to the sky as the Accept classics “Breaker” and “Metal Heart” followed next. Vocalist Mark Tornillo did a lot of justice to these aforementioned old Accept songs, making me think they possibly wouldn’t have found any better replacement for Udo than Mark. Mark was just an amazing performer – and most of all, a great vocalist that certainly knows what it takes from him to front a legendary band like Accept.

Accept skipped their 4 last studio albums totally (excluding BLOOD… of course), and concentrated on churning out old and most known classics from the old times up to their 1986 “Russian Roulette” album, which under festival circumstances was understandable. The band’s 11-song set was basically well put together, containing a nice set of Accept songs that did not leave much for anyone to be hoped for. Accept truly delivered at SOA big time – and hopefully we can enjoy them live as much in the coming years as we did enjoy them on Saturday, 11th of May.  


01. Teutonic Terror

02. Bucketful of Hate

03. Breaker

04. Metal Heart

05. Losers and Winners

06. Princess of the Dawn

07. Aiming High

08. Up to the Limit

09. Fast as a Shark

10. Pandemic


11. Balls to the Wall


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JUDAS PRIEST (Main stage)


There’s just not a slightest doubt about that Judas Priest were the most anticipated headliner act to close Sauna Open Air 2011 festival in Tampere, Finland. The band’s 3rd show on their European leg of the “Epitaph” tour proved the whole band was fully ready to play – as it’s been said, “supposedly” their very last show ever on the Finnish soil, to be remembered and cherished for many years to come among the fans of the band.

Right before when the tour got started, it was sadly announced that one of the carrying forces of the band, guitarist K.K. Downing pulled out from the band’s last “Epitaph” tour, leaving no other choice for the band but find a replacement for him. Richie Faulkner, this 31-year-old guitarist that had already participated with Priest on the American Idol on May 25th, proved to be the right man for the job, earning his spurs in such bands as Dirty Deeds, Voodoo Six, Ace Mafia and Lauren Harris prior to joining Judas Priest. To be honest with all of you, the absence of K.K. Downing did not have much of effect on anything how great the band performed on stage. Richie even looked a bit like K.K. with his blond hair and sunglasses, delivering his goods just a fantastic way.


The set list that was partly chosen by the fans of Judas Priest, consisting of 21 songs in total from the band’s entire career recording-wise – from the most part of it, was a well-chosen nostalgia trip back to the band’s early times. Especially hearing such evergreen Priest classics as “Rapid Fire,” “Metal Gods,”  “Starbreaker,”  “Victim of Changes,”  “Beyond the Realms of Death,”  “The Sentinel” and a couple of other Judas Priest tunes, made good company to every Priest diggers amongst the audience if people’s immediate reactions were anything to go by.


Rob “The Metal God” Halford was in a good shape with his vocals, and he almost literally screamed his lungs out whenever he needed to reach some of those highest registers with his voice. He was still capable of screaming high notes – yes, but especially in “Painkiller” Rob came close to his limits whether he can still do the song properly enough or not, sounding a bit like someone tried to squeeze the last breath out of him. Apart from Rob’s slight troubles using the whole scale of his voice 100% effectively, his performance has just lotsa sheer charisma that simply outweighs some of those minor shortcomings that have occasionally appeared in Rob’s stage performance when aging proudly with the band. The man’s stage being is still huge, speaking alone for what Judas Priest would never have been without – just no matter who would have tried to replace him when Rob wanted to pursue his own solo career both in Fight and Halford for a remarkable period of his artist career.

Then again, without either guitarist Glen Tipton or bassist Ian Hill, Judas Priest could never be Judas Priest, keeping in mind Ian Hill was one of the very first guys to join Judas Priest back in the day how we – the fans, have always seen and acknowledged this very important and vital, originally Birmingham-based British Heavy Metal group. Both of these two gentlemen – even if also aged well over the years, have some unwritten, sparkling charm to them that only a handful musicians have in the same amounts these days. Seeing them performing all these classic Priest songs together with Rob, Richie and drummer Scott Travis (who always seems to be in a very good fit) – one after another, made us silently wish the band’s actual farewell tour still wouldn’t be their final goodbye for doing gigs.

I guess most of us refused to think we actually saw them for the very last time – seeing clearly how strong yet hugely entertaining show the Priest-camp can pull off, leaving their audience totally stoked by them. If this was meant to be Judas Priest’s absolutely very final show in Finland (unlike Kiss’ many reunion tours), then I – among 11, 000 other people that had arrived to witness it at Sauna Open festival, can only say at last: “Thank you Judas Priest for all these past years, bringing your fantastic live shows full of uncompromising British Heavy Metal steel to us all around the world.”

01. Battle Hymn (Intro)

02. Rapid Fire

03 Metal Gods

04. Heading Out to the Highway

05. Judas Rising

06. Starbreaker

07. Victim of Changes

08. Never Satisfied

09. Diamonds & Rust

(Joan Baez cover; first four strophes acoustic)

10. Dawn of Creation

11. Prophecy

12. Night Crawler

13. Turbo Lover

14. Beyond the Realms of Death

15. The Sentinel

16. Blood Red Skies

17. The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)

(Fleetwood Mac cover)

18. Breaking the Law

19. Painkiller

Encore 1:

20. The Hellion / Electric Eye

Encore 2:

21. Hell Bent for Leather

Encore 3:

22. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’









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