Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Provinssirock Festival
Seinäjoki, Finland
14.6.2002 - 15.6.2002
Review By Arto Lehtinen and Marko Syrjala
Photos by Marko Syrjala

 The 1st day "Friday"
ilmakuva01b.jpgProvinssirock is definitely the longest and oldest running rock festival arranged here in Finland every year. The festival's purpose is to cover all kinds of music form from one side to the other and everything between. The bill this year appeared to be more interesting from the point of view of several metal freaks as Dream Theater, Slayer and Rammstein had been managed to get booked for the three day festival event and of course a few bearable Finnish names such as Timo Rautiainen ja Trio Niskalaukaus and 69 Eyes. But unfortunately the whole bright line of the Finnish metal bands weren't booked instead a number of disgusting rap names which can be left out of the whole article.

But before going any deeper to take a glance at bands it may be obvious to describe a little bit about the festival. When arriving at the festival area at 4 p.m it was kind of a shocking moment to see all those ridiculous rap "Limp Bizkit wanna be" kids vomiting, screaming and being drunk all over the whole town by lying on the street and in people's gardens after enjoying the wonderful weekend in the Sweden Rock festival where none of kids didn't throw up nor slept in the nearest bush with shit in their pants. Being deadly drunk and passed out in festivals definitely and unfortunately belongs to the Finnish way of having fun in the most obnoxious way anyway.

After booking our sleeping place, there is no way to get us to sleep to tents nearby all kinds of drunk jackasses, we went to the downtown of Seinajoki and to the hotel to wait for our turn to have a small chat with the Dream Theater vocalist James La Brie. But of course some wiseguy managed to steal our mini disc player as well as some other properties and we bitterly realized the interview was gone, but however this is a short abridgement from the interview:

Dream Theater has always had quite a decent followings during the last ten years and you have visited Finland quite often. Do you have any "golden" memories from Finland? For example, some years back when you played in Nummirock festival??

James LaBrie: Yeah that was Nummirock with lot's of drunken people there.. heh.. And once we played in a place called Tavastia, that was our first time here and then we came to Finland with using that huge white boat .. isn't it sailing between you country and Sweden ? .. and man … that was quite a experience also. The boat was like a huge floating hotel in the middle of the sea and most of the people were very drunk once again. It seems to be quite popular hobby here in Finland to be drunk??


Well … it depends.. next question OK? All of you have several side projects going on all the time beside Dream Theater and you're releasing albums by own also. I'm curious to know IF Dream Theater is still your priority number one for all members ?

James LaBrie: Definitely the answer is yes. DT is something special and we all are doing our best to keep it that way


What about then if for example your own solo material would start selling millions of copies, would you still find the priority ... ?

James LaBrie: Well .. yes I think so !!! (hehehe) Of course it would be nice to sell a couple of million records by my own, but Dream Theater would still be my priority.


In the beginning of this year you had a real special gig down in Spain by doing the whole legendary Master Of Puppets album live. Where the hell did you come up that kind of idea?

James LaBrie: As you may know you're not the first person who is asking about that one .. heh. Well Master Of Puppets is one of the best metal albums ever made and it is also one of the favorite albums of all of us so why not? We hardly even trained for that gig it actually just happened and it really was lot of fun...don't you think so?


Yes it was very special one I have to say.

Speaking a little bit of ex-band members of Dream Theater.. Are you still in touch of those guys and Do you follow what they are up now? For example, your former keyboard player Derek Sherinian. As fas as I know he now has teamed up with the Swedish guitar wizard Yngwie Malmsteen and he's going to play his upcoming record also?

Well actually I did knew that Derek and Yngwie thing. As you may have heard Derek wasn't the easiest of people in the world to work with and… some time after the "Falling To Infinity" tour we all knew that this it was our last tour with him. But he is definitely a great player anyway.

Maybe those two guys have something in common in personality ..

Yep. There is no doubt about it .. heh...


Do you still remember your days in WINTER ROSE?

Well of course I remember those days. Lot's of memories and hard work.


Is that true: the VoiVod manager back then introduced you to Dream Theater?

That's true. He recommended me for the guys.


Unfortunately that was all we remembered from the interview afterwards.

After enjoying a few classes of bloody cold beer it was getting about time to return to the festival area to witness the prog metal virtues in action. Dream Theater's stuff has been always kind of difficult to adopt from albums, whereas in the live situation the band is usually damn tight and the stuff is definitely an enjoyable listen. This performance made no exception to that. The band played very tightly and the vocals were clean but to be honest during some parts of this show when the band seemed to forget that they were playing in the front of more than 20.000 people there and besides the great performance they just seemed to be somewhere else and just played overlong solos for each other. The gig was mostly enjoyable show even though they didn't play "Pull Me Under" at all, which was a real shame indeed.


The set list consisted of following songs:

- Regression
- The Glass Prison
- 6:00
- Fatal Tragedy
- Surrounded
- Burning My Soul
- War Inside My Head/The Test That Stumped My All
- The Great Debate
- Home
- The Spirit Carries On
- Take The Time

We hung around the festival area for a while after the prog metal masters and for the big surprise MTV was even there doing a report of the Finnish so called rising stars.. Hmm it gotta be admitted the Swedish dj Ulrika looks…nice…

Well the climate was getting a little bit colder and the day was getting darker, it was about time to get to check out the Finnish gothic, or whatever, dismal combo The 69 Eyes. Well the band's reputation has become incredibly huge during the last few years. The whole area was entirely packed and moving to the side or back turned out to be rather impossible. The Finnish gothic rockers basically went through the set with the routine grip by having the most well known tunes like: "Gothic Girl", "Dance D'Amour" and "Brandon Lee."


The 2nd day "Saturday"
Before the kings of the whole thrash metal genre let the angel of death out from "South of Heaven", the Finnish super successful Timo Rautiainen and Trio Niskalaukaus, even though the combo ain't any known besides the Finns and a couple of thousand of Germans, got the on stage. We just arrived at the festival area just on time to witness at them in action. This Finnish singing metal combo has gained and become extremely popular during the last few years due to the "close to the ground" based lyrics describing the dismal identity, life in the cold north and the Finnish uncompromising attitude to get through even the hard rock even though the life wouldn't be the same and even some suicidal feelings. They definitely got the incredible respond from the people singing the songs by heart and damn loud and a sea of fist in the air was indescribable.


After the waiting the ass kicking set of Trio Niskalaukaus to get the bloody aggression of what god definitely hates. The thrash metal kings got on the stage by kicking the set off with the opening intro of God Hates Us All followed up by the metallic blitzkrieg through one hour causing a ballistic reaction in the audience raging in several pits. Even though Slayer definitely is the well oiled war machine with the axeman Hanneman/King, but unfortunately Araya's voice didn't appear to be in the finest shape as the man suffered from a miserable flu which effected his voice quite badly. According to rumour, their gig in Sweden had to be interrupted because the collapse of Araya's voice. But the most interesting and remarkable point of the whole gig was Dave Lombardo's working behind the drum artillery. Bloody hell, what a machine gun!!! Slayer's set was without any doubts, murderous, even though the basic tracks belonged to the mandatory routine set like South Of Heaven, War Ensemble, but due to Lombardo's joining for Born Of Fire had been added to the gig. It is obvious Slayer should consider adding other tracks to the set list, because the good old tracks have been played over 15 years, apart from a few new tunes have been added to the gig, when a new album is out. But Slayer is Slayer and once unleashed a great deal of immortal slayerized tunes for the whole festival audience.



Then after the massive thrash assault, the German pyro masters Rammstein conquered the stage. Well some of the readers may rip their pants apart about this article, but let's have a few words about them anyway. The set started with the spectacle burning heart in the hand of the Rammstein vocalist. In general the whole show was like one big of explosion because there were a couple of dozen of all kinds of explosions throughout the gig and of course huge pyro guns with which the bands kinds shot huge fire ball to each other. Of course the normal gay eroticism belonged to the huge fire show.

gay farmer suit....

These kinds of huge pyro shows are more or less suitable to big organized festivals, but the last year's gig in the Icehall in Helsinki, the whole Rammstein pyro/fire show definitely worked definitely giving more a feeling as being grilled in the front of the stage. As for the set list it featured Mutter, Buck Dich, and Rammstein.

The whole Provinssirock Festival 2002 was definitely successful in every aspect as more than 20.000 people had entered to testify the more metal oriented bill. This is only wishful thinking, but hopefully more metal names will be booked for the next upcoming festival.

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