Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL
JUNE 6 - 8. 2003 SÖLVEBORG, SWEDEN
Text and pics by Arto Lehtinen Marko Syrjala

 

SATURDAY JUNE 7th

Paul Di’Anno and Killers

Well the ex-Maiden singer and his backing band were the first act of the second day at Sweden Rock. The show time had been scheduled to start at 12AM and to be honest, it was quite early for both the audience and especially the band, even though they pulled the biggest attendance in front of the stage with around 4000-5000 people to bang with the old Maiden classics. The show started promisingly with the Maiden classic “Prowler” and was followed by another Maiden classic “Wrathchild.” But Di'Anno’s gig smoothly turned into some kind of “Tribute To Iron Maiden” - based set, as having 9 Maiden tunes picked up off from the first two albums for logical reasons, and only 3 from Di'Anno’s Killers’ outputs. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Paul’s voice since it’s almost as good as before, but his look: C’mon now - the man looked more like the B-class Fred Durst copycat than a guy who used to sing in Iron Maiden. The rest of the band appeared to be quite tired, obviously due to the early wake up duties because of the early gig; they were quite absent. But the whole band handled their set with a professional attitude, and even Di'Anno remembered to praise his current home country Brazil. But better show time and more Killers stuff next time, agreed?

Set list
Intro
Prowler
Wrathchild
Marshall Jokelaw
Murders In The Rue Morgue
Strange World
The Beast Arise
Killers
Faith Healer
Remember Tomorrow
Sanctuary
Phantom Of The Opera
Running Free

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Angra

The Brazilian progressive power metallers kicked off on the Rock stage at the same time as Di'Anno, which was weird as the Angra guys used to play with Di'Anno on his album “Nomad” which was recorded in Brazil and released by Encore Records. Anyway, Angra’s melodic power metal had managed to pull a nice crowd to pack the front area of the stage. The Brazilians’ skilled power metal delivery appeared to be an excellent way of spending the time by staring at them doing Acid Rain, Angels Cry, Rebirth, Carry on. Getting on the stage at noon ain’t the ideal schedule choice for any bands to kick off the power metal assault when both the audience and of course bands are a little bit stiff.

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Platitude

The proggy metal bands’ march seemed to carry on now on the smaller Spendrups stage when the Swedish Platitude started their own proggy crusade by doing tracks mostly from their debut album. The most interesting point was their damn young keyboard player and guitarist. As a matter of fact according to a statement in the Platitude bio, some of them are about 16 years old, which at least increased the curious attention toward the band’s abilities to handle the gig. Even though they didn’t blow the audience to pieces, they received a warm response. Presumably they will do betters gigs in the future for sure.

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Kamelot

More proggy power metal direct from the swampland of Florida. Kamelot is fronted by the native Norwegian Roy Khan. Putting Kamelot on the main Festival stage was a little bit weird as the band doesn’t enjoy that massive of a following, but however the front area and field was quite packed as usual by melodic power metal diggers! Despite the temperature increase, the sun was shining directly toward the main stage, but the Kamelot guys bravely wore the leather clothes, apparently it must have been damn hot indeed. Well unfortunately the vocalist was forced to face the unexpected technical problems with his wireless mic as the sounds all of a sudden disappeared a couple of times, but basically the set was quite standard for an outdoor gig as the guys were standing in their places and the vocalist Khan used to move the stage from one side to the other. Despite the boring stage movements, the set had been carried out to feature the most essential Kamelot tunes: "Center Of The Universe", "Until Kingdom Come", "The Edge Of Paradise", "The Spell" "Nights Of Arabia" ,"Fall From Grace", "Wander", "Wings Of Despair".

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Sonata Arctica

Even though two Finnish bands were missed in the beginning of the festival, Sonata Arctica were caught up in action on time on the Sweden Stage. To our Finns’s surprise, the field even to the furthest part of the field was entirely covered, and it gave the impression that the northern boys should have been justified to play on a bigger stage. But what the heck, the Finnish power metallers definitely gave a lesson of how Finnish power metal skills sink to the festival attendance and got a warm response indeed. As far as Sonata’s setlist is concerned, here is a few of them: "Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed, Exploited", "Kingdom For A Heart", "Full Moon", "Replica", "UnOpened". Compared to other power bands playing in the same sandbox in the same fest, the Finnish power heroes definitely washed them up. Of course the keyboard player deserves extra points for hilarious looking clothes, especially the stupid looking hat.

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Krokus

When these Swiss guys released their brilliant ”comeback” album, Rock The Block earlier this year, there was a lot of expectations for this first ever performance of theirs in Sweden. How were they? Absolutely brilliant. The show started with one of their biggest classics, “Long Stick Goes Boom” and the suspicious crowd was won immediately to Krokus’ side. There has been a number of various line-up changes in the Krokus history and by now the singer Marc Storace and guitarist Fernando Von Arb are only ones left from the glory days line-up. But that didn’t affect their playing or performance by any means. The setlist consisted of a great deal of old classics like “Headstrokes”, ”Bedside Radio”, ”Tokyo Nights” and “Screaming In The Night”, but only two songs from their new album and that was too little. Also they didn’t play “Headhunter” at all for some bizarre reason. Despite a few negative issues and Krokus’ performance definitely went direct to the top three chart of the best live bands on the Rock stage and in general Krokus’ liveliness was the most pleasant surprise of this year.

 

Set list
Long Stick Goes Boom
Mad World
American Woman
Fire
Bad Boys, Rag Dolls
Tokyo Nights
Down The Drain
Screaming In The Night
Stayed Awake All Night
Rock City
Rock N Roll Tonight
Easy Rocker
Backseat Rock N Roll
Heatstrokes
Rock The Block
Eat The Rich
Bedside Radio

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Peer Gunt

Peer Gunt has always been associated as Finland’s answer to the mighty Motörhead. But Motörhead washes these Gunters like old ladies, and unfortunately Peer Gunt didn’t appear to be the most appealing band on the Sweden Stage as for the rating of the attendance. Having gathered to follow the Finnish rockers in spite of a punch of drunk Finns having remembered to wake up on time to arrive to testify. The band didn’t even mind to introduce themselves neither give any kind of song titles, just saying thanks and bye when concluding their set. Yeah, thanks and bye, cunts!

 

 

Queensryche

There has been a lot of  rumors surrounding Queensryche during the last couple of months. The original guitarist Chris DeGarmo was rumored to make a welcomed comeback into the band’s rank for their European leg, which then didn’t happen. However, he was writing for a new album with his old mates but something went wrong as he refused to tour with the band after all. The new “back to roots” album titled TRIBE should be coming out in August, being their first album for their new record company (Sanctuary) in the Queensryche history, by the way. But how was this “premier” gig then? This is our personal opinions: When a band like this who has had a real influential impact on other metal bands is performing at a huge outdoor festival, they shouldn’t play any songs still previously unreleased. Queensryche failed by making that radical mistake as opening their show with a entire new track called “Open”. The crowd was utterly amazed and just quietly watched the group’s performance. Fortunately for Queensryche’s sake, things got a little bit better when “My Global Mind” from Promised Land was set off to win some reaction of the audience. But the set was getting toward the end even the audience woke up from the dormancy when the well-known classics cut the air, like “Revolution Calling”, ”Speak” and “Eyes Of The Stranger” closing the whole set. But something was missing from Queensryche’s breathless gig as it appeared like the magical touch of the band would have disappeared. The guitarist Wilton and the bassist Jackson didn’t seem to be willing to take a part of the show with the high heartiness. The whole band needs to take more self exploration before getting out to do more gigs and long tours in support of the new TRIBE album!

Set list
Open
My Global Mind
Nm 156
Screaming In Digital
I Am I
Damaged
Empire
The Needle Lies
The Right Side Of My Mind
Breakdown
Sacred Ground
Jet City Woman
Intro: I Remember Now
Anarchy X
Revolution Calling
Speak
Spreading The Disease (Inc: Electric Requiem)
The Mission
Eyes Of A Stranger

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Motörhead

Motörhead has got a special treatment at the Sweden Rock fest as they visit there almost every year. But who cares after all! The trio still kicks ass and damn hard as most of you truly know they are damn loud and an absolutely damn brilliant live band. The 2003 show was an exact replica of their last year gig by having basically the same set list and even the same comments by Lemmy between each song. When Motörhead has been testified in action for about 3 times in a row during the last two years, it would be about time for them to start considering changing the list more or less in order to get some variety to the everlasting same standard setlist. But it was a great ass kicking show from the world’s loudest band… At least some people had to get the orgastmatron…

 

Set list
We Are Motörhead
No Class
Shoot You In The Back
Civil War
God Save The Queen
Metropolis
Doctor Rock
R.A.M.O.N.E.S.
Brave New World
Over Your Shoulder
Over The Top
Damage Case
Sacrifice (Inc: Drum solo byMikkey Dee)
Orgasmatron
Going To Brazil
Killed By Death
Iron Fist
Bomber
Ace Of Spades
Overkill

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Whitesnake

This year’s co-headliner was the reunited Whitesnake. They were definitely the most expected band on Saturday. “The Coverdale Show” already started earlier in the day in the press conference where the rock star had set his own regulations for the measures of the press. Everyone had to inform the name of the media as well as the name in advice in order to have an access to the press tent. Everyone was advised to keep an approximately 3 meter distance from the interview table and no one was allowed to put a mic on the table. Besides this, a legion of the security guys kept the law and order. As for the press, Coverdale didn’t announce any big news bomb this time. But when the rest of the band, and especially Coverdale, arrived at the fest area, other bands and so-called extra people were asked to dismiss the area and weren’t allowed access there until Whitesnake had left the place. Wow, it just proved the real cock rock star has made a triumphant return to the limelight of the music business.

The present line-up of Whitesnake didn’t have any faces from earlier years. Instead, Coverdale picked fresh blood to fuel the fire of the old Whitesnake classic tunes as the newest incarnation was some kind of super group consisting of members that gained reputation in other bands - Reb Beach (ex-Winger, ex-Dokken, Alice Cooper) and Doug Aldrich (ex-Dio, Burning Rain, Lion) on guitars, Marco Mendoza (ex-Thin Lizzy, John Sykes, Ted Nugent) on bass, Tommy Aldridge (ex-Ozzy, Thin Lizzy, Black Oak Arkansas) on the drums and Timothy Drury (ex-Eagles, Bryan Adams) on keyboards.

The show was clearly Mr. Coverdale’s own solo show under the moniker of Whitesnake. Coverdale hadn’t lost any inch of his voice during the sabbatical years of his career. Being on the stage, the man’s energy was unbelievably tight by doing the standard microphone thing by swinging it all around, between his legs, having moulded/taken shape to be to be the absolute trademark of Coverdale’s stage image. Even though being at the age of 52, the cock rocker looked surprisingly young and vital and above all tried to be humble and as polite a  person as possible.

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Other than David's voice and his stage bearing, guitarist Doug Aldrich is technically one of the best guitar players right now by leaving the second guitarist Reb Beach to play in the shadow, although they shared most of the solo parts here. Judging by seeing John Sykes's performance some time ago, to be honest he wouldn't be able to fit into the reunited Whitesnake, although several fans have been asking for him.

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The drum god Tommy Aldridge as always was sensational by driving with the intense power and energy and exact flair through the whole gig that very few other drummers possess. When doing the obligatory drum solo he just threw the sticks to the audience and did the rest of the solo with his hands.

Marco Mendoza at least should be familiar with the Sweden Rock fest as visiting in the ranks of the Ted Nugent band last year and proved to be a real amazing bassist as well as a visual performer that even Coverdale succeeded in introducing him as the “World's Sexiest Man” and managed to get the biggest cheers from the huge crowd.

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The megalomaniac set was like a dream come true to the several hard rock fans because of the utter classic based list by including old classics like “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues” and “Slide It In” mixed well with the late eighties and even more commercial material like “Is This Love” and “Still Of The Night”. David also by himself sang a version of his Deep Purple days hit “Soldier Of Fortune”. But there wasn’t any songs from Slip Of the Tongue or newer albums which was a little disappointment. Another slight disappointment was the running time, lasting one hour and twenty minutes with encores and guitar, bass and a drum solo. However, it was a magnificent show. Some people left with the tears in their eyes. Things just get better with age.

Set list
Intro
Bad Boys
Slide It In
Slow An´ Easy
Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues
Love Ain´t No Stranger
Is This Love
Crying In The Rain
Ain´t No Love In The Heart Of The City
Fool For Your Loving
Give Me All Your Love
Here I Go Again
Soldier Of Fortune
Still Of The Night
Outro: We Wish You Well

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Read on....
Sunday, June 8th, 2003