Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

SWEDENROCK 2004

Text & Pics by Arto Lehtinen &
Marko “Hård Rocker” Syrjala

FRIDAY 11 JUNE

Pink Cream 69


It’s not easy no be a first band playing on Saturday when the time is hardly noon and it’s constantly raining but way or another PC69 made it and proved that they are a band worth checking out no matter what the circumstances are. The set started with title track “Thunderdome” from the new album and even if it wasn’t actually thundering at the moment, everybody in the audience felt that it will soon happen. But sometimes things do change and after a few more songs the weather improved. Sun started to shine and suddenly there were thousands of people seeing the Pink Cream 69 gig. The band line up has been the same since 1994 but now it has changed a little because they have added a second guitar player to their ranks. The new guy, called Uwe Reitenauer, did a good job and now they sound tighter and heavier than before. He’s not an official member of the band yet but that may change in the future. PC69 played a kind of “best of” set from “Electrified”, “Endangered”, “Thunderdome” and “Sonic Dynamite” but only a very few tracks from the early Andy Deris era were heard. Bassist Dennis Ward, guitarist Alfred Koffler, and drummer Kosta Zafiriou (who is also a current tour manager for Helloween) did a solid/good job and the “new” singer David Readman was easily one of the best vocalists here. It must be said that he truly is a way better vocalist than his predecessor… In every case this was one of the better shows here.

Thunderdome
Do You Like It Like That
Hells Gone Crazy
Lost In Illusion
Break The Silence
Talk To The Moon
Carnaby Road
- drum solo -
Seas Of Madness
One Step Into Paradise
That Was Yesterday
Here I Am
Living My Life For You
Keep Your Eye On The Twisted
Welcome The Night
Shame

 

 

Coney Hatch

Coney Hatch is one of those bands who never really made it except in their own home country Canada. So it was obvious that they were totally unknown for most of the people in the audience. Something tells me that this is their first ever gig in Europe?! Their sound was quite pleasing. Sort of like Blackfoot meets Molly Hatchett or Moxy meets Rose Tattoo - everything was in it’s properly designated place. The bass was slapped heartily, the licks flowed out smoothly, the rhythms were groovy and so on. All the musicians, especially the vocalist Carl Dixon, were very good, but it must be said that once they stopped playing there was nothing in mind left. They were a good background band for the audience to drink beer and have fun time here.

 

 

Y&T

Next came Y&T, and then the crowd really got excited. Originally Skid Row was meant to play in this slot but somehow they got cancelled at the last minute and Dave and co. came and filled in. They started with the rarely played “Open Fire” from their classic album Black Tiger and, as in the last few gigs played they treated us with a few songs from their just released album, Unearthed Vol 1 which actually is a collection of old unreleased Y&T songs from the past. They also played some more rarely played songs like “Lipstick And Leather”. As for the last year Y&T show I saw, the songs were wonderfully executed, and they got the crowd to participate well in a few of those, most notably “Meanstreak”, “Black Tiger” and Forever” from their early 80’s albums. Dave Meniketti’s singing and playing was as good as it's ever been as the band powered through what was basically the popular stuff from the bands heyday. In conclusion, this was a good show, no breaks or intervals, just 90 minutes of classic rock delivered with conviction and energy. Good stuff!

From The Moon (recorded)
Open Fire
Lipstick & Leather
Eyes Of A Stranger
Dirty Girl
Mean Streak
I'll Cry For You
25 Hours A Day
Wild If I Wanna
I Make Believe
Hurricane
Summertime Girls
Black Tiger
I Believe In You
Rescue Me
From The Moon
Forever

 

 

Opeth

During the last two years Opeth has managed to raise to another level of the success. The band’s eccentric style to combines deadly metal elements with a fusion/prog approach, continues to please thousands of metal fans around the world. But in the live situation that sort of trick may either work or then sound extremely dull. Yes Mikael Åkerfeldt’s dry and boring death grunts along with the more matured clean voice sounded more or less damn boring at least in an outdoor situation. The prog/fusion stuff presented by Opeth unfortunately sounded damn boring and uninteresting on the Sweden Stage and even the rain ruined the rest of the set. It is kinda obvious Opeth’s extreme technical style may not work out in the expected way in an outdoor situation, maybe standard indoor gigs for bands like Opeth could be more a idealistic place.

 

 

Testament

Encouraged by the success of Anthrax and Sepultura at last year’s event, the Sweden Rock organization made a great move by picking up two legendary Bay Area thrash metal combos. They are Exodus and Testament, who both came and conquered the festival with ground-shaking ass-kicking sets. Testament showed that the first strike is definitely deadly by kicking off with the opening track from their latest effort. The gig was one hell of a blitzkrieg of great Testament classics. It was obvious that Testament were one of the most anticipated bands of the festival as the audience went totally berserk. When "Over The Wall" roared out of the loudspeakers, the big Indian Chuck Billy demanded the audience to get over the security barrier. Of course a bunch of people definitely went over the wall and even someone from Testament’s own crew jumped a helluva long jump from the stage to the audience. The Swedish security guys had to of been a little surprised… The bigest surprise was experienced when the Exodus vocalist “Zetro” joined Testament and did a duet with Chuck Billy of “Burnt Offerings”. That’s was something to never forget! The whole band was in the extreme dangerous form throughout the whole gig and even the recently recruited Metal Mike (ex-Halford guitarist) fit in the band perfectly. Testament sounded massively brilliant and for some bizarre reason Testament’s stuff is excellently suited for a big outdoor festival. I can’t wait to seeing them again and damn soon. Possibly the best band in this year Swedenrock festival...?

D.N.R.
Low
Practice What You Preach
Sins Of Omission
The Haunting
Electric Crown
True Believer
3 days In Darkness
Burnt Offerings (w/Zetro)
Alone In The Dark
Into The Pit
Over The Wall
Dog Faced Gods
Disciples Of The Watch

 

 

 

UFO

There hasn’t been too much activity in UFO camp for a while. Legendary guitarist Michael Schenker had decided once again to leave the band and it took a few years until they found suitable replacement for him. After many discussions it was finally clear that Vinnie Moore is a new guitar player of UFO and as a result, they recently released a new album called YOU ARE HERE. At 9.30pm UFO hit the stage with a cracking version of “Mother Mary” from their classic album FORCE IT. Vocalist Phil Mogg was in a good mood from the off and the band sounded great! “Let It Roll” was very good, but the first real highlight was “Love To Love”. Band sounded really tight and updated there. Another highlight of the show was “Rock Bottom”. It was floored by Vinnie Moore's brilliant guitar work throughout the track. UFO finished their set with that one, and it was time to play some encores. When people are demanding encores, they are usually granted. The band's big hit “Doctor Doctor” was played first and then last came “Shoot Shoot”. The performance was very good, much better than previous gig I saw some ten years ago in Finland with classic line-up. It seems that they have become a better team now and new boys Moore and drummer Jason Bonham appeared to feel comfortable in this band.

Mother Mary
Let It Roll
When Daylight Goes To Town
I´m A Loser
This Kids
The Wild One
Fighting Man
Only You Can Rock Me
Baby Blue
Too Hot To Handle
Love To Love
Lights Out
Rock Bottom
Doctor Doctor
Shoot Shoot

 

 

Exodus


If Testament earlier showed that first strike is deadly, another Bay Area thrash pioneer sealed the festival audience with their fist by giving a real lesson in violence. The brilliant come back album titled Tempo Of The Damned was a piece of evidence of the five piece’s ability to create catchy and pure violent thrash. And yes indeed, "Scar Spangled Banner" opened the set and continued with "Deliver Us To Evil" from the classic "Bonded By Blood". In general, the balance of the set was based equally on the material of Tempo Of The Damned and Bonded By Blood and of course "Toxic Waltz", "Fabulous Disaster", and a couple of others belonged to the set list. By the way, having been to the Swedenrock festival a couple of times before, I for one have never seen any sort of raging pit going on...until now when Exodus took the stage. It was especially noticeable when Zousa encouraged and whipped the audience to go wilder making the pit turn into an insane huge raging beast from one side to another. “The H team”, Hunolt and Holt, enjoyed watching the raging audience, whereas the bassist Jack Gibson lurked a little bit in the background.

The band raged, destroyed, and left the audience lying in pieces but still wanting more. The whole thrashing set was concluded by the old AC/DC classic "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)" when a bunch of guys from various death / thrash bands like Grave and The Haunted joined with the Exodus guys on the stage. Hell yeah, Exodus’ gig was like the strike of the beast. After seeing two Bay Area bands in a row, it didn’t feel the same to enter to check out the rest of the bands of the bill as I had originally wanted.

Scar Spangled Banner
Deliver Us to Evil
Blacklist
Piranha
'Til Death Do Us Part
Shroud of Urine
Fabulous Disaster
And Then There Were None
Forward March
War is My Sheppard
Bonded by Blood
Tempo of the Damned
Toxic Waltz
Strike of the Beast
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

 

 

SCORPIONS

The last band of Friday, Scorpions, came out swinging and stayed on an intense level of energy for more than two hours – not bad for a bunch of guys mostly in their 50’s. They seemed to be really having fun on the stage; constantly joking, moving, and smiling on the stage. Scorpions have apparently reached a point of their career where they enjoy playing for the sheer pleasure of it, even if the concert hall would be half empty - but here in the front of more than 20,000 people they had no worries about that. For the fans, the song-list was kind of marvelous, substantially different from the few past tours. It showed just how deep of a repertoire bands like Scorpions have in their pocket. “New Generation” kicked it off, and the rest was a mix of old classics and surprisingly many (6!) songs from the brilliant new album “Unbreakable”. Many of us were kind of scared that this show will include plenty of mandatory ballads there but fortunately there wasn’t that many of them here. In a few words, it was eighteen songs in almost two hours of pure rock. Klaus, Rudolf, Matthias and James performed well as always but it must be mentioned that new bass player Pawel Macicoda is a great addition to this band and he has really brought some needed revitalization to the Scorpions stage presence (unlike his predecessor). Sure, Scorps look a little silly sometimes, but they still sound as good as they did back in 1984. This was one of the strongest performances in this festival overall.

New Generation
Love 'Em Or Leave 'Em
Bad Boys Running Wild
We´ll Burn The Sky
The Zoo
Deep And Dark
Coast To Coast
Love Drive
Through My Eyes
Remember The Good Times
Tease Me Please Me
Bass solo
Drum solo
Blackout
Blood Too Hot
Guitar solo (Jabs)
Big City Nights
Still Loving You
Rock You Like A Hurricane
Hit Between The Eyes
When The Smoke Is Going Down
 

Read on for SATURDAY JUNE 12