Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Sonata Arctica @ DirecTV Music Hall, São Paulo, Brazil

March 24th, 2002 – Sunday

Review By Thiago Martins

I always enjoyed going to gigs. Sometimes I hate the band that it’s playing, but it has never been what it’s about. Gigs are about charismas, emotion, magic. How a band manages to play their songs live and give them the “life” that in studio, lots of times, those songs lack of – even when sometimes the album is a classic one.

I’ve never been a HammerFall fan, but I remember seeing them live twice, and both times were really great – and probably I will see them again if I have a chance. I was expecting that Sonata Arctica would kick my ass like Edguy had done two months earlier. I have to tell it wasn’t quite like this.

The opening set was made by a Brazilian act called Delpht. Their sound wasn’t really great – way too loud, badly equalized. It was the first gig from them I’ve seen with new singer Mário Pastore (former Acid Storm and Tailgunners singer, he made the transition tracks on the William Shakespeare’s HAMLET album). The sound was so annoying (due to the adjustments) that it was almost impossible to stay in the venue. I went to get some beer, and listened to the gig from the outside, but musically the band wasn’t bad at all.

Mário Pastore is really a great singer and it seems that he has a difficult task in adapting his voice (he is a traditional metal singer) to their style (melodic power metal). But as soon as he does it, the band will get really great – maybe his vocals will be an outstanding differential. I don’t know the band very well, so I don’t know their songs (well, one song reminded me of Gamma Ray’s “Beyond the Black Hole”). They finished the set with the HAMLET’s really great song “From Hades to Earth”.

After about a 15 minute-break, Sonata Arctica hit the stage with the song “Weballergy”. The sound was really good, all the instruments were very clear, and I think they really played it perfectly. The singer Tony Kakko has a really great voice (I just feel that he can make it really better if he stops trying to hit the highest notes and give them more feel).

Other songs played were, in order, “Kingdom for a Heart”, “Sing in Silence”, “8th Commandment”, “Fullmoon”, “Last Drop Falls”, “San Sebastian”, “The End of This Chapter”, “Shy”, “Revoluted”, “Power Of One”, “Replica”, and closed the first part of the set with “My Land”. It was a set without many highlights for me. The set varied from the fast songs to ballads, most of them without a great riff – and a keyboard sound that seemed to be taken from the Atari videogames. But it was really approved by the kids there, who were really singing all the chorus’.

The band got back on stage for the encores and played the song “Wolf and Raven”, as well as the cover for Helloween’s “I Want Out” (that I really didn’t like, but it was highly approved by the crowd). The band seemed to be really enjoying the gig and many times they were shooting the crowd’s reaction.

The attendance was about 1,000 people (very good, if you consider it was a stormy Sunday – and rain in São Paulo means traffic chaos), and most part of it was really young (about 15 year old in average). Although they seemed to be tired in some parts – probably due to the problem in the air conditioning that made the venue seem like an oven – they were really having a good time.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t. I don’t remember being so bored in a gig before. Not that they weren’t good, just because in no moment of the gig I could feel some kind of “magic” or anything like that. They just played all of their songs perfectly. Judas Priest did the same way last year and I got a bit disappointed (and Judas Priest is probably my all-time favorite band).

I think this must be a gig for the ones who are really into Stratovarius and other similar power metal acts. As I’m not, I was a lot of out of place.





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