It?s been something like thirteen years since I last saw Sebastian playing live in Finland with his old buddies Skid Row. I therefore had a lot of expectations for this gig. Sebastian and the boys opened with ?Slave To The Grind? and followed it up with ?Big Guns?, which, for lack of better term, was simply amazing. A vast portion of their set consisted of tunes from first two Skid Row albums and I think they made the right decision. The rest of the song selection was a mixture of songs from third Skid Row album subHUMAN RACE, and some from Bach?s solo debyt BRING EM’ BACK ALIVE. They also played a significant amount of tunes from their still unreleased new album, in including ?American Metal Head? and ?Take You Down With Me?. I don’t think their new material is the same calibre as the old stuff but it sounded very heavy and promising. A surprise performer called Sofia, who is a young Swedish singer/songwriter who did a cover version of Skid Row?s ?Wasted Time?, came on stage and sang it together with Sebastian. That worked out quite well. Sebastian Bach’s voice was great as ever (I guess all that singing in musicals is paying off) and he hit the high notes whenever he wanted and was in perfect control. It is rare to see a band with a "screaming" vocalist match the screaming done in the studio during a live performance. It was also strange to see Metal Mike (Testament, Halford) playing in Seb?s band but he really did a fine job on the guitar. Actually this was his third performance in last three years in Swedenrock festival. The rest of the band (Bobby Jaromzek, Steve Di?Giorgio, Johnny Chromatic) was really solid and on the mark. Some of the more "mellow" songs were performed more harshly but it was still sounding great. Overall this was one of the best and strongest performances in this year festival!
Slave To The Grind
American Metal Head
Piece of Me
Rock and Roll
Here I Am
Livin on a Chain Gang
18 and Life
I Remember You
Take you down with me
Youth Gone Wild
How many of you still remember Face Down from the late 90?s ?! Probably not that many. When former The Haunted screamer Marco Aro happens to be the frontman of the reformed Face Down, then some of many may have some bells ringing somewhere. Well by accident I happened to cross by the Spendrups stage when seeing the FaceDown banner hanging on the background which caught my attention for sure. Ok, I haven?t checked the old Face Down albums for a damn long time and had a kinda complicated task to follow a songlist. Face Down suffered from real poor sound problems especially in the early stage of the set when the sounds were utterly awful and Aro?s voice disappeared. FaceDown with Aro?s hyper active stage perfomance in front of a handful of people watching them wasn?t that convincing yet and obviously Face Down will be doing a few, carefully selected shows in the future.
Yngwie Malmsteen is a living legend. That?s a fact which can?t be denied. Recollect all the albums and bands he?s been involved with and remember how important an exemple he is for thousands of guitarists and players all around the world, a legend. Yngwie has just released his new UNLEASH THE FURY which still to date hasn?t been released here in Europe but it is already out in Japan and some other countries. There has been a lot of positive talk about Yngwie towards the release of this album. It?s been said that Yngwie has done his best album in years, he has lost a lot of weight and most importantly he?s not drinking anymore. That sounds promising and after seeing him doing press the conference before the show it can be said that at least latter two claims appeared to be true.
The show itself started with ?Rising Force?, which is the opening track of the 1988 classic ODYSSEY album and another gem, ?Never Die? from SEVENTH SIGN, followed immediately. Yngwie?s playing was amazing and he was constantly running across the stage like a maniac, doing all the moves and funny expressions which are his trademarks. ?Masquerade? and ?Don?t Let It End? came next, everything was still fine, but suddenly something happened and the rest of the show turned out to be more or less boring!?
Yngwie started to play his first proper guitar solo just after first four songs and it was really long. Many people were leaving from the audience during that ten minute solo…and when next track was another instrumental, called ?Far Beyond The Sun?, the mass invasions towards to the beer tents started. The rest of the gig was a mix of new songs, even more guitar solos, a drum solo, a keyboard solo, and in the end a few classic tracks like ?Yu Don?t Remember (I?ll Never Forget)? and set closer ?Black Star?. Lead singer Doogie White, who once has been a member of legendary Rainbow, is now taking care of vocals of Yngwie?s band. He?s definitely one of the best vocalists in hard rock today but I felt that this band is not necessary the best possible place for him to sing. He?s capable of doing much more, which can be heard on Rainbow?s ?Stranger In Us All? or in his other band, Cornerstone, on any album. There?s no doubt that was great on stage but still it was clear that something was missing or maybe he just got bored when we was waiting his turn to sing between all that soloing? The rest of the band: bassist Mike Cervino, drummer Patrick Johansson and keyboardist Joakin Svalberg stayed in the background all the time and there isn?t too much to tell about them except they did a good job as professional musicians usually do. So, in spite of Yngwie?s solid and technically superb performance and Doogie?s good vocals it must be said that this show was a kind of dull.
Don`t Let It End
Far Beyond The Sun
I Am A Viking
Baroque & Roll
Guitar Solo (inc Trilogy & Red House
Key Board Solo
You Don`t Remember, I`ll Never Forget (Inc Demons Eye – Deep Purple)
Unfortunately I missed most of the Blackfoot set because I was doing an interview when they played but what I managed to see and hear sounded pretty decent and solid. Original members bassist Greg T. Walker and guitarist Charlie Hargrett along with onetime Blackfoot guitarist Bobby Barth now on vocals/guitar and brand new drummer Christoph Ullmann did a great job. Although Bobby did good vocals I still missed the original voice of Ricky Medlocke who unfortunately didn?t made his way to back in Blackfoot because of his commitments with Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Sadly the original drummer Jackson Spires died just a few months ago after having a serious cerebral hemorrhage. ?Highway Song? was played for his memory and it was a very memorable moment for everyone in stage and in the audience.
I Got A Line On You
Every Man Should Know (Queenie)
Left Turn On A Red Light
On The Run
Rollin’ And Tumblin’
Before getting on the stage to bewitch the massive crowd, the Swedish doom pentad held a general press conference by telling most of it in their own mother language for obvious reasons. Mainly Messiah Marcolin and Leif Edling gave all the answers, expect guitarists Mats Bjorkman and Lasse Johansson got their own chances to answer to a few questions whereas drummer Jan Lindh was quite silent. Of course they had to clarify their eccentric way to split up, caused by a little email crisis and of course Leif unveiled the new DVD. The DVD was shot back in 2003 on the Trouble gig in Stockholm and will be seeing the light of day sooner or later. The most interesting part of the whole press conference was news that four new songs have been composed and the next doom opus by Candlemass can be expected to be out within the next year? Hell Yeah !!!!!!! It ain?t any wonder or any kind of surprise there was a huge crowd waiting for Candlemass in front of the main festival stage as the band?s excellent self titled comeback album is one hell of a doom masterpiece in every epicus, doomicus and metallicus inch. The stage had been decorated with huge white crosses and the typical trademark of the Candlemass skull logo was hanging on the background. The 90min set was kicked off by "Black Dwarf" off from the new album and in general the whole set of Candlemass was nothing but epic doom metal at its best. The band haven?t lost their magical live touch by any means. Instead, the band knew exactly how to make the doom heavy metal sound absolutly perfect. Messiah was once again in his own element by taking the audience and doing the well-known doomdance. The set was an equal excellent dissection of the band?s material through their long career. Plenty of old songs from the 80?s showed a magficicent part of the list such as "Mirror-Mirror", "Bearer Of Pain", "Under The Oak", "At The Gallows End" without ignoring the stuff from the new album such as "Seven Silver Keys" and "Copernicus".
Candlemass was in a damn good strike indeed. Any doom metal fans will not be disappointed by a Candlemass gig for sure? You Are Bewitched!
Under The Oak
Assassin Of The Light
At The Gallows End
Seven Silver Keys
Bearer of Pain
A Sorcerer’s Pledge
Intro: Marche Funebre
The Well of Souls
Dark Are the Veils of Death
Ronnie James Dio is like fine wine, getting older, but getting better and better. Dio has been blessed with a real godsend in his life; the voice. Several musicians at the same age usually loose their own magic touches to playing the music or keeping their voice in a good shape. But in Dio?s case, the man being at the 64 (or something close) gets on the stage and gives 100% of himself and still manages to reach the upper register without having any sort of problems. Secondly, the audience usually fell on their knees when the most well-known hymns roar out of the speakers.
Having witnessed Dio on the stage for about a dozen times, the construction of his set is basically the same; plenty of songs from the first two albums and a few other ones and of course the mandatory ever greens from his Black Sabbath/Rainbow era and mandatory drum and guitar solos giving some time for others to get some air. His gig at Swedenrock didn?t make any unexpected changes as there were a great deal of old classic ones from the mighty Holy Diver.
When Ronnie James Dio got the stage, the whole large field between two main stages was entirely packed such that moving forward or aside became impossible. Where the hell did all these people come from all of a sudden, or is Dio so damn popular in Sweden that we Finns don?t just realize? But what the heck, Dio was great as usual, at least that we Finns understood that damn well.
Killing The Dragon
Stand Up And Shout
Straight Through The Heart
Don`t Talk To Starngers
Man On the Silver Mountain
Long Live Rock n` Roll
Gates Of Babylon
Heaven & Hell
Rainbow In The Dark
Another band I wanted to see but I was doing interview and I hardly saw a couple of last songs when they were finishing their set. There are too many good bands playing on the same time and when you?re doing something ?extra? like an interview you will miss even more. Statetrooper is a British band leaded by ex-MSG singer Gary Barden who did a bunch of classic albums with Mr.Schenker in the early nineties. He formed Statetrooper after he parted ways with Michael in 1985. The band did one album and they did some successful touring across the world before they split up in 1987. Surprisingly the band reunited in 2004 and they recently released a brand new album called THE CALLING. Well, I only saw the two last tracks or something in the end but I must say that band sounded really good. Gary is one of my favourite singers of all time and he still has the voice like he had in the early days. The version they did of MSG classic ?Armed And Ready? was simply amazing!
The circus has arrived at the town as it is said… At least damn hilarious circus rules had arrived and been glued on the wall of the press tent causing a little bit amusing feeling amongst the press people. Apparently Motley Crue is a such huge name on the market at the moment that they can set out all kinds of hilarious rules for various festivals. No one was allowed to take any pics during the press conferance and no one was allowed to stand, just sitting. Even though these LA rockers think of being such huge stars, at least they still happen to realize being on time in the press conference would be a damn good idea as there wasn’t that big delay in the schedule. When the Motleys arrived everyone cheered them with huge applauses and mostly Tommy Lee in the wake of Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil answered the questions of all kinds whereas Mick Mars did say a couple of words during the whole massive 15 minute long press conference. As for Mick Mars in general, the man looked like a white pale zombie dressed in black clothes and kept wearing sun glasses. Whenever he said something and moved some part of his bone-dry corpse, he received huge cheering in the press tent! The band insisted, as typical as possible, there is no feud or other fights in the band and everything works perfectly – Yeah right – Well trained answers indeed. The press conference didn’t bring or cause any sensation by any manners, instead seeing the LA bad boys so close was a event that people will remember for a long time… Time to go to see these heroes on the stage who have been a part of several scandals and all kinds of other hassles… Shout At The Devil…..
Before the actual show started there was a lot of smoke and colourful lights on stage. There was a dwarf with clown makeup running across on the stage and also there were the girls. Girls dressed sexy, of course, as possible with whips and black leather? Soon after the intro tape ran over Motley Crue jumped on stage and Mick Mars started to play the opening riff of the legendary ?Shout At The Devil?. The crowd went totally nuts when they finally saw their heroes playing live. More classics followed. Rarely played ?Too Fast For Love?, ?Ten Seconds To Love? and ?Red Hot? proceed what ?Shout At The Devil? started and everybody was having a good time.
Tommy Lee, who for some strange reason used a white ?Crown? mask on his face, played like a maniac. Despite all malicious talk he really seemed to enjoy playing drums in the Crue again. He did a great job as a pianist when he played the intro for ?Home Sweet Home? and during ?Same Old Situation? he hardly had patient to stay in his stool. So eager he was to be there. It was also hilarious when Tommy walked in the front of stage with a video camera on his shoulder and then asked all the beautiful Swedish ladies to show him what they have under their skirts. Lot?s of volunteers were reported and their ?stuff? was presented via screen for the festival audience. Nikki Sixx was really doing fine as usual and he also enjoyed being on stage again with his old buddies. He still looks the same as he did some fifteen years ago, great! Vince Neil was as good (or bad…depending on your opinion) as he has always been. He?s still a hell of a kind of front man, it can?t be denied, but as a vocalist he certainly had some problems with high notes and he also forgot some lyrics every now and then. But Vince is Vince and it?s great that he finally managed to get his life in order and he?s back where he belongs. The biggest salute and cheers still go to Mr. Mick Mars who did an unbelievable job!!! Actually, it?s more than great that he managed to do this reunion thing and tour when everybody knows how his state of health is. He didn?t just play, he shined on stage. It?s strange how this guy who looked like the living dead in the press conference just a few hours earlier now moved on stage, did backing vocals and played like a demon. Definitely Mick is the man of the year at Swedenrock!
It?s really hard to get bored when a band has so many good songs in their pocket. The whole set was equal hit fireworks and show was looking really good. Lot?s of girls, bombs, flames, smoke and some nice theatrics like the one before ?Primal Scream?, when Nikki was having ?electric shocks? and loads of sparks over his body and head. If I have to say at least something negative it might be a one song in the list. Was it necessary to play and close the set with ?Anarchy In The U.K?? There have been rumours about Crue playing here at least on last four years, so this was really something special and it was great when it finally came true. This was definitely worth to wait!!!
Shout At The Devil
Too Fast For Love
Ten Seconds To Love
Looks That Kill
Louder Than Hell
Girls, Girls, Girls
Don`t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Home Sweet Home
Same Ol Situation
Sick Love Song
Kickstart My Heart
Anarchy In The UK
Now it would be a good place and time to express both thanks and and of course share a little bit criticism seen from our point of view as well in order to conclude the article.
As already complained, the price in the article of the last year?s article which was still the same 150 Euros. Well of course the price is far too much, but to be realistic and honest getting real magnificent and special names booked for the festival it costs a lot. It is more than clear that some Motley Crue with their own massive crew wouldn?t move any single inch without getting a good payment and besides having the needed security issues or many other things cost as well. But however the festival was sold out a long time before the festival started. This only proves the brand and fame of the Swederock festival is known well and valued amongst the metal public indeed.
Once again security issues had been taken to another maximun level this year. There are no exact reasons why, but we believe the staff of Motley Crue had set and demanded several security things to the festival in order to guarantee the essential peace and safety for these LA bad boys. Of course it was fun to follow aside how all kinds of extra security walls were built rapidly and covered that no-one could take any pics of the LA bad boys. It is odd the staff of Swedenrock didn?t learn anything from the show of Twisted Sister back in 2003 when there was a huge pressure in the frontline and people fainted and security people tried to pull them out of the pressure. The same thing happened this year again when the Motleys hit the stage. Another odd thing was that Sebastian Bach was even allowed to enter the photopit to follow the Motleys even there was real chaos and mayhem going on all the time. But however he was asked to leave the pit quite quickly.
Fortunately we didn?t manage to run across any kinds of problems this year and especially we are thrilled to have some more reasonable pics than last year. Thanks to the Swedenrock staff for giving a photopass to us!!!!
The whole festival was like before damn well organized in every aspect. Everything worked well timed without any problems. As usual the whole festival was damn success in every aspect in terms of huge crowds, app 22000 visitors each day. It is sure these 22.000 visitors are eager to enter the festival again in 2006.. Adj? !!