Sauna Open Air Festival 2011, 9th-11th June Tampere, Finland
Review by Luxi Lahtinen, live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen & Terhi Pihlaja
The 8th Sauna Open Air festival was celebrated in a very sunny and warm weather, unlike in some other years – and this year the festival also broke their own record, welcoming as many as 26,000 people within the three days.
The SOA festival has truly found an important place among the other Finnish summer festivals, concentrating mostly on old-school Heavy/Thrash Metal and Hard Rock bands – and turning the festival around for the past 3-4 years or so, by booking many internationally big names for the three-day Metal feasts; from Kiss to Megadeth to Dio to Whitesnake to Scorpions to Type O Negatíve – and the list goes on.
This year, the festival organizers had very special grins – wider than ever before, spread all over their faces – and for some very good reasons. Two of the biggest headliners, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest, arrived at SOA for the first time, with bands like Saxon, Accept, Doro, Cavalera Conspiracy, Joey Belladonna and many others proving to be good company to them.
Read on – the following article is based on the seven most interesting and musically satisfying bands of this year’s festival from your truly point of view.
Thursday June 9th
HELLOWEEN (Main stage)
Helloween has always been a real pleasure to witness live – and the band seems to be a relatively regular visitor here in Finland. Last time the band played 2 shows in Finland in the middle of December 2010, together with the Finnish powerhouse Stratovarius and the Swedes Avatar. On this summer festival tour Helloween seem to go to even some of the most exotic countries – like playing in Jakarta, Indonesia at Java Rockin’land, having Stratovarius to support them.
Before heading out into the future though, Helloween’s “7 Sinners World Tour” stopped for the 2nd time in Tampere, this time at Sauna Open Air festival. As the name of the festival already tells, the temperature in Tampere has reached nearly similar degrees of heat that one is able to experience in the Finnish sauna. Man, it was really hot in Tampere – and for all 3 days, unlike in some previous years of the festival’s history. I can only imagine how it felt for the guys of Helloween to perform on stage with their full costumes on, the guys sweating like little horny monkeys in reproductive rites while blessing their audience with a set of songs that didn´t leave anyone cold for sure.
The main focus was naturally on the old Helloween classics (as most of us prefer to hear them anyway) – and only 2 songs off the band’s latest studio album, 7 SINNERS, were included into their set list at SOA festival. In fact, Helloween’s set list was sort of a reduced version from the shows they played in Finland last December, with slight changes in the song order. In that sense, it did not offer any surprises even if the band had a chance to make some switches to the songs; replacing some songs with a couple of surprises in order to give their fans a bit more than this ‘safe & familiar’ package that they already opened up in front of their Finnish crowd 6 months earlier. A big minus must be given to Helloween for extending their show by a few extra-long nonsense talks with the crowd during the end of their set. Supposedly people had come to see Helloween to enjoy the songs – and not being part of something that only tests one’s nerves in the end.
The sweating audience – under a mercilessly burning sun, was happy anyway when Helloween securely gave the best out of them, vocalist Andi Deris fronting his pumpkin legions successfully toward a very satisfying performance that left a somewhat good aftertaste to our minds. Helloween surely knows how to entertain their fans – and their gig at SOA was no exception to that rule either.
01. Are You Metal?
02. Eagle Fly Free
03. March of Time
04. Where the Sinners Go
05. I’m Alive
06. Keeper of the Seven Keys / The King for a 1000 Years / Halloween
07. Steel Tormentor
08. Future World
09. I Want Out
10. Dr. Stein
OZZY OSBOURNE (Main stage)
Ozzy Osbourne. The Prince of Darkness and legendary lead vocalist of Black Sabbath who has done a respectable solo career since his Black Sabbath days – and been a part of a controversial reality show “The Osbournes.” Big news for the Tampere city was also that the Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne had arrived at Tampere to headline Sauna Open Air festival on Thursday (June 9th); it was the first time also for the festival organizers to welcome Mr. Osbourne to their Metal feast.
Speaking of Ozzy Osbourne live, unlike many other Heavy Metal acts with eye-catching pyro-shows, bombs, effective light shows and so on, Ozzy does not need anything else except dragging himself on stage, and start performing. The magic of Ozzy lies in his personality that is nothing short of magnetic – and there’s no way his presence wouldn’t raise some stir when he’s around, filling all of us with some true Ozzy magic. On stage he’s at his best; a great performer with one of the most recognizable voices in the entire history of Heavy Metal.
Ozzy Osbourne’s band consists of Rob Nicholson on bass (ex-Danzig, ex-Prong), Gus G on guitar (Firewind, ex-Dream Evil, etc.), Adam Wakeman on keyboards (also played in Black Sabbath as a live musician) and Tommy Clufetos on drums. With this same lineup that recorded Ozzy’s latest studio album SCREAM, the band took over the main stage at the festival in Tampere, in front of 8,500 screaming Ozzy -fans. Ozzy Osbourne himself, was however, the one that got all the eyes focused on him only. There’s something charming and sweet to his somewhat clumsy and sweet stage presence – and the way how he talks and takes his audience by his whole being, is kind of unbelievable nonetheless.
The band’s setlist for the SOA festival included basically some of the classic hits both from the Ozzy and Sabbath era. It was quite a hit parade from the very start to the final encore, which was nothing less than the most well-known Black Sabbath song “Paranoid.” The man himself, whilst having little breaks during the songs, also focused on entertaining his audience with a foam gun and some bucketfuls of water. A part of all this ‘fun’ was also directed to about a dozen of photographers in the photo pit – Yours truly being a part of Ozzy’s bubble bath show when only the 2nd song off the show, “Suicide Solution,” was under way. Expect the unexpected from the Prince of (f**king) Darkness himself, as it’s been said. Oh well, in fact getting foamed throughout felt overall a refreshing experience in the hot and sunny Tampere, not ruining most of our fun and ultimate experience about a great Ozzy show.
14 more or less classic Ozzy era songs within one and a half hour was very satisfying – and Ozzy & co. were rightfully applauded by thousands of Metal fans of different ages, undoubtedly wishing their beloved madman a long age. Ozzy was on fire at SOA – and let’s hope he’ll be all that in many other years to come.
01. I Don’t Know
02. Suicide Solution
03. Mr. Crowley
04. Goodbye to Romance
05. Bark at the Moon
06. Road to Nowhere
07. Shot in the Dark
08. Rat Salad (BLACK SABBATH song; with guitar and drum solos)
09. Iron Man (BLACK SABBATH song)
10. Fairies Wear Boots (BLACK SABBATH song)
11. I Don’t Want to Change the World
12. Crazy Train
13. Mama, I’m Coming Home
14. Paranoid (BLACK SABBATH song)