Sonata Arctica with Delain and Xandria
Calgary, Alberta Sept 22, 2014
Photos by Jeff
Sonata Arctica was about half way through their North American tour when they hit Calgary on Sept 22nd. Touring in support of their 8th album PARIAH’S CHILD the band has even to Calgary on a few different occasions and I consider myself to have seen them seven or eight times over the years. They brought along Delain and Xandria, for a pretty flawless bill of speedy, clean European Metal.
The Republick, while Metal friendly has a tiny stage and poor Xandria were cramped up front with a 30 minute set and packed in front of the other drums that had already been set up. It was their first time in Calgary and the rough conditions didn’t seem to bother them. They show started on time to a very full house, as people arrived early on a gorgeous Autumn night.
New vocalistDianne seemed to be delighted to be playing live as she had a huge smile on her fact the whole time. I thought it would be hard for her to compete with ex-singer Manuela but she nailed all the soprano parts with ease. The band played to big backing tracks to get that full, epic symphonic sound.
The band ended with a huge, long, epic ending with lots of bows and a mini-drum solo crescendo…it was so long they could have fit one more shorter song in! As it stands they only played five songs pulled mostly from the last two albums. It was a highlight to ‘Blood On My Hands’, a personal favourite. Xandria was the band I wanted to see/hear most of all and they did not disappoint and were the band of the night for me.
Delain had the best stage show of the night. There was not too much to it but they had some stand-alone banners and a bit of smoke and the lights worked well. It was the bands first rime in Calgary and the band ran through a streamlined 45 minute set with very little banter or crowd interaction. It seems they had a bit of a hard time following the utterly bombastic Xandria. Delain was by far the mellowest band on the bill. They treated the crowd to a nice mix of new songs and old including three tracks from their debut and a couple of new ones as well before ending with ‘We Are The Others’ . It was a good mix and they put on a fine performance. I had seem them a couple times before and they did as well or better than before.
10:00 SONATA ARCTICA
Sonata hit the stage on time with very little stage dressing. The roof was so low they didn’t even put up their backdrop! After a spoken word intro taken from one of the songs from PARIAH’S CHILD the band hit the stage and it was off to the races!
The band raced through a mostly fast-paced set of mostly older tunes ‘Full Moon’, and ‘Sans Sebastian’ as they were about to launch the 15th anniversary re-recording of the Ecliptica.
The band played some songs they haven’t played in years, although Tony quipped that it hasn’t been in years they actually played it last night before treating the audience to the power ballad ‘Letter to Dana’, also from the debut album.
The band played the first single ‘Cloud Factory’ from the newest album to good reception. They also played a slower song from STONES GROW HER NAME, ‘I Have A Right’ a hippy-inspired anthem about the rights of children.
After the obligatory encore and crowd chants of ‘one more song’ the band returned and blasted through ‘Of Wolf And Raven’ leaving everyone pretty satisfied. The band was hot, Tony Kakko seemed animated and having fun and less morose on stage. He even engaged the crowd a bit more, so it was one of the better times I have seen them. All the bands all worth catching on this tour cycle!