Primal Fear and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Ruling Montreal & Toronto

Primal Fear - Montreal
Primal Fear - Montreal
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Primal Fear and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody

Monday May 30 @ Club Soda, Montreal
Wednesday June 1 @ Virgin Mobile Mod Club, Toronto

Primal Fear and Luca Turilli's Rhapsody Monday May 30 @ Club Soda, Montreal Wednesday June 1 @ Virgin Mobile Mod Club, Toronto
Primal Fear and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody

Review by EvilG
Photos by Karen Saunders

A couple of additional pics taken by EvilG 

Every time Primal Fear tours North America, I travel and attend. They are after all, one of my favorite bands. On our shores, they commonly tour by themselves and rely upon local openers. This time however, things are different as we get treated to a co-headlining tour featuring Primal Fear and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. Rhapsody doesn’t tour over this way quite as often as Primal Fear, so they were high on my bucket list of bands to see and have been since I first heard them in the late 90’s. A match this amazing doesn’t happen that often, so we decided to see the show two times. It was interesting to witness the same show in two very different Canadian cities to see the different reactions from the audience.

Montreal: May 30, 2016

Primal Fear and Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Montreal, Club Soda, May 30 2016
Primal Fear and Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Montreal, Club Soda, May 30 2016

After spending a couple of hot days in magnificent Montreal, on Monday it was time to head to Club Soda for the show. We arrived in time to see most of the opening bands’ (Heroik) set. As is often the case with openers from Montreal, they are a cut above. The band seemed to bring with them a set of their own friends and fans who were enthusiastically cheering them on up front. Heroik play a mixture of symphonic power metal. The lower range vocals make them different from the average Rhapsody-styled symphonic metal band. However, I enjoyed what I heard.

Primal Fear - Montreal
Primal Fear – Montreal

After a short change over the crowd thickened up and some chants of “Primal Fear….Primal Fear” were heard. As has been the case for a most recent tours, a Primal Fear set stars with the intro music “Countdown to Insanity” (the only thing in the set from the BLACK SUN album) followed by the song “Final Embrace”. It works well as an opener, but maybe its time to mix it up?  I know you can’t please everyone with a setlist, and I am not complaining as I love it all.

Primal Fear - Montreal
Primal Fear – Montreal

It was cool that so many songs (five!) were featured from the newest PF album, RULEBREAKER, including: “In Metal We Trust”, “Rulebreaker”, “The Sky is Burning”, “Angels of Mercy”, “The End is Near”. By featuring so many new songs, the band refreshes their set for every tour. Of course, this also means that it’s the only time you’ll get to hear a lot of these songs live as by next album, they will maybe keep one or two songs from the album in the set. It must be hard to pick and choose what ones to keep as you release more material!

Primal Fear - Montreal
Primal Fear – Montreal

Primal Fear - Montreal
Primal Fear – Montreal

Primal Fear - Montreal
Primal Fear – Montreal

Primal Fear - Montreal
Primal Fear – Montreal

As for Primal Fear’s performance…it was a super tight, powerful, fist pumping, lesson in what makes for glorious heavy metal. They deliver every time I’ve seen them. Even after so many shows in a row, they all played and sounded great. Ralf’s vocals are astounding live as always. There’s a reason why he’s my favorite current singer in metal. He effortlessly hits the highs and hold the notes with power.

Primal Fear - Montreal
Primal Fear – Montreal

The fans in Montreal were packed in tight, loud, and arms were in the air everywhere. The band was called back for an encore and Ralf came to the edge of the stage and thanked the fans for the warm reception. All arms were raised and reaching towards the stage. You could feel the love that the audience had for the band, it is not hard to tell that fans in Montreal love Primal Fear.

Guitarist Tom Naumann broke a string near the end of the set which caused him to play even more aggressively and he broke another! The other PF guitarist, Alex Beyrodt, could be seen occasionally whipping his guitar strings with his guitar cable like a madman.  He was clearly enjoying himself!

After Primal Fear’s set there was a longer than normal wait before Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody as there was some kind of issues with what seemed to be the drum triggers. After that was finally sorted, thoughts of tired legs were quickly forgotten as the stage went dark and the “Nova Genesis” intro music began.

Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Montreal
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Montreal

The crowd became more intense and slightly louder than earlier. When the music started, the singer emerged to join the band decked out in a long black gothic looking jacket, the crowd lit up. Clearly there is no hesitation among the fans for accepting this incarnation of Rhapsody and vocalist Alessandro Conti who has been with the band now since 2011.

Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Montreal
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Montreal

Rhapsody sounded amazing. Alessandro totally did justice to the Rhapsody classics sticking true to the original while adding some of his own interpretations here and there. The only thing missing was a live keyboardist. All the keys, orchestrations, and backing choirs were all pre-recorded. Of course, in many cases this is the only thing feasible as it’s not economical to tour with a choir or orchestra 🙂  However, as keys are a big part of the sound, I thought they’d have a keyboard player on stage with them. That aside, I’ve no criticism to make. Luca was mesmerizing as he buzzed back and forth the stage rarely standing still for more than a couple of seconds. His playing looked effortless, even though anyone who plays knows his stuff is far from that! His guitar was strung “nerd-high” but I forgive him as he’s the maestro, a mastermind, genius, etc. I could watch him play guitar for hours on end.

We were not treated to a guitar solo by Luca, but Alex Landenburg preformed a drum solo that was pretty neat as it started with him drumming along with the Game of Thrones theme music.

The Montreal crowd loved every minute of the show. I thought I was a big Rhapsody fan, but the two guys in front of me must exclusively listen to them as they knew ALL the words, even to the operatic Italian and Latin parts lol!

Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Montreal
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Montreal

The song highlights of the show for me were the classics “Dawn of Victory”, “Emerald Sword”, “Unholy Warcry”, and the surprise (for me) inclusion of a Luca solo album song “Demonheart”.  After the show ended, I was wishing for more…it was relieving to know I would get to see this show again in just two days….

Toronto: June 1, 2016

Primal Fear - Toronto
Primal Fear – Toronto

I won’t go into much detail on the Toronto show as it was a repeat of Montreal. What was different was that this was the final show if the North American tour.  I was half expecting for some shenanigans or maybe someone from one of the bands would join the other band on stage for an encore or cover or something different. However, it came across as a “normal” (yet awesome) show.

Primal Fear - Toronto
Primal Fear – Toronto
Primal Fear - Toronto
Primal Fear – Toronto

The main thing of difference was the audience. Considering that Toronto is Canada’s largest city, you’d think that the venue would be as big (if not bigger) and the audience would be as enthusiastic. However, this was not the case.  The fans up front in Toronto were every bit as into the bands as the Montreal fans. But in Montreal the audience was bigger and there were more people heavily into the show. In Montreal, while both bands were highly appreciated, Rhapsody had the edge on PF with more people losing their minds and even starting some moshing!  Rhapsody’s vocalist even commented in Montreal something to the effect of “Luca told me this would be the best night of the tour.”  In Toronto, Primal Fear was the band that seemed to register the most with the audience. When Rhapsody played, some of the crowd actually thinned which was weird.

Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Toronto
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Toronto

In Toronto, we wormed our way to the front on the left side of the stage – mainly so I could be directly in front of Luca Turilli. Needless to say, my face was melted. I could hear his amp slightly louder which for me, as a guitar player, was amazing. What a night, what a show. So glad we got to see it twice…after it was over, I thought to myself that I had witnessed something special and magical…two shows that I won’t soon forget!

Primal Fear - Toronto
Primal Fear – Toronto
Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Montreal
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Montreal
Primal Fear setlist from Montreal
Primal Fear setlist from Montreal
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