Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Gamma Ray, Sonata Arctica and Vanishing Point
Nosturi, Helsinki, Finland / 1.11.2001

Reviewed by the Finnish Metal Rules Team

It is and has been more or less weird situation for the Finnish metal heads to have a plenty of gigs to pick up during the whole year for example Slayer, Dimmu Borgir and especially upcoming ones Edguy, The Haunted, Saxon… etc.. etc.. Apparently most of metal heads must already be suffering from tremendous pains in their necks, ringing ears and above all empty pockets after having been to most of gigs by now…Hah… Despite those minor things Gamma Ray's visit to Finland with a couple of support acts namely the Australians Vanishing Point and of course the domestic Sonata Arctica was a long waited power metal assault among several die hard metal freaks. The last date of the European tour luckily reached Finland and it was quite expected to note the whole event had been sold out. As being the last date of the Euro tour, so it could be expected to see some special jokes were coming up during that night.

The power metal delivery of the night was started out by the complete unknown Australian combo named Vanishing Point. Unfortunately due to a lack of any kind of information of this outfit it was definitely hard to except and of course know anything about them in advance instead with a huge interest the audience appeared to be quite keen on becoming familiar with how the Aussie band actually sounds. To be honest these Australians literally blew the whole packaged club away with the matured and damn well carried out material having a lot of influences from both the progressive metal approach and of course the traditional power metal elements tied up. Above all the vocalist had an absolute amazing voice and who the heck said the vocalists from Down Under are not good enough?! The band was entirely surprised and extremely pleased with how the Finnish audience received them. They are obviously one of few opening bands having opened the night up with the wildest respond ever. It is more than clear at least a few Vanishing Point albums will disappear from stores. As mentioned about special things and jokes a little bit earlier, well each Vanishing guy had the same Sonata Arctica t-shirt on, apart from the vocalist and all of you can draw a conclusion what then the Sonata guys had on. Then the Sonata guys appeared on the stage washing their teeth in the wake of the vocalist Tony Kakko who had a huge alien mascot and tried to push it everywhere and even tried to push to the between legs of the VP vocalist.



When the thrilled and extremely happy Australians had left the stage and the domestic Sonata Arctica conquered the stage and brilliantly kicked off their part with San Sebastian, but that's all about what comes to brilliantly. Vocalist Kakko's voice didn't work at all, instead sounding like he was singing out of tune all the time. Hard to name and pick up any specific reasons for that, it can always guessed that the mighty alcohol might be involved or then Kakko was suffering from the miserable flu, who knows anyway. But the band's activity got out of hand and went entirely to the comedy and tomfoolery side which of course amused the audience a lot, but of course banalized the level of the gig. When the Sonata guys had visited a little bit earlier playing clowns around messing around during the Vanishing Point set, so the Down Under guys gave them as good as they got. Well the VP vocalist's face was entirely covered by the shaving cream and nothing on apart from his cock was covered with a tennis sock …Ehhh.. Even though the gig was already a flop it didn't seem to bother the sons of the north at all, they continued in the same humour way as turning the techno stuff on and started jamming all of a sudden in the middle of the set.

Despite being and trying to clowns and funny they even managed to do a few tracks like "Wolf And Raven", but their weird sense of humour got out of hand once again when getting thrilled to play the old Helloween tune "I Want Out" during a few minutes. Huh…After witnessing this embarrassing and idiotic appearance, Sonata is no longer any interesting sight to testify on the stage for a while. It is more than hoping for the next gig the guys will do some dramatically improvements to their stage appearance, not only messing around trying to be goddamn funny.

Then it was finally time for the headliner of the night namely Gamma Ray. The two hour power metal blitzkrieg was unleashed with the opening intro off from the "No World Order" album and followed by the bombastic Dethrone Tyranny and continued with New World Order. All in all the Gamma Ray set was an unforgettable set with the blast of double drum beat and the tight double guitar work of Hansen and Richter. The sounds had been managed to get to the excellent massive huge level as they didn't get thickened up at all, just on the contrary even the ear plugs could be thrown away in order to enjoy the German power metal assault.

The set had been mainly built to base on the new material of No World Order, but of course a plenty of old classic Gamma tunes included in the gig for example Land Of The Free, Man On The Mission, Rebellion, Valley Of The Kings. But nothing from Insanity & Genius, Sigh No More or Heading from Tomorrow even the last one was mentioned in the original set list. It was kind of weird that Hansen didn't start singing with the audience, until in the end with Somewhere Out In Space. That audience singing lasted a little bit too long in some point. A little bit special thing had been included to the normal mandatory audience shouting however as a figure having dressed to the clothes and masks trying to be Gamma Ray's mascot entered the stage who politely recommended Kai to leave the stage and started growling the lines of Somewhere Out In Space encouraging the audience to join in.

Overall band performance was quite good, especially Kai himself was in very good mood. Dirk Schlatter was moving less than last time but it was for a good reason. His leg was operated just some weeks earlier so it was great that he was able to do the gig anyway. Actually in the beginning of this European tour he was temporarily replaced by Mr. Markus Grosskopf from Helloween for some concerts in Germany.

The last two tunes of the night, Helloween evergreens from Hansen's era, became the real highlight of the gig. The audience was entirely blown away when Future World cut the air, and the whole packed club was signing and damn loud…But I Want Out arose the climax of the night when the Sonata vocalist Toni was asked to sing the track. Gradually the whole stage was full of guys from all the bands jumping all around the stage.

Once again Gamma Ray came and conquered and showed the younger "modern" bands what the older metalheads can do. An excellent gig by Gamma Ray

Set List of Gamma Ray:

Dethrone Tyranny
New World Order
Follow Me
Land Of The Free
Short As Hell
Man On The Mission
Savior / Abyss Of The World
Fire Below
Somewhere Out In Space

Valley Of The Kings
Future World
I Want Out














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