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Sonisphere Festival

- Sonisphere Festival France - July 2011 - AmnÚville (F) -


Sonisphere Festival - July 8th / 9th 2011 - Amnéville, France -

Friday: Rise To Remain, Bukowski, Symfonia, Bring Me The Horizon, Evergrey, Mastodon, Gojira, Dream Theater, Airbourne, Slipknot
Saturday: Mass Hysteria, Diamond Head, Loudblast, Anthrax, Volbeat, Slayer, Papa Roach, Megadeth, Tarja, Metallica

Friday, July 8th 2011
Sonisphere Festivals established in 2009. Since then, bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Rammstein, HIM, Sonata Arctica, Slipknot and many others made this festival world wide famous.

This was the first time to take place in Amnéville, France. Amnéville is a very small town about 50 km from the German / French border away near Metz. It is famous for two things: a very big (private) zoo with lots of exotic animals and a huge snow hall. And Sonisphere took place at the parking lot of this snow hall.

I arrived Friday in the early afternoon in Amnéville. There wasn't any traffic jam. When we entered the parking lot for the festival, I was a little bit confused. One parking place for more than 6,000 cars?! It was the area of an old sand mine or something. It was dusty and hot. We went on to search the festival site and followed the masses. 30 minutes later we finally arrived there. And in this moment, I was arrived to stay there for the weekend: There was only one entrance to the festival area! One entrance for nearly 20,000 people. And this only entrance was a slope filled with lots of little stones. I think, in Germany this wouldn't be allowed... After this entrance we entered the food mile. And from this area there were two entrances to the final festival area, both sloped with stones and not more than 10 meters wide. I hoped to survive this festival. So, here it starts...

First band I saw was Symfonia at stage 'Saturn'. I entered the crowd at the very last song of Symfonia, so I can't tell much about their show. It seemed, that their way of melodic power metal wasn't made for this sort of fans. I mean, I love Tolkki's songs. But I think that Sonisphere with this line-up was not the right place for Symfonia. After that, Bring Me The Horizon entered stage 'Apollo'. It seemed, that their way of metal was more the way, most of the fans wanted to see (instead of melodic metal). Personally, I'm not that much into BMTH, but the show was ok. For me there was time to get some beer now, because I went to stage 'Saturn' to see Evergrey. Last time I saw the guys from Sweden was back in 2005 so I was really looking forward to their show. The band was in good condition. Tom S. Englund told the fans, that when they left Sweden this morning and arrived at airport Metz, half of their equipment and merchandise was lost by the airline. He didn't told if they got it back or if not or something... Anyway, they played lots of old stuff like The Masterplan, A Touch Of Blessing, Blinded, Monday Morning Apocalypse, Broken Wings and many more. Hope they will come back again.

I missed Mastodon and Gojira due to a walk around the whole festival area, but headed back to see Dream Theater. Last time I saw them was on Metal 2000 Festival in Mannheim. More than a decade ago. So I headed to stage 'Apollo' to listen to their new drummer. I do not remember if they started with Pull Me Under or Under A Glass Moon (but they played both). It was very funny as the front PA was muted several times. I think it was a problem of the front of house technician that was solved during the first song. The band was in a great condition and I hope to see them again someday. After that, Airbourne hit the 'Saturn' stage. I don't know a song from them pretty much, but I like them. First time I saw them was Wacken Open Air 2009 and I have to say, this band rocks. Their 80's inspired, Australian hard rock is state of the art. The show was pure rock'n'roll. And than, everyone wanted to see Slipknot. Ok, I like the first albums they made, but it is not one of my fave bands. Is it? I don't know. The show was that fuckin' awesome I can't explain. I don't know much of their songs, but I think they played all their best. Left Behind and Wait And Bleed was really a blast. The whole band was full of energy. It was a really great first day. We left the area and it took 30 minutes to get to the car and again 45 minutes to left the parking lot with car. And everything without light.

Saturday, 9th July 2011
We arrived at the last songs of Anthrax. Unfortunately, because I really wanted to see the guys again after about five years. Fight 'em Till You Can't was live very nice and I hope to get their new album soon. Volbeat did a great show at stage 'Saturn'. I think that their kind of music fits to every sort of festival. It was about 45 Minutes of pure party. After that, Slayer had to put all their left energy on stage, because Volbeat was partying with their fans that much, and it seemed that only few wanted to see Kerry King & co. It was so fuckin' loud their.. I think in France there are no laws against loudness... Anyway, they did some classic songs like South Of Heaven, Raining Blood, Dead Skin Mask etc. but the show was not as well as Volbeat's or for example Dream Theater's. At stage 'Saturn' Papa Roach got some problems with the PA, so they delayed for about 30 minutes without solving the problem. It crackled and in my opinion, it was too loud. I left after 20 minutes, because my stomach was aching so much due to the power of the sound.

Unfortunately I missed Megadeth due to curing my stomach (I went to got something to eat and drink) and I was back for Tarja. At the very first song, the sound was a bit crap but after that it changed to a good sound. I don't know anything from her solo project since she left Nightwish, but in the end, she played Stargazers and Over The Hills And Far Away. The show was fine, but there were only few fans left because the rest of the people was in front of the 'Apollo' stage waiting for Metallica. And after waiting quiet a while, it finally was there: Metallica.

I never saw such a big video screen. The show was brilliant (ok, it was the first time I saw them live). Take a look at the set list below. Only killers, no fillers. Highlight of their show for me was One with the huge pyro effects and the fireworks. Goose skin guaranteed.
All in all, the festival was very nice. The sound of nearly every band was really great and transparent. But the organization was quiet crappy. And the security of the fans was very low. It was fuckin' dangerous even to breath their!!! I hope that next time will be a bit more fan friendly.

Setlist Metallica:
Hit The Lights
Master Of Puppets
Shortest Straw
Seek And Destroy
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Ride The Lightning
The Memory Remains
All Nightmare Long
Sad But True
The Call Of Ktulu
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Fade To Black
Enter Sandman
Am I Evil (The big four)
Damage, Inc.
Creeping Death

Philip Thelen


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