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On stage: Stratovarius

- Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica & Rhapsody - Apr. 2000 - Cologne (D) -
- Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica & Rhapsody - Apr. 2000 - Tilburg (NL) -
- W.O.A. - Aug. 2000 - Wacken (D) -
- Stratovarius & Symphony X - Apr. 2003 - Hamburg (D) -
- RockHard Festival - May 2004 - Gelsenkirchen (D) -
- Stratovarius & Into Eternity - Sep. 2005 - Québec (CND) -
- Hammerfall, Stratovarius & Shakra - Nov. 2005 - Cologne (D) -
- Masters Of Rock - July 2007 - Vizovice (CZ) -
- Stratovarius, Tracedawn & Winter's Verge - Jan. 2010 - Sofia (Bul) -
- Stratovarius, Dream Evil & Tracedawn - Feb. 2010 - Saarbrücken (D) -

- Stratovarius, Dream Evil & Tracedawn - Feb. 2nd 2010 - Saarbrücken (D), Garage -


Dream Evil



When I went to the event room at Saarbrücken's Garage, I was shocked: First time in my life I saw, that they had parted the hall in the middle. So this said that they hadn't sold that much tickets. And so it was. Even in this half hall there weren't that much people. Really sad for this great line-up. Ok, I have to say that weather conditions could not be any harder....
At 7 PM it was time for Tracedawn to hit the stage. And they did their job really good. The few people who were there joined in to their music. Songs as In Your Name, Brain Attack or Without Walls invited to head bang all the time. Great show, even that they all had a little flu.
After a short break, Dream Evil entered the stage with their true metal set. It seemed that some more people found their way to the Garage. They also did a great job with a nice sound in front of the stage.
And now it was time for all of us. I waited 10 years for this day to come to see Stratovarius live for the first time. And now it has come. Stratovarius entered the stage with Destiny and it was perfect until the end of the set!
New guitar player Matias Kupiainen did a very great job (even with his flu). Due to weather conditions singer Timo Kotipelto had a little flu, but did his job very well. Followed by the killer track Hunting High And Low and as you can see below, the whole set list was just great. Especially the new songs from current album Polaris were very interesting to listen to. But I also was happy to listen to A Million Light Years Away and Paradise. The band had fun on stage and I am really looking forward to see their gig at Wacken Open Air 2010. The sound was really good at the location. I hope they will come back again, when touring their next album.

Set list Stratovarius:

Hunting High And Low
Speed Of Light
Kiss Of Judas
Deep Unknown
A Million Light Years Away
Bach Solo
Winter Skies
Bass / Guitar solo
Forever Is Today
Black Diamond

Philip Thelen


- Stratovarius, Tracedawn & Winter's Verge -
- January 24th 2010 - Sofiya (Bulgaria), Hristo Botev Hall -

Despite of the cold weather lots of true metals gathered in front of Hristo Botev Hall in this chilly day. Definitely it worth it - the reason was the first concert in Bulgaria of the Finnish power metal gods Stratovarius.
In 4 o'clock pm there were no more than 5-6 metal heads in front of the hall. Of course they were well prepared for the cold weather with the right liquids.
The entering was planned for 6 o'clock pm but it was postponed with 30 minutes for unknown reasons. There were no more than 100 metals in that moment. The reason for this was the last minute change - everyone knew the entering will begin in 8 o'clock. Around 6:25 I got into the hall.
The stage was situated like on W.A.S.P.'s concert (this is the moment for me to say that it is finally the time someone to build a concert hall in Bulgaria, because the acoustic qualities of Hristo Botev Hall are very, very low and I notice this on every fucking event). No more to say about the hall, the organizers from Loud Concerts were once again very good and I greet them for this.
The concert started with the Cypriot power metal band Winter's Verge. They sand some of their old songs and several from their new coming album. They were good.
Then Tracedawn came on the stage, though very young they were very good, their progressive melodic death metal/metalcore was very good. All the fans in the hall admitted that these guys have a future! But here a problem occurred - the clean vocals were very silent. I personally headbang all the time and at the end of their set-list got a problem with my neck.
During the pause Winter's Verge's band members and Tracedawn's band members photographed the public and said some nice words for us.
After the long pause the familiar sound of Destiny went through the hall and everyone started singing. Short after this the Finnish power metal gods appeared on the stage and with them the well-known singer Timo Kotipelto. Total meltdown :D Stratovarius proved that they are one of the best bands in the genre and their vocalist Timo Kotipelto is one of the best vocalists in the world! He constantly spoke to the public and played different games with it. He threw bottles (I caught one) and then shaked with the front row (I was really lucky to really handshake with him, most people just touched his hand). The time went quickly and soon the familiar sound of the Diamond went through the Hall, yes the Black Diamond!!! With this my comment on this event ends.

I want to express my special greeting to the brothers from the Bulgarian Panzer Battalion, the two girls that were with me for the very emotional moments before, during and after the concert. Oh, I forgot I want to greet and thank my friend Theodor who sent me the discography of Winter's Verge. With those who have planned to visit more concerts - see you on Gamma Ray's ;)

Nikolay Rayanov
(guest writer)


Stratovarius & Into Eternity
- Sep. 24th 2005 - Quebec (CND) - Capitole de Québec -

For the first time Stratovarius came to Québec and the show was sold out for a few weeks. Not a bad start, right?
Opening act were Into Eternity - they already played Québec a few weeks ago with Edguy and Hammerfall - did a good show. Singer Stu Block presented an unbelievable vocal range! Seems this guy can sing everything from deep black growls to high screams. He communicates with the audience and they react. But also bassist Troy Bleich and guitarists Rob Doherty and Tim Roth are adding vocals, so there are almost no limits. During their 45 min. stage time the band played songs from all 3 releases. They made more friends here tonight and so I think they will come back soon. Perhaps then for a small headliner club show...
When the lights dim fans expected the band to enter the stage and start their show, but this time they played a different game. As a kind of intro they showed on the 2 screens some sequences of the bands American tour. Giving a short glimpse of Stratovarius in Mexico, Brazil, New York and then finally Canada! And when a message asked Scream for me Québec! the fans went crazy and shouted out loud. And the band entered the stage. They opened up with Maniac Dance of their latest release. The band was overwhelmed by the warm and enthusiastic welcome Québec gave them. As touring here for the first time they put together a kind of best-of set list - see below - and added some new tunes. While mainman Timo Tolkki attached our lily-flowered flag to his microphone stand his partner in crime Timo Kotipelto told us about the similarites to Finland and why the lily flower symbol is so special to them. I heard that in Europe they worked with projections before and so it wasn't a big surprise when they showed images and short movies at the screens for Father Time, Will The Sun Rise?, Twilight Symphony and Black Diamonds. No pictures for the new tune United, but some words of hope, a call for peace and pieces taken off Human Rights came up.
I've seen a couple of concerts, but this was a special show due to the concept. For the band - I hope - it was something special, too, coz the audience reaction was unbelievable. I think nobody left unsatisfied and everybody would love to see them again soon, so please come back to Canada!

    Maniac Dance
    Speed Of Light
    The Kiss Of Judas
    Twilight Symphony
    Will the Sunrise?
    - bass solo
    The Land Of Ice And Snow
    Against The Wind
    Season Of Change
    Father Time
    Coming Home
    Hunting High and Low
    Black Diamond

(guest writer)


Stratovarius & Symphony X
- April, 16th 2003 - Hamburg (D), Docks -

Damn, I was too late for Thunderstone! Actually I wanted to see the Finnish guys, hope next time I'll make it. And so I was just in time for Symphony X - the prog metal band from New Jersey. I have to confess that I don't know the band well. Okay, I heard one or the other track, but have no CDs of them. So I can't name any titles, sorry. The band started with some very complex tracks and so it took awhile until the audience responded. I have to say that singer Russell Allen, guitarist Michael Romeo and their rhythm section did a quite good job. Every band member is really talented and I think they made some new friends. At least I will check out their latest CD and perhaps next time I'll know more about them and can really enjoy them. Meanwhile I can say that it was a decent show.
Finally I got the chance to see Stratovarius live! Yes! The band of the Finnish guitarist Timo Tolkki started with Eagleheart. Again the band presented their songs with visual effects. I already heard that in spring 2000 they used projections on the backdrop to support the songs with pics and short movies. Beside that a fantastic light show and pyros set highlights. The Finnish-Swedish-German quintet presented songs from their latest release Elements Pt. 1 as well as some old tunes like Father Time, Kiss Of Judas and Hunting High And Low. During the almost 2 hrs. long show Timo Kotipelto and his mates took the fans on a musical journey through the bands history. A medley with e.g. Fright Night and We Hold The Key lead into Forever. With Stratofortress they had an instrumental incl. where especially keyboarder Jens Johansson had the chance to show his talent. With Black Diamond the multinational band finished their set. This was amazing! I'm really looking forward to see them again!

Anika Peterson


Stratovarius, Rhapsody & Sonata Arctica
- April, 16th 2000 - Tilburg (NL), 013 -

Today I was there in time and could see the complete show of Sonata Arctica. The Finnish used their chance to introduce themselves to the Dutch headbangers. The band of shouter Tony Kakko presented 30 min. of Ecliptica. The Finnish quartet play songs like FullMoon and Kingdom For A Heart. Guitarist Jani Liimatainen and his mates played a solid set.Rhapsody live They don't have to fight high expectations like Rhapsody. They rocked on the huge stage of O13 and the fans liked the show. A good start for the youngsters.
Also in Holland the fans waited for Rhapsody since they released their debut and now it was time for the Italian metal heads to proof it live. This the 17th show in their life! In Cologne Luca told me that they had just played about 5 or 6 shows before going on tour with Stratovarius! So, it was almost impossible to satisfy the fans live. Rhapsody did a quite good job, even if many expected more from them.Stratovarius live Come on, give these guys a little more time and I bet at the end of this tour they got better and in a few months or perhaps a year they'll be a real good live act. Even if it will almost be impossible to bring the symphonic metal on stage without orchestral support.
Now the audience of O13 expected the Infinity live show! The men in black started Hunting High And Low before heading into Millennium.Stratovarius live Keyboarder extraordinary Jens Johansson seems to enjoy it a lot to be in Tilburg and started joking with the first row. The whole band had a good time on the stage of O13. Tonight the show incl. Mother Gaia, a very special song. To make the fans understand the story, pictures and film sequences try to make the lyrics visual. The projections and the light show (thanks Smiley!) made this a very special show! Vocalist Timo were better then ever before! This time the united melodic speedsters topped the show in Cologne! When they return to the stages with a new album it'll be pretty hard to do it better! Use the time to develop new ideas to make the next tour even better! If you missed them this time, shame on you!!!

Claudia Ehrhardt


Stratovarius, Rhapsody & Sonata Arctica
- April, 11th 2000 - Cologne (D), E-Werk -

At the E-Werk in Cologne about one thousand metal fans showed up to see Stratovarius and his mates on tour. Unfortunately it took a lot of time to get in and so I missed most of Sonata Arctica's set. I just had the chance to see the last two songs and I think they did a good job. The Finnish youngsters took their chance and warm-up the fans.Sonata Arctica live
After a short break Rhapsody entered the stage. The Italians released great stuff, but how will it be live? High expectations, but will they make it? No doubt that Luca Turilli's band tried their best, but for me it was obvious that they don't have much live experience. Anyway, a solid set. Singer Fabio Lione seems to be not in best shape, vocally... He did a good job anyway and I guess he caught a cold like it happen on tour usually.
Stratovarius liveThen it was time for the Finnish-Swedish-German quintet! Opening with Hunting High And Low the band of leader Timo Tolkki started a firework of power metal. Everyone dressed in black. Behind the stage a huge white backdrop, what for? To project the cover artwork or other pictures to support the music. Just great! And what a setlist! Songs like Millennium, Phoenix Rising, Episode, Infinity or SOS moved the fans. During the set everyone got the chance to show his talent, but just to support the event, not to go on an ego-trip. The encore incl. the ballad Forever and in the back there was a sea with lit candles to transport the atmosphere of the song. To end with a ballad won't be Stratovarius like and so they speed up with Paradise. When Timo Kotipelto and his pales left the fans still shouted for more! This was the best show of the four-piece I have seen yet!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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