I only got into Stratovarius very recently, but for me, it was love at first listen. And it was fate that the kings of Finnish power metal would be touring Australia for the first time, and that I would be at their first ever show here. And so, despite seeing Devin a little over a week earlier, I was still pumped to see my new favorite power metal band. Darker Half and Eyefear rounded out the line-up, which was also awesome.
Darker Half’s sound wasn’t great, mostly because the singer was also a guitarist and (very) short, and with the mike to high for him to reach and no time to adjust it, I kind of felt bad for the dude. So the singing suffered because of that. However, the instrumentation was EXCELLENT. Lots of very thrashy guitar work and solos, they were a lot of fun and I really enjoyed them. A pleasant surprise, since I hadn’t listened to them before.
Eyefear were amazing as always. I openly admit to being in total awe of Danny Cecati’s singing. He has an incredible voice that doesn’t deteriorate from studio to live settings. I honestly can’t remember the set list but I remember they played The Unseen, which was cool. Some whiny pricks behind me, who couldn’t have been older than 16, bitched about them the whole time, which pissed me off. One dude was like 15 and balding, the poor bastard. Oh well. Talk shit on Eyefear, that’s what you get. They liked Sonata Arctica anyway.
A cool thing that made me look forward to Stratovarius was that as they set up, the stage hands brought on a keyboard, with a sample keyboard taped on, and a rubber duck that glowed yellow on each of the two front corners. It looked awesome. The whiny pricks also bitched about that, as well. “That’s sooooo metal,” and shit like that. Goddamn I wanted to punch those pricks in their acne-ridden faces. But unfortunately, the keyboard didn’t work for some reason, so they replaced it with a normal boring one, and re-taped the sample keyboard on.
Stratovarius quickly took the stage and Timo’s stage presence was immediately majestic. After amazing performances of “Under Flaming Skies” and “Speed of Light,” he finally introduced the band to the roaring crowd. I didn’t actually remember how small Billboard was, but even then it was still way less crowded than I thought it would be…probably because Korpiklaani were on the same night.
Stratovarius’ performances were excellent. With a pretty damn long set, Timo managed exceptionally well. I guess he’s used to it, but I sure wasn’t. I lost my voice from singing along quicker than I do singing along with harsh vocals. With lots of crowd banter, an ass-ripping drum solo, and a pretty sweet keys solo that made me miss the rubber duckies. It was great, and a lot of fun.
Rolf was hilarious. It was his birthday that day, so of course, he was serenaded by the crowd, presented with a cake, sculled (chugged, for all you Yank readers) a beer and his drums decorated with lights, streamers, and a banner with “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” in bubble font. It was pretty funny.
“Hunting High and Low” included a long, “can you be louder?” bit that was a lot of fun, but probably a bit long. It started to get annoying, but then it cut back into the song and there I was singing along with my shredded voice like “HUNTING HIIIGH AND LOOOOW!” What a song.
Highlights of the show were definitely “Dragons” and “Hunting High and Low,” my two favorite songs by them. Forever was a nice little rest, though. Really pretty, and great live.
Obvious bit: go see Stratovarius. They’re awesome. And check out Eyefear and Darker Half. They’re awesome. But you should know about Eyefear from my second-to-last article, in which I recommended them. POWER METAL!
Stratovarius set list:
1. Under Flaming Skies
2. Speed of Light
3. Halcyon Days
4. Kiss of Judas
7. Against the Wind
9. A Million Light Years Away
11. Deep Unknown
13. Black Diamond
15. Hunting High and Low