After a turbulent two years, Stratovarius are back in top form. Starting off with their newest anthem “Maniac Dance“ to revisiting old classics as „Kiss Of Judas“, “Forever“ and “Hunting High And Low”. Newest member, bassist Lauri Porra (Sinergy, Warmen, Kotipelto), did a fine job as well keeping this tight machine rocking. Even though enough classics were played along with a second new song “Fight For Your Life” which was a crowd pleasure, one hour seemed too short for the band. Despite the stories circulating about Timo Tolkki´s health, this evening´s performance is sure to put them to rest. Timo Kotipelto did a great job getting the audience worked up and singing along as well as Jörg Michael´s tightest of the tightest, speed of light playing and Jens Johannson´s on stage craziness. A really good performance to get the crowd ready for the evening´s headliner, only next time they need more than one hour of playing time.
Hammerfall - the templars of steel - were in top form this evening. From the first look of the stage it would remind you of the 1988 Iron Maiden tour for “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” as both bands used a somewhat arctic background. Starting off with their new hit “Bloodbound“ to as far back as “Glory To The Brave”, this evening´s setlist was very much a crowd pleasure. Playing every song that was a vital stepping stone in their eleven years together such as “Steel Meets Steel”, “Glory To Brave”, ”Heeding The Call”, ”Renegade” and “Hearts On Fire”. Although some other fan favourites were not included in tonight´s performance, this show was still worth watching especially the drum solo which included some comedy skits and the pyro/special effects. For someone seeing this for the first time, the show was enough to win over new fans while the hardcore crowd can hope they continue in this direction.
The only thing stopping me from giving this show a 10, is that they didn´t include in the set “Where The Dragon Lies Bleeding”, one of the first songs that won them many fans and one of my personal favourites.