Sonata Arctica

Metaldays - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

After a day consisting of mostly (for our part) grindcore, it could be a nice change of pace to have it headlined by such niceties that Sonata Arctica can deliver.
On the other side, the show they had played in Denmark earlier in the year had been such a complete disaster that I had all but written this band completely off, even going as far as saying that I wouldn’t put any effort in seeking them out again.

“Tolmin, what’s up? It’s good to be back!”
- Elias Viljanen (guitar)

Well, here we were, standing in front of the main stage of our favourite festival, waiting for the possible train-wreck that would end an otherwise enjoyable day. Would the Finns pull it together, or would they continue along the same road as before to metal oblivion?
The crowd was definitely rooting for them, that’s for sure. Even before the band came out, the place was nearly packed and from all over whistles and shouts of anticipation could be heard. The Wildfire intro that marked the beginning of the show only helped to heighten the experience, so it wasn’t surprising to see Tony Kakko bring a camera out with him to immortalize the situation.
Kakko and the rest of the guys actually seemed more at ease here on the festival stage than they had at the club in Denmark. They looked as though they relaxed more and cared less about ending up on the right mark on the floor at the right time, and in general worked better as a band again, actually having time for each other instead of just delivering song after song mechanically. Kakko got to play a note on the guitar in the solo for Paid In Full and got a thumbs up from Viljanen for it; this was a song that was a love-song for the vocalists old, blue Toyota Corolla we were also told.

“All the guys say yeah, all the ladies say I’m not good with maps!”
- Tony Kakko (vocals)

During the concert the large crowd took it a little easier. There were still many arms in the air and shouts were still raised between the songs, but headbanging and more physical action was scarce.
The audience did grab some choruses for themselves though, like during Alone In Heaven where we got to say the Heaven part, and we were also led into a pop-like arm swaying from side to side. We also got to take part in a rhythmic applause session in the prolonged chorus of Shitload Of Money, and the side against side shout competition in The Last Amazing Grays.
All this was mildly entertaining, and a clear lift in comparison to the last gig.

“Tony, shut the fuck up!”
- The Crowd (vocals/percussion)

The energy on display didn’t last all the way, and about halfway through the performance began to dwindle. It started out with a defective snare-drum which delayed the upcoming, and fitting, Broken, after which there were more problems with the snare-drum causing more delays.
Kakko tried out a few jokes to lift the spirit but soon gave up, and when things finally worked again the band chose to drop excess contact and just deliver songs. After the nauseatingly poppy/weirdo song Cinderblox, the band went into a jamming section which ended with the crowd telling the vocalist to go stuff it. While this was quite fun in itself, it wasn’t quite enough to lift the entire show up further.
Don’t Say A Word and the Vodka outro was all that was left after this, and a greeting and a bow saw the end of the day drawing nearer fast.

While this gig thankfully was nowhere near the disaster that our last visit to Sonata Arctica land had been, it was also equally far from their prime of yore. Still, there was a light to be found, and possibly hope for a better tomorrow.
That, at least, is if you don’t ask Lunah (Lauridsen, our photographer), who has always been a bigger fan of the Finns than I have. It was she who introduced me to them at first, and now she was asking me to help remove them for her...


Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
Black Sheep
Alone In Heaven
Shitload Of Money
The Day
I Have A Right
The Last Amazing Grays
Paid In Full
Losing My Insanity
The Gun
Don’t Say A Word
Vodka Outro

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