19.07.2019 Z7 Summer Nights, Pratteln, Switzerland
The Nordic Queen of Opera Metal, Tarja Turunen, open the last Z7 Summer Nights weekend on the open air stage in front of Z7 hall. Unfortunately there are less people than expected, which might be caused by all the other big festivals and maybe because Tarja and Rage just don’t quite fit.
About 1000 people enjoy having a bit more space in front of the stage on a warm summer evening in cozy atmosphere. The multi-cultural band Serious Black should warm up the crowd and the guys from Germany, Greece, USA, Austria and Czech Republic do a fantastic job with that. Their songs «Older and Wiser», «Mirrorworld» or «High and Low» they entertain the crowd and get them into party mode. A fantastic start into the concert evening – yet it does not continue like that.
Rage (start photo) are travelling with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra as on this tour they play their full «XIII“ album (1998) featuring this orchestra. Yet I doubt that all the musicians present were part of it as they look way too young. Unfortunately the spot where they put the orchestra on is difficult to see, and worse, you can hardly hear it. Rage drummer Vassilios covers everything with the massive bass drum, and sorry to say that but this performance pretty much destroyed the good mood in the audience. The Rage guys had a lot of fun on stage but I wonder why those Metal veterans did not realize that even louder drums and guitars simply do not work. A pity, the classic album is really good and the set list contained several good and well known songs – but the sound spoiled it all.
It took a while until Tarja entered the stage – seemingly caused by keyboard problems – but then the cheers of the crowd are even louder. The Grand Dame from Finland, dressed in leather, is all smiles beginning the show with the new song „No Bitter End“. She obviously enjoys being on Z7 stage again – just recently she mentioned that here it feels like being at home. Some well-known faces on stage, besides Cellist Max Lilja and Keyboarder Christian Kretschmar there is also Alex Schlopp on guitar and duet partner. I have not seen Bassist Kevin Chown and drummer Timm Schreiner playing with Turunen before – yet they all do a great job. The new album „In the Raw“ will be out in August and naturally they play a few new songs. With those it is always difficult to please the audience and it is a slow start, but people react to Tarja’s joy and energy on stage. She also performs songs of her previous band, a remarkable choice :„Planet Hell“, with Schlopp, and „Over the Hills and Far Away“ written by Gary Moore. Between songs she continues to thank the fans supporting her from the beginning and it seems she can hardly hold back tears facing all those cheers and love from the audience. «Until my last Breath» is the final song of a 90 min program, but she stays on stage for a few minutes to thank her fans. Despite a slow-burner program and the Rage flop, Tarja’s show was a must- see. A likeable performer and great singer, although not every note is perfect nowadays – it is a pleasure to watch and she has a lot of fun on stage, and this is the most important issue.