27.10.2023 @ Konzertfabrik Z7 Pratteln, Switzerland
In fall it’s finally time for the great bands once again, because most of them usually tour Europe shortly before Christmas. After many years, Swiss fans can finally enjoy the Finns Stratovarius and a power metal package of the finest quality again. Together with their compatriots Sonata Arctica and the German “newcomer wonderboys” Induction, they rule the stage at Z7 Club in Pratteln today.
PHOTO GALLERY HERE
Induction kick things off with a show that unfortunately only lasts 30 minutes. These guys around Kai Hansen’s son Tim Hansen really do a great job. Even if they have a different line-up on stage today: Singer Craig Cairns, for example, only joins at the show in Athens, here at Z7 Antonio Calanna takes on the task of warming up the audience. And my goodness, does this boy rock. A great voice, very charismatic – he would fit in perfectly with the band. Musicians at the highest level, no matter who is on stage with Induction – everybody sounds and plays as if it had never been otherwise. For those who would like to hear more of Antonio, he can be found on All for Metal and the recently released album “Legends”. The show we get here is simply gigantic and the guys can easily keep up with the veterans they are supporting tonight. Great gig, give Induction more playing time!
Sonata or Strato – who’s next? It’s clearly Sonata Arctica who go first.
In the last few years, they have been on the road only with their acoustic show and that wasn’t quite as successful for me. But now there’s new material, we get to hear a new single “Last in Line” today and a new album will be released in 2024. It’s great to see the guys back in their usual power metal style and singer Tony Kakko’s vocals are at the highest level. It’s really fun to listen to the guys, even if you sometimes wonder whether Elias and Henrik are still having fun on stage because they are so absorbed in their playing that not a single smile flashes across their lips. The roughly 1,500 people crowd at Z7 joins in and sings along to every song in the great setlist. Sonata Arctica end their show with “Vodka” and leave the stage, in the background a crowd screaming for an encore.
After a great performance by their compatriots, it’s now time for Stratovarius to top it all off. Timo Kotipelto and his men enter the stage and immediately kick off with full power. One hit follows the next and of course one or two songs from their latest album “Survive” are not to be missed, but the Finns know that people prefer to hear the old hits. Timo Kotipelto ditches the long speeches in between so that more songs fit into their playing time. Lauri Porra grooves across the stage together with Matias Kupiainen, while Jens Johansson and Rolf Pilve do their best in the background. I have to mention in particular how much fun it is to watch Lauri Porra playing. Is there anyone who looks happier on stage than him? I think he’s wonderful, you can see that he lives for what he does.
When a fantastic concert evening with Stratovarius comes to an end, we just say thank you for the great music and a bit of nostalgia.