Stratovarius at Club 22 (2006)

Club 22 (Athens, Greece)

Well, to be quite honest with the readers, this was a live show I wasn't […]
By Michael Dalakos
January 15, 2006

Well, to be quite honest with the readers, this was a live show I wasn't eager to attend. Having seen Stratovarius already twice in the past in a much better time period for their career and with better albums to promote than their last one, I wasn't really looking forward to this one. Of course I knew that the Strats on stage always were a force to reckon with, I already had some disturbing messages from friends from abroad regarding the show the band delivered on this tour.

The huge football game on TV that night didn't seem to have taken a toll on the audience: the club was rather full, though the show started with an hour of delay (two versions for that, the one wanted the promoters to delay the show just for more people to come after the football match but I am not buying this since who could have known that the show would be starting an hour later? The other one was that the band arrived really late), I didn't see any worried faces among the crowd.

Stratovarius hit the stage with Hunting High And Low and continued with Speed Of Light. In no particular order, here's some of the songs performed that night: S.O.S., Destiny, Father Time, Twilight Symphony, Coming Home, Kiss Of Judas, Black Diamond, Forever, Paradise, United, Against The Wind, Manic Dance, Eagleheart and a couple more.

Once again the band proved to be a force on stage to reckon with. Wisely enough they avoided putting extra weight on their latest release (in my opinion their weakest one so far). Timo Kotipelto was in the mood, Timo Tolki seemed to be enjoying the positive vibes coming from the crowd, Jorg Michael is simply a machine behind the drum kit while Johanson is simply the definition of cool. As for the new bass player, Lauri Porra (also in Kotipelto's solo band)... well, someone must inform him that he plays for Stratovarius and not The Lone Rangers from Airheads.

Once again Stratovarius managed to satisfy their fans here in Greece (and the fans paid that back with some very loud reactions). However I have a couple of objections. First of all I really don't see the reason in having a bass solo included in the show. I would have rather preferred listening to Tolki making his ESP guitar sing like a bird. But that's ok, such parts of a show always come in handy when it's time to refill your beer cup. What I really can't accept is the total absence of any song from the first three albums. And even if the first two albums were not so great, you cannot simply neglect playing songs from a HUGE album like Dreamspace. Let's not forget that this album exploded upon our ears when we least expected it and not only managed to become the breakthrough for Stratovarius but also the album that set the base for what later became the wave of Europower Metal.

So, no mater how good songs like S.O.S. or Twilight Symphony can be, they are simply no match for anthems like Chasing Shadows or Dreamspace. I know most of the fans left Club 22 satisfied but there were some of us that departed with a bittersweet taste upon our lips recalling days gone by.

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