Sonata Arctica -- Philadelphia, PA -- October 2nd, 2007
Well, Tuesday night was my first time seeing Sonata Arctica and my second seeing Firewind, as I saw them headline back on 9/24 (see other review). I made it a point to wear my Allegiance t-shirt to represent for Firewind. My friends and I made an agreement to leave a bit later for this show and do some CD shopping in downtown Philly for the show rather than our usual 2-3 hour wait before doors. My sister however goes to Temple and really wanted to be up front for Firewind, so she went down to the Troc around 5 and waited in line. Then before doors opened I jumped in line with her, and the rest of my friends went to go eat. Doors opened promptly around 7PM.
The first opening band, "Chicago Violin", not only did not have a violin in the band, they were completely void of musical talent. They weren't like a hardcore band or anything, so I can respect that, but it came off like a bad Godsmack-type band or something, which I've got no interest in. Second band was "The Agonist", which really blew, and were very very obnoxious. At least myself and some others around us had some good times making fun of them.
After that, Firewind came on. Much to my dissapointment, the set was a mere 6 songs (30 minutes max), and the sound mix was pretty bad for the majority of their set. However, I didn't mind either as much and had no problem getting really fucking into it. These guys just flat out rule live. They got a great response from the audience. Henning didn't sound quite as good as he did the first time, but still pretty good, and his entertaining front-person qualities make up for any of the negative aspects of his vocals. Gus was fucking dead on with his soloing as he was at the headlining gig, but unfortunately Bob's keys were nearly inaudible for the majority of the set. Nevertheless, a great performance.
Firewind set list:
3.I Am the Anger
4.Till the End of Time
5.Falling to Pieces
Following their set, my friends and I moved back, which is when I realized that there really wasn't too many people at the show, surprising to me. Anyway, after a bathroom break and some water, we sat down until Sonata came on.
From the very beginning the show was just lacking. Despite my disliking of Unia, I feel "In Black and White" is a pretty good song, but god damn what a terrible opener it made. The band basically just walked out and started playing very dormantly. Extremely unenthusiastic to say the least. The feeling continued with "Paid in Full". Despite that I love that song, it just doesn't work well live for them. After that, things finally started to get going, with classics like Victoria's Secret, 8th Commandment, and Full Moon. I feel like these guys still have it in them to give great performances, but this newer material was just killing the show. Other highlights included Black Sheep, San Sebastian (revisited), My Land, and The Cage. Unfortunately the band continued to throw in pointless interludes between or during songs that just seemed silly. Also, I want to know who told Tony Kakko that a singalong of "Old MacDonald" was a good idea.
Overall from a technical standpoint though, the show was great. This new guitarist they have is more or less a clone of Jani, which is definately not a bad thing. Most of the leads and solos were played very very accurately. The band as a whole sounded pretty tight and such, they just didn't seem to be giving their all, which hurt the overall feeling. Not a bad show, but nothing to write home about.
Sonata Arctica set list:
1.In Black and White
2.Paid in Full
10.It Won't Fade
14.Don't Say a Word