On the thirteenth of December, Sonata Arctica was back in The Netherlands with their “The Raven Still Flies Over Europe Tour”. For this show they brought two support acts, namely Temple Balls and Edge of Paradise.
Since this tour only covers one place in The Netherlands, the venue was filling up quite nicely right before Temple Balls would start to play. Both support acts were new for me, and I did not know what to expect, so I’d let the music do the talking.
Temple Balls is a five-piece hard rock band from Oulu Finland, so according to location, they were easy to bring along for Sonata Arctica. As in musical direction, even though Sonata Arctica has calmed down a bit in tempo for the last couple of years, hard rock is an even slower genre.
As in energy, Temple Balls were all over the place. Playing with big smiles on their faces and trying to entertain the crowd and get them to participate. Their songs “Distorted Emotions” and “Hell and Feelin’ Fine” got some people moving, but it’s kind of odd to ask a hall full of metalheads if they know how to dance. As Finns, they proclaimed that they could not dance, and maybe we could show them. I don’t think they learned a lot from us.
Edge of Paradise is an American hard rock/metal band based in California. As in music style, they kicked everything up a notch from the likes of Temple Balls. With energetic riffs and heavy bass, they sure let the growing crowd move. Sadly, lead singer Margarita Monet was sometimes hard to hear.
In November they released their second album “Universe” and naturally we got to hear some songs of that record. The crowd was anxiously waiting for Sonata Arctica though, mainly because the lights guy tried to get everyone to go into an epileptic shock, by his huge amount of stobe lighting.
Sadly we had to wait a little bit longer, since Sonata Arctica began a bit later due to technical issues. After a short intro on tape, the band started the show with one of the songs of their latest release “Talviyö”, namely “A Little Less Understanding”.
Thankfully the new songs sound a lot better on stage, although I would still like some more old stuff to be played. Naturally, since “Talviyö” has just been released, we got to hear a whopping five songs from that record.
Sadly, there were no sings from Winterheart’s Guild, Reckoning Night, Unia or The Days of Grays. This way, a period of 2003 until 2012 was completely skipped. That’s almost ten years! “X marks the spot” was a nice surprise and even though that song was a bit weird, it really works during a live show!
Still, songs like “I have a Right”, “Who Failed the Most” and “Life” are songs that really don’t interest me during a show. I know it’s hard to find a good mix of songs when there are so many records, but it would be nice to hear songs like “The Cage”, “Wildfire” (why not play a Wildfire Trilogy?), “In Black and White” and “The Last Amazing Grays” for example from other records? Just to keep fans from every era happy.
But don’t get me wrong, Sonata Arctica played a very decent show. Because the venue was quite crowded, one person near the front fainted and had to be guided to the exit. Also, we got to sing “Happy Birthday” for a girl who was in the venue who is from their hometown Kemi, Finland. And, it’s always nice to hear songs like “Black Sheep”. Special note of the night was that Sonata Arctica played Full Moon, while there was a full moon. They missed the chance to address that though.