24th of October 2023
What happens when you put two power metallers in a ring, to fight over who will headline their coming tour? They will sit down, drink some vodka and just decide that they will co-headline instead. Thus happened with Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius (or something in that direction) and tonight they land in the city of Utrecht. The venue which was chosen was the Tivoli and this show was assigned to the Ronda stage. If you think having two major power metal titans on stage is enough, you are mistaken, as they brought along Induction.
Sadly, due to some unforeseen circumstances, I wasn’t able to enter the stage area until after Induction was done with their set. The doors were open at 18:30, shows would start at 19:00 and even though being at the venue on time, sadly, I still missed it. Knowing that the show was over, I decided to check on the merch and again I was disappointed. All the tour shirts were sold out, apart from size Small. This happened during the previous tour as well, so hopefully they will decide to bring some more for the next tour, but more on that later.
Entering the Ronda, I noticed that it was packed! And that on a Tuesday at 19.30. The atmosphere was vibrant, so I guess Induction did a great job of warming up the crowd. When Sonata Arctica kicked off though, it was clearly noticeable that most of the fans here did come to see both powerhouses. Fans would sing along, and what a setlist the Finns had to sing along to.
Most of the setlist was from records before “Stones Grow Her Name”. Songs like “The Cage”, “Paid in Full” and “Replica” were awesome to hear again. Surprisingly, no song from the latest album “Talviyö” was played. Naturally, their newest single “First in Line” had to be played and frontman Tony Kakko mentioned that a new record is on the way, which will be released in the beginning of 2024. On top of that, he mentioned: “You know what that means. A new record means a new tour”, so we can expect Sonata Arctica to be back soon. As always, Kakko thanked the fans for buying a ticket to this or any other show and keeping live music alive and how can it be any different, Sonata Arctica ended the set with the classic “Vodka” outro.
2022 marks the year that Stratovarius released their latest record “Survive”. In contrary to Sonata Arctica who skipped their latest release, the Germans played four songs from that record. The setlist kicked off with “Survive” and contained a total of four songs from the record bearing the same name.
Both bands had some funny coincidental similarities this night. One of them was that both Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica played their song “Broken”. But maybe the weirdest thing about this tour is that founding member and former guitarist of Sonata Arctica, Jani Liimatainen, filled in on bass for Stratovarius during this tour. He filled in because of the joyous birth of Lauri Porra’s son. Liimatainen stated while being announced that “he was here to ruin everybody’s night, so let’s keen ruining and destroying everything.”
Naturally, fan favorites like “Eagle Heart”, “World on Fire” and “Unbreakable” were played, which left the crowd pleased. In total every fan of Power Metal would have had a great time this evening. The atmosphere was great, everybody was having a blast, and both shows were amazing.