Originally, Sonata Arctica would have been in Utrecht for their Acoustic Adventures tour on the 30th of October, 2021. Almost exactly a year later, they finally returned and they brought along Eleine from Sweden, who just for this tour also changed their set into an acoustic one.
In the small room of Tivoli – the Pandora – located all the way on the top of the building, about 500 guests can join in on the fun. Before the concert, the employees of Tivoli told me that the show wasn’t sold out yet, which really is a shame for a band like Sonata Arctica. Of course, this wasn’t their first show this year in The Netherlands, but still, one would expect more on a Saturday evening.
Right on time, as the venue was about three quarters filled, Eleine entered the stage. The Swedish symphonic metal band changed their set into an acoustic one just for this tour, yet still wanted to put in some metal vibes.
As the show progressed, lead singer Madeleine Liljestam informed us that they liked their acoustic shows so much that they decided to record it and release it as an EP. Their “Acoustic in Hell” EP would be available to purchase after the show, as the band would be available for a meet and greet. That’s something I can always appreciate, when bands take the time to greet the fans.
Songs like “Enemies,” “Hell Moon (We Shall Never Die)” and “Death Incarnate” were played. In between, guitarist Rikard Ekberg was so hot amd sweaty that he could stick a guitar pick on his forehead. Not only that, at the last song he encouraged the crowd to join in and chant one line of the chorus, to which a lot of people obliged.
After a small set and an intermezzo where the stage was turned into a bit more of an intimate setting, Sonata Arctica entered the stage. The stage was transformed into somewhat of a living room, with a nice carpet and some chairs. Immediately it felt more like a living room concert and a more homely atmosphere.
About a month ago, the Finns released their second volume of “Acoustic Adventures” and the setlist contained a nice mixture of both records. As always during Sonata Arctica shows, lead singer Tony Kakko had some stories to tell. In this acoustic setting, this added even a little bit more intimacy. Like the story on how he has a prescription hanging in his home. Someone sent this to him, a doctor wrote this for someone with chronic pain and the song “Tonight I Dance Alone” always made him forget about the pain.
Or the story about how his life changed when he got children. How that changed his writing and he didn’t write as much about wolves and crazy people anymore. Instead, he wrote “A Little Less Understanding” about trying to protect his children at a young age from the outside world.
We were treated to a full setlist of sixteen songs, from “Letter to Dana” (one of the first songs ever written on Kakko‘s first guitar, which he broke by sitting on it), to “For the Sake of Revenge.” Funnily, during “Letter to Dana”, Kakko forgot the first part of the lyrics. The Acoustic Adventures tour has a summary of ten records, quite an accomplishment.
At the end of the evening, we got a small encore consisting of three songs and of course, as people who have ever been to a Sonata Arctica concert know, the “Vodka” outro. Even during the encore, we got a small story about how guitarist Elias Viljanen learned to play the banjo during covid times and how that really fitted the song “Flag in the Ground“. This could have been a great opportunity to play “Cinderblox.”
As the Finns left the stage, they promised to return, next time with a new record for us to listen to. And with that, I’m curious on what their eleventh record will bring.
Whisper My Child
Hell Moon (We Shall Never Die)
Ava of Death
All Shall Burn
Setlist Sonata Arctica:
Rest of the Sun Belongs To Me
I Have a Right
Tonight I Dance Alone
Letter to Dana
As if the World Wasn’t Ending
A Little Less Understanding
For the Sake of Revenge
Half a Marathon Man
On the Faultline
Wolf and Raven
Flag in the Ground
Don’t Say a Word