May 10th 1996

Tavastia Club

  1. Speed Of Light
  2. Will The Sun Rise?
  3. Eternity
  4. Reign Of Terror
  5. Against The Wind
  6. 4th Reich
  7. Twilight Symphony
  8. Guitar/Keyboard Solo
  9. Stratosphere
  10. Uncertainty (*)
  11. Distant Skies (*)
  12. Drum Solo (*)
  13. Dreamspace
  14. Night Time Eclipse
  15. Father Time

  16. We Hold The Key
  17. Tomorrow

  18. The Hands Of Time
(*)I'm not 100% sure of the order of these songs.

I think this Episode record release gig was the very first show with the new line-up. Completed with excellent Swedish keyboard player Jens Johansson, and world-class German drummer Jörg Michael, Stratovarius now has competent players, and a chance to be noted all over the world as one of the top power metal bands.

The set list filled my every expectation. Every song I wanted to hear was played. All my favourites from Episode, except perhaps Season of Change, were in the list, and I really loved hearing some of my older favourites. The Hands Of Time, Dreamspace and We Hold The Key, were definitely among the great moments of the show. Especially a little Säkkijärven Polkka -jam during The Hands Of Time with Jens singing was an unforgettable moment.

I had already heard Timo Kotipelto live once, singing Iron Maiden covers, and he is definitely capable vocalist live. The new songs and solo segment made a good use of Jens Johansson's and Timo Tolkki's skills and accuracy. Fast and skilled solo playing, and accurate dual-melodies with guitar and keyboard work perfectly. Although the result was very good, there was still a bit uncertainty in the playing together, probably because of the new men still settling into the band.

But as it is, I just can't wait for the next Stratovarius show I have a chance to go to...

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