May 23rd 1997

Tavastia Club

  1. Forever Free
  2. The Kiss Of Judas
  3. Father Time
  4. Distant Skies
  5. Season Of Change
  6. Speed Of Light
  7. Twilight Symphony
  8. Guitar/Keyboard Solo
  9. Holy Light
  10. Drum Solo
  11. Visions
  12. Will The Sun Rise?

  13. Forever
  14. Black Diamond
  15. Against The Wind

  16. Legions

Visions has had some surprising chart success on Finnish album charts, peaking at #4 two weeks ago. Metal music is so underrated nowadays that it's virtually never heard on the radio. As Timo Kotipelto said about the radio playlists: "Vitut siitä!" Fourth Dimension sold only 600 copies in Finland (I'm sure it has sold a lot more lately), Episode more like ten times that. Visions may even break the gold record limit of 20.000.

And on that Friday evening the full packed Tavastia Club got about 90 minutes of metal music at its best. The atmosphere was really loud and ... well, crowded. Timo Kotipelto said it was the best Tavastia audience they've had. Probably the largest too. Finnish crowd has always been noted as really loud and fanatic. The audience sang (well, shouted) along in all songs, and for example during Forever Tolkki turned his guitar down a bit when the audience hummed the solo. To get some kind of picture, listen to Fear Of The Dark recorded in Helsinki from Iron Maiden's A Real Live One live album...

The set included a lot of speed, over a half of the set was fast double-bassed songs. But there were some nice slow moments too, like a little surprise Season Of Change, and Forever with only Timo & Timo. Forever Free opened the show nicely, though the sounds were still being adjusted. One of the songs I expected the most to see live was The Kiss Of Judas, and it really sounded massive. Legions was a natural choice for the last encore, and finished the gig with fashion. The only thing I missed a bit was some older material, at least Dreamspace, one of my favourites.

The playing was, as usual, accurate (and definitely more accurate than a year ago, which was, I think, the first show with Jörg and Jens). As Tolkki himself says, he doesn't play badly, and he did even some backing vocals. And he seems to even suffer from the same kind of syndrome as Steve Harris of Iron Maiden: every now and then he lip-syncs songs. Jens' solos proved once again that he's one of the top players in the world. And his line when Kotipelto gave him the mike: "Hello! How are you? Voi helvetti!" Kotipelto's singing was very confident, he hit even the highest notes very well throughout the show. Jörg threw dozens of drumsticks all around, acted like a beer fountain, and hit drums hard, fast and a lot. And I didn't hear a single mistake from Jari, but then again, you can never hear the bass anyway ;-)

What a great show, I'm still sore all over. Perhaps I'll even remember to take a camera with me to the Nummirock festival in June...

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