During a mini tour in Finland, Stratovarius took a stop in Tavastia, Helsinki on 24 November. The concert, turned out to be a very special one as bassist Lauri Porra was unavailable due to a conflict in his schedule. The band found replacement in legendary Jari Kainulainen.
Tavastia was quite packed, which was surprising because there were many gigs around town that night and according to the Facebook event, the evening was not sold out. The turnout was great and many people seemed to be excited by return of Jari Kainulainen. I found myself on the second row, with mixed feelings. No photopit, would this be one of those photographer-gets-pushed-around-all-the-time events? Or would this be an amazingly intimate gig?
With no support band, the gig started around 21.30 with an epic orchestral intro. Soon the band came on the stage and kicked in with “Forever Free”. This made clear that Stratovarius doesn’t really need a support band. No one needs to be warmed up to get hyped up. One song is all it takes. To answer my question in the previous paragraph. The event turned out to be an intimate treat for all fans. Timo Kotipelto was moving around a lot, interacting with the crowd, joking around, making us feel welcome and at home.
The setlist was filled with Stratovarius classics, proving the fine craftsmanship of Jari Kainulainen: “Eternity”, “Speed of Light”, “Seasons of Change”, “Unbreakable” just to name a few. It is impossible to give you any highlights of the show. The whole show was one highlight after another. If I have to call a specific moment my favorite then perhaps it was when “Black Diamond” kicked in during the encore. Surprisingly I had never heard that one live before. I’m serious here. Last time I went to see Stratovarius, they skipped it, because everyone probably heard the song already, except me. So when this time they did play “Black Diamond” I couldn’t be more happy and excited about it.
And with “Hunting High and Low” the band ended the show with smiles on their faces (and on ours). It was a great night, filled with classics and a once-in-a-lifetime show.
© Video by Vesa Laamanen
© All music rights belong to Stratovarius
1. Forever Free
2. Shine in the Dark
4. My Eternal Dream
5. Distant Skies
6. Speed of Light
7. Season of Change
9. Against the Wind
11. The Kiss of Judas
12. Black Diamond
13. Hunting High and Low