January is upon us again. That means that there is a bunch of concerts announced for the fall season and we have got to stop hibernating, or at least that is what I had intended. When Sonata Arctica announced their little “The Winter Chapter Tour” in Finland, I felt like it would be a great start of the new year. I hadn’t seen Sonata Arctica since Pariah’s Child, of which during that set they only played songs from that album and the old school fan in me, died a little inside for the lack of classics like “FullMoon”.
The night got opened up by Dark Sarah. When Heide Parviainen left Amberian Dawn in 2012, she started to work on her own career and came up with Dark Sarah. The first concept album “Behind The Black Veil” was released in 2015, that one got followed by “The Puzzle” and currently they are about to release a third album called “The Golden Moth”, which will be released in spring.
Even a blizzard can’t stop Finns from going to concerts, even though the venue was not that packed yet and the event not sold out, there were quite some people who showed up to be part of the Dark Sarah experience. Most of the crowd seemed very welcoming and enthusiastic. When “Breath” played as an intro, the band soon came on stage to warm us up and the band kicked off with “Island in the Mist”. Heidi Parviainen has a phenomenal voice and in Dark Sarah it becomes even more clear so than with Amberian Dawn in the past. The band played a total of 9 songs “Dance with the Dragon” being my personal highlight.
The setlist also included their newest single “Trespasser”. During “Trespasser” JP Leppaluoto (ex-Charon) also appeared. During “Trespasser” it became clear to me that, while this genre is often hard to grasp, it is easier to view this performance as an artistic one. Parviainen and Leppaluoto seem more like actors than singers when singing this song and in the sense of that their performance was beautiful. Everything was well done, from vocals to music to their performance. The sound was great and the lighting beautiful and Dark Sarah definitely managed to warm up the Sonata Arctica fans by ending their setlist with “Aquarium”
2. Island in the Mist
3. Hunting the Dreamer
5. Evil Roots
6. Dance With the Dragon
7. Ash Grove
8. Silver Tree
Half an hour later, it was Sonata Arctica’s turn to go and they kicked off the concert with Offenbach‘s “Can Can”, which sets the mood already for the entire evening. It may have been a while since I have seen the band play live, but what I do remember from the past is that they don’t take themselves so seriously and they always seem like they have a blast on the stage. After “Can Can” the band came on stage and started out with a blast with “Shitload of Money” from “Stones Grow Her Name”. Tony Kakko as usual has a great energy and manages to hype up everyone right from the start. But it was from “Paid in Full” on that the band really got my attention.
Nowadays Sonata Arctica satisfy their newer fans with the new songs and thus classics like eg. “Victoria’s Secret” or “The Cage” often get lost in their newer setlists. This setlist did have a lot of classics: “Black Sheep”, “FullMoon”, but what really made me excited for this specific gig and tour is that they promised to play the “Caleb Saga” and that’s clearly something that the fans had been waiting for. From the moment that “The End of This Chapter” played, to the last beats of “Till Death’s Done Us Apart” the fans were excited and singing loudly, especially during “Don’t Say A Word” where the crowd had almost taken over from Tony Kakko. The band had the impression of being a bit tired because of the tour, however that didn’t stop them from a great performance, which continued in “White Pearl, Black Oceans…”, followed up by it’s part 2, the mark of an ending near. Tony Kakko noticed our enthusiasm and while usually there would be little break in between for us to shout that we would like to hear more, the Finns were straight to the point and gave us 3 more songs without the always stressful feeling of wondering if they are coming back to play songs or not.
“Tallulah” kicked in and everyone started singing along, which marked the end of a beautiful show. The true end was marked by “Life”. Personally I prefer one of the old classics much more as a song to close up the evening, I remember the combination of The Cage together with the Vodka-outro and it is still one of my all-time favorite memories of live gigs. But the choice to play “Life” at the end instead of the beginning of the show, is also logical because they couldn’t play “Don’t Say A Word” at the end because of it being part of the saga.
Nevertheless the whole crowd seemed excited up until the bitter end. Overall the gig was great, fun as usual with Sonata Arctica. And even after the show ended, it didn’t truly end as I caught myself singing many of the songs on my way back home. A great evening.
Check out our online gallery for more photos!
1. Shitload of Money
2. Paid in Full
3. Black Sheep
5. The End of This Chapter
6. Don’t Say A Word
9. Till Death’s Done Us Apart
10. White Pearl, Black Oceans…
11. White Pearl, Black Oceans, Pt. II: “By the Grace of the Ocean”
13. The Wolves Die Young
14. Life (with “Vodka” outro)
© Videos by Vesa Laamanen
© All music rights belong to Sonata Arctica
Article written by Laureline Tilkin