|» Gamma Ray 2006 01 19||
RAM has yet a lot to work on. So far they are a bunch of guys who like to do their Judas Priest thing on stage in front of some faithful fans. If they want to reach out there will have to be a bit more show to it than this. But as a warm up act for Gamma Ray they are just perfect. They have the songs already to fill a 30-minute set without any dips. They have the capacity to perform them as well, with sufficient musical skills. What I need is a bit more energy from the line behind the singer Oscar Carlquist. The Halford voice-alike on the other hand does a great job in the front, with his hairwork and energetic charisma. RAM does the best of their moment and songs like Sudden Impact, Machine Invaders and Infuriator are delivered hot and heavy.
7 chalices of 10
(sorry, no setlist)
The Storyteller enters the stage as a second warm up act. As such they get kind of squeezed in between the heavy metal enthusiasm of RAM and the main act for the evening. It is not an easy position to master. The audience is a bit weary already and although most of them know the band in some way, The Storyeteller do not have the star quality to bring their own fans to a gig like this. People are here to see Gamma Ray. It feels more like a thing that has to be done than something that both parts enjoy. Although a few highlights, such as Changeling from the latest album Underworld, this half an hour is not enough to be anything other than another check in the program.
5 chalices of 10
(sorry, no setlist)
It seems like a small piece of eternity before the curtain is opened again and Gamma Ray finally enters the stage. To master the cold Scandinavian climate Kai Hansen is wearing a tight, black cap that actually makes him look a bit hip. Unfortunately guitarist Henjo Richter bruised himself so badly on the ferry trip to Finland a couple of days before that he could not play this gig. According to Kai he fell down some metal stairs on deck, after more than a few drinks. His replacement is Kasperi Heikkinen from the Finnish Gamma Ray-tribute band Guardians Of Mankind. He does an honourable job in this difficult situation, but of course it is inevitable that he looks a bit lost in between his own idols.
Just as on the Skeletons In The Closet tour, Gamma Ray kicks off with Gardens Of The Sinner. This is a perfect choice that makes your expectations on the evening rise. Unfortunately the continuation with the pop hit Heaven Can Wait brings us down to earth again. That is the strength and weakness of Gamma Ray in one, the songs are so varied that however they choose someone will be pleased and another one unsatisfied. Following next are three songs from Majestic. My Temple, Fight and Blood Religion are quite good choices, although none of them really has the potential to be a highlight in a future live set. Actually it is rather great to have them done early in the set so that we all can concentrate on the treasure of classics from now on.
When the drums introduces One With The World we all expect the real show to take off. The wonderful metal-hit Heavy Metal Universe definitely continues on the right track. But just as we all are perfectly warmed up it comes - the invention from hell that destroys the best of concerts - the drum solo. It doesn't matter how skilled the drummer are (Zimmermann sure belongs to the best in his genre), this is a passage that inevitably brings collective yawning to the house.
Back on track again, the in my humble opinion all too popular hit song Beyond The Black Hole actually fills one of its best moments. But New World Order and The Silence make the tempo go down again and make it almost too obvious that so far the set has never really taken off to any higher level, more than just temporary. At this point you know that it is time to round off the evening, so Rebellion In Dreamland and Land Of The Free comes too late to save the whole thing. And why choose two songs from one of the least great Gamma Ray albums, Somewhere Out In Space, as encore numbers? The best songs on this record, but not the ones you patiently wait for as extras. At least one song has to be taken from Kai's time in Helloween of course. But a quite soulless version of I Want Out (even Helloween made it better on their latest tour) could have been spared in favour of Ride The Sky, Victim Of Fate or perhaps even Halloween.
Gamma Ray did what they had to do, but in the end I am a bit disappointed.
The band offers no extra show, just plays the songs straight away, there
are no surprises in the set and the band lacks that little extra playfulness
or energy to make this particular evening something special. Anyway, even
a Gamma Ray on routine is always worth a good grade, but they will have
to work a bit harder to reach the same level as on the Skeletons-set at
Gates Of Metal 2003.
7 chalices of 10