|Another year, another Sweden Rock Festival. This hard rocking paradise has now been extended into four full days of music. I had a jam-packed schedule with 31 bands on the "To see" list and managed to catch most of them as well as a few cool and not so cool surprises. I am going to take you through the events as I best remember them. 35 pages of notes and 888 pictures were used as the base of this report.
I was only granted a general photopass, not a pit photopass, which made it hard to get proper pictures for all the bands. Pictures are missing from those concerts where I was too far from the stage.
7 guys (Michael, I and all the Nice Try guys) set out from Aarhus at 5AM in Borg's newly obtained minibus and we reached the camping grounds around noon. There we hooked up with Mads, Nina and the whole Scottish crew who you may remember from previous years. They'd managed to save us some camping space and soon our tents were set up and it was, to quote the Quireboys, "time for a party"...
Right when we entered the camping ground I ran into John, the awesome pink guy from the Earthshaker festival who told us where the Swedish party camp was and that we should meet up later. Unfortunately I never managed to find him again even though I hunted through their camp every night.
Musically the day got off to a rocky start with the Danish Sleaze rockers Switchblade. The band didn't seem too confident on the stage and lacked energy. They were very static and generally didn't have a very good stage presence with some awkward poses. To my ears Ken Anthony's voice is not convincing and he has to work on that for the band to be really interesting. It was a band with a lot of heart and good musicians, but they still have a long way to go.
Half way through Switchblade I headed off to see Crazy Lixx, A Swedish Glam/Sleaze band I had no previous knowledge of. Now this was much much better. The band was playing the small Sweden Radio stage but they had a ton of attitude and they came off as hungry and aggressive. Their interaction with the audience was also great and it was obvious that the young and wild audience dug the band. Crazy Lixx was probably the band t-shirt I saw the most during the whole festival. Between songs the lead singer was talking in Swedish and I didn't understand a word he said. Cobblers...
"Death Row" and "Heroes are Forever" stood out as especially memorable songs. Nearing the end of the show lead singer D.C. Danny D. announced that "Next year we will be playing over there" (It was translated to me later) as he pointed towards the biggest Festival Stage. Crazy Lixx played a very good concert and I will surely check them out in the future, but in the end they came on as wanting to be "the wasted generation" just a bit too much.
Nocturnal Rites... NOT
Just time for a quick beer run back to the camp before I was off again to check out Nocturnal Rites. Unfortunately the guards at the entrance wouldn't let me in because my camera was too big... That I actually had a photo pass did not seem to impress them. The manager was called and a long discussion ensued. In the end I had enough and headed down to enter the festival area through the backstage entrance instead. Doh! This meant that I only caught the last ½ song of Nocturnal Rites. A shame because I was just in the mood for some sing-a-long melodic metal.
Andromeda blew any kind of annoyance from my mind by playing an absolutely phenomenal show. Technically this was just about the most impressive show of the entire festival. The band members seemed to enjoy themselves immensely and came of as a top class act. They married technicality with showmanship and got the audience to sing along to the music. "In the deepest of waters" sounded fantastic
After about half an hour of drooling at Andromeda I had to head off to get a good spot for the highly awaited CrashDïet but color me impressed!
I was somewhat hesitant towards this concert. Dave Lepard (R.I.P.) was a main attraction of their fantastic album and the replacement had a lot to prove.
Sadly the band opened the concert with an awful sound that didn't do them justice. "Knokk 'em down" brought the show off to an explosive start, but there seemed to be something missing for the band was unable to really excite. This was especially true for the first part of the show where the band seemed a shadow of their, on the record, confident selves.
Through the concert they improved and it was great to hear songs like "Riot in everyone", "Queen Obscene" and "Out of line" live with a crazy audience that was singing along just like me. There was a lot of pushing in the front rows of the audience and a lovable girl was clinging on to me for most of the show. I did not mind.
Several new songs were aired and they did not seem to hold the same magic as the old ones. The encore "Breakin' the chainz" ended a show which left me unconvinced.
To me the band had an almost insurmountable mountain of proving to do. Overall the new lead singer didn't make the cut, but there is certainly potential. It was so great to see the band live, but they failed to live up to the wildness that their album showcased and I couldn't help leaving the concert with a taste of disappointment in my mouth. I guess it is time to leave the past behind and move on.
A major heatwave had set in and around 7:30AM it became too hot to sleep anymore. Instead a breakfast/dinner buffet was discovered near the beach and 4 types of meat was devoured with much enthusiasm.
Just past noon the English hard rockers Thunder took the festival stage. Right from the start there was a party vibe going on, with AC/DC's Thunderstruck being played through the speakers as an introduction.
The band entered the stage and went straight into my personal favorite, "Loser" from their "Shooting at the sun" album. This set the stage for a show that in one word can be summed up as Great!
Lead singer Danny Bowes had a strong voice and a true stage presence as he ran around on the big stage, full of energy through the entire show. The rest of the band did great as well.
"The devil made me do it" (link to funny video) was one memorable highlight, which had us all singing along. An acoustic guitar was brought out for a couple of songs and I remember one of the ballads they played being especially striking. That along with a song from the first Thunder album were special highlights. I didn't catch the names of the songs since Michael was using my notebook.
"Dirty Love" was a superb set closer and Danny separated the crowd for one last big sing a long. I went from the Thunder party humming "na-na-na-na-na" with a definite desire to check the band out further.
Quiet Riot / Those we don't speak of
I'd just discovered the Quiet Riot album "Metal health" so I was looking forward to checking them out.
Mads and I were in a queue for some food as Quiet Riot opened the show with the main riff of Metal Health. We looked at each other with a torn look of "Food or Music". But the riff soon turned into some other song which I did not know. So we got the food, got the beer and sat down in the grass to enjoy the concert. Unfortunately Quiet Riot failed to excite me and the drum solo certainly didn't help.
There was one pretty funny moment though when the lead singer asked the audience "Anybody here from Tennessee?"
"Anybody here have had sex with hookers?"
and then the band went right into "Red Light Mama".
Besides that "Slick black Cadillac" was a highlight for me, if only because I knew the song in advance. But the band gave it a pretty good run through.
A rumor was going round that none other than Daniel Heiman of Lost Horizon fame would join the, to me, unknown act "Those we don't speak of" on stage for a duet. Thus I was torn between Quiet Riot and that other band which hhmmm, can't be mentioned.
I caught the first 45 minutes of Quiet Riot and then headed for the Zeppelin stage to see if this really could be true. I didn't know what to expect, but I had no idea what was in store. I managed to sit through 1½ song of unimpressive nu-metallic crap with a lead singer who had absolutely no stage presence, before I ran back to catch the final part of Quiet Riot. TWDSO wasn't worth sitting through, even to hear Daniel Heiman.
Quiet Riot were unfortunately just about finished and I only heard the last notes of Metal Health. I was later told that Quiet Riot played all their hits in the last half hour of the show which had been great. Totally wrong decision on my part. Bogus...
Nina and Mads later told me that Daniel Heiman had in fact appeared! According to them he had appeared on stage and sung some kind of hardcore rap song which had sounded absolutely horrible and didn't fit his voice at all. It had been completely embarrassing and as Nina said, it was a sad day for metal. Have you run mad constable Habib?... Sorry Daniel?
Everything was forgotten as THE most awaited band on my part was about to take the Rock stage by means of a hopefully earth shattering performance.
I had never seen Symphony X live before so you can imagine the high expectations I had. To say it shortly: I wasn't let down. The whole band played absolutely amazing. I had gotten a pretty good spot at the front right side of the stage and as the band opened the show with "Of sins and shadows" I was all smiles. Oh yes, I felt this was going to be good. The band was incredibly tight and Russel Allen's voice was in top shape. Seriously, I was amazed how much power this man has in his voice. He truly is a vocal man-beast of power.
Michael Romeo's performance on guitar was just as impressive, he was constantly going through some riff or solo with extra cool details being added. He was on fire. Well, the whole band was. This was a tight unit, that looked and sounded like they were in their essence.
After a great roar of approval from the many fans assembled in the front rows Russel introduced a new song, "Domination", which sounded extremely heavy and aggressive. Russell sang in an incredibly aggressive way here. Continuing in this mold "Inferno (Unleash the fire)" didn't leave any moment to catch ones breath.
Even though the weather was extremely hot there was just no holding back during this concert. Three new songs were aired and they sounded very promising. It sounds like the new album will reach new heights in heavy aggression while keeping the melodic element in focus. "Set the world on fire" had a chorus that caught my ear right away.
Besides the new songs "Communion and the oracle" was a highlight
After "Sea of Lies" the band left the stage only to came back after 20 seconds of massive chanting.
I had several hopes for encores, but not even in my wildest dreams had I thought that they would play the title track of The Odyssey at a festival. But they played THE WHOLE THING! Russell made a joke about the length of the song before they went into its opening instrumental introduction.
I had what you could call a major smile on my face with my jaw was hanging down in the dusty ground for most of the song.
The band performed The Odyssey just right by playing everything themselves without any noticeable playback. Of course some of the instrumental parts sounded different in this setting, but in this way, much more raw, direct and completely convincing. Although there were a few short pauses during the song the performance felt pretty much perfect and this was the absolute best 24 minutes of the entire festival. Russell sang the quiet parts with so much emotion that he managed to outperform the sun and send chills down my spine.
The last 3 minutes of the song proved that paradise on earth hasn't been lost just yet. As Michael Romeo's guitar introduced the songs main theme an indescribable magic feeling descended on the stage and the band performed the last part with so much vigor that my long-time dream of one day hearing this song performed live was fulfilled in the most astounding way. Hands were raised high, heads were banged and our voices filled the air, only to be run over by Russell's massive roar. The way he sang this last part, well the way the whole band played, is simply indescribable and one of those moments that has gone into my little book of magical live moments.
Symphony X left the stage triumphant, bathed not only in the rays of the sun but also in a mass of "We're not worthy" fans.
Of sins and shadows
Communion and the oracle
Set the world on fire
The Serpents kiss
Sea of Lies
The only problem with the Symphony X show was the sound which had the drums drowning out everything else way too much. It got better through the set, but never really did the band any justice. This was a problem for all the bands I saw at the Rock stage this year.
I didn't have any time to rest or reflect on what had just happened as Meat Loaf was playing on the Festival stage 15 minutes later. So I skipped happily across the festival grounds to get a good spot.
Meat Loaf was another of my highly awaited concerts and the stage was set for a show, hopefully with a cornucopia of "Bat out of hell" songs from all three parts.
The show opened with one of my least favorite songs of Part III, "If it ain't broke break it". The stage show took my attention away from the music for a while as I gazed onto the pretty impressive set, adorned with huge props that worked like dancing dolls, constantly rising and falling as they were filled with air and inflated again.
The band consisted of the following people:
Meat Loaf: Vocals
Paul Crook: Guitar
Randy Flowers: Guitar
Kasim Sulton: Bass
Mark Alexander: Keyboards
Dave Luther: Saxophone & Keyboards
John Miceli: Drums
Aspen Miller: Backing Vocals & Duet (Schwiiiing!)
Carolyn "C.C." Coletti-Jablonski: Backing Vocals & Duet (Schwiiiing!)
The two female singers were positively gorgeous and provided strong backing to Meat's slightly lacking voice. Aspen Miller especially had a wonderful voice. The band members filled up the stage very well and their stage show didn't leave much to be desired. Meat Loaf however looked absolutely stoned on several occasions, especially during this first song and his voice is not in quite as good shape as it was once. I thought he did an ok job overall, but he didn't look like he was enjoying himself so much.
"Paradise by the dashboard light" really brought the show into gear. Everyone where I was standing were singing along and looking around I saw people with big smiles on their faces. Meat Loaf and Aspen Miller acted out the lyrics in a way that was both funny and somewhat disturbing. Seeing Meat Loaf groping the young girl was a bit, well... yucky... It was however a great moment to experience the song live.
Another favorite was next with "You took the words right out of my mouth". Again everyone was singing and clapping along. Two Bat II songs were performed with "Out of the frying pan" and "Life is a lemon". Both were convincing. "In the land of the pigs the butcher is king" also came off pretty good and aggressive
"I'd do anything for Love..." had everyone singing along enthusiastically and it was pretty funny singing with the people in the front row as we looked at each other and agreed that we "wouldn't do that".
Bat out of Hell ended the regular show way too soon.
The encores was the big let down of the show as the band for some reason decided to play a bunch of cover songs. With so many great Meat loaf songs I thought this was a missed opportunity.
The audience at Meat Loaf was pretty diverse with pretty much every age group present. During the show I managed to have different sing a longs with two teenage girls, a woman in her forties and a black metal dude in sunglasses (We sang "I'd do anything for love" by the way).
Over all a splendidly entertaining but bumpy show. I, for one, was satisfied and I had a great time in the second row.
If It Ain't Broke Break It
Paradise By The Dashboard Light
You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth
Out Of The Frying Pan
Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back
In The Land Of The Pigs,The Butcher Is King
I'd Do Anything For Love
Bat Out Of Hell
Black Betty (Ram Jam)
Mercury Blues (K.C. Douglas)
Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)
More Meat Loaf impressions:
On my way to see Thin Lizzy who started 15 minutes later I walked past the Gibson tent and saw that Zan Clan was about to start, so I stayed and watched the first part of their show and got a few pictures. They sounded pretty good.
After 15 minutes I headed over to see Thin Lizzy who had been a great discovery when I saw them play in Aarhus a couple of years back. Tonight was no different. They put on a good performance with John Sykes doing his best Phil Lynott impression. They didn't quite surpass the intimate setting of a club, but still managed to fill up the stage pretty good. "Jailbreak" and "Waiting for an alibi" got the show off to a great start. I was quite tired at this point so I watched the show from afar. "Chinatown" was another favorite in the first part of the show.
During "Dancing in the moonlight" I ran for some food since I was starved after this long day of continuous concerts and arrived back in time for Mr. Aldrige's drum solo. After hearing the superb "Emerald" I decided to head back to the camp to see if anybody was there so I wouldn't be all alone for today's headliner, Heaven and Hell. Luckily the Scotsmen were partying so I joined them with a beer and a few nicely placed Monty Python quotes. Soon after we were off to catch the legendary Black Sabbath, sort of.
Heaven and Hell
The stage was decorated to look like a big graveyard and it was pretty convincing. The band opened with "Mob Rules". The big screens on each side of the stage were utilized throughout the concert, showing various pieces of imagery in tune with the songs. However, this element of the show didn't always work as well as it could have. After "Children of the sea", "Dehumanizer", "Sign of the southern cross" and "Voodoo" Vinny Appice started his drum solo and I had to sit down in the grass since I was absolutely exhausted. I ended up nodding asleep to the tones of the last half of the set.
I awoke with a surprised "Moo!" as Andrew was trying to wake me up. The band was introducing their encore and I decided that this song I'd better make up for what I'd missed and we all started a massive headbanging, jump routine that lasted for the entire song. It was "Neon Knights" that closed the set by the way.
After this I was feeling rather revitalized, so I hit the backstage bar and had some fun with a group of Swedish guards. After a few beers the time was around 3 so I decided I'd better get some sleep as the festival was only half-way through.
I, Andrew, Craig, Barry, Nina, Mads and "oh my god I can't remember his name" went for the awesome breakfast buffet which today had been totally obliterated by the many hungry metalheads. Only one type of meat remained and that was just disappointing.
Andrew and I got over our frustration by letting out our inner cows for a while. (You had to be there)
I headed down early to get a good spot for the Danish Heavy Metal heroes, Pretty Maids. This time they had Morten Sandager from Mercenary on keyboard and he did a much better job than the last guy who had almost made a polka out of Future World back at the Skanderborg Festival last year.
The show got underway with the classic "Back to Back". Any morning sleepiness was blown away by the sheer force of the band. Ronnie Atkins was on fire during this show, roaring with a mighty power. Several new songs had found their way to the setlist. "Such a Rush" and "Another shot of your love" came off especially great live. "Wake up to the real world", (mistakenly introduced by Ronnie as Welcome to the... (whoops)) and "I am the End" were the other new songs played.
I don't know if the band was unrehearsed today or something but Ronnie introduced "Virtual Brutality" by saying "Ken will introduce this on guitar" but after a few seconds he still hadn't played anything and Ronnie had to shout "Virtual Brutality". I didn't notice much of anything during this, now permanent, highlight of a Pretty Maids show as I was too busy headbanging and rocking along. The song came off with absolute power today.
"Please don't leave me" was dedicated to the late Phil Lynott and brought the biggest cheer from the crowd. Today's version sounded awesome. "Love games" ended the regular set, but the band soon came running back and ended the show with "Future world" and "Red hot and heavy". A very satisfying beginning to the day
Back to back
Rock The House
I am the end
Wake up to the real world
Such a rush
Another shot of your love
Please don't leave me
Red hot and heavy
There was just time for a White Lion warm up party back at the camp before we headed for the Sweden stage where the real party was about to begin. "White Lion" played an awesome set with most of my favorites. "Hungry" made for a powerful opener. Guitarist Jamie Law was in total Vito-mode and played superbly through the concert. The audience was into the band and everyone sang along to the opening words of "Little Fighter". A couple of trips back in time were taken with "El Salvador" and "All the fallen Men" while "Living on the Edge", "Broken Heart" and "Tell me" made for an awesome all-singing air guitar trilogy in the middle of the set.
Mike fortunately didn't talk too much during the show. Nearing the end he started talking about 80'ies ballads like "Rime of the ancient Mariner" and "Heaven and hell" and then they played "When the Children Cry". Only the ending of the show with the great live yawn that is "When the children cry" and their cover of "Radar love" brought down some of my excitement. Still a great great show.
Living on the edge
All the fallen men
If my mind is evil
Lady of the valley
When the children cry
As soon as White Lion had finished I ran for the Zeppelin stage where the Swedish prog metal band Circus Maximus had already begun playing. Unfortunately they were talking Swedish and it just felt wrong, but musically I got the message. The band was impressive technically and played a very good show with "The Prophecy" being a definite highlight of the part of the show I heard. The singer sounded kinda shrill on occasion though.
After Forever was next band on the Zeppelin stage and I enjoyed their concert sitting in the grass on the hill in front of the stage. I had to keep some strength for later in the evening. After Forever may have had the best sound of the entire Festival. I was absolutely blown away by their performance. Floor Jansen sang in an astounding voice, filled with power, holding notes for way longer than should be possible and switching between her operatic voice and back to normal voice again effortlessly. If I wasn't already sitting down I would have been knocked to the ground by their performance anyway. Their guitarist was absolutely superb as well, having a mean heavy sound and playing solos and riffs with a special vigor. The whole band was incredibly tight and flawless as far as I could hear. However, Floor was completely out of breath between the songs and her talks with the audience fell flat.
The band's performance and the massive thick sound felt almost too good to be true and I started wondering if there was some kind of playback in this. My fears were somewhat realized when the band played "Withering Times" and Floor suddenly sounded completely different from all the songs that had come before it. Not just singing in a different voice, but the sound of her voice was very different. During "Energize me" it also became obvious that there were two voices of Floor singing at the same time. No matter how much I wanted to embrace their performance I couldn't help but doubt it.
After After AfterAfterAfterAfterAfter... sorry got carried away a bit. I'll try again... After After AfterAfterAfterAfterAfter. Oh cobblers, I give up...
Following After Forever I headed for the backstage bar and met up with Michael for a well provided meal of the day. Like two brothers of metal (or should I say one brother of metal and one hairy glam rocker) we headed back to the festival area to catch Hardcore Superstar, a hard rock band I had wanted to check out for a while now. The band impressed me with the aggressive and catchy music and I decided I had to get a taste of their albums soon.
At some point during Hardcore Superstar we headed for the Zeppelin stage to witness the last ever Talisman concert, which was overlapping. It turned out to be a great choice. Jeff Scott Soto sang amazing. A huge crowd had assembled at the small Zeppelin stage to witness this last hurrah. Several songs were instantly captivating and this is one band I guess I came a bit too late for.
After Talisman we headed directly for the Rock stage and Skid Row were we met up with the Nice Try guys and watched the show from afar. To be honest I don't remember much more than thinking that I had to get their self titled debut soon. Halfway through the concert I decided to head back to the camp to look for a party.
The next morning when I woke up I'd lost my voice, I couldn't see straight, I had a big wound on my left knee and I couldn't remember a thing after Skid Row. WTF!!?
During the wee hours of the morning I did slowly start to recollect some things but due to the professional nature of this report I will refrain from elaborating further...
Okay, so apparantly I had been looking for John and Albin but instead run into some Swedish King Diamond fans and we celebrated our common affection with a bottle of Whisky and plenty of sing-a-longs. After checking out a few Aerosmith songs we headed for the bar where I seem to remember singing "LOA House" while ordering a beer. I lost the Swedes around that time but then I ran into Michael, who was also quite thirsty so we ended up getting thrown out of the backstage bar by a very nice girl when they closed down at around 3. I then ran the whole way back to the tent as it was suddenly friggin' freezing outside and I was still walking around in bare feet and shorts...
And so, somehow, the last day of Sweden Rock had arrived.
As Andrew and I headed for the Zeppelin stage we were playing the game of "how to recognize different types of trees from quite a long way away". For some reason we never got further than..... well, you should know.
Falconer has re-united with their original vocalist Mattias Blad and I was looking very much forward to hearing him in action. Back in 2003 where Christian had been fronting the band on the same stage he had been the only weak link in the band so today the hopes were high for something extraordinary.
The new song "Northwind" opened the set and at once I was focused on Mattias' voice. He sings just as well live as one record and I stood amazed. The set list was a great mix of old favorites and newer, soon to be, gold. The whole audience was very enthusiastic and there was a great mood of respect and fun between everyone.
Falconer delivered a superbly enjoyable party and even though my voice was shattered I couldn't help but sing along (more of a mime really) to fantastic songs like "Upon the grave of guilt", "Quest for the crown" and "Enter the glade".
When the band finished their set with "Clarion Call" I was somehow waving a big plastic battle axe high in the air.
Upon the grave of guilt
Catch the shadow
Spirit of the wood
Quest for the crown
Sanctity and purgory
Enter the glade
After Falconer I was even more wasted than when I woke up so I decided to get some food and find a spot in the shade to rest. So I laid down beneath a big three and promptly fell asleep.
As in a kind of far away hobbit's dream I suddenly found myself in the middle of the "War of Wrath". I sat bold upright, rubbing the sleep from my eyes with a grubby fist, and sure enough, Blind Guardian was entering the main Festival stage right now. So I ran as fast as I could, first to the bar and then to the stage and in a perfectly timed moment I arrived just as the band blasted into Into the storm (No I won't repeat the same joke twice...)
Blind Guardian played a good concert, but some things weren't exactly convincing. I wonder why they introduced themselves as "We're Blind Guardian from Aarhus, Denmark!" (The town where I live by the way). What was that all about?
Then after "Into the storm" Hansi proceeded to say "We're the evil Blind Guardian..." which sounded really dumb. Then he said that now they would play some sad music and the band blasted into "Born in a Mourning hall". To say it gently, the band's crowd interaction did not work. Being more realistic, it was really quite embarrassing at times.
Seeing so many bands it quickly became obvious that some bands had the audience in their hands while others completely missed the touch.
Anyway, musically, and that is what really counts, Blind Guardian was excellent. Hansi sang with a ton of power. Only when he tried to reach the high notes did he fail miserably. Luckily he didn't do that very often, but those times he did it left an ugly impression.
The song choice was great with personal favorites like "The Script for my requiem", "I'm alive", "Nightfall", "Imaginations..." and as Hansi introduced it "The best song ever", Valhalla (Umm, I don't think so) were my personal highlights. They also played the entire "And then there was silence" which is always a great experience but especially in this song did Hansi have a problem reaching the higher notes. "The Bard song" and "Mirror Mirror" ended a good show.
Into the storm
Born in a mourneing hall
The Script for my requiem
Another stranger me
This will never end
And then there was silence
Imaginations from the other side
The bard song
I had to sit down for the last part of Blind Guardian's show since I wanted to gather my strength for what I hoped would be one of the absolute highlights of the festival, Iced Earth. I headed down there early to get a good spot and right away met Mads at the front. We were both extremely excited to finally see the band with Tim "Ripper" Owens at the front. Since the band had 1½ hours to play we quickly decided that they had enough time to play BOTH their amazing trilogies. Yay!
Well, we would find that out soon, because the band walked onto the stage and blew right into "Burning times". The Ripper quickly proved that he has an absolutely amazing voice. His piercing screams left nothing to be desired in the power department. However he did lack that unique Matthew Barlow touch as he doesn't quite have the same range. Still, I'm not complaining.
The band was convincing and played a great concert. Jon played the fast riffs with precision and the band sounded pretty damn tight. "Declaration Day" came off extremely powerful in the hot sun. The air in the front rows was one big cloud of dust, which made it hard to breathe. That didn't stop me from screaming voicelessly along.
The band took us through a nice part of their back catalogue with "Vengeance is mine", "Pure Evil" (A crowd favorite), "The Reckoning" and "The Hunter" (A personal favorite).
As Ripper introduced the new single I was sure they would play the whole trilogy, but we only got the new song "Ten thousand strong". As far as remember it was this song that the Ripper ended with an Eric Adams-like scream which lasted the best part of 20 seconds. Impressive
"Jack" is one of my least favorite songs of Horror Show and I was slightly disappointed to not hear Dracula with The Ripper on vocals. A great version of My Own Savior ended the show.
With 45 minutes left to play Mads and I quickly calculated that they did indeed have time for both trilogies. Oddly the band bowed and threw out drum sticks, left the stage and never came back. Everyone chanted and waited for about 8 minutes. A guy in the pit signaled to the front of house by slicing his hand across his neck and that couldn't be good. Iced Earth ended their concert 45 minutes too early and we were never told why. Something must have gone wrong but the least they could do was tell us what.
Mads and I left the stage in a strange mood. It was a great but also disappointing concert.
Vengeance is mine
Ten Thousand Strong
My Own Savior
REO Speedwagon was also on my list of check-out bands. Their music hit right home with me, being very melodic, pleasant and performed with spirit and heart. Although "Is the lead singer a girl" was my first question to the all-knowing REO Speedwagon fan Michael, I was instantly captivated by his high voice and the vocal melodies he sang. Especially "Time for me to fly" had some sweet vocal harmonies. I was charmed by the band and their comfortable crowd interaction. All in all a major surprise and another band to check out in the near future.
Quireboys ends the party
After REO Speedwagon it was directly into the Gibson tent for party time with the Quireboys. These guys played a great show and even had a John Sykes look-a-like in the band. It was too bad I was so damn tired and had no voice. Lead singer Spike was a big smile through the whole concert and his hoarse voice held up great in a live situation. Several songs from "A bit of what you fancy", the only album of theirs I have heard yet, were aired. Songs like "Sex party", "Hey You", "Misled" and "Roses & Rings" were live killers. The band interacted well and certainly convinced me that party rock is alive and kicking. The packed Gibson tent agreed.
Spike asked what time it was and after a little time to think everybody shouted back 7!! "7 o'clock" ended a great party.
After the Quireboys party we headed directly over to catch the last part of Motörhead's show. Now the bad sound that plagued all bands I had seen at the Rock stage really came to its own. Motörhead had a really weird, thin sound with no oomph at all, but plenty of treble. It sounded completely wrong. We made it to the stage in time to see the massive light rig fly out of the sky as "Bomber", "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill" ended the show.
After Motörhead, Scorpions was closing down the festival. At this point, 30 minutes to midnight, I was completely gone and I decided that this was the end for me. I said goodnight to the other guys and headed back to my tent, only to find it open and broken into. Luckily only a case of beers had gone. A "lie down and die" goes out to all the sad motherfuckers who can't leave other people's things alone. Several tents around where we camped were broken into during the festival and things were stolen.
Silly Monty Python quotes, mad cow syndrome and Manowar sing-alongs all contributed to a great four day party together with the Scotsmen, Nina, Mads and all the Nice Try guys. Next year we shall play a game of "How not to be seen". Oh yes.
Sweden Rock 2007 was once again a fantastic festival. It should be seen as a good thing when the worst I can think of was how overbooked my schedule was. I will be back!
||Click pictures for a bigger version
On the road again
The Scotsmen and a fallen cow
All pictures taken by Steen
Written By Steen
Online: Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2014 - Added the old article to the site
Thursday, June 28, 2007 - Stuart
I agree 100% with the reviews of Meatloaf and Blind Guardian. Meat really cant sing anymore but his backing band and stage show make up for it (I've just spend £40 on a ticket to see him in Glasgow in november,im a sad bastard) and the crowd didnt seem to be up for Guardian. Which is a shame as ive seen them before and the are an amazing live band. Also I cant believe you didnt go see UDO, the wee man was on fire!
Thursday, June 28, 2007 - Stuart
Oh yeah and the song that Danny Heiman joined Those We Dont Speak Of(accurate name, I never want to have to talk about them again) on was My Own Summer by The Deftones. I actually like The Deftones later work but that song is dreadful, easily one of the only low points of the festival. Now lets put the whole thing behind us and never mention it again ;)
Thursday, June 28, 2007 - Andrew
"I, Andrew, Craig, Barry, Nina, Mads and "oh my god I can't remember his name" went for the awesome breakfast buffet" I'm going to assume that's some kind of joke that I don't get... but just in case you actually can't remember; his name is Thomas. HA AH! Great review Steeny-pants, I wish I could remember the tree-spotting game, I really do. I agree with Stretchy's comments there... YOU SHOULD HAVE WENT TO SEE U.D.O. as they were ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!
Thursday, June 28, 2007 - Steen
Andrew: My god, your memory is as bad as mine haha. The tree spotting game was the funniest thing that happened on saturday. I wasn't actually talking about Thomas (Grandma), though I forgot to mention him (her) as well (Damn alzheimers) No, there was one more Scottish dude with us and I can't remember his name.
Saturday, June 30, 2007 - Dennis the Menace
Damn your camera was too big!!! Ha! I wish I could have joined you again, but that is what festival reports are written for: to make the unlucky who had to stay at home suffer. Although I enjoyed reading your adventures. Friday night sounded great to me. And yes, Bowes is King. I saw Thunder a week ago in Balingen, along with Sabbath, VR and WASP. So I did not really have to suffer that hard. Thunder's ballad might have been "Love Walked In". This one was a killer at the Bang Your Head. Ahhh Quireboys...never got able to see them. Fucking thieves! We know that... I skipped the Guardian and the Iced Earth lines 'cause I don't wanna know the setlist for WOA before. Only 4 more weeks! See ya there. We'll arrange it somehow, and bring Grandma with you this time. We'll sing the new songs then. Greetz to all of you. Dennis.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007 - Andrew
Ha ah! Dennis the Menace! Brilliant!!!! Steen, there was no other Scottish dude there. You named them all. You're mental! NI!!
Wednesday, July 4, 2007 - Steen
Hey Dennis! Great to hear from you. I will see you in Wacken. Mentally yours, Steen
Saturday, March 22, 2008 - Andrew
STEEN!!!! Check out this video... http://vimeo.com/809681
Friday, March 28, 2008 - Steen
I'm bringing a new hat this year!