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ConcertsOverkill and Sonata Artica Power Their Way into NYC 4/14/05

Posted on Tuesday, May 03 2005 @ 20:32:36 CDT by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

Hot on the heels of their latest releases ReliXIV and Reckoning Night, Overkill and Sonata Artica stormed into New York's BB King Blues Club on April 14th to a packed house of starving thrash and power metal maniacs.

Sea of Tranquility's Ken Pierce was in the house and brings his full report of the show, plus we also have commentary from Pete Pardo who caught the Starland Ballroom gig.

I have to admit that my personal excitement was at a very high level for this show and there are a couple of reasons for this being the case. Not only would Overkill be returning to home turf to lay down the metal in support of their latest Spitfire Records release ReliXIV, but this show would also feature Finnish Power Metal kings Sonata Arctica. What made it extra special was the fact that Sonata was going to be in NYC for the very first time. Originally, they were set to open for Nightwish but that tour had been mysteriously cancelled for the US dates. Fans of Sonata were up in arms-what were going to be the chances of seeing them play over here now? Luckily Overkill placed them on some dates and they also grabbed a festival or two along the way. The other great aspect of this night would be that instead of sitting through five bands, we would only have these two super groups. In this you would get lengthier sets from both bands. Mind you, I enjoy when all 5 bands are kick ass, but that is few and far between. B.B. King Blues Club was again the venue for this appearance and it would never be the same again. Metal would be present in a united front that took pioneers in thrash from the USA and put reigning European kings of power on the same stage. The show was completely sold out, which proves to those that say metal music is dead that they should keep their mouths shut. The venue holds about 1100 people and selling this out is no feat to be scoffed at.

Sonata Artica

Hitting the stage with all guns blazing, Sonata Arctica plowed through a 90 minute set that featured both older material as well as some numbers from their latest release Reckoning Night. As soon as they hit the first chords, you were able to see the strong show of support that this band had gathered in the USA. While considered juggernauts in their native Finland the group was unaware of the reception that they would get from an audience here in the States. I remember talking to one girl who was so excited about the show that she and her boyfriend arrived at the venue at 1pm in hopes to meet her favorite band. She did by the way. For those that have not heard Sonata Arctica yet I advise you to pick up the new release or Winterheart's Guild. These CD's seemed to comprise the larger part of the current performing set. Watching them you can see that it looks like they are having a good time up there by laughing and smiling. Lead singer Tony Kakko sounds exactly like he does on the record in a live setting and to me that is always a win-win deal. I was informed that the tour for them will be short, but according to Tony and the road manager they are hoping to come back in the immediate future. I felt that perhaps this gig was better for them than the Nightwish one would have been, for I think there were 4 bands set to play for those shows. We would have gotten a little over 30 minutes if that was the case. Give me 90 minutes of metal anytime.


When Overkill was ready to deliver the goods the temperature and excitement had risen to extreme levels in the venue. Overkill had not done too many shows in the area over the recent months so it was great to have a full show being done in NYC. As I recall the last thing they did was play at Eddie Trunk's birthday bash (he is a popular local radio personality). The bash was more of a jamming gig than a full set so it's not the same thing. Within seconds of the band hitting the stage the audience was in frenzy. Heads banging faster than I have seen with areas of the floor in mosh pit mode and all while the crowd surfing was in full sway. Overkill has been around for 20 years now and these fans are with them for the long haul. It's a true sign of dedication in these fans that show up from miles around. Leader Bobby Blitz is always excited about performing and gives you his all each and every night. His familiar screech clearly definable over the crunching bass work of D.D. Verni (his long time collaborator and original core member). Tim Mallare was invisible to me behind his massive drum kit but he thundered away on them. Guitarists Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer smoked on the axes as they and the group blazed through a blistering set that was a combination of the new CD and some of their most classic material. It was a wise decision to do this as there are so many great old Overkill songs. While the set was intense and well-put together I was sad to not hear the track "Overkill" or "Years Of Decay" (as they remain two of my favorites to this very day). Bobby made sure to surf the crowd late in the show, which he always does as I understand. He loves his fans and it shows though it always amazes me that he chooses to risk his neck in that stuff. As you can see by the listed tunes there were even a couple of surprises performed that night.


I had the chance to shoot some killer pictures of the show for both bands. While Sonata Arctica performed the crowd was excitable but not crazy, yet when Overkill hit the stage this would change drastically. There was a makeshift barrier fence cordoning off the stage from the bouncers, and this was braced by beer kegs. I can attest to you that this was tested to its capacity and while the bouncers were pushing back and holding it up it failed miserably. This was very important to me and you might ask why. Well, I WAS BEHIND IT TAKING PICS!!!!!. Clearly not a lot of fun for me realizing I had to flee to the side stage. Afterwards and backstage Blitz caught up with me and said "hey you made it out alright, good to see since I saw that thing going and was like fuck get him out of there". I said I never expected it to get like that and he replied "what do you expect Ken, this is an Overkill show".

Ken and Blitz

(Click here to see Ken's full set of photos from the show)

Sonata Arctica Set List:
1. Intro
2. Misplaced
3. Blinded No More
4. Full Moon - White Pearl
5. Victoria's Secret
6. Broken
7. 8th Commandment
8. Shamandalie
9. Kingdom For A Heart
10. Replica
11. My Land
12. Black Sheep
13. Sing In Silence
14. The End Of This Chapter
15. Graven Image - encore
16. Don't Say A Word - encore
17. The Cage - encore

Overkill Set List (no order):
1. Old School
2. Bats In The Belfry
3. Powersurge
4. Rotten To The Core
5. Hello From The Gutter
6. Elimination
7. Within Your Eyes
8. Blood And Iron
9. Thanx For Nothin
10. Necroshine
11. Fuck You
12. Damned
13. Under One
14. God-Like
15. Wrecking Crew
16. Nice Day For A Funeral
17. Gasoline Dream

Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo was at the Overkill show a week later April 23rd at New Jersey's Starland Ballrom. "This was a homecoming for Overkill, and close to 1000 people (perhaps more) packed into the sizeable venue for a long night of metal. I say metal because 5 opening bands preceeded Overkill, and they ran the gamut from 80's style power metal to loud, generic thrash, to gothic metal, none really holding the attention of the very pro-Overkill crowd. When Blitz, DD and the boys did hit the stage, the crowd went bezerk and sang and thrashed along to Overkill classics old and new. The set list was identical to the BB King show, and left the surging crowd happy and anticipating the next time the band makes a stop in NJ to deliver their brand of metal to the hometown crowd."

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