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Sonata Arctica: Live In Finland (CD/DVD)

I first came into contact with this band because of their phenomenal disc The Last Days of Grays. Since then I have been eagerly awaiting their next release. Until we get that studio album, we are graced with this delicious live package that gives you a heaping helping of what makes this band one of my constant companions. Not only are they truly gifted in their musical ability, this set of discs show their powerful stage presence in a way that I would hardly believe without seeing it myself.

The intimate setting of Blondie's in Detroit Michigan is where I witnessed these guys live. It did not prepare me for what I was about to see on this release. In their native Finland, on the big stage with a massive light show, pyrotechnics and a few thousand fans in front of them, Sonata Arctica are a phenomenal force. They were stunning in the setting I witnessed them play in but when they get the chance to unleash their fury in full the results are spectacular. I certainly hope I get a chance to see their big stage show first hand.

Sonata Arctica is a band that does not know how to take it easy. The energy of their music is infectious. The track "The Last Amazing Grays" from their latest studio release The Last Days of Grays is one of my favorite tracks from the past few years and a remarkable bit of melodic metal. You cannot help but be drawn in as they show you that metal can be uplifting and even happy. Combining elements of power metal with a folky feel at times, the band doesn't drag you down into the dark but has you looking skyward with a very uplifting style that does as much for the spirit as it does for the ears. Much of that can be attributed to the amazing keyboard (and keytar) work of Henrik Klingenberg. He is not the only factor though. Lead singer Tony Kakko is a very emotional singer who is also a master showman. One thing that comes out on the DVD portion of this release is just how much he is the cheerleader, spokesman and heart of the band. His voice echoes the hills and valleys that their songs take you to. From the tug on the heartstrings you get with the story of "Flag In The Ground" to the haunting "Replica" and even during the uplifting anthem "Don't Say A Word" Tony runs you through the gambit of emotions. At many times during this concert you can even hear him smiling!

The band also takes a break to sit around the campfire and deliver a terrific breather with an acoustic set that I wish they would have done when I saw them. You even get Tony picking up the guitar for this portion. This is a very versatile band that always entertains and no exception here. "May Lou", "Shy" and "Letter To Dana" let the band show a different side and the viewer is the one that wins. It is a fun set and a breather before they hit you with the dramatic "Caleb"!

The first DVD in this package is a full concert that was recorded in Oulu Finland and the second disc is excerpts from the open air concert in their hometown of Kemi Finland along with the acoustic set from Milano Italy. This disc also has a bunch of bonus material including a tour documentary, videos and some other goodies to keep you entertained. You can say all the material is interesting for sure but I would bet it will not be played nearly as often as the first. The tour documentary is really funny though and I would recommend that you watch it totally. You will see that all is not just glamor and good times for rock and rollers.

The two CD's included are the concerts from Oulu and Kemi with some minor changes from the DVD. I can never figure out why they do this but some songs are cut from the DVD in the Oulu show and other songs are added to the Kemi one. I would have liked to have seen the Oulu show duplicated in it's entirety. The addition of "Tallulah", 8th Commandment, Draw Me and "Full Moon" to the Kemi portion are very welcome and will only wish you would have had more on the DVD side! The Kemi show was one of the first of the tour and the Oulu show was the last. It is very cool to see just how they had changed from the start to the end of the tour.

If you are a Sonata Arctica fan, this one is definitely a must have. If you have never heard or seen these guys, it is also a great starting point. It is one of the most entertaining packages I have received this year. Even though the DVD is done with the new style of never holding a particular shot for more than 10 seconds, it only annoys and you still get a chance to see the band in all their glory. If you need to find an excellent stocking stuffer for your metal head, this is it. The band is amazing and you will see and hear why.

Track Listing:

DVD 1 Live In Finland

1. Intro
2. Flag In The Groun
3. The Last Amazing Grays
4. Juliet
5. Replica
6. Blank File
7. As If The World Wasn't Ending
8. Paid In Full
9. Victoria's Secret
10. Instrumental Exhibition
11. The Misery
12. Fullmoon
13. In Black & White
14. May Lou
15. Shy
16. Letter To Dana
17. Caleb
18. Don't Say A Word
19. Outro

DVD 2 Open Air II

1. White Pearl, Black Oceans
2. Draw Me
3. In Black & White
4. Don't Say A Word

Acoustic Live Milano Italy

1. Mary Lou
2. Shy
3. Letter To Dana

Bonus Material

Making of's
Tour Documentary
Music Videos

CD 1 Live In Finland

1. Intro (Everything Fades To Gray)
2. Flag In The Ground
3. The Last Amazing Grays
4. Juliet
5. Replica
6. Blank File
7. As If The World Wasn't Ending
8. Paid In Full
9. Instrumental Exhibition
10. The Misery
11. In Black & White
12. Letter To Dana
13. Caleb
14. Don't Say A Word/Outro

CD 2 - Open Air

1. Paid In Full
2. 8th Commandment
3. Replica
4. Hallulah
5. Caleb
6. White Pearl, Black Oceans
7. Draw Me
8. Fullmoon

Added: December 19th 2011
Reviewer: Scott Ward
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2542
Language: english

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