Sonata Arctica – San Francisco – February 18th, 2008
Remarks: Was a little more prepared for this concert than the previous two. We got there quite early with just a handful of people in line. Like an hour for the show the guys come off the bus and head towards Slim’s very ninja-like as many people didn’t notice them. Tony walked up to the front door and pulled on it, which of course is still locked. He looks at us, goes “Hm, locked.” and follows the other guys around the corner to the back of Slim’s. Weird moment, it happened so fast and we weren’t quite sure exactly what happened afterwards. I guess we were star-struck :S About half an hour later, some of the guys (I think it was Tony, Tommy, and Marko) headed across the street to the store. A group of people charged across the street to follow them, but we weren’t giving up our spots. Needless to say, we got prime spots :D Right up front on the left side of the stage (stage right/house left) which is where Elias would be. For whatever reasons, Visions of Atlantis and Sancity ended up not opening. Was a bit of a disappointment cause I was interested in seeing visions of Atlantis. Floating Goat ended up opening and they were… meh, not my scene. They tried to up on a good show despite some hecklers in the crowd. I do recall the drummer being pretty sweet though. As far as Sonata Arctica goes, they were as active and energetic as ever. Sucks that Jani was gone but Elias was more than capable of filling his shoes. He even had his own fan to make his hair float behind him like some super-model-rocker O_o. During the set change, we see a tech tape down a setlist in front of us. Couldn’t quite see it so I stuck my arm out with my camera and took a picture of it. Then we would call out the next song before it was intro’ed. It’s like we were psychic! On a side note, the Slim’s staff decided to not allow videos of the concert… right in the middle of the freaking concert. I was able to take pictures and videos, then all of a sudden they’re swatting our arms down and threatening to take the cameras. I heard someone even got their memory card confiscated. The bouncer in front of us was pretty apologetic about it though. He allowed me to take pictures as long as there was no flash.
Sonata Arctica‘s Setlist:
● In Black And White (They all stormed the stage at once while playing the intro to a bunch of flashing lights. Tony started out with a loud “How ya doing San Franciscoooooo?” Lots of energy and they all kept moving around.)
● Paid In Full (Was nice to see the guys singing more backing vocals. Even better to actually hear it. I managed to record Henkka’s keyboard solo here :D)
Victoria’s Secret (Woot for underwear music! Once again, very awesome. And I think I now have a tradition of recording that pure awesome solo section. This time I was able to get more of it! And I pray to the heavens above that it wasn’t me screaming in that video :S)
●Broken (Henkka was awsome with the screaming part of this song. Plus, there was an epic Elias moment towards the end, he sure knows how to rock out!)
●8th Commandment (Big fan favorite here, everyone was rocking to this one. I like the reworked part before the last choruses. Instead of just singing the chorus with no instruments, they played kinda a slower, simpler part while Tony sang. Kinda hard to describe. Tony chased Henkka clear off the stage on this one in the middle of the song. He started singing closer and closer to him while Henkka kept backing up. Was very amusing.)
●Shamandalie (Glad they played this one as they skipped it last time they were here.)
●Caleb (I love this song and was very surprised they had it in their setlist. Unfortunately it didn’t sound as good as on the album. I think it was because the guitar was overpowering the keyboard and on the album, the keyboards play a pretty big part in the melody. Tony did this weird little swaying thing during the outro. Like he was doing some fast forwarded yoga. Also, at this point, the staff is cracking down on cameras so I had to pretend I was taking pictures while I was actually recording video.)
●Black Sheep (Another huge fan favorite. Before the song truly ended, Elias took front stage for a short solo. Presumably to show his skills off to everyone. Talented indeed :) )
●The Worlds Forgotten, The Words Forbidden (Nice mellow track to calm down a little bit.)
●Wolf and Raven (Another song not really expected to be in the setlist. Nice surprise.)
●FullMoon (They went right into this song from Wolf And Raven, I didn’t even hear the transition. Lots of screaming on the verse.)
At this point the guys go off stage. Tony comes back on and tells us there’s a few more songs, but he wants to do something special first. He warms us up by pointing to a section and making us go “Hey!” or something. Then he gives us specific noises to make for specific motions he made. The people on my far right made a ‘psshh’ sound, the people in the middle made a ‘bam’ sound, and the people around me made ‘boom’ sounds. Tony goes over and steals a pair of drum sticks and then someone slides him a chair. The result is this:
He turned us into human drums for We Will Rock You I had been tipped off by my friend Robert as to what they were gonna do beforehand, but it was cool nonetheless :) We sang the chorus a few times after the rest of the band joined in. Good times.
●It Won’t Fade (3 Wolf Songs in a row! Hearing them play it live got me hooked on this song.)
●Gravenimage (Very happy they played this one. Although I am starting to prefer the ballad version they played on For The Sake Of Revenge)
At this point, they’re down to their last two songs, so it’s I figured it was time to execute my brilliant plan. (It actually wasn’t so brilliant. It was last minute and I got the idea from reading Elias’ blog.) I pulled out a piece of paper from my pocket that said “Hi Elias, I read your blog. Can I have a pick please? :)” He squinted and had to step forward to read it. He nods, grabs a pick off his mic stand, steps around the speaker in front of him, and hands it to me! Fuck yeah! I flip my sign over which says “Kiitos!” He laughs and gives me a thumbs up!
I win at life!
●Don’t Say A Word (Was kinda a lack of backing vocals this time if I remember correctly)
●The Cage (Total of 4 Wolf Songs tonight. During the line “lights are out” on the first verse, they killed pretty much all of the lights on the word “out” and played in the dark for the next couple lines until the pre-chorus. It was sweet! Again, with the modified ending to be slower and with more ‘woooah’s.)
●Vodka (I heard some people screaming to my side right before this one “We want vodka!” Tommy threw his drumsticks way past us. But Elias was tossing picks all over. One flew to the right of me but the dude missed and it fell down. Later on I reached down and snagged it; total of two for the night!)
After the show, we headed back to the car for sharpies and cds :) I brought along my UnOpened single. We waited for about 15 minutes until they came out. They dumped their stuff in the bus and then came out to hang out with the fans, which was very cool. Tony, Marko, and Tommy all signed my UnOpened CD which they all were surprised to see this far away from Finland! Tony asked me where I got it and for how much. Ebay for the win! He also said I paid way too much since it only cost about $2 when it came out. I asked Henkka about his keytar and how he got into it. Turns out Tony had seen him messing around on one and it kinda stuck with him. I totally forgot what models he uses though. We talked a little to Tommy and he was telling us about the tour so far and where they were headed next. A lot of people were talking to Elias, welcoming him to the band and such. I had him sign my stupid little piece of paper and he laughed. He said a couple other people did that in previous gigs and that it worked.
When we got to Marko, a gal asked him why he rarely smiled on stage (which a lot of us were curious about). He said something totally funny and witty so that we all laughed (he did to!) but I forgot already. >.< He did mention he likes to focus on the music that he’s making. Someone else asked him about why Jani left and he gave a little more insight than what their site says. It was true that Jani hadn’t taken care of his mandatory civil service and it was causing all sorts of problems. When they were trying to cross the border, they were running into a lot of trouble and they kept detaining him. Then he finally had time to clear it up, but he wasn’t really doing anything about it. Eventually they had to cut him loose since it was directly effecting plans with the band. Interesting indeed.
We managed to sneak in pictures as well. I got a picture each with Tony and Henrik. Towards the end, they all gathered for a group picture as well! Somehow when it was my turn, Henrik wandered off camera though >.<
All in all, an excellent concert. Lots of energy, lots of interaction, and a very good setlist. Meeting the band afterwards was very exciting as well. It was cool that they hung around afterwards to meet us. :D
Number Of Tracks Per Album
Winterheart’s Guild: 4
Reckoning Night: 2
Misc: 1 (Vodka, 2 if you include the brief We Will Rock You)
Total Songs: 16
Pretty balanced. We got 4/5 wolf songs and 2/3 stalker songs as well.