It was a moment I had always been waiting for. I was dreaming of a Sonata Arctica live show in Greece, since I had been listening to the “Ecliptica” and “Silence” albums. Of course, Stratovarius is a big love of mine, so a co-headline show of Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius was a great hope that came true this past Friday, at the 3rd of November, 2023. Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius, the Finnish power metal titans, joined forces to create a night of melodic power metal splendor that will forever echo in our hearts of their fans. The concert, held at the Fuzz club and with Induction as the support act, transcended simple musical performance - it was a captivating journey through melodies and emotions. This power metal feast had Induction, Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius as protagonists and we were there to celebrate!

The night kicked off with the set of Induction. Their sophomore album, “Born From Fire” was a captivating album of teutonic power metal, so everyone was ready for a bombastic performance. Indeed, Induction were perfect at their role, warming up the fans, who packed the club! We listened to top-class power metal compositions like “Fallen Angel”, “Queen of Light” and “Scorched”, and had a great time with the guys, who showed everybody their metal prowess. If this is their beginning, I am sure that what follows will leave us breathless! A great support band!

After Induction’ s show, all fans expected a really heart-breaking performance from Sonata Arctica, who visited Greece for the first time in their career. As the haunting first notes filled the air, the obvious anticipation among the crowd turned to sheer enthusiasm! The members of Sonata Arctica emerged on stage, their presence commanding attention … I couldn’t believe that frontman Tony Kakko was there in front of us, singing with his beautiful voice! Kakko's vocals soared effortlessly, capturing the essence of each song with passion and emotion. The band delved into their extensive catalog, treating the audience to classics like "Full Moon", "Replica”, “8th Commandment”, “Black Sheep” and “Tallulah”.  The interplay between the guitars, bass and keyboards was nothing short of virtuosic, showcasing the band's exceptional musicianship. The crowd sang along in unison, their voices harmonizing with the band's anthems, creating an ethereal atmosphere. The best moments of their show were “Broken” and “The Cage”, both from the MASTERPIECE “Winterheart’s Guild”. Tracks like "I Have a Right", "Paid In Full” and “Don’t Say A Word" were performed with such intensity that they felt like vivid tales unfolding before our eyes. The emotional depth of their performance left an indelible mark, connecting the audience to the very soul of the music. Sonata Arctica’s show was a marvel of music, filled with emotion, melody and power! I will never forget the incredible moments of their concert!

Following Sonata Arctica's heartfelt set, the stage underwent a transformation, setting the scene for Stratovarius. The Finnish power metal legends had ten years to come to Greece, so the anticipation reached its peak as the iconic Finnish power metal band stepped into the spotlight. From the first note of “Survive”, it was evident that we would experience a night of unparalleled musical brilliance and emotion. Stratovarius, known for their melodies and  virtuoso musicianship, delivered a performance that was spectacular. Guitarist Matias Kupiainen's fingers danced across the fretboard, conjuring melodies that resonated with the very essence of power metal. Keyboardist Jens Johansson's intricate and mesmerizing solos added a symphonic layer to the band's sound, while Timo Kotipelto was a force of nature, reaching soaring highs and resonant lows. The band's energy was infectious, spreading like wildfire through the crowd. Songs like “Speed Of Light”, “Father Time”, “Eagleheart”, "Black Diamond" and "Hunting High and Low" elicited thunderous applause and fervent cheers, showcasing the band's timeless appeal and enduring legacy. The fans was so excited to see and hear Stratovarius, and showed – for another time – that they adore the Finnish power metal giants! Of course, Timo Tolkki’s absence was palpable, however, we can’t turn back time. It was a real blast - as the final notes reverberated through the venue, there was an overwhelming sense gratitude among the audience! Stratovarius left the stage triumphantly!

Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius had not just performed a concert; they had orchestrated a symphony of metal, weaving together intricate melodies, fast tempos, powerful guitars and enchanting vocals. Each song was a chapter, each note a brushstroke painting a vivid picture in the minds of the listeners. The synergy between the bands and their connection with the audience transcended the confines of the venue, forging a bond that would endure long after the musical echoes faded away. A night to remember!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

Photos by Iro Kalligeri