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Turbinenhalle - Oberhausen, Germany
April 8 2011

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  Stratovarius live in Oberhausen

In the year 2000, Stratovarius did a long headlining European Tour with Sonata Arctica and Rhapsody as special guests.

Things have changed.
In 2011, Rhapsody of Fire and Sonata Arctica were playing headlining shows all over Europe, while Stratovarius were playing... as special guests for Helloween...

Timo Kotipelto singing with Stratovarius

What happened in between?
Maybe some albums of lower quality than Infinite?
Maybe because fans got tired of Timo Tolkki's crazy statements?
Maybe is it because Tolkki left the band?

Whatever the reason is, Stratovarius had something to prove tonight.

But the package of this tour, Stratovarius + Helloween, sounded great to me! Even better with Pink Cream 69 supporting the German tourdates.

Jörg Michael is back! - Stratovarius live in Oberhausen Germany

Before talking about the show we shall salute Mr Jörg Michael's courage who was back into Stratovarius line-up after fighting a cancer!

He was briefly replaced by Alex Landenburg who has played with Annihilator and At Vance during the first leg of the tour.

Welcome back Jörg, so glad that you're doing well and rocking harder than ever!

Matias Kupiainen on guitars with Stratovarius

I was excited because it's been more than 5 years since the last time I saw Stratovarius playing in a club. I've seen them in festivals, but it's not the same type of gig.
Because of Timo Kotipelto being sick, Stratovarius cancelled their concert in Paris last january (Only Helloween played).

Altough I don't like all their albums, I have always thought that Stratovarius is a really good live band!
Stratovarius shows are generally very good, and tonight was no exception!

Lauri Porra with Stratovarius live in Oberhausen

The band was in good shape and they did their best, as they know this was Helloween's headlining show and so they had to conquer new fans.

Stratovarius setlist was some kind of a "best of". Most of their best-known tunes were played. To me the best moments were Legions and The Kiss Of Judas.

Some would point that hits like Phoenix or Father Time were not played, but one hour is just too short.

Jens Johansson headbanging from his keyboards

Matias Kupiainen is the guy that replaced Timo Tolkki on guitar. It's very hard for a band to replace a founding member, who was also its main songwriter.

Well, I think it was a necesary choice for the survival of the band. I don't know if you remember, but Tolkki was going crazy a few years ago.

Since then, Tolkki is getting better and he started has own band, Symphonica, composed only by ex-members of popular bands (like Angra or Helloween).

Matias Kupiainen on guitars - Stratovarius live in Oberhausen

I think Matias Kupiainen is a very good guitar player and his fast neo-classical style fits perfectly the band.

Most of Tolkki's solos are respected and played as the composer would do. Kupiainen adds a more "rock'n'roll" attitude on stage, with a little bit more of headbanging, opposed to Tolkki's seriousness.

Yet, Matias doesn't move much on stage. He has to work on his prescence as the new lead guitar player, and become part of the image of the band.

Timo Kotipelto with Stratovarius live in Oberhausen

Timo Kotipelto didn't speak much during the show, as the band was playing only one hour. But he made the audience scream and sing a few times.

On vocals, he alternates more than ever high and low notes, in the best Shakira style ;-)

Lauri Porra playing bass with Stratovarius

I think that there was somthing missing on this Stratovarius show.
I guess it would be more energy, and better sound and lights.
For example, joining Infernal Maze with Paradise instead of making a speech between the song would have added some cohesion to the show.
There's still some way to do in order to reach back the high quality levels of the Destiny or Infinite Tours.

Maybe the just need a headlining tour to keep promoting their new album Elyseum.

 Timo Kotipelto on vocals - Stratovarius live in Oberhausen

Well, anyway, it was just too short.
10 songs for a Stratovarius set is not enough.
But at least the band proved that they're still alive. A few headlining shows won't be a bad idea!

And now, the headliner of the evening was about to come on stage: Helloween!

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Setlist Stratovarius – Turbinenhalle - Oberhausen, Germany – April 8 2011

01. Darkest Hours
02. Speed Of Light
03. The Kiss of Judas
04. Infernal Maze
05. Paradise
06. Legions
07. Eagleheart
08. Under Flaming Skies
09. Hunting High and Low
10. Black Diamond

Stratovarius Links:

Stratovarius Website
Stratovarius My Space
Stratovarius T-shirts and Merch at EMP
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Stratovarius CDs on Amazon.comStratovarius Amazon
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Stratovarius on Metal Traveller's Flickr
Stratovarius iTunes downloads

Stratovarius Line-up:

Timo Kotipelto – Vocals
Matias Kupiainen – Guitars
Lauri Porra – Bass
Jens Johansson – Keyboards
Jörg Michael – Drums
Jens Johansson on keyboards - Stratovarius live in Oberhausen
Jörg Michael on drums live with Stratovarius in Oberhausen
Lauri Porra on bass
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