Sonata Arctica and Delain, Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD, USA, March 26, 2016
For those of you that read my review of Nightwish’s recent North American Tour, you know that I was really impressed with the show. This was due not only to Nightwish’s performance itself, but also due to the high quality of the shows provided by the support bands on the tour: Sonata Arctica and Delain; both of whom also contributed to an incredible evening of music. The only complaint I had with Sonata Arctica’s and Delain’s sets on the Nightwish tour… is that they were too short for my liking… they left me, and the rest of the fans, wishing for more! Well, in a few select cities, the fans’ wishes were granted as Sonata Arctica immediately launched into a North American headlining tour as soon as the Nightwish tour was over… and they brought Delain with them for the first several shows!
I was able to catch the Sonata Arctica tour at the Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore, Maryland. The show was opened by two very popular bands that originated from the Mid Atlantic region: A Sound of Thunder and Omnislash. And there is a good reason they are popular; they are talented, they are heavy, and they are just a lot of fun to see live! There were a large number of fans in the audience that had shown up just to see these openers. A Sound of Thunder hit the stage first and the band’s front woman, Nina, the Queen of Hell incarnate, took immediate command of the audience… along with her heavy metal minions: Josh (guitars), Jesse (bass) and Chris (drums). It was great to see them on a larger stage… but they played a much shorter set than they do when they headline. The band took us on five song rampage of heavy metal mayhem that ended all too soon. But the night had just begun!
After a brief stage change, Omnislash took over where A Sound of Thunder had left off and the metal carnage continued. The band’s vocalist and head sword brandisher, Jeremy, came onstage a bit early and spent the time getting the already energized audience in even more of a metal mood. When the music finally began, the band laid into a 5 or 6 song set (forgive me, I lost count). The music was good, the band was energetic, and the audience responded in kind. Although all the band members are very animated and fun to watch onstage, the craziest performance of the night has to go to Jeff (guitars)… although, I’m unsure if all of his antics were just typical rock star moves… or just efforts to use his guitar to hide the hole he had ripped in his pants… Whichever it was, Omnislash gave us all a really fun time.
By the time Delain hit the stage, the venue was almost full and the audience was active with screams, cheers, and horns in the air. Like they were on the Nightwish tour, the band was without their bass player Otto, whom we are pleased to report recently became a new father to a beautiful baby girl! (Plans are for Otto to rejoin the band on their European tour later this year.) Delain played a slightly longer set than they had when they opened for Nightwish… ten songs instead of eight. The band was in top form, as the always are, and opened with “Suckerpunch”, a stellar new song from their new EP “Lunar Prelude”. Also played from the new EP were the new song “Turn the Lights Out” (a song sung from the perspective of the personification of Death), and the new version of “Don’t Let Go”, that was originally released as a bonus track on 2014’s “The Human Contradiction”.
One of the highlights of the show for the hardcore Delain fans in attendance was the performance of “Here Come the Vultures”, as this tour may be the first time this popular song has been played on North American soil! It is a song that requires two guitars to be properly played live… and with their newest member, guitarist Merel Bechtold, joining them for the first time in North America… it could finally happen! Additional songs played included fan favorites “Get the Devil Out of Me”, “Sleepwalkers Dream”, “Army of Dolls”, “We are the Others”, and “Mother Machine”. They closed with the apropos, “Not Enough”… as fans are always left wanting more as Charlotte’s vocal sail off to the heavens at the end of the song. Despite the slightly extended set, the fans felt it was still too short. But take heart… plans may be afoot for a North American Delain headlining or at least co-headlining tour in 2017…
We had already had an incredible night of live music when Sonata Arctica took to the stage to give us 90 minutes more! Their set length had doubled from the Nightwish tour… expanding to 14 songs instead of 7. As expected, they put on a very entertaining show. Like all of the other bands before them, Sonata Arctica really looks like they have a lot of fun with each other on stage which just added to the overall positive energy of the show. The musical quality was great and the vocals and guitar work were amazing!
The first two songs were the same as on the Nightwish tour including “The Wolves Die Young” and “My Land”. Additional songs from the previous Nightwish set included “Full Moon:, “Tallulah”, “8th Commandment”, and “I Have a Right”. “Kingdom From The Heart”, “Blood” “White Pearl, Black Oceans…”, “Replica”, “What Did You Do In The War, Daddy?”, and “The Cage” were added to the main set. The night closed with the encores: “Destruction Preventer”, and “Don’t Say a Word”. It was a really fun way to end the night! There band was very energetic and entertaining, and there were lots of crowd interaction and sing-a-longs. As soon as they end this tour, Sonata Arctica is returning to the studio to work on their new… and yet untitled album. But never fear, they are planning to return for another headlining North American Tour this fall after the album release! Don’t miss out!