Kamelot and DragonForce, North American Tour, The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD, USA, November 18, 2015
I hadn’t seen Kamelot live since 2013, as they hadn’t been back on tour in North America since they finished touring their “Silverthorn” album. When they announced their “Haven” tour earlier this year, I quickly made plans to attend their show in Baltimore this past spring. Unfortunately… that show was not meant to be as it was cancelled at the last minute due to safety concerns during the Baltimore riots. Fortunately for me, and the other fans in the Baltimore/Washington DC area, a second round of touring was scheduled in North America this fall, and I was finally able to catch up with the band at a suburb of Washington DC.
The show was at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside of Washington DC. Direct support was being provided by DragonForce, a six piece melodic power metal band from the UK, that was formed by two guitarists, Herman Li and Sam Totman, over 15 years ago. I’d never seen them before, but I’d heard great things about them so I was looking forward to their set. I was hoping that I’d like their show… and I really did. As expected, they are a very guitar heavy band with long and fast guitar solos. The guitarists and the bass player frequently fret overhand adding a unique visual component to the show. The vocals were powerful and stunning as well. There were a lot of onstage antics including flying leaps, running back and forth across the large stage at the Fillmore, and frequent guitar slinging. The band looked like they were having one hell of a party on the stage and the whole audience was invited to come along for the ride. The band played a nine song set in all, and they dedicated one of their songs to the victims of the Paris attacks that had just transpired a few days before. I was very impressed with this band, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again in February on the 70,000 tons of metal cruise!
After a short break for the set change, it was time for the mighty Kamelot to take the stage. I first saw Kamelot when they opened for Nightwish back in 2012. I was blown away by their performance and have been a huge fan ever since. As many of you already know, Kamelot is a five piece symphonic metal band from Florida in the USA (Their current vocalist Tommy Karevik is from Sweden). They were formed over 20 years ago by guitarist Thomas Youngblood and have released 11 studio albums to date. For the past several years, Kamelot has hired well known female vocalists to tour with them as a backup vocalist. (Elize Ryd of Amaranthe and Alyssa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy are two recent examples.) The backup vocalist on the current tour was Kobra Paige of Kobra and the Lotus, a band that had recently toured with Kamelot in Europe. This was announced just a couple of weeks before the tour started, and, as a huge fan, of Kobra and the Lotus, I was very excited!
Kamelot put on a phenomenal show… as they always seem to do. It was great to see Oliver Palotai back with the band as he had been off on paternity leave for the North American leg of the Silverthorn tour back in 2013. They played and incredible 14 song set with 12 songs in the main set and two encores. The set also included a blistering drum solo by Casey Grillo. The show began with “Veil of Elysium” from their newest album “Haven”, to be followed by “When the Lights are Down” and “The Great Pandemonium”. I was a little surprised there were only two other songs in the main set from the “Haven” album, which included “Insomnia” and “Lair, Lair”. “Torn” and “Song for Jolee” were played from 2013’s “Silverthorn”, while the remainder of the songs were a decent mix from their earlier albums including “Center of the Universe”, “Karma”, “Rule the World”, “Forever”, and the fan favorite “March of Mephisto”.
All in all, it was a great set of music. The musical quality of Kamelot’s show was fantastic and Tommy’s vocals were in top form! The band was very animated with lots of jumping, headbanging, and audience interaction. Bassist Sean Tibbetts was the most entertaining to watch with his long braids adding an additional unique component to the jumping and headbanging. The lighting was a bit dark for my liking with a lot of red and blue monochromes, but I’m coming to realize this is typical for a Kamelot show. Kobra’s vocals were stunning as well… especially when she came to the front of the stage during Liar, Liar to sing co-lead! She has really powerful voice and a great stage presence, and… for me… she totally stole the stage from Tommy during that song! The final two encores of the night were “Revolution” from “Haven” and “Sacrimony” from “Silverthorn”, during which Kobra came back out to sing co-lead again.
The second leg of the North American “Haven” tour has now ended, but never fear… Kamelot is obviously here for the long run, and I’m sure they will be hitting a city near you soon! Make plans to go… it’s a show not to be missed!