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Date: 10/02/06
Venue: BB King Blues Club, New York
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


Stratovarius setlist :
Black Diamond
Hunting High and Low
Father Time
Distant Skies
Kiss of Judas
A Million Light Years
Will My Soul Ever Rest in Peace
The Abyss of Your Eyes

Operatika are a local band from the NY/NJ area playing music similar to Nightwish as they are fronted by a female voice. They have been around opening for several of the big name bands that come through town. The band's first big show was opening oddly enough for Nightwish at L'amour ( Brooklyn , NY ) on September 7, 2003 . Since then they have also graced the stage with Epica , Kamelot , Helloween , Yngwie Malmsteen , Europe , Therion and Sonata Arctica . So they have been paying their dues and making waves especially for this type of Euro Power Metal which we all know gets very little attention in the States, unfortunately. The band's effort's to gain an audience in the area seems to be paying off as at BB Kings they had a crowd waiting who welcomed them with cheers and applause.

Last year in September 2005 when Stratovarius played New York for the first time they were out supporting their latest self titled album which unfortunately was not so well received by the fans and critics. Something I don't understand because it was really not much different from the rest of their music just slowed down a bit. Adding to the baggage guitarist Timo Tolkki was still dealing with his recently made public mental/medical issues and did not look quite ready to be on the road again for a length of time. His playing at the time was good, as with the rest of the band, but in appearance he just looked as if he was going through the motions.

This time around Timo looks much better, healthier and more comfortable being on tour again interacting both more with his band mates and fans. New addition on bass since 2005 Lauri Porra really adds a spark to the guys energy and Timo Kotipelto still runs around pumping up the audience without losing his vocals. The setlist was void of any music from the ill received last studio album and included several songs not played last time in the big apple. The inclusion of such classics as “ Phoenix ”, “ Eagleheart ”, “A Million Light Years”, “ Paradise ”, “Visions”, and “Distant Skies” were all great choices, very welcomed by the audience and I was so glad they just didn't repeat themselves from last years set. Still I think its not cool we have yet to hear some music from the first three album's pre Kotipelto on vocals. The sound mix was very good, not too loud and let all players be heard noteably Timo's well toned voice and for a weekday show the crowd turn out was pretty good.

Backstage after the show I spoke with singer Timo and he said the band is working on new material which is sounding more like their classic albums “Episode” and “Visions”. He is also in the middle of recording his second solo cd to be released in the near future. Look for a full interview with him soon on Metal Asylum.


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