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Sonata Arctica

Date: 12/ 6/ 12
Venue: Gramercy Theater, Manhattan, NYC
Report By: Kevin Alba

On a chilly December evening it was almost a foreshadowing to the upcoming winter season to have Finland’s Sonata Arctica (called by many the land of Ice and snow) back on North American shores. What was special about this very night was that it was actually Finland's Independence Day and the band could not seem happier than to be doing what they do best in the heart of NYC. It was not one of their strongest gatherings to date however I did not see much advertising around this show leading up to the date. How typical for a great band from overseas to not get much press here in America and no radio play. Its a sad state of affairs when it comes to this style music but I was grateful as always to see this amazing talent once again and with the reaction from the diehard fans in attendance you would have thought Bon Jovi was on stage. I was beyond excited for this tour too as 'Stones Grow Her Name' was one of my Top Albums for 2012, and Sonata did not disappoint as they represented quite a bit from this recent release and then some.

While cold on the outside, the inside of the Gramercy Theater was nice and warm with a smaller but enthusiastic crowd whom filled the venue with their voices so Tony would not have to sing alone. The main floor was rather packed, however, the bulk of the theater seating was curtained off. The Finns opened up with ‘Only the Broken Hearts’ to a very receptive crowd. ‘Black Sheep’ was up next and a nice surprise especially this early on in the set as the album 'Silence' seems to be a black sheep these days when being represented live. We would later be treated to ‘Last Drop Falls’ from the same album which was the another surprise. I don't think there was a single person not singing along to that one, many moved by how powerful this amazing ballad is.

Back on the 'Stones Grow Her Name' front, we would get six more tracks in addition to the opening number. What I love best about this album is what a mixed bag of goodies it is without one set direction stylistically. ‘Alone in Heaven’ could have easily been an 80's monster power ballad penned by the likes of Warrant or Cinderella (and is actually one of my fav songs by Sonata period). ‘Shitload of Money’ has almost that techno/club/darkwave but hard rockin feel to it (think Nightwish ‘Wish I Had An Angel’) and it works very well for them. ‘Losing My Insanity’ is the blazing power metal we've come to know this band for and really shook the venue while being performed.

‘Cinderblox’ has this cowboy/country hillbilly feel to it which I initially was not crazy about on the album but thought it translated a lot better live as I am now a fan of this song. The first single ‘I Have A Right’ and ‘The Day’ were also represented.

It was also great to hear ‘The Last Amazing Grays’ return to the setlist as well as ‘The Gun’ going all the way back to 1996 and the very beginnings of this band. The Finns were firing on all cylinders tonight and this was without a doubt my favorite showing of theirs since their now legendary show opening for Overkill at BB Kings back in the spring of 2005 marking their first US show. Sonata are a very tight unit, they have lots of fun while on stage and really captivate the crowd with their presence and personality. If you have not picked up “Stones Grow Her Name” do yourself a favor and do so, and if you get the chance to see these guys anytime soon do not hesitate because they do not disappoint!

Only The Broken Hearts
Black Sheep
Alone In Heaven
Shitload of Money
The Gun
The Day
I Have A Right
The Last Amazing Grays
Last Drop Falls
Paid In Full
Losing My Insanity
Don't Say A Word (w/ Vodka outro)


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