Kamelot & Xandria in Stuttgart 11/05/2012

I was lucky enough to catch the Stuttgart edition of Kamelot‘s ‘Silverthorn’ tour 2012 and I thought I’d share some impressions.

We arrived right on time for the first riffs of Xandria, a German band I’ve seen live twice before – once with their former singer Lisa Middelhauve and once with their current vocalist Manuela Kraller. Last Monday, I was really impressed with the development of the band.

Last year Manuela still seemed a little nervous about being on stage and even though she did a great job back then already, her performance was less memorable, because she was not very outgoing. Since then she has grown immensely as a frontwoman. She presented herself in a very self-confident and professional way and has taken up headbanging on stage as well. Her vocal performance was flawless.

 

 

 

The newest addition to the band is touring bassist Lance Christensen, who moved from the United States to Germany some time ago and stepped in when Xandria’s long-time bass player Nils Middelhauve, husband to former vocalist Lisa Middelhauve, left the band in July.

He seems to fit in well and does a great job interacting with the crowd.

 

 

The setlist relied “heavily” on the band’s latest effort ‘Neverworld’s End’. I put the “heavily” in quotation marks because it is a keyword here. Xandria signed with Napalm records last year and their new release on the metal label turned out considerably heavier than its precursors.

My overall impression is that Xandria are going strong at the moment – fresh energy, new coherence and in my eyes a new level for the band in terms of songwriting and live performance. Horns up!

Excuse the crappy picture, let me make up for it with a video:


 

 

 

 The headliner Kamelot presented a veritable ‘Best Of’ setlist interspersed with songs from the new album ‘Silverthorn’, so their new vocalist Tommy Karevik had a chance to prove that he masters the entire Kamelot spectrum. 

He also proved that he is able to charm the audience and even to control it with his invisible volume button. 

This is him singing the ‘Song For Jolee’ judging from the light effects…

 

 

After the opener ‘Rule the World’ and ‘When the Lights are Down’, Thomas Youngblood welcomed the audience with the words: “It’s Monday, but in Stuttgart it’s Saturday night!”. It was in fact Monday, which was probably the main reason why the show was not sold out. As it happens, we got a total of 4 hours of sleep that night before getting up for work, but we were just too curious about the new singer and the show was well worth the inconvenience.  

After one of my Kamelot favorites, ‘The Great Pandemonium’ the audience was asked to sing along to the chorus of ‘Veritas’, which had been previously announced on Facebook, so that everybody could practice. 😉

 

 

 

Elize Ryd, who once again contributed her vocals

and beauty to the band’s performance,

is now wearing the white cape that was originally used for the song ‘Abandoned’

during ‘Veritas’ and ‘Center of the Universe’.

 

 

 

 

When ‘The Human Stain’ and the ballad ‘Jolee’ had been performed as well, drummer Casey Grillo impressed the audience with an amazing drum solo, the final parts of which he played with his bare fists.

Then the rest of the band returned for ‘Ghost Opera’.

Singer Tommy Karevik had not only planned on charming the audience with his vocal abilities, but – remarcably – also with his German skills! So he quoted some lines that he remembered from his old German textbook: “Ich bin Strupsi, ich bin 4 Jahre alt. Ich bin Dieter, ich bin schon 5.” meaning “I’m Strupsi, I am 4 years old. I’m Dieter, I’m 5 years old already.” Apparently he didn’t get very far with his German studies, but it is always nice when a show gets a personal touch plus it was hilarious.

 

 

 

After the hits “Sacrimony” and “Season’s End” it was Oliver Palotai’s turn to impress us with his keyboard solo until the band performed the song “Forever”. Then Sean Tibbetts had fun with his bass solo, parts of which you can enjoy in this video:

Somebody asked why Thomas Youngblood is the only one who does not play a solo during the show, here’s my answer: He does perform several soli during the songs, actually Tommy Karevik is the only one who does not have a solo. 😉

The band also celebrated the birthday of one of their crew members on stage – he received a cake and everybody sang. I’m sorry I forgot his name.

The show ended after “Torn” and “Karma” with the “March of Mephisto”. The grunts, which are by Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir in the album version, were performed by the highly energetic Paul “Ablaze” Zinay of the support band Blackguard. Watch my video of this performance here:

To sum up, the show was absolutely amazing and Tommy Karevik is as far as I’m concerned an excellent choice of a new vocalist! You guys should all head out to see them! :)