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rockclassics14Verkathedas, Hämeenlinna, Finnland
15th March 2019
An Evening of Rock Classics with Timo Kotipelto, Jani Liimatainen, Pekka Heino, Netta Skoog

Timo Kotipelto (STRATOVARIUS, CAIN’S OFFERING) and Jani Liimatainen (CAINS’S OFFERING, THE DARK ELEMENT, Ex-SONATA ARCTICA) have made an album called ‘Blackoustic’ a few years ago, followed by a tour and I got the chance to attend one of the shows. The evening left me really impressed and when they announced a tour together with Pekka Heino (BROTHER FIRETRIBE) and Netta Skoog (Ex-ENSIFERUM) it was time to take the train to Hämeenlinna to attend the final show.

When I arrived at the venue I was surprised how different the people who were attending the show were dressed. Longhaired guys wearing STRATOVARIUS hoodies, women in BROTHER FIRETRIBE shirts, men in suits, women in evening dresses but everyone seemed fine and there were no disparaging glances. The setlist was a good mix of the vocalists’ own bands and covers of well-known bailiffs including KISS, JUDAS PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD, DEEP PURPLE and many more. Pekka opened the show with Netta and Janni, starting with JOURNEY’s ‘Don’t stop believing’ - a perfect choice. His cover of ‘Hysteria’ (DEF LEPPARD) turned out to be very intriguing and there was a big applause. Of course, he also performed songs of BROTHER FIRETRIBE and LEVERAGE; the highlight of the set was ‘Heart full of Fire’ with Netta on co-lead vocals. Listening to the songs, stripped from all electronic elements is a sheer pleasure and Jani Liimatainen is a fantastic guitar player and singer. Netta’s accordion play suited the vocals perfectly and I always marvel at her skills, be it with NIGHTWISH or CHILDREN OF BODOM.

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After a short break, Timo Kotipelto hosted the second part of the show. I always enjoy seeing him and Jani on stage, for between the songs there is always some really entertaining talk and jokes and I didn’t spot anyone who was not laughing. Of course Timo had chosen some songs of STRATOVARIUS and the performance of ‘Shine in the Dark’ was the best I ever heard, especially as all the electronic background elements were missing. I had hoped for ‘Hunting High and Low’ and I was lucky, the song was on the setlist. It was obvious that Netta enjoyed listening to Timo before joining in with her accordion and surprising Timo with some really fantastic tunes, whenever he thanked her for those, Jani had to remind him of performing the chorus. Netta’s solos were amazing and it was an enlightening to watch and listen her and Janni playing together. Once more the audience was asked to join in, when the chorus parts were due, and we made up quite a loud and harmonic choir. Then Timo was taken by surprise, for suddenly Pekka showed up with champagne and a birthday cake for him. While Janni and Netta provided the music, the audience performed ‘Happy Birthday’ in Finnish for him and it turned out that Netta is not only a very good accordion player but also a very talented pastry chef.

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When they had taken their seats on stage again, Timo made an announcement and Netta got laughing attacks and it took her a while to recover from them, while Jani and Timo kept entertaining us, and this made all of them even more congenial. Overall the whole show seemed very authentic with all of them joking on the stage and ironically conducting each other’s performances occasionally. ‘The Final Countdown’ (EUROPE) marked the last song of the evening but the audience made sure they came back with an encore by applauding and demanding for an encore. A few minutes later they came back on stage and ‘Out in the Fields’ (GARY MOORE) was an excellent choice as the last song of a fantastic evening. It was all over far too quickly and I hope they will play further shows together and maybe make a record together.

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Setlist
---Pekka Heino on vocals---
01. Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey cover)
02. Hysteria (Def Leppard cover)
03. Stranger (Leverage cover)
04. Wolf and the Moon (Leverage cover) (with ‘Runaway’ by Del Shannon snippet)
05. Hazard (Richard Marx cover)
07. The Boys of Summer (Don Henley cover)
09. Shandi (Kiss cover)
10. For Better or for Worse (Brother Firetribe cover)
11. Heart Full of Fire (Brother Firetribe cover) (Netta Skog on co-lead vocals)
---Timo Kotipelto on vocals---
12. Black Diamond (Stratovarius cover)
13. Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple cover)
14. Säkkijärven polka
15. Forever (Stratovarius cover)
16. I Will Build You a Rome (Cain’s Offering cover)
17. Shine in the Dark (Stratovarius cover)
18. Season of Change (Stratovarius cover)
19. The Trooper (Iron Maiden cover)
20. Hunting High and Low (Stratovarius cover)
21. The Final Countdown (Europe cover) (with ‘Killed by Death’ by Motörhead snippet)
---
22. Out in the Fields (Gary Moore cover) (Pekka Heino and Timo Kotipelto on vocals)

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All Pictures by Munich Vampire
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