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sonataarctica by munichvampire01Christuskirche, Bochum, Germany
28th October 2022
Sonata Arctica - “Acoustic Adventures Tour” 2022 - Support: Eleine

When I arrived at Christuskirche in Bochum at 19:00 there was a very long line of fans waiting for the doors of the church to be opened. Christuskirche is a unique church that served as a special venue for many well-known artists like MYLES KENNEDY, ASP, LORD OF THE LOST and many more played unique sets here.


ELEINE are a Symphonic Metal band that was founded in 2014 in Sweden. The band merges influences of various Metal styles with their dark Symphonic Metal music. The band released their full-length record ‘Dancing in Hell’ back in 2020. After signing with Atomic Fire records ELEINE released their EP ‘Acoustic in Hell’ in October 2022 just in time before embarking on a long tour all over Europe supporting SONATA ARCTICA.

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Music & Performance
Exactly two weeks before tonight’s acoustic concert in Bochum, ELEINE had released their new EP and I was really curious if the live versions of the songs would sound as perfect as on the record. At 8 p.m. lights went darker and ELEINE came on stage, obviously pleased to face an almost sold-out venue and stayed true to their word of a Metal acoustic show. If you attend an acoustic gig, you often see a band sitting on bar chairs, playing their instruments… ELEINE proved that an acoustic show with a real Metal attitude is possible. While vocalist Madeleine Liljestam roamed the stage performing the songs with her amazing voice, the musicians also changed places and some serious headbanging was seen often.

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Unfortunately, the band had not the sound you were used to from the record. The mix was a bit “muddy” sometimes and some of the instruments over droned the vocals. Madeleine addressed the audience frequently and invited the fans to meet the band after SONATA ARCTICA’s show and there were long lines of people who wanted to buy merch or take a picture with the band or a signed record after the show. ELEINE gave us a good warmup and my expectations of SONATA ARCTICA’s show became even higher.

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01. Enemies
02. Whisper My Child
03. Memoriam
04. Hell Moon
05. Ava Of Death
06. All Shall Burn
07. Death Incarnate

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Light: 7
Sound: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10

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Sonata Arctica

During their career that spans more than 20 years, SONATA ARCTICA created their own trademark sound of fast, Melodic Metal coming with clean high vocals and with heavy keyboards. Over the years the band started to play a few songs in an acoustic version live on stage. Back in 2019 the band started their ‘Acoustic Adventures’ and I really loved everything I got to hear and see during their acoustic show. In spring 2020 the band released their album ‘Acoustic Adventures - Volume One’ followed by the release of ‘Acoustic Adventures - Volume Two’ this fall, via Atomic Fire Records. The band announced a tour with many stops in Europe and I was lucky be able to report form their gig in Bochum.

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Music & Performance
Around 9 p.m. SONATA ARCTICA came on the beautifully illuminated stage and were greeted by a cheering audience. The band opened the show with the song that opens their first acoustic release which is ‘The Rest of the Sun Belongs to Me’ and won over the audience immediately. Next followed the opener of their second acoustic release, which is ‘I Have a Right’. After two energetic songs the band performed the beautiful acoustic version of ‘Tonight I Dance Alone’ and although I was working behind the camera, they caught my full attention with this outstanding performance. ‘Letter to Dana’ came with wonderful guitar work in the first part until they keyboard imitated a Hammond and soft drum kicked in. I really liked that Toni made short introductions and talked about the next song.

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Before the band played the song that is almost mandatory on every setlist, he explained that Finnish is a phonetic language and that the first syllable of a word is always emphasized and that that in most other languages the songs name is not pronounced correctly. “TA-lullah it is” he said, before the band gave us the first tunes of the song’s beautiful melody. Unfortunately, the drums were a bit too loud and over droned the highly emotional vocals. Toni asked the audience to perform the chorus and the Bochum audience choir was surprisingly good. The last vocal line was interrupted by Toni’s choking for one of his cough candies had gone down the wrong way, but he perfectly managed the outro, apologizing for the mishap, explaining about his candies and the tea. The intro of ‘As If the World Wasn't Ending’ always reminds me of a lullaby somehow, but as soon as the drums kick in, the song gathers lots of power and is one of my absolute favourite acoustic songs.

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After the songs last tune had faded, Toni talked about his experience of becoming father of two children and the influence it had on his songwriting, that turned a bit away from running with wolves towards ‘A Little Less Understanding’ and people were smiling about this story. ‘Half a Marathon Man’ was introduced by a short story by Toni, he explained that years ago, he realized that he was in really bad shape, when he was out of breath after a walk to the letterbox, because he had taken the car to collect the mail for years. Explaining the progress, he made as a runner to finish with running half a marathon and even further (Tornio to Kemi is app. 30km) and that Keyboarder Henrik runs the marathon distance frequently. The acoustic version of ‘Half a Marathon Man’ starts rather slow and pretty groovy, like a warm up before a run to slowly lead over into a funky and rhythmic song with really cool instrumental effects. SONATA ARCTICA got a very well-deserved applause for this one.

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‘On the Faultline’ was turned into a beautiful very atmospheric acoustic version and in Christuskirche the song unfolded all its beauty tonight. Afterwards the musicians left the stage. Toni and Elias came back for ‘Victoria’s Secret’ and Elias delivered amazing guitar work accompanying Toni’s vocals. ‘For the Sake of Revenge’ is one of the calmest song on the releases and the reduced instrumentation require a perfect vocal performance and Toni delivered a wonderful highly emotional performance. After the last tune had faded the church was one loud cheering and applause, while Henrik, Pasi and Tommy came back on stage. Henrik gave us a wonderful piano intro to ‘FullMoon’ and if you are in SONATA ARCTICA, you know that wolves and the moon often play an important role in the songs. The highly rhythmic guitar line saw people almost dancing along.

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If there’s a moon on the setlist, there must be a wolf, too and so ‘Wolf & Raven’ go the place of honour as the last song on the regular set. What shall I say? This swirling piano melody is just insane and it seemed that the bandmembers had a kind of competition called “Who can play or sing fastest?” going on. Henrik got a thumbs up from Toni for his absolutely stunning piano solo and the band members obviously enjoyed their own performance, so did the audience that had long risen from the chairs and applauded as soon as the song ended. SONATA ARCTICA left the stage under loud applause and cheering that didn’t end until the band came back on stage after a few minutes. I really asked myself, if there is a church in Germany that heard mor applause than Christuskirche in Bochum.

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‘Shamandalie’ opened tonight’s encore and the instrumentalists performed the backing vocals with a perfection that really surprised me. It’s one thing to deliver backing vocals in a studio but a totally different thing after playing a full show with demanding instrumental and vocal parts. After this rather calm song, ‘Flag In The GROUND’ that comes with many changes in rhythm and a strong singalong chorus was the perfect choice. Before the last song of the encore, Toni addressed the audience, thanking them for buying many tickets and merch of touring bands in the past and kept the wheels rolling by doing so. The audience interrupted him with loud cheering and applause. He expressed the hope that people will continue doing so tomorrow and the day after tomorrow to make sure that people can continue hearing live music and make sure that our children and grandchildren also can do so. He closed his short speech with the sentence “You are keeping live music alive!” and the audience was all cheers and applause, again.

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Then he introduced tonight’s last song ‘Don’t Say a Word’ and made sure, that the audience took over the rhythm duties. The stage was illuminated in a dark red, while a bright spot was on Toni who delivered an insane vocal performance. A further highlight were the spoken word passages by keyboarder Henrik and Toni, while bridge part proved, that an acoustic concert can become really groovy and Henrik on keyboards delivered a perfect solo part. The audience had risen to their feet after the first few chords and you saw many hands in the air. Chapeau! A real SONATA ARCTICA show never ends without the “VODKA” ritual and of course Bochum was ready to perform the vodka song for and with the band tonight, before the band left the stage under a heavy applause and standing ovations, promising to come back to Bochum.

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When I left the church, there was a long line at the merch and since SONATA ARCTICA always choose the designs carefully and invest in really good artwork, I added a few items to my collection. It’s rare that I’m determined to see a further show of the same tour, but I must admit that I’m very looking forward to the band’s performance in Munich. SONATA ARCTICA continue touring in Europe until the first week in December, make sure to grab a ticket, you don’t want to miss this!

01. The Rest of the Sun Belongs to Me
02. I Have a Right
03. Tonight I Dance Alone
04. Letter to Dan
05. Tallulah
06. As If the World Wasn’t Ending
07. A Little Less Understanding
08. For the Sake of Revenge
09. Half a Marathon Man
10. On the Faultline (Closure to an Animal)
11. Victoria’s Secret
12. FullMoon
13. Wolf & Raven
14. Shamandalie
15. Flag in the Ground
16. Don’t Say a Word

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Light: 10
Sound: 9.5
Total: 9.8 / 10

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All Pictures by Munich Vampire

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