Sweden Rock Festival, Norje, 9-11/6 2005

Official Homepage

FESTIVAL STAGE                     ROCK STAGE                            SWEDEN / SPENDRUPS / TENT STAGE
                                                                         12.15-12.55 Crystal Eyes (S)
13.30-14.45 Napalm Death (US)                                            13.00-14.00 Hellfueled (S)
                                   15.00-16.15 Anthrax (US)              14.10-14.50 Force Of Evil (DK)
16.30-18.00 Megadeth (US)                                                15.30-16.30 The Ring (S)
                                   18.15-19.45 Saxon (UK)                18.15-19.45 Within Temptation
20.00-21.30 Styx (US)
                                   21.45-23.15 Motörhead (UK)            21.45-23.15 Nazareth (UK)
23.30-02.00 Accept (GER)

FESTIVAL STAGE                     ROCK STAGE                            SWEDEN / SPENDRUPS STAGE
                                   12.00-13.15 Mustasch (S)              12.00-13.15 The Lizards (US)
13.30-14.45 Black Label Society (US)                                     13.20-14.00 Rob Rock (US)
                                   15.00-16.15 Helix (CAN)               14.10-14.50 Overkill (US)
16.30-18.00 Kansas (US)                                                  18.15-19.45 Robin Trower (S)
                                   18.15-19.45 Dream Theater (US)        19.20-20.00 Diamond Head (UK)
20.00-21.30 Hammerfall (S)
                                   21.45-23.15 Status Quo (UK)           21.45-23.15 Vixen (US)
23.30-02.00 Sammy Hagar & The Wabos (US)

Bands in red are the ones I saw the complete show with, for bands in green I just saw parts of shows.

Me, my friend Anders and his friend Jörgen left Stockholm on thursday morning at 7.
This years festival did not start out as I had hoped. We got to the festival too late so I missed 
Crystal Eyes, Hellfueled and Force Of Evil (with Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, Hal Patino and Bjarne T. Holm)



New York-based thrashmetal which has laid foundation for many other bands. They were among the first bands who mixed thrashmetal with rap (together with Public Enemy). Anthrax, founded by guitarist Scott Ian in the mid 80's, have always gone their own ways. After September 11 and threats of anthrax via mail, there was strong suggestions that the band should change name, which they certainly didn't. Late last year they released "The Greater Of Two Evils". new recordings of old songs from before John Bush joined. Anthrax did a terrific show in 2003 on Sweden stage and now they are back with original line-up from the 80's.
Line-up: Joey Belladonna (vocals), Scott Ian (guitar), Dan Spitz (guitar), Frank Bello (bass), Charlie Benante (drums)

Anthrax wasn't fun to watch at all. Before they had played 30 minutes I left to check out a new band for me.

Rating: 2

Official Homepage


The Ring

Picture yourself Black Sabbath "The Eternal Idol", mixed with power metal and delivered by musicians. The concept for the debut album "Tales From Midgard" is based on Tolkiens tale of the ring.
Line-up: Pontus Norgren (ex Great King Rat, Talisman, guitar), Jake Samuel (ex Jekyll & Hyde, Treasure Land, vocals), Marcus Jidell (ex Jekyll & Hyde)

I had some hopes for Pontus Norgrens new project, but it was too close to speed metal for me.
Rather good, but not great.

Rating: 3 

The Ring Official Homepage



Photo from www.metalrage.com
Dave Mustaine started the band directly after he left Metallica in april 1983. The breakthrough came with the second album "Peace Sells - But Who's Buying" (1986), which was followed by "So Far So Good... So What?" (1988) and Countdown to Extinction (1992) to name a few that brought them to the top. In 2002 Megadeth broke up. The rest of the band started to look after a new singer and bassplayer. When the album "The System Has Failed" was released in september last year Dave had a complete new line-up with him, but it certainly sounds like Megadeth.
Line-up: Dave Mustaine (sång), James MacDonough (bas), Glen Drover (gitarr), Shawn Drover (trummor)

Not even the next band, Megadeth managed to lift my spirits, but at least he still plays Flying-V.
The first smile of the day came when they played Symphony Of Destruction.

Highlight: Symphony Of Destruction
Rating: 3

Official Homepage



Photo from www.brighteyes.de
One of the first and biggest bands of the NWOBHM. Saxon doesn't just rely on the old classics from "Denim & Leather", "Strong Arm Of The Law" and "The Power And The Glory", but continues to release new albums. The latest album "Lionheart" was another well-received album that keeps Saxon at the top.
Line-up: Biff Byford, Doug Scarratt, Jörg Michael, Paul Quinn, Nibbs Carter.

First band to hold my attention for a complete show was Saxon. Not the best show I've seen with them, but still good.

Tracklist: (6.18-7.25 pm)
Heavy Metal Thunder
Dogs Of War
Backs To The Wall
Strong Arm Of The Law
Solid Ball Of Rock
Dragon's Lair
The Eagle Has Landed
Man And Machine
And The Bands Played On
Motorcycle Man
Dallas 1 pm
747 (Strangers In The Night)
Princess Of The Night

Encore: (7.26-7.47 pm)
Denim & Leather
Wheels Of Steel

Highlights: And The Bands Played On and Princess Of The Night
Rating: 4

Saxon Official Homepage



The bands latest studioalbum Cyclorama (2003) shows the old heroes that once rocked in "Blue Collar Man" and "Miss America" and took it easy in "Babe" and "Boat On The River", still can deliver to 100%.
Line-up: Tommy Shaw (guitar, vocals), James "JY" Young (guitar, vocals), Lawrence Gowan (revolving keyboards, vocals), Chuck Panozzo (bass), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (ex Bad English, bass, vocals, guitar).

Then it was time for Styx, or rather the band which now calls themselves Styx. Only three members from the 
classic 70's line-up still remains, but really there's just Tommy Shaw and James "JY" Young, since the 
original bass player Chuck Panozzo only played three songs when new bass player Ricky Phillips switches to guitar.
I am a Styx fan and saw them live in USA in 1996 (Kansas was opening act) but I hadn't listened to the "new" Styx 
since original singer Dennis De Young left the band. I was determined to give them a chance, especially since the 
day was a big let-down so far.

Starting out with Blue Collar Man and Grand Illusion (without Dennis De Young's long and boring presentation for 
that song), gave the show a flying start, it was great already. Then came a song which blew me away. Hard 
driven metal which may not fit in a Styx show but since I'm very fond of "good quality metal" with excellent 
vocals, I loved it. The show had already gotten close to a 5 rating, but then they gave me an even bigger 
surprise than the metal song they just played. Just before the show I had mentioned that they would probably 
take out "Lady" from the set-list since Dennis had left. Then Lawrence Gowan not only played and sang "Lady", 
he just trashed Dennis De Young on the very song that was Dennis De Young's and Styx first big hit.

After these four amazing opening songs Styx was unable to reach any higher but they managed to keep the momentum 
through the entire set with no let-downs whatsoever. Two more highlights gave new energy and small 
peaks though, the 13-minute medley with 18 different Styx tracks put together by drummer Todd Sucherman, and the 
excellent Come Sail Away with Gowan again on lead vocals, this time even standing on his revolving 
keyboards stand. Gowan also sang two songs from the new album "Big Bang Theory", "I Am The Walrus" and 
"I Don't Need No Doctor", fun and great but not excellent. This great Styx show made my day and I was satisfied 
with the day after a disappointing start.

Who was best, Styx or Kansas ??? See the Kansas section.

Tracklist: (8.00-9.11 pm)
Intro			   lead vocals
Blue Collar Man			TS
Grand Illusion			LG
One With Everything		TS
Lady				LG
Too Much Time On My Hands	TS
Snowblind			JY/TS (JY presented it by mentioning his swedish roots)
I Am The Walrus			LG
Medley (incl. Crystal Ball, Suite Madame Blue, Great White Hope, drum solo)
Fooling Yourself		TS with Chuck on bass
Miss America			JY
Come Sail Away			LG with Chuck on bass

Encore: (9.13-9.28 pm)
I Don't Need No Doctor		LG
Renegade			TS with Chuck on bass
outro tape (In My Dreams ?)

Highlights: Blue Collar Man, Grand Illusion, One With Everything, Lady, Medley, Come Sail Away and Renegade.
Rating: 5

The Official Online Home of Styx / The Styx Network



Nazareth was one of the bands at the first festival in 1992. Their popularity haven't died and they haven't slowed down either. Here is a classic band with hits like: "Love Hurts", "Razamanaz", "My White Bicycle" and "Dream On", to name a few.
Line-up: Dan MacCafferty (vocals), Pete Agnew (bass), Jimmy Murrison (guitar) och Lee Agnew (drums).

After the excellent show with Styx I went to slow down with Nazareth. Of course they went through the routine 
with Razamanaz, This Flight Tonight, Hair Of The Dog and Shanghai'd in Shanghai, among others but my highlight 
was Kentucky Fried Blues. Sadly the guitarplayer was bad and they had constant problems with feedback, 
so I went over to see Motörhead instead. 

Highlight: Kentucky Fried Blues
Rating: 3

Official Homepage



Photo from www.swedenrock.com
The band have been nominated for a Grammy in the categorie "Best Metal Performance", where they're up against Slipknot, Hatebreed and Cradle Of Filth. He said lights and there were massive lights, he said sound... and there was Motörhead!
Line-up: Lemmy Kilmister (vocals, bass), Phil Campbell (guitar) and Mikkey Dee (drums).

Went from Nazareth to see the Bomber lightrig which I hadn't seen since Monsters Of Rock at Donington in 1986.
Came just in time for the intro to Bomber and the airplane slowly came down from the ceiling. Heavy.
The show then ended with Ace Of Spades and Overkill with more airplane stunts and even fire.
After this I wasn't going to let Accept ruin my good mood so we left to get some sleep.

Rating: 2+

The Official Web Site


The Lizards

Photos from www.metalrage.com
The Lizards now have their third album "Cold Blooded Kings" released. The band have toured with Vanilla Fudge and been guested by Robert Plant. The Lizards plays 70's rifforiented and melodic hardrock. Line-up: Bobby Rondinelli (ex Rainbow/Blue Öyster Cult/Riot, drums), Mike DiMeo (ex Riot, vocals, keyboards), Patrick Klein (guitar) and Randy Pratt (bass).

Friday started with The Lizards that I wanted to see because I wanted to check out the former singer in Riot. 
The original Riot with Mark Reale on guitar and Guy Speranza on vocals was one of my favorite bands. 
When Riot changed vocalist to Rhett Forrester they lost the edge but I still listened to them, but when Rhett 
left I stopped listening to them, so I had never heard Mike DiMeo before.

He wasn't great but he sang well enough to keep me there until the end of the show. They ended with a John Lee 
Hooker blues and the long track I Can't Fool Myself. Rondinelli kept the pace but didn't impress me. 
Sadly the other two members weren't that good.

Highlight: Dark Angel (new song)
Rating: 3+

Official Web Site


Rob Rock

Rob Rock debuted in 1986 with the project M.A.R.S. together with guitarist Tony MacAlpine and Ozzys old rhythmsection Tommy Aldridge/Rudy Sarzo. Rock then sang with Axel Rudi Pell, Impellitteri, Joshua and Driver before he made his solo debut in 2000 with the praised "Rage of Creation" (he was also on Avantasia soon afterwards). In 2003 came "Eyes of Eternity" and now the vocalist is signed to AFM Records, that released "Holy Hell" this spring.

Rob Rock was on next, and it was more metal than I thought. I had hoped for more melodic AOR music.
Too much posing, close to Dio, drove me away. I couldn't watch him any longer, but I might just give him 
a chance on CD.

Highlight: First Winds Of The End Of Time.
Rating: 3

The Voice of Melodic Metal - Official Website


Black Label Society

With "Stronger than death", "God, family, beer" and "Thou shall not spilleth thy beer" have Zakk Wyldes Black Label Society made their name. Beside his spot in the Ozzy Osbourne band he built his own band which now has released their sixth album "Mafia". He had played Sweden Rock before with his old trio Pride & Glory and now it's time again.
Line-up: Zakk Wylde (guitar),

The whole show was too depressing, the highlight was when he started on Paranoid, but sadly he just played the 
beginning as an intro to a Black Label Society song. 
To correct myself, the highlight of the BLS show was that I met Brian Tatler of Diamond Head. 

Highlight: Paranoid (intro) and he's still playing Flying-V. (One Flying-V a day, keeps the doctor away)
Rating: 2+

Zakk Wylde Black Label Society



Helix was formed as early as 1975 by vocalist Brian Vollmer. The album "Long Way To Heaven" went in to a rather impressive 14th spot on the swedish albumchart, where even "Walkin' The Razor's Edge" came in.
Line-up: Brian Vollmer (vocals),

Next band was Helix (that I saw in Kramfors in 1985) and I listened to them while watching the Kansas crew 
set up their equipment. I said hello to their sound man Billy at the mixing board and then saw the whole band 
(except Robbie) come up on stage to fix their gear. I said hello to my old friend Billy Greer and asked if he 
could get me a pass and even though he was busy with his stuff it just took 5 minutes until he threw me a 
paper-cup with a pass stucked inside. This meant that I missed almost everything with Helix, pity me.

Rating: 2

Planet Helix



Photos from www.brighteyes.de

Line-up: Steve Walsh (vocals), Phil Ehart (drums), Robby Steinhardt (violin), Billy Greer (bass) and Rich Williams (guitar)

Instead of watching Helix I sat with my friend Billy Greer and my friend Anders in Kansas tourbus and 
talked about Streets, Kansas and Seventh Key, the three big musical ingredients in Billy's career.
When showing a photo of my wonderful 3-year old son, Ted, he said he was cute and mentioned that his 
grandchild actually had his birthday that same day. The chat ended with 18 minutes until showtime, 
so I had to hurry to the front of the stage.

The show was great. They surprised me by playing Magnus Opus in its entirety and to include 
Bringing It Back from their debut album. The encore with Dust In The Wind and Carry On Wayward Son 
(both from my Top-10 list) beats every band on the planet. Steve Walsh sang as good as ever and also 
more songs than usual since Robby got back. Last couple of times I've seen them Robby has sung lead 
at least as much as Steve, if not even more than Steve. Now there were much more songs with Steve.

In the audience I saw a fan with Overkill T-shirt, that jumped up and down the whole show, and knew 
all the lyrics. There were also a lot of musicians from other bands at the festival, watching Kansas.

This brings me to the inevitable question. Who was best, Styx or Kansas ???
Actually it is not easy to answer. Styx beginning was better, Kansas encore was better.
It's a really tough call. It all comes down to great vocals.
Kansas has 3 great vocalists, with Robby who is about to lose some of the clarity.
Styx also had 3 great vocalists, including James Young that has lost somewhat as well.
Styx latest addition, bassplayer Ricky Phillips from Bad English, gives Styx 4 vocalists and 
they really brought it together in many songs with wonderful voices.
If I really have to choose (and I don't want to) I would say that for this weekend Styx was better.
Kansas are still among my 3 favorite bands and Styx are not, but now they climbed on to the Top 10.

Kansas albums are way better than Styx albums even though they are good as well, but I will give 
the "new" Styx a break now and check out Cyclorama and actually the show was so good I guess I will 
have to get Big Bang Theory as well, even though it's just covers.

I met Kansas again after the show just for a short time, 20 minutes after the show they were already 
on their way. At least I had the time to give Billy a copy of ArtRock magazine with my review of 
their gig in Stuttgart in 2001. And since Steve enjoys watching movies by Alfred Hitchcock I was glad 
to give him a copy of the book about Hitchcock's TV series that I wrote in 1998-2000.
I signed it "To Steve Walsh, for writing the wonderful song Rebecca", about the character in Hitchcock's 
movie with the same name from 1939. The song was released on "Glossolalia".

Tracklist: (4.28-5.43)
Intro				    lead vocals
Belexes					SW
Paradox					SW
Opus Insert				SW
Miracles Out Of Nowhere			RS/SW
Icarus (Borne On Wings Of Steel)	SW/RS
Magnus Opus				
     a. Father Padilla Meets The Perfect Gnat
     b. Howling At The Moon		SW
     c. Man Overboard		
     d. Industry On Parade	
     e. Release The Beavers	
     f. Gnat Attack
Song For America			SW/RS
The Wall				SW
Bringing It Back / Down The Road	RS
Point Of Know Return			SW
Portrait (He Knew)			SW/RS

Encore: (5.44-5.55 pm)
 speech by Robbie "We know what you've been waiting for. This is Kansas big Heavy Metal Hit Dust In The Wind."
Dust In The Wind			SW 
Carry On Wayward Son			SW

Highlights: Miracles Out Of Nowhere, Magnus Opus, Portrait (He Knew) and the encore
Rating: 5

For more pictures of Kansas

The Official Kansas Website / My own personal Kansas Page / Seventh Key Fan Page


Dream Theater

Photo from www.brighteyes.de
With masterpieces like "Images And Words" and "Awake" they were on top. They were influenced by bands like Kansas, Rush and Yes, but have become an influencial band in their own right.

After Kansas I would have needed to wind down a bit, but that was difficult with Dream Theater just 
starting when I got back from the backstage area. I had thought of giving them my full attention, 
but when I noticed that I didn't even know what song they were playing, I realized that I have missed 
to many albums to be able to fully appreciate the performance, I went for a beer instead.
On the way I heard a couple of songs by AC/DC coverband Hazy/Dizzy from Emmaboda. Hells Bells was great.
Just before breaking up to go over to Diamond Head, they played my favorite DT song, Pull Me Under.

Highlight: Pull Me Under
Rating: 4

Dream Theater - The Official Site


Diamond Head

Photo from www.metalrage.com
Diamond Head was in the beginning of the 80's regarded as one of the NWOBHM-movements most talented bands. They never received the same commercial success like Iron Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard. But the last decade has shown other bands like Metallica and Megadeth mentioning Diamond Head as a big influence, and recorded many covers of their songs and as late as in february Diamond Head was supporting Megadeth on a European tour. In late June a new Diamond Head album hit the stores, entitled "All Will Be Revealed".
Line-up: Brian Tatler (guitar), Nick Tart (vocals), Karl Wilcox (drums), Eddie Moohan (bass), Adrian Mills (guitar).

As I mentioned earlier, the highlight of the Black Label Society show was that I met Brian Tatler of Diamond Head. 

He signed the back of my mobile "Call Me, Brian DH" after the Diamond Head song that was released as a 
12" single in 1982. We also talked about the old Diamond Head fan club that I was a member of between 1982-85.
I hadn't brought any album with me to sign, since I have almost all vinyl releases by Diamond Head, 
I didn't want to bring them to a festival and maybe get a scratch on the cover or something.
Since Brian is the only original member left in the band and I have the University Tour Live Video from 1984 
signed by all 5 members of the band at that time, I didn't see the point.
 All members of the band signed a paper at least
At 19.22 a 25-year total absence of live-in person-experience with Diamond Head finally ended.
The Am I Evil intro went into It's Electric and I was standing in front of Brian headbanging almost like in 
the 80's and maybe for the first time since Andy Scott´s Sweet played on the boat Dancing Queen in 1998.
The new singer did the job, he wasn't a Sean Harris clone, but close enough and he was good enough.
The surprise was that the rhythmsection and second guitarist was good, almost great. Better than, 
let's say, Dio's bandmates for the last 15 years or so.
Two new songs were played, nice new riffs from Brian, well worth to check out on the new CD.
The other 5 songs were all taken from the debut album, only 2 tracks from that album was not 
played, the title track Lightning To The Nations and Sweet And Innocent.

Sadly they did not play Call Me or any song from Canterbury but that was almost expected. 
And Brian no longer plays Flying-V either, but I really don't mind, it was great anyway.
 Photo by Anders Lundqvist
After the show I got myself a photo with Brian to put on the website that I started planning 
during the show. After Diamond Head I left the festival with a smile on my face.
Happy to miss Hammerfall, but sad to miss A.C.T. for the seventh time !!!

Tracklist: 7.22-8.02 pm.
Intro to Am I Evil
It's Electric
Give It To Me (new song)
The Prince
Mine All Mine (new song)
Sucking My Love
Am I Evil

Highlight: All songs from the debut album, especially It's Electric, Sucking My Love and Am I Evil.
Rating: 4+

The Official Diamond Head Webpages / Another Diamond Head Website / Patriks Diamond Head Page NEW

© 2005 Patrik Wikström

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