Sölvesborg, Sweden, June 10-12, 2004

Sweden Rock Festival 2004

Written in collaboration between Frode Johnsrud, Torgeir Krokfjord and Odd Inge Rand.

The Sweden Rock Festival (SRF), held a few hours away from Copenhagen (yes folks, that is, of course, the capital of Denmark, but it’s also the most convenient place to fly into when coming in by plane as there are direct trains to hop into that take passengers close to the festival site), has become an annual excursion for the Metal Express Crew, or maybe I should call them the “Crue,” due to some of its members’ liberal partaking in the festivities. This year, the biggest rock and Metal festival in Scandinavia (Roskilde has too much of a diversity for the narrow-minded Metal fan) was sold out … supposedly 20,000 tickets were purchased, plus all of us spoiled press members who were benefactors of freebee passes, along with the even more spoiled rock stars, making the total number of people invading Norje upwards of 25,000. An impressive lineup of bands was employed, although a few things should be looked into further – I’ll get back to that topic later. (Frode Johnsrud)


From the deepest Norwegian forest (actually, the relatively big city of Trondheim) comes the Folk Metal octet called Lumsk, which was the first band I watched at this year’s festival. I have to say that I have not yet checked out their debut album Asmund Fr?gdegjevar, but I’m very likely to do so now, as they made a definite positive impression at the festival. The sound was good enough to let the different elements of their music come through, and although the male vocals were only average, the female vocals and violin were utterly beautiful, and I was not the only bewitched young man fantasizing in the grass. (Torgeir Krokfjord)


TNT The first ones out on SRF’s Rock Stage on Thursday was Norway’s very own TNT. This year, they have released their best album in over a decade, and they have done some quite impressive work from the stage as well. Thursday’s concert was no exception. They blasted through all of their classics, and although the set lasted just one hour, they really made the best of it. TNT started off with “Invisible Noise,” and after that great opener, the hits just kept on coming. “As Far As The Eye Can See,” “Listen To Your Heart,” “Downhill Racer,” “Seven Seas,” “Intuition,” “Caught Between The Tigers,” “Forever (Shine On)”… yes, they were all there.

Sid Ringsby did a good job in Morty Black’s absence, as he is touring with Norway’s version of Bruce Springsteen (Age Aleksandersen) this summer. Tony Harnell and Ronni Le Tekro proved once again that they are a great pair of musicians, and the Swedes were definitely in for a real treat this time around. With a great set-closer in “10,000 Lovers (In One)” and “Everyone’s A Star,” everybody should agree that TNT delivered a great show at the SRF. (Odd Inge Rand)


DADNext up was another Scandinavian act, the Danish band D-A-D – or Disneyland After Dark. At the moment, the band is in the studio making their 9th album, but they took the time to visit a dedicated crowd on the SRF’s first day. D-A-D is a spectacular act, and they put on a great show. This is a band that truly enjoys late-night indoor shows to early-evening outdoor shows, and the start was a bit slow for the Danish band, likely due to the time of day. Further into their set, however, the temperature began to rise both on stage and in the crowd. These guys have a great back catalogue of rock ’n’ roll anthems, and as they reached the halfway point of their 75-minute show; they opened up the floodgates. “Bad Craziness,” “Laugh In A ½,” “Jihad,” and “Sleeping My Day Away” made the crowd go just about mental.

A tremendous version of “Marlboro Man” closed D-A-D’s set, leaving us in anticipation that this Danish band will release yet another killer album and get out there on the road again … at dark, indoor clubs at late hours that is … (Odd Inge Rand)


HelloweenI wasn’t too impressed by the German Pumpkins the last time I saw them play, because they simply ditched a good handful of songs that they did earlier on the Rabbit-tour … and I didn’t see the scheduled crash between Helloween and Montrose, the underrated guitarist Ronnie — at least here in Europe — as a big problem. I figured I would be tired of Helloween after a few songs, then I could rush from the Rock Stage to the Sweden Stage to catch Ronnie for his encores, which I guessed would be “Space Station No. 5,” “Rock Candy,” and “Bad Motor Scooter.”

Helloween detonated with “Starlight” and “Murderer,” then they went on with the opus “Keeper Of The Seven Key,” and Andi Deris, whose bad days singing live I have witnessed once or twice before, was simply flawless. There was no chance I could program my feet for the Rock Stage before the very end of Helloween’s set, only to be met by people walking away from the that stage with grins on their faces. Ok, so I never got to see Montrose, but I saw the most solid Helloween gig in Scandinavia since the Hansen era, and although I was absolutely correct in guessing Montrose’s last three numbers, I ended up being a happy pumpkin myself this Tuesday night. (Frode Johnsrud)


Rob HalfordWith the obligatory openers “Hellion/Electric Eye,” the Judas Priest machinery had begun to roll, and it didn’t stop until the entire Southern regions of Sweden were completely flattened out. Like a big construction site truck, with Rob Halford functioning as the screaming horn to beckon the way open, Priest laid the SRF in ashes on Thursday night, performing most of their old – and newer – classics in an impeccable fashion. Halford sounded excellent and proved once again that he is, and forever will be, the right front man for this band. Tipton and Downing spat out the classic riffs and lead guitar lines one by one, Ian Hill thumped and bumped like only British pensioners can, and Scott Travis made songs like “Painkiller” just as, or even more, powerful than the recorded versions.

Concerning song selection, “Metal Meltdown,” “Night Crawler,” “Exciter,” or maybe even “Delivering the Goods” could have meshed well into their show, but overall this was very close to a “best of modern rock music” set list. Highlights for me included “Metal Gods” – with Halford doing his robot moves – “Living after Midnight,” a surprisingly tight “Painkiller,” “Diamonds And Rust,” with Rob Halford showcasing a good side of being gay by delivering a performance more sensitive than a festival full of Dove shower cream, “Hell Bent for Leather,” performed by a Harley-riding Halford, and, of course, “United,” which sported the evening’s loudest crowd sing-along. The band looked like they really had a good time up there too, and their will to entertain easily influenced the audience, making for a truly great gig. (Torgeir Krokfjord)


David ReadmanWaking up before the birds dumped their shit on my black car (very easy to spot) in my cabin some 50 meters away from the Swedish Southern Shore, I just had to catch the German Melodic Metal masterminds Pink Cream 69. With a few exceptions in the mid-1990’s, these guys have presented nothing but the finest catchy Metal since 1989, thanks at first to Andi Deris’ impressive song writing skills, but later the remaining band, with “new” singer Dennis Readman, proved they could pull it off themselves as well. I had written these guys off, but I caught their set at the Bang Your Head festival in 1999 and rushed out to buy “Electrified,” an album all fans of Melodic Metal should praise. In 1999, Pink Cream was easily the best band at Bang Your Head, and in Sweden, the headlining and reformed Europe was the only band to match their standard.

Opening with the title track from the latest album, “Thunderdome,” then crushing the way through their entire career, including highlights like “Talk To The Moon,” “Seas Of Madness,” “Living My Life For You,” “Keep Your Eye On The Twisted,” and finally “Welcome The Night” – they even had the balls to include the ballad “That Was Yesterday,” and the crowd loved it – there’s no doubt that Pink Cream 69 won a great number of new friends this morning. Their sound was superb, and people didn’t care that it took half the set before the guys convinced even the sun to enlighten and embrace the band and its magical performance. Next time, this brilliant band deserves an evening slot. In fact, they did what this Austrian shithead (looked upon as a German, hence the stupid comparison) never even got time to do – they invaded Sweden and victory was theirs. (Frode Johnsrud)

Hear the interview with David Readman here!


Dave MenikettiSome things in life are more important than rock ’n’ roll, although not much. Anyway, things like marriage can’t be meddled with if you want to keep the peace. That’s why we got to see Dave Meniketti and his Y&T band this time around as well. Skid Row was supposed to fill the slot, but Dave “The Snake” Sabo fell on his knees in front of his wife, and that was it. But it was a welcomed attraction to have Y&T at the SRF. Y&T were one of last year’s big surprises, and they pulled off a great set at the same stage in 2003. This year, the result was no different, although we had big expectations for them. They started off with “Open Fire,” and from that point on Y&T owned the SRF crowd at 13:30:00 on Friday. “Lipstick And Leather,” “Eyes Of A Stranger,” “Dirty Girl,” “Mean Streak,” “Hurricane,” and “Summertime Girls” were all crowd-pleasers, and Dave Meniketti expressed his gratitude to be allowed to return to South Sweden to perform. They also threw in a couple of new-old tracks, from the compilation of unreleased material called Unearthed Vol. 1. From this one, “Wild If I Wanna” was particularly brilliant.

After a blistering encore with “Rescue Me” and “Forever,” it was all over for Dave Meniketti, John Nymann, Phil Kennemore and Leonard Haze; but like last year, Y&T’s set included a great performance from Meniketti who proved that he still has his voice and guitar licks intact. (Odd Inge Rand)


With a style ranging from deadly brutal Death Metal to laid-back acoustic jazz, Opeth is unlike about every other band out there, but that’s definitely not a bad thing. I have always appreciated these Swedes, and had some expectations going into this performance. The band performed a set showcasing every aspect of their style, and the crowd seemed to appreciate it all. Front man Mikael Akerfeldt spiced it all up with some sarcastic comments between the songs, and although the band was as movable as Dream Theater on cannabis during the calmer moments, Opeth has never been about being the most monkey-ish. They did make up for this with the weekend’s most impressive collective headbanging during songs like the mighty “Demon of the Fall” and “The Drapery Falls.” Another great performance, only let down by the weather, which definitely suited the mood of the music, but this gig was not very well suited for outdoor performances. (Torgeir Krokfjord)


Chuck BillyOne of this year’s most aggressive bands at the SRF was San Francisco thrashers Testament. After Anthrax’s and Metallica’s giant returns last year, this year witnessed new material from many Bay Area bands. Death Angel and Exodus, the latter who also played at this year’s SRF, have already released great albums. In addition, we are expecting releases from both Megadeth, Nuclear Assault, and Testament this year.

The summer of 2004 also welcomes two new faces in the Testament-camp: Paul Bostaph, who has been with Slayer for a few years now, is the new guy behind the drum kit, and with Steve Smyth parting ways with Chuck Billy and Co., Halford-guitarist “Metal Mike” Chlasciak has joined the band for Testament’s summer shows (whether or not he is to be Testament’s new axeman permanently remains to be confirmed). This line-up, however, sounded very tight and aggressive. “Low” and “Practice What You Preach” came early, and the band’s set represented Testament’s catalogue in full. From their debut The Legacy, we got “The Haunted” and “Alone In The Dark,” and for “Burnt Offerings,” Steve Souza from Exodus joined in on guest vocals, which was a pleasant surprise. Further on we got material all the way back to 1999’s The Gathering with “True Believers.”

Testament did a great job in front of a crowd destined to go mental, and during “Over The Wall,” Chuck Billy encouraged the audience to begin stage-diving, and a few in the crowd accepted the offer. I guess many fans (including me) are looking forward to the first Testament release in five years, the delay mainly caused because Chuck Billy has been struggling with cancer. But now he’s back, and he is proving that he still can strike deadly! (Odd Inge Rand)


Power Metal Deluxe, that’s what Brainstorm is (hey, how come I only get to review German bands so far?!?!). Needless to say by now, but I will say it anyway, Brainstorm is NOT your typical German Power Metal band (or more precisely Speed Metal, with double bass drums played in an Energizer Bunny-fashion). Brainstorm picks up the legacy of Armored Saint, Metal Church, and Vicious Rumors, and although all these bands still are active in one way or another (Metal Church being “another”), Brainstorm carries the flag of quality uncompromising Metal in 2004, with crunchier riffs than any new Snickers candy bar, and delivered a great-sounding set consisting of material from their two latest releases at the Spendrup Stage. Andy B. Franck, whose voice is strong, at times clean, other times aggressive as well, was all over the stage and in the photo pit – I even expected to shake his hand near the soundboard, where I enjoyed one of last year’s best songs: “Highs Without Lows.” Brainstorm will be at lots of festivals this year, and you’d be wise to check them out! (Frode Johnsrud)


Another Bay Area Thrash Metal band, the second this day (Testament first, of course), Exodus, has released one of the finest albums this year, and hit it off with “Scar Spangled Banner,” the opener. The band sounded tight enough, and followed up with “Deliver Us From Evil” and the groovy “Blacklist.” Later, a song that isn’t about a goldfish … “Piranha,” and the old-school fans went completely bananas. Exodus did a fine job, but I have to admit that after seeing Testament, I wasn’t as thrilled as I expected to be. The Testament guys simply have a much more professional stage act, years more of routine, although “Metal Mike” Chlasciak – such a disrespectful name – looked like Dimebag on steroids. Back to Exodus … I liked what I saw … a nice delivery of neck-breaking riffs and smiling lads who seemed to enjoy what they were doing more than ever. I’ll admit I didn’t see the whole set – I simply didn’t find the performers charismatic enough – but given the opportunity, I will indeed be back for another crushing assault! (Odd Inge Rand)


Phil MoggThanks to “Mad Mike” Schenker, a lot of real life Spinal Tap-stories follow the UFO name. But currently, the Michael Schenker saga of UFO is definitely over. Vinnie Moore is the new choice on guitar, and he has brought to UFO many of the things Steve Morse brought to Deep Purple ten years ago, with energetic and fast playing, yet demonstrating plenty of heart and soul. Also new is John Bonham’s excellent drummer son Jason Bonham, and along with the return of Paul Raymond on guitars and keyboards, UFO has offered the most interesting line up in years. In addition, You Are Here is also a great album, maybe their best in the last 20 years.

But it was truly a retrospective UFO the crowd witnessed as they headlined the Rock Stage on Friday night. “Mother Mary” and “Let It Roll” started it off, and the hits just kept on coming. Many UFO fans have “Strangers In The Night” in their record collection, and this night saw the return of many of that album’s classics. “Only You Can Rock Me,” “This Kids,” “Love To Love,” “Lights Out,” “Too Hot To Handle,” “I’m A Loser,” and a tremendous version of “Rock Bottom” were all highlights. They struggled a bit with the Sharks number “Fighting Man,” but the new ones were truly great as well, with the You Are Here ballad “Baby Blue” as another definite highlight.

In my opinion, “Rock Bottom” might have been the best song performed during the whole festival, at least for the two days I witnessed the event. After a blistering performance, Phil Mogg, Pete Way, Paul Raymond, Vinnie Moore, and Jason Bonham rounded it up with great versions of “Doctor Doctor” and “Shoot Shoot,” and one of 2004’s best performances at the SRF was history. (Odd Inge Rand)


Rudolf SchenkerWith Unbreakable, The Scorpions are truly back where they belong. SRF’s concert proved them right, and although the crowd didn’t quite approve of seven tracks being played from that album, it still was a great show put on by long time “Scorpioneers” Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Matthias Jabs, American drummer James Kottak, and the rookie Pawel Maciwoda. From Unbreakable, “New Generation” and “Love Em Or Leave Em” started it off, but it wasn’t until “Bad Boys Running Wild” before the crowd went wild. The rest of the show was a fine mix between old and new, and “The Zoo” is always a delight to hear.

Klaus Meine’s voice is still clear and bright, and Rudolf Schenker works the stage as if it was his own living room, or gym for that matter. This guy is a huge ball of energy, and he is a definite piece of work. Matthias Jabs, on the other hand, is more relaxed, but he hasn’t lost a thing since he joined The Scorpions over 25 years ago.

“Lovedrive,” “Coast To Coast,” “Tease Me Please Me,” and, of course, “Blackout” and “Big City Nights” were great retrospective numbers. Of the new ones, “Remember The Good Times” and “Blood Too Hot” were true highlights as well. Luckily, they didn’t play “Wind Of Change,” but there’s no way of seeing a Scorpions show without hearing one of their signature ballads, and this time around it was luckily one of their best: “Still Loving You.”

The Scorpions were in a great mood, and set out to do just one thing: To rock! … and with a blistering encore set-closer in “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” they set the record straight with the crowd going wild. After taking the stage at 23:30:00, the time at this point read later than 01:00:00. Did it stop there you may ask? No way! After a break, The Scorpions appeared on stage for the third time and played “Hit Between The Eyes” and closed a great evening with the Blackout classic “When The Smoke Is Going Down.”

The great Scorpions showed themselves to be hungry and energetic at this year’s SRF. They have absolutely laid their troubled 90’s behind them, and now they are just looking ahead to the impact of the Melodic Metal rock scene being finally back in business and their future success resulting from an excellent album currently available in the stores. (Odd Inge Rand)


Danger DangerWith hits like “Bang Bang,” “Naughty Naughty,” “Monkey Business,” and the incredible ballad “I Still Think About You,” Danger Danger couldn’t do much wrong – and they didn’t. The three blondes and one brunette rocked the crowd at noon with a very professional stage show – not a big show in terms of effects, but they had all the right poses for this music.

Why Danger Danger never made it big in Europe, while Poison did, that’s one of life’s mysteries. Bassist Bruno Ravel emphasized repeatedly that their unification and “Rock America” was about the world as one, not really about the “good old USA,” where democracy turned into demo-crazy when the presidential candidate with less votes entered the oval office. For Danger Danger, the party started at noon, which on the other side meant 6 o’clock for the New Yorkers, but like they announced – it’s never too early to start drinking. I would go to a Danger Danger party again, that’s for sure. (Frode Johnsrud)


Ann WilsonSeattle’s Heart, led by Ann and Nancy Wilson, of course, was a wee-bit overlooked in Europe in the 1970’s, but made it fairly big in the 1980’s when things were quite different in the organization of the band. You would expect that Heart, therefore, would focus on their 80’s stuff while performing at the SRF, right? No way, these girls showed confidence in the material that made the band popular to begin with, and if I am not wrong (didn’t manage to see the whole set though), only “Alone” was performed from the 80’s catalogue.

This night’s show was all about “Barracuda,” “Straight On,” and “Crazy On You,” and the girls paid tribute to Led Zeppelin by doing a few of their classics as encores. Ann sang like she was 20 years younger – Nancy looked liked she was 20 years younger, and with Mike Inez on bass and some genius doing the FOH sound, the band simply came out killer. These girls deserved a spot in the moonlight, but in all honesty, they were maybe not big enough in Europe (or Sweden) for that honor … but good enough, yes indeed. (Frode Johnsrud)


AlexiI’ve been digging these furious Finns all the way from their debut Something Wild album, and although in my ears they suffer from a slight “Nightwish-syndrome” (meaning that the bigger the band becomes, the weaker the albums get), they have delivered solid to killer Metal music throughout their career. Scheduling them for the not-so-big Spendrup’s Stage was definitely underestimating the band, as they attracted a crowd way too big for this stage, but the band seemed to be comfortable with this intimate atmosphere. Children of Bodom is also a band which appreciates a bit of Mosh Pit shenanigans in the first few rows, and that’s just what they got.

Led by front man, and soon-to-be king of the world, Alexi Laiho – whose posing skills almost equal his guitar skills (and he is a helluva shredder) – the band performed a set where the emphasis was on their last two releases, Follow the Reaper and Hate Crew Deathroll. As mentioned, these are to me the weakest albums of theirs, and it was the older songs, like the all-time classics “Downfall,” “Deadnight Warrior,” and “Towards Dead End” which were my favourites of the set, together with “Angels Don’t Kill” and “Sixpounder” from Hate…”.

Their performance was, as always, beyond perfection as the technical level of these musicians is nothing but “virtuosic,” which was also showcased during a (rather unnecessary) unaccompanied duel between Laiho and keyboardist Janne Wirman. Drummer Jaska Raitikainen is also a blast to watch as his feet move at the pace of a young, blonde, Norwegian, amateur journalist writing past-deadline festival reviews.

So although they did not play all of their best songs, the young Finns still delivered a very solid gig, and believe me, these guys WILL eventually rule the world … (Torgeir Krokfjord)


NightwishAs I have yet to go off on their latest album, I was not sure what to expect from this gig. They have impressed me the previous times I have seen them, and their live DVD is a killer one, but I expect that this band has grown too big too fast.

The first thing I noticed was that Emppu Vuorinen’s guitar was almost completely missing in the mix, and opting for a Metal band without guitars isn’t usually the best bet. This problem was fixed after some time, but still they never reached their full potential to me. They will get credit for performing old masterpieces like “Stargazers,” “Elvenpath,” and “Sleeping Sun,” but why on earth they chose to mangle Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction” instead of playing something else from their own material is beyond me. They also played “Phantom of the Opera” and “Over the Hills and Far Away” … three cover songs are way too many. Both “Nemo” and “Wish I Had An Angel” from their latest effort worked very well live, though, and the orchestrations sounded huge. They had also increased their pyrotechnics budget, and that’s never a bad thing.

Tarja’s voice sounded okay, but I have heard her doing better live performances before this one. Maybe it was the mix, but she was very trebly on this night. Tuomas was a manful of energy, as usual, headbanging his brains out, and Marco Hietala sounded average as usual too. This man does not have a good voice – yes it can work as an effect from time to time, but a good singer he’s not. With that said, the band was tight and delivered a relatively solid performance, but there’s more work to be done if they are to justify their spot in the spotlight. (Torgeir Krokfjord)


Udo DirkschneiderAfter this year’s phenomenal Thunderball album, my expectations for this gig were higher than the recent Nightwish-hype, and Goddammit, but they were fulfilled! Mixing songs from his latest masterpiece, with highlights from his previous solo albums, and a good bunch of Accept classics (“Balls to the Wall,” “Princess of the Dawn,” and more) the man – or shall I say the result of a mad professor’s attempt at pairing man with bulldog – performed a killer gig, maybe the festival’s single biggest highlight for me.

There was quite a heavy rainfall just before the U.D.O gig, but when King Udo demanded sunlight there was sunlight. The whole band gave 110%, with bassist Fitty Weinhold sprinting around the stage at a pace you’d never suspect from a body his weight. Stefan Kaufmann was being his usual majestic self, and drummer Lorenzo Milani laid down the drum grooves … all awesome as usual. He’s originally a trained jazz drummer, and that’s easy to hear in the way he makes even the simplest beat groove.

The only downside was that Igor Gianola’s guitar sound was a bit out of the mix (at least it sounded like that from where I was standing at the right side of the front row), but that’s of minor concern at worst. The crowd was chanting the main theme from “Balls to the Wall” for half an hour after the gig, showing their (our) thankfulness and respect for this iron soul of Heavy Metal (whoa, scary expression) and that he deserved their reverence to the fullest degree.

The only downer with the U.D.O. gig was that it made me miss In Flames, but believe me, that was not at all a concern during the show. (Torgeir Krokfjord)


Joey & JohnThe odds that Europe would open with “The Final Countdown” were pretty high. Instead, in a pure rock ’n’ roll way, and to please the long time fans, “Seven Doors Hotel” exploded in everybody’s face close to midnight on the final day of the 2004 SRF. Yeah, and I mean everybody, because it was reported that more than 20.000 people witnessed the return of the kings. It’s been about 12 years since Europe was on stage, and almost 18 years since this line up, featuring original guitar wiz John Norum, shared the spotlight. Did it seem that long? No, not at all. Not because they weren’t missed, but the band – it’s members – haven’t seemed to age a bit. Drummer Ian Haugland has the “hair today, gone tomorrow” look (like another Scandinavian drummer who returned after many years), but Joey Tempest, John Norum, and John Leven, the three to front the band on stage, more or less looked the same.

But hey, before I start rambling too much about how good the guys looked – the girls did enough of that all of the time in the past – Europe even sounded good … really good. John Norum handled all Kee Marcello’s parts really well. In fact, a good dose of songs came off Out Of This World, and his guitar was loud and clear in the mix. Tempest hit every note and never rested for a second – well, maybe for a little while one time when he was helped out by the masses when performing “Carrie” with only an acoustic guitar.

Highlights included “Wings Of Tomorrow,” “Stormwind,” “Scream Of Anger,” “Open Your Heart,” the obvious stuff from The Final Countdown, plus the best off of Out Of This World … only “Yesterday’s News” didn’t make a lasting impression tonight and should have been replaced by “Mind In The Gutter” or “Girl From Lebanon” (just my 2 Swedish kronor anyway) …

There was no doubt that Europe was the worthy headliner of the SRF. Simple as that – and don’t miss the chance to see them back together again. (Frode Johnsrud)



I had mentioned way up top that a few things at the SRF could be improved. First of all, the food sold at the festival site is seriously something up for inspection. And Swedish beer sucks, though that’s a matter of taste, I suppose … More importantly, from Metal Express’ point of view, the treatment of press people should be looked at and altered. It’s hard to get back to the press area/backstage bar after seeing a show at the Rock Stage, because the security staff tell you to walk a long detour through the masses of people, while preventing you from walking the 20 meters it takes to get there via a direct route, simply because that area is for working personnel and “more important” people. Second, and most importantly, is the strict security at the press conferences. Tarja from Nightwish was handed a magazine with herself on the cover at the press conference, and while she was receiving it, a security goon – probably someone who still loses sleep because the police academy turned him down – knocked it out of her hand and gave it back to the reporter. You know, if Tarja didn’t want the magazine, she could have just refused to take it herself.

METAL EXPRESSWhen Klaus Meine from the Scorpions wanted to do an ID for a streaming radio metal-Website (take a guess which one) after the press conference ended, a security guy went for the mini-disk recorder and pushed every button on it, hoping to find the stop or pause button while Klaus is in the middle of talking! Uh, isn’t that why Klaus decided to hold a press conference in the first place – to promote himself and the band? Yeah, yeah, John Lennon was killed by a fan, but still … treating press people like they are hysterical teenie-girls with braces who just spotted Michael Jackson makes no sense.

In the deep admiration of the billing this year – kudos go out to whomever booked the bands for this year’s festival – things like these snafus will be easily forgotten unless they are repeated next year. So until then … (Frode Johnsrud)


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