at Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, Norway, January 18, 2006

It has been some time since the German Power Metal legends Gamma Ray last visited Oslo. Still, Rockefeller was not overly crowded this Wednesday eve, but the few hundred present did their best to make some noise and the band seemed satisfied with their welcome. The band themselves looked fit and were in their usual gay spirits – mixing traditional Metal poses with funny faces and huge grins. One thing hard not to notice was the fact that long-time lead guitarist Henjo Richter was replaced by a young, unknown guitar player. Quite a few curious faces could be spotted as the young man entered the stage, but, as Kai explained, Henjo had called in sick after a late-night adventure on the deck on the ferry between Sweden and Finland, and thus the band had contacted a Finnish tribute band and asked their guitar player (named Kasperi Heikkinen) to join them for the next few gigs. An admirable move indeed -– instead of cancelling several gigs due to one band member’s illness like some do, they give a diehard fan the experience of his life… and, obviously knowing Gamma Ray’s material well from before, the young Finn did an impeccable job too, actually adding a new dimension in term of guitar chops to the band’s sound.

Gamma Ray2The setlist was a nice mix between old and new material – meaning lots of the old stuff and little of the new – and vaguely based on their Skeleton in the Closet live disc. “Garden of the Sinner” opened the ball, followed by (a very welcome) “Heaven Can Wait,” before three of the better tracks from Majestic – “My Temple,” “Fight,” and “Blood Religion” came all in a row. Those were the only songs played from their latest effort, and except for the title track, the catastrophic No World Order was left out in its entirety. Not bad.

“One With The World,” a scaringly fast version of “Beyond the Black Hole,” and a mini-medley from Land of the Free were other highlights before the encore, with an amazing sounding “Valley of the Kings,” “Somewhere Out In Space,” and the compulsory “I Want Out” ended the night.Gamma Ray3

The band, despite featuring the aforementioned guest guitar player, was tight and professional throughout, and in addition to Heikkinen, especially Dan Zimmermann did a good job as he seemed much more free and unrestrained than on the studio albums, where he often chooses obvious and “safe” solutions musically. Kai Hansen was all over the place, doing his best to take care of his “front man” duties, but this was no easy feat as bass player Dirk Schlächter’s new haircut naturally demanded its part of the crowd’s attention. Genetic technology has obviously taken giant leaps lately -– never before have fans seen such an obvious cross between a Human Being and an inhabitant of the Minbari Federation of Babylon 5.

The gig was very cool, though. Impeccable playing, good sound, and an entertaining set-list in an all-professional arrangement.


Garden of the Sinner
Heaven Can Wait
My Temple
Blood Religion
One With The World
Heavy Metal Universe
Drum solo
Beyond the Black Hole
No World Order
The Silence
Land Of The Free mini-medley:
Rebellion in Dreamland/Land of the Free


Valley of the Kings
Somewhere Out In Space
I Want Out


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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