KAMELOT – Tour Report – Special Feature

GOTHENBURG, February 4, 2006

The rest

The day began early, as Yours Truly and Henrik the photographer met up at a car rental agency in Oslo’s city centre to acquire the vehicle of choice, a frighteningly huge skyscraper-goes-car which, with a total of 6 months experience behind the wheel, the two of us should take safely over the border. It should also be mentioned that this car, or should I say beast, was to be Kamelot’s band bus for the next week, so eventual accidents would not only send us to hospital but also put serious obstacles in the way for the production of a certain, rather ambitious, DVD project. Which again would further prolong our aforementioned stay at the hospital.
It took half an hour to understand how to make the damn thing go backwards – “it says to the left and then upwards, goddamnit!!!” – and yes, we received several rather anxious text messages from Mr. Khan at this point, but after putting on a little show for the neighbours in the rather new discipline of ”car-rodeo” we got on our way.

The trip itself went by rather peacefully, of course remembering to fasten the seatbelt – and fuelled by “korv och pommes frites” (Swedish gas station speciality) the little caravan slowly but surely got closer to the target. The third traveller – Øyvind of Illusion Suite had us stop at a gas station to pick up some quality music to make the journey seem a bit shorter – we all knew we’d be more than fed up with the Kamelot discs long before the gig would start – and what better choice than a “Best Of” of the late Swedish folk music legend Eddie Meduza. Especially the track (freely translated to English) “Rat sitting on a pitcher having a pee while singing opera” became a true hit, and a welcome contrast to the more sophisticated music of the forthcoming evening.

KamelotAnyway the car was soon parked well in reach of the Sticky Fingers club, and it was time for a quick chat with the bands and an even quicker meal before Circus Maximus were to hit the stage. A gig which can be read about HERE. And then, all of a sudden it was time for …

The gig – Kamelot Live at Sticky Fingers

Although it had taken some time to let all the fans in, Sticky Fingers was packed when Kamelot entered the stage – again surprisingly early for a Saturday night. After a short intro – “Interlude II – Un Assassinio Molto Silenzioso” from The Black Halo – the title track of that same album came as the set’s first track, and the mood was set immediately. The sound was loud, powerful, and crystal clear, the pairing of Youngblood and Barry took the stage with all the confidence in the world, Casey Grillo juggled drumsticks to perfection, Oliver Palotai rocked like few other keyboarders in Metal, and in the front Roy Khan showed – once again, for those familiar with his incredible stage persona – how great of a frontman he is. Add to that the fact that “The Black Halo” is a downright gem in its own right, and it’s obvious that this was a very good way to begin the night.

“Soul Society” and a very heavy version of “Edge of Paradise” followed – with Khan almost entering the Andy Franck or Chuck Billy realms in terms of stage performance – and when a majestic version of “Center of the Universe” followed, it seemed like nothing could go wrong this night.

The spotlight was now set on Roy Khan as the band left the stage for “Abandoned” to be performed. This beautiful ballad is not the most obvious choice for a live performance; the recorded version is complex in arrangement and the melody is also demanding for the voice, but led by a very inspired Khan, they pulled off an excellent version of the very beautiful track. Oliver Palotai also deserved praise at this point – although some of the keyboard parts obviously are on tape (even fair-haired, pretty-faced, well trimmed Belgians doesn’t come with six hands) – he did a great job throughout, both with the calmer and the more technical bits.

Palotai, together with Thomas Youngblood, also introduced the next track, and when Youngblood’s atmospheric lead lines slowly but surely turned into the intro melody to “Forever,” the crowd went ballistic. Grillo again showed off his drumstick-juggling abilities – in addition to some more than solid drum playing too – and this very catchy tune was a definitive highlight. Kamelot The dark and groovy “Moonlight” was up next – a song which perhaps was among The Black Halo’s weakest spots on the recorded version, but which really shone when played from the stage. The huge synths and floating melody sounded incredible, and Khan was amazing during the slow chorus. In general, he delivered a thrilling performance, both vocally and visually. He has certainly grown to become one of Metal’s foremost frontmen – mixing traditional Dio’isms with a dark and very theatrical style. The evening’s choice of upper body wear (a tiiight, glossy, leather style jacket) was up for debate after the gig, though …

The speedy “When the Lights Are Down” left the crowd sweaty and wild before the “Elisabeth” trilogy from Karma ended the regular set. This 10+ minute beast was quite possibly the very highlight of the evening, and the sweaty Swedes in the first rows gasped for air until much-needed oxygen was spit out again in a huge roar when “March of Mephisto” came as the first encore. The band then had a little surprise in store for the fans, as “Epilogue,” the Japanese bonus track for The Black Halo, came next. Those who’ve read the review of Circus Maximus, who opened for Kamelot this night, have already understood that this was the night for clumsy song introductions, and Khan’s lecture on Japanese record buying habits should once and for all end all rumours that he will someday move into storytelling for children in the outskirts of Norway.

The song itself was a very beautiful little ditty, though, and Khan excellently got back on track with a very emotional performance. Another emotional performance was that of Michael Eriksen, singer in Circus Maximus, who – of course at a time when everyone else was silent – yelled out in all his rather affected galore “fy faen Roy, for en jævla feeling!” (“God damn Roy, some f*cking passion!”). Roy’s drama-face broke up in a huge grin for a second, before getting back on track for thrilling versions of “Karma” and “Farewell,” which closed the set with a short drum solo by Grillo and a presentation of the band in-between.

It had been a blast; great music, great sound, and great performance by all band members; including the beautiful Elisabeth Kjærnes, who guest starred on vocals on several tracks and added a new dimension to the performance both visually and musically. The only things to comment would be the song selection – the band had managed to leave out the entire back catalogue from The Fourth Legacy album and backwards, which is a shame indeed, and also Youngblood’s lead sound was a bit too nasal and processed. Grillo’s bass drums also had some problems cutting through in the mix, but this was no concern to the majority of the fans. The band delivered the goods, and the Swedes danced happily out into the Gothenburgian night. Kamelot


After the gig, those wanting to gathered in the very glamorous surroundings of a staircase in the backstage area of Sticky Fingers. Beer was brought up, and the party was joined by Finn Zierler and Tomas Fredén of Beyond Twilight, as well as several crew members. Michael and Truls showed off with doing a perfect, harmonized rendition of “Living on a Prayer,” and a sweaty but satisfied Roy Khan joined in to a storm of praise for the gig, and an even bigger roar when unofficially awarded “glossiest dresser of the night.” A well deserved award indeed. The Metal Express delegation was chosen to guide the tired singer through the city to pick up the car – for once in my life I felt happy to have a Swede by my side. After loading the band’s gear, the singer was kind enough to give a tired correspondent a pleasant and quiet ride home, and all of a sudden the hard and cold surroundings of the real world were substituted with the plush and pink reality of my bed – which, of course, was pre-loaded with gallons of ale, 20 naked women, and Manowar’s Pleasure Slave on the new hi-fi. Had it all just been a dream, then? The ringing in my ears said no.

OSLO, February 11, 2006

The rest

Michael Eriksen of Circus Maximus was kind enough to open up his home for a horde of thirsty Metalheads preparing for a big night out, and what was once a nice, clean, three room apartment just outside Oslo’s city centre soon was transformed to a pigsty of beer cans, manure, half-eaten pizza, naked women, and every other compulsory ingredient for every party involving Metal people. Everyone bathed in their own bowels, drank each others’ blood, and no less than six goats were sacrificed to a full-size picture of Roy Khan.

Well, sort of, at least. Several gallons of alcohol were consumed, yes, but actually the biggest talk of the night was Buzz, a scaringly addictive Playstation music game show. Also Eriksen’s penchant for small, furry toy animals was thoroughly discussed, as well as some band that were playing downtown. Their name begins with a K, or something …

After a quick cab ride, the party reached Rockefeller, which already had been transformed into a who-is-who show in Norwegian Heavy Metal. Kamelot were to perform their first gig in Norway ever, a gig that also was to become the band’s first DVD. “Everyone” was there, and there was no doubt that the expectations of the gig were rather high. The band was to burn off a whole lotta cash on the mere two hours on stage, and the production was the most ambitious recording done on Rockefeller ever. But, as you’ve read already, the band was in great shape and the performance in Gothenburg should calm even the most anxious mother-in-law before the big night.

Luckily the queue was long outside the venue long before the doors opened, and the crowd definitely did their best to make this a successful project.

The gig – Kamelot Live at Rockefeller

After having a week to “relax” – “relaxing” as in doing tons of interviews, rehearsing, testing light and pyro, as well as enjoying better meals at the Kahn residence half an hour outside Oslo (chicken and red pepper casserole) the band was definitely up for the task at hand. The set list was almost identical to the gig in Sweden, with a welcome addition of “The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)” and the The Fourth Legacy classic “Nights of Arabia.” The title track from that album – arguably one of the band’s best and most classic songs ever – was still left out, though.

The band had promised this to be a special night, and indeed it was. A three-piece choir was accompanying the band throughout the gig, as well as several guest artists – Simone Simons and Elisabeth Kjærnes were their angelic selves, and legendary producer Sascha Paeth came onto the stage to play a surprise solo during “Moonlight.” It seemed like this came as just as big of a surprise to the sound guy as it did to the crowd, though, as it was impossible to hear Sascha’s guitar in the mix. A fun touch anyway.

Furthermore Snowy Shaw played Shagrath’s part as Khan’s evil counterpart during “March of Mephisto,” and looked cool enough, despite wearing huge, hairy boots (like the ones sixteen year old hipsters wear). There were some rumors about this, though, as Shagrath was spotted running through the crowd two minutes before the “March …” was to be played and delivering a very vague answer to questions about whether or not he was to sing – had he managed to be late for the performance? Luckily this was not the case.

The true stars of the evening were the quintet that is Kamelot, though. Once again, they put forth a brilliant performance – both in their playing and “performinc” aspects – and it’s a long time since Rockefeller roared like this night. The opener, “The Black Halo,” is an obvious highlight, as were the two new additions – “The Haunting” and “Nights of Arabia.” Roy did alter the chorus melody a bit on the latter – as he does on the live album The Expedition, but with all the backing vocals and the crowd singing along this was not something to take much notice. Simone did a great job on “The Haunting,” which featured some nice interplay between her and Khan, but it wasn’t until Khan got his wife Elisabeth on stage to sing the “Elisabeth” trilogy with him that things really got electric. This, along with a breathtaking versions of “Forever” and “Farewell,” may have been the biggest highlights of the very night – the perfect mix of metallic mayhem and passionate emotion. Kamelot

For those curious about how the DVD will come out, you can be assured that it will be a phenomenal product both for the ears and the eyes; the visual side of things was taken care of by a broad array of lights and pyro effects, as well as a huge screen showing video to create another visual dimension to the show. The band members also did their best to make the show, and the recording, enjoyable – Khan was all over the place, delivering a stunning performance so heartfelt and emotional that even the toughest Metalheads in the crowd had to be moved. Youngblood, Barry, and Palotai posed and banged like never before, and Casey Grillo once again showed he would be a strong contender if drumstick-acrobatics were an event in the Olympics.

To sum it up, then, this was just as great as the hype had said it would be. The band was in top form, the sound was loud, crisp, and clear, the effects worked well, and the DVD should be a compulsory buy for everyone Metal.

And finally – it had all been a blast. Huge greetings to Kamelot, crew, and everyone else involved these two nights. Rock on!


  • 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.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.