at John Dee, Oslo, Norway, April 12, 2007

It’s a damn shame, but the Oslo audience has reached a level of pickiness that easily borders on arrogance –- and living legend Jon Oliva only managed to attract somewhere around 150 fans this Thursday night. “The Mountain King” himself didn’t seem to care, though, and he expressed gratitude of once again being able to rock “Frode’s Viking World” -– referring to Metal Express writer and personal friend Frode Johnsrud.

Jon OlivaThe Power Of The Night classic “Warriors” was selected as show opener, and although Oliva’s voice may have been slightly rusty, during the first few tracks the foursome of guitarist Matt LaPorte, bassist Kevin Rothney, keyboardist John Zahner, and drummer Chris Kinder sounded fantastic, and both this track and its successors “Maniacal Renderings,” “The Evil Inside You,” and “The Answer” –- three gorgeous pieces of Metalry taken from the band’s latest offering Maniacal Renderings — worked very, very well. The crowd responded with huge cheers, and these only increased when Oliva announced that the band would perform what he called a “Streets-medley,” but turned out to be full versions of “Streets,” “Jesus Saves,” “Tonight He Grins Again,” “Strange Reality,” “New York City (Doesn’t Mean Nothing),” “Ghost In The Ruins,” “Agony And Ecstacy,” and “Believe.”

Music just doesn’t get much better than this, and with a Matt LaPorte delivering some really scary Criss Oliva renditions (did Criss really die or did he just lose his hair and add some weight?), the chills just didn’t go away.

“Through The Eyes Of The King” followed, and having downed a bottle of Jägermeister and several Tequila shots handed to him from the fans in the front row, Oliva was nothing but a huge, viking-helmed grin by this time. “All The Time,” one of the strongest tracks off the band’s first album ’Tage Mahal also worked well, and, although it may have been even bigger hearing Zak Stevens sing it with Circle II Circle, it was indeed special to hear Jon Oliva sing “Edge Of Thorns” –- one of Stevens’ signature tracks. “Hall Of The Mountain King” ended the set as the evening’s only encore, but fans missed nothing. This had been a truly spectacular night -– and it’s a damn shame way too few were there to experience it.


  • 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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