Sölvesborg, Sweden, June 6-8, 2013

All photos by Odd Inge Rand



SurvivorWith bands like Journey, REO Speedwagon, Night Ranger, Styx and Foreigner in their line-up before, it was just a matter of time before another AOR-giant found its way to Sweden Rock Festival. This year it was Survivor, with a load of classics in their setlist, that was the AOR extravaganza over the weekend. With “Burning Heart,” “I Can’t Hold Back” and of course “Eye of the Tiger” in their set, it was surely a trip down memory lane with both Dave Bickler (singer from 1977-1983) and Jimi Jamison (1984-1988 mainly) present. It was a treat for the fans that have followed them all the way, and apparently a bit of fun for themselves as well.

Status Quo

Status QuoThey have just told their story on the fantastic documentary Hello Quo! released this year, and they have also completed a UK-tour with the classic line-up from the ’70s. In their first visit till Sweden Rock Festival since 2005, little has changed. They ripped it off with a thunderous “Caroline” before visiting old gems like “Paper Plane” and “Hold You Back.” It’s always entertaining to see Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt doing what they love on their Fender Telecasters, and the crowd also still enjoys “Roll Over Lay Down,” “Down Down,” “Whatever You Want” and “Rockin’ All Over the World.” It was a classic show from a class act band.


KissHaving had huge acts like Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and Def Leppard come visit Solvesborg during the last years, it was only a matter of time before Kiss entered the festival bill. Having returned to Europe in 2008 for the first time since 1999, a new generation of Kiss-fans have emerged. But watching Kiss 40 years into their career is a big disappointment. They have of course the big show, the big hits and their big egos. But one important thing is however missing; Paul Stanley has no voice left. At all. And all through the night, it was Gene that saved the day, with “I Love It Loud,” “God of Thunder,” “Calling Dr. Love,” “Deuce” and “War Machine.” As for Stanley, his take on “Love Gun,” “I Was Made for Loving You” and “Detroit Rock City” was a complete disaster, in a god-awful performance of the legendary singer. Please hang it up now, Kiss. You are pissing on your own career.



AsiaThe all-star 80’s progressive giants Asia have never visited Sweden Rock Festival before, although they were booked to play in 2006 when the John Payne-era imploded, and they cancelled. Asia in 2013 is however three quarters of the classic line-up that emerged in the early 80’s with John Wetton, Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer alongside the newcomer Sam Coulson who replaced Steve Howe only this spring. Even though their albums are very dated, gems like “Only Time Will Tell,” “Don’t Cry,” “Sole Survivor” and of course “Heat Of The Moment” are still worth hearing live, alongside newer material like “Holy War,” “An Extraordinary Life” and “Face On The Bridge” from their latest albums. And Coulson? He delivered the goods, even though he wasn’t even born when the classic line-up disbanded back in the mid 80’s (Coulson was born in 1987).


KrokusAlthough the Swiss rockers from Krokus has visited Sweden Rock Festival twice before, this time it was really something special. With their new album Dirty Dynamite, Krokus went on stage with their classic line-up, with only Freddy Steady missing behind the drums. But with Marc Storace, Chris Von Rohr, Fernando Von Arb, Mark Kohler and Mandy Meyer, we witnessed a three-guitar-attack Krokus with both new and old in the setlist. That meant new songs like the opener “Hallelujah Rock N’ Roll” and “Better than Sex” to old classics like “Long Stick Goes Boom,” “Bedside Radio” and “Heatstrokes.” Quite a lot of fun actually.


EuropeIt’s been 30 years since four pals from Sweden attended a local talent show. A few years later everybody knew who they were. They were of course Europe, which visited Sweden Rock Festival with the exact line-up that had a major breakthrough with their third album The Final Countdown. In 2013, Europe is still a major act, but a lot of attendees at Sweden Rock Festival knew Europe from the very beginning. To them hearing songs like “In The Future to Come,” “Paradize Bay” and “Scream of Anger” was a real treat. Alongside “Superstitious,” “Prisoners in Paradise” and “Girl from Lebanon” 30.000 hard rock fans got a bit of everything. With an anniversary show like that they really should have brought former members like Tony Reno (former drummer) and Kee Marcello (former guitarist), but instead they brought along Scott Gorham and Michael Schenker.


Black Star Riders

It’s really something special when old heroes start up a new chapter in their careers, and deliver really powerful stuff. Black Star Riders is of course Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy’s new project, including the latter year’s Thin Lizzy members Marco Mendoza, Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson. Adding drummer Jimmy De Grasso to the line-up, they have just released All Hell Breaks Loose and their set on Sweden Rock Festival included both songs from their debut album alongside classics from the Thin Lizzy catalogue. They delivered one of the best shows at this year’s festival. A convincing set, with the old classics and new songs in the same old timeless Hard Rock tradition. Quite impressive, Mr. Gorham.


RushAlongside Kiss, booking Rush has really been one of Sweden Rock Festival’s biggest achievements during their 20 something year long existence. But seeing Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart was maybe more magic on paper than on stage. They must have been persuaded into doing this exclusive festival show, and it almost looked that way also. Doing a lot of songs from their Clockwork Angels album didn’t quite stir up the crowd, even though “2112,” “The Spirit Of Radio,” “Limelight,” “YYZ” and “Tom Sawyer” did. But all-in-all, Rush on Sweden Rock Festival was not the magical event that people were expecting. Maybe the festival crowd wants more party acts like Kiss, Aerosmith and Mötley Crüe and Rush is a way too “serious” act. Who knows…?


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