Final day for this year’s edition and who better to close the festival than the legendary Ritchie Blackmore and his Rainbow. The mysterious guitar wonder had many versions of his famous band but the ones for the history books are with the late great Ronnie James Dio, Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet. Many great musicians played alongside Mr Gumpy but the band we got to hear today is as good as unknown. True vocalist Ronnie Romero from Lords of Black is an excellent singer but no one compares to the original vocalists. There are not that many Rainbow gigs around so we should cherish what we got instead of nagging about this or that. Over The Rainbow has been the intro for Rainbow gigs since the beginning of the band and guess what…nothing’s changed. Opening track Spotlight Kid says it all. What started out in 2016 as a minor reunion with an unknown Rainbow formation has grown into a good reflection of what the band stood for. I Surrender, Mistreated, Since You’ve Been Gone and Man On The Silver Mountain with some snippets of Deep Purple’s Woman From Tokyo almost sound like you’re back in the eighties…that good. What happens next? Sweden Rock gets to hear Perfect Strangers written for Deep Purple so why is it in a Rainbow set? Are there not enough classic Rainbow songs to play? With Black Night it’s the same thing, another DP classic…why? Difficult To Cure, All Night Long, Stargazer and Long Live Rock ‘N’Roll take them back on track but closing down the set they’re going down Deep Purple lane again and that’s just not the way to go. True the songs are played beautifully but we came to see Rainbow.
Myrath meaning legacy in Arabic is a metalband from Tunesia formed back in 2001 and released their first album in 2007. Today they are playing a second set replacing Behemoth who couldn’t make it to the gig due to custom problems. Filling in for a band as Behemoth isn’t easy but still a few thousand headbangers gathered to finish of this year’s edition in style. Performing eight songs from Seheli is wanting to promote your latest release as much as possible. The tracks sound fresh and modern just the way this kind of music should sound going on 2020. Mixing some oriental sounds into their music gives the songs that extra touch and the belly dancer attracts a lot of metal eyes. They have filled the gap but it’s not the same as a Behemoth set.
Swedish powermetallers Hammerfall are a well respected guest at the festival and their sixt visit is nothing different. They have been around since 1993 and are still doing their thing. Thedy haven’t released an album since 2016 but the die hard fans don’t seem to care and they really don’t. Today is a beautiful mix with tracks from nearly all albums released. Starting out with Legion from No Sacrifice No Victory is a master move. Attention is drawn on the spot and more and more headbangers are heading toward the stage. Songs from Crimson Thunder and Renegade are performed with a huge crowd singing along all the lyrics. They really are at the top of their game fueled by the fans. Everyone is looking forward to their next passage. Maybe next year!
Next up is one of the greatest bands of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. They started out way back in 1976 alongside bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Only singer Biff Byford and guitar player Paul Quinn have been there since the beginning but it must been said that the current line up has been here for many many yaers now so stability in the band is number one. What to say about the music. They have written so many classics and hymns they can fill an entire show with those songs and that is just what they do. Saxon never really disappoint and this time is no exception. From opening track Wheels Of Steel to encore Princess Of The Night is a feast of recognition. Fans are having the time of their life getting to hear what was achieved in their long career. Strong Arm Of The Law, Denim And Leather, Sacrifice, Battering Ram, Crusader, Heavy Metal Thunder and a dozen more are performed with a one hundred procent devotion and emotion it sounds like a bunch of youngsters just starting out. Everything sounds and looks great so even the dislikers must admit they still have a reasoin to exist. What a performance!
Phil Mogg and his band UFO have been around since 1969, yes 1969 and together with bass player Pete Way and guitar wonder Michael Schenker was the foundation of this classic British hardrockband. Only Mogg is still there but this year marks the farewell in the form of the Last Orders Tour. Phil Mogg says farewell but that doen’t mean the rest of the band can carry on. He has given his okay but can there be a UFO without the charismatic singer? Time will tell. Anyway back to today’s show. A UFO show doesn’t offer that much surprises and this one is no different. True fans don’t care because these are the songs they want to hear. Mother Mary, Lights Out, Only You Can Rock Me, Love To Love, Too Hot To Handle, Rock Bottom, Doctor Doctor and Shoot Shoot can’t simply be left out and are brought with grace, feeling and emotion. Vinnie Moore is playing his ass of and ‘the new guy’ Neil Carter best known for his work with the late great Gary Moore and filling the spot for Paul Raymond who died last year is fitting in easy. They will be sorely missed but we thank UFO for all of those years with great British rock music. Until never again!
Pete Way was the original bass player en co writer for the great British classic rock band UFO. Over the years he battled his drug and alcohol addictions many times so had to leave the band permanently and he’s trying it on his own. I can be very short. This performance has nothing to do with rock and roll. He should be ashamed of himself but the man claerly isn’t. This is not a performance, this is pure comedy and tragedy. He looks like he’s ready to die and doesn’t seem to be awake. You can’t hear what he’s singing if you can’t call that singing and he doesn’t seem to listen to what his band is playing. Best to forget. What a nonsense!
American band Styx was born in 1972 but only got some attention a few years later when Tommy Shaw joined the band releasing a string of albums like Crystal Ball, The Grand Illusion and Pieces Of Eight. The big breakthrough came in 1979 with the release of the album Cornerstone and the ballad babe. After that James Young and Tommy shaw persued solo careers and other projects so Styx was put aside for some time. In 1990 Styx made a comeback with Edge Of The Century but this time without show who had success with his Damn Yankees, a band including the great Gonzo aka Ted Nugent and Jack Blades from Nightranger. Today they are performing at Sweden Rock and Styx is a band that never lets you down. Songs like Blue Collar Man, The Grand Illusion, Rocking The Paradise, Miss America, Too Much Time On My Hands, Come Sail Away and even the Queen cover Bohemian Rhapsody are executed with such passion, precision and craftmanship…it’s just sacary and beautiful at the same time. Chickens done and see you at one of the next editions of the festival!