Kamelot & Crossing Eternity
Quantic Club, Bucharest, RO
Date: August 16, 2018
The Shadow Tour 2018
''Sing for me Angel of Afterlife...''
On the beautiful summer evening of August 16, American power metal band Kamelot played a headliner show in Quantic Club, in Bucharest, Romania, in support of their latest album, “The Shadow Theory”. Opening for them was international metal band Crossing Eternity. It was an unforgettable night, filled with good music, good people, and good vibes all around. But then again, I knew Kamelot would deliver an impressive show, having seen them in 2016 at Maximum Rock Festival.
Since I got to the venue a bit early (around 5:30 PM), I was able to listen to Kamelot’s soundcheck from the sidelines, and I have to say that it is quite fascinating to hear all the little details that go into creating the perfect live soundscape. It’s a lot of little adjustments that have to be made so that everyone on stage can perform in optimal conditions. I know that for musicians this is part of the normal routine, but to a non-musician like myself, this little peek behind-the-curtains was extremely captivating.
The first to take to the stage were Crossing Eternity, who played songs from their debut album “The Rising World”. The band’s line-up is a mix of nationalities, Romanian and Swedish to be more precise, who came together under the flag of metal, united by their passion and love for music. And I just love how music unites people across borders. Though they only had 30 minutes of stage time, they did a good job of warming up the crowd with their power metal anthems. I will definitely check out the album, as I really enjoyed the songs - especially “Kingdom Come”, “Ghost of a Storm”, and “Crossing Eternity” - the band’s energy on stage, Berti Barbera’s vocals, and Manu Savu’s guitar lines.
Kamelot’s show started on a very atmospheric note with the “Knight’s March” (intro) and the band coming on stage as the fans cheered and applauded. It was followed closely by “Phantom Divine”, and “Rule the World”, which for me was the highlight of the night because it’s one of my all-time favorite Kamelot songs, and I particularly love the way Tommy Karevik sings it. As the show progressed, it picked up momentum and the energy level rose on both sides – “The Great Pandemonium” and “March of Mephisto” had everybody jumping and/or headbanging to the beat, while the catchy “Amnesiac” and “Insomnia” had the fans singing along in unison on the choruses, especially on the ‘Am-neeeee-siiiiiii-aaac’ parts!
Halfway through the show, Tommy slowed things down and, with a heartfelt dedication to his late grandfather, he sang “Here’s to the Fall”. He then continued with one of my favorites from “The Shadow Theory”, the beautifully melancholic “RavenLight” which he also described as being a ‘personal song’. On a personal note, I have to say that hearing “Here’s to the Fall” live is a dream come true for me, as in 2016 they didn’t play it. Thank you for this moment, Kamelot!
On “Forever” (another brilliant highlight of the show) and “Veil of Elysium” Tommy tested our singing skills with various ooOOOooo chants, which only engaged the public more. Of course, we couldn’t replicate his notes exactly, but it was fun trying. I just love it when a band involves the audience in their shows, and Tommy, Sean, and Thomas were constantly interacting with the public in one way or another, running around the stage, changing places, and getting as close as possible so that everyone can see them. Tommy even got off stage a few time to the great delight of everyone in the audience. During a show, it’s small moments like a high-five, or a glance, or a wave, or some hand gestures that get stuck in one’s heart, and Kamelot have really mastered this art. As far as I can tell, for them, the crowd plays a key role in the show, and I am sure many people have fond memories of that concert (I have my fare-share).
It also helps a lot that Tommy Karevik, besides being a phenomenal vocalist, is a very dynamic and energetic frontman. He knows full well how to seduce his audience and have them doing whatever he asks of them. His charisma and stage presence are undeniable. His larger-than-life voice is so resounding when it needs to be, yet also incredibly smooth and touching during the softer moments, it perfectly balances the darkness of the Kamelot sound.
Sean Tibbetts’s wild hair was very much present, flying in all directions, as he was jumping and headbanging his way through the show. It’s always a delight watching him perform. Thomas Youngblood’s virtuosity on guitar was on full display all through the night with well executed guitar lines, solos, and riffs. And so was Oliver Palotai’s mastery of the keyboard, as he wrapped everything up in a lush atmosphere with just the stroke of some (very precise) keys. He also delighted us with a beautiful solo, and since I am a big fan of well-played piano melodies, thanks to Thomas Holopainen of Nightwish, I couldn’t help but love it. Alex Landenburg (from CyHra), who stepped up behind the drumkit in the summer of 2017 after Johan Nunez suffered a foot injury, delivered a lot of groovy rhythms with his precise but elegant style of playing, especially during his excellent drum solo.
To help with the growls and the female vocals, Kamelot joined forced with Lauren Hart from Once Human. Her superb voice and powerful delivery added so much intensity and edge to the songs she was featured on, from the beautiful cleans she did on “Phantom Divine”, “Sacrimony”, and “Liar Liar”, to her death metal growls on “March of Mephisto”, and the backing vocals on “Amnesiac”. She is a wonderful addition to the Kamelot family and I am very grateful I got to see her live.
The setlist was well balances with classic anthems like “Rule the World”, “Karma”, “Forever”, or “When the Lights are Down” being played among some of their most recent ones – “Sacrimony”, “Liar Liar”, “Veil of Elysium”, or “Amnesiac”. The atmosphere in Quantic Club was electrifying from the intro until the final notes and cheers faded into the night. The band had the crowd jumping, screaming and singing along for the duration of the entire show, and I think we did a really good job of it. At least I screamed until I was out of breath, then I screamed some more. It was a rather small but quite intimate show, and the joy of hearing select songs from the new album plus the pleasure of singing along to the old ones made it simply perfect. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for more!
And now to rehash what people have been saying – if you have a chance of seeing Kamelot live, don’t miss out on it! You’ll be in for a great treat. I am already looking forward to seeing them again in the (hopefully near) future.
The Shadows over Europe Tour will continue in September. For dates please check http://www.kamelot.com/tour/. Also, on September 14, at the Poppodium 013 in Tilburg (The Netherlands), Kamelot will film their upcoming DVD, and I have it on good authority that the band has prepared some major surprises for everyone. You don’t want to miss it!
''We are the empire!''
1. Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)
2. Rule the World
4. The Great Pandemonium
5. When the Lights are Down
8. Veil of Elysium
9. Here’s To The Fall
11. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife) (with drum solo)
12. March of Mephisto
13. Forever (with keyboard solo)
14. Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)