Kamelot have lost their talismanic frontman Roy Khan this year, which is a huge blow to the band and fans alike. The man was a wonder to watch on stage, filled with emotion and something of a leather-clad enigma. His replacement for the tour is none other than Rhapsody of Fire vocalist Fabio Leone, with a few friends as we find out through the evening.
A 6pm start is never a good thing, especially on a week night and, especially when people don’t live in the same city. Needless to say, a lot of people were going to miss Amaranthe. Their almost template sound of Beauty & The Beast vocals combined with symphonic extreme metal will either enrapture you with their sound, or you’ll hate it so hard you’ll puke a lung. Opinions have roughly varied along those lines, so you’ll have to excuse the lack of review.
Evergrey are the only support band who get anything close to a crowd watching them, and they’ve got a new album out, Glorious Collision. The band are tight and the sound is pretty good for a support act, even if they’re not the most mobile on stage, they deliver an impressive set that really set the mood for the main event.
In their first visit to the UK since 2008, Kamelot open the show with Rule The World, the opening track from their previous album. As the show begins, it’s clear that Fabio is being given no special treatment tonight; as far as the band are concerned he is one of them. Kamelot are animated tonight, Youngblood and Tibbets prowl the stage during The Great Pandemonium.
The set list is a wonderful variation of material old and new. The flexibility of Fabio’s voice to reach the high notes of the old songs with ease makes the band every bit as brilliant as they were with Khan. There are two backing singers hidden at the back of the stage, and when it’s time for the classic Centre Of The Universe from the Epica album, Tommy Karevik steps forward from the shadows to take the lead. Somehow, both singers are perfectly suited to the role of fronting Kamelot, and while many would criticise for them not bringing anything original to the table, both men emulate Khan tonight in a way that the fans want, and would even impress the man himself.
The stage show itself is relatively minimal, the atmosphere being completely reliant on the moody lighting that shines from the backing rig. There are some wonderfully warm oranges and reds during a storming rendition of Nights of Arabia, before contrasting to the stark, white harshness of Necropolis.
The true surprise that many were hoping for comes in The Haunting; where none other than Simone Simons enters the fray to duet with Fabio. It’s safe to say no one was expecting her to turn up on a regular tour, but she delivers an album perfect performance looking as stunning as ever. Casey Grillo treats us to an unnecessary albeit impressive drum solo towards the end, although nowhere near as pointless as Sean Tibbet’s bass solo in place of another song.
For a tour supporting an album, it’s good to see only a handful of new material, although perhaps relying a little too heavily on Ghost Opera at times. There’s a great wealth of the back catalogue on display throughout the night, as the first encore crashes to a finish with the blistering Karma, before everyone who took part in proceedings comes back for the finale, March Of Mephisto. Fabio handles the material with ease and the rest of the band are just as energetic as they have always been. This was a truly special performance, not least because it was Fabio’s first tour in the UK, but also because we’ll never see him sing these songs again. Although Roy Khan has left, it’s clear to all that there are singers out there who can pick up his mantle. Overall, Kamelot put on a phenomenal show, showcasing great material over two hours and leaving the crowd wanting more. Fantastic.