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Plato Club, Helmond; The Netherlands - 02/09/2002

Reviewed by Edwin van Hoof

After having experienced the package during some dates in Germany, this gig truly stood out by all means. Kamelot was in for some pleasant and unpleasant surprises. Read on

After a tour stretching for three weeks leading the package through Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, France, Belgium and England, the tour was going towards its final stage in Helmond, the Netherlands. Based in the south of The Netherlands, carnival was in the midst of its first day of four, reflecting onto the Plato gig. People where dressed up and ready for a true party, while beer was flowing in large quantities. 

When Cyberya entered the stage, a solid crowd had already gathered in front to enjoy the German 'Ruhrpott' metal band. Backed by a computer for the drums and beats it looks different, but Cyberya has grown during the tour. Their semi-industrial metal differs more than a little from Kamelot and Axxis, but it doesn't hold back the crowd. Loud and heavy pounding beats pumpin' with a thick layer of heavy riffs providing a heavy and dark feel. Two vocalists, creating a difference as well. One with a clear melodic, voice where the second one has a deep dark roaring grunt. Something that proves to work in songs such as the melodic "2000 Years" and the heavier "Mindcontrol" title track. It's a shame that both have problems with the English language. That is one thing to work on ...

While enjoying a beer, Thom comes around to deliver me some bad news: Kamelot vocalist Khan was rushed to the local hospital for a check up on his voice. He seems to have caught the flu and this might lead to cancellation of the gig. Worried now, Thom makes clear that no matter what happens, they will enter the stage and perform, knowing that a lot is about to happen. First Axxis is on and they get some extensive playing time due to what's happened.

Tables have turned for Axxis on this tour. Where on the first half through Germany topping the bill, now they had to make way for the mighty Kamelot. In Helmond the band could rely on its fans that traveled in from Germany providing them the needed feedback and sing along. I have never been a fan of the outfit, let's face it: The voice of Bernhard Weiss is one that you either love or hate. I do, however, have to admit that I'm growing used to it and it makes it all more pleasant. The guy is a true entertainer and funny as hell. Fans where able to compile the set list for this tour through the Internet which also leads to some surprises aside some moments to promote the new album "Eyes of the Darkness," one that brings nothing new to the musical spectrum. Kicking off with the title track, the band makes clear not to settle for less than victory tonight. A set relying on the heaviest they have recorded in more than a decade will follow. In between songs Weiss entertains the crowd with his razor-sharp and brilliant monologues. The audience seems entertained and, after over an hour, their hit-single "Flashback Radio" ends the set to make way for Kamelot!

Yes, Kamelot will enter the stage. Khan's visit to the hospital made clear that he can NOT perform tonight, you have read it right. But with his prescription in his one hand and the mic in his other Roy proves himself a true professional. 

After the majestic and pompous intro the crowd is going crazy when the Knights of the Round take possession of their stage with "Forever." Only during the first two or three songs Roy is struggling for a while. From then on, the metal machine from Florida is rolling full steam. Three weeks on the road have proven to be fruitful and I've never seen the band this tight and charismatic. Their brilliant metal with classical influences is highly anticipated tonight and there's more to follow. 

After about five songs local DJ 'sik' Frank enters the stage to propose to his girl friend. Being pulled up on stage by Glenn, she gladly accepts much to the band's enthusiasm. The crowd is now going wild and the band congratulates the couple. 

Thom leads in "Don't You Cry" and it looks as if Khan has now completely overcome his problems. Crystal clear singing from inside the audience, much unlike the friendly man from Norway. From this moment on, it is time for the Great Siege by Kamelot! All of the crowd's favorite tracks fly by in high gear. "New Allegiance," the truly awesome "The Spell," "The Fourth Legacy," "Nights of Arabia" ... and so on. All fired into the crowd which is by now completely berserk. 

Casey behind his drums is enjoying it and even takes the opportunity to put on some 'Three Stooges' glasses with nose and moustache! Beer is flowing from the pumps and after 75 minutes Kamelot leaves the stage for the first time.

Not long does it take to rightfully claim the stage and return to play the "Elizabeth" trilogy front to back. One of the true highlights tonight and still Khan is going strong! There's only one word to cover the load of this magnificent song: breathtaking! 

Kamelot leaves the stage once more to be called back by load cheering and screaming audience for yet another encore. It is far past midnight already when Thom, Glenn, Casey and Roy return for what is there very last song tonight. Needless to say this will be the title track of their latest release, "Karma." Kamelot is joined on stage by members of Axxis and Cyberya to round up this awesome show. 

When the band leaves the stage for the very last time, the crowd returns to the many bars in the town centre to start celebrating carnival. This was metal's very best alternative to kick off that party. 

After the show, the band mingles with the audience and we get a chance to hang out with Thom and guest, Martin Helmantel of Elegy. Discussing tonight's show the question is easily dropped: What about tomorrow when the band has to play their final battle of this year's European crusade in Zoetermeer? When Khan joins for a little while it looks good but the day after the problem seems to have gotten worse leading to cancellation of the show. Khan can't even speak ...

Hopefully, the band will return for festival season enabling them to make it up to the Zoetermeer fans. Thom drops me a note after returning to the States to express his feelings and let me know they have learned one valuable lesson from this: They won't book so many shows in row next time on tour. The knights will conquer!

Setlist - Karma European tour 2002
Shadows of Uther
The Spell
Wings of Despair
Don't You Cry
New Allegiance
The Fourth Legacy
Lunar Sanctum
Kingdom Come
Desert Reign
Nights of Arabia
Call of the Sea
Mirror Mirror
Requiem for the Innocent
Fall from Grace
Encore 2

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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.