29/7/08: ROCKIN' FIELD REPORT 2008

The confirmation that the Rockin' Field was a festival of great emotions comes the following day, when the blogs and music sites are stormed by Italian metal heads with numerous enthusiastic comments. The 2,000 admissions at Idroscalo are a lower number than expected if one thinks of the quality of the bill and the show offered, but it is also a result in line (to be honest, above the line) with the feedback that metal festivals are getting when one is not in front of the usual ultra-blatant names.
A day of enthusiasm, heat in the early afternoon, torrential rain and metal was staged in Milan.
At 12:30 the doors open punctually and the audience on stage is already packed for the performance of the two Italian bands called to open the festival: The Clairvoyants e White Skull. Both bands display great personality and professionalism, and the roar that emerges from the crowd at the end of each of their songs is proof of this.
Here comes the turn of the Swiss Eluveitieband that is enjoying a fair amount of success within the folk metal scene. The class is all there and our band delights us with a lot of good music that alternates between tight moments close to death, thanks to the excellent scremer Chrigel and the skilful work of the guitars, and others closer to popular music where the hurdy-gurdy, flute and violin take over and drag us into a whirlwind of enthusiasm, making us dance like crazy.
I Biomechanical, the next band on the programme, is the one that, in terms of style, deviates the most from the others in the festival. Their technical metal does not show the side of the masters of the genre, even if the resounding heat that is reached during their set does not go well with their sonic aggression.
Just after the 'signing sessions' of the Epica (many here for them), here are the ThresholdAfter almost ten years of absence from the Italian stages, the British band appeared on stage full of energy and began to delight us with some excellent tidbits from their past and from their most recent 'Dead Reckoning', starting off with 'Slipstream'. Good sounds and a good performance by the whole band, who enjoy themselves and try to make an audience that is little prepared for their repertoire but is an attentive listener and never stingy with applause and cheering.
The turn of the Vision Divine and the atmosphere heats up further: the audience loudly calls out the name of Fabio Lyons, replacement for the resigning Luppi, and the band of Olaf Thorsen appears on stage punctually to celebrate its tenth anniversary. The crowd is perfectly familiar with the songs of Visione, who do not spare themselves in terms of elegant playing and stage presence. Fabio and Olaf are the real stars of the concert, the former giving a damn good and convincing vocal performance, the latter grinding out riffs and solos without batting an eyelid and having fun interacting with the audience in the front rows. The setlist is excellent, embracing the most recent songs from Vision Divine's production but not forgetting the past, and the songs presented are readily sung by all.
Right at the end of the set, the rain begins to make itself felt, a prelude to the downpour that will fall throughout the set of the excellent but unfortunate EpicaDespite the downpour, at least 500 people didn't give up the front rows, testifying to the large fan-base that the Dutch band has built up in Italy. Their set reaches its climax when the rediscovered and increasingly fascinating leader Simone duet with Amanda Sommerville (Avantasia) on 'Quietas'.
A few minutes after their concert, the sun seemed to slowly break through the clouds to allow the Rockin' Field audience to enjoy the great music to come.
Happy Happy Helloween is the chorus that rises from the crowd and the band of Andi Deris arrives on stage at sundown. Great performance for the German line-up, with Andi able, now as never before, to hold up the eternal comparison with predecessor Kiske. A resounding setlist centred on the classics, a real concentration of emotion and energy that unleashed on 'March of time', 'Doctor Stein' and that did not forget the more recent production, such as 'As long as I fall' or 'If I could fly'. A heart-stopping finale with 'Future world' and 'I want out', a thrilling one-two punch that leaves its mark and leads the audience to sing the famous chorus for Andi and his mates for the five minutes following the farewells.
It was time for the headliners: we talked about the announced line-up, the stage and the set, but words can do nothing in front of such a show, a concert that absolutely must (had to) be seen. The one in Milan was in fact the only opportunity to see the Avantasia live in our country, since Tobias Sammet (pictured) announced, right from the Rockin' Field stage, its end.
Ten seconds are enough and Tobias makes it clear with his entrance on stage who the charismatic leader of the Teutonic metal scene is. A show of rare intensity begins: the big names are all there, from a stainless Jorn Lande to a histrionic André Matosdown to a 'hats off' Bob Catley. The Scarecrow takes shape and draws fans into what many will call one of the best sets of the year.
The faces of the young people leaving the Idroscalo at 23:50 speak the language of happiness and enthusiasm... a great satisfaction for having participated in a great day: the first edition of the Rockin' Field offered the best that could be expected.
Until next time!
More insights (rundowns, photos and trivia) on www.rockinfield.com