Kamelot Concert Review Van Buren Theater 9-3-23

Review and Photos By Roc Boyum

Modern Symphonic Metal Masters Kamelot, finally made their long awaited triumphant return to the USA with their tour Awaken The World, appropriately titled, considering that these are their first shows in the states since COVID. The band brought along special guest artists, Battle Beast and Xandria to make this tour a power/symphonic metal show not to be missed. Singer Tommy Karevik at one point in the beginning of the show proclaimed, it’s been a long time since we’ve been here but I promise we will make it up to you by returning again; real soon!

Tommy Karevik-Van Buren Theater 2023


German symphonic metal powerhouse, Xandria opened the night with a cast of characters that featured a complete lineup change from that which had previously toured in the states (with the exception of original, and founding member; rhythm guitarist Marco Heubaum). Having had the opportunity to catch a live show with the previous version of Xandria; I for one was definitely curious as to how this new lineup would compare. This version of the band presented a powerful rhythm section that was especially solid and tight while highlighting each musician shredding their respective instruments. For me, I found that drummer Dimitrios Gatsios was the stand out musician who not only propelled the band forward but executed the band’s intricate music with an extra sharp technical edge. The band’s set was unfortunately short – a five song set that left the audience wanting more; next time perhaps!

Get into Xandria here!

Xandria-The Van Buren Photo Gallery


The dynamic Finnish power metal masters, Battle Beast, were up next and gave the Phoenix audience a high paced eight song set that showcased five songs from their latest 2022 release, Circus of Doom. They also played two songs from the Bringer of Pain LP and one song from their highly acclaimed No More Hollywood Endings LP. The band seemed exceptionally fired up on this show with singer Noora Louhimo giving an absolutely brilliant performance with her vocals that were so powerful; the sound ripped through your body with a thunderous force.

Prior to their forth song, Louhimo thanked the audience for showing up on a Sunday night. She said: if it wasn’t for you the fans; we wouldn’t be here; so, thank you very much! Their last song was“Eden” off their No More Hollywood Endings LP that was filled with a vocally charged audience participation that was orchestrated by singer Louhimo. The band also added a couple of new parts to the live version of “Eden” that really made for a great ending to their set and this song. First, they included an interesting vocal breakdown in the song that took the audience singing to completely new level. Then, they finished off the song with a really dramatic grand rock ‘n’ roll style ending that was a half time and rubato style that really stretched out the huge power chords. The band further exaggerated the musical drama with each guitarist employing the use of windmill arm motions as they attacked their guitars with a hammering furiosity along with drummer Pyry Vikki throwing his arms to the sky that came crashing down on his cymbals without mercy. Louhimo’s vocals were insanely powerful for this ending that soared over the top of the music as she led the band and audience to the song’s conclusion. The whole musical ending was like a tidal wave of sound that came crashing down on the audience with a power that won’t soon be forgotten. I can’t wait for a headline show from this band!!!

Get into Battle Beast here!

Battle Beast-The Van Buren Photo Gallery:


Kamelot – L to R_Tommy Karevik-Thomas Youngblood-Oliver Palotai-Sean TibbettsAlex Landenburg

Then came the moment everyone was waiting for, it was now finally time for the emergence of Kamelot. The long awaited return of the Symphonic Metal Masters gave the Phoenix audience a memorizing fourteen song set that included a three song encore for a full night of brilliant symphonic metal as only Kamelot can deliver.

Out of a veil of darkness, the band members entered the stage one by one under a guise of dimly lit multi colored lights with the sound of a prerecorded track “Overture” echoing from the PA system. Wasting no time, the band immediately opened with “Veil of Elysium” – a song that embodies the band’s signature sound. This fan favorite was the perfect opening track with it’s powerful melody that singer Tommy Karevik employed to work the audience into a massive fist pumping choir.

Watching the band, I was immediately caught off guard by the absence of their long time drummer Alex Landenburg who is such a great player and an intricate part of the band’s sound; I wondered WTF happened here! Singer Tommy Karevik in the beginning of their set cleared up any confusion as to the whereabouts of drummer Landenburg by revealing that Swiss drummer Adde Larsson was filling in on a couple of shows so their regular drummer Landenburg could fly home to be with his girlfriend/wife for the birth of their twins. This was a great not only for the celebration of the new lives in the Landerburg family but that his replacement was only temporary. BTW: Adde Larsson did a great job!

Adde Larsson-Subbing in for Alex Landenburg

For many years now, Kamelot has brought various guest artists to join them on stage to bring a special musical element to the live Kamelot experience and tonight dynamic symphonic metal singer Melissa Bonny (Ad Infinitum) joined the band on several songs. Bonny’s first appearance came in the third song of the night; “Opus of the Night” where she brought her powerful operatic backup vocals to the stage with Tommy Karevik acting as the conductor; great fun indeed!.

The band played a long list of fan favorites including, “Opus of the Night”, “Insomnia”, “Karma”, “Song for Jolee”, “Nightsky” and “March of Mephisto” .

With the absence of drummer Landenburg, there was no drum solo and instead, keyboardist Oliver Palotai wowed the audience with his solo piece that was a classically influenced display of some brilliant chops and lots of flying hair!

Oliver Palotai

The heartfelt ballad “Song for Jolee” was a nice change of pace for the evening that transformed the audience into a sea of shinning cell phone lights.

The band finished the night with an encore of three great songs; “Phantom Divine”, “One More Flag in the Ground”, and “Liar Liar respectively”. The second encore song, “One More Flag in the Ground” is a great song from their 2023 release,The Awakening and was delivered with an energized level of excitement from everyone in the band. It’s a given that playing new music for a band on an extensive tour is always exciting and on this night the new song, “One More Flag in the Ground” was equally exciting for the audience. Singer Karevik firied up the audience throughout the song by waving a flag bearing the band’s trademark/logo “K” logo for Kamelot. Seemingly, everyone in this audience had bought their latest LP as the entire audience was singing at the top of their lungs at every prompt from Karevik which made for some great participation fun. For their last song “Liar Liar” , Karevik thanked everyone for coming out to the show before he led the band into this fast paced shredder that once again had guest artist Malissa Bonny on board to help out on vocals. You would have thought that after fifteen songs of audience participation that the audience would be tired out! This Phoenix audience was anything but worn out!!! Singing louder than ever all the way up to the last moment made for a great end to a night of some fantastic symphonic metal music. This Phoenix audience is sure to be looking forward to that promise of a return here soon; perhaps on the backside of this tour!

Get into Kamelot here!

Kamelot – The Van Buren Photo Gallery: