CLUB VIRIGIN OIL CO., HELSINKI
Progressive rock band Saga has awarded with gold and platinum albums and they have sold over eight million albums during their 30 year plus career but they’re still like a “big unknown” in Finland. The band has never performed here before and especially now, with the original lead singer Michael Sadler is back in fold, it was finally time to witness band to perform its debut show in here. It was pleasant to see that although Saga are not as known as their Canadian colleagues Rush they still virtually sold out show in Club Virgin Oil in Helsinki in front of approximately 500 fans whose long wait was now finally over.
The show opened up with classic ”Out In The Shadows” followed by Saga’s best known material like: “You`re Not Alone”, ”On the Loose”, “Flyer”, “Don`t Be Late”, ”Humble Stance”, “Scratching Surface” and “Wind Him Up”. Bands two biggest selling albums WORLD’S APART and HEADS OR TALES were heavily present but altogether band did play material from wide selection of their almost 30 album catalogue.
Returning vocalist Michael Sadler was having an excellent evening. His stage charisma was really strong and, what’s most important, his voice was in still in great shape. Sadler is truly a rock royalty and one of the best singers in the industry. It was funny to notice that band didn’t play a single song from their latest opus THE HUMAN CONDITION which is the only Saga album to feature Rob Moratti on lead vocals. It’s also the only the Saga studio album being released without Sadler’s presence so that album might not be his favorite one although it’s a strong release overall.
But this wasn’t just a Michael Sadler show. The Crichton brothers were obscenely good and especially younger brother Ian proved some extremely great guitar playing through the set. Keyboardist Jim Gilmour did a great job as well and he was an important piece on demanding vocal harmonies. The man even did some lead vocal parts during the show and handled those well. Drummer Brian Doerner (ex –Helix) complained before the show that he was suffering some kind of fever but fortunately it didn’t seem to effect his playing in any way. And, I almost forgot, but there was one more performer on the stage there. Don’t know who she actually was, probably a longtime fan, but a dark haired female took over the lead vocals on “Humble Stance”. Sadler handled bass duties on that one and also sang backing vocals with this “unknown” acquaintance. She did a decent job there and for sure this was a pleasant moment for many male fans there.
After witnessing this show, it truly amazes me a bit how Saga have lost the great fame they had in the early-mid 80’s. Compared this band to any other band of its own genre this band should be selling out bigger venues. Saga doesn’t lose an inch for currently more popular bands like Marillion or Porcupine Tree. Only time will tell how things will go in the future but the fact is that Saga is currently working on next studio album and there’s a tour to follow. Hopefully we’ll then see boys returning here for another taste !