Gig Reviews

Kamelot in Kawasaki

Kamelot served up some rarely played gems at their Japan tour finale at the legendary Club Citta in Kawasaki.

Kamelot at Club Citta, Kawasaki, Japan on 4th November 2023

Kamelot, formed by guitarist Thomas Youngblood in Florida, USA in 1987, has come a long way as a band. Nowadays, the musical subgenre in which the band lives – modern metal combining melodic songs with doses of heaviness – is crowded. This evening in Kawasaki, the final of three shows in Japan, Kamelot proved that they are somewhat of the gold standard for this music. They have better songs, musicians and skills than most other bands in the symphonic power metal space that they lead from the front.

Over the years, this American band has evolved into an international act with members from the US, Sweden and Germany. Founder Thomas Youngblood is joined in the current version of the band by Tommy Karevik (Seventh Wonder, Ayreon) on lead vocals, Sean Tibbetts on bass, Oliver Palotai (Doro, Blaze Bayley, Epica, Circle II Circle, Uli Jon Roth) on keyboards and Alex Landenburg (Cyhra, Annihilator, Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody, 21Octayne, Axxis, Mekong Delta, Bonfire, Masterplan) on drums. On this tour they brought along Swiss guest vocalist Melissa Bonny (Ad Infinitum). Kamelot has a long tradition of bringing in guests both in the studio and on stage and, oh boy, Melissa Bonny is one of the best. What a find she is and she is a perfect fit for Kamelot. She added both beautiful clean vocals and aggressive growling. Her vocal talents were backed up by her stage moves and an eye-catching glittery stage costume. The band’s heavy rhythm section was a sharp contrast to the band’s melodic wing, home to the smoothness of Oliver’s keyboards and Tommy’s fine lead vocals. Thomas Youngblood bridged the two sides and brought them together with his guitar and with Melissa as an added bonus that took this to the next level.

For this show, the second of two evenings in Kawasaki, Kamelot decided to switch things up a bit and brought in some real gems. The band’s most recent album, “The Awakening”, Kamelot’s 13th studio album, came out last spring and this evening the band performed four tracks from the album. They opened the show with a strong trio of songs – “Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)”, “Rule the World” and “Opus of the Night (Ghost Requiem)”. The strong start was a statement that the band had walked on stage to entertain. The show just kept going from there with no dips. The evening’s setlist featured a few songs that the band seldom plays live nowadays, such as “The Human Stain” and “Ghost Opera” (from the 2007 album “Ghost Opera”), “End of Innocence” (from 2015’s “Haven”) and “The Great Pandemonium” (from 2010’s “Poetry for the Poisoned”). As much as I love the louder, high-energy songs, the ballad “Here’s to the Fall” was one of the highlights of the set. The terrific show finished in style with “One More Flag in the Ground” and “Liar, Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)”. It was a terrific end to a great show that had it all – great tunes including obvious favourites and some deep cuts, fine musicians and plenty of energy – all performed in front of a loyal Japanese audience ready to be entertained.