The stage at Night & Day is not really configured for a band such as VHB, being narrow and deep. Hence the band have set up in a 2-2-1 formation; or a tunnel of love as Mikko explains. This puts Mikko and Kie up front with Robert and Jonne behind, leaving drummer Sami Kuoppamäki at the rear but not obscured for once. And that makes a difference because he is phenomenal to watch. As a genre, prog requires technical expertise and that is something which Sami delivers effortlessly, driving the complex songs ever forward.
Being from Finland, which has a long land border with Russia, VHB are very aware of the events taking place in Ukraine. Hence, they dedicate Freedom Fighter and Trouble to the people suffering the consequences of war, and send a stark message of defiance to dictators everywhere. Perhaps because of the anger that they feel over the war, the energy and aggression are ramped up, giving these songs real bite. There is palpable drama, especially in the attack of the guitars, while Mikko delivers the lyrics with passion and anguish. These are no empty boy meets girl pop songs.
All of a Sudden, You’re Gone is a beautiful lament for a lost loved one. It is a moving requiem, which saw the front row linking hands and swinging their arms in time to the music, echoing the mourners in the video. Anyone who has lost someone dear to them can tap into the emotions on display here and in doing so achieve catharsis. Again, this might not sound like a fun night of rock and roll debauchery; but the music is just sublime and takes you on a journey.