Stangehallen, Stange , Norway - Saturday, December 4, 2004 .

Christmas time is coming earlier and earlier every year and most of us are sick and tired of it already when December comes. So why not give it a break and rock a little? That’s what Return wanted by inviting fellow natives Stage Dolls and a handful of other local bands this early December night, and more than a thousand young people found it interesting and showed up (some for the music and some for the party I noticed).


First band out was a very Metallica-influenced straight heavy metal band called Hollow. Quite well played but very monotonous. The vocal was only ok, nothing special. The most memoriable from this band was their cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”.


Next band was Mesmeric Voice, a very standard 80’s heavy metal-style band in the lines of Megadeth, Dio and Black Sabbath. Their cover of Kiss’ “Black Diamond” sounded too metal for me and the vocalist did it ok, but was lame on Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law”. Their Christmas-tune was a straight metal version of “White Christmas”, pure and simple.


Then we got a band with more experience and talent, Perler For Svin. This is Return-drummer Øyvind Håkonsen’s coverband, but Oyvind was replaced by Ram-Zet drummer Kent Frydenlund due to organizing and gig with Return later this night. They opened with a heavy rock version of “White Christmas” with very raw vocals by singer Paal. New additions since previous gigs I’ve seen Perler For Svin was AC/DC’s “Sin City”, Accept’s “Balls To The Wall” and Motorhead’s “Ace Of Spades”, but we also got such classics as “Holy Diver”, “Crazy Train” and “Bark At The Moon”. This band is a real trip back in time and the classic songs are great preformed with a powerful voice by Paal.


Next was Crazy Nutz, a punk-rock’n’roll band in the vein of The Carburators. This is not quite my style, but I found nothing special with this band, but maybe someone else did.


Then it was time for some real black metal from Cynicon. Introduced by a symphonic Christmas-tune (programmed) pompous and melodic black metal was blow out of the speakers. Lots of programmed synth gave me a feel of Dimmu Borgir, nothing wrong with that. It was tight and well played and I must admit that even this is not amongst my favorite tastes, Cynicon was great and very enjoyable. For fans of symphonic black metal (and death metal) should check out this band.


First headliner of the night, Stage Dolls was next. And as always (see previous gig-reviews) they delievered rock ‘n’ roll the way it should be, rough and tight. The voice of Torstein was not 100% this night, but he did his best and did it well (the reason might have been their gig in Oslo the day before). Of songs we got a set of classics like “Love Cries”, “Commandos” and “Soldier’s Gun” as well as some ballads and 2 newer songs. But I’d wish they played a litte longer this night, 9 songs only is not much from this long-lived band. Stage Dolls is a band I always enjoy seeing live on stage, they never fail (unless the ‘Dolls’ don’t enter the stage, ha-ha). In my opinion, they’re one of the best norwegian rock bands live.


The night’s main attraction was of course Return. Playing at home is always a winner and they delivered as expected, a good mix of rockers and ballads. “Sing Me A Song” was the opener (“the last one in my life…”, weird huh?) followed by another top hit, “Change The Attitude”. No big surprises among the songs, but “United In A Scream” was taken back in the set. A good choice I think as it’s a great song (but I still wonder when they’re going to play “More More More” live). “Little Miss Easy” is another personal favorite for me that was played.


You, the reader, might know that Return is back in the studio again to record their first studio-album in 12 years, and we got a pair of those new songs. “All That I See” is a typical Return-ballad with a easily remembered chorus. Do we get a new top hit with this? I think so. The other new song was “Save The Heart”, a mid-tempo rocker. Great song with a great chorus. So there’s no need to worry, Return anno 2004 (2005) stick to their true fans and won’t dissapoint.


At the end of the show Stage Dolls was invited on stage together with Return for a performance of Bryan Adams’ “Christmas Time”. Together these 2 bands put some rocking christmas spirits into the heart of the audience, before Return alone ended, by no surprise, with “Bye Bye Johnny”. Return have yet proved that they’re still very much alive and well, and still great performers.




1. Sing Me A Song

2. Change The Attitude

3. Still Waiting

4. Friends Will Be Friends

5. United In A Scream

6. The Day After

7. Having Fun

8. All That I See (new)

9. Take This Heart

10. To The Top

11. Save The Heart (new)

12. Little Miss Easy

13. The Lone

14. Can You Forgive Me


15. Christmas Time [Bryan Adams] - with Stage Dolls

16. Bye Bye Johnny



1. 24/7

2. Love Cries

3. Hard To Say Goodbye

4. You’re The One

5. Sorry (Is All I Can Say)

6. Commandos

7. Love Don’t Bother Me

8. Wings Of Steel

9. Soldier’s Gun



1. White Christmas [Bing Crosby]

2. Holy Diver [Dio]

3. Crazy Train [Ozzy]

4. Bark At The Moon [Ozzy]

5. Sin City [AC/DC]

6. Balls To The Wall [Accept]

7. Ace Of Spades [Motorhead]

Click here for photos

Reviews & photos by Per Erik Jansen