Kamelot Brings a Little Wacken to Richmond!!

Kamelot at The National in Richmond, VA on 5/21/2024. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

Richmond, VA – Sometimes I wish I could just put on some red ruby slippers, tap the heels and say, “There’s no place like Wacken, there’s no place like Wacken” and end up at my number one bucket list festival… you guessed it, Wacken. Kamelot‘s appearance at The National in Richmond, VA on May 21, 2024 did nothing to quell the raging Wacken flames as they brought with them two other bands with a Wacken background, the up and coming Ad Infinitum (Swiss and German) as well as the Swedish metal gods, Hammerfall. It was clear from the start, this was going to be a memorable night… a little Wacken Lite (Sounds Great… Less Noise). 

For those of you who have never heard of the Swiss / German symphonic metal band fronted by metal goddess Melissa Bonny, Ad Infinitum, you are in for a treat. While relatively new on the scene (compared to Hammerfall and Kamelot), they were the perfect opening for the night. Formed in 2020, they are making some noise. They made their US debut at the 2023 Prog Power Festival in Atlanta and ‘advancing to the show’, appearing at Wacken earlier the same year. Their 30 minute set included “Unstoppable“, “Eternal Rains“, “Outer Space“, and “Into the Night” to name a few. The journey to little Wacken was off to a great start!!! 

I hate to admit this, but of the three bands, I was least familiar with the middle band, Hammerfall, hailing from Sweden. “Brotherhood” set the tone, I was in awe. Where had my head been buried? A bit more seasoned than Ad Infinitum (by 27 years), they were also Wacken veterans. 

Ad Infinitum and Hammerfall Gallery

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The interaction with the National crowd was awesome and you could feel the energy build both on and off stage. Founding member Oscar Dronjak (guitar) and almost original member, Joacim Cans (vocals) worked the crowd into a metal frenzy with “Any Means Necessary“, “Hammer of Dawn“, “Hammer High“, “(We Make) Sweden Rock” and  “Hearts on Fire” in the mix. The banter between songs added to the energy. Did I say I really needed to get to Wacken? 

The first two Wacken vets set expectations very high for the headlining melodic metal band, Kamelot. Unlike the openers, Kamelot is from the US (Tampa, FL) and has defied Wacken odds, having graced the Wacken stage. We were soon to find out why. 

Kamelot, consisting of founding member Thomas Youngblood (guitar), and Oliver Palotai (keys),  Sean Tibbetts (bass), Tommy Karevik (lead vocals), Alex Landenburg (drums), with additional support from Melissa Bonny of Ad Infinitum, took the stage to the roar of the audience. Opening with “The Great Divide“, the final band of our Wacken Lite night 2024 at the National was up and we were floored. 

Rule the World” led into “Opus of the Night“. Melissa had even supported twice in the first three songs. It was awesome. Through three songs their Wacken appeal was very apparent and even though it has been 11 years since their last appearance, they need to go again! 

Kamelot at the National in Richmond, VA on 5/21/2024. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

One thing that I noticed quickly was that Kamelot’s music had a darker tone than the bands before them. This darker emotional feeling was amplified by their lighting. “Insomnia” fit well into the darker them… and certainly, no one in the crowd was fighting off an urge to sleep. 

Melissa again made an appearance in “New Babylon“, followed by “Karma” and “Sacrimony” (Melissa provided some wonderful growls). Keeping up with the pace of the show was exhausting. 

Bringing us to the last part of the main set, Alex killed a drum solo leading to “March of Mephisto” and “Forever“. With the final note, the already low lights went dark… we cheered, and waited and cheered some more, until Kamelot re-emerged from the darkness to give us a much needed encore of “One More Flag in the Ground” and “Liar Liar” and it was done. 

As we all left and I walked back to my car, drained and energized at that same time, I realized how awesome Wacken must be. Kamelot, with the support of Ad Infinitum and Hammerfall confirmed the unbelievable tales of the Wacken experience. The musical emotions were running high. I can not even imagine how one feels three days of such power. Stay tuned!! 

Kamelot Gallery 

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Kamelot Setlist 

The Great Divide
Rule the World
Opus of the Night (Ghost Requiem) (with Melissa Bonny)
When the Lights Are Down
Vespertine (My Crimson Bride)
New Babylon (with Melissa Bonny)
Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife) (with Melissa Bonny)
Drum Solo
March of Mephisto (with Melissa Bonny)

One More Flag in the Ground
Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) (with Melissa Bonny)

Show Date: May 21, 2024

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Dave Pearson
Dave Pearson is based out of Richmond, VA by way of Hayward, WI. He has long had a passion for music. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, he rocked out to the likes of Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, and The Lettermen. Then, one Saturday night, being the rebel he was born to be, he caught an Alice Cooper interview (it may have been on The Midnight Special) and saw him perform, “Welcome to My Nightmare”. Dave was hooked on Rock and Roll (and many other genres as well). Dave has enjoyed (amateur) photography to some degree most of his adult life. Recently Dave started to apply his event photography skills in various music settings with success. He finds that photographing a performance gives him a much greater appreciation for the artist.