I arrived at the very beginning of Ascendia's set, it seemed to take about halfway for the band to really kick in. For me, it was a beautiful acoustic ballad that got me more into their set, although others might feel it was their cover of Holy Diver. Their set was pretty much typical for an opening band--solid, but mostly unmemorable. Vanishing Point was the only band of the main festival for which I had a CD prior to the announcement last year (aside from Fates Warning, but even then I did not have anything from them pre-Adler). Thus, I was excited to see them, and they delivered. Freedom Call was another band that took some time to warm up. In particular, the first part of the set seemed to be fairly generic power metal stuff, but when they kicked in with their epic The Quest, it was one great song after another. Perhaps a lot of it was the charisma of the band that started to show, particularly of the lead singer Chris Bay, who was great at urging the fans to sing along and teaching them how to shout like warriors. I was also looking forward to Gentle Storm, and they provided my favorite set of the day. In particular, Anneka was amazing, both in terms of her singing and in terms of her stage presence. While the focus was on their album The Diary (which is one I wholly recommend), they threw in material from Ayreon and Gathering, making up for a very fine set. I had almost no knowledge of Scar Symmetry going into the show, and even after their set I wasn't sure what to make of them. I admired their talent in blending the clean and harsh vocals, and I appreciated the musicianship. However, I could not fully get into the set, perhaps because I"m not a huge fan of the harsh vocals. In a similar vein, I appreciated the historical value of having the mid 80's Fates Warning lineup doing Awaken the Guardian in its entirety, and the performance was excellent. In particular, I was amazed by John Arch's vocals, which nearly approached his prime (and blew anything Geoff Tate has done in the last decade or so). At the same time, I wish that I had gotten around to picking up the album so that I could get into the show more, as I'd have to say it was objectively the best set of the day. Nonetheless, this was yet another excellent day at Center Stage, and I'm looking forward to heading downtown for the closing day, particularly the sets by Serious Black and the Devin Townsend Project.