I saw then with Tolkki in 2004 or 2005. He was great, as was everyone in the band.
I felt kinda bad the first time I saw them cuz they were playing in a fairly small venue (House of Blues Chicago) but it was barely even halfway full. Don't get me wrong, I love that venue. I just felt they had a small turnout and it was their first US tour. Then again, the concert was on a Wednesday or something. Into Eternity opened. I'd never heard of them but liked them a lot and got some of their stuff soon after the concert.
The second time I saw them (2009 I think), the venue they were supposed to play at shut down and they got moved to a bar. The opening band, Pagan's Mind (excellent, BTW), had to set their stuff up in front of Stratovarius' stuff on this small little stage and barely had room to move around on the stage. So I kinda felt bad for them then, too, cuz there were like less than 100 people there to see them, and it was just at a bar with some pool tables and stuff.
I've heard Stratovarius doesn't draw the crowds like other bands in the genre, like Sonata Arctica (whom I've also seen a couple times), do. I don't know why. They're great. Then again, they're the first power metal band I ever heard so maybe that's part of why I like them so much.
That being said, I'm not too crazy about some of their stuff, but the rest is awesome.
I haven't seen RR or Symfonia.
I think it's a US thing. Most Power metal bands dont draw crowds in the US (which is why most of them dont tour outside of Europe very much). Nightwish might be the exception because they managed to get a big crowd at the Gibson Amphitheater (next to Universal Studios in L.A.). I know in Japan Sonata is alot more popular, but that's because rumors and partial recordings of them covering X Japan's Silent Jealousy at live shows made the rounds and got them more recognition.
I actually didnt even know anything about Power metal until I watched Metal Evolution. Luca Turilli said that classical composers were the original metaliers (aka headbangers) and from that I listened to old Sonata, but then got curious about Strato, then started listening to them. There was so much vitality in the music that it made me forget completely about Sonata (along with the fact that Sonatas new album is stupid). i've only been playing guitar for a year, but 2 of the 3 songs I can play completely are Strato songs (Hunting high and low and Eagleheart) and the song I'm learning right now is Galaxies.
Speaking of Galaxies (and more broadly, Fourth Dimension), I picked up a used copy of the Fourth dimension songbook (has ALL of the FD songs on it, plus Dreamspace). It was only released here in Japan and from everything I've heard, it's accurate.
Timo Tolkki isnt the most active guitarist (like the Iron maiden guys jumping around all the time) but he puts so much emotion into his music that you pay more attention to the lyrics and the music than the band itself. I wish I couldve seen Tolkki live once. He's a true inspiration to all musicans. You're really lucky.