|» PF/Helloween 2005 12 02||
Special guest: Primal Fear
Primal Fear probably plays the ultimate metal. Fast, hard, melodic, screaming vocals, twin guitars all the ingredients are there. Some say that they sound like Judas Priest, but what does it matter if Primal Fear took over in a time when Judas Priest hardly sounded that way themselves? Anyway, this is how true German power metal should sound! As warming up act, Primal Fear quite naturally focuses on their latest album Seven Seals. That leave a lot of old favourites unplayed, but the choices of songs are secondary this evening. It is the energy, the pounding and the riffing that is primal. Ralf Scheepers' majestic appearance and mighty voice dominates the stage totally, although the others do their best to grasp some attention to themselves. They all have fun together and that is fundamental for a great live experience.
9 chalices of 10
1. Demons And Angels
Generally I prefer when band mix songs from every part of their catalogue. But who can resist an ultimate hit parade from primal_fear's early 80s? They played them ALL! Well, not Wheels Of Steel actually, which is kind of sad. On the other hand it is fun that less remembered songs like Stallions Of The Highway and Suzie Hold On got dusted off. Maybe not my personal favourites, but just the expected hits would have been too predictable.
Many were sceptic about that Nigel Glockler's return to the primal_fear drums would mean a softer sound than with Jörg Michael. Well, although I, for obvious reasons, can't tell how he will handle the new material, I can say that the old songs rock more than ever. Glockler actually impressed me with vital and swinging drumming. Biff still sings formidable by the way. But he was a bit scarce with the headbanging this time.
The intro to King For A 1000 Years, from Helloween's latest release The Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy, pours out of the sound system. Andi Deris enters the stage in a huge black coat. He looks almost wizard-like in that outfit, which suites the mood perfect. Normally a long, epic track, with a lot of different passages, may not be the best way to kick of a concert. But here it works just great. It kind of sets the direction for the evening, that also will include similar compositions like Occasion Avenue and the classic The Keeper Of The Seven Keys. But in the typical Helloween spirit we will also get a lot of simple, happy sing-along metal tunes on the way. Eagle Fly Free for example, who is the next one out. The set is clearly focused on the three 'Keeper' records. Some of the old ones you have heard a couple of times before, obviously. Personally I would prefer a couple of more songs from the Deris era instead, but I know that the hits are what people in general want.
When it comes to the old question of Deris vs. Michael Kiske I have always preferred the 'new' singer and his very characteristic voice. Kiske sure could hit the high tones, but he did that to a degree where it became more painful than pleasant in the long run. Deris is far more varied. But, the reason for why I'm bringing this up, when Deris is about to get on to A Tale That Wasn't Right I can't help to be a bit worried. That song is kind of the ultimate composition for Kiske's voice. How will Deris handle this? He does it surprisingly well I would answer! Of course he doesn't go really as high as Kiske did, but he does not miss a tone either. Further, he sings with a nerve that makes you all caught up in the moment.
The drum solo from new member Dani Loeble gets an extra spin when Markus Grosskopf enters the stage behind a small toy drum set to do a 'duel' with Loeble. The scenery is repeated when Loeble does the same with a small guitar during Sascha Gerstner's solo. Solos are not very fun generally, but at least this playfulness makes them bearable. To my surprise we get two songs from my favourite album The Dark Ride. Not any of the darker compositions though, but the more typical happy Helloween tracks Mr. Torture and If I Could Fly. But fun anyway to get to hear a track written by Uli Kusch.
Michael Weikath has quit his bad habit from the 'Rabbit' tour to smile on stage and is his old grumpy self again. Perhaps the fact that he actually respects the no smoking restriction that is now fixed by law in all public places in Sweden brings his old self back? Mr. Happy Man, Sascha Gerstner, tries to bring his fellow guitarist's mood up, but apparently he fails this time. On the other hand I have never seen Markus Grosskopf so happy on stage. He really seems to be enjoying himself. Andi Deris is a solid front man as always, with his characteristic sly smile. Thankfully we don't have to go through the long sing-along procedure during Power this time, but just a shorter one on Future World. New songs like Invisible Man by Gerstner and Mrs. God by Deris works fine in the set. I was kind of sceptic to both those tracks when I first heard The Legacy, but eventually their 'catchiness' overran me.
This was a quite genuine evening with Helloween. Nothing totally unexpected perhaps, but nothing disappointing either. What I might think is that it is kind of strange for a band that has so little in common with the classical Keepers-lineup to focus so hard on those records. I would be tired of them instead and to the fact that everything new always will be compared to them. But perhaps this is a way to make up with that legacy once and for all. To make the follow up album and a tour and then be able to move on, without always have to hear those questions. Anyway, I think (and hope) that the 'new' Helloween will live happily for yet many years. But, you never know
1. King For A 1000 Years