|» Helloween 2008 09 27||
Ever since I first was informed about the US Tour for Helloween/Gamma Ray, I have been in a constant state of excitement waiting to witness these two Power Metal Icons share the same stage. Now, that I have been privy to such a stellar event, I want to share with all of you the incredible life changing experience! Game On...Hello, Hurray! Our whole weekend passed by too quickly, it was pure bliss, and we had a blast that would forever last. Wendy & I were able to spend quality time with everyone in both bands, except Andi Deris, who was utterly exhausted. I was even able to interview Kai Hansen & Michael Weikath - a true measure of my success. Hanging out with the members of HelloRay after the show was so much fun, and the epitome of abundance!
As we were interviewing Kai Hansen backstage, surrounded by an argosy of Target shopping bags, warm/cold food, and a variety of household sundries, which the band had purchased on their offday, we began to lose track of time, not realizing the show would begin in less than a hour. We quickly hurried back to our adjacent hotel, to drop off our gear, and get back to the club, before Gamma Ray hit the stage.
We were still outside, when they erupted with "Into The Storm". They had hit the stage early, which was partly my own fault, as I had encouraged both Kai & Henjo Richter to not drop the Accept inspired Empress from their set-list, as they had not rehearsed this one, on this day. Therefore, Kai and his cohorts played earlier than I had expected.
Once we heard them, Wendy & I quickly hurried in, and headed to the vacant balcony where we would shoot the show. As we were enjoying the classic "Heaven Can Wait", a multitude of walk-up Metal heads were still queued in anticipation, awaiting admittance. As the club was sold out, the manager decided to open 'our' balcony to the public, and within minutes, Wendy and I were crushed against the railing, and for a moment, there was no world order.
Once I persuaded the hungry fans to step back, so Wendy could take some memorable pictures, I really began to celebrate the Gamma Ray experience, and I would sigh no more. At this moment, coincidentally, Kai and his majestic entourage continued to carry on, until they concluded their "Fight". Thus, I was in utter bliss as they blazened with "Valley Of The Kings", followed by "Rebellion In Dreamland", a song from one of my favorite CDs of all time - Land Of The Free. Henjo looked so tranquil in his John Lennon like x-ray specs, for which Kai suggested he wore, only to see the female fans' true colors (underwear that is!).
The insanity and genius of these musicians, humble, and having a laugh, kept me suspended in power, planting seeds of joy in my heart. Dan Zimmerman sounded the freedom call of mettle might, pounding the drums, while Dirk Schlächter recapitulated with a real lust for life. Kai even acted like a man on a mission, in league with the odds of deliverance. Each member convinced us that Metal is the only real religion!
As they performed "Heavy Metal Universe", Kai divided the audience into three sections, each assigned one word of the title. This evolved into a storm of opportunity, as screaming minions merged each term to truly create their very own Heavy Metal Universe. Now roused and wired, we were all ready to "Ride The Sky", no longer shackled and chained to the silence.
"Somewhere In Time" included a bridge from "Watcher In The Sky", most befitting, as Gamma Ray had just performed the pre-show of Prog. Power, where their buddies in Iron Savior had played. I now felt one with the world, as the dream healer whispered in my ear to gaze at the Rays, who would "Send Me A Sign", that they were almost ready for their exodus.
I am a die-hard Gamma Ray fan, and it was an absolute honor to finally
see them play live. The Heavy Metal Mania will forever echo in my heart
and The Spirit will forever make me feel rich & famous!
8,5 chalices of 10
Into The Storm
See also: interview with Kai Hansen the same night
Ongoing technical difficulties led to a sizable delay before Helloween finally commenced. For this Andi Deris dutifully apologized, but apparently this downtime allowed for more imbibing of qaulity effervescent red wine, with pink bubbles, for which Andi and his band of thieves apishly, and eagerly indulged.
As the lights dimmed, and the echo of the Saxon reverberated, gambling with the Devil, all of us chameleons new we should watch out, beware, and take care, because it is "Halloween"! Next to Maiden's - "Phantom Of The Opera", this song has the best harmony lead break. I have waited 21 years to see and hear this live. Last time I saw Helloween was on the Headbanger's Ball Tour in '88 with Anthrax & Exodus. Kai had just left, and Roland Grapow had joined.
After thriving in every moment of the better than raw talent of this masterpiece, they broke into "Sole Survivor", showcasing why Andi Deris - The Master Of All Things - is the best frontman for Helloween. Hearing "March Of Time" sent me spiralling, with an earnest love of life. The phantoms of death ripped through this accolade from the second Keys album with such a propitious flair.
After hearing Mike Kiske's new solo attempt CD at reworking his Helloween contributions, it was a real treat to hear how Andi fashioned "A Tale That Wasn't Right" into his own creation. His voice is truly one of a kind! The raw hand rectitude of Dani Löble allowed for a momentuous drum solo followed by the Dark Ride of "Mr. Torture". Now the alcohol was taking it's toll on Andi and the Helloweenies, but not enough to affect the flawless individuation of solos attained within "Eagle Fly Free".
Michael Weikath was a wonder on stage, making bizarre hand gestures, and assuming stances, which seemed almost, at times, uncomfortable. Yet, he never missed a beat, and played each solo so fluidly. His Lemmy like rictus grin, penetrated by his dangling cigarette, only magnified his commercial presence. Meanwhile Marcus' gross cough, from too much tobacco, had no effect on his strumming, or timing.
Sascha Gerstner with his blue beaded dreads, the youngest member, breathes new life into the legacy. His personally penned "Paint A New World" was inspirational, and encouraged mega skull smashing. This is just one reason why the dreambound reveries of Gambling With The Devil make it such a killer CD!
Andi encouraged more audience participation, before summoning "Dr. Stein". All night he and "Weiki" were teaching us Americans how to swear in German. As the terminology and expletives became more risque, and base, we were all in need of some social healing. Wendy & I sang every word of this creature fan favorite.
The band exited briefly, then Andi arrived back on stage dressed for respect. This perfect gentleman iniated the "Helloween Medley" adorned in top hat, and album cover attire, appearing like Alex from Clockwork Orange, walking like Willy Wonka. As he introduced each member, and they performed their caricature solo, he consistently evoked the madness of the crowds, gearing us all to chant, "You are a perfect gentleman!" Mr. Heckyl really knows how to work the masses into a frenzy.
The moment of truth, where I would find my freedom, was epitomized by the final encore when all the Ramma guys, save Dan Z. joined Helloween on stage for two Key classics: "Future World" & "I Want Out". The power of the drunken mayhem ensued as the spectacle became alive. Orange, balloon like savage pumpkin beach balls bounced all about our heads, and the dreary walls echoed with the wails of Kai & Andi exchanging vocal choruses, while "Weiki", Sascha, & Henjo traded off searing solos. Kai even beatified the vision by tracing a heart in the air, expressing his love and compassion for us all.
Overall, this was a once in a life time engagement for Wendy & I.
We purchased several T-shirts to commemorate this special gathering. We
thank all concerned parties for the journey down this occasion avenue!
All hail the GammaWeens who remain Metal Kings for a 1000 years!
9 chalices of 10
Crack The Riddle (Intro by Biff Byford)