Descending, Mencia, Gojira
First band of the fest on stage were Descending, with only mission to warm up the few people who were in the place, with their well played Death/Thrash metal tunes. The crowd seemed not to know their music but I am sure that they gained many new fans that evening. Their on stage appearance was really good as they respect what they do and they do it really well.
Next band was Mencia, the second Greek band with loud and fast tunes. I have to confess that I don't know anything of their work, but I can honestly say that I really enjoyed their show. I believe that they are one of the best Greek metal bands of this times and they gonna prove it in the near future. Their on stage appearance was so professional that they managed to rip off the heads of some of their fans in the first rows.
The first foreign group of the fest was the French Gojira. This was their first appearance in Greece in front of their crazy fans. The ecologist death metalers transformed the arena into a battlefield by driving their fans into a crazy moshpit with songs like, Orborus, Vacuity, Toxic Garbage Island, Backbone. We all hope to have the chance to see them again live in a club with better sound and full set list. Until then their tunes and memories from this live will accompany us.
Testament was absolutely bombastic! In their 50-minute dynamite show, they didn’t stop driving the crowd wild and leading it into a non-stop mosh pit into the arena with the smoke flares shedding an…extra light (although, they can be dangerous at times). The band is at perfect shape with the stomping Chuck Billy leading the pack, the sound was flawless while the highlights for me personally were “D.N.R.”, “The Formation Of Damnation” and naturally “Into The Pit” in which the place was surely on fire! Testament didn’t lose their momentum at any moment and I strongly believe that they reached a high level of performance.
What can I say about Blind Guardian’s performance, except for the fact that they were absolutely storming! The Germans were superb –far superior than their last appearance in Greece- and the fans didn’t stop screaming and belauding them. Having seen them in their home country (most specifically in Wacken) a couple of years ago, I can truly say that the response that they got here was unbelievable and had nothing to do with the respective one in Germany. And that says it all…Hansi, with his short-haired look was in great spirits and Marcus Siepen and Andre Olbrich were the cornerstones of the Guardian Foundation. The band relied heavily on “Nightfall…” and “Imaginations…” and they proved to everyone that they are still a live force to be reckoned with! “Blood Tears”, “Nightfall”, “Mirror Mirror”, “Lord of the Rings”, “Traveller In Time”, “Valhalla”, “Bard’s Song”, “Imaginations From The Other Side”, “Another Holy War”, “The Script For My Requiem” etc. I think that they will return here really soon (and with a new album).
Heaven and Hell
“Tony Bennett is 83 years old and still sings… I can do it as well. I know I have the voice for it…” This is what Ronnie James Dio said to Rockpages.gr a few minutes before he went on stage and if anyone had a doubt, he only had to wait…
Most of the people had gathered in the Tae Kwon Do court quite earlier, before Blind Guardian played their game. The venue, with the huge and full of light entrance, the almost deserted locker room corridors and a few meters away, the dark tiers and the gateways to the hubbub of the arena (almost feeling like you were entering the stage itself), had a weird effect in the atmosphere. Or it could be that this place didn’t look neither like the countryside of Terra Vibe, nor the futuristic Calatrava style of the Olympic Stadium. Or just the side effect of the aforementioned meeting with Dio. Although smoke had gathered like a cloud in the air, the air condition was quite adequate to provide a pleasant coolness in most areas, making it preferable to stay inside than outside, as it would fit the season of the year.
The time was 22.20 and the sounds of E5150 filled the place, while we were walking towards the arena. Following the same route and in few meters away, there was Tony Iommi and his suite, heading to the stage. We ran to our spots, Nikos Astyfidis in the pit to take photos and me a few steps behind. Just a few seconds later, the intro ends and the band rushed on stage with The Mob Rules.
The first and more pleasant surprise was that Dio is in perfect shape. Tireless moving around the stage for all the show – apart from a few moments in the break of Heaven and Hell – and his voice was strong as that of a lion’s.
The whole band was moving like a rock’n’roll train… Vinny Appice was keeping the headbanging tempo, Tony Iommi was throwing solos and riffs to the 6000 delirious fans with the same tranquility that normal people have when they drink coffee on the beach. Geezer Butler was contesting with Iommi for the coolest guy on stage, taking care of the low frequencies.
Many voices must have got hoarse that night (with the exception of Dio’s) and if that makes sense when you watch and listen to epic songs like the twenty-minute version (!) of Heaven and Hell and Die Young, it is always a pleasant feeling when new songs are heard, like Bible Black, along with warm comments by teenagers and people after their thirties at the same time.
The night was quite satisfying for most, I guess. However, since I like walking around in venues, I must admit that the sound quality was changing depending on when someone was standing. The worst place seemed to be above the tiers, just across the stage.
The only thing that can be said as a conclusion is that I hope we’ll be healthy in the next years to be able to go to concerts and see Dio singing live. It seems that he didn’t got his name by accident (and I don’t mean the Ronnie part of it).
Setlist Heaven and Hell
E5150 The Mob Rules Children Οf Τhe Sea I Bible Black Time Machine Drum Solo Fear Falling Οff Τhe Εdge Οf Τhe World Follow The Tears Guitar Solo Die Young Heaven and Hell