Experiencing a Blaze Bayley show for an umpteenth time is not something detrimental or typical. Quite the contrary, actually, I must say it becomes more interesting, intriguing and…addictive as time passes by! When the tour dates were announced, I picked up the vicinal Sofia, Bulgaria. As it was the case with my previous visit there
, a couple of years ago, the superb promoter (and a really good friend of mine) Atanas Dimitrov booked Blaze at the New 8 Ball Club which is a wonderful venue for a live show.
Blaze does the whole tour with a van that carries the whole musical equipment, the merchandise and his three-piece band which is none other than the British outfit of Absolva. Blaze was playing in Hungary the previous day and he was expected in Sofia at midday but the boarder officers had other plans for him! There was a problem with their passports so Blaze and the band arrived at the venue at 20:00.
The show was pushed back an hour and despite the fact that it was Saturday only 150 turned up at the club. However I must admit that they created a unique and deafening atmosphere with their screams and overall support. As it is customary with Blaze, the charismatic frontman signed tirelessly autographs and posed for photos with everyone before the show. At 10 o’ clock sharp the lights went out and the intro from the speakers prepared us for what we were about to receive: “Hello Sofia! I’m Blaze Bayley! I’m here to play metal!”! Blaze kicked off with “Speed of Light” and the excellent guitar riff of the track gives chills down our spines. Blaze narrates the story behind each of his songs and “Blood And Belief” was not an exception as he clarified that it was for SPV that it didn’t care about the artist or the fans but only for the sheer profit. Blaze had faith and carried on against all odds and here he is after all these years. 2014 marked the 20th anniversary since his signing the contract with Iron Maiden…as a matter of fact; he said that he lost his hair because Steve Harris used to play in ear-splitting (and apparently hair-losing) volume his bass lines during the song “The Number Of The Beast”! Blaze at his best!
After 100 minutes, Blaze said goodbye to all of us and promised to return next year. We can’t wait for it…especially after a flawless performance like this one. As the lights went on again and the people found their way out, the only people left there was Blaze, his band, the promoter and…myself! Next stop for the Blaze Van was Belgrad (Sofia); so we checked in at the hotel for a well-deserved rest but before that I promised Blaze to see him once again in the future (See you on the road…were my exact words). He replied “sure” and that was the wonderful ending of yet another chapter in my Blaze adventure! I know that I can’t be objective when it comes to this singer but I totally admire his musicianship, his work ethic and his humble character. He plays for his fans and that says it all…as Blaze himself points down: “I’m completely independent. I don’t have a big record company behind me. I don’t have an MTV, or a famous manager. I don’t have rich parents, and I didn’t win the lottery. I have only my family and my fans”.
P.S.1 The encore featured “The Man Who Would Not Die”, too.
P.S.2: I want to thank Rockpages for supporting all these years Blaze Bayley.
George Tsakoumis (Blaze Bayley Greek Fan Club)