Firewind @Principal Club Theater 1/10/2022


It’s been 5 whole years since the last time Firewind appeared in their hometown, Thessaloniki. A lot, if you consider what happened since then. Αfter the successful shows in Europe and the States, Gus G’s historic heavy metal band was finally back to give us an anniversary show that will surely be unforgettable. Personally, I was seeing Firewind live for the very first time and I was really looking forward to this moment. The current lineup may not be the same as the one that made them great, the performance on stage however left me speechless and gave me an incredible experience!

The queue outside the venue was huge from early on with people looking thirsty and waiting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Between Heaven and Hell with the band. So, it’s time for the doors to open for us to enter the theater and start the evening in the best possible way. Firewind had invited the audience through their social media to a free Meet and Greet(!) giving us the opportunity to talk and take pictures with the members, get autographs and have a great time until the band went on stage. That was a very good move from them, since the concert didn’t have any support act, which I don’t think anyone minded. Something that I noticed and that caused me great joy, was the fact that in the merch area there was Gus’s wife who with her smile and her cheerful mood served the people, but also his father who could not be absent from such a historical moment. However, there was another big announcement that came out of nowhere like a bomb. And this was the video recording of the concert, like the one in 2008 at the old Principal which was later released and became known as “Live Premonition”! . We understood early on that we were going to experience something very big..

All set, lights off and people in place. The intro from Welcome to the Empire begins and Gus’ now four-piece team with Herbie Langhans as the new singer jump on stage. The reception of the audience was equivalent with the history of the band and the first fireworks give the signal to begin a night full of passion, intensity and a lot of emotion.. From the beginning to the end of the concert you understood the reasons why Firewind are worthy ambassadors of our country in the global metal scene. Both individually and as a group, I saw the members give their best, tighter than ever, and have incredible interaction with their fans. That is exactly what I expected from a band that plays in its hometown after so many years as if not a day had passed. The setlist was dreamy and covered most of their discography with the tracks seamlessly fitting together to the point of making you beg for it to never end! Of course, let’s not forget that in 2020 Firewind had released their 9th self-titled album, but they never presented its tracks in our country. So, naturally, the set contained several songs from it, however the band’s historical hits could not be missing. The only record from which a track was not played was Forged by Fire. We would like to hear something from that too, but the tracks and the whole atmosphere was so cool and captivating that you couldn’t stay still, not even for a moment! The effects and lights were spectacular throughout the show and the band leader was in great spirits! Herbie was flawless and gave you the impression that he has been in the band for many years by performing all the songs perfectly, Johan is now an integral member in the drum position (which he almost broke in his impressive drum solo!) and Petros who is the “calm power” of the band, completed in its own way the rhythm of the songs. Gus had a bug surprise for us, a special guest who may not have been Bob Katsionis as many of us thought, but another musician from Thessaloniki who has a tremendous career abroad. The amazing singer Yiannis Papadopoulos of Beast in Black who took to the stage to sing Allegiance with Herbie, making us collect our jaws off the floor. It should be noted here that Firewind will tour with Beast in Black in Europe, with the second ones also playing our country. The show ended triumphantly, with Gus’s wife bringing a 20th birthday cake on stage and the band blowing out the candles!

Closing, I would like to say that I feel very proud that there are musicians and bands who, in addition to being amazing artists, are also exceptional people, making us proud abroad for decades. I also feel lucky to have the honor to enjoy them live and to find each time that they have nothing to envy from the other foreign bands of the genre. Firewind made me experience a dreamy night that I will definitely remember forever. Until next time.!!!

SETLIST: Welcome to the Empire, I Am the Anger, Head Up High, Devour, Destination Forever, Orbitual Sunrise, World on Fire, Drum Solo, The Fire and the Fury, Ode to Leonidas, Overdrive, Mercenary Man, Lady of 1000 Sorrows, Break Away, Between Heaven and Hell, Rising Fire, Maniac

Encore: Allegiance, Hands of Time, Few Against Many, Falling to Pieces

Kostas Mouzakitis

Photos: Elias Aravides