The day that a large part of the traditional metal audience was waiting for finally came; a full-blown Helloween show after a 10-year absence, but most importantly with this incredible – Pumpkins United- line-up with Andi Deris and Michael Kiske sharing the microphone, but also Kai Hansen playing guitar and singing. After several tours that didn’t pass through our country, the longing of many fans was about to be satisfied. In the beginning the weather conditions didin’t seem ideal, due to the ongoing -unprecedented for the season- bad weather hitting the country and the rain that started just before the doors opened, but the metalheads were undaunted.
We often talk about the difficult role and the adverse conditions that the first bands on a bill of a summer festival in Greece face, which are the excessive heat, the strong sun that usually hits them in the face and the small attendance. In the case of Silent Winter the setting was completely different. Instead of heat and sun they had to deal with heavy rain, but they had hundreds of fans on their side who were there from the first moment, wet to the bone, but they clapped and sang along with the band. And the sound was an ally to the Greek group who launched an attack on all fronts with the excellent Michalis Liva on vocals leading the way. The audience responded to Silent Winter’s assault, while the highlight was “Shout” with the crowd and the group becoming one. An excellent performance and a stellar example of an exceptional band.
Beyond The Black
Setlist: Is There Anybody Out There?, Lost In Forever, Songs Of Love And Death, Reincarnation, Human, Heart Of The Hurricane, When Angels Fall, Shine And Shade, In The Shadows, Running To The Edge, Hallelujah
I first saw Beyond The Black in 2015 in the Netherlands and having been impressed I started to follow them. They had just released their first album and they were showing great potential. The current tour is in support of their fifth album and that in itself means that this is a band that works relentlessly. This is exactly what I experienced first-hand yesterday, after an excellent performance in all fronts. A very good selection of tracks from all their albums with “Is There Anybody Out There?” as an introduction (a song which I don’t think will ever leave their setlist) from their recent self-titled album and a follow up that promises much for the future with the band having an excellent stage setup and aided by a very good sound. The main presence in the 1-hour set that the Germans had at their disposal was none other than singer Jennifer Haben, who without “princess” costumes and fanfare, won over the audience in a country where before Beyond The Black’s participation in the festival was announced, very few people had heard of this band whose performance touched the mark of excellence.
Setlist: Perennial, Ape, Colossus, Words Of Wisdom, Call Me A Symbol, Vortex, Copycat, I Speak Astronomy, Wallflower, The Prophecy, Pit Of Consciousness, Sleep Of The Righteous, Disclosure!, As I Boil Ice, Sit Stay Roll Over
The moment we had all been waiting for had arrived. Exactly at 10:30 the absolute and undisputed leaders of an entire genre would appear for the first time in our country with this incredible line-up. Expectations were naturally high as Helloween was a huge part of the teenage years (and not only, of course) for the vast majority of people at Release Festival. The shape of things to come was evident from the first few notes of “Skyfall” as it was obvious that Helloween were in top form and the sound from the stage was fantastic. The truth is that any words or description of the German superband’s performance fails to capture in full what we experienced that night…but that doesn’t really matter.
And if “Skyfall” gave the signal, the sequel with “Eagle Fly Free” set the festival venue on fire with the crowd singing every lyric with all their might, the first smoke bombs creating a fantastic atmosphere and Kiske’s voice reaching monumental levels with an excess of ease, reminding us all of the glorious days of the “Keeper…” albums. The alternation of the lead vocals between Deris & Kiske (and Hansen) on the songs was perfectly harmonized and worked out in the smallest detail. Both the newer anthems (e.g. “Power”, “Forever and One”, “Perfect Gentleman”) and the all-time classics (“I Want Out”, “Future World, “Keeper of the Seven Keys”, “I’m Alive”, “Dr. Stein”) as well as the excellent medley from “Walls of Jericho” brought in mind the good old days and the reason why Helloween has turned into a real juggernaut on stage with this line-up.
Probably, two words fully capture the feelings of each and every single one of us who was at the Release Festival that night: EMOTION and PRIDE! “Emotion” because the journey through time that our beloved pumpkins treated us to was one of the best and most beautiful we have experienced in concert venues over the years. “Pride” because these childhood heroes of ours remain unchanged in time and deserve the utmost respect of all of us. A big “thank you” is not enough to encapsulate the emotions of that night. It was one of the best concerts of all time on Greek soil. Simple as that!
PS: Speaking with Markus Grosskopf backstage shortly after the end of the concert, he told us that the atmosphere created by the Greek audience was incredible and impressive. “We definitely have to come back soon,” he said.
Skyfall, Eagle Fly Free, Mass Pollution, Future World, Power, I’m Alive, Metal Invaders / Victim of Fate / Gorgar / Ride the Sky / Heavy Metal (Is the Law), Forever and One (Neverland), Guitar Solo (Sascha Gertsner), Best Time, Dr. Stein, How Many Tears
Perfect Gentleman, Keeper of the Seven Keys
I Want Out