Rockwave Festival – Deep Purple, Saxon, As I Lay Dying, Bokassa, Rock’n’Roll Children, Lazy Man’s Load @Terra Vibe 7/7/2023


On Friday afternoon Terra Vibe opened its gates for a three-day event that kicked off with two of the most beloved bands in Greece, Deep Purple and Saxon. After the forced cancellation of Asking Alexandria, As I Lay Dying would be the only representatives of something “different” and more extreme sounding, since the rest had a lot in common with the 2 titans. Unfortunately, their first show in Greece was marked by bad sound, which didn’t let many of their fans enjoy their performance as they would have liked.

First of all I would like to apologize to Lazy Man’s Load because it was impossible to catch them on a working day and at such a distance from Athens, but we are committed to being there on September 3rd.

Rock’n’Roll Children performed in a fiery inferno with at least 37 degrees and unfortunately Yannis Papanikolaou was not in the best possible condition, due to an illness he was suffering from. However, he fought valiantly, gave the microphone to the crowd to sing at several points and got a strong response. Obviously, it is not possible for any band to be perfect at every performance every single. There will be the not-so-good days that you have to deal with and these guys know that well with all the experience they have with their other bands. They owe it to us and you can be sure that they will repay us in spades.

Rock’n’Roll Children

Next up was Bokassa from Norway, a band I was looking forward to see, since I was impressed by their album “Molotov Rocktail”, released last year and one of Lars Ulrich’s favourites! At Terra Vibe, the trio came in with grit, unaffected by the extreme weather conditions compared their homeland and for about an hour they unleashed their virtues. Although I saw a few people singing their songs and even dancing, I don’t think they got much of a response from the audience. Perhaps, their stoner-hard rock-pop style was not in line with the tastes of the vast majority of those in attendance, however, it’s worth a listen if you don’t know them, or if you weren’t impressed at Terra Vibe because they are a very good new band. I wish we could see them in an indoor venue at some point. Absolute highlight was a sort passage from “Carry On Wayward Son” (Kansas) and “Whole Lotta Rosie” (AC/DC) to the ending of “So Long Idiots” if I remember correctly.

Yiannis Dolas


For my favorite As I Lay Dying, the anticipation was great since it was their first visit to our country. And someone or some people managed to ruin it. I’m talking of course about the unacceptable sound in every respect. One time we couldn’t hear the guitars. The next we couldn’t hear the vocals. Neither Tim Lambesis’ growls nor Ryan Neff’s clean. In fact, we didn’t hear clean ones for at least half of their performance. With a flurry and so many ups and downs in volume, things never went as we expected. I don’t know who or who was responsible for this unedited mess but they should be court-ordered to be banned from coming within 500 yards of a sound console. Imagine that we witnessed a ten-minute search on the stage for even one working microphone. Unbelievable things. On what positives there were, however, the band gave it their best, although I think at one point they got a little bummed and embarrassed by all the comedy. The crowd was glorifying and cheering them on, rhythmically chanting their name, banging on their ultra heavy breakdowns and during most songs a big circle pit opened up. In other words, they showed how much they wanted As I Lay Dying to play in Greece. And this did not go unnoticed by Tim, whose roots are Greek, who constantly thanks the crowd as well as his teammates. My own feelings are mixed. Yes, I saw a band I really like, heard favorite songs, shouted out lyrics but I can’t wait for them to come to an indoor venue with only their own fans inside so we can all see them as they deserve.

George Terzakis

As I Lay Dying

I said it once and I will say it again… Saxon concerts are always a party. The band kicks ass, the hits come one after the other and time flies by without you noticing. Having a good time with them is guaranteed as they never disappoint. Their appearance at Rockwave Festival this year was historic as it was Diamond Head’s Brian Tatler’s first time replacing Paul Quinn at the shows.

Any questions, concerns, or anything else about what the band would sound like without one of its original members disappeared by… the kickoff. Saxon opened with the iconic “Motorcycle Man”, and continued with the fantastic “Carpe Diem”, the title track from their recent album. “Thunderbolt” was played immediately afterwards and these two were essentially the only “new” ones, as the rest were the classics. Biff even asked the audience to decide if they wanted “Never Surrender” or “Ride Like The Wind” and the vote by acclamation declared the latter the winner.

Brian Tatler seemed to have bonded with the rest of the band and played the songs as if he had been in the Saxon line-up for years. Obviously, their choice to get an experienced and well known player was justified and he seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage with at least no obvious signs of stress, or nervousness. He moved around the stage, swapping places with Doug Scaratt, spreading the excitement of the fans, who also presented Biff with a banner with the Greek flag, which will have a prominent place in the studio.

The only complaint one could have about Saxon of course is the short duration of their set. Only one hour for these NWOBHM legends is way too little. Unfortunately, this was something that was apparent right from the start with the announcement of the concert schedule; which was followed to the letter. Let’s hope that they will soon return to our country, which is their home away from and with a new album, as promised by the evergreen frontman, who once again, despite the heat, didn’t take off his buttoned up to the neck vest for a second, so that we can enjoy them for at least one hour longer! Don’t forget what the “big guy” told us; they would love to do a mini Greek tour with concerts in 4-5 cities…


It was time for Deep Purple, the headliners of the night, which most people were looking forward to seeing, as their previous concert had been cancelled due to Covid and of course because we are talking about one of the most historic bands in music right now. Also, a historic gig, as with Saxon before, because this would be their first show in our country with their new guitarist, Northern Irishman Simon McBride.

First of all, we have to say that it is really touching to see in front of you a band with a history of more than 50 years not giving up and continue undaunted. Ian Gillan may be light years away from his good vocal performances, but the other three still play like teenagers. Apart from Simon who has taken over much of the show, Don Airey again plays a pivotal role with his big solos and improvisations – which classics include “Zorba” and “Ta paidia tou Pirea”. He may be trapped behind a veritable castle of keyboards, hammond and the like, but he manages to steal the show. Like the Ozzy statuette that was mounted on the keys and could be seen in the camera shots that appeared on the big screens. And he got his glass of red wine served on stage! Classy!

Deep Purple

Simon McBride on is a chapter in his own right. Needless to say he played the solo on “Highway Star” flawlessly, really how ballsy is it to start with that song followed by “Pictures Of Home”? His presence, talent and playing gives a different aura to the historic band and makes a huge difference from the American style Steve Morse applied for almost 30 years. The “Britishness” that he brings back to Purple seems more true to the original orientation of the band of the glory days and this is something that is exploited to the fullest.

Add to all this the ageless, tireless Paice with his fantastic playing, precision and fluid style, along with the giant groove of fellow rhythm section member Roger Glover, and you have Purple of 2023. Outlandish in playing and performing prowess, vulnerable on vocals, no matter how much of a shiver Gillan gives us on “When A Blind Man Cries”. The heart wants to, but the body no longer can. Obviously, they have nothing to prove and performances like this one qualify as honest. Time is inexorable and there is no turning back. I won’t hide from you that I had intense concern and reflection about what Gillan’s situation would be in Malakasa and what impact it would have on me as a fan. Of course, like most of you reading this in their duos I had only caught them on… DVD. The previous 9 times I saw them were from 1998 onwards and the constant decline in voice affected me. We don’t want to see our heroes wear out, perhaps because we realize that we are similarly affected by time. So, the decent performance at Terra Vibe was a relief for me personally.

Yiannis DolA