2013 was definitely a year that permanently marked the lives of all the Warlord fans in Greece as after decades of impatient waiting and with the possibility of witnessing a live show by our beloved band getting slimmer with each passing year, finally an announcement was made for two shows in Athens, Greece which would also be accompanied by the release of the first Warlord album since 2002!
A few months later, in the official Warlord Facebook page, the band announced that a live DVD was imminent thus spreading waves of joy to all of us who were present at those concerts and we would relive those magical moments! After a long delay, the DVD finally saw the light of day in May of 2015 (more than 2 years after the two shows in Greece) and it actually captured the second night at the Gagarin Club (on the 28th of April). Being present at both shows, I must say that on the first day the overall crowd reaction and the screams were deafening throughout the show! Believe me when I am saying that there were times (for instance in “Deliver Us”, “Winds of Thor”, “Lost and Lonely Days”) when the roar of the crowd was so loud that it covered the vocals and every fan who was there knows exactly what I mean. This aspect of the show is totally missing in this live DVD! We only see and listen to the band and the crowd is nowhere to be found (or heard for that matter). This is a flawless performance by a brilliant band that presents a bunch of timeless songs with a crystal clear –almost clinical- sound.
In addition, it becomes evident right from the very first viewing experience of the DVD that there are numerous parts of the show (mostly vocals and a little bit of drums) that either have been re-recorded in the studio or have been technically restored in the final mix. There are times where you listen to Giles Lavery and the camera captures him away from the microphone although he still sings! Don’t get me wrong; I am a huge Warlord fan and I didn’t expect a live bootleg. I know how perfectionists Bill Tsamis and Mark Zonder are and they only want the best for the band and the fans alike. I am afraid, though, by trying hard to come up with the best possible result they tarnished the live feeling of the DVD and instead they ended up with a…alive in the studio performance!
What about the positive points of this live DVD…? Needless to say that the band is on fire and every single member is putting on one of the best possible performances that we have ever seen! The show is absolutely flawless (not that we expected anything less or inferior by the mighty Warlord). Mark Zonder is absolutely magnificent behind the drums (one of the very few drummers out there that combines both skills and emotion in his performance. Bill Tsamis’ presence and guitar playing is absolutely stirring and heartwarming while I must say that “War in Heaven” is the absolute highlight, for me personally, of this live DVD. I only wish that the final mix would have captured the overall feeling and the crowd reaction when Warlord kicked off the show with “Deliver Us”. Absolutely magic!
In the bonus features we see a bootleg performance of “70000 Sorrows” from the 2014 shows (with Nicholas Leptos on vocals) plus some comments by Greek fans outside of the venue of the band’s first show in Athens in 2014.
All in all, I’d say that this is a technically flawless DVD that doesn’t capture the essence and the live feeling of those concerts. A live DVD should always capture the unique interaction between the artist and the audience and “Live in Athens 2013” totally ignores the…fan factor.
Too bad, because the viewer who wasn’t present at those shows doesn’t get an accurate picture of that day.
By the way, why the songs “Father”, “Glory” and “Soliloquy” were cut from the final product and weren’t even included in the bonus 2-cd set that is also included in the box set? Also, I wonder why the manufacturing company didn’t put the 14 songs in a single CD…after all, the time duration of those 14 songs fit perfectly in one CD…
Last but not least, the final editing should have corrected the closing credits which underline that the concert took place in…August 2013.