at Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, Norway, November 23, 2002

The Kings Of Metal finally return to Oslo after almost 9 years of constant touring everywhere else. You may ask why it took so long? Bassist Joey DeMaio blames promoters in his little speech, and I guess he’s right as the agency they used to work with is not involved this time. Still, the genius songwriter (and businessman) DeMaio promises, as always, to return. And all the people that witnessing the craziness, believe him. Before the show, a penthouse apartment around the block from the venue, where people stood in line, was playing Manowar’s music on a huge stereo, and the sing-a-long indeed set the standard for a Saturday night out of the ordinary in Oslo.

My first complaint, out of not too many, is the meet ’n greet a few competition winners from Scream Magazine is treated to before the show. Only drummer Scott Columbus and guitar player Karl Logan show up, and with all respect to these gentlemen, who really gives a fuck? Joey and God-singer Eric Adams are Manowar and the Manowar sound. After all, they are originals and have been there all the time. Now Eric was supposedly sick, and I say supposedly because he sang like he was in shape to beat the living shit out of Mike Tyson, but Joey? What’s your excuse? Too busy meeting the singer from a-ha???

Okay, down to business; if you have seen Manowar before, you know how it opens. First a classical piece as intro, then a band introduction, then BANG; “We met on English ground…”. Of course it is louder than a 747, but the sound is cleaner and purer than “a young girl in her pride”. Rockefeller Music Hall is so packed that I have to stand next to Joey’s PA to see any of the show without getting crushed. Not the ultimate sound experience, but still very good judging from my position, and I am sure the sound is great near the sound mixing console. The cool thing with loud but clean sound is that earplugs are unnecessary. I have seen bands play far from this loud (all bands actually do so), though they would mess up your hearing as the sound is poorly mixed. For Manowar, only the guitar solo makes me pull earplugs out.

The second song comes as a surprise (well, not really, as today’s modern technology already made sure I knew the setlist). Anyway, it is time for “Brothers Of Metal (Pt. 1)”, a great song from an album I seriously thought the guys would leave out when playing live in the nowadays. The song works out fine, and the crowd response is immense. As you have noticed by now, the band didn’t make it to Norway when touring to support “Louder Than Hell”, so the song indeed belongs in the set. The kings also run through “Kill With Power”, with the usual Joey leaping over Karl at the end of the latter’s solo, “Spirit Horse (Of The Cherokee)” (which they also played last time in Oslo), and the song of the year; “Warriors Of The World United” to name a few. I heard reports from Sweden the day before that there was too much talking, girls on stage and all that going on, so I was happy to see the band play 45 minutes straight before the first solo. Now I respect Karl Logan for staying true to the Manowar classics when he plays them live, but a 5 minutes solo with him is not much to write Grandma about. If the band really needs a break, why not put on “The Warrior’s Prayer” and go into “Blood Of The Kings” instead? Oh well, I can disagree a lot with the setlist, but when I think about it; there’s nothing but the solos I would want to take out…

The sad thing about seeing Manowar live at the Rockefeller is of course the lack of stage show. The place is too small to hold the big production the band is taking around in Europe this year. I am sure this shithole, as Joey calls it, is one of the smallest places Manowar has played since the US tour earlier this year. So on the other hand, I am frankly glad that the band cares to come and visit us.

Back to the show; Karl starts “Army Of Immortals” after his solo, always a winner live, and the next part includes “Kings Of Metal”, “Call To Arms” and “Hail And Kill, to name a few more, while the first encore actually sees Manowar go acoustic! Oh well, they still sound powerful, and when Eric sings his way through “Swords In The Wind” (why just a short version?), “Master Of The Wind” and “Courage”, it is still pure heavy fucking metal. The man is awesome!

After the typical Joey DeMaio praise of Vikings and Norway and promises to return, the band ends the night with “Black Wind, Fire and Steel”, and 1 hour and 45 minutes of death to the false ones is over – for now. I go home, count my savings, and start packing my bag for a trip to Germany. This setlist and band, as well as the huge production Manowar didn’t have room to set up, is too good to only be witnessed at a small stage in a far off part of the world…


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