In Langen, Germany, September 11, 2006

Not without controversy was Blind Guardian’s new album A Twist In The Myth received. But, since it was quite a while ago since they toured Germany, with the exception of the double headliner shows at their self-organized festival, it was no surprise to see a big crowd in front of the entrance at the time when the support act should begin playing. Some people missed the first one or two songs, but tight security is mandatory everywhere nowadays – as sad as it is.

Astral Doors

These Swedes were great support for Blind Guardian. While not very Progressive, their music is melodic, heavy, and party proof. So, even the people who did not know them were finding themselves banging their heads and enjoying themselves during the gig. Between songs, arms were raised for applause even in the way back rows, and their Dio and Rainbow-influenced style was so well-received that after the show the first two Astral Doors CDs were sold out at the merchandise booth. It’s definitely a shot in the arm for a band to open for Blind Guardian, who are known to have one of the most dedicated audiences a band can get – but more about that later.

First, the question was would Astral Doors advertise their new album, or would they play for their fans? They did the latter. Asked after the show about the setlist, they said that topic is the center of many arguments in their rehearsal room, as they can never decide on what to play. Since they had only the usual 45 minutes of playing time allotted, they decided to evenly divide the time between all three of their albums and play three tracks from each.

As this was the first time Astral Doors were seen on a regular tour in Germany, quite a lot of fans were eager to find out if the singer would be able to be close to the studio performance when playing live. To everybody’s relief, he was, and the gig was played in a very powerful, tight, and intoxicating way, which first made brows rise, than hands.

Although “EVP,” the opening track of their last album Astralism, was missed by many, and so was the brilliant track “Raiders Of The Ark,” the common opinion was that they did very well, and deserve a headliner show. Germany is waiting for these Swedes to return!

Setlist: Black Rain * Bride Of Christ * Tears From A Titan * Time To Rock * Evil Is Forever * London Caves * Of The Son And The Father * Hungry People * Cloudbreaker

Blind Guardian

BlindGuardianBling Guardian are one of the greatest, most famous, and most reliable bands from Germany to release one masterpiece after another. Going into detail is unnecessary, anyone who wants to know more should check this review of A Twist In The Myth.

From the moment the band entered the stage, the crowd was wax in Hansi’s hands. The intro from Nightfall set the mood, and when they plunged into “Into The Storm” there was no holding back. The sound was excellent, guitars were clear, and every instrument was audible at all times –- well, unless people were screaming, which they basically continuously did. The major part of the set consisted, apart from the new album, of tracks from Nightfall and Imaginations From The Other side . But, when saying a “major part,” you’re only talking about three songs each. With the discography Blind Guardian can look back upon, they could perform for hours and hours without coming close to having played all the fans would ask to hear.

Blind Guardian played safe in the beginning with two tracks from each of the albums above, and the crowd was already warmed up when BG dove into the new album A Twist In The Myth for the first time with their first single release “Fly.” Being the most experimental track on the new album, it was surprising how well it was received. Discussions and arguments in forums and on boards were forgotten… everybody just continued to bang and dance and shouted the chorus like they did for the old songs, or at least almost …

During the songs, the background of the stage exhibited videos roughly connected to the song, lyrics, or story. That was nice, and it marks the change from the underground band they still were to the big act they are going to be. Next time, smaller venues like the ones they were booked in on this tour will just not do anymore.

“Valhalla” marked a first highlight, although it seemed like there were quite a lot of people in the crowd who did not know it. Obviously, BG can draw new fans to their concerts. The impression was intensified later when they played “Majesty,” judged by the puzzled looks upon many faces. That song replaced “Welcome To Dying,” which was on the original setlist for this evening, but it seems the old fans in the front row screamed loud enough for the Musicians to spontaneously change their setlist.

“This Will Never End” from A Twist In The Myth was a strange choice, as the opening track of the new album is by far not the best song on ATITM. But, it only paved the way for what was coming: One more song, and “Then There Was Silence.” Being the only track played from the slightly over-bombastic, but ingenious A Night At The Opera, the audience sang every word and the hall felt like a Finnish sauna.

Blind Guardian

Hansi Kürsch seemed a bit sick and drank tea between the songs, but it was hardly audible. He tuned down his voice in several songs, which may also be because he has to begin to pay tribute to his age now, but that served the songs very well. It sounded better, more mature, and the high screams were not missed much. “Then There Was Silence” was an ending of the regular set that took a lot from the fans, so they appreciated the break before the first part of the encores.

Placing “Another Stranger Me” here, the second single from the new album, seemed a bit odd and is the only point of criticism one could voice -– apart from the fact they did not play for four hours. But, after “Imaginations From The Other Side,” the second part of the encores featured “Bard’s Song,” which was, as usual, sung by the audience. “Mirror Mirror” was the final number, and ended a set that was intensely satisfying, with a crystal clear sound and a band that obviously enjoyed the gig as much as the fans did. That also included the new drummer Frederik Ehmke, who did a very good job. Thomen was not missed at all, except perhaps emotionally, but Frederik will make this be forgotten soon.

If you have the chance to see Blind Guardian on their current tour, you will make no mistake by buying a ticket. They are a constant in the business, and deliver — as always.

Setlist: War Of Wrath * Into The Storm * Born In A Mourning Hall * Nightfall * Script For My Requiem * Fly * Valhalla * Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill) * Lord Of The Rings * Majesty * This Will Never End * Lost In A Twilight Hall * And Then There Was Silence * Encore: Another Stranger Me * Imaginations From The Other Side * Bard’s Song (In The Forrest) * Mirror Mirror


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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