At the Rock N' Eat, Lyon, France, May 5, 2022

Séverine Peraldino & Blaze Bayley backstage before the show at the Rock N' Eat, Lyon, France, May 5, 2022
Séverine Peraldino & Blaze Bayley backstage before the show

The Rock N’ Eat is quite a peculiar and charming place. Hidden on the banks of the River Saône in Lyon, lies the entrance to this underground (literally) stage devoted to good music and food. The small stage is set in what was certainly a large wine cellar with a low arched ceiling. Blaze Bayley and his friends from Absolva made their regular stop at this venue for the tour supporting their latest album War Within Me and Fire In The Sky. Blaze Baley had already played there for his past tours (the 25th Iron Maiden anniversary tour in 2019 and the tour that followed the Infinite Entanglement trilogy in 2018.)

Sadly the venue was not packed, but there was a decent audience, compensating for their numbers with enthusiasm.
The great thing with these modest venues like the Rock N’ Eat is the immediate proximity with the band: it always seems they are just playing for you, in your living room, and that is a great feeling!

Absolva: The Metal Brothers are on a mission

Absolva started the evening with a contagious good mood, and an excellent sound, as they delivered their classic Heavy Metal. Their last album Fire In The Sky took a large part of the setlist. With “Burn Inside”, people started to flock toward the stage and move their mane and horns.

The Appleton brothers were particularly efficient and complementary. They displayed their virtuosity with simplicity. That’s the thing with Absolva and Blaze Bayley: no frivolity or theatrical production, just plain old Heavy Metal. While their heavier tracks were greatly appreciated (“Code Red” and “Addiction”), the slower, almost a ballad, “What Does God Know?” was an excellent addition to the setlist and proved that Chris Appleton is also an accomplished singer. This is a killer track with a plaintive solo building up to a galloping finale! And for those who like to sing along, there is always “Never A Good Way To Die” and “Refuse to Die”. Who doesn’t like these Woah Woahs? A very good set during which the band barely broke a sweat.

Blaze Bayley: The Man Who Would Not Die

While some opening bands get to relax for the rest of the evening, Absolva was only allowed a short break (you know, just to get a change of make-up and stage costumes) before occupying the stage again with Blaze Bayley. Only a colourful flag with the artwork of War Within Me hung behind the drumkit, and a mask was playfully displayed on the microphone before being dramatically cast away as the man appeared.

“10 Seconds” and “Silicon Messiah” opened the set. This time it took a couple of songs to get the sound right, as the vocals were at first not loud enough, which was soon corrected. At this point, the stage barely allowed the band to move around, especially for Karl Schramm on the left side of the stage who was still headbanging hard enough to get some strands of hair stuck in the spotlights hanging from the ceiling.

It appeared clearly that the audience was familiar with both the older songs and the new material. Everyone sang along to “Warrior” and “Pull Yourself Up”. It was nice to see several generations, from the 10 years old kids in the front row who just got into Metal, to the Iron Maiden fans veterans five times that age.

The introduction of “War Within Me” was the occasion for Blaze to profusely thank the audience for their support in the dark times, past or recent. The song “Witches Night” explores the theme of internal struggle against one’s darker self. A good number of Blaze’s songs have an emotional load, and that is one definite strength of the man: theatre meets music as he is as much an actor, living through these emotions with passion, as a Metal singer. Either on huge stages with Iron Maiden or on the stage of the Rock N’ Eat, Blaze Bayley is an incredible performer (and motivational speaker.) Resilience, difference and independence: three keywords to remember.

There was a big smile on everyone’s face for “Virus” (let’s hope this song becomes less and less topical). The last few songs, from his time with Iron Maiden, allowed everybody to sing even louder and to lose their mind (surprisingly the roof remains intact) during the chorus of “Man On The Edge” and “Futureal”. Although a French audience trips easily on the lyrics of “Futureal”. But that’s the magic of singing together: even if you are awfully out of tune, sing gibberish and probably your neighbour is doing just the same it all sounds marvellous in the end.

Only “Lord of The Flies” was missing from the setlist of an otherwise great show. So don’t miss out on Blaze Bayley and Absolva when they play in your local venue, as they most certainly will.


Christ Appleton – Lead Vocals and guitars
Luke Appleton – Guitars
Karl Schramm – Bass
Martin McKnee – Drums

Blaze Bayley – Vocals
Chris Appleton – Guitars
Luke Appleton – Guitars
Karl Schramm – Bass
Martin McKnee – Drums
( don’t worry Dear reader, your vision is just fine)


Fire In The Sky
Burn Inside
What Does God Know?
Never A Good Way To Die
Burning Star
Rise Again
Code Red
Refuse To Die
10 Seconds
Silicon Messiah
Watching the Night Sky
War Within Me
Pull Yourself Up
The Power of Nikola Tesla
Witches Night
18 Flights
The Man Who Would Not Die
Man On The Edge
Como Estais Amigos


  • Séverine Peraldino

    Reviewer, interviewer and apprentice photographer for Metal Express Radio, Séverine comes from a small place in the Southern French Alps, near Grenoble. Her taste for classic Heavy Metal is a family heritage and after growing up listening to Iron Maiden, Dio, Metallica and Angra she expanded her horizons with almost every subgenre of Metal, from Power, to Prog, a little bit of Death and Black Metal. She mostly enjoys albums telling stories with originality. When she is not travelling around for concerts and festivals, you can find her reading a good book, or playing board games with friends.

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