|» Edguy 2009 01 10||
Opening proceedings are Swedish hotshots H.E.A.T. Sadly they enter the stage when a good portion of the crowd, including myself, is still queuing - this all-too common phenomenon is most annoying (the blame lies not with the band however, but strict stage times, I assume). Nevertheless, their short set goes down a storm. Indeed, the heartfelt response from the audience fills a fellow Swede with a bit of a pride. Now with many live shows under their belt, the band look confident onstage and display great stage presence. Frontman Kenny Leckremo does his utmost to galvanise the spectators, urging them to raise the roof. His vocal skills, meanwhile, continue to impress, with high notes hit effortlessly and emotive passages splendidly executed. And what more can be said of the tunes? It is rare for a debut album to consist of AOR/melodic hard rock of such high quality; tracks like Cry, Never Let Go and Keep On Dreaming (which has the audience singing loudly) are outstanding tunes. And while the numbers are very accessible, the live format adds bite and punch as well. In short, H.E.A.T. sound bloody great tonight - once again, a true pleasure to witness.
8 chalices of 10
Having made a name for himself as the gifted singer in Angra and then Shaman (and also making appearances on the first two Avantasia albums), Andre Matos last year released his first solo effort, entitled Time To Be Free. Three cuts from said album open the set, but the lukewarm response reveals that few of those present are familiar with the material. Typically, it takes a cover of Journey´s Separate Ways (World's Apart) for the crowd to wake up.
Matos - as usual neatly clad in white shirt and dinner jacket - is a lively character onstage, swinging the microphone stand about and commanding the crowd. The Brazilian normally possesses a powerful voice, but tonight it sounds slightly strained. Matos' band comprises a bunch of most competent musicians, including former Angra guitarist Andre Hernandes, but unfortunately the performance suffers from a poor sound, with the instruments muddied in the mix. A couple of Angra favourites at the end get the crowd's approval, but does little to improve the final verdict.
5 chalices of 10
Former power metal prodigies Edguy have gradually taken their music more in a direction towards traditional hard rock/heavy metal, none more obvious than on latest offering Tinnitus Sanctus. Opener Dead Or Rock is a prime example; boasting an infectious groove, exquisite harmonies and a catchy chorus. This is a sound approach from Tobias Sammet and co. True, it is nice to hear an old pacy gem such as Until We Rise Again, but somehow it comes across as a bit out of place next to the band's latter, more straightforward material. Other songs from Tinnitus Sanctus such as Ministry Of Saints and Nine Lives are equally appealing.
As usual, the Germans' typical high-spirited, good-humoured stage presence contributes to the occasion. While giving a professional performance, they display a genuine joy of playing, with smiles plastered on their faces. When combined with the overwhelming reaction from the audience, the result is an intimate atmosphere, enhanced as one splendid tune after another is aired. The highlight is the 10-minute Pharaoh; epic, dynamic and heavy, it grows into a monster live. Frontman Tobias Sammet, with a glint in his eye, refers to Iron Maiden after the song, and while it would be unfair to compare Edguy´s compositions to those of the upper elite in metal, such as said legendary Brits, Edguy's material has class written all over it.
While they are clearly a well-oiled unit with members who are bonded together, Edguy have in their ranks one character who inevitably attracts the limelight. Tobias Sammet has become a true show man, directing the crowd and delivering many a amusing utterance. Not shy to apply some unconventional methods either, he teases the spectators by asking their opinion on France, Bayern Munich, the third goal at Wembley (referring to the controversial winning goal of the 1966 World Cup), driving on the wrong side of the road, and Scotland. All subjects potentially sensitive to an Englishman, the diminutive Sammet's refreshing tongue-in-cheek attitude nonetheless wins over the crowd. Save Me, dubbed the 'pussy ballad' by Sammet, is accompanied by a wholehearted singalong. Without a doubt, the Germans have a dedicated following in the UK; surely, with an entertaining live show containing engaging melodic heavy metal you cannot really go wrong. In short, you truly enjoy yourself in the company of these German rockers - indeed very fitting for a Saturday night like this one.
8 chalices of 10