|» Helloween 2007 12 07||
Axxis is kind of a strange band. They started as a melodic hard rock (almost AOR) band in the late 80s, developed into power metal and have nowadays included some gothic elements along with the female singer that complements Bernhard Weiss male voice. The pure diversity of song material makes a concert a quite schizophrenic event. From the simple sing along on Living In A World to the mystic metal on Angel Of Death. Some things are great for what they are, but put together I have problems to see the thread through it all. Singer Lakonia had to sit out this time around, but a full worthy replacement had been recruited in Ana Mladinovici from Romanian band Magica. But I got the sense that Lakonia interacted more with Weiss on stage, while Mladinovici kept more in the background. Weiss spent too much time trying to speak Swedish (that must be the oldest and cheapest way of trying to please a crowd in the history of rock). I may be an old, dull man, but I can't see the fun in a foreigner trying to pronounce Swedish words from a piece of paper. What was funnier, our friend Bernhard also performed a stage dance of the strangest kind. Actually I cannot remember if he did it in Växjö 2006 as well, but it is the most lasting memory of this gig anyway. Well, it is no use trying to explain it I guess. You have to go and see it for yourselves.
5 chalices of 10
(sorry, no setlist)
This was the sixth time with Gamma Ray for me and I had no certain expectations. They usually deliver a quite okay show, but almost never anything breathtaking or fantastic. The best time so far have been on Gates of Metal 2003 when they performed the Skeletons In The Closet-set, which includes many of my favourite songs. But this night should slide in on the second place on the Gamma Ray live-top I guess. Kai Hansen sung the best I think I ever heard him do live. Further, he had a constant smile on his face that has not always been there in the past.
The set was a bit shorter than I expected, but included classics like Land Of The Free, Heavy Metal Universe and Somewhere Out In Space. When Kai started to play the Grieg piece from Gorgar I got a vain hope to hear one of my all time Helloween favourites. But it turned out to evolve into Ride The Sky, and although never anything else than a fantastic song, it became an anticlimax this way. Only two songs from the new record Land Of The Free II made it to the set: Into The Storm and Empress, and there were no song from last album Majesty. Maybe Kai himself agree that those are not his highest accomplishments so far Empress, however is a great song, Accept-rip off or not, that worked nice in the live format as well.
The Silence might be a tempo killer live, but this is nevertheless the
best version I have heard so far, with Kai singing at his absolute best.
In other things, I welcome that Kai left his hat home this time. It never
really fitted his image. Let Phil Campbell have his thing alone.
8 chalices of 10
Heaven Can Wait
Helloween were beaten this night. Gamma Ray had more intensity, more joy and more power. It was the sixth time for me with Helloween as well, and not one of the best three for sure. Andi Deris started as a complete catastrophe on Halloween and Sole Survivor. Fortunately he managed to work himself up to almost his normal (high) standard along the way. He did A Tale That Wasn't Right with impressive confidence, although that should be one of Michael Kiske's brightest moments and not an easy piece to cover for a singer of Deris kind.
The setlist was probably the most boring I have ever seen the band perform. Only two songs from a great album like Gambling With The Devil (As Long As I Fall and The Bells Of The 7 Hells) is a bit cheap. And to still play every outworn hit from the Keeper 1 and 2 is just too predictable. Would it really hurt if we got only, let say two of Eagle Fly Free, Dr. Stein, Future World and I Want Out? And to add the horrible March Of Time to any live set, when you have such a delicate selection of songs should be plain criminal. Medleys are always boring. You just wish that you got to hear songs like Where The Rain Grows and Perfect Gentleman, from the long time ignored master piece Master Of The Rings in their entirety.
No news exactly, but Michael Weikath must be the most boring scene personality in the history of rock. A few years ago, when Sascha Gerstner joined the band as guitarist I almost thought that his good Freedom Call-mood spread over to Weikath a bit. Now it seems like the other way around. Gerstner nowadays smile almost as seldom as Weikath. The only one that looks completely happy on stage is bass player Markus Grosskopf. Deris is still a great front man, but has this perverted joy for endless sing-along-moments. If I want to hear myself sing I would be in the bathroom, not at a concert.
The highlight was, naturally, when Gamma Ray joined on stage to perform Future World and I Want Out. Sure, the dullest possible selection of songs, but I did not expect that Kai actually should sing with Helloween. That was a small piece of magic, although I don't identify myself with the backward thinking people who wants him to rejoin the former group. If it had been Victim Of Fate, Heavy Metal (Is The Law), Reptile, How Many Tears or any other song from Helloween or Walls Of Jericho it could have been one of the brightest moments I have ever witnessed on a stage, but one should not have too high expectations
6 chalices of 10