Blind Guardian @ Fuzz Club, Athens (GRE)

BLIND GUARDIAN

Date: 06th-07th May, 2011
Venue: Fuzz Club
Ticket: € 35.00 ($50)
Promoter: On Stage
Photos : Andreas Adamis


There are many reasons why someone may miss some gigs of his favorite band. Even for straight nine years. Then again the stars were bound to align once more and finally luck just gave me a wink, so I would finally attend a BLIND GUARDIAN show. Now, whoever has laid a careful ear on their albums and a curious eye on their live appearances, can easily tell what’s what between the two. Of course, every album after “Somewhere Far Beyond” has raised the complexity bar which makes it impossible to reproduce exactly in a live gig. Nonetheless, where there’s a will, there’s a way and BLIND GUARDIAN have definitely found a way to do so. Sometimes it’s too much. Then again we love the songs, so it doesn’t quite matter.

All in all, I was prepared to watch a decent show that would occasionally suffer from the  sound quality. Also given the fact that nine years can definitely take a serious toll on people, I was practically certain that I would watch something worse than I was used to. I also had a very critical eye for that new guy, Frederik Ehmke who had very big shoes to fill. Well, I’ll be damned! It’s obvious that time not only had not taken its toll on BLIND GUARDIAN but in fact has made them better, “just like old wine” according to Marcus! Another pleasant surprise was the fact that the playlist was rather fluid.

On Friday, one hour before the gig, Fuzz Club was pretty crowded. Certainly a big variation of ages and everyone was just too anxious. BLIND GUARDIAN started the gig right on time with no supporting band or delays. They opened with “Sacred Worlds” from their latest album “At The Edge Of Time” and instantly won the crowd.

The whole band was very energetic and obviously in a very good mood which absolutely reflected on the crowd that never missed a chance to reciprocate that feeling! Hansi was surprisingly talkative between the songs and interacted very well with the willing crowd. There were several funny moments between the songs with the best one, being the crowd singing “Happy Birthday” to Frederik’s roadie who had his 18th birthday. Of course, the tradition of “Valhalla deliverance, why have you ever forgotten me” was also there. Moreover Hansi didn’t miss the chance to praise Greek food in the beginning of the show, warning us that because they were so stuffed, they wouldn’t perform too great.

If you look at the tour’s setlists, you will see no big surprises, but still, some of the songs were unexpected, especially for me! Friday’s setlist was the following:

BLIND GUARDIAN Friday setlist:

01. “Sacred Worlds”
02. “Welcome To Dying”
03. “Nightfall”
04. “Majesty”
05. “Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)”
06. “A Past And Future Secret”
07. “Mordred's Song”
08. “Tanelorn (Into The Void)”
09. “Lost In The Twilight Hall”
10. “Valhalla”
11. “Turn The Page”
12. “Imaginations From The Other Side”
13. “Wheel Of Time”
14. “The Bard's Song - In The Forest”
15. “The Bard's Song - The Hobbit”
16. “Mirror Mirror”

It was actually very nice to see the band being in such a good shape. Frederik respected Thomen’s drum lines and didn’t deviate. Andre and Marcus have always been in good sync but maybe because the sound was good (at least where I was standing), I could very clearly hear their parts and was very happy to hear such full melodic lines. The double solo at the end of “Lost In The Twilight Hall” always gave me chills and today was no different. Hansi was definitely on top of the game and kudos to him for improving his audience-interaction skills especially between the songs.

Saturday was a bit of a different experience. The band was more relaxed, the venue was more crowded, the crowd itself was more energetic and all that contributed to a better atmosphere for everyone. The playlist had quite variations comparing to Friday’s and the first part ended with a surprise: the complete “…And Then There Was Silence” where the band had introduced a new part for the audience to sing, close to the end of the song. Also, during the encore and after “The Bard’s Song (In The Forest)” the crowd started chanting “Valhalla Deliverance, why have you ever forgotten me” which sort of forced the band to play “Valhalla” which they hadn’t played before and probably was not on the setlist!

BLIND GUARDIAN Saturday setlist:

01. “Into The Storm”
02. “Born In A Mourning Hall”
03. “Nightfall”
04. “Fly”
05. “Traveler In Time”
06. “Sacred Words”
07. “Lord Of The Rings”
08. “Time What Is Time”
09. “Voice In The Dark”
10. “Bright Eyes”
11. “And Then There Was silence”
12. “Wheel Of Time”
13. “The Bard's Song”
14. “Valhalla”
15. “Mirror Mirror”

Also, BLIND GUARDIAN played one of my personal favorites “Born In A Mourning Hall” and I have to say I was very happy for that as well.

Overall the two Athenian shows were great and even if you’re an “old-school” fan and you don’t appreciate the latest releases much, do go to the gigs. You will definitely have a good time and it will be more than satisfied with BLIND GUARDIAN’s performance!

BLIND GUARDIAN

Blind Guardian @ Fuzz Club (GRE) photos by Andrea Adamis

Blind Guardian @ Fuzz Club (GRE) photos by Andrea Adamis

Blind Guardian @ Fuzz Club (GRE) photos by Andrea Adamis

Blind Guardian @ Fuzz Club (GRE) photos by Andrea Adamis

(click to enlarge)


The aftermath by Giorgos Karagiannis.

For two days we had the chance to witness the power and the glory of one of the most important bands of Heavy Metal. BLIND GUARDIAN is one of the bands that stand unique in the history of Heavy Metal, creating their own sound and feelings differing from any other band. With those two shows, if I count it right I think I’ve managed to see them twelve times already. The positive think was that both nights we had the chance to hear 25 different songs but in comparison to the other concerts I think they played a couple songs less. Also the time they spent on talking and not playing should be less I think next time. But anyway who am I to judge when 3000 hmmm 4000… really how many were we? Do we really know how many people Fuzz Club can host? Or how many people Gagarin Club can? Or any of the places that all we metalheads meet to hear our beloved bands live?

What is troubling my mind is that on Thursday 4th of May at www.ticketservices.gr the GUARDIAN’s show for Saturday was with no availability a.k.a. was sold out and also that happened later with the Friday’s show. At the press release there was nothing about a different price at the door. So the main price that we all knew was 35€. Now if you enter HERE (this is in Greek) you will see the tickets were set on pre-sale at 35€ and at the venue 40€. As far as I know all these years when we have a different price, if the concert is already sold out within the time of the pre-sale, at the day of the venue shouldn’t be any tickets at all right? If the concert is not sold out then at the venue we will have the tickets with the higher rates.

Seeing that there was no availability on the site and as many friends wanted to come I made a phone call to the music stores that the tickets were sold and also at ticket services and the promoters, asking if there are any tickets left and the answer was no. Arriving at the venue I saw at the cashier selling tickets of 40€. What is wrong then?

There are two scenarios that I can think of:

1. Let’s assume that the club’s capacity is 2000 people. The promoters decided to keep a certain number of tickets for example 300, to cost ANYWAY 40€ even if those ones could be sold on pre-sale with 35€. So, there were 2 kinds of tickets and not a different price IF the concert is not already by that day sold out.

2. The promoter already sold 2000 tickets of 35€ and decided, since there was such an interest by the fans for those two shows, to sell outside more tickets than allowed, with the price of 40€ to make even more money and breaking also I suppose the rules of safety.

Entering the club and seeing it so packed made me quite suspicious…but am I somewhere wrong of thinking like that? Is it just a fault of my suspicious mind? Before you start criticizing all of the above, consider that this journalist is torturing his laptop at 03.00 in the morning writing all of the above has paid to see those concerts. Actually, he has paid a fortune the last 20 years for this music and he would like to see something different given to the new generation of metalheads.

Thank you.