Helloween @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE)

HELLOWEEN / RAGE / CRIMES OF PASSION

Date: 11th February, 2016
Venue: Trägår’n
Ticket: 425SEK (€42/$48)
Promoter: Triffid and Danger Concerts
Photos: Erika Wallberg


CRIMES OF PASSION, C.O.P UK, …??? It was very familiar but I couldn’t for my life place the band and where I’d seen them earlier, not even when the band was on stage. Searching the archives a little I realized they had opened for SAXON and ANVIL in 2011 (that long ago, damn). The silly think is that I noted back then to remember to check out CRIMES OF PASSION for real. Still, I haven't done it, so shame on me again! When I realized where I’d seen CRIMES OF PASSION before much of that show actually came back and I must say it’s a significant rise, both as a band and in the performance. And since it wasn’t bad five years ago, it was damn good now. Vocalist Dale Radcliffe is bloody fantastic, his voice has depth, character and he carries the melodies in CRIMES OF PASSION’s songs with such grace. And he’s amusing to watch as well as he basically tears the stage apart. I really liked the setup as well, especially Henning Wanner who doesn’t stay hidden behind his keyboards. His charisma even steals the attention from guitarists Charles Staton and Harry Griffiths. Kudos for that!

What I enjoyed the first time I saw CRIMES OF PASSION applied to this one too and I am talking about their ability to write very catchy songs. All of them were excellent actually but the softer “Love Is To die For” really stood out and so did “Stranger Than Fiction”. We’re really talking about rather standard Hard Rock / Heavy Metal and it’s damn hard to pinpoint why bands stand out. Energy, drive and skills of performing of course play a role in that and C.O.P UK has it all.

A short and efficient set served its purpose and most people present while CRIMES OF PASSION played seemed rather surprised when they called it a night after six songs. The set felt really short but it was a damn good one. Now I need to remember to check out CRIMES OF PASSION for real, so I’m fully prepared the next time I’ll cross paths with them. Because I certainly hope this wasn’t my last chance to see them in action.

CRIMES OF PASSION setlist:

01. “The Core”
02. “Catch Me If You Can”
03. “Love Is To Die For”
04. “My Blood”
05. “Stranger Than Fiction”
06. “Accidents Happen, Even Here”

CRIMES OF PASSION

Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg
Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Crimes Of Passion @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg

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It’s always strange to see a band with a new lineup for the first time. And now, since RAGE was new last summer as well then of course under the REFUGE name. To me, it’s same-same but different. It was a dream come true to actually get to see that line-up with Manni Schmidt and Chris Efthimiadis once more. On the other hand, Victor Smolski is a very impressive guitar player. But it hasn’t been all that fun to see RAGE these last few tours. It always sounds fantastic but compared to the real high peaks, first time I saw RAGE was at the “Trapped” tour and then a big gap ‘til next, the ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ performance for the “Unity” album. But those shows was fantastic and after RAGE have never really managed to beat that, even if their albums have been constantly good.

But again, could it work with completely new guys? It sounded different for sure. In particular, guitarist Marcos Rodríguez is a much more modern player, both in sound and style. On occasion, that shown through and it sounded quite different from what I was used to hear from RAGE. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just different and it takes time to get used to it. The thing that stood out though was the energy, attitude and joy coming out off stage that night. It was “Unity” all over again. And then the setlist did a great deal too of course. Opener “Black In Mind” is fantastic and it was really nice to hear that one live. I really enjoyed “End Of All Days” too.

Of course I was hoping for some really odd tracks but I think the set was fantastic. It was a good mix and virtually everything RAGE have ever done has been good so with that it doesn’t really matter what they play, it will be good anyway. I did listen to brand new “My Way” a few times prior to the concert, just to be prepared. It didn’t really blow my mind away on record. The more primitive live-sound did the song good though so it worked better live than on the record for me. Still, it was the trip down memory lane that struck the hardest this night. “Don’t Fear The Winter” is a favorite - I bought the “Perfect Man” album just after it was released and that track kept spinning (together with “Death In The Afternoon” so when REFUGE played that one I kind of freaked out).

One more thing that was very enjoyable this evening was the response from the crowd. The sing-along was immense and the crowd gave it all for set closer “Higher Than The Sky”. It’s a hit of course and the chorus line is easy to learn but that the jam-session worked and that the crowd-singing stuck throughout it, that’s fantastic. The place was just half full when RAGE played. And that both “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Holy Diver” would be featured in the set was a big surprise, especially since it was played over the crowds chanting of the chorus to “Higher Than The Sky”. This, of course, shows, no matter how unique the band sounds, all chord combinations have already been done since both these tracks fitted perfectly over the RAGE song. The real surprise came when Marcos took over the microphone for the “Holy Diver” snippet. Damn, what a voice, he sure can sing! Peavy Wagner sounds fantastic these days too but the addition of Marcos’ voice in the music sure opens the road for another dimension of greatness. I was really surprised to see RAGE go after just 10 songs though, their set felt very short. So, I really hope they’ll be back for a headline gig soon.

RAGE setlist:

01. “Black In Mind”
02. “Sent By The Devil”
03. “End Of All Days”
04. “Back In Time”
05. “Down”
06. “My Way”
07. “Until I Die”
08. “Don't Fear The Winter”
09. “Solitary Man”
10. “Higher Than The Sky”

RAGE

Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg
Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg
Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Rage @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg

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As you can imagine posts like “nothing from “Walls Of Jericho” so it’s not worth going” showed up on the web before this show. What? I love that album, don’t get me wrong, but HELLOWEEN have much more to pick from their massive history. And as much as I love the classic albums, I’m also a fan of Andi Deris and there are so many excellent gems on the records released after he had entered the band, so the cut of some songs might mean some really cool stuff from other albums. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the “Walls Of Jericho” songs were archived forever...

“Eagle Fly Free” brought on the first goose-bumps; the song is fantastic and to be in the middle of the crowd and the band when it kicked off was fantastic. The screams meeting the music from stage didn’t really calm down for “Dr. Stein”. The cover of latest release “My God-Given Right” was of course the backdrop. It works fabulously the pale blue background with all the lights. A black is most always black but this one shifted in color as the lights changed. The title track from the latest release was also the third song out. Again the crowd was full-on and supported equally as they did for the classics. Now we’re talking. I’ve seen it so many times that it’s only the '80s stuff that people are waiting for, so it was a very pleasant surprise to see full support even for the new songs.

There were a lot of cool songs in the set; I really enjoyed “Mr. Torture” as I love “The Dark Ride” album and I think the set was good in general but could have been even better with a few more surprises. Many of the songs have been played tour after tour. But it’s a petty to complain about because it all sounded fantastic. Although the sound wasn’t the best I’ve heard at Trägår’n and it felt as it was stuck on stage and became a little damped a bit back in the venue. But that didn’t take away the effect of the band's performance. That was straight through fantastic.

One of my favorites from the latest album is doubtless “Lost In America”, there are tracks I like even more but I had little hopes that those would have been featured in the set. So that track along with “Heroes” and the title track was a good harvest from the new album. Andi is always amusing to listen to as he’s telling stories and it was a good one introducing “Lost In America” with a flight captain announcing they’re lost somewhere over South America a few hours into the flight. “Power” was another really good feature in the set, as is “Forever And One (Neverland)” every time. The power Andi possesses really shows in the latter of the two tracks. The tone and the passion in his voice is phenomenal and I can’t for my life see how you can’t like what he’s doing on occasions like this.

The medley started off with “Halloween” which is always great to hear live; this also brought on goosebumps, for what time I’d lost count of by this song. The downside is of course that it was part of the medley and was not played in its entirety. But again, better to get some than none at all. One of the absolute best moments of the show was when “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” kicked off. The tension in the air could be felt and the singing from the crowd was really crazy. I still don’t like that they cut the songs short but the way they exited using this song, starting with Andi lifting his hat saying thanks and leaving the stage, followed by Dani, Weikath and Marcus leaving Sascha alone and one naked guitar playing the trademark initiating riff. It was absolutely fantastic, and what a build up for the encores! And then, what a kick-off of the encores with “Before The War”, amazing song and yet another amazing performance from HELLOWEEN! “Future World” and “I Want Out” as the other two encores was not a surprise but none the less great tracks and damn, it worked well live. I’m surprised that the place wasn’t sold out; it was a decent crowd but I thought it’d be full. But as long as the ones present gave it all, a bit of space didn’t really matter.

HELLOWEEN have always been very good the times I’ve seen them play and this was no exception from this rule. The proof of this was when walking out and people came up to me smiling like crazy asking if I liked it too. It was a very cheerful atmosphere afterwards, even if at some places it was a severe level of drunkenness. Just as it should be, I assume. It’s a shame actually that it was so few shows up north. I wouldn’t have mind seeing this twice - it all felt it was over just as it begun. All bands played too short sets, so it felt like so another go would perhaps have filled the need for some true Power Metal.

HELLOWEEN setlist:

01. “Walls Of Jericho” (taped intro)
02. “Eagle Fly Free”
03. “Dr. Stein”
04. “My God-Given Right”
05. “Steel Tormentor”
06. “Mr. Torture”
07. “Waiting For The Thunder”
08. “Straight Out Of Hell”
09. “Heroes”
10. Drums solo
11. “Where The Rain Grows”
12. “Lost In America”
13. “Power”
14. “Forever And One (Neverland)”
15. “Halloween” / “Sole Survivor” / “I Can” / “Are You Metal?” / “Keeper Of The Seven Keys”
16. “Before The War”
17. “Future World”
18. “I Want Out”
19. “A Tale That Wasn't Right” (taped outro)

HELLOWEEN

Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg
Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg
Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg
Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg
Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg Helloween @ Tragar'n (SE) photos by Erika Wallberg

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