Manowar @ Arenan, Stockholm (SE)


Date: 06th February, 2016
Venue: Arenan
Tickets: 750SEK (€74/$84)
Promoter: Triffid And Danger Concerts
Photos: Erika Wallberg

Ok, I was a little surprised about the ticket price when the tickets were out. Not that it scared me off, so I decided to go to the show, of course. MANOWAR coming to play, then you go, no matter the price. And for good and bad! I assume they could have played a bigger venue with a lower price with some more people in. On the other hand, there were only people who really wanted to see MANOWAR (apart from a bunch of guys entertaining their jag comfortably in the bar) and everyone was paying attention to 100% to the band. No bored girlfriends yawning, no ass-plastered wanna-be rockers thinking “Run To The Hills” is the only song IRON MAIDEN have ever released. No, it was a pure Metal crowd, fully devoted to the show. It was uniform and solid. It was actually long since I saw a crowd in Sweden, all the way to the back show support for the band with firsts in the air.

I didn’t read much about the show prior to the concert but apparently there should be something special with the sound. And for sure, it was damn loud at least. And actually better than normally, at this volume, so I’m sure something special was done to it. It took a few notes to get into the massive wall of sound which came as MANOWAR kicked off their show with signature track “Manowar”. It was good to see the crowd’s reaction; full support from the first note, and that’s how it continued throughout the show. One of the real highlights I think was “King Of Kings” where Eric Adams really got to show what his voice still can do. It perhaps isn’t as crisp and clear in the absolute highest pitches anymore but he has no issue reaching the notes. And he sounds fantastic doing it too.

The only thing I was a little worried about prior to the show was that it would be a lot of talking, a lot of extensive pre-recorded intros and intermissions. Some belong in the show, of course, and have to be there. But in general, the breaks were few and short. The bass-solo is another of those things that you know will happen. Even if I’ve heard it many times these days, I don’t get tired of it. It’s very amusing when Joey DeMaio walks from side to side of the stage, boosting the crowd to give the biggest reactions to his signs, he get exactly what he wants and this without saying a word.

Prior to Karl Logan’s solo, “Fallen Brothers” was played and showed pictures of the ones who left this world. Lemmy and Dio brought on really big cheers of course, but so did Scott Columbus. The ex-MANOWAR drummer passed away in 2011 and compared to Lemmy and Dio is perhaps rather unknown to the big mass, but not here; he got the biggest cheer and it was a real heartfelt moment with all these pictures and a great tribute to the fallen. With the tempo and the nature of the songs in the set, I think this show was fantastic - when MANOWAR play, they really kill. The songs are great and when spat out in the pace they did, you can’t but like it. Ok, most of the set was from the '90s and forward. Very few of the real classics were featured in the set. And I admit, I could have taken “Metal Daze” or “Blood Of My Enemies” as the second to last in the set. But I shouldn’t complain, I’ve seen those songs live already and to, then instead get “Dawn Of Battle” is damn cool.

Another tradition in a MANOWAR show is Joey’s speech which for the Stockholm show dealt with the subject of assholes. Apparently MANOWAR took the train from Gothenburg to get to the Stockholm concert and were placed in the silent compartment without getting that information. I can understand both the band and the annoyed guy. It’s so typically Sweden to just stare angry when you’re displeased instead of just telling people what’s wrong. On the other hand, even if they didn’t know about a silent compartment, I can understand the other guy also since I probably would have reacted the same way myself if selecting the place for some peace and quiet time. Anyway, I think it was a good speech that made some sense. Still, it was the music that stood for the greatest impression. The intro of “Warriors Of The World” as one good sample, the singing from the crowd in the mellow start of the song was fantastic and sent shivers down my spine. And of course, the set closer, “Black Wind, Fire And Steel” is an old time favorite and always a pleasure to hear.

The last few times I’ve seen MANOWAR it has been very good and this was no exception from that. A lot of playing and less talking is a good recipe for success in my world, and that was what I got. Then it becomes fantastic.

MANOWAR setlist:

01. “Manowar”
02. “Die For Metal”
03. “Call To Arms”
04. “King Of Kings”
05. “The Lord Of Steel”
06. Bass solo
07. “Kings Of Metal”
08. “Gods Of War”
09. “Fallen Brothers” (Karl's solo)
10. “House Of Death”
11. “The Dawn Of Battle”
12. Joey's Speech
13. “Warriors Of The World United”
14. “Black Wind, Fire And Steel”