Helloween, Gamma Ray, Axxis - Paris, France, 5th January 2008
|Event:||Helloween + Gamma Ray: Hellish Rock Tour|
Helloween, Gamma Ray, Axxis - Paris, France, 5th January 2008 by wrathchild (8)
Once again, I wasn't sure I would be able to attend any gigs on the "legendary" tour featuring Gamma Ray and Helloween. But because the rumor had it that it was gonna be legendary, an extra date was added in Paris, since the first show (set on the day after, Sunday 6th of January 2008) was sold out. So here I am on this Saturday night, queuing to see the master bands of power metal, both founded by Kai Hansen.
But I wasn't there only for Gamma Ray and Helloween. Axxis, an "old" although not that famous and yet excellent German band was the opener for the tour and since I had already been amazed by them twice at festivals, I was eager to catch their performance in the Elysée Montmartre in Paris.
Fortunately, I made it on time to see their gig in its entirety. For their first show ever in Paris, the setlist was basically the same as usual (with Tales Of Glory, Take My Hand, Angel Of Death [to those who don't know the band, this is not a Slayer cover song], Kingdom Of The Night, etc.) though shortened and featuring one song from the new album (Doom Of Destiny).
Lakonia, guest female singer on their last albums, wasn't there and was replaced by Ana Mladinovici from the Romanian band Magica. She did a good job, though Lakonia has a much better stage presence and her voice matches that of Bernhard so well that it was obvious it would be difficult for any other singer to beat her anyway.
Among the set of funny interludes Axxis often do, they kept the moment when Bernhard is trying to read a sheet of paper written in French - not the best of those interludes but it was totally appropriate. Probably a good way to calm Bernhard a bit, since the man is always on fire when he's on stage!
The band had a fair stage space and could have their own backdrop and panels as well as a very good sound. The keys and the guitar were perfectly set so we could enjoy some nice instrumental duets during the songs. Note that the new guitarist, Marco Wriedt, is more than just a great replacement for Guido.
Clearly the best band that night, at least to a given minority of people that happens to be consisting of me only (add your name!). I'd say the only problem with this show was the length of it, but it was expected given the two other bands waiting to take on the stage.
I was happy Kai didn't wear his beanie! Seriously, a good performance, a lot better than the first time I saw the band at Metalway 2006. Since then I wasn't much in the mood to listen to their releases and wasn't that excited to see them again. I won't say I was completely wrong since I could still perfectly be alive even if I had missed their performance on this night at the Elysée Montmartre, but they definitely rocked a lot more this time. The crowd was at their best, after Axxis' excellent warming up and perhaps the band was close to be at its best too.
They'd just released their new album, fiercely entitled "Land Of The Free II" but still they didn't start out with a song from this album, neither from the first "Land Of The Free", but with a much older song: Heaven Can Wait (to those who don't know the band, this is not an Iron Maiden cover song). In fact, they played songs from many of their albums, from Ride The Sky to Into The Storm, including Fight, New World Order, Rebellion In Dreamland, Somewhere Out In Space (with a very nice ending) and Send Me A Sign (during the encore).
They, too, had a nice stage decor, with a big backdrop hidden by the smoke. The lights weren't bad but not very special, I guess there's still some places for improvements on this aspect. As for the sound, it was great, though perhaps the drums or the bass was too loud on some of the fastest riffs, or was it the crowd screaming out their appreciation of those riffs that made it some (rare) times quite confusing to my ears?
And now, after AC/DC's For Those About To Rock stopped blowing up the speakers, came the headliner. I've already told you the other bands had quite a nice stage but still it was just the typical stage set bands usually have. The last years, Helloween has been trying to stand out a bit on this point and on that tour they did the same; using parts of the cover of their new album Gambling With The Devil (most notably a spinning wheel, though... too bad they made no use of it... I would have loved that they determine some of the songs according to a spin of the wheel).
They only played two songs from that album, the single As Long As I fall and The Hells Of The Seven Bells (my favorite from this release). They went on quite well among some of the killer classic songs they played: Halloween (the opener song), March Of Time, Dr Stein, Eagle Fly Free, Sole Survivor, A Tale That Wasn't Right, Power, I Can, King For A Thousand Years, and even a medley featuring Perfect Gentleman, When The Rain Grows, Keeper Of The Seven Keys...
They kept their habit of having a funny interlude - still during Daniel's drum solo. You probably read it before, and clicked on the pic above so I guess I can tell you:
So Daniel's being interrupted by... a bunch of anti-drum-solo dwarves (Sascha, Andi and Markus, wearing big white beard and ultra big shoes, speaking in a distorted high voice) pretending you can't play Smoke On The Water on drums. Daniel then reproduces the main riff, using the octobans (long and thin toms) on top of his drumkit and together with the dwarves, starts playing the whole song until Weikath arrives saying that he's had enough of that and then shot the dwarves down with an uzi. Now Daniel can resume his drum solo (a long one, not that boring and ending with some little fireworks).
Part of the crowd was getting tired - at least I was - but nobody would miss the last encore cause we all knew Kai Hansen was supposed to play with his old band on this rare occasion. He did, along with his beanie (yeah...) and his mates from Gamma Ray (except for Zimmerman). Two bassists, four guitarists, two singers (as Kai counts for a guitarist and a singer) for two songs: Future World and I Want Out. Can't think of a better ending (if you do, tell us) to such a great evening!
Thanks to Jeff and Roger Wessier!
PS: I invite you all to read Baz Anderson's review of the concert in London, here.
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