13. February 2014, Zeche, Bochum, Germany
“Plagues of Babylon” has been more successful in Germany and many other countries around the world than any other Iced Earth album before. Therefore it is time for a tour. According to the quite basic and rough sound of the latest album, Iced Earth took 2 bands with them that are more into Thrash Metal than Power Metal.
Before I begin with the report, I have to point out that it was not possible for us to get accreditations for this tour this time. Therefore the live photos for this article do not have the quality we usually provide.
But now right to 13th February 2014: Elm Street from Australia are beginning a bit too punctually.
Instead of starting at 20:00, as announced in the internet and on the tickets, they kick off at 19:30 already. A really annoying for all those who came too late.
Luckily there are already more than 100 headbangers in the venue when the band starts. Elm Street are then giving 100% for half an hour and presenting the bigger becoming crowd their mixture of Thrash and Power Metal. The performance and the sound are great, the songs aren`t. They are quite similar and without real highs. So, all in all, the band is a nice warm up although the audience is still quite reserved.
Compared to the gangly Australians, the following Warbringer are real animals. They play their instruments fast as fuck and kick ass with full power. Especially the drummer hits his minimalistic kit like there would be no tomorrow. The energy also infects the audience, so that even a small circle pit is forming. Although Warbringer´s music is much heavier than Iced Earth´s, they are doing really well today. So the crowd is warmed up well when they leave the stage.
Setlist Warbringer: Scars Remain, Iron City, Severed Reality, Living Weapon, Future Ages Gone, Total War, Living in a Whirlwind, Towers of the Serpent, Hunter-Seeker
Exactly at 21:30 Iced Earth begin their 100 minute show with “Plagues of Babylon”. The sound is great from the first second, just like it has been for the first two bands. It is a real balancing act to create today`s setlist, because the band can choose from 11 studio albums already. The early stuff is more or less ignored. Only “Dark Saga” is featured with 3 titles and the unavoidable “Iced Earth” is played as last song. Also the albums which were recorded around the millennium are more or less ignored. Only “Something Wicked comes this Way” (unbelievable 5 tracks!) is featured.
Also from the Ripper period only one song is played: the quite boring “Red Baron / Blue Max”. Therefore there are 6 Songs from the albums recorded with Stu Block. Today`s highlight is also from the latest album: Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian joins the band to perform “Among the Living Dead” with them! The crowd is really going wild and celebrates Hansi during his short part. A magic moment! Sadly, he does not return for the encores.
Before the show, Jon said it was quite hard for him to create the setlist this time. So he asked Michael Poulsen from Volbeat for help. Well, the balancing act was done quite well, although some songs are missed hardly (at least by me). What was up with “Melancholy”, “Dracula” and “Dark City”? Why not changing them against “V”, “Watching over me” or “Red Baron / Blue Max”?
That what is also really interesting at every new Iced Earth tour is the line up. Also this time the line up changed once again. The good news is that Stu Block, who really feels confident in his (no more) new role and who is accepted by nearly all fans, is still part of the band. I hope that he will stay for good! But there is a new bass player called Luke Appleton. He looks like a twin brother of Stu and he is still quite young. By the way, he already played a tour with Iced Earth: 3 years ago he was bassist of the support band Fury UK. On the drums Jon Dette is helping out, who also did this job sometimes before. With all those changes in past, it is almost overlooked that lead guitar player Troy Seele has already been a member for 7 years by now. But today his performance remains a bit bleak.
All in all it was a quite nice concert evening, but it was not (despite Hansi´s guest appearance) a magic night like it had occasionally been in the past. Maybe it was due to a little lack of charisma, which has always been Jon´s trademark before. Maybe it was because the show elements and lighting was only average. Or was it due to the improvable setlist? But, to say it clearly, this is grumping on a high level. In the end, nobody should have left the venue disappointed.
Setlist Iced Earth: Plagues of Babylon, Democide, V, If I Could See You, The Hunter, Among the Living Dead, Burning Times, Red Baron / Blue Max, Blessed are you, Vengeance is mine, Cthulu, My own Saviour, The End?, A Question of Heaven, Encore: The Coming Curse, Dystopia, Watching over me, Iced Earth