I don`t know why this tour should be connected with hell (or hellish music) or even Rock music. Basically not at all. Instead it is all about good old German Heavy Metal from Hamburg`s finest. Turn the lights up for Kay Hansen and Michael Weikath reunited part 2!
This evening begins with the Brazilian band Shadowside more than punctually at 19:55. The quite big venue hall is already well filled when the band enters the stage. The 3 guys and frontwoman Dani Nolden are not that new in business, but they are still quite unknown in Germany. Although they have already toured with Helloween, they are still absolutely undergound and had produced all their 4 albums in do-it-yourself mode.
Today`s show is of course dominated by their last release “Inner Monster Out“, which is already 2 years old. But this is not a disadvantage, because it means that the band really knows how to present the songs. The stageacting is quite professional and dedicated, although there is not much space left on stage because of the equipment of the other 2 bands. With every song played, the band reaches more and more people in the crowd. The highlight of the set is actually their cover of `Ace of Spades`, where Dani demonstrates that she can not only sing in higher registers, but also very rough and dirty.
The short change over gives me the possibility to notice some other facts. First of all the location: The Ruhr Congresszentrum Bochum is basically a venue for commercial events and trade shows. This means that it does not look like a Metal club at all, but offers a brilliant view to the stage, good sound conditions and sufficient parking places. The crew is recruited from the Matrix club in Bochum and is very friendly and professional. All in all, it is a good location for medium sized concerts in this area.
Really interesting is the mixture of tonight´s audience. 12% of the visitors are under 25 years, while 73% are older than 45. Already 69% are suffering from hairloss. The same amount of people leave the venue tonight without headbanging even once. The reason might be that they fear to lose more hair when doing that. And, last but not least, 18% are female.
And one last note: When I was heading for the toilets, I passed the merch stand, and I was stunned by what I saw: Helloween bass player Markus Großkopf sat there signing items for fans. A cool thing I have never seen during a show of such a big band like Helloween.
Andi Deris had not promised too much in our interview that both main bands of tonight will change their setlists completly for this tour. Fot Gamma Ray the result seems to be that most of the people do not know most of the songs. The half of the setlist actually consists of tracks from the last live album (e.g. `Anywhere in the Galaxy`, The Spirit` and `Dethrone Tyrany`). The other half are new tracks like `Empathy`, `Master of Confusion` and `Empire of the Undead`. It is obvious that the Gamma Rays are enthusiastic to play this show, but nevertheless they seem to be a bit too experienced. Or to say it in other words: They hold back a little bit, which also affects the audience. Although there are a lot of people wearing a Gamma Ray shirt, the response is a bit restrained. When Gamma Ray play the Helloween cover `Future World`, which purpose I do not quite understand, and the last two tracks `To the Metal` and `Send me a Sign` the ice finally breaks and the audience wakes up.
Now the venue is warmed up for Helloween. The guys have a brilliant start into their set. As an intro Andi Deris, Markus Großkopf and drummer Dani Löble are performing `Wanna be God` behind a gigantic curtain made of camouflage net. The curtain falls with the very last guitar chord and the rest of the band enters the stage and starts right away with the last single `Nabataea`. Wow, what a stunning beginning of the show! Tonight`s setlist is dominated by tracks of the last record “Straight out of Hell“. All in all 7 tracks from this album found their way to the playlist. `Where the Sinners go`, `If I could fly`, `Hell was made in Heaven` und `Are you Metal?` are 4 more songs which had been released since 2000. This is all in all a quite daring setlist, but it works, despite the elevated age of the audience. Maybe the reason is the great show of the band. It is the best Helloween show I have ever seen, for example much better than the last gig at Wacken Open Air. Even Weiki, who always looks a bit half-hearted on stage, seems to have a lot of fun.
After a fulminant 90 minutes it is time for the encores. First of all, Kai Hansen joins the band for a medley of older stuff. For the final `I want out` also the rest of Gamma Ray comes on stage.
All in all it was a nice concert, despite some problems in the beginning regarding audience response, later on it turned out well. Therefore everybody should have enjoyed it. It is also quite obvious that the two main acts, that have been around in the metal scene for many years, are still doing well and to be reckoned with in the future.