3rd September 2021, Krefeld, Germany
It’s Friday evening and Blind Guardian are playing a club show in their home town of Krefeld. Actually nothing unusual and worth mentioning, but we are still in the middle of a pandemic. But this concerts happens despite the pandemic, or, to be precise, because of the pandemic. Originally, the band should have played at the Wacken Bullhead Festival. Because it was cancelled – due to the pandemic – the bards decided to take this opportunity and play two tiny club shows in Krefeld instead. Two real Heavy Metal shows without chairs but with electric guitars and everything a Metal concert needs. However, tiny is the appropriate description, because normally the band draws 5000 and more people when playing at their home base, but in this case only 500 are allowed although the venue has a capacity for 900 people.
In his first announcement of the evening, vocalist Hansi Kürsch emphasises how happy the band feels to be finally allowed to do their job again. And from the first minute it is obvious that tonight is not a chore but pure joy, something the band has truly missed. The increased motivation results in the probably fastest version of ‘Banish From Sanctuary’ ever played. And the band remains highly motivated throughout the whole set.
And the audience? It is easy to notice that the fans have missed live music in general and Blind Guardian in particular in the past one and a half years. The audience sings along every single goddamn song. Even ‘Violent Shadows’ is no exception, which was presented for the first at last years’ Wacken World Wide digital festival and which is still available in digital formats only.
Not only ‘Violent Shadows’ is a little surprise in the setlist. Another one is ‘Mirror Mirror’, which had been the final song of every show in the past 20 years, is today in a central position in the set. Works as well. Instead, there are two rarities at the end of the show: The first one is ‘Brian’, a song released on the first demo (when the band was still called Lucifer’s Heritage). The second rarity, a cover of ‘Barbara Ann’, is ending the show today. In return, the fans have to do without classics like ‘Imaginations From the Other Side’ and ‘Nightfall’. But if this is the price to pay for some rarities and curiosities, then I am happy to pay it. I wonder whether the other fans see it the same way? At least nobody has been complaining.
All in all, it was a nice evening which ends with long missed buzzing in my ears and a slightly hoarse throat. And all of that despite the pandemic. So I really hope that the tour planned for spring 2022 can also take place. Despite the pandemic. Maybe – let’s hope at least – the pandemic is over by then…
The Ninth Wave
Banish From Sanctuary
Born in a Mourning Hall
Time Stands Still
Time what is Time
Lord of the Rings
Lost in the Twilight Hall
Journey Through the Dark
And the Story Ends
Welcome to Dying
The Bard‘s Song (In the Forest)
Photos: Timo Pässler (Note: Due to the access limitations, journalist accreditations weren’t possible. Therefore no photos in the usual quality this time).