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SYMPHORCE tourreport - Cede Dupont telling about life on the road

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WEBCounter by GOWEB    

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   BLIND GUARDIAN OPEN AIR 2003
Coburg (D)
June 13th/14th 2003

http://www.blind-guardian.com/center.php3?page=tours/festival.html

festivalarea © Patrick SchneiderOnce again Blind Guardian underlined their status, this time with a two-day festival named after them. They played each night as headliners with different sets, the shows were filmed and the material will be used for a DVD. Iron Savior, who were supposed to play on the first day, had to cancel at short notice due to a band member's illness, so the other bands got a few minutes extra playing time that day. On saturday Mšgo De Oz did not play for reasons I don't know but they were replaced by a Spanish AC/DC cover band. So after a tiring drive to Coburg on thursday afternoon and a thunderstormy evening at the campground, the next two days we enjoyed festival life, hanging around at the campsite, looking for toilet paper, drinking beer, getting sunburns and of course watching bands:

FRIDAY

First band to kick off the festival were BLACKENED (not to be confused with their fellow countrymen Blackend). I believe they got the opportunity to play the festival because they contributed "Another Holy War" to a Blind Guardian tribute album. The band obviously didn't know what to do with so much space on stage, and so unfortunately there was next to no stageacting. After the singer Matthias could not be heard at all during the first half of the opener, the sound finally got better and we cheered when we finally got to hear him, but still the backing vocals were stronger and louder than the lead vocals. Which doesn't mean they were any better though. We got to hear four tracks, among them two songs ("Never Surrender" and "A Jester's Tale") from the recently released album "A Jester's Tale". All in all not a bad start for a young and unexperienced (I assume) band. (Cora)

Next up on the billing were WHITE SKULL, a band from Italy. That much I knew. The intro reminded me of Rhapsody which already was a let-down for me. The music itself wasn't much like Rhapsody though but I still can't say I liked them. Stereotypical melodic heavy metal isn't too much of my liking. I admit that I therefore took the opportunity and went to have a look at the merchandise and cd vendors' booths while they were playing. I only remember one songtitle: "Asgard". (Cora)

What can I say about A.O.K. This must be the worst band I've ever seen. If band is the right term. As soon as they entered the stage in underwear and with wigs and started "playing" I knew it was time for me to leave the area. When I returned they were still on stage. I don't consider myself as someone who lacks humour but their idea of fun completely escapes my understanding. "Keine Angst vorm Nackt-sein" (translates to "no fear to be naked") was yet another chance for them to show their dicks which obviously is what they can do best and after that they played "Keine Angst vorm Salat-sein" (translates to "no fear to be a salad") during which they wiped their naked asses with salad - only to throw it into the crowd afterwards. Best song must have been "Stromausfall" ("power loss") because it indeed carried no sound. (Cora)

Brainstorm © Patrick SchneiderNo secrets here, BRAINSTORM were my personal favourites of the festival and they once again proved what an awesome live band they are. To match the release of the upcoming album "Soul Temptation" the stage got a new outfit with new backdrop and screens carrying the album artwork. And there they were, starting the show with a brand new track, "Highs Without Lows". I feared a new track as opener would not be the best choice but it immediately showed that I had no reason to worry. The crowd loved them from the start and I was so happy about the good response they got ("Brainstorm"-shouts in between the songs for example) that I couldn't stop grinning and was probably more excited than the band was, haha! Only songs from "Ambiguity" (e.g. "Crush Depth") and mainly "Metus Mortis" (e.g. "Blind Suffering", "Shadowland", "Checkmate In Red", "Hollow Hideaway") were being played along with another teaser in form of "Shiva's Tears" which is also a track from the soon-to-be-released album "Soul Temptation". Singer Andy, not tied to any instrument, was running around from one side of the stage to the other or even seemed to disappear but it soon turned out he had just entered the photo pit to get in touch with the fans in the first rows. Great band. Period. (Cora)

Well, what can I say - Iíd say that almost everyone knows GRAVE DIGGER, and itís a band which you either love or hate. Cora hates them, and I love them ...no, I wouldnít say that, but I like them a lot, although they are some kind of veterans of the German metal scene, especially Chris Boltendahl looks a bit ..."funny" on stage. But as long as the music is ok I donít really care. Well, Grave Digger started off with the opener and titletrack from their new album "Rheingold", and they convinced the crowd right away. Then they played a song from their IMO best record, "Tunes Of War", which was "The Dark Of The Sun", to get the people headbanging who donít know the new album already. What else can I say? They did a good show, played more newer than older songs (such as "Excalibur", "Knights Of The Cross", which seemed to be a bit too slow IMO, "Valhalla" or "The Grave Digger"). But no show of Grave Digger ends without having played "Rebellion", again a track from the "Tunes Of War" album, and finally they did "Heavy Metal Breakdown". They crowd still wanted more (they had about one hour to play) and the band returned once more to play an encore consisting of a few seconds of "Heavy Metal Breakdown". (Paddy)

Yet another SUBWAY TO SALLY show for me, this time at a festival for a change. I know there are people who just can't stand them (hello, my fellow campers ;)) but Subway To Sally feel at home on any stage, be it a small stage in a club or a large one at a festival like this. To be honest, I don't really know what to say about them that has not been said before. The show started with a new song "Geist Des Kriegers", followed by two other songs from the latest output "Engelskrieger", namely "Unsterblich" and "Knochenschiff",Subway To Sally © Patrick Schneider the latter more and more turning out to be a little hit played live. Eric's voice wasn't in the very best condition but I think it got better as the show went on. Next song was "Mephisto", the oldest track of the setlist. After "Die Schlacht" the band slowed it down with "Minne" and thousands of hands kept clapping along to it. Six songs later ("Kleine Schwester", "Kleid Aus Rosen", "Henkersbraut", "Ohne Liebe", "Falscher Heiland" and "Veitstanz") at least one obligatory fire-spitting by Bodenski and Simon marked the end of their show. (Cora)

Let me say this first: If you like BLIND GUARDIAN and you haven't been there, by the time you read this you will definitely already regret it!
As usual, Blind Guardian was totally outstanding! They played loads of songs, 20 to be exact, and that was just the first night. The opener was "Into The Storm", which is the usual opener for Blind Guardian shows, then Hansi said something like "Welcome to the show and..." - "Welcome To Dying" was the logical consequence; nothing new though. After "The Script For My Requiem", he had to admit, that the song had not been on the setlist for that night, so they had played one additional song...fine with me of course ;)
"Valhalla" is a song that can never be missing at a Blind Guardian gig, and so is "The Bardís Song - In The Forest". But between those two masterpieces, there were some more older tracks such as "Majesty" or "Run For The Night" and also some stuff from the 1992 "Somewhere Far Beyond" Album ("Theater Of Pain" and "Journey Through The Dark" and also the titletrack "Somewhere Far Beyond"!!!), which is not too often on the list. Totally stunning was the monumental-song "And Then There Was Silence", and there was said to be a surprise for the second night...
Well, of course Blind Guardian also played some more "usual" songs like "Imaginations From The Other Side" (cannot tell at all why Hansi always says that thatís something special), "A Past And Future Secret", "Punishment Divine" (a real headbanger) and - of course - "Mirror Mirror". What would a Blind Guardian show be without "Mirror Mirror" in the end?!? But Hansiís singing at the beginning during that cool guitar-riffing really pisses me off.
It would become very hard for the band to even do a better job next night...letís see... ;) (Paddy)

What Paddy completely forgot to tell you in his amazementBlind Guardian © Paddy about the setlist was the stage set up. Considering the fact that the shows are to appear on a DVD you can probably imagine the Bards didn't leave it at a simple backdrop and three coloured spots. Each night before the show started there was a huge curtain which was blocking the view on stage but on which for example the dragons from the "And Then There Was Silence" single were displayed. Right when the show started the curtain fell down and we got an excellent and giant lightshow, spiced with a few pyros/fireworks here and there. (Cora)

SATURDAY

Nothing did I know about GALADRIEL. No idea why, but I had thought they were Italian and another happy melodic metal band, so I wasn't too thrilled to go and see them. On the way from the campsite to the festival area I already learned I was completely wrong and I was pleasantly surprised to hear some harsh vocals. So no happy melodic metal at all but some dark metal from Slovakia. I was informed that Galadriel got the opening slot thanks to contributing to the Blind Guardian tribute album (just like Blackened the day before). Through the harsh vocals you are easily tempted to label them death metal or something but it's way too melodic (keys playing an important role), so I guess dark metal is a good term if we have to use one (and I just found out that this is what they call their music themselves). One instrumental was among the four songs that were played, another song that introduced by vocalist/bassist Dodo was "Dark Erotica". (Cora)

STORMHAMMER are certainly not a bad live band if you're into simple German heavy metal sound. Singer Tommy was constantly looking for contact with the audience, trying to make them sing along to tracks like "Seven Gates", "A Dragon's Tear" and a new song "Stormhammer". Also the other musicians involved were posing and head-banging. I could not help but laugh when Tommy introduced the song "The Law" with the words "Stormhammer is the law of heavy metal". (Cora)

festivalarea © Patrick SchneiderAs I already said in the introdruction to this report, Mšgo De Oz did not play and were replaced by this AC/DC coverband called THE BON SCOTT BAND (how original..). I'm no AC/DC expert but it is impossible to not know songs like "Highway To Hell" or "Hard As A Rock" and as soon as The Bon Scott Band started with "Shoot To Thrill" a lot of people went towards the stage to see them performing some AC/DC hits. We preferred to relax sitting on the grass for there were still some bands to come. One of their guitarists was clearly the "Angus Young" of this band, wearing shorts, a white shirt and a tie. The band did quite well, and the singer even managed to sound a little like Bon Scott or Brian Johnson. (Cora)

The German "beer"-band TANKARD from Frankfurt (would be something for our dear Aleksi; they even sing in English mostly) hadnít much time to play, but they tried to do their best. The themes of their songs are alcohol and women, sometimes at least, so they played a song called "New Liver Please" and the obligatory "Freibier", which means "beer for free" - very important!! The singer Gerre asked anyone who has a bigger beer-belly than himself to come on stage for "wettsaufen" (translates to something like "drinking competition"). (Paddy)

FREEDOM CALL, the second band of Gamma Ray drummer Daniel Zimmermann, did a good job on Saturday afternoon. They played quite a few songs from their latest record "Eternity", such as "Land Of Light" and "Warriors", songs with very catchy tunes, "Flying High" and "Metal Invasion", my personal highlight. "Tears Of Taragon" and "We Are One" were the only songs from the debut albumFreedom Call © Patrick Schneider and with "Heart Of The Rainbow" and "Freedom Call" they also played songs from the second album "Crystal Empire".
Some other things to mention: Symphorce guitar-player Cede Dupont has lots of fun being in Freedom Call for Sascha Gerster who is now in Helloween since a couple of months. Besides that, it is always fascinating to see Dan sitting behind the drums and still doing loads of backing vocals!! And singer Chris is happy all the time, but he still doesnít get all the tunes...his voice live isnít the best, but the performance and the enthusiasm to play live is there and easy to see. (Paddy)

What a little crowd gathered for SOILWORK, compared to Freedom Call just before them! I was quite surprised because Soilwork got so much praise everywhere but maybe they didn't really fit into the festival billing with its main focus on melodic metal. I don't know. Anyway, they started with "Flameout" and I'm still not too much into the performance of vocalist Speed but I must say their new drummer Richard did his job very well. Apart from one older track, "Needlefeast", which featured some impressive screams by bassist Ola Flink, only songs from "Natural Born Chaos" ("Follow The Hollow", "The Bringer", "As We Speak", "Natural Born Chaos") and their latest output "Figure Number Five" ("Figure Number Five", "Distortion Sleep", "Light The Torch", "Rejection Role") were played. (Cora)

Right after Soilwork I left the festivalarea to see what my camp was up to as we have been told by security people a thunderstorm was on its way. Since I don't care for Napalm Death at all, at least it was a good timing and I can only hope all Napalm Death fans will forgive me but I didn't see them. Luckily the thunderstorm did not come and it only rained a tiny little bit, and soon our bunch was back for the second half of the PRIMAL FEAR set. I don't care for them too much either but at least I watched a part of the show which was followed by quite a large audience. I can also name a few songs that the guys around Ralf Scheepers and Mat Sinner played: "Final Embrace", "Angel In Black" and "Silver And Gold". (Cora)

Rage © PaddyMy real first time to see RAGE... well, Cora has seen them for almost 20 times now, so thanks for letting me write this review!!!
I donít know too much of the German power metal band, but I liked the gig nevertheless, especially the drum-solo of Mike Terrana was in-FUCKING-credible, but Iíll talk about that later on. To be honest, I didnít know the first three songs, "Paint The Devil On The Wall", "Sent By The Devil" and "Donít Fear The Winter", but "Down" is a real ass-kicker, not only in the studio, but also live, and "Set This World On Fire" is even better in the live-version. "Black In Mind", as usual Iíd say, thatís something like a "hit" if Iím not mistaken, and then it was time for the guys to show what they are able to do with their instruments. Peavy (b, v) did a good job in both singing and also a little solo there, Victor Smolski (g, ex-Mind Odyssey) is a young god on the six-string, and if I think of the drum-solo of Mike Terrana, I canít get my mouth shut ...I donít know how to describe the self-proclaimed "monkey", but it is really stunning what he can do with his drumkit. Next time Iíd like to see Thomen (Blind Guardian) do the same, he was my personal drum-hero since that Saturday. Well then it was time for the second hit "Straight To Hell" from a famous German comedy-movie, "From The Cradle To The Grave" from "XIII" and finally "Higher Than The Sky", where Peavy let the crowd do the (vocal) work. Great job guys, and one last thing to mention, Peavy was the only German-speaking singer that weekend who did not only talk German. (Paddy)

Well, as I said before, almost impossible to top the first night, letís see what BLIND GUARDIAN could do on Saturday, their second gig.
The intro this time was "Time tands StillĒ, and I really wonder why they didnít use the "old" intro "Inquisition", because right next they did "Banish From Sanctuary", the old opener. Then they played "Nightfall" (again), "The Script For My Requiem" (part 2, as I said, part 1 wasnít planned *g*) and "Valhalla". Hansi wanted too much from the crowd, so they started singing the "Valhalla"-chorus after almost every song they played that night. I hope you are happy now, Hansi! ;)Blind Guardian © Paddy Everyone expected some surprises for the show, so the Guardians played "Time What Is Time", the always-wanted "The Last Candle" (sensational! the only song of the two gigs where Marcus played the solo alone by the way!!!), of course once more "The Bardís Song - In The Forest" but this time followed by "The Bard's Song - The Hobbit" and ..."And Then There Was Silence" for a second time!!! "Bright Eyes", "Born In A Mourning Hall", once more "Imaginations From The Other Side", "Another Holy War" and "And The Story Ends". That means they played the entire "Imaginations.."-album in those two days !!! But my personal highlight - besides "The Last Candle" and "And Then There Was Silence" was "Lost In The Twilight Hall", my alltime-favourite Blind Guardian tune. In the end, there was the "Mirror Mirror" again (of course) and finally, Hansi said that theyíll try to have another festival like this next year...I hope so, and I hope they'll play "The Quest For Tanelorn" then ;) (Paddy)


submitted by Cora 19.06.2003

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