Chapter 2: Rockin’ in International Waters – Day 2
By Gilberto Morais
MEET & GREET (12:15 PM – 12:15 AM) – MOONLIGHT DINING ROOM
The Meet & Greet of the 70.000 tons of Metal has taken place at this aforementioned Restaurant from 12:15 PM to 12:15 AM, which timetable featuring the complete cast was previously published along with the Running Order. Every single band was granted at least 30 minutes long for meeting with their fans.
Having that all said, let’s go straight to the point: THE CONCERTS
ONSLAUGHT (1:00 –1:45 PM) – POOL DECK
„SPITTING BLOOD IN THE FACE OF GOD!“ . Oh, yes, this is the opening and the title track of the „Killing Peace“ album. Onslaught is a english Thrash Metal band from Bristol, whose roots are somewhat related to punk/hardcore scene combined with Death Metal stuff. Listen to their debut album „Power from Hell“ and see what I mean. Besides, Nige Rockett, the band leader is a huge Discharge fan.
First of all, it’s a mystery for me, why England, the cradle of the Heavy Metal, not only mentioning the NWOBHM bands, but also the ones which came first such as Sabbath, Motorhead, Priest, had unveiled so little relevant Thrash bands so far, compared to Germany and the US. Being a Thrash Metal freak, I only can remember 2 of them, besides Onslaught: Xentrix and Dearly Beheaded, both disbanded for such a long time.
Hey, my friends, if you are into this kind of straight Thrash Metal, featuring no grooves, typical on Bay Area camp, go for it. Onslaught has more to do with bands like Slayer, Dark Angel or the teuto Thrash Metal, however, with its own identity and stamp. It doesn’t remind us of the bands I mentioned, but its style is somehow closer and related to the ones described above.
A while ago the founding member „Steve Grice“, the drummer of the whole catalog, left the band due to personal differences and they brought the ex- Extreme Noise Terror Michael Hourihan to replace him. Being the nucleus of the band formed by founding guitarrist Nige Rockett and singer Sy Keller from the classic The Force album and mainly after their comeback, Onslaught keeps on playing tight, getting better and better, since the album Killing Peace was released, one of my favorite ones.
For unknown reasons, lead guitarrist Andy Ross Davies was absent and replaced by the guy who filled in on the last European Tour to celebrate the anniversary of The Force Album. The setlist was basically balanced: a greatest hits compilation with new tunes of the last album „Sounds of Violence“. The Highlights are: Killing Peace, Born for War, Let there be Death and Power from Hell, for sure! For the very first time, a huge mosh and circlepit was noticeable. That goes without saying, if Onslaught wouldn’t be able to drive the bangers crazy, who could? Only Kreator, I guess. Btw, sun was shinning bright!
Reminder: Unfortunately I couldn’t check all the concerts, they took place earlier, on the outside.
FATAL SMILE (1:45 – 2:30 PM) – SPECTRUM LOUNGE
Not very well known outside of North Europe yet, Fatal Smile is one of the flourishing Swedish Hard Rock bands emerged from the scene of the past decade, having those sleazy elements on their tracks. Being a local resident in Germany, where they played often several times, I knew who they are. In fact, I knew them by accident. Back in 2008 I attended one gig supporting Dio in Scandinavia, I checked it out and they have blown me away! Back then, they had just relesead the great „World of Domination“ album , a terrific surprise. To tell you the truth, I got more interested in them than the most famous bands from their country such as Crashdiet, Hardcore Superstars and H.E.A.T., just to mention a couple of them.
Blade, the singer and tremendous frontman of this quartet from Stockholm speaks outstanding English and it looked like the band would certainly make it . Besides, a pair of songs of this album is meant to be hits.
Given this intro, let me explain you what happened later. The drummer left and the band was out of the spots for awhile and came back with a new effort: 21st Century Freaks.
Regardless of the new look with makeup, which it doesn’t matter, what happened to them? Where has that great performance they provided us back in 2008 and 09 gone?
No, the concert was not bad; however, they were even better than the two performances I recently watched. Despite the fact I missed the beginning of the show, due to conflict of schedule overlapping the Onslaught set, I was looking forward to attending Fatal Smile after 3 years of absence.
It is tough to pick highlights up, the new tunes were not so good out, compared to the World Domination era. There was a ballad dedicated in honor to the great Ronnie James Dio and fortunately, two of my favorite tracks off „World Domination“ were played: „Run for your Life“ and enclosing, pleasing the demand of the small crowd: „ SOB“. That’s it. Not bad, but, you can do better, guys!
JAM WITH JEFF WATERS (4:00 – 6:00 PM) – BOLEROS
Hosted by no one other than Mr. Jeff Waters (Annihilator), the Riff Master, this was a hell of a fun, not only for the audience, but also the musicians who have participated on this All Star Jam.
Although it was not necessary, if you really wanted to meet your idols, this place was the big deal. Several guys showed up just to check the jam out.
Anyway, let me go back to experience I had for the past night, on my way to dinning room. I was meant to take the elevator and run into Jeff Waters himself a couple of seconds before. Having changed a couple of emails awhile ago, I was aware he was an easy going, down-to-earth guy and would be friendly, in case someone asked him for a photo or autograph, however, I must state how happy he was, when I told him we were a couple of guys from Brazil. His eyes and face certify how much he enjoyed playing in Brazil for the very first time. Having that said, he was not fooling around, whenever he was out there and he told us Annihilator will be back in no time and he can’t wait to come down and meet his local fanbase. That’s why he rules, not only on his skills as guitarrist.
Back to the jam itself, I noticed a lot of musicians were getting there . Before showtime, they had either ordered a few drinks or warmed themselves up for the jam. The atmosphere was fantastic: pure party time, celebration in full swing!
Among them, it is worth mentioning the participation of Doro, Nick Douglas (Doro), Edward Carlson & Michael Gilbert (Flotsam and Jetsam), James Rivera (Helstar), Ronny Munro (Metal Church), Victor Smolski (Rage), Jeff Williams (Onslaught), George Kollias (Nile), Mille Petrozza (Kreator, etc and Jeff Waters, for sure.
In fact, Jeff introduced all the guests before each song. The set consisted of Rock and Roll and Heavy Metal classics (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica, etc). Unfortunately, I could stay only for 45 minutes, because of the next show. That’s it, folks!
ANGRA (5:00 – 6:00 PM) – CHORUS LINE THEATER
I am sure how anxious the Brazilian fellows are waiting for the news regarding this show and I won’t let you down. The wait is over!
Angra performed live for the first time after almost 1 year and half hiatus off the stage. In the meantime, their new singer was not confirmed yet. For that reason, no one other than Fabio Lione (Rhapsody, Vision Divine) shared the stage with the boys as special guest. Being aware of his talent, I could only expect anything closer to perfection and he didn’t disappoint me and made such brilliant job! It doesn’t matter, whether or not you like the aforementioned Italian bands, but you must recognize his skill as a top singer. No wonder, Kamelot had to recruit him to replace Roy Khan, when the Norwegian left the American band.
Taking their hiatus into account, Angra has provided a good performance and I am sure they can get better and better, however; it takes time, inspite of their great ability as musicians. Despite the fact that both Rafael Bittencourt and Kiko Loureiro kept on being busy playing a couple of gigs recently in order to promote either their solo album or side project, respectively, I’ve got the feeling the entire band was a little bit rusty as an unit, which is absolutely normal. Anyway, this show is the milestone of a new Rebirth for the band and the future still sounds promising, after all, they still can look back and realize what it went wrong and go back on track.
Asode from Fabio’s performance, something has come to my attention and please let me make a comparison related to Jeff Waters:
Although they are holder of different styles, this is absolutely clear, Rafael Bittencourt, the Maestro, has something to do with Jeff Waters. Besides musicianship, they are both guitar players who learned to be singers for real. Yes, they are not merely guitar players who can sing, they’ve both become really good singers. It is incredible, unbelievable how much they developed this task and went through.
I’m talking about this subject, because Jeff Waters had sung Seek and Destroy (Metallica) prior to this concert and believe me, he was just singing and not playing the guitar, how we expected. Later on, Rafael was introduced by Lione and took control of the mic duties and sung „Rage of Waters“. Although I don’t like this song, it was amazing how good he performed the vocals. At any time, I missed Edu Falaschi on this track. Solid vocals on this tune! My compliments.
I came to know how much unpopular the band was outside Japan, Latin Europe and Latin America, whose markets are favourable to their style. The crowd was basically composed of their loyal Latin American and Brazilian fanbase. I have noticed the presence of neither North Americans nor North Europeans.
Lastly, let me point the highlights out: Fabio Lione, „Nothing to Say“, „Waiting Silence“ „Millenium Sun“, „Nova Era“ and the end of the set with „Gentle Change“.
EVERGREY (6:00 – 7:00 PM) – POOL DECK
There is one thing I don’t like about the running order of this event. As the stages are located on different Decks, you’re supposed to keep on moving back and forth to attend the concerts. Having that said, I hope the organizers change this tough schedule, allowing at least a 10 minutes pause between the end of a concert and beginning of the next performance. Hence, the crowd as well as the press members won’t miss any interesting shows for nothing.
To start off, I must admit in advance I don’t know too much about the Swedes and that’s why I am not going to say any highlights of the show, concerning the tracks they’ve played live. I am sorry about that, I let you know my impressions and bend over backwards trying to describe the atmosphere and relevant facts they ought to be said. It would not be honest with you, followers, to cheat the setlist and fake what I am not able to comment in details.
Evergrey is basically represented by his charismatic frontman Tom Englund, guitarrist and lead singer. Their sound looks like a euro prog powermetal band and it’s noticeable how flawless they are on their instruments.
Despite a couple of minute loss between the transition of the stages, Evergrey brought an amazing show. I felt the crowd reacted way too positive and was enjoying this concert. Actually it was much better than the one I witnessed two years ago. It was a pity I had to leave before the end of the set for the next commitment.
DORO (7:00 – 8:00 PM) – POOL DECK
Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please welcome the one and only, The Metal Queen: DORO PESCH!
Hey, people! Is there anything left which it was not told about DORO?
Doro is one of the characters who needs no introduction! This lady from Düsseldorf, Germany who resides in the US for such a long time is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of her glorious Career.
Accompanied by a tight and solid band featuring long time members Nick Douglas (bass) and Johnny Dee (drums), plus the excellent guitarrists Luca Princiotta and Bas Maas, Doro stands for what heavy metal is all about.
What I most like about Doro is that she’s for real and not a fake person. There are a bunch of people who pretend to be cool on stage and when you personally meet them, they are not like this. Thank God, Doro is a good example and influence for the business and real world together! What you see on stage is exactly how she is for real! Very Human, friendly, nice, humble and so on. I love you, Doro! Be the way you are forever. I think that’s the reason why she is worldwide respected and admired: not only for her talent, but also her behavior and her affection for her fans treating us as human beings.
Before enclosing, let me tell you something very funny about her. No, I’m not mocking her, I never will, but it is interesting: I have attended several of her concerts, including the 25th Anniversary in Düsseldorf so far and noticed it. At the beginning, whenever I was not able to speak german, sometimes I didn’t understand what she meant during her speeches on stage.Then, I finally realized what was going on. Doro sometimes mixes English with German, while performing in Germany. Being the first concert after a long time outside German soil, I was curious to know what it would happen and that’s it! She spoke incidentally a little bit german for an international crowd too. I don’t blame her for it, it is sometimes hard to figure it out, where we are actually.
Her setlist featured a balanced mix of her solo career and Warlock tunes. It is tough to mention the highlights, however, I may not leave without quoting: „ Earthshake Rock“, „We Are the Metalheads“ (hymn written to promote Wacken Open Air); „All we Are“, „Für Immer“ and the new tune „Raise your First in the Air“ conceived to be part of her setlist from now on.
LACUNA COIL (8:00 – 9:00 PM) – POOL DECK
Another debut was coming up next. Taking my experience with Evergrey as example, you will notice I am not familiar with Lacuna Coil too.
Besides, for the already known reasons (stages transition), I missed the beginning of the set as planned.
Having that said, Lacuna Coil was on fire! I was taken by surprise and they blew me away with an enthusiastic performance. Was it their Latin blood? Being not my cup of tea, I was not expecting how awesome this concert actually ended up being.
The perfect matching and contrast between the main singers: Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro made the crowd insane. Back then, it was one of the best shows of this day and who is telling this comments is someone who don’t care about their career. That means, their fans likely watched the show of their lives.
The highlights of this performance, as far as I remember, were Senzafine (sung in Italian) and Fragile.
RAGE & LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA (9:00 – 10:15 PM) – CHORUS LINE THEATER
Hmm, if someone told me Rage was supposed to play in the United States, I wouldn’t believe that. That was already enough not to trust you.
If this nonsense story went further, claiming not only Rage, but also accompanied by the Lingua Mortis Orchestra would play a gig in the US, I would reply to someone immediately: „Excuse me, what kind of drugs have you been taking lately?“
Not enough, not convinced? How about a Rage concert with Lingua Mortis taking place inside a Metal oriented cruise ship? Impossible? No, not really! It did take place under the described headline above.
In fact, this was one of the concerts I most wanted to see. Believe me, although my residence in Germany for 4 Years and half, I haven’t attended this so far. Sure I am talking about RAGE with Lingua Mortis Orchestra, not the ordinary Rage concerts, which are common right there.
Despite the delay on the beginning of the show, the opening track was none other than one of my favorites: „From the Cradle to the Grave“.
It’s unfair not to mention one person who made all this possible: the Maestro Victor Smolski (guitarrist). Please tell me what this man has developed to play guitar like this! He’s not human! Unfortunately, I missed something off the stage, which the ship offers you. According to reports, Victor Smolski played a couple of classical stuff on piano, while relaxing on his leisure time, the same piano used by award winner pianist VIka Yermolyeva from Ukraine , who was invited to play known metal hits.
Getting back to their set, the trio was accompanied by 8 members of the orchestra including keyboard, cello, etc plus a female singer. This first gig was one of the highlights of the whole event. The choice of the Chorus Line Theater for the two performances was more than appropriate and smart.
Classical interludes combined with typical Rage songs were played and the matching fitted well. During the performance, Peavey Wagner, the band leader, took the mic and mentioned the fact, this was conceived even before Metallica made up their minds playing with the San Francisco Orchestra and releasing the worldwide acclaimed S&M, which is true.
Once more it’s pretty hard to memorize the highlights of a perfect performance, however, besides „From the Cradle to the Grave“, they rocked with tunes as „Turn the Page“ and the last song „Empty Hollow“
KREATOR (10:15 – 11:15 PM) – POOL DECK
Have you noticed we haven’t talked about Kreator so far? Don’t worry! They were one of the last bands to perform live at 70.000 Tons, that’s why it took that long to describe this horde of chaos.
First of all, there’s no bad time regarding any of Kreator’s performances. If everything goes wrong, it is still likely the concert will end up being fantastic.
Kreator might be considered along with bands like Overkill as one of the most energetic and at the same time precise acts ever.
Unfortunately, I have certified one slight change concerning the last European tour which took place until the end of last December: no 3D Stage was brought for this event. Ok, this was already expected, it is way too expensive and wouldn’t pay back, only for two shows abroad. Not complaining, however, it would have been amazing, in case the cost allowed it.
Back to the show, the opening track was the title track of the last album „Phantom Antichrist“. Mille, Ventor, Sami and Speedy is the lineup which is gathered since 2001. This way, not only because of the longevity, but also the knowledge of each other, you experience a band which performs like a swiss made Watch, beyond perfection.
Apart the precision, it was funny to look at the circle and moshpits growing bigger and bigger at that time. Besides, Kreator is a universal Institution. Into the pit, there were plenty of people from all around the world: North Americans, South Americans and Europeans and whenever you mix them up, the result is pure chaos: good friendly, violent fun, Exodus says.
I missed some tracks off their set, however, it was clear the band would vary on the next set and they did. The highlights are: Coma of Souls+Endless Pain,Extreme Aggression; Violent Revolution; Enemy of God and People of the Lie. Yes, they haven’t played the final traditional medley: Flag of Hate + Tormentor.
GOTTHARD (0:30 – 1:30 AM) – POOL DECK
The last concert I attended this evening was of the Swiss Hard Rockers Gotthard. Like Rage, I was not expecting Gotthard to play in the US. Anyway, thanks to the promoters, they were out there.
Being popular in their homecountry Switzerland as well as neighbouring german-spoken countries, Gotthard plays typical euro made hard rock, highly inspired in the 70s.
Despite the still recent tragedy about the loss of founding member Steve Lee, Leo Leoni, guitarrist, has carried on and thankfully the band is back in top form!
Their new singer, the outstanding Aussie-Swiss Nic Maeder honored the legacy left by the one and only Steve Lee. He can not only sing the original tunes the way you expect from someone who respect the band’s history, but also shows us he puts his own stamp, talent, charisma and good songwritting.
Taking the whole tour, not only these two gigs, into account, it made us clear and confident, the band is playing so tight as it was used to. It doesn’t seem they were away for more than two years.
All the band members were amazing this night: Marc Lynn, Freddy Scherer, etc . Personally speaking, I think the new album Firebirth is even better than the last one with Steve Lee, which I didn’t enjoy it.
The highlights of the set were tracks as: Dream on, Gone too Far and the most awaited Lift U up and Anytime Anywhere enclosing the set.
Click here for Chapter 3.
COMING UP NEXT: CHAPTER 3 –TAKE A BREAK: YOU’RE IN THE BEAUTIFUL TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS – DAY 3
SPECIAL THANKS: Allison Painchaud (The Ultimate Metal Cruises)
Jan Rosenberg & Björn von Oettingen (CMM Marketing)