With guests Taberah and Divine Ascension
The Hi Fi, Sydney
Saturday 20 June, 2015
As with a lot of power metal shows, there are unique moments where you feel like you could transcend the confines of reality and be transported to ancient worlds – worlds where the real and imagined are relived through song. Like a ballad evokes feelings of romance, the orchestral pieces and eloquent song narratives of power metal lead to feelings of strength, inclusion and determination. We live vicariously through the characters created by the artists and some of the best artists can be found in Blind Guardian.
Four years since their last visit, Blind Guardian returned to Sydney to perform to a sold-out crowd. Up first were Aussie power metal band Taberah. Complete with double denim, a bandana-laden lead singer and hair styles right out of the 80s, the band was warmly received. Musically, their style hides traces of rock-pop which made for a somewhat repetitive sound – some songs even sounded like copycats of old classics. But, not one to ever discourage the Australian metal scene, the band’s enthusiasm and the response they drew from an attentive audience was enough to say that they were an ideal opener.
Another Australian band, Divine Ascension, was up next. Fronted by a vivacious female vocalist, the band’s eclectic mix of melodic goth metal was entertaining but included unusual (and somewhat misplaced) keytar solos, power chord riffs and key changes. But, despite a myriad of technical issues marring their performance, the group were always professional and kept a consistent pace. Commendably, their enthusiasm never faulted and they demonstrated they did house some talented musicians.
And so Blind Guardian emerged, making an appropriate and familiar entrance to the sounds of an epic operatic track. Opening with the new song, The Ninth Wave, the crowd was already reaching a state of total jubilation.
Something to note about the German power metallers is their emphasis on the music alone. Blind Guardian perform with the absolute bare minimum – there are no pyrotechnics, special lighting effects or wall-to-wall decorations. Plain and simple, the show is about their craft and the energy their music exudes. Not many bands can replicate their work so flawlessly like Blind Guardian manage to do time and time again. Frontman Hansi Kürsch has a phenomenal vocal range that is regularly tested to the limit – vocally difficult songs such as Bright Eyes and Guardian of the Blind are a testament to the fact.
But despite the phenomenal energy from the band and music, a Blind Guardian show is unique in that it is also very much about the fans. There is a certain euphoria that envelopes you as your surroundings erupt in a chorus of singing and chanting. And there were many opportunities to do so. The crowd never ceased their participation, from roaring the lyrics to classics such as Banish from Sanctuary, Tanelorn (Into the Void) and Blood Tears, to continuing the songs long after they had finished. At one point the crowd continued to sing the ending verse of Valhalla accompanied only by the voices of their peers. The ultimate favourite is, of course, The Bard’s Song – In the Forest. This is a Blind Guardian staple that allows everyone their opportunity to participate. A ballad-of-sorts, Bard’s Song is a beautiful acoustic piece that encourages the most from an already passionate audience.
Having already exceeded their time limit, Blind Guardian only cared about making their “one big party” the best on offer. And that they achieved. Closing their show with Mirror Mirror, the band took the energy of their fans to its peak and concluded with an on-stage photograph, a group bow and a slow walk offstage to the echoing cheers of their fans. If they didn’t do it on their last trip, Blind Guardian have certainly cemented their legendary status in Australia and we welcome them back any time.
© Lilen Pautasso