8th September 2022
Blind Guardian “Somewhere Far Beyond - 30th Anniversary - Live”
BLIND GUARDIAN are a Power / Speed Metal band from Germany. The band intended to tour in 2021 celebrating the 30th anniversary of their legendary album ‘Somewhere Far Beyond’ but had to postpone the shows twice due to the pandemic situation. On September 2nd 2022 the band released their new album ‘The God Machine’ via Nuclear Blast, but decided to stick to the original plan of touring with ‘Somewhere Far Beyond’, an album full of fan favorite tracks, before going on tour to promote their latest release, that was already highly acclaimed by the media. https://www.blind-guardian.com/
Music & Performance
When I arrived at BACKSTAGE in Munich, the venue was already packed and many stood patiently in line waiting at the entrance. The air was already hot and stale, but for safety reasons, drinks were only handed out in plastic cups tonight, so the photographer had to wait until after the photo time to get a drink and tonight promised to become one that required lots of water or other drinks as the WERK already felt like a sauna an hour before the gig was scheduled to start. “Like in the good old times” I thought and made my way to the media pit.
The band had brought a white curtain, quite unusual for a Metal band, but around 8 p.m. a video was screened on the curtain and the fans cheered so loud that you could hardly hear the music. The video material was shot around 30 years ago when ‘Somewhere Far Beyond’ was released and the band started touring with the album. It was a great idea to show these clips from the band’s early days and when the curtain fell, all hell broke loose. Crew members folded the curtains and removed them from the media pit and then it was time for the photographers to enter the “sauna pit” and do their best to catch up with the energetic band that stood on a quite hazy stage.
The setlist of course contained the material from ‘Somewhere Far Beyond’ and so the show started with ‘Time What Is Time’ and Hansi did his best to drive the crowd even wilder, just to ask them after a few songs “Are you breathing the same air?” indicating that it was pretty hot and the that the air was stale, both resulting from the fact, that the WERK was packed to the roof now. Telling us, that Munich is a beautiful city and that the beergardens are even better, Hansi immediately brough the Munich crowd on his side, although he told us that those who might have seen the band drinking in a beergarden yesterday, must have been drunk. When the first tunes of ‘The bard’s song…’ became audible there was pure excitement in the fans eyes and the band obviously enjoyed what they saw down in the pit and up on the ranks. The musicians had no other choice than drinking endless amounts of water and soak towel after towel delivering a killer performance in Munich tonight.
A few songs later, when Hansi talked to the audience, a fan in the front row suddelny started singing “Happy Birthday” as it was Marcus Siepen’s birthday tonight. Hansi seemed to be pretty surprised that things got out of hand, because a few moments later, he admitted, that he had planned this for later tonight but the band was obviously pleased, that their dedicated fans knew about Marcus’ birthday tonight. The band continued firing fan favourite after fan favourite at the Munich pit and I think most fans were relieved, that there were not only songs from ‘Somewhere Far Beyond’ but some songs the band released on other albums, but that are more or less a must on the setlist. But BLIND GUARDIAN would not be BLIND GUARDIAN if they had not an ace up their sleeves.
Hansi announced that they knew, that this tour was called “Somewhere Far Beyond - 30th anniversary”, but that they also released a new album called ‘The Godmachine’ a few days ago and they would like to play at least one song from it and that they would be going on tour with ‘The Godmachine’ next year. This announcement got the band an enormous cheer and many in the crowd already knew the lyrics of ‘Violent Shadows’ by heart. I must admit that Johan van Stratum who took over bass duties in summer 2021 was a great addition to the live lineup, he gives the songs the right amount of speed and heaviness and also knows, how to stir the fans in the pit and on the ranks. Way to soon, it was time for ‘And the Story Ends’ and BLIND GUARDIAN left the stage under a big applause. Immediately the fans started demanding the encore.
Frederik Ehmke came back to take a seat behind his drums first, then a Metal band that was all smiles followed suit. The encore opened with ‘Sacred Words’ and of course we saw those amazing guitar blasts by Marcus and André, as soon as the song had ended, an enormous tension build up, fans had their hands in the air, applauding. It took a moment until Hansi could address the audience, telling them “Ich mach’s kurz, ihr seid die absolut geilsten, da gibt’s gar keine Frage!”, the pit broke into a loud cheer and Hansi shouted “Let’s knock on the gates of…” leaving the audience to answer “Valhalla!” followed by Marcus and André blasting the songs famous heavy riffing through the venue.
I’m not sure, who was louder the band or the audience, but I think together we tickled the soundlevel-meter a bit. The ‘Valhalla’ party in the pit and on the ranks took some eight minutes and I’m sure everybody was soaked in sweat by this time. BLIND GUARDIAN showed no mercy on us and I’m sure nobody wanted mercy, but music. ‘Mirror Mirror’ was the last song for tonight, before the band came to edge of stage to give setlist, picks and drumsticks to the fans. Frederik even had brought a signed drumhead and let it sail over the crowd. After the traditional picture of the band and the crowd the band left the stage under loud applause and cheering by the fans.
A fantastic evening with a flawless show ended now and the sound and light tech ended is heavy workout behind the switchboards. I’ve seen many shows over the years, but never a tech that was so deeply into the show as the musicians on stage. Another BLND GUARDIAN show? I’m down for it. The band continues touring this month and not all shows are sold out, yet. Make sure that you grab a ticket or you will miss a night to remember.
01. Time What Is Time
02. Journey Through the Dark
03. Black Chamber
04. Theatre of Pain
05. The Quest for Tanelorn
06. Ashes to Ashes
07. The Bard’s Song - In the Forest
08. The Bard’s Song - The Hobbit
09. The Piper’s Calling
10. Somewhere Far Beyond
11. Lord of the Rings
13. Banish From Sanctuary
14. Violent Shadows
15. Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)
16. And the Story Ends
17. Sacred Worlds
09. Mirror Mirror
Total: 9.5 / 10
All Pictures by Munich Vampire