Helloween @ Mojoe's, Joliet (US)

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HELLOWEEN / COLDSTEEL / ANCIENT DREAMS

Date: 30th September, 2013
Venue:
Mojoe's
Ticket:
$30 (€22) in advance / $34 (€25) day of show
Promoter: n/a


DimK: Apparently HELLOWEEN are still big in the US and I would not be the voice of disagreement since the last LPs (of course I am not counting “Unarmed”) are really good, paying the proper respect to the band’s past. So, Mojoes looked almost packed (ok, the upper section was closed) and I’d estimate about 600 hungry for German Power Metal faces present by the time ANCIENT DREAMS were closing up their set. METAL KAOZ missed this set and the reason was an already scheduled interview with Michael Weikath that will get soon online.

MariaV: The first band I watched that night was New York’s COLDSTEEL that is far for being a new kid on the block. You see, COLDSTEEL was conceived in the late 80s but got into a 10-years hiatus sometime during the 1992 (at least this is when their discographic steps faded away). Anyway, singer Troy Norr and lead guitarist Joe Shavel have reactivated the band, so it was interesting to see how the hiatus had treated their Thrash. As it usually happens in average in size stages, there was not enough room for the band to move, so it was up to Troy to do all the work and get the young on age crowd moving. The setlist included songs from the recently released EP and I think “Blink Of An Eye” had the biggest impact due to the groovy rhythm section, although it sounded too modern for my taste.

“It’s time to go back to 1987 with a song inspired from the “Evil Dead” movie” said Troy as a short preamble for “Dead By Dawn” that sounded way better from the younger tracks. In other words, old-school seems to work always better and feel free to blame the fast riffs and the hard-hitting drum-work (that sweet trademark snare-action) that got many metalheads moving in moshing-mode. The COLDSTEEL set ended with “Crackdown”, another oldie that according to the band’s frontman “was written in the heart of New York”. This one sounded like the early ANTHRAX with a bunch of nice riffs, headbanging rhythm and shouting backing-singing. COLDSTEEL did well, but once again I have to argue with the ones who are putting together such billings, since it was difficult to appeal to the young HELLOWEEN fans with such old-school stuff.

COLDSTEEL

Coldsteel @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Coldsteel @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Coldsteel @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Coldsteel @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Coldsteel @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


DimK: The anticipation had gotten quite high as the stage-crew was putting the finishing touches onstage, something that confirmed that HELLOWEEN are on a rising course, even if many think their Metal has become too happy or too modern. Anyway, there is no subject for all the metalheads to agree on that, so let’s stick to the facts. So, the lights went out and following an unofficial tradition, AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” was the first thing we heard from the HELLOWEEN PA system. I always get goosebumps listening to the “Walls Of Jericho” intro and this is most probably to a burning desire to hear “Ride The Sky” as the setlist opener. I guess this will never happen, so “Eagle Fly Free” was the real deal here. The fact that I was in the photo-pit might have to do something with my impression that the sound was overwhelmed by the drums, so I did not get my chance to enjoy the extremely catchy chorus lines and that was a shame, since Andi Deris has a great voice. Well, it seems that the long-lasting tour has taken its toll, because to my eyes, Andi looked exhausted. Still, he did justice to “Nabataea” and as the setlist progressed, his vocal chords were getting better. By the way, I don’t believe the ecstatic fans shared the same thoughts with me, because everyone was singing, fist pumping and headbanging, or in plain words having absolutely a great time (and that is what matters the most). The band was more than eager to follow the audience’s flow, so it didn’t take much time for Markus Grosskopf and Andi Deris to tease each other keeping the mood in high levels, while Sascha Gerstner share the lead guitar time with Michael Weikath wearing a huge smile during the entire time. On the other hand, Michael seemed to be a little disconnected, staying on stage left almost during the entire setlist.

The sound issues (or at least what I thought as issues) seemed to have been resolved, so the groovy “Where The Sinners Go” (love the opening guitar lead) and the “Dark Ride”-esque and dead-catchy “Waiting For The Thunder” were great. “Now we will go back to the late 90s with a song from an album with a witch and a cauldron with a pumpkin” said Andi introducing the amazing “Falling Higher” and it’s funny to admit that I am still considering this album a new one... As strange as it may sound, I am still thinking of Andi as the new singer, even if he has done a lot with this band, and in fact, HELLOWEEN would not be in this position if it wasn’t his hard work. After this one, the band left the stage leaving Dani Löble to step in the spotlight with a drum solo that came out really interesting with the clever use of samples and pretty good lights, although I think this came too early on the setlist, confirming the fatigue I sensed, especially on Deris’ shoulders.

The good thing with the drum solo was that the soundguy had the chance to fix the unbalance sound, so the a-m-a-z-i-n-g “I Am Alive” came fantastic, despite the fact that I consider this one still being under the Kiske shadow... I know this is unfair to Andi so let’s move on... “Live Now!” came better than the studio version and I think the Talk Box effect was responsible for this by enhancing the guitars and the nice and trademark HELLOWEEN groove. Andi worked the audience in this one playing the right vs left side game and honestly the response of the metalheads was simply fantastic, giving an extra ‘oomph’ to the band. Even if Michael hates this album, “If I Could Fly” was great as always and the fast and riff driven “Power” dropped the curtain - at least for the first time that night. As I said, everyone inside Mojoes was really into the show, so the loud cheers and occasional chanting brought the band back with the questionable “Are You Metal?” and the characteristic of the happy HELLOWEEN era “Dr Stein”. At last, Michael starting interacting with the rest of the band members, so the stage looked more balanced.

It does not require to have a PhD to guess the setlist closers; yeah, “Future World” and “I Want Out” climaxed the show and fortunately for me were not extended with the long sing-along. I don’t know what you think, but I hate to have playing with the audience during an encore, because this is the time to give your last drop of energy, so you want to make it count.

As I said, HELLOWEEN are doing great and as it seems have cracked the tough shell of the US market, so they deserve additional credit for this. It would be great to have GAMMA RAY on the same billing like it happened in the Euro shows, but I am sure we will get another chance.

HELLOWEEN setlist:

01. “Eagle Fly Free”
02. “Nabataea”
03. “Straight Out Of Hell”
04. “Where The Sinners Go”
05. “Waiting For The Thunder”
06. “Falling Higher”
07. Drum Solo
08. “I'm Alive”
09. “Live Now!”
10. “Hold Me In Your Arms”
11. “If I Could Fly”
12. “Hell Was Made In Heaven”
13. “Power
14. “Are You Metal?
15. “Dr. Stein
16. “Future World
17. “I Want Out

HELLOWEEN

Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Helloween @ Mojoe's (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)

Date: 10th June, 2012
Venue:
Mayne Stage
Ticket: $23 (€18)