BLAZE BAYLEY / Luke Appleton
Date: 19th May, 2018
Venue: Sofiehof Underjord
Tickets: 180SEK (€16/$18)
Promoter: Klubb Dissonance
Photos: Erika Wallberg
I have to admit it felt a little odd to swish money to a private number for the tickets to this show. But it worked out and I guess inventive ways of handling pre-sales tickets will be more common among independent promoters of small shows. To skip the show because of this was of course not in question. It’s always great to see BLAZE BAYLEY performing, it’s always intense, intimate and sweaty.
But first it wasn’t as intense as Luke Appleton took on the stage with an acoustic guitar only. The multi-talent who currently plays bass in ICED EARTH and guitar in ABSOLVA have yet another initiative to push. I’ve seen quite some one-man band shows lately and they create a cool contrast to most amped shows. Luke has, at least with his own material a bit to go. The songs are good but the dynamics in his playing can be improved. It became a difference when picking up “Melancholy (Holy Martyr)”, the very melodic ICED EARTH song. This one gave a completely ICED EARTH different life to it when compared to the rest. And I must say I was very impressed by Luke’s vocal abilities. ICED EARTH has always had consistently fantastic vocalists throughout the years. And especially for this one, the expression from Matt Barlow is phenomenal. Luke did the song justice. The same can be said about the second ICED EARTH song featured in the set too, “Watching Over Me”. Another top song from the band and this one got especially good response.
So Luke Appleton’s solo set worked fine as a warm-up, it is fun with something different and this acoustic set served its purpose.
(click to enlarge)
The energy-level was about to rise a couple of 100 percent when BLAZE BAYLEY hit the stage. The shows are normally intense but since there was virtually no distance between the band and crowd the intimacy got crazy on occasion. Neither Blaze himself nor Chris Appleton are afraid to step out on the edge of the stage which in this case mean, right in the faces of the first row in the crowd. It was more than once I had to dodge the guitar. But it is fun and BLAZE BAYLEY deserves the response they got here.
Opening “Redeemer” sat a high standard immediately and the frenzy from the crowd didn’t wait. But it was nothing for this opener compared to “Futureal”, the first IRON MAIDEN track in the set. The whole place was boiling, from more than one perspective. It had gotten hot at the Sofiehof Underjord at this point but also the response from the crowd was fantastic. I think everyone in the room was singing along to this one, including Blaze who directed his full force straight in my face. At this point I really missed the fish-eye lens as there’s no chance to get anything good when the object is less than 10 cm’s away... Yes, I said it was an intimate show and I wasn’t the only one getting treatments like this during the show.
This is what I like about smaller shows though; the connection with the band and musicians on stage and in most cases it is the real fans of the band that shows up. That was the case here and it showed throughout the set.
“Futureal” set it all on fire and it kept burning to the end. Since the BLAZE and BLAZE BAYLEY catalogue is growing rather big there is a great deal of fantastic tracks to pick the set from. “Silicon Messiah”, title track from the first BLAZE release has been a favourite from start and it sure was massive here with everyone singing along. As much as I love the BLAZE songs I still think that the massive work put in to the most recent BLAZE BAYLEY trilogy “Infinite Entanglement” really shows. The songs stand on their own which worked fine for this show. But I wouldn’t mind Blaze doing the whole story as he did at ‘Huskvarna Metal Festival’ some years ago. With this, the last few tracks before the final ramp-up to towards the end came in great. “Human”, “Calling You Home” and “Endure And Survive” are three fantastic songs on record but they’re even better live.
Then enter Luke Appleton on guitar for the IRON MAIDEN songs “Angel And The Gambler” and “Man On The Edge”. I started wondering why he wasn’t in on the whole set. Chris can of course manage the guitar duties on his own but his addition took things up yet another notch. It’s always fatter with double guitars and did these songs well. Luke remained on stage until the end of the set including “A Thousand Years” which ended the main set as well as “Infinite Entanglement” and “Dark Energy 256” which marked the encores.
This was a great set from BLAZE BAYLEY and it was great to see him getting this kind of response. Ok, it normally is good but it was quite some time since I saw him (apart from the acoustic tour) and I’ve forgotten a bit how intense the shows are. So this was a fantastic night out, the three hour drive home felt like nothing. It was definitely worth the effort.
BLAZE BAYLEY setlist:
02. “Are You Here”
03. “Futureal” (IRON MAIDEN song)
04. “The First True Sign”
05. “Silicon Messiah” (BLAZE song)
06. “Dawn Of The Dead Son”
07. “Escape Velocity”
08. “Fight Back”
09. “Prayers of Light”
10. “Virus” (IRON MAIDEN song)
12. “Immortal One”
14. “Calling You Home”
15. “Endure And Survive”
16. “The Angel And The Gambler” (IRON MAIDEN song)
17. “Man On The Edge” (IRON MAIDEN song)
18. “A Thousand Years”
19. “Infinite Entanglement”
20. “Dark Energy 256”
(click to enlarge)