A Concert for the Ages
In my formative years of experiencing the side of European metal, Blind Guardian was one of my earliest discoveries. In my days of the chatrooms, Blind Guardian was described as “Power metal, but for men” and also as the only power metal band that many of them liked. Of course, my distinction between power metal and hair metal was limited at the time and I came in with a decidedly close-minded approach. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were an incredible band.
Cracked.com has a rather detailed article about all of the various literary references that Blind Guardian employs. I am far too lazy to find it and a simple Google search didn’t yield the results I was hoping for on the first page. Suffice to say, though, it does exist, and if you ever come across it, you should read it. They have done songs about the Iliad, the Tommyknocker, It, the Wheel of Time series, A Song of Ice and Fire series, and, of course, The Lord of the Rings.
In 2010, I witnessed their live performance for the very first time. It was amazing. We convinced Hansi and the band to play And Then There Was Silence (which turned into a 20-minute version) instead of Majesty. I saw them on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise last year for two sets and that was pretty amazing as well.
Despite seeing their performance on the top deck of a cruise ship, this performance that I saw on November 11, 2015 was simply sublime. This beats even the two times I saw Wintersun. They played for two hours and had a double encore. Songs were played from all over their catalog, though Nightfall in Middle Earth (1998) was the album that was given the most love live.
The Ninth Wave opened the set and we got to see Hansi using harsher vocals than we were previously accustomed to. This was a very powerful song to open with. Banish From Sanctuary followed and we were treated to Nightfall, Prophecies, Fly, Tanelorn, Lord of the Rings, Time Stands Still on the Iron Hill, The Last Candle, I’m Alive, and Twilight of the Gods (featured two weeks ago).
Valhalla (which also shares a name with another Bathory song) was the last song in the first part of the set and they came back with Wheel of Time. I was wearing my Wheel of Time shirt so I was totally stoked about them playing this song. They left again and came back with War of Wrath and Into the Storm and finally finished up with Imaginations from the Other Side and The Bard’s Song.
If you ever get the opportunity to see Blind Guardian, you definitely should.