Concert Review – Helloween (The Opera House,Toronto, ON, 09/28/2013)

Helloween teaches a lesson in Power Metal at a venue too small for the importance of the band in the world of music.

OPENING ACTS: Battlesoul and Coldsteel

When I arrived at the Opera House, the band Battlesoul was already playing for a while, but from what I could see they did not inspire me to go after their songs when I got home. It’s just plain Folk Metal with nothing new added to their music, and the fact they were wearing kilts on stage didn’t help at all. Maybe in the future they can generate something more interesting, or at least improve their vocals because that was really annoying.

Then came Coldsteel with their Thrash Metal similar to what Anthrax used to do in the 80’s, which seems to be a pretty cool idea, but when the band hits the stage it’s not that cool. I didn’t know the band was created back in 1986 and that they got back to life in 2012 after a 20-year hiatus, but anyway they sounded like an amateur band to me. It was almost impossible to hear what the singer was saying between songs, and even worse to understand the lyrics due to the quality of the sound and music. The band had a lot of energy on stage, though, and as their setlist was not too long I didn’t feel bothered at all with their concert.

HELLOWEEN

IMG_0934Honestly, I’ll never understand why Helloween is so underrated in North America. They are so big in Brazil, Europe and Japan, that was hard for me to believe they were playing in such a small venue as the Opera House for less than 800 people. The band that invented Power/Melodic Metal should be playing for over 5,000 people in Canada and the USA, just like it happens in the rest of the world, but it seems North America is more into Thrash and Death Metal, and that no one here really cares about non-American bands.

However, one excellent thing about that is the fact that I had never been able to be so close to the band as during the Toronto gig. I’ve seen Helloween many times in Brazil and one in Russia, but always in huge sold-out venues with at least 3,000 people smashing each other to get closer to the stage. Being able to see in details every riff and solo from Michael Weikath, one of the best Power Metal guitarists of all time, and all the technique from Markus Grosskopf with his bass guitar, was totally awesome!

IMG_0925But the most important member of the band nowadays is Andi Deris. He’s been with Helloween for 20 years now, he’s an awesome frontman, he makes the fans go crazy, and although many “old school” fans keep complaining about his voice and that Michael Kiske should return to the band and blah blah blah, Andi has recorded so many amazing albums (Master of the Rings, The Time of the Oath, The Dark Ride, 7 Sinners and their most recent album, Straight Out of Hell) that I wouldn’t mind at all going to see Helloween playing only songs from the Deris-era. Besides, who wants to listen to anything from the horrible Pink Bubbles Go Ape or Chameleon live?

Back to the concert, the setlist was amazing and the crowd was insane! I’ve never seen so many mosh pits at a Helloween concert. In fact, I’ve NEVER seen ANY mosh pits at a Helloween concert! I guess that happened for a few reasons: as it was a small venue, there were only true Helloween fans there celebrating the band together; when huge bands play at smaller venues, they feel so happy to be back to their origins that they play faster, louder and heavier; North American headbangers love mosh pits more than they love their families; and besides two (beautiful) ballads, Helloween played only the most pure and fast Power Metal music a fan can ask for.

The entire concert was unforgettable, except for that useless drum solo that could have been substituted by another song like Burning Sun (which they’re also playing in some of their concerts instead of Steel Tormentor), and if I need to pick a few songs as the highlights of the night I would say Straight Out of Hell, Waiting for the Thunder and Live Now!, where Andi made that “stupid game” of left and right work even with less than a thousand people there. You sing Live Now! And you… shut the FUCK up!”

IMG_0936Of course people went crazy with classics such as Eagle Fly Free and I’m Alive, but the fact that the best songs of the night were brand new ones just proved Helloween is still very relevant not only to heavy music, but to everybody that enjoys GOOD music. and I really hope next time they come to Toronto they play at a better venue, even if that means I won’t be able to stay so close to my Power Metal heroes and get one of their guitar picks again.

Setlist
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) (AC/DC tape)
Walls of Jericho (tape/intro)
Eagle Fly Free
Nabataea
Straight Out of Hell
Where the Sinners Go
Waiting for the Thunder
Steel Tormentor
Drum Solo
I’m Alive
Live Now!
Hold Me in Your Arms
If I Could Fly
Hell Was Made in Heaven
Power

Encore:
Are You Metal?
Dr. Stein

Encore II:
Future World
I Want Out
A Tale That Wasn’t Right (tape/outro)

Band members
Andi Deris – lead vocals
Michael Weikath – lead & rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Markus Grosskopf – bass, backing vocals
Sascha Gerstner – lead & rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Daniel Löble – drums

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