30.04.2002 D’dorf Phillipshalle

It was fascinating to see the queue growing fasteven if the parking lot wasn’t quiet packed. A few fans who arrived early at Düsseldorf’s Philipshalle started a kind of B-B-Q in front of the first row of cars. The crowd started pretty early to shout for Blind Guardian which had no effect. The doors opened about 30 min. earlier and through it the ones with exchange tickets had to wait for the exchange while the ticket holders conquered the venue by storm. The die-hard fans rushed to get their place in front row and didn’t cared about everything which or who was in their way. I prefered the security of the sound- and light boards even if I couldn’t see well, but it was healthier for me… The rushing crowd reminds me of a herd of buffalos….

Freedom Call started their musical attack on the audience at Düsseldorf with We Are One which was more welcome then the storm of the buffalos! The crowd was shouting Freedom Call and so the five-piece played it. In my opinion much better then on their last tour when they opened up for Hammerfall. At least Shine On which was their 3rd track tonight enchanted the fans. The release of their new album is in sight and so Freedom Call played two new tracks of the coming album Eternity. The new songs Warrior and Land Of Light gave high expectations for Eternity. The band is on their way to the top even if this didn’t let me expect their masterpiece. To create a masterpiece takes time and so I have high hopes that the sympathetic quintet will improve their stage acting. Perhaps the line-up change had a temporary negative effect on their stage performance, but with former Symphorce guitarist Cedric Dupont they haven’t a nobody recruited. I’m sure that the future is bright for them. Tonight they finished their set with Hymn To The Brave, but I guess that many metalheads would have welcome a few more songs from Freedom Call. Due to the limited time singer / guitarist Chris Bay didn’t wasted time with long introductions, instead they decide to play one more track which was welcome by the fans. And so the crowd wasn’t upset about the technical problems they had, today bassist Ilker Ersin had to battle the technical difficulties.

After a short break the first notes of the intro War Of Wrath made the fans aware of the beginn of tonight’s event. The set was opened with Into The Storm by Blind Guardian who are like Gods for their fans. The stage set was calming and offered a pleasant blackground for the four guardians and their side-kicks. The background was build by several breadths, all white and transparent, crossing each other. The light tech laid sparkles of light on it, later projected a bow of a window or a gateway on the sheets followed by the sign of the dragon later on. The light engineer coloured the breadths and with the stage floaded with smoke it looked more like an experimental dance performance than a metal concert. But the crowd liked it…

After the second track fronter Hansi Kürsch welcomed the fans. “Thank you to the hundred fans who came and are no relatives or friends of ours!” to quote the singer and mainman. Than songs like Lost In The Twilight Hall, Mordred, Nightfall, Harvest Of Sorrow, Traveller In Time and The Soulforge followed all introduced by Mr. Kürsch in the tradition of role playing games. He told short stories surrounding the song title and prepared the audience in a imaginery way for the ones to come. Highlights of  tonight were Valhalla and The Bard’s Song. The crowd went crazy and the guys & girls from the German Red Cross had a lot to do. Many fans were totally exhausted and the first-aid (wo)man had to pull out the nearly collepsing from the first rows. Thanks to the ones fro the Red Cross for caring!

After The Bard’s Song the scenery at Philipshalle was amazing! Everybody of the 6,000 to 7,000 fans was clapping hands, stamping feet and singing along and giving standing ovations which was magic! The magic of the moment was the topic of tonight in front of the venue as well as backstage after the show. It was an amazing feeling to stand in the middle of the crowd during this happening. It was obvious that even the Guardians were stunned by the reactions of the audience. After the show Thomen said “It was amazing! I just hoped to keep playing, otherwise I would have fled stage!” Luckily he stayed, coz without him songs wouldn’t sound the way they should. Journey Through The Dark was just played because of the standing ovations! But also songs like Imaginations From The Other Side or  Mirror Mirror effected the people.

Finally I have to mention that the Düsseldorf show as well as the Stuttgart show were recorded for a live DVD and I hope that the cameras and recording equipment could ban the atmosphere and magic… Or even enough to give a clue about what you missed or to refresh your rememberance if you were part of it.

Nadja Meyer

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