Entering the hall, I walked right up to the stage, only the front row was already taken, and there I met Yuki, the Japanese Manowar fan from Earthshaker. It was great to see her again and amazing that she had made the trip all the way to Aarhus for this concert.
A couple of extremely drunk guys were hanging around the front (To compensate for me? I don't know). One guy had gotten the front row, but he completely failed to understand the importance of this fact, as he proceeded to fall asleep and hang over the barrier until a guard came by and woke him up. The guard told him to stay awake or he would get thrown out because, as he said, "You don't fucking sleep in the front row at this concert". So the guy got a warning, but it didn't help much. Soon he was hanging over the railing again. You can actually see this in some of the photos from the show, which Manowar posted on their Facebook page. Later on in the show, I apparently managed to wake him up, and not with any good results, but I will get back to that later.
Another guy was stumbling around the front as well, almost falling over his own legs several times, moaning all the while, and then suddenly, in moments of clarity, loudly shouted "MANOWAAAAR!!! Brrooooaaarrr!" and then went back to swaying alarmingly back and forth. Just before the show started, he fell asleep standing, slowly falling forward and laying his head on the back of a girl in front row. I found this inherently funny and was thoroughly entertained while waiting for the show to begin. As the show started I never saw that guy again.
Finally the lights went down and Orson Welles introduced the band as is custom.
Manowar opened the show in a both bombastic and hectic way. It was immediately clear that the band was back in great shape. They were tight, powerful and looked like they enjoyed themselves immensely throughout the show. Whatever doubts I had were quickly blown away by a convincing performance and it was clear right from the start that Manowar were not holding back in any way. They may have gotten older, but they still deliver the most convincing live show possible.
Any sickness was soon forgotten, as I proceeded to sing along, jump high in the air and raise both hands high in affection for a band that showcases the pure joy of playing live. The sound was perfect this night, loud, clear and extremely well balanced.
The stage had been decorated as a sort of temple on several levels and the design had incorporated several huge video screens, showing various imagery throughout the show. I can't say I noticed them much, since I was completely focused on the band throughout the show, singing along or playing air guitar.
Scandinavian Center was what I would call an intimate venue for Manowar. With somewhere just north of 3.500 people, the place was pretty packed, but it was still the smallest venue, I had seen the band play at. This was a good thing.
As Manowar died down, I was excited for what would come next as I had no idea of what the setlist was going to be. It was slightly disappointing then, to hear that Die For Metal had made it to the setlist, since I count this song as one of the most boring songs the band has created, but it was nonetheless up next, and at least I made a valiant effort to rock along, even if I didn't feel it. While I find this song inferior, it was clear that a major part of the audience did not, as people all around me shouted along and were totally into it. My one thought at this point was "great, now this is at least out of the way", and amazingly the rest of the set list was simply a long tour de force of great songs, right up my alley.
Call To Arms brought me back to life big time, as my singing voice opened up and roared mightily into the backs of those in front of me, making them turn around and nod approvingly. All sickness and remaining phlegm was vaporized, as I proceeded to go nuts to the song, jumping and singing along and I soon felt much better. People were pretty wild in the front, just as it should be, and at one point I met the eyes of Soren from Copenhagen, who was standing behind me, just as I sang "I can see by the look that you have in your eyes, you came here for metal...." and that might just be the best timed moment of the evening. A great connection, right there.
Even though I was completely sober throughout the concert and should be able to remember every minute detail that happened, the show is still a blur, probably because I proceeded to go nuts in pure enjoyment, as I was just too into the music and overall experience.
A personal live favorite came next with The Sons Of Odin. I love the groove of this song and live, the band just nailed it, capturing the power and glory of the song perfectly. Eric looked really happy to be performing and he was clearly impressed by the audience participation. He even stopped singing at one point, laughed out loud and said "You guys are SO loud"! Kings of Metal proved that beyond any doubt and we had a great party down the front.
After Kings of Metal, a tribute segment was performed with the video screen showing images of fallen brothers, honoring those who had died in recent years. This was shown to the notes of Heart Of Steel and the segment was made more poignant by Karl Logan, who walked to the front of the stage and played a spellbinding, beautiful guitar solo. This part of the show was really moving and felt just so right.
After this, Joey came on stage and played a short bass solo, while interacting with the audience.
By now the drunk guy had moved away from the front row and a couple of minutes later his girlfriend disappeared as well. I grabbed the opportunity and got myself a front row spot. The timing couldn't have been better, as the introduction to King Of Kings began playing. This song was brilliant to hear live and I went absolutely bananas with singing and headbanging in my newfound spot. It was great to be so close to the stage and I also mananged to wave and sing to Yuki, who was located about five people to the left of me.
During King Of Kings, the drunk guy came back and secured himself the front row spot to the left of me. Eric Adams sang the slow parts of the song with great control and emotion and the fast parts were a blur for me because of my manic jumping, singing and headbanging, showering the stage with pure joy.
Hand of Doom was next and everyone were still happily singing along.
During Hand of Doom, things started to go awry in the front row, as I was tapped on the shoulder by the guy behind me, who asked with a pleading look if he could please get my spot in the front row, just for a minute... I said okay and let him get in front of me, just as the band started on The Lord of Steel. The guy happily enjoyed his front row spot and let me back in place during the song, but this was apparantly too much for the drunk guy, who began pushing like crazy. He clearly didn't think that it was okay to switch places like that. First, he started throwing himself, head first onto me and one of the guards quickly came by and told him to stop. Then he began using his elbows instead and the guard came by again. Another warning. Then he started making sure he took up as much space as possible, standing with his legs spread wide apart, trying to wriggle in front of me.
I didn't really let myself be bothered by him and proceeded to hump and play air guitar on his leg and enjoyed the concert until he went nuts and started shouting incoherently in my face, looking really mad. The guard came over again and gave him another warning. The sixth so far, but the guards clearly did not want to do anything about it. This guy was just so annoying and was starting to ruin my enjoyment of the concert, as my focus was shifting and I felt like he would explode at any time, so I decided to leave him to it and I moved back about eight rows, where I found some real fans, who were clearly there to actually enjoy the concert. From here, I enjoyed the rest of the show with like minded people and it was actually interesting to experience the show from three different points of view. That said, nothing beats the first row at a Manowar concert.
This is a picture from the show after I moved back in the crowd and you can clearly see the guy hanging over the railing, looking down, as if he has fallen asleep again. What a waste.
During this time consuming travesty, the band had finished The Lord Of Steel and were in the middle of House of Death as I moved backwards.
Throughout the show, Eric Adams held himself with great dignity. When I looked in his eyes, it was clear that he was using all his strength to hit these notes. His eyes looked strained but none of that showed in his voice, which rang loud and clear across the hall. His voice still holds immense power.
A personal favorite came with The Dawn of Battle. Eric was down on his knees for the slow middle part but aside from that, the song was another powerful showcase. Hail and Kill was another superb live song and the audience sang loudly along for the acoustic opening part. As the song exploded the hall went mad with jumping and it was great to have the space to play some crazy air guitar.
After this the band said goodnight and went off stage for a whort while.
It didn't take long before Joey was back and gave an impassioned speech about this being their first time in Aarhus. Clearly he was pleasantly surprised by the experience. He even managed to pronounce Aarhus nicely. He gave a speech about the Manowar soul and how the band would always keep the flame burning for heavy metal and their way of life. He ended up downing a beer, Joey style and then the band went into Warriors of the World. By now the concert had taken its toll on my health. My mouth was dry as sand from all the singing and it felt as if my lips had gotten another layer of skin. I just had to get a coke from the bar and enjoyed Warriors along with the final song of the evening, Black Wind, Fire and Steel from the back of the hall, completely drenched in sweat, and happy to have witnessed a really great show.
After the show had ended, I made my goodbyes with Yuki and Soren before driving home to get ready for a working day the morning after. However, I couldn't sleep. The concert experience was still fresh and my brain was clearly not ready to settle down yet. This was a great evening.
Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, February 4, 2016