|Manowar were making a tour of Germany, bringing Rhapsody of Fire and HolyHell with them. I knew I couldn't miss this opportunity so I decided to head to Germany to see three shows. Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg.
I jumped on the nighttrain to Munich on Thursday evening and arrived the next morning, sprawled across three train seats. Waking up, freezing, in my Manowar t-shirt I looked out the window and was greeted by a snow covered landscape. Without any warm clothes, I decided right there that I would be headed for the nearest bar as soon as I arrived. The time was 6:22 am.
Walking through the cold streets of Munich people were celebrating the release of the Playstation 3, holding their newly purchased boxes high in the air and taking pictures is various poses. Not quite on the same level as us Manowar fanatics, but still pretty high on the geek-o-meter. I finally found a bar that was open, ordered the hot Noodle soup (mmm noodle soup!) and some Bavarian beer goodness. Later in the day I hooked up with Eric, a mental Savatage fan who I had met at the Earthshaker festival a couple of years ago. He was a most excellent host for my stay in Munich.
Due to a scnitzel incident we arrived at the venue after HolyHell had finished their set and Rhapsody was just about to go on. The security people were very understanding and I was led down to the other photographers who were already in position. I got the pictures of Rhapsody and after the first 3 songs all the photographers were led out again and taken back to the entrance area. I wanted to go back to see the concert so I could write this review, but it turned out that photographers were not allowed to carry their cameras back into the hall. There were no security boxes or anything to store the camera in, so I felt rather stuck. In the end I managed to get a nice security guy convinced to hold my rather expensive equipment while I ran back and forth from the venue.
For the Manowar show we were allowed to take pictures of the first song of the set and the last song of the set, so you can imagine my impression of the concerts is not complete this night since I missed several parts because of running back and forth and waiting outside the hall. I quickly decided to use the Munich show to get as many good pictures as possible and hope they were good enough for the whole report, and then leave all my equipment in a locker at the train station for the other shows so I could be in the crowd to get all the details.
For this reason, as well as the setlists being the same for every band every night my full review is based on the Frankfurt shows. Differences I noticed between the shows will be mentioned.
Manowar's show in Munich completely blew me away and watching the last part from the photo pit was an experience in itself.
After the show we partied all night at the Abseits bar where they held a Metal night. Manowar and Savatage hymns among many other songs were enjoyed along with plenty of good German beer.
A good 4 hours of sleep before meeting Barbara for a nice breakfast (more schnitzels) and I was soon headed for Frankfurt. I walked into the big arena a little past six and managed to make my way to the front rows where I met my Achilles-singing Brother from the Earthshaker Festival, Benno(war)! I Hail You!
Frankfurt - The shows
HolyHell soon opened the evening and they proved to be a nice surprise. Rhino, the former Manowar drummer still commands his drum kit with skill and precision. Around him were very proficient musicians. Especially their shredding guitar god Joe Stump had an incredibly cool style. Whenever he moved in for a solo I was mesmerized. Besides their own songs the band played two covers. First the well known Phantom of the Opera and then Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force off his Odyssey album. An amazing moment came during Phantom of the Opera as suddenly a familiar voice filled the air and Eric Adams came walking out on the stage, smiling whilst singing. The audience erupted in cheers. The continuing duet was a special treat and both vocalists looked like they had a great time. A superb Rising Force cover continued and it was a showcase for each musician, with several keyboard and guitar solos. The keyboard player was wearing the "guitar-keyboard" for this song.
HolyHell's frontwoman, Maria Breon, is good looking and has a nice, but on occasion quite shrill, voice, she only needs a bit more stage presence to be completely convincing. She seemed a little more stiff and less at home compared to the other guys.
Their own songs Last Vision and Apocalypse ended my first HolyHell show. A band that left a very promising impression. It looked like they had a lot of fun and I was quite disappointed when I couldn't buy their new single after the show, but luckily I got it in Hamburg.
Phantom of the Opera - Duet with Eric Adams
Rising Force - Yngwie Malmsteen cover
Rhapsody was in great shape and they enjoyed themselves on the big stage. I have seen the band live several times now and they are slowly improving their stage show. One thing that doesn't quite work yet is the introduction by Christopher Lee, it is too long and ends up being slightly embarrassing.
Unholy Warcry is a great opener and it led into a major highlight, The Last Angel's Call! The keyboard melody in the beginning had been adapted to guitar and it worked perfectly live. The song came off powerful and I naturally couldn't help but sing along loudly to the rather inane but lovable lyrics.
The Village of Dwarves added a flutist and a dancing female dressed in white to the show. A nice song which definitely did not hit home with the power hungry Manowar fans. Land of Immortals however had the speed need to get the show back in gear again. Alex Holzwarth's drum solo became longer with each show. When Alex began the cymbal part of his drum solo Benno and I looked at each other. Was he doing an Achilles? No not quite. But he is an amazing drummer and managed to get the attention from the audience for what is usually a boring part of a live show.
Erian's mystical rhymes is a monster song to do live and a personal favourite. The band pulled it off with great skill, I just don't see the reason for leaving the narration at the end, especially when not followed by The Last Angel's Call. All was quickly forgiven when Fabio Lione delivered an incredible performance on Lamento Eroico. He is an exceptional vocalist and here his voice really came to life and left me in chills. The radio edit version of "The mystic prophecy of the Demon Knight", also known as A new saga begins was next, with flute, dancer and everything. Ending the show was the always enjoyable Dawn of Victory.
Encore was of course Emerald Sword, but the detail of the sound was unfortunately drowned by the massive drum sound.
Rhapsody had a hard time with the Manowar fans, who were chanting for Manowar or chanting Hail and Kill during the pauses between songs and even during some songs. I didn't think it was very respectful. One funny incident in Hamburg was when the two guys in front of me turned their backs on Rhapsody during their encore, standing with their backs to the stage to display their disgust with the band. I was standing right behind them and thus proceeded to sing loudly the entire lyric of Emerald Sword right in their faces while holding my fist in the air. It took only the first chorus before they were facing the stage again.
In Frankfurt the band had left the stage and as they came back for the encore people were chanting loudly for Manowar. In Hamburg, there was no pause for encore and the band went straight into Emerald Sword. In Hamburg the band also lacked a flutist, for unknown reasons and unfortunately was plagued by a quite bad sound.
I, for one enjoyed Rhapsody and their live show is improving.
Last angels call
Village of dwarves
Land of immortals
Erian's Mystical Rhymes (Including bass solo)
A new Saga Begins
Dawn of victory
Finally it was about time for Manowar. I had managed to get a place right at the centre of the stage in the second row along with Benno. The perfect way to enjoy the concert. The hall looked absolutely packed from my point of view. Looking up I saw the sitting areas in several stories filled with expectant fans. Benno and I sang a few Manowar hymns (Brothers of Metal and Carry On if you must know) just to warm up and soon the huge light rigs began moving down towards the stage. For a moment I thought they were going to crash into the stage but then the light dimmed and the well known introduction began playing. As always Manowar, the song, opened the show in a most energized way. The first thing that hit me was the perfect sound. It was loud but clear and incredibly powerful, with every instrument being audible and separated well. A truly potent and powerful sound was there for all three shows. The band was literally on fire this night. The mood was high and the band looked like they were having a blast. I noticed several smiles creeping across Joey's face during the concert and he did lots of crazy moves with his huge bass throughout the show. My favourite being the time he moved from one side of the stage to the other by jumping and turning around himself four times.
Karl Logan was playing his new and extremely cool looking guitar, which had a really meaty sound. Karl was exceptional throughout the show, but the true highlight was Eric Adams. He simply embodies everything a frontman should be. His voice was in amazing shape and he was interacting with the audience all through the show, urging us to sing along and participate.
The opening salute with Manowar and then Call to Arms made everyone around me go crazy. I wanted to go down on one knee, but it was simply impossible. Manowar ended with about 12.000 Signs of the Hammer. Through the whole concert there was a lot of pushing from behind, but I managed to stand my ground and of course sing loudly at the same time. I pretty much had my hands in the air through the whole concert since it was so packed there was no room for them anywhere else.
After Call to Arms Manowar took us with them, a long way back in time as the opening notes of Gloves of Metal opened the historic part of the show. Vicious headbanging ensued as the main rhythm struck us deep in the stomach and fists filled the air as this anthem rang loud from the stage. Karl did a fine job on the guitar solo. With no pause to catch my breath the superb melodic riff of Each Dawn I Die was played. Eric ensured that the very special feeling this song was transferred to the stage. A brilliant live song and a lot of fun to sing along to.
The surprises kept coming as what sounded suspiciously like the beginning to Holy War started pulsating from the stage. A roar of recognition filled the hall. Holy War was incredibly powerful live with the low voiced verses building unbearable tension for the explosive chorus where madness reigned in the front rows of the audience. The song also proved to be a great audience participation track as we all tried to drown out Eric in the verses.
An absolute highlight of the concert came next. As Joey began playing the opening chords of Mountains a very special feeling descended on the hall. I will never forget the way Eric's voice rang loud and clear across the hall that night. It is impossible to describe, but the essence of the song was captured and I felt myself being filled with strength and joy. People were standing with their arms held high, letting the song embrace them in all its glory. Eric sang the opening lines with as much conviction as I could have imagined possible. As Scott and Karl entered to sound at the "Tall as a mountain"-part it was as if everything had been turned up a notch. An incredible burst of power came from the stage at that moment, making for some extreme neck crunching. The otherworldly middle section defied description. In every way justice was brought to this masterpiece with Karl playing a magical solo section and providing the right detail to the sound throughout the song. This was one of those moments where emotions completely take over and afterwards you wonder what hit you. It was music at its most pure and heavenly.
After the emotional ride that was Mountains we got a couple of seconds to start breathing again, before The Oath suddenly exploded from the stage. Madness reigned again and it was at once obvious that this is one song that was meant to be played live. Its wild power was unleashed with fury and maximum riffage.
The hits just kept coming as my personal favorite from Into Glory ride, Secret of Steel brought an even wider smile to my face. The heaviness and very special charm of this song was again captured in an enchanting way.
Through this historic section Karl succeeded in adapting Ross The Boss' solos to his own style, in general keeping them as close to the originals as possible. Only the Secret of Steel solo struck me as a bit too cold. Besides this I felt the magic was kept intact throughout and that is one hell of a compliment.
For a few seconds the lights went down and Joey came walking back on the stage and did some crowd interaction with his bass before playing an impressive version of William's Tale. It was short and to the point. A little smile even crept in onto his face during this bass solo.
Joey walked out and came back again with the microphone. He did a short speech and mentioned all the different countries that were present there and made sure that we were ready to party. He asked if there was a guy there who was not afraid to come on stage and play guitar. Of course there was. This really happy guy comes on the stage, is handed a beer, toasts with Joey and ecstatically proceeds to pour his beer all over himself in a very funny moment.
A few girls got on the stage as well, among them the Dutch chick from the Earthshaker Miss Manowar contest who kisses Neil Intensely on the DVD, who I incidentally met at the train station (the girl, not Neil), but really can't remember the name of (Sorry!).
As soon as the guy got Karl's guitar he started playing a riff, but Joey soon stopped him to make sure he understood that if he did play guitar good then he could pound all three girls on stage after the show. The guy happily acknowledged that and went into the riff from Warriors of the world and had everyone sing along to the choir part. The guy really went mad with soloing and Joey came up to look at him, impressed. He was then taken to the centre of the stage as Joey guided him to do the beginning of The Gods made heavy Metal.
Thus began the Party era of the show.
Soon Eric and Karl back and The Gods made Heavy Metal turned out to be a huge party on stage. The girls went mad and the band went along with the fun.
Things started getting really crazy at the front during the threesome of Die for Metal, Kings of Metal and Warriors of the World. The guards were starting to pull exhausted people out of the crowd more frequently now. The girls standing in front of me were carried away and I got pushed all the way to the fence (quite lucky :)). Exhausted people were constantly being pulled over the fence, including one very bloody guy. Benno was carried away too, but not before we gave each other a "Hail and Kill and see you in Hamburg".
Die For Metal worked much better live than on record because of the suitable audience participation parts. Kings of Metal was pure madness and Warriors of the world proved that it is simply a perfect live song. It came off exceptionally powerful this night with the huge audience making for a massive choir.
Black Wind, Fire and Steel ended the regular show with a quick blast of speed. A French Brother of Metal had now joined me at the front and we sang a very nice duet to this song. Eric held bass and guitar high as Joey and Karl played some shredpiano.
Manowar went off stage and the lights went down as the stage was prepared for the final act.
As a special treat the band performed the whole last part of their new album, Gods of War, beginning with the narrative, The Blood of Odin. Movie sequences were being shown on the video screen depicting the action as it unfolded. More meaning was given to the cinematic nature of the new album. Nearing the end of The Blood of Odin, four Vikings, swords raised high, rose up from the stage, slowly ascending to the ledge, which now made up the back part of the stage. The back part of the stage had been made into a huge Viking ship, adorned with four big shields, each having one of the band members symbols at their centre.
The volume had been turned up a notch for the final act and in a powerful explosion of sound Sons of Odin rolled off the stage. Amazingly this song had even more power live than on the album. There was a real powerful drive to the verse/bridge sections and the chorus was absolutely massive. Karl nailed the guitar solo to the side of the ship and then crucified it with precision and defiance. While the band was playing, Vikings were doing battle on the ledge above.
The band quickly left the stage again and the Vikings took over. I recognized several of the Vikings from the Earthshaker festival. I found the theatrical parts to be nice breathers as I was absolutely soaked to the skin from my own battle at the frontline. The theatrics worked very well and were professionally incorporated into the show. Manowar certainly did something special and once again they took it to extremes. For Glory Majesty Unity Vikings were on the stage and acted out the story and for The Warriors Prayer the whole audience answered in unity along with the Vikings on stage.
This whole Gods of War section was performed with two keyboard players, Joe Rozler on one side of the stage and Francisco Palermo of HolyHell on the other. They handled all the orchestration and the need for using a playback orchestra was reduced. This worked exceptionally well in a song like Gods of War, which was given a definite live feel, while the majestic nature of the song was kept intact. Of course Scott handled all drums. An incredible song on record became an even bigger experience live. The twenty Vikings above the stage were banging their shields for the chorus and singing along, and everything had a very direct, live and dynamic feel to it. The audience was of course invited to counterpoint Eric Adams during the chorus. An unforgettable highlight.
For Army of the Dead, Part 2 I would have heard Eric sing this on his own, but a choir was there with Eric singing on top (Playback I guess?). Six Vikings were lined up behind him for the whole song.
As Odin commenced the band moved to the back of the stage as fighting Vikings took up the front. Odin is a song of encapsulated power that never really is let loose, only coming very very close. It was an almost devastating experience live, as the pulsating guitar riff and Eric's deeply powerful voice tore through the hall in a crunching mid-tempo stroll. The song was as powerful live as it is on the record and it made for yet another truly majestic moment.
I believe haven't mentioned Scott Columbus yet. Through the show he was the rock solid Mountain upon which the other band members stood. His performance was as tight as a (censored, sorry) and he was a main reason for the songs working so well.
All the new songs were a delight to hear and worked superbly in a live situation. Karl Logan's guitar playing in this whole new album section was fabulous. His playing was filled with feeling, down to the last note.
Hymn of the immortal warriors is a personal favourite from the new album and to hear it live was pure magic. It was a perfect and fulfilling ending to a tremendous show. The Vikings entered the top of the stage with torches as the song commenced. Eric sang with a ton of controlled emotion and I sang along, with a ton of uncontrolled emotion... I locked eyes with Eric as he sang "For Odin's call was heard above them all" and what I saw was total concentration and devotion. "Take thy shields take thy swords" was another incredible moment and I felt like I was suddenly all alone in the big hall.
In tune with "Rise brothers, Rise." huge, fiery explosions filled the stage. Fire started burning in long lines along the stage and everything basically erupted in flames. My prediction for the Earthshaker festival show became reality here as fire truly did burn from the stage. It was an awesome sight which added to the otherwordly power of the song. The Vikings were singing along and the show reached a pinnacle here.
Keyboard players and Vikings were introduced and with several big explosions the show was over.
2 hours and 45 minutes of Heavy Metal Ecstasy, in four parts.
To sum up Manowar's performance there are no better words than to quote the title of one of their new songs. "Glory, Majesty, Unity". This was an experience that will not be forgotten. That I had it three times only embellished the whole thing. Manowar once again managed to exceed the sky high expectations I had, bringing to life a show that I have never seen the likes of before.
On my way back home from the Hamburg show I fell asleep on the train and when I woke up the last days felt like a distant dream. It was truly a dream come true.
Finally I would like to Hail all the Brothers and Sisters I met on my three day trek. We shall return!
Just a few but very important differences between the Frankfurt and Hamburg show.
To warm up for the show Benno and I sang Brothers of Metal and Carry on in Frankfurt. In Hamburg we sang Battle Hymn and at least 10 other favourites along with an Italian Brother and I suddenly found myself singing Battle Hymn directly into the camera. I feel very sorry for whoever gets to edit that.
In Hamburg Odin had been perfected slightly as Karl got a solo spot, introducing the song with its main guitar melody. It was a perfect way to build momentum and introduce the song although Karl did stumble shortly near the end of his solo spot.
Comedic highlight - The Gods Made Heavy Metal in Hamburg
So the guy is on the stage, he has gotten his Manowar shirt, they start playing The Gods Made Heavy Metal and Joey suddenly goes into action on all the three girls at once while playing bass. One is holding her arms around him from behind, another is body-dancing along with the rhythm he is making, while the third is attempting to mount one of his legs sideways. Eric looks on approvingly with a big smile. Joey releases himself from the girls, turns towards Eric and makes a gesture of some kind which I can't see. Eric cracks up completely with laughter and is incapable of singing the rest of the song. The rest of the band plays on as Eric is trying to gather himself. For the chorus Eric walks over to the far left side of the stage, as far away from Joey as possible, and tries to sing it, but halfway through the chorus he is again reduced to laughter. It was a very very funny sight to say the least.
Worth mentioning is also that Munich had the wildest girls on stage. There was topless girl action, girl on girl action and girl on Joey action. To use Joey's words: Es wahr sehr geil!
Call to arms
Short Eric speech
Gloves of metal
Each dawn I die
Secret of steel
Short Joey speech
Guitar guy and girls on stage
The gods made heavy metal
Die for metal
Kings of metal
Warriors of the world
Black wind fire and steel
The Blood of Odin
Sons of Odin
Glory Majesty Unity
Gods of War
Army of the dead, Part 2
Hymn to the Immortal Warriors
More images from the final act:
The German Defenders of Steel & The Italian Army of Immortals are ready
All pictures taken by Steen
Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2007 - Benno(war)
Steen... Brother... your report is so great!! To read your report, it gives me the creeps!! And again I see all the moments before me. The Moments I passed with you there in the frontrow... it seems to be unreal! And all the cool pictures! I Hail You My Brother! The guy with glasses, doing the Sing of the Hammer on your last picture, is the husband of the blond girl that was on stage in Munich! HA HA HA Great great moments!! Thank you for your report Steen!! Hail to You my Brother!! Greetings from Germany, Benno
Monday, April 2, 2007 - Dennis the Menace
Very good to hear that you and Manowar and all the other brothers felt comfortable. I really enjoyed the report. The pictures are fantastic. You know how to get the job done even with all the German beer intus. Due to several reasons I didn`t manage to catch up the band. Now I know what I missed. Holy War!!! Mountains!!! The Oath!!! Damn it and shame on me. Hope to hear from you soon. Already lookin`forward to the festival season. In May I`ll trip to Switzerland to see Shameless, Tuff and Pretty Boy Floyd. One unique chance. Keep it on a high level, D.
Monday, April 2, 2007 - Fernando Bueno
Hey Steen! Great report, I only hope that upcoming Manowar shows in america are as great as that one, though that's not the case usually... I'm the guy that won last Manowar dvd contest w/ you guys! Hail Brothers!!
Monday, April 2, 2007 - Steen
@Benno: Good to hear you enjoyed the report. Hail Brother! @Dennis: You missed an incredible show. I'm getting ready for Sweden Rock soon, too bad you're not coming. We will arrange something for Wacken. Then I shall sing a few Manowar hymns from the show, just to let you know what you missed!
Monday, April 2, 2007 - Steen
Hey Fernando! Thanks! Hope you enjoyed the DVD.
Monday, April 2, 2007 - Stuart
Yet another Manowar event i have missed out on. Sounds like you had a fantastic time. Although having never seen them before I would have walked away in floods of tears as they did not play Battle Hymn. Next time they tour I'm going damn it!
Monday, April 9, 2007 - Charlie
Very happy memories of an awesome night in Frankfurt. A great report clearly written by a true fan. HAIL!
Sunday, April 29, 2007 - Iberian Metal Warrior
hello¡¡¡ The concert must be awesome¡¡¡ I hope the tour continues across all Europe¡¡¡ The Manowar fans arround the world NEED see them live playing this killed track list¡¡¡ A lot of old song¡¡¡ great¡¡¡ The stage with the viking and de dragon ship is... bufff¡¡¡ orgasm¡¡¡ I love see this in a future DVD¡¡¡ Great report Steen¡¡¡ Hail brothers¡¡¡ From Spain.