Discussion in 'Music Discussion' started by Forostar, Sep 12, 2008.
Ok. So the show. And it was a great show. A great show from Helloween. The Pumpkins United show with Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske. Did you know they were playing? I knew they were, and they were great. So great. But I don't wanna talk about it too much.
This was the setlist from last night. On non-setlist matters, it was a cool show to see and everyone performed really well. The interaction with the current Helloween members and the two extra guys for this tour was really good and everyone shared the limelight fairly. One thing I did notice is that despite Andi Deris being a significantly inferior singer to Michael Kiske, Deris is a much better frontman and knows how to perform to a crowd. Sure, Kiske can have a bit of banter with the crowd but he has a touch of Tim Owens about him in that he's so focused on being great vocally that he forgets how to perform. Andi Deris almost seems to be an entertainer first, then a vocalist.
The Pumpkins United tour is due to continue into next year so I might get a chance to see it again, but if I don't then I'm glad I went but won't cry about not seeing it again. Roland Grapow, who wasn't invited on the tour, said in an interview that fans won't want Hansen and Kiske part ways with Helloween after this tour has finished and he's right, there will be clamour for an album and people calling for Kiske to replace Deris outright. That would be grossly unfair in my opinion as Andi Deris has been in the band for for than twenty years and has been the voice of Helloween for a long time. I would prefer Hansen and Kiske to continue working on Unisonic and for Helloween to continue doing their thing than for Pumpkins United to continue indefinitely. I'm not even sure why/how this tour came about in the first place as I'd always though that Kiske hadn't been on speaking terms with Michael Weikath and Marcus Grosskopf since he left after 'Chameleon'. But I guess that Kiske and Hansen working together again in Unisonic and both of them working with Sascha Gerstner in Avantasia paved to the way to some reconciliation, presumably with a significant amount of money.
Spoiler: Setlist comments
On the setlist, Deris and Kiske dueted on a lot of the songs for throughout Helloween's history, including songs like 'Forever and One' from the post-Kiske era. Some of them were performed only by Kiske (e.g. 'A Little Time') and others were performed only Deris (e.g. 'Sole Survivor'). Obviously it was the Kiske-era songs that got everyone the most excited and a lot of people went to the bar during the 90s songs. Sad! The Kai Hansen section was cool and I definitely wouldn't have expected to see songs like 'Heavy Metal (Is the Law)' otherwise. Something the set could have done without was the stupid cartoon interludes. Without them they could have played another song, like 'We Got the Right' instead. Still, it was one hell of a spectacle to see them open with 'Halloween' and play 'Keeper of the Seven Keys' towards the end with 'Eagle Fly Free' and 'A Little Time' in there too. Great show overall.
I don't see why they wouldn't continue with all 7 members. Deris seems like a cool guy and him and Kiske seem to go along quite well, on stage at least. Deris also gets easily burnt out on tour voice-wise, so often they would start a tour with a lengthy setlist only to Wrathchild some songs after a couple of shows. This way they could cover for each other easily. Even Deris said that he's glad Kiske is back so that he doesn't have to torture himself with some tougher KOTSK songs. I just don't think they'd kick out Deris to retain Kiske if they didn't do it for this tour. I agree with you that it'd be unfair too.
I personally think Unisonic is super generic and Gamma Ray and Helloween have seen better days in terms of studio material. Kai doesn't sing for Gamma Ray anymore and they lost Dan Zimmermann too. Maybe this new expanded Helloween lineup would reinvigorate everyone involved. Plus I just think it makes the most sense economically for all of them. Let's be honest, Kiske came back to metal for the money since his solo stuff didn't work out. Kai Hansen lost a shitload of money when his studio burnt down few years ago. The band probably didn't have audiences this big in years, maybe decades.
Also Sascha Gerstner didn't do anything with Avantasia, you're thinking of Sascha Paeth Gerstner did play with Gamma Ray's ex-drummer Dan Zimmermann for some time though.
I found a few interviews about the reunion:
MICHAEL KISKE Says He Had 'Forgiven' HELLOWEEN Guitarist MICHAEL WEIKATH 'A Long Time Ago'
MICHAEL KISKE Explains Decision To Reunite With HELLOWEEN: 'I Can't Really Be Angry Anymore'
ANDI DERIS Says He Is 'Relieved' MICHAEL KISKE Is Back In HELLOWEEN
WEIKATH Says There Are Plans For HELLOWEEN To Record At Least One New Song With KISKE, HANSEN
ROLAND GRAPOW Says He Wasn't Asked To Take Part In HELLOWEEN's 'Pumpkins United' Tour
ROLAND GRAPOW Says HELLOWEEN Doesn't Want Him To Take Part In 'Pumpkins United' Tour
Thanks for the review. No playback from Kiske, like on the first nights of the tour?
All these German Power Metal people. Too bloody many of them!
And there's no way Helloween could continue with seven members. Three guitarists never works in a Metal band.
I thought it was Hansen using taped vocals as he's always been a terrible singer anyway., but it turns out it was Kiske. It all seemed fine to me, but I often have a terrible ear for this sort of thing.
I've been watching videos from pretty much all shows on this tour and he only used playback on the first and second show.
The worst thing so far is Kai's haircut... He looks ridiculous.
I'm not so sure...
...the cartoons were pretty bloody annoying.
It is not a haircut, it is a ridiculous wig.
True, but that does not make it less pathetic.
@Forostar: Review time
Is it a wig really? Goodness, of all the options a person has...
I can't decide whether that's worse.
I don't know when but I'll try to write a little this week! I surely want to emphasize all the 7 individuals, the songs, the show and how I experienced it all.
Stop wasting your time on Schaffer and write this instead
They've also recorded the Prague show for a DVD. They might go Live On 3 Continents again with this release.
Okay, here my ramblings on the show
The show was very nice. I stood 2nd row on the left, which wasn't Kai's spot unfortunately, but I saw a lot of Sascha and Markus, who had a lot of fun. Together, they constructed a way to throw plectrums into the audience. More on plectrums (and wristbands!) later on.
Kai Hansen started the show in an unfitting long coat. I felt he did not look that healthy. Also, his face was covered in lots of make-up (or eyeliner at least). Later on he got rid of the coat and it felt as if he moved better. It was really nice to see how he also enjoyed the songs that were not from "his" time. Also, he did more (backing) vocals than I expected.
In enjoyed all the guitarists. It felt as if there was a good balance between their parts, not just the leads. E.g. in the calm part of Keeper there was a brilliant mix of sound and solos. Sascha started, then Kai followed, and Weiki finished it off.
Weiki looked pretty old (and smoked), but he already did so when I saw him for the first time 21 years ago. Not the most exhuberant guy, I could see in his face that he enjoyed this a lot. And he surely sounded good. From the overall guitar work I enjoyed Hansen the most. I may be biased because I think the man wrote so many awesome songs (the Steve Harris from the European continent) but he really is a great riffer and solo player. One of the highlights was his lead work in A Little Time. When the set opened I feared that Sascha would not have much to do (no solos) but soon that changed. He did not play a sidekick role at all and deservedly so. The man has probably the cleanest, clearest tone of all three. Plays with a lot of feel. A good replacement for Grapow, certainly playing wise.
Michael Kiske had a great sounding voice. He seemed in shape a lot. Too bad they didn't do a DVD from our concert, I guess the crowd is not good enough. Still a bit of a shame, because when I look at live clips from other clips, he does not sound as good (haven't seen all of course). But man, he delivered! He and Deris worked out their parts very well. They really chose the parts that fitted the best for each of the guys. Thought it was cool that in some harmonies/screams Deris did the higher one (e.g. I think that happened in "AAAAHHH" from the Halloween chorus and perhaps also the last vocal in How Many Tears), for variation, but also: he can do that very well, the loud high screaming. Of course you can argue he played 2nd fiddle, but that mainly has to do with the legendary status of the earlier albums. From all the singers he is probably the most enthousiastic and he always gives 200%. By the way: I didn't know how Are You Metal? went (only heard it a few times ages ago) and I didn't know (remember) Waiting for the Thunder at all.
Speaking of screaming, I like how Kai gave it all during his medley performance. Heavy Metal Is the Law was surprisingly awesome. I could complain that I would not mind seeing various other oldies (Warrior, Phantoms, Murderer, Victim of Fate, Twilight of the Gods(!), March of Time, Save Us), but hey, at least we had Ride the Sky and Judas! Very cool. Highlights were also Keeper and How Many Tears. What a finale. The former had an exaggerated long end though, some constructed way of saying goodbye. It was rather lengthy at the end. How Many Tears was possibly the best moment of the show. That slow midpart (e.g. here in Chile)! Especially that calm piece after Weiki's solo. Ethereal beauty. I would buy a DVD to get that song alone.
Drummer Löble was very stable throughout the whole concert. Very impressive. Okay, there were several breaks (the not that funny cartoons) but it was a long show. Very well done how he played live with Ingo's part. Very inventive. Good that they tried to make Ingo part of the show. Still I cannot keep this unmentioned: I vividly remember at least one interview with Weikath (in a segment about Ingo's death) in which he felt it necessary to state that Ingo never liked to play the song Living Ain't No Crime, which was one of Weiki's favourite songs. Guess what happened right after the drumduet? They played that song! Odd to hear "Living Ain't No Crime" right after a drum performance by a drummer who committed suicide. Extra rude to me seemed the cartoonish background during the song. I thought I saw a dead figure, hanging (stuck) in the sky, as if it (Ingo) was forced to listen to the song, even in death. Perhaps someone else has a better explanation for all this, but it felt like a bit of a rude joke.
On the plectrum throwing: there was one very excited woman (older than I am) who kept catching and picking up plectrums. She kept getting them from the floor, always earlier than others. It got a bit annoying at the end, others had no chance while she was quickly building up a vast collection, snatching everything away in front of other people their faces and feet. At the end of the show various the band members were giving her again plectrums. Perhaps because she was very enthousiastic, but also I bet: because she was a woman. When Markus wanted to throw his wristband to her, I snatched it away before her face. "That was meant for me!" she said. Markus looked upset and immediately gave his 2nd wristband to her. Everybody happy again. Still, I had a bit of a double feeling, didn't like it that Markus didn't like how I took that wristband. Anyway, I felt I missed out a couple of times, if he knew that he might have understood it, who knows. Anyway, I am glad I have that wristband. Markus Grosskopf is for me without a doubt my favourite European (mainland) bass player. I love his melodic patterns, greatly enriching Helloween's music.
I hope this line-up stays together!
Wanted to share this moment with you from Stuttgart:
Ride the Sky
Kai's guitar fails (a snare breaks?) (start here), you can see his frustrated reaction. Then he decides to go on, fully focused on the vocals. A stagecrew member offers his guitar, but he does not want it yet (there are two other guitarists! ). Later he takes it, and is just in time for the harmony. I liked how anger, turned into professionalism, good communication with the crew member and fun and excitement when he took the guitar and continued playing. I saw another concert clip where he also had no guitar during that part. Surely his snares get a beating there.
True, he's looked the same and behaved the same on stage since the early 90's
@ the plectrum thing: it's a losing battle trying to get something before women/kids/super tall people I never managed to catch anything and rarely try to when they do it at the end of the gigs because I don't want to get crushed by someone bigger than me.
@ setlist: I think March Of Time was left out because it's one of their hardest songs singing-wise and it's a Unisonic setlist staple so lots of people already heard it before. Kai played Save Us during his solo show on Wacken and he also played Victim Of Fate a lot with Gamma Ray.
Anyway, this really seems to be the most amicable reunion in a while. Both singers dueting on each other's songs, both Kai and Gerstner playing all songs and Gerstner even getting solos on older songs with both Kai and Weikath. Hope they continue! I doubt they'll able to top this tour setlist-wise, but if they move forward with a new album and all, we might get some even deeper cuts in the future
On the topic of people catching stuff from the band, it definitely is particularly difficult if there's a child or attractive female nearby as someone in the band throws everything to them. One time I saw Testament and I was on the barrier with some child to my left with hid dad and Alex Skolnick kept giving plectra to the kid which pissed me off a lot. I've been listening to Testament for years and knew all the songs they played but this kid was just dragged along by daddy. Sad!
I do have a few plectra in my collection though:
I have a confession to make.
Maybe I'm getting soft with old age, or maybe it's because I heard so many really terrible ripoffs of him, or maybe I'm just trying very hard to be positive because I'm going to the Helloween gig next month...
But I'm listening to some of the old Helloween albums for the first time in a few years, and...
Cod, this is hard for me to say...
I don't find Kiske as intolerable as I used to. Now before you're jumping in joy, I'm not saying that I actively like him, or that I'm never going to be a fan of his, and I think he's a despicable human being, but having heard so many awful Mediterranean power metal knockoffs, I guess I'll have to say there's worse than a Kiske song or a Helloween album. Although I think I never said that I fully despise the Keeper albums. I always liked Keeper of the Seven Keys, the song and Future World, and even in my greatest moments of Helloween rage, I admitted to that. Also, many of the things about Helloween still annoy me, and some of the worst Kiske moments still piss me off. But although they will always be far from my favourite band, I guess it's time to bury the hatchet.
I was wondering if this was happening when he didn't even go to the can last time he played Helloween in the Pony...
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