If truth be told, after a long and eventful drive down to Camp HRH in North Wales the musical proceedings had not yet managed to fully kick us into HRH Party mode. Oh we’d seen some good bands but nothing had quite managed to shake us out of our uncommon “stand at the back with a beer” mood.
We needed something to lift the spirits…
We needed something to get us singing…
We needed something to get us bouncing along…
Yep, we needed Helloween !!
The last time we saw the band (that was back in HRH’s Prestatyn days) the stage was dominated by a drum kit with more bass drums than the quadraped of your choice has feet. Well this time it was a much more ‘normal’ setup on the riser at the back, a mere two bass drums. Befitting their headline slot the band got to bring some shiny stuff, and the stage was resplendent in all it’s “My God-Given Right” tour finery. The main arena has finally filled up to capacity and the traditional HRH buzz is really starting to build, this is the one most people have clearly been looking forward to.
As the Walls Of Jericho intro tape rings out the anticipation built to fever pitch and from the moment the irrepressible Andi Derris bounces onto stage the main arena becomes party central. Eagle Fly Free kicks things off, and it turns out to be a proper old fashioned crowd pleaser of a set. Of course the old favourites are there, but there’s a helping of new stuff to keep everything fresh and up to date.
It may have been horrible outside, I think Andi already knew the answer to “Is it always this cold ?” but It’s My God Given Right kept the bounce going and ensured whatever the temperature outside was doing, inside it was getting a wee bit warm down on the floor.
We had a visit to the band’s undervalued 90’s output with The Steel Tormentor, which alas saw guitarist Sacha do the least impressive jump onto a riser ever, he face-planted hard but luckily he was OK, hope his Fying-V was too.
Waiting For The Thunder, straight into Straight Out Of Hell this was a million miles ahead of anything else we’d seen thus far as the veterans showed everyone just how it’s done. While many of his contemporaries may have lost a chunk of the top end of their range, Andi Deris can still hold the high notes like no one else.
Even the air raid siren and the inevitable drum solo that followed it couldn’t dampen the mood, although we’re still not sure what the wee man tucked away behind the drum riser playing along was up to.
Lost in America provoked about the biggest sing-along of the set thus far, it’s a power metal masterpiece with a bloody tune that a certain member of TeamCB couldn’t stop singing for days afterwards.
Well that was the biggest of the sing alongs until the encores. The band left stage but there was no way we were going to let them away that easily and after what seemed an age they met our demands for an encore in the best way possible with Future World then, of course, I Want Out bringing things to a triumphant, unfollowable close.
When the lineup for HRH9 was announced we were pretty sure that Helloween were going to be just about the pick of the bunch, and in the end that was just the case.
This is what power metal should be.