Blind Guardian - Imaginations Through The Looking Glass (DVD)
Century Media
Melodic Power / Speed Metal
Disc 1: 20 songs (140:00) Disc 2: 4 songs (100:00)
Release year: 2004
Blind Guardian, Century Media
Reviewed by Mike
Major event

Recorded at The Blind Guardian Open Air in Coburg, Germany, Imaginations From the Looking Glass is the ultimate souvenir for that event. Frustrated with performing conditions of past shows that they have headlined (curfews, stage & lighting setup), Blind Guardian decided to host their own festival in order to deliver a live performance, answering to no one except for themselves. At the same time, the band decided to use this festival to create a special DVD for their devoted fans. As you might expect, the show that took place June 13- 14, 2003 and the resultant DVD turned out just as the band had envisioned and desired. Thousands of fans gathered for the event, spending 2 days eating, drinking, and listening to some great music together. The contents of this 2 DVD package are as follows:

Disc One:

War of Wrath
Time Stands Still
Banish From Sanctuary
Nightfall
The Script For My Requiem
Valhalla
A Past & Future Secret
Punishment Divine
Mordred's Song
The Last Candle
Bright Eyes
Lord of The Rings
I'm Alive
Another Holy War
And Then There Was Silence
Somewhere Far Beyond
The Bard's Song
Imaginations From The Other Side
And The Story Ends
Mirror Mirror

Disc Two:

• Bonus Songs:
Majesty (Wacken 2002)
Into The Storm (Stuttgart 2002)
Welcome to Dying (Stuttgart 2002)
Lost in the Twilight Hall (Stuttgart 2002)

• Interview with Blind Guardian

• Backstage Scenes from the "A Night at the Opera Tour 2002"

• Slideshow

• The Making of "The Blind Guardian Festival - Coburg 2003"

The 20 songs recorded during the BG 2003 Festival have been recorded with great attention to detail. With a total of 12 camera angles, you get a very comprehensive view of the festival. Included are shots from behind the drumkit, close-ups of the band from either end of the stage, a close-up shot of Hansi, and various shots of the thousands of fans singing along and really getting into this performance. As for the quality of the picture, I find no complaints; sharp and very professional. Furthermore, I find that each of the 12 camera angles have been used strategically, sometimes alternating shots in rapid succession to coincide with rapid drum beats!

As for the sound itself, it is high quality, just like the video portion of the show. The band sounds tight and very heavy, and each component of the sound is mixed at just the right levels. Even the epic track, And Then There Was Silence sounds fantastic, despite the complexity of this song (the entire A Night at the Opera album for that matter would be very hard to perform live). The band appears to be a bit nervous during the first couple of songs, but they quickly are engulfed by the amazing energy of the crowd and loosen up very quickly. On the bonus disc detailing the making of the festival, the band even admits that they were a bit nervous at first, because they knew this performance was being filmed for the DVD release. No need to worry guys, the end result turned out just great! Thankfully, Blind Guardian have not overdubbed the audio portion of this concert such that it sounds contrived or detracts from the true "live" experience. From my point of view, what you see is genuinely what you get. You can really hear the crowd getting into this performance, especially during Valhalla where the crowd never seems to stop chanting. You'll also see the occasional crowd surfer zoom by, and of course lots of head banging and horn salutes. The lighting and pyrotechnics are well placed and very dramatic, adding what I'm sure was a thrilling extra dimension to the show for those lucky fans in attendance.

Disc 2 contains some interesting and worthwhile bonus material. There is an interview with the band that is done in German, but subtitled in English. Furthermore, you'll get to see some of the backstage and candid scenes from the A Night at the Opera Tour 2002, as well as a documentary detailing how the BG Festival 2003 all came together. Again, the dialogue is all in German, but subtitled in English. There's a shot of a very nasty thunderstorm blowing through the area that miraculously did not level the stage during setup. There are also some candid shots of fans milling around the grounds before and after the shows. I simply must get to Germany at some point to see a show. These guys absolutely know how to have fun! Lots of carefree drinking and eating abound in the company of friends, listening to great music was the theme of these 2 days for the thousands of fans in attendance. A few of these poor guys drank themselves silly after the first day, and appeared poised to sleep right through day 2.

Imaginations from the Looking Glass contains over 4 hours of footage between the 2 DVD's. The packaging is quite nice, featuring many familiar Tolkkein characters, one of which is a wizard capturing the show with a digital camera. Gotta appreciate a good sense of humor with artwork! The insert is simple and to the point, showing you the various menus on both discs, and how to navigate your way through. Without a doubt, this is a complete package for fans of the band. For a 20 song setlist, I think the selection is very good, covering of course newer material, but also old hits like Banish From Sanctuary. Majesty is one of my favorite BG tracks (from the underrated debut album), so I was happy to see it included on the bonus disc. I simply can't think of anything the guys could have or should have done different on this release. This is a professionally done package that really gives the fans a big bang for their buck. Highly Recommended....

Killing Songs :
The entire concert...
Mike quoted no quote
Other albums by Blind Guardian that we have reviewed:
Blind Guardian - Beyond the Red Mirror reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Blind Guardian - Somewhere Far Beyond reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Blind Guardian - At The Edge Of Time reviewed by Kyle and quoted 86 / 100
Blind Guardian - Follow The Blind reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Blind Guardian - A Voice In The Dark (CD Single) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 16 reviews click here
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