Helloween - United Alive In Madrid
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal
Disc 1: 11 songs (69:31) Disc 2: 9 songs (70:16) Disc 3: 4 songs (20:41)
Release year: 2019
Helloween, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Ben
Major event

Out of all the old school legendary bands, Helloween it seems, took the longest to finally reunite. We got Maiden, Priest, and even Black Sabbath TWICE before we got Helloween back together again. The seeds of this reunification were planted back in 2008 when Helloween and Gamma Ray began to regularly tour together. During the Helloween encores Kai Hansen would come out on stage and the band would bust out a couple of classics. Lastly, Kai Hansen would go on to form a band called Unisonic with former Helloween vocalist, Michael Kiske. After a couple of Unisonic albums everyone said, "fuck this, let's get the band back together!"

What makes this incarnation of Helloween so bad ass is the seamless integration of Kai on guitars / vocals, and Michael Kiske on dual lead vocals with longtime current singer, Andi Deris. Interesting to note that Andi is not relegated to background status simply because "the classic guy" is back. Nor do he and Michael switch off and only do songs from each other's respective eras. No, you hear both guys on lots of tracks and you get to hear Michael singing on Andi Deris songs and vice versa. There are a few songs here and there where there will only be one singer, but giving each other time to rest helps each vocalist get through a two and a half hour show. Both Michael and Andi maintain a high level of performance throughout the lengthy duration. Having a fifteen minute break during a medley of songs from the self titled EP / Walls Of Jericho days with Kai Hansen on lead vocals helps the guys get a hydration break.

As well as having two lead singers singing each other's material, you have Kai Hansen on third guitar playing every song, from every era! Again, this shows how everyone involved set aside their egos for the better good of the band. The triple guitar attack is used to tremendous effect here. I daresay it is better done than Iron Maiden even. In fact, there is only one other triple guitar band out there that didn't suck, and they were some metalcore band called Beyond The Embrace that crapped out after two albums. Kai and Michael Weikath play the majority of the twin harmony leads while Sascha plays rhythm guitar. That isn't to say Sascha doesn't get leads of his own, however he mainly does melodies and rhythm. I have one MINOR quibble here and that's that it would be sooooo cool to hear TRIPLE guitar harmonies on some classic solos. I get why they have a third guitar doing rhythm to thicken out the sound, but three part guitar harmonies. Oh man, my head, it's about to explode.

So, performance wise this is a splendid and bad ass concert where everyone is having tons of fun. That being said, I am torn on the song selection here. Since this is a celebration of Helloween, they play tons of classics. The thing is, over half the setlist consists of songs that are on basically every live album and have been played live since at least 2003. Halloween, Dr. Stein, Future World, I Want Out, Eagle Fly Free, How Many Tears, Keeper Of The Seven Keys, and Kai's medley are basically standards at this point. This almost gets a pass because of the highly spirited performances by each band member, but I do hope they change the setlist up for the next go around. We do get treated to quite a few cool not as heard songs such as I'm Alive, Rise And Fall and I Can. Are You Metal? is truly the only song I actually don't like, but I still don't skip it. What I do skip however are the two ballads back to back that really kill the momentum. Forever And One is a stripped down version with minimal guitar and a cool duet but then it's immediately followed by A Tale That Wasn't Right. The band must have noticed this dip in energy because they dropped these two songs as this tour would go on. Lastly, there is a third disc here with about twenty minutes of material the band would add in and shift around. This helps alleviate some of the setlist problems because these are actually rarely played songs like Kids Of The Century, a new song, Pumpkins United, and a super cool duet of Michael and Andi on Why?.

The biggest thing to take from the Helloween reunion is the supremely high level of professionalism from everyone involved. It's hard enough to try and manage four member bands, but to have seven guys, all with their own egos and self identity, put everything aside to work as a unit, as a squad of metal musos is pretty incredible. I can't think of another group like this who have successfully merged all four eras of the band and have guys singing and playing stuff from albums they had absolutely nothing to do with while having a blast. It's because of this that I think on the following tours the band can bust out tracks like Mankind, Falling Higher, Just A Little Sign, Paint A New World. Hell, Chameleon has exactly one good song on it, Giants, so do that and surprise everyone! Maybe it's something to do with not wanting to play songs written by Grapow or Kusch but fuck it. The fans are clamoring for deep cuts! United In Madrid isn't quite a classic live album in the sense of Alive In Athens, but it is definitely the best Helloween live album out there and puts on a clinic on how to arrange songs for two singers and five instrumentalists.

Killing Songs :
I'm Alive, I Can, How Many Tears, Kai's Medley, Kids Of The Century
Ben quoted no quote
Other albums by Helloween that we have reviewed:
Helloween - Master Of The Rings reviewed by Ben and quoted 73 / 100
Helloween - Better Than Raw reviewed by Ben and quoted 94 / 100
Helloween - Straight out of Hell reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Helloween - Walls of Jericho reviewed by Olivier and quoted CLASSIC
Helloween - 7 Sinners reviewed by Kyle and quoted 87 / 100
To see all 22 reviews click here
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