Live Report - Blind Guardian & Leaves' Eyes - Nov. 26th, 2006, The Medley, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Metal Reviews

Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Jason

I can still clearly remember the evening when Blind Guardian came to Montreal for the first time in their long career close to 4 years ago. Being a huge fan fueled my excitement for the show, but what added to the anticipation was the fact that I was going to witness the performance in front of a audience that had been waiting to see Blind Guardian for 20 years. 4 years later I still hold it was one of the most memorable concert evenings I’d ever been at, and probably the best show in an intimate venue I had ever seen. The “Guardian” chants which started during the three-block line-up were almost ceaseless until the end of the show, Blind Guardian’s impeccable performance along with the audience’s participation in the signing, and 2 encores created this sort of electricity which was unforgettable. In fact, I enjoyed the show so much that I wanted to re-live it by pre-ordering their Live CD for a whopping 70$ Canadian (darn imports). Asking Blind Guardian to top their first performance 4 years ago on November 29th was a little much to ask for, and being the occasional pessimist, my prediction was that the show was going to riled with tracks off their newest effort A Twist in the Myth because of Thomen Stauch’s departure and because of my assumption that a band must be fed up with constantly playing the same old classics over and over. Well, like the like the old cliché goes, assuming makes an ass out of you and me; but in this case it was only me.

The bill for that evening was composed of only Norwegian/German metalers Leaves Eyes, and headliners Blind Guardian. I may only be familiar with Leaves Eyes’s newest full-length album Vinland Saga, but I was still looking forward to their performance because I think the only live female-led acts I’ve ever seen were Nightwish two years ago, and the hyper-androgynous sounds of punk rockers The Distillers even further back. As per the atmosphere at the Medley that evening, it unfortunately wasn’t as electric it was 4 years ago, although it was obvious that there was a strong sense of excitement in the air due to the fact that Guardian chants commenced long before Leaves Eyes hit the stage and there were Blind Guardians T-shirt being worn as far as the eyes could see.

When Leaves Eyes hit the stage the crowd went wild remained so for the most part of the set. Though I can’t really judge how many actual fans the band had out in the audience that evening, I can definitely say that they made new ones judging by the sea of fists pumping and the cooperation between band and audience. The only negative point I should mention with Leaves Eyes’s performance is that Liv’s voice was sometimes drowned out by the instruments and in consequence the atmospheric sound which makes Vinland Saga special was sort of lacking. I suppose it was only normal that the combination of Metalized instrumentals and Alexander Krull’s growls would drown out Liv’s soft and sweet voice, but I’m sure if the and band performed in a theatre-like venue with better sound equipment the performance would have sounded ten times better. Though the band played a quite a few tracks, the only song titles I knew were Vinland Saga, Legend Land and Lovelorn; nevertheless, the band played a very entertaining set, and judging by the screaming fans Leaves Eyes were very well-received. Whether the applause and screams were for the music or for the sweet and sensual female singer clad in a red silk robe is an entirely different matter.

Minutes after Leaves Eyes left the stage, the chants of “Guardian” and “Ole” were frequent until the Blind Guardian hit the stage. To my great surprise BG kicked off their set with the same song they started 4 years ago which was with the War of Wrath intro followed by Into the Storm off Nightfall in Middle Earth. The second the venue went dark and sound of clashing weapons were heard the audience erupted in an utter frenzy, but then quickly calmed to chant along with the War of Wrath introduction. As expected Blind Guardian put on an absolutely performance stellar that evening, but what wasn’t expected (by me at least) was the equally amazing song list which covered their most of their discography. Fans of Nightfall in Middle Earth must have been especially happy as Into the Storm, Mirror Mirror, Time Stands Still and Nightfall were played, but on the other hand, fans of Battalions of Fear may have been a little disappointed as not a single track was played. In fact, although Blind Guardian were absolutely amazing musically, and even had a fancy-spansy projector projecting images of dragons and the like as a backdrop, what really disappointed me was that the audience began chanting “Majesty” several times throughout the show but the track was never played. I remember at one point during the show Hansi saying that it was impossible, but I nevertheless find it displeasing that most people paid 35$ to see a band that has only come to Montreal twice in 25 years and they aren’t able to play one track that everyone is chanting for. Call it an odd coincidence, but when the audience was chanting Majesty at their loudest Hansi said “we can’t play that, but bout’ how about Imaginations from the Other Side!”, which is similar what happens when the audience is chanting for Mirror Mirror on the 2003 Live album.

Despite the fact that Blind Guardian didn’t play Majesty and some personal requests, the show was still absolutely amazing. My brother kept yelling in my ear that the show sounds better just as good as the DVD and the Montreal audience was in full-swing during the entirety of the set. This was especially true when The Bard’s Song was played as an encore and Hansi was seldom able to sing a word because the audience was so loud. Though the first Blind Guardian show will always remain a truly magical memory for me, but their second performance is still one of, or maybe even the best I’ve seen all year, and I will undoubtedly be present when they come again. If you have a chance to see them on this tour… don’t even hesitate.

Songs played from that evening in no particular order:
War of Wrath
Into the Storm
Born in a Mourning Hall
Skalds and Shadows
Time Stands Still
Mirror Mirror
Imaginations from the Other Side
The Bard’s Song
Welcome to Dying
...And Then There was Silence
This Will Never End
The Script for my Requiem
And The Story Ends

Killing Songs :
Jason quoted
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