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Date: 3/1/16
Venue: Playstation Theater, Manhattan, New York City
Report By: Rich Catino


Even though I was unable to attend the show because of a bad stomach bug (or unless a family emergency, is the only way I’d miss em) I’m still going to post a piece about Helloween’s visit to NYC anyway based on the setlist. Hopefully it will motivate readers to see them next time, or do their homework on this legendary band. Helloween don’t often tour in America, and really a shame not only because of their place in heavy metal’s history - single handedly created the European Power Metal sound and style with the “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I& II” albums. But, also given their adventurous catalogue (see ‘Pink Bubbles Go Ape”, “Chameleon”, “Rabbit Don’t Come Easy” albums).

We also have these Germans to thank for the second generation of bands which emerged in the 90s, who continue to struggle gaining a larger audience in America, yet (have) thrived everywhere else around the world. Luckily, in the past couple years…package tours for Blind Guardian and Grave Digger, Kamelot and Dragonfroce, Nightwish and Sabaton (with Sonata Arctica in 2016), have been hugely successful playing larger venues and drawing bigger numbers. Primal Fear with (Luca Turilli’s) Rhapsody, and the metal opera Avantasia also will be here in the spring. Let us hope this will encourage other heavyweights like Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Edguy, and Hammerfall to return, inspiring Angra, Rage, and Running Wild to embark on a proper tour as well. How major market rock radio, the only related TV (That Metal) and awards show (Golden Gods) continue to ignore these bands is a crime against the present.

Helloween’s history goes back to 1985 and the debut classic “Walls of Jericho”, which Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray leader) sang on, and included the now classic ‘Ride The Sky’ which shows up in the setlist from time to time. “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I& II” followed in 1987/88, two albums where the band established their sound and style (’Eagle Fly Free’ – proto typical Euro Power metal formula) with singer Michael Kiske, writing the live encore hits ‘Future World’, ‘I Want Out’, epics ‘Halloween’ and ‘Keeper of the Seven Keys’ both included in tonight’s medley. Over their thirty years, Helloween have always also made new music, 16 studio albums. The latest – “My God-Given Right”, still sees remaining original members Michael Weikath – lead and rhythm guitars, bassist Markus Grosskopf, joined by long time third singer Andi Deris (since 1994), and more recent additions Sascha Gerstner on second guitar (2002 - ), and Daniel Löble (drums, 2005 -).

In between three new songs (‘My God-Given Right’ title track, ‘Heroes’, ‘Lost In America’), ‘Waiting For The Thunder’ and title track from 2013’s “Straight Out Of Hell” album, were also gems from the great “Master of the Rings”, “The Time of the Oath”, “Better Than Raw” in the 90s. Three albums I highly recommend on par with “Keeper 1&2”. Single ‘Where the Rain Grows’ and ‘Sole Survivor’, again two more singles/video tracks ‘Power’ and ballad ‘Forever and One’, plus ‘Before the War’ and “Steel Tormentor” (to celebrate “Time Of The Oath” 20th anniversary), and ‘I Can’.

Notwithstanding…Helloween have maybe recorded more quantity than quality concerning new music post 2000, but the seven albums during that time do include many good songs. Like many others from the 80s, Helloween also remain creative and current, knowing the importance of new music and not becoming a retro act who can only live on their past.

Intro tape - Walls of Jericho
Eagle Fly Free
Dr. Stein
My God-Given Right
Steel Tormentor
Mr. Torture
Waiting for the Thunder
Straight Out of Hell
Where the Rain Grows
Lost in America
Forever and One (Neverland)
Medley - Halloween / Sole Survivor / I Can / Are You Metal? / Keeper of the Seven Keys
Before the War
Future World
I Want Out
Outro tape - A Tale That Wasn't Right (“Unarmed” Version)


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