Some fans at Sydney’s Manning Bar (on October 31st) had waited ten years to see their Greek guitar hero GUS G, and from the moment FIREWIND burst onto the stage with Wall of Sound until they performed their final song 'Falling To Pieces', an exuberant and loud crowd exhibited all the passion worthy of that which the music of Firewind inspires.
Clad in denim and leather, Gus G was the epitome of hard rock and heavy metal royalty. Recordings don’t do this true guitar virtuoso justice; one must experience him in a live setting to understand why the godfather of Heavy Metal OZZY OSBOURNE chose him as his right hand man. He played each solo with ease and precision and also showcased his softer side with slower-paced songs such as My Loneliness. With a God-given gift from Olympus itself, Gus G proved he is a natural-born musician and performer, one that exudes an energy that is palpable and transfers powerfully from his instrument to his audience.
Playing live in a country for the first time with a career spanning over a decade, Firewind brought a ‘best of’ setlist Down Under, and an extensive one at that; 17 songs in total representing every Firewind record from 2002’s Between Heaven and Hell right up to 2012’s Few Against Many.
Gus G has been generous in his praise of current touring vocalist Kelly Sundown and hearing the American belt out Firewind’s classics you’ll see that the praise is warranted. Donned in his black trench coat and wearing a silver Firewind pendant, Sundown performed with such confidence that one could easily forget he only joined the band at the beginning of the year. He took command of the stage and enthralled the audience with powerful renditions of songs from both the Stephen Fredrick and Apollo Papathanasio eras. His dynamic and versatile voice soared effortlessly alongside the guitars, bass of Petros Christodoulidis and drumming of Johan Nunez for the entire show and did not falter once; Sundown the biggest surprise, as well as a highlight, of the night.
Charismatic Athenian Bob Katsionis lived up to his reputation as one of the most entertaining metal keyboard players to hear and see live. Occasionally playing both his guitar and keyboard at the same time, Katsionis also performed a keyboard solo enrapturing the crowd who responded with loud appreciation. When it was time for that Firewind classic, The Fire and the Fury, following Gus G’s blistering solo leading into it, Katsionis and Christodoulidis joined Gus G centre stage, and with synchronised headbanging proved why the instrumental track has become a staple of any Firewind show. When Firewind returned for a three song encore, one was their popular cover of Flashdance anthem Maniac, a song Gus G introduced as one that they all used to dance to in the 80s, and it was a performance both the band and audience clearly enjoyed.
Backstage after the show a very relaxed Gus G said “It was fun, I enjoyed it. Great crowd, loud crowd, I like Australia a lot. You guys have a really great vibe down here.” Sundown reiterated a similar sentiment: “We were really happy about the show tonight, the crowd was awesome,” while Bob Katsionis said “It was brilliant. I think in the beginning, people didn’t know what to expect, but in the end they were blown away.”
The Firewind tour also takes in Brisbane and Adelaide before concluding in Melbourne. Whoever witnesses Firewind live Down Under will undoubtedly take away special memories of the night the Greek gods of metal descended upon Australia.
'Wall Of Sound'
'Head Up High'
'Few Against Many'
'I Am the Anger'
'World on Fire'
Gus G Solo To 'The Fire And The Fury'
'The Fire And The Fury'
'Losing My Mind'
'Angels Forgive Me'
'Till The End Of Time'
'Into The Fire
'Falling To Pieces