HELLOWEEN – Super Tuesday In NYC!

March 2, 2016, 2 years ago

Mark Gromen

gallery heavy metal helloween

While political pundits and voters in 13 different states helped dwindle the number of US presidential candidates, metalheads (from both sides of the aisle) held their own convention, at the newly rechristened Playstation (previously known as either the Best Buy, or Nokia) Theater, in Times Square, NYC. Topping the slate, an opportunity to see longstanding German metallers Helloween, on an exclusive week's worth of North American dates, following their appearance on the Monster Of Rock cruise.

The frozen pumpkin landscape and Statue Of Liberty themed artwork for My God Given Right seems handpicked for the Big Apple. Opening “Eagle Fly Free” was a bundle of energy. The set would see classic material to start, then conclude, in between a healthy dose of the Andi Deris era. Speaking of the facially expressive frontman, he's apparently enjoying life, carrying a little extra bulk around his mid-section, all the more noticeable next to his stick figure bandmates.

Following “Dr. Stein”, Deris joked about the band being sick from their cruise, so "We went from Miami to Montreal. It was like minus 20 Celsius. I froze my balls off. They weren't that big to begin with, but now they're (shows two fingers, barely apart). Everyone's got some coughs, some flu, so after the show, no hugs and no kisses, at least without tongue!" The crowd had a big part, particularly shouting the titular chorus, on “My God-Given Right”. “Steel Tormentor” ends in red light, the guitarists Sascha Gerstner and founder Michael Weikath on opposing risers, flanking the drums. Throughout the night, nice to see a trio of mid-‘90s songs (when metal was all but forgotten on these shores), from the Weenies' "comeback" albums aired, namely the aforementioned, alongside “Power” and “Where The Rain Grows”. Gerstner plays the leads on “Mr. Torture”, which also sees him joined by mainstay bassist Marcus Grosskopf, at the front edge of the stage.

“Straight Out Of Hell” sees Weikie switch to a Flying V. Most of the night he keeps to himself, delicately balancing one foot on the monitors. Deris gets a little political, attempting to discuss the migrant influx in Europe, while calling himself a "Geographical dumbass... Do you know what's happening, with the refugees? We need more people, trying to help." Cue the staccato, “Heroes”, complete with flashing strobes, eventually segueing into a drum solo. The proper set closed with a medley, kicking off with “Halloween” and ending with Gerstner begun, (spotlighted in white, on otherwise darkened stage) “Keeper Of The Seven Keys”, but also interjecting “Are You Metal?” and “Sole Survivor”, Deris doffing a top hat he'd wear the rest of the evening. The exaggerated ending let each of the members come to the front of the stage, to take a bow, then exit the stage, including drummer, Daniel Löble. The stage going completely black.

Waiting for the band to return, the crowd breaks into the "Happy Happy Halloween" chant. Not sure why Gerstner's solo needed to be part of the encore (could have done with another proper song), but the one-two finale of “Future World” (audience voices proudly on display) and “I Want Out” is beyond reproach. All total, about 100 minutes of high quality German metal, welcome any time!

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ROBB FINLAYSON - "Winter's Apprentice" (Independent)

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