Helloween - Live Report - January 24, 2004 - Dallas, Texas
Metal Reviews

Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Ben

Last Saturday in Dallas, Texas eight years of waiting finally came to an end. I saw Helloween live. After a hellaciously long six hour drive from Midland to Dallas with five people crammed into a rented PT Cruiser, we pulled into the hotel and checked into our rooms and after a brief rest we went to the Trees venue at around four P.M. As usual we were the first to arrive so we just hung around for a bit excited as hell and couldn’t believe that in less than six hours, we would be seeing HELLOWEEN! A few people began to trickle in, and we began to wonder if we showed up at the wrong place, or if we were standing at the wrong door or what. Finally, about an hour before the doors were supposed to open a huge, massive, monstrous crowd of maybe fifteen people finally showed. While only fifteen other people showed up they were hardcore fans as well and we all stood around discussing METAL. These two people had seen the ‘Weens in Denver on the last tour and had come down to Dallas to see them one last time, another fan was the self proclaimed biggest Manowar fan ever and I believed him too. During our discussions one of the guys who came with us that had a black metal store in my town, Miguel, came up to us and said, “Hey I just think the drummer walked by over there.” So we started looking around for Stefan and eventually found him and got him to sign my Rabbit Don’t Come Easy sleeve. I felt stupid because I had forgotten to bring my Running Wild albums that he had played on too. Ten minutes to twenty minutes after my Stefan meeting the doors opened and we streamed in I ran myself as fast as I could to the front row and looked around and saw that there was nobody out on the floor. The front row consisted of the same people that I talked to outside and things were looking pretty grim attendance wise. After an hour of being assaulted by horrible noise chosen by the music man the first band of the night hit the stage, Big Iron.

Let me tell you something in case you are ever a local band that ever open up for someone like Helloween, I have never heard of you and by default, I hate you because you are between me and Helloween. You have to play three times as hard for me to not flip you off, or inform you of your suckage. If you can pull this off then by all means I congratulate you but if you can’t, well then get the hell off the stage. To put it bluntly, Big Iron just flat out sucked. Imagine Pantera mixed with every mallcore cliché ever known to man and you have Big Iron. Their guitarist couldn’t play shit, he just downtuned and slammed away, the bassist looked like an older and out of shape Jari Kainulainen, and their singer was one of the worst frontmen I have seen. During several songs he had his back turned to the audience for the majority of the track, and when he wasn’t doing that he’d try to mimic either Phil Anselmo or the whiney cryboy from Staind by either trying to look tough or pulling his arms up and looking like someone used harsh language on him and he needed a good cry to let his inner demons free or something. The drummer was the only one that looked like he was in a band but whenever he looked up at me and Randy, we’d just stare back angrily and he’d look around uncomfortably. I think the singer also picked up on the fact that no one liked him from the front row because after one mess of a song he said something along the lines of, “This is for all the real metalheads out there that dig us, if you don’t like us then that’s your fucking problem.” After he said that I turned to the Manowar guy and said, “I don’t think Joey DeMaio would be too happy with that statement or this band.” When I looked up I noticed that the singer had placed his nuts about two inches away from my face and there they remained for the rest of the show. Yay. Big Iron disgraced the stage, disgraced the Helloween banner (all three bands played in front of it), and disgraced Helloween and metal in general by uttering the terms, “We can’t wait to see the German Metal Masters Helloween.” When they finally left the stage , they stated, “We’re Big Iron and we’re gonna get drunk,” while what they really meant was, “We’re Big Iron we fail horribly at life which is why we started this shitty band of ours that no one likes, and now we’re gonna go discuss feelings with one another while watching Korn videos so we can copy their stage moves for the next show.” The world would be a much better place without this band.

Needless to say I wasn’t in the best of moods after Big Iron. I came here to see some metal, not Mallcore Fest 2K4. Anyways, after a brief set change Omen came on and man, they kicked some major ass! I had never heard this band before but they blew me away completely, I cannot stress that enough. Imagine a mix of early Iron Maiden with Dio and some thrash thrown in and you have Omen. Kenny Powell, their guitarist and founder was one crazy madman, during the solos he would run up to the very front and wail away on his whammy bar, or headbang and throw horns at me and my friends who kept our fists in the air as well. Their singer was also wild, he had crazy eyes, and hit all the notes and just looked insane. I wish that I had known these guys going in because they really were amazing, they blew away the dirty soiled feeling that I had from Big Iron in about ten seconds from playing the first note. Some songs that I remember are Deathrider, Die by the Blade, and Teeth of the Hydra. One interesting moment was when I was throwing horns at the singer and out of the corner of my eye I see Kenny stage dive right at me and I couldn’t get my arms up in time and so he fell to the floor. He wasn’t mad, after the show we had a laugh about it, I did feel pretty stupid though. When their set was over I was one happy metalhead and tried to buy their cds, but lo and behold they weren’t selling any but Big Iron was. Something is wrong with that picture. Anyways, Omen is what an opening band for Helloween should be, while no sane person in the world should ever enjoy the obscenity that is Big Iron.

After Omen in the set change I almost began to hyperventilate, I kept telling myself, “Holy shit Ben, in less than twenty minutes, Andi Deris, Michael Wekaith, Markus Grosskopf, and Sascha Gerstner will be right in front of your face…” I tried to start the, “Happy, happy Helloween” chant and it failed miserably, no one joined in. I looked around then and had a pretty good jump because there could not have been more than ninety people there at most. NINETY PEOPLE?!?! For Helloween? What kind of bullshit is that? I highly doubt they’ll come back for that type of crowd. Anyways, right as my disappointment with the audience set in, the lights went down and I lost myself in utter metal ecstasy. With full force the ‘Weens stormed the stage to Starlight and I was screaming like a little girl with my left arm around Andi’s monitor shouting at the top of my lungs. Just as cryboy from Big Iron was two inches away from me, so was Andi. I held up my Pink Cream 69 sleeves and he bowed down and said thank you. Murderer was next and my head began to clear a little bit at this point, Sascha looked bewildered and almost afraid to look at the audience members in their eyes, but he played flawlessly. Him and Weiki were having loads of fun, they would throw picks at each other, and play fight when they weren’t running up to the front of the stage to do double harmony solos together. Markus as usual, just stayed off to the side and was smiling the whole time. Andi was holding his own with the early material, and made them his songs almost with his vocal style and phrasing. Third song into the set and the guys busted out with Keeper of the Seven Keys in it’s entirety! What can I say about that other than godly? During this song Andi came up to the front and had the crowd do a singing contest, where his “little singer” would rise or fall depending on the noise level. Future World followed with Sascha even doing the guitar solo intro like Roland did on High Live. I did notice that when it came to that very first line Andi sang it instead of letting the crowd, probably because if the crowd sang it, it would have been pathetic. I’m sorry if I can’t remember too much about this and the next song, Eagle Fly Free because for those two I was lost in the magic of metal. Eagle Fly Free is the first Helloween song I heard and when they played it I could have died right then and not have cared. After that string of classics came some more recent material with the Deris penned tunes Hey Lord and Forever and One. Finally, we come to some new material with Open Your Life and Sascha was smiling the whole time they were playing because, hey, he wrote it. After this came another classic, Dr. Stein. During this though, some super crazy fan rushed the stage and tried to molest either Andi or Weiki. There were two huge roadies that were trying to keep him down but he kept fighting them and almost broke free quite a few times before they ripped his shirt and tossed him quite unceremoniously out the side door. The ballad If I Could Fly was next and during this one in the chorus, Andi was right there in front of me singing back and after I hit every word he gave me the metal comrade handshake and a thumbs up. Rounding out the first set was another new tune, Back Against the Wall and Power. During Power we had the obligatory crowd sing along with Andi telling hilarious jokes the whole time. There was a brief break and then Sascha came out with his sitar guitar and after some doodling broke into the intro to Sun 4 the World. An odd choice for an encore I thought but as soon as the last note finished ringing the guys went straight into How Many Tears. I knew that this was the last one, that after this I probably wouldn’t see them live ever again so I gave it my all. My arms were dead weight, I had already gone light headed about halfway through the show, my leg were killing me, my voice was shot, and my throat killed but I didn’t care, Helloween came here to play for us and I wouldn’t let them leave on a sour note. Horns were flying, words were sung and before I knew it, the show had come to an end. But not the night, nor this review.

I proceeded to shout giddily and after buying a shirt and some stickers, me and my friends waited outside by the bus for what seemed like five hours but was only two. Sascha came out and signed my cds and took a picture, Stefan came out and Weiki and Markus hightailed it straight into the bus without stopping. Andi must have been there as soon as they finished playing because right as Weiki got on the bus, they left. Sascha was left behind because as he was signing and taking pictures he noticed some hot chicks driving by the club and he ran out into the street and knocked on their window. After a few minutes they opened the door and he jumped right in and they drove off together. There was no way I could leave without meeting Andi so we did what every hardcore fan does, we followed them to the hotel! Markus came out and talked to the six of us who followed them to the hotel for a long ass time about many things like Michael Kiske and how bad Supared fails, how much he loves Thin Lizzy and all sorts of interesting things. We talked for a few hours until three or four in the morning and the Andi came out and despite the fact he was freezing cold he was kind enough to sign all the cd’s I brought for him. When Andi got on the bus they said their goodbyes and took off into the night.

This concert definitely ranks up there in the top three that I have seen. Andi keeps the crowd entertained with his banter and funny jokes, and while some people think Weiki is an asshole, he just seems to sit back, smoke and chill. He was a nice guy and seems happy playing his music for a living. Meeting the guys was such a thrill for me and really made waiting the eight years worth it. I am glad I caught them when I did because other than the first few rows the crowd was insanely weak, and I really doubt they will return, so if you were lucky enough to catch them in Dallas and appreciate them then be thankful, it might have been the last. An amazing experience and the time of my life, if I only I could go back and relive it again. I still can't believe I met Andi and got him to sign all my cds, or talk to Markus and Sascha (he even gave me props for bringing his Freedom Call material), or even just SEEING them live, right in front of my face! The whole time too I kept thinking that they'd just look out at the crowd and just go, "Hey Weiki, let's just leave," but they still played and put on a killer performance. My respect for them has jumped tremendously. Now that I have seen the "holy trinity" of metal with Maiden, Priest, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, and Helloween I wonder what can be next.

Killing Songs :
Ben quoted
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 - United Alive In Madrid reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Helloween - Straight out of Hell reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Helloween - Walls of Jericho reviewed by Olivier and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 22 reviews click here
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