Blind Guardian is a name that has become synonymous with power metal. These men are pioneers of their time, innovators, an inspiration to many, and now… legends of their craft.
The air was electric Sunday, November 8th at the Concord Music Theater, and rightfully so. Blind Guardian fans are as devoted as they come, and it’s been five long years since the band last played Chicago.
This performance hit home for me personally. I was a huge Blind Guardian fan in my late teens. One of the top five shows I’ve ever seen was on Thanksgiving night 2006, when the band practically reduced the House of Blues to rubble.
But this day I had some questions in mind…It’s been almost ten years since I’d last seen them. They’ve been touring for almost thirty years now…Hansi even cut his hair short. Do they still have it? Are they still metal, or are they just old guys with guitars?
Halfway through the first song my questions were silenced. These men were inspired… motivated… invigorated. Early in the set we learned why…we were being recorded. The night was a candidate for Blind Guardian’s forthcoming live album.
In my extensive concert going career I’ve learned that live album concerts almost always bring out the very best in the crowd and the band. Tonight was no exception.
All the classics were played spanning from 2015’s Beyond the Red Mirror all the way back to 1988’s Battalions of Fear. The most recognizable were a handful of songs from 1998’s Nightfall In Middle Earth: a Lord Of The Rings-inspired opus before Peter Jackson made it popular, and my personal introduction to the band in my mid-teens.
The crowd roared, sang, and headbanged continuously throughout a performance that had not one…not two….but THREE encores with three songs each. Even after 25 odd years of touring, these men still have it, undeniably and unquestionably. I just hope to see them again in Chicago earlier than 2020.
This one was special for me; a reminder of why, even though I enjoy so many genres and styles of live music, I will always love heavy metal music.
9.3 out of 10
Photo by Frank Mastalerz.