The God Machine roars into London – Blind Guardian live, April 14 2024

German power metal legends descend on London with first show in 8 years

Words and Pictures Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media 

8 years…. my goodness how time flies. The show at the forum back in 2016, in support of then new album ‘Beyond the Red Mirror’, was an epic affair, and one to remember so it was no surprise that the fans, old and new had made the effort to arrive early to ensure they got a good spot at the sold out event. There’s never an indicator when we might get the band back, they’d played in London in 2015 as well so we were expecting a little more frequency but we’ll take what we can. As such we settled in for another German act, The Night Eternal. 

The Night Eternal

The Night Eternal, bathed in darkness as their name suggests, opened with ‘Between The Worlds’ from latest album ‘Fatale’. Frontman Ricardo Baum reminds me of a slightly more punk version of Skindred’s Benjii Webb. Flying around the stage with his Misfits jacket on display, he really does cut a very cool rock persona on stage.

After a brief ‘fix the drumkit’ moment, the band continue with ‘Deadly As A Scythe’ from their debut album ‘Moonlit Cross’. As they continue, they grab the attention and support of the crowd who start to join in with more than a modicum of enthusiasm. Winning the crowd over isn’t easy for any support act, much less one that is in our fair city for the first time in their career. 

Overall, The Night Eternal were received well. How they would fair as headliners in their own right remains to be seen as their brand of standardised Germanic metal will please as many people as it will polarise. They’ve definitely got something but it needs a little refinement I think. Let’s see then how hey compare to our headliners who, whilst they seem to tour the rest of the world on a regular basis, are rarer than hen’s teeth when it comes to playing in London. 

Blind Guardian

Latest album, The God Machine, is a tour de force. A huge release and, to these ears, one of the best albums of the band’s lengthy career. The roar that accompanies the reveal of the backdrop then is nothing short of roof raising, suggesting that at willing and eager crowd was waiting with more than a little enthusiasm for the band to arrive. When they do, it’s as returning heroes. There’s no need to come on stage playing, Hansi gets to simply walk out and wave and the crowd love him for it.

Hansi Kürsch is of course the sort of frontman rock and roll dreams are made of. He could and does work the crowd into a frenzy. By the end of ‘Imaginations From the Other Side’, he has the 2,500 sold out crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, latching onto every spoken word he utters and cheering him along.

The four key players in the band, guitarist André Olbrich and rhythm guitarist Marcus Siepen, with Frederik Ehmke on drums along with Hansi, are constantly lit with near perfect lighting whereas the poor session guys playing keyboards and bass who I don’t know remain pretty much in the dark throughout. The bassist remains pretty much fixed to his step next to the drum riser and mirrors the keyboard setup on the opposite side of the stage. The rest of the band though, making the use of the vast space the Forum afforded them, filled the front, throwing shapes and acknowledging the crowd with the same energy and smiles that they were seeing in the audience. 

With good old German humour and Hansi Hürsch informing us “with a professional audience like you, we get to play the heavy stuff”, just before they dived into ‘The Script For My Requiem’, the professional audience clearly took it as a sign to perform and made the effort to sing the song back to the band, something which, by the end of the set, became the norm to the point that Hansi almost seemed redundant as a singer and was better employed as a choir master conducting the crowd. 

One of my favourites, ‘The Bard’s Song – In the Forest’ saw the stools and the acoustic guitars come out and gave us another sing along. Another perfect example of the crowd filling in for Hans and doing a nigh on perfect job as well. ‘Lost In The Twilight Hall’ closed out the main set but with the crowd and the artists on literal fire, it wasn’t long before they returned to cheers and rapturous applause.

Of the encore songs, ‘Valhalla’ sent shivers down the spine. Check out the video below the band have posted and tell me it’s not the stuff of legend.

Majesty’ closes the night. A standing ovation follows with 2,500 people, as one, rejoicing in a show and a band that should come round a little more often. Hansi Kürsch promised that Blind Guardian will be back! I’ll believe it when I see it but guaranteed, I will see it.

  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 04 14 Blind Guardian, The Forum, Kentish Town, London

Blind Guardian are now out in the US touring throughout April and May.

SETLIST:

Imaginations From the Other Side
Blood of the Elves
Nightfall
Banish From Sanctuary
The Script for My Requiem
Skalds and Shadows
This Will Never End
Secrets of the American Gods
The Bard’s Song – In the Forest
Violent Shadows
Lost in the Twilight Hall
Encore:
Sacred Worlds
Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)
Valhalla
Mirror Mirror
Majesty

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HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

Photo Credit: Chris Rugowski

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