BLIND GUARDIAN + Dissymmetry + EyeFear
The Forum; Melbourne 16th Feb 2007 & 17th Feb 2007
Written by Luke
Tales of a Trip to Melbourne or (In search of Pommie Dumplings and Jaegerbombs)
Friday 11.30AM Newcastle
Sitting at Newcastle airport waiting to check in are the five of us making the long journey to Melbourne for a 2 day alcohol fuelled metal fest to witness one of the greatest power metal bands around- Blind Guardian. After a quick overpriced lunch the five of us- Graeme, Dave, Jason, Jac and I (Luke) jump on the cheap Virgin Blue flight and spend 1 and ½ hours in the most uncomfortable chairs I have ever sat in. Spent most of the time discussing important topics like Darts or be like Dave and spend the time sleeping. Coming into Melbourne I remember how much I hate landing and the aching in my ears stays with me for an hour after we land. While collecting our bags at the terminal we see a few guys from Sydney looking for luggage as well, I guess we were not the only ones crazy enough to fly down.
Walk out of the terminal into a 34 degree heat wave. We flag down a maxi cab and jump in for the 30 minute drive into the city. Jac get the unfortunate job of sitting in the front of this bongo van with no air conditioning with possibly the smelliest taxi driver in Victoria. Well it wasn`t pleasant in the back either as none of the windows would open. 70 bucks poorer and we check in to our hotel. We walk across the street and go and check out Metal Mayhem, cool little metal shop with heaps of cool stuff in what looks like an old Dungeon. Heat is starting to take its toll and beer o`clock kicks in so we wander off in search for Elephants and Wheelbarrows….
4.00PM The Elephant and the Wheelbarrow
End up in an English themed pub called `The Elephant and the Wheelbarrow`. Graeme and Dave came here a few years ago and amazed us of tales of countless beers on tap and pints a plenty. Walked in and there is this row of taps of various beers from all corners of the world along the bar. I think there was around 22. We settle down with some James Squire Golden Ales and start the usual shit talking- somehow the topic goes back to darts (Pommie Dumplings are the best type if anyone is interested), music and everything else in between. Meet up with some fellow Novocastrians Tyrone and Neville who caught the red eye at 6.30 in the morning. Fuck that! Half a pint later and Greg and the Sydney crew come in and the beer keeps flowing. Talk now is of anticipation of being only hours away from seeing Guardian live. We wander our separate ways and agree to meet up at the venue around 8.00. Dave, Jac and I get lost on the way back to the motel and get kicked out of a guitar shop for playing air guitar with this inflatable thing we found in the pub. Get some directions and all is sweet.
7.30PM Flinders Street
Get a quick bite to eat at some Indian restaurant and make our way down to The Forum. Get our tickets scanned and bags checked, told there are no cameras, check it in to the cloak room. Yeah right. Walk through the foyer to the MOST AMAZING VENUE I have ever seen in my life!! If there was a venue made for metal then this was it. The interior of the forum is decked out with Renaissance style architecture and sculptures. The Roof is painted a vivid blue with small reflective stars on it so when the house lights go down it fells like you are under the night sky.
Meet up with everyone and make my way to the bar. The most beautiful venue in all of Australia and they do not have Rum!! Damn, settle for a Coopers instead and it tastes like cats piss. By now Dissymmetry take the stage and come out wearing doctor`s coats and gimp masks. They played a flat out death metal and would have been better suited in a small pub, not the huge stage they were currently on. Dissymmetry played a fairly generic style of death metal and copped plenty from the crowd, the loudest cheer for when they announced the last song. The promoter needed shooting for giving these guys the support, they were not suited to the other 2 bands and the crowd let them know, I nearly felt sorry for them.
Next up was Eyefear and they did not disappoint. Danny is arguably the most talented power metal vocalist in Australia and tonight he was brilliant. Although Eyefear play a very progressive style that is not generally suited to my tastes they were very tight and clear and adapted to the big stage well. It was a lot bigger that the one I saw them on last time I saw them in Sydney at the Empire in Annandale.
After Eyefear the light go down and the chant started… `The Field is Lost… Everything is Lost…` And so it begins. The band come out blasting with `Into the Storm` and the punters go wild. Marcus and Andre come out with hair flying and Hansi enters the stage to roars of cheers. From there they burst into `Born in a Mourning Hall`. Hansi then tells the crowds he is going to take them back to a tale of the Noldor race and then start into `Nightfall`. Get handed a JW and spill half of it moshing out to `Born in a Mourning Hall`. They blast few a set of well known favourites and some of the new songs from "a Twist in the Myth` album, also the crowd are treated to `Mordred`s Song` and `The Lord of the Rings`. Hansi does the pandering to the crowd-"you guys are fucking great!" and they rip into `Valhalla`, with the crowd still sing the chorus long after the song had ended. When the opening chords of the epic `And Then There Was Silence` the crowd roared and lifted another gear. This song would be Blind Guardian`s epic that rates along `The Rime of the Ancient Mariner` or `Keeper of the Seven Keys`.
The band then left the stage to the Chant of "GUARD-I-AN!! GUARD-I-AN!!" and then replaced by the `Valhalla` chorus again. After about 5 minutes the band reappeared and invited the crowd to sing along to the next one. When Marcus and Andre walked on stage with acoustic guitars everyone was anticipating what was coming up. `The Bard`s Song` commenced and if anyone is not familiar with the band this is the song where the crowd sings the entire verse with a little help from Hansi. It sent shivers down my spine listening to this song for the first time on the `Forgotten Tales` album and to be a part of it live is something that was a magical moment for me. Then the blasted in `Mirror Mirror` and the fans were all screaming along word for word, fist pumping in the air. The band then came out and bowed to the crowd, the house lights came on and by now my head was spinning from a combination of beer, scotch and everything in between. A quick walk back to the Motel in search of some well needed rest.
Friday night Set List:
War of Wrath
Into the Storm
Born in a Mourning Hall
Script For My Requiem
Time Stands Still (At the Iron Hill)
Lost in a Twilight Hall
This Will Never End
Lord of the Rings
And Then There Was Silence
Imaginations From the Other Side
The Bard`s Song
Wake up with a slight buzzing in my ears and a strong swirling in my stomach. Jac and I meet up with Graeme and as the other pair are still asleep the thereof us grab some McDonalds for breakfast and go for a wander into the city. The highlight was seeing some homeless guy playing what could only be described as makeshift bagpipes made from a bladder out of a cask wine hooked up to a foot pump. The other two slackers finally get out of bed and after some coffee we decide to go our separate ways- Jac and I go for a look around the city and the three boys head off to the Aquarium. If anyone is visiting Melbourne I recommend a trip to the State Library to check out some great Australian History. Saw Ned Kelly`s armour and heaps of other cool stuff, even a group of old-skool B-Boys break dancing on the tiles out the front, ghetto blaster and all.
Meet up with the others and heap up to the Hard Rock Café for some lunch. There was a heap of cool memorabilia on the walls from various bands; they even had a guitar from Danzig there. By now we had walked what seemed like an eternity so the 5 of us jump on a tram to heap back to the motel and kick back before the show, but we make a few pit stops at some sport stores in search of the elusive Pommie Dumplings but to no avail.
Decide the best strategy is to load up on roadies in the motel room and skip Dyssimmetry and Eyefear before heading out to save a bit of cabbage so Graeme and I go down to the Bottlo around the corner and return with a small arsenal of alcoholic firepower. Kick back over some beers, Gin and Jam Donuts (look for these little shooters in you local bottlo - they rock) and Dave starts telling us about the mysterious Jagaerbomb - a mixture of Red Bull and Jagaermeister. Decide that the mission of the night is to sample some of these new wonders somewhere along the way.
Jason, Jac and I go for some Indian (again) at the dodgiest takeaway in the entire city, while the other pair opts for a liquid dinner. We all meet up at the Young and Jackson, and commence the Little Creatures pint session with our mates from Newcastle and Melbourne. The place is packed with black shirts and we met heaps of cool people from all over Australia- there were guys from Perth and even Far north Queensland that had flown in for this one event. We even met a couple of guys from Brazil who were telling us about how they see Angra playing in little pubs over there. Talked to Glen from Sydney about Wacken and he was telling me how it`s now very overblown, he has made the trek a few times and each time everything gets more expensive. He suggested Metal Camp festival in Slovenia that runs for 5 days, everything is a lot cheaper, it`s situated on a lake and all the girls run around in Dimmu Borgir bikinis. All the metalheads get kicked out by the manager because we are taking up too many tables and DJ fuckstick need some space to set up his turntable shit. I guess we don`t fit the clientele. The sign outside says that the Young and Jackson is Australia`s most famous pub but we had never heard of it and we won`t be back you wankers. Jac skols down two drinks outside (she figured it was cheaper than drinking in that `Famous Pub`) and we make our way back to The Forum.
Arrive at the forum and the place is packed. Heaps more people at the foyer and no issues with taking in the camera tonight which is good as my batteries went dead just as Eyefear finished the night before. I scare the fuck out of Shane from Transcending Mortality when I run and crash tackle him in the foyer, he tells me how they spent the whole day driving down to the gig, and how TM are playing Newcastle soon. We enter the forum and wait in anticipation for the second time. The crowd appears a lot larger than the night before and it looks as if most people have come to the Saturday night show.
The house lights die down and the intro from `Nightfall in Middle Earth` resonates around the room again. The band comes out on stage and blast straight into `Into the Storm` for the second time in two nights. My fears of them playing the same set twice were quickly put to rest as next up came `Welcome To Dying`, `Nightfall`, `I`m Alive` then `Fly`, then followed by the older classics `Valhalla` and `Majesty`. The band then traded electric to acoustic and played the beautiful `Skalds and Shadows` from the last album. By now alcoholica had well and truly kicked in for not only me, but the whole venue and everyone was raising glasses and singing along to every word. Around this time Dave appeared with what seemed to be a Maroon coloured drink. Jagaerbomb time!! We skol them down at the same time Hansi says "we are now going to play something from the Somewhere Far Beyond album" and the band rip through the speedy classic `Journey Through the Dark`. It was a great atmosphere with a full house screaming along "MYSTICAL OLD MAN!!! ON YOU JOURNEY THROUGH THE DARK!!!" in unison. Yet again they finished with the epic `And Then There Was Silence` which brought the house down. Two Jagaerbombs later and Guardian play through the same encore as the night before- `Imaginations from the Other Side`, the amazing live sing-along `the Bard`s Song` and `Mirror Mirror`. House lights come back on and everyone knows they have just witnessed one of the best live shows ever. In a moment of Jagaerbomb induced madness Dave even buys a Dyssimmetry shirt.
A lot more taking and chatter and as the security start rounding up the punters and kicking them out Jason gave us all the biggest surprise of the night- invites to the after drinks party to meet the band. Meet some great Melbourne locals who unfortunately I cannot remember your names guys so sorry! The band appeared ½ hour later minus Andre and mingle with the few people in the bar, smiling for pics and general chatting to the people there.
Graeme had a in depth conversation with Frederick about the Nintendo Wii while Jason and I talked to Markus about a number of topics, the main being the interior beauty of the venue and how it complemented the music so perfectly. I was impressed by how approachable and down to earth they were something that was also said by the people that attended the in-store on Saturday. Leave around 2AM totally exhausted, make a pit stop for a pie on the way back and the whole of Flinders street is full of groups of metalheads singing Guardian songs while staggering up the road.
Man, feel like I have been in a car accident. Take some Rennies and Panadols but nothing works so I have a cold shower instead. We meet at the foyer and I realize over the course of the night before I have lost the tour shirt Graeme brought. Damn. Back on another smelly cab back to the airport where we meet back up with Tyrone and Neville who are on the same flight back as us as well as another group of Newcastle dudes. The seats are marginally better on the return flight and we all arrive safe and sound (with very sore heads) back to Newcastle airport. Everyone goes their separate ways, and I reflect how this was more than a trip to see Blind Guardian, it was an unforgettable journey with my best friends, which has been one of the best weekends of my life.
Saturday Night Set List:
War of the Wrath
Into the Storm
Welcome to Dying
Skalds and Shadows
Journey Through the Dark
And Then There Was Silence
Imaginations From the Other Side
The Bard`s Song
Written by Luke. More images can be found in our gallery.