Back To The Roots pt 2 – Europe – 2017
Raven – special guest
28/11 – 2017
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
In 2017 the German tank, Udo Dirkschneider, headed out on the road and it is supposedly the last time he will perform old Accept classics. At least, that was what he said. The tour ended on the 23rd of December in Europe but continues on North America and Canada early 2018. The latest release from Dirkschneider was the live DVD/CD LIVE – BACK TO THE ROOTS – ACCEPTED, I think it’s time for the band to release a brand new studio album instead of being out playing old material. Raven tagged along on the tour as special guest but on a few dates Garage days jumped in instead of Raven. The band stopped by Copenhagen on a grim Tuesday night when the dark and the cold weather showed its worst face. Since it was a weekday the doors was schedule to open at 7 and close at 11, Raven was going on at 7.45. The show wasn’t sold out and there were still tickets for sale at the door. The venue is an old cinema that now is a concert hall that inhabits about 1100 guests, it’s a really nice place to see a show at and the venue is known for its great acoustic and interior. I arrived at the venue, as always, a bit early and since it was pretty cold I really longed to come inside. A few brave fans were standing in line waiting for the venue to open and finally it was time for us to enter. Well inside I took a look if there was a photo pit, which is was, and hung off my coat. I took a closer look at the merchandise and I could see a bunch of stuff for sale like t-shirts, hoodies, CD’s, drumskins and a lot of other stuff. Even Raven had a lot of things for sale.
The category of fans that was over represented was the middle age man that followed Accept and Dirkschneider since the beginning. Not many younger people or females was at the club this night. It’s easy to see which fan comes from Sweden or Denmark, the Swedish fans has a tendency to stand in front of the stage waiting for the bands and the Danish ones stands at the bar. And this night there were no exception to that rule. The only thing that was standing on stage now waiting for Raven was their gear and a smaller backdrop with the band name on it.
Raven is a British band and was one of the original bands coming from the NWOBHM movement. The band began their career back in 1975 but they didn’t really get anywhere and since that many members have come and gone. The only remaining original members today are John and Mark Gallagher. The band latest release is from 2015 and is called EXTERMINATION and I have to be honest and say that I haven’t followed or listened to the band a lot during the years. For me other bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon and Motörhead was more appealing and Raven was left behind.
“Destroy All Monsters” was the first song out for Raven this night and the band was greeted warmly by the fans that had gathered in front of the stage. Instead of having a micstand John Gallagher used a headset which felt a little unusual. John thanked for the applaud and said it was the first time that Raven performed at Amager Bio and said it was nice to see that so many had come to see the band. “Hell Patrol” followed and then came “All For One” straight after. The Gallagher brothers moved across the stage and switched sides all the time and they were already now pretty sweaty and warm. There weren’t enough lights to make the band justice and the guitar were put too high up in the mix while the vocals was too low. So both lights and sounds left a lot more to wish for to say the least. When I walked out from the pit I noticed that there weren’t many people looking at the show and that the ones that wanted to see the show stood close to the stage, at the back it was pretty empty. Next song up was “Hung Drawn And Quarted”. Line up in the band is:
John Gallagher – lead vocals, bass
Mark Gallagher – guitar
Mike Heller – drums
The band looked to have a lot of fun together on stage and they had a lot of space to move around on. I have a hard time calling the bands music heavy metal, to me it rather sounds like rock music. It was so time for a song from the first album in “Rock Until You Drop” which woke the crowd up. John had the people to clap their hands and sing the chorus after which he thanked the fans for the support. A long guitar solo followed and to be honest it wasn’t a good solo, Mark Gallagher wasn’t great on guitar and the solo didn’t contribute with anything to the show. 1,5 years ago we released an album that you can buy in the merchandise stand John said and we will be back next year again. Here is a song from that album in “Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)”.
“Faster Than The Speed Of Light” and “On And On” followed and it seemed like it was more than me that had gotten tired of the show. Many people had now left the floor for the bar and it was only the hardcore fans that remained in front of the stage. John asked if we were ready to see Dirkschneider live soon and said it was time for “Break The Chain”. The song turned into the AC/DC song “It’s A Long Way to The Top (If You Wanna Rock n Roll)” that transcended straight into “Symptom Of The Universe”, the covers worked pretty well in the set list and they made the crowd go crazy. John said that they had time for one more song before it was good bye and asked if the crowd wanted to hear more music, well here is “Crash Bang Wallop” and after that the show ended. Don’t forget to meet us at the merchandise stand John said and wished the fans a great Christmas and New Year’s. Before you leave please let us take a picture with you all John said and the band took a shot with the fans in the background before they left the stage and the 60 minutes of Raven music had come to an end.
In my opinion Raven’s show was too long and the band didn’t bring a solid show what so ever and I consider the music as poor, the songs boring and the entire experience was not my cup of tea at all. The bad lighting and sound system was just icing of the cake on this lame show and I was pretty happy when it was over.
Destroy All Monsters
All For One
Hung Drawn and Quarted
Rock Until You Drop
Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)
Break The Chain/It’s A Long Way To The Top/Symptom Of The Universe
Crash Bang Wallop
During the end of the Raven show more people had arrived to the venue and it looked like many just skipped the Raven part of the night and focused on the headline instead. The balcony across the stage was now open and the club only opens that if they expect a lot of people coming. A huge drumkit and a backdrop were now showing on stage and the sides of the stage was dressed in army green. During 2015 Udo said good bye to the Accept songs with a very long and intense tour and at the end of October 2016 he released the 2 CD/Vinyl album LIVE – BACK TO THE ROOTS that captured the tour consisting only Accept material. Despite the fact he said that was the last time with him singing Accept songs the label released the live CD/DVD LIVE- BACK TO THE ROOTS in August last year and so now it was time for the Back to the Roots tour pt 2. On this tour Udo promised a brand new set list with Accept songs as well as a new backline, however I think that the live DVD should have been a part of the first release…I think the band could have released a new studio album instead of putting out another live DVD.
Guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen left the band and was replaced by Bill Hudson and just like last tour its Udo’s son Sven that takes care of the drums. The longest reigning member in the band besides Udo is bass player Fitty Wienhold. When I took a closer look at the set list I could see that there were many songs from the reunited version of Accept from the 90’s on it but otherwise there were songs left from the last tour Udo did. Personally I think it was strange that he didn’t include any of the reunited 90’s songs on the previous tour but maybe he wanted to save them for now. At 9.20 the pause music stopped and the lights went out and we could hear the intro music to the show begin. The stage lit up and the members walked on and it was time for…
The fans showed their appreciation to the band the minute the members stepped out on the stage and fired off the first song “The Beast Inside”. Literally everyone standing closest to the stage jumped up and down and it felt like the entire photo pit was shaking because of the mad fans. The classic “Aiming High” followed straight away and Udo looked happy on stage when he heard the fans sing a long in the song. “Bulletproof” followed and already now the band ran through two songs from the 90’s albums. The line-up in the band is:
Udo Dirkschneider – lead vocals
Fitty Wienhold – bass
Andrey Smirnov – guitar
Sven Dirkschneider – drums
Bill Hudson – guitar
Contrary to Raven the headline act had great sound, however the lights again left more to wish for. For some reason the lights was all wrong and misplaced, it felt like the spotlights were behind the members and it didn’t look good at all.It was really hard to get shots on the band with all the red, blue and green lighting that dominated the stage. Udo asked if the fans was ready for “Midnight Mover” and the fans all shouted yes. Everyone on stage moved here and there during the show, the only one that was a bit modest and calm was Udo, after he has sung his part he mostly backed away from the front of the stage letting the guitars and bass take over. I think you all are “Slaves To Metal” Udo shouted and the crowd started to jump up and down again. In my opinion are the three albums Accept did as reunited back in the 90’s are underestimated by fans and critics and actually think they are pretty good. OBJECTION OVERRULED (-93) and DEATH ROW (-94) are good but the last one PREDATOR (-96) aren’t much to cheer for. “Another Second To Be” continued the show and the song is taken from the last album Udo did with Accept before he left called RUSSIAN ROULETTE. Udo thanked for the applauds and support and fired off “Protectors Of Terror”, the front men all stood united at the front of the stage as Accept did back in the days and it looked really cool. When it was time for guitar solo Udo and Wienhold again placed themselves at the center of the stage and it looked like they were having a really good time together. All of the members were really tight and completed each other perfect, but on the other hand has the band been playing together for a while having toured infinite hours on the road and probably knows what they are going to do on stage in their sleep.
Udo’s voice delivered as usual the patented barbwire lead vocals his known for and there were no signs of him being tired at all. His voice is intact from the 70’s and I have no idea how he has managed with that. The epic “London Leatherboys” followed and the classic tune woke up everyone in the crowd. Again, the guys placed themselves at the very front of the stage while Udo let the crowd take care of the vocals. Udo smiled and thanked the fans and so was it time for “Fight It Back”, from behind the drums smoke fired off at the ceiling and it was time for Hudson to show his stuff in a solo. He was a bit laid back and didn’t do much noise as a person on stage. He mostly stood solid on his spot throughout the show but maybe he was a bit shy or didn’t want to take up much space on his first tour with the guys. “Amamos La Vida” from OBJECTION OVERRULED followed and the ballad slowed down the tempo a bit. The song didn’t work to well and it seemed like many of the people at the club didn’t know about the song until now. But all cred to Udo for making the decision to play it, he got guts.
Everyone but Hudson walked off the stage that now filled up with smoke and red lights, Smirnov came back on joined up with Hudson in the solo and when the rest of the guys came back the solo turned out to be “Stone Evil”. “Breaker” brought back the atmosphere in the venue and Udo again let the fans take care of the chorus. Udo asked if the fans was doing fine and asked if they were ready for a “Heart Attack”. “Love Child” and “Objection Overruled” continued the night and I thought it was great to once again hear “Objection Overruled” live again, the song sounded like a cover of the original version though but it was despite that fun to hear it again. It was time for another guitar solo and the both guitarist stepped out to the front of the stage and the next song up became “X-T-C”, the song not known by many as it seemed is taken from the 1989 year album EAT THE HEAT with David Reece on vocals. Apparently Udo made a cover of the song to the compilation album A TRIBUTE TO ACCEPT 2 from 2001, an album I wasn’t aware of even existed. If the previous song wasn’t well known by the crowd the next one “Russian Roulette” was and the fans did their best to overpower Udo’s vocals. The band maybe felt a bit of time pressure because the song was run through pretty fast and the song ended with smoke filling up the stage and Udo thanked the crowd for coming to the show. Ordinary playing time was 80 minutes but since the crowd shouted for encores the band shortly came out firing off the first encore in the classical “Princess Of The Dawn”. The stage lit up with red lights and the fans sang from the top of their lungs. “Metal Heart” sent the fans to ecstasy and it was clearly one of the songs many had been waiting to hear. Once again a massive sing a long took place, everybody then left the stage but Smirnov that threw a longer guitar solo, that made the song really extended
Udo asked if the fans wanted to hear more music, well good he said I think you all know this one and the fans all screamed their hearts out when they heard the intro to “Fast As A Shark”. Udo left the best song for last and it’s always fun to hear one of my childhood favorite songs live. Through the years this song has stayed one of my personal favorites for sure, but on the other hand which song on RESTLESS AND WILD is not a great one? A few fans reached out to Udo asking him to play “Winter Dreams” but no we don’t play that one he said and laughed, instead you can have “Balls To The Wall”. The song set the venue on fire and was the perfect ending of a perfect night together with Dirkschneider.
After Udo having thanked and blessed the crowd the show was over and the band took a picture with the fans in the background. The encores treated the fans with 35 more minutes of epic classical tunes and what can I say about this night but amazing!! It was so fun to hear the Accept classics again and this time Udo chose to sing some forgotten gems from the treasure chest. It’s admirable that Udo who now is 65 years old still tours the world delivering the hardcore classical tunes that spans from the end of the 70’s until today. The show left nothing more to wish for and I salute Udo and his band for yet another memorable show. The only weak link (for now) was Bill Hudson (also in the band I Am Morbid) that hadn’t grown into the band yet, but maybe over time he will be the perfect guitarist for Dirkschneider.
If you want to hear and see more of the German metal legend it’s time for him to tour in USA/Canada in February 2018 and he’s also going to perform at several festivals next summer like Wacken Open Air in Germany.
The Beast Inside
Slaves To Metal
Another Second To Be
Protectors Of Terror
Fight It Back
Amames La Vida
Princess Of The Dawn
Fast As A Shark
Balls To The Wall
Thanks to Anna Walter and AFM Records HQ Germany for help with press/photo pass to the show.