Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Edguy Australian Tour 2004
Review and photos by Brat


Sydney, 26 June 2004

“I feel ill.” These were the words that left my lips as we left the hotel on our way to the EDGUY instore at Utopia in Sydney.

“Ill?” asked my best friend, Edgirl on the EDGUY forum.

As I turned around to answer her I notice the video camera on me.

“Yeah–I’ll with excitement.”

I just know this footage is going to come back and haunt me! How time flies. It’s been about two years since I last saw EDGUY at Vienna Metalfest and time has flown. I’m not saying I didn’t miss seeing them live, see above embarrassment, just that there has been a lot happening in the live metal scene for me, be it in Australia or in Europe to keep me occupied enough not to pine for my favourite metal band.

Laden like a bag lady, I finally walked into Utopia 5 minutes late. Well at least I thought I was late. I got in line with friends and began the hour-long wait for EDGUY to arrive. It seemed this tour was destined to be late: late planes, late arrivals, late just-about-everything.

The turn out for the instore was larger than 2002, but there didn’t seem to be much spirit. Very few people had more than one item to be signed and some embarrassingly had nothing–the promoter kindly supplied plenty of copies of the tour poster for people.


Edguy’s youngest Sydney fan, Irie, gets a tour poster signed.

After enduring the torment of being labeled a greedy piggy, it was my turn to have my mountain of merchandise autographed (hence the greedy piggy). Did I mention EDGUY are my favourite band? Well?! Someone had to make them feel loved. Three German tour posters, three photos, one t-shirt (already signed by three members), CDs releases since 2002, MCDs, including Lavatory Love Machine which surprised Tobi (Tobias Sammet) that I managed to have it as it had only been released by Nuclear Blast that week, plus CDs and DVDs where members where featured would be enough to give anyone RSI, but then Tobi offered to sign the Australian tour poster, too. Bless him! Who was I to refuse.

As I was handing Tobi the deluge of side projects he’d been involved in, I handed Eggi (Tobias Exxel) the TARAXACUM Rainmaker CD and he looked surprised.

We waited until the last of the people had their merchandise signed and were really surprised that no one hung around the store. It was almost embarrassing. I guess everyone was in a hurry to get to the gig and start drinking as the doors to the Manning Bar had already opened. I bet they were surprised when they arrived.

We arrived at the Manning Bar during the second last song of DUNGEON I Am Death. I’m sorry I missed that set, because I was really interested to see DUNGEON play with only half of its full-time line up – bass player Brendan ‘Dakk’ McDonald resigned about one and a half months before the tour and drummer Steve ‘Stevo’ Moore took leave of absence for important personal stuff.

A normal band would have admitted defeat and pulled out of the tour but not these guys. Bass player, Glenn Williams, was seconded from Brisbane band MOBSTAR and drummer Grahame Goode (INFERNAL METHOD and STRONGER THAN HATE) added the EDGUY tour to his already bulging schedule, both managing to keep the Dungeon quality at its usual levels with so little preparation.

It was time for EDGUY and the natives were getting restless. The chanting started and the members were sniffed on stage.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the freak show!” resounded over the speakers as the band made its way onto the stage.

The all ages crowd (under 18s to over 50s) went crazy. This time they knew who EDGUY was and what to expect and welcomed the band with gusto as they ran on stage full of energy with grins from ear to ear.

The set started with "Over the Moon" and a grinning, new look Tobias Sammet  ran on stage. A minor technical hitch meant we missed the first few words of the song, but then that distinctive voice finally broke through.

One thing about writing reviews of gigs and taking photos is you end up missing a lot of the show and don’t get to really enjoy it in its entirely, but if you don’t, you end up with very little material to put in your review...Guess this one’s going to be short!

During Navigator I noticed Tobias Exxel (Eggi) looked mighty fine in a pair of black leathers – something popular with a few Edgirls I know in Australia. Hail to Eggi for his leathers.

As Tobi introduced "Land of a Miracle" there was some discussion about how long it had been since EDGUY were last in Australia. Some guy yelled out ‘three years’ which even Tobi had to correct saying that he got it wrong and “must have got us mixed up with THE EAGLES” to the amusement of the audience.

Tobi started to tease Sydney early (there’s always been a state rivalry in Australia) by telling Brisbane to sing along, but surprisingly the crowd was so into EDGUY, they didn’t bite.

If you’ve ever seen EDGUY live, you’ll know that at each show, the audience is treated to a singing lesson from Tobi. This tour we learned how to howl in tune and I should have realised that it was a perfect intro into Lavatory Love Machine. Tongues-a-plenty sprang out during this song as the Edguys had fun with what is a really fun song. I know this song has received mix reviews from fans, but think about it. If you knew you were going to crash, wouldn’t joining the Mile High Club cross your mind?

THE EAGLES must have been on Tobi’s mind all night as he introduced the next song as “an old song from 1955 called Hotel California from the Theater of Salvation album”. From what I’ve read about previous shows, Babylon has only been a recent addition to the Hellfire Club Tour as so many audiences requested it. I wasn’t going to complain, after all, this was the song that sold EDGUY to me.

I could tell the audience was really into EDGUY and their music. The beaming faces which looked up to the EDGUYS on stage could have kept the stage lit on their own and the audience participation was always high. It reached its maximum following Tobi’s introduction of Vain Glory Opera when the audience began to clap along to the intro. I love this song live, especially when Dirk, Eggi and Jens get together and do this hip wiggle thing in time with the music and they look like they’re having a ball.

The drum solo was introduced: “Ladies and gentlemen. The man with the largest cock in the universe. Felix ‘bon bon’ Bonhke!” Only Tobi could get away with saying something like that with the biggest grin and laughing his way off stage.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or clap, so I did both which with the size of my camera, wasn’t an easy task. When I heard the background music Felix had chosen for his drum solo, I was surprised and thought it was really cool. I shouldn’t have been surprised – I’ve seen his bedroom. No! I wasn’t stalking him and peeping through his window when I visited Fulda last year. No!!! It wasn’t that either!

I’m not going to include a spoiler, because some of you are still to see the Hellfire Club tour and would appreciate the surprise. However, I will tell you it’s really cool and if you really want to know, it’s not that hard finding the information on the EDGUY forum.

A mini guitar solo ensemble from Dirk Sauer and Jens Ludwig started "Piper Never Dies". During the chorus I was reminded of how strong EDGUY in the vocal department. Tobi lead vocals are strong and diverse which is what every band should have, but EDGUY also has 3 other members providing backing vocals which really brings out the richness of the melodies and harmonies.

Tobi: “If we come back in two years, will you come?”

Crowd: “Yeah!”

Tobi: “Will you bring two or three friends?

Crowd: “Yeah!”

Tobi: “So we can play 15,000 seat arena!”

Crowd appears stunned, some utter a “yeah”, but mostly people didn’t quite know how to answer that question. Well we can all dream, can’t we?

The last song of the set, "King of Fools", was introduced as the song “we tried for commercial success with, but failed” which received much laughter. Tobi then pacified us by explaining that the band was healthy and happy and that’s all that they needed.

The crowd began its EDGUY chants for an encore and grew louder and Felix snuck back to his drum kit.

"Chalice of Agony" followed by "Out of Control" finished off the night with promises to return again in two years and to play as many cities as possible following the loud protests earlier in the set about Canberra missing out. The crowd grew louder and chants of “Canberra!” also permeated the air.

I felt like the set was very short, so when I compared it to the rest of the Hellfire Club tour it was the same. Maybe I’m greedy or maybe EDGUY perform so well they infect you with a craving for more that can never be sated.

 

 

Melbourne 2 July 2004

I flew in to Melbourne at about 6.00 pm and managed to get to The Esplanade Hotel in time for DUNGEON who opened to an almost full room. They teased the audience with the introduction to what sounded like ICED EARTH’s Blessed Are You before launching into Neverlife. The room was extremely hot, even for what I wasn’t wearing, and forced me to watch Dungeon from the entrance where the old question, Where’s Wally? was finally answered. He’s right here in St Kilda, Australia. Yes, some guy was walking around in a striped t-shirt and striped beanie, round glasses and straight-leg black pants. It was hard to contain myself.

I’ve never really paid attention to styles of drumming before, but when faced with songs I know, I really noticed the difference. Grahame’s drumming was awesome – it just sounded really weird. The other differences I noticed in the DUNGEON live set during this tour was more of the vocals were shared between Lord Tim and guitarist, Stu and there was a drum solo – something I don’t remember ever happening at a DUNGEON show.

DUNGEON finished their set with one of my favourites, "I Am Death". The bassist for the tour, Glenn moved freely around the stage comfortable with his place in the band. His inclusion in the line-up was announced as being temporary for this tour, but maybe these shows have earned him further consideration as replacement for Dakk.

The set consisted of songs mainly from A Rise to Power and new material from their forthcoming CD.

I have to comment at this stage about the lack of women at the EDGUY show in Melbourne. Where were they?!? I shouldn’t complain. It was a nice change from the Sydney metal scene that seems to be going in the opposite direction. I just expected a lot more of them.

Once again we missed the first couple of words to "Over the Moon" (did someone forget to turn the mic on again?) but when Tobi hit an extremely high note you could hear the “awe” of the audience. It was amazing.

I had no intention of taking photos as the Gershwin Room is a nightmare to try and get to the front, but the atmosphere was such that I had to take a chance. Thanks to a friendly security guard, whom I had met earlier, I was able to stand on some stairs to get a birds-eye view of the band. Problem was (and I honestly didn’t realise this would happen) when I raised the camera over the heads of the crowd, EDGUY, or at least some members, got a birds-eye view of what was threatening to spill out of my corset. Our devoted, Western Australian Savage (EDGUY fan) almost lost an eye when he made to the mistake of turning to see what I was doing. Note to self: corsets and photography equals lethal outcomes. Of course, this type of attention does have its advantages!


Put those away before you hurt someone!

It was time for some audience interaction as Tobi talked about soccer matches and acknowledged a German visitor in the audience before starting "Navigator", followed by "Land of a Miracle". That was my three songs and I got out of the crush…eventually.

With the full moon shining over Melbourne Tobi’s howling which I couldn’t resist joining in, hit the mark as EDGUY launched into "Lavatory Love Machine". Some devilish and suggestive gestures were made which only made the song funnier. Following the song, someone in the audience said something (I didn’t hear what was said) and Tobi replied: “It’s not terrible. It’s a matter of taste”, then ended it with something in German which I didn’t quite catch, maybe that was a good thing.


Power napping while Tobi entertains the audience

A confused Tobi introduced "Wake up the King" “from the Kingdom … Theater album” but made up for the mistake in performance. In fact the whole band’s performance during this song makes it one of my favourite live songs. As this was the second show for Melbourne, the song was included to make the show a little different. It’s a shame this song isn’t a regular live track – so many great songs, so little time.

Vain Glory Opera and the drum solo (when we were once again treated to a description of the size of Felix’s member) were followed another change in the set. We were treated to "Fallen Angel" and it sounded as good as it did as the opening song of the Mandrake tour.

Replacing the epicness of The Pharaoh (Mandrake) for the Hellfire Club tour, "Piper Never Dies" started again with slow, deliberate guitar solos from Jens and Dirk. It was at this stage that exhaustion overtook me and I felt like the cool room was overheated again or was it my excitement at watching my favourite band and really being able to appreciate and enjoy the performance without having a camera plastered to my head. That’s the unfortunate thing about total concentration to snap at the right moment, you’re so intent on watching through the lens that your ears miss out on enjoying the music.

“You’re getting tired!”, said Tobi to the crowd. I felt guilty, but was saved as I felt the cold air rush out of airconditioners again. Oxygen! “No way! I want more (EDGUY)!”, I thought.

"Kings of Fools" was followed by "Avantasia". This was either to diversify the set list or as a result of so many calls for it.

After "Tears of the Mandrake" I was pretty impressed with the Melbourne crowd’s response to Tobi asking: “How did you like the show?” I think it’s one of the loudest cheers I’ve heard from such a smallish crowd.

I don’t know what compelled Tobi, but he decided to tell us of his interesting evening in a “certain establishment” where he was invited to pay for his entertainment. Following something said by a guy in the crowd, Tobi responded with: “So, you’ve been to the Men’s Gallery?” Everyone laughed.

I was intrigued to see some of Tobi’s alleged entertainers (based on dress and poise, I deducted who these ladies were) come to see EDGUY perform. I love the way a Melbourne SAVAGE put it: “It’s kinda kinky them showing up. The whole, you got to watch us so we’ll watch you thing.”

I like they way she thinks. To some of us, a great metal performance is almost like a lap dance: you pay your money, watch the performance and then…(you fill in your personal end result here).

I know you’ll probably think I’m biased, as it’s no secret EGDUY are my favourite band, but I’ve been lucky enough to see them play eight times, in four countries and it doesn’t matter if they’re playing to 250 (Sydney) or 25,000 (Wacken) people, they always play as if that show could be their last. I was impressed the first time I saw them and am equally impressed after tonight’s show. What a great night.

 

 

3 July 2004

I think, as a result of Blade Promotions organising a special function in Sydney for EDGUY, Metalwarriors organised a special function in Melbourne. In the spirit of Euro 2004 and to entertain the fans of a sports-mad state, a fun soccer (football, Fußball) match between Germany (EDGUY and crew) and Croatia (Metalwarriors and friends) was played.

There was a disappointing turn out for the match (their major loss), but those that made the effort were treated to new side of EDGUY (minus Tobi). Dirk, Eggi, Felix and Jens moved well along the field (for a bunch of musicians) impressing us with their technique.

As the sun set leaving the soccer field dimly lit, the game came to an end. Germany 1 (Dirk scored the first goal of the game about half-way through the first half) Croatia 4 (with an awesome goal kicked by the youngest player 7-8 year old Rocky Ravic).

The evening was topped off by a tasty Croatian dinner and wrestling entertainment, but ended early as most people had to be up at sparrow’s fart for their flights to Sydney.

 

 

4 July 2004

It was still dark when Edgirl and I woke Sunday morning for our flight back to Sydney to be back in time for the special function starting at 3.00 pm. We came across the Western Australian Savage at the airport on his way to Sydney for the last EDGUY appearance before he returned home.

While we were checking in our bags, I thought Edgirl had truly lost the plot over Felix. She hasn’t quite been the same since hearing Tobi’s introductions to the drum solos. I looked at her strangely when following an announcement she says: “Did you hear that? They just called out Felix’s name!”

I told her she had Felix on the brain and we both had a giggle. One minute later I heard the announcement asking for Felix Bohnke, Steve Ravic and Tobias Exxel (with a little pronunciation trouble) to please make their way to Gate 8 as their plane was waiting for them. We couldn’t help but laugh. It seems there was a little problem with taking someone said boomerang, another said didgeridoo, as a carry on item on the plane.

Flying into Sydney, we were aware of the tight deadline we had to meet: to collect a car from airport parking, to check in at the hotel 5 minutes walk from the function, to collect my car 10 minutes drive away, to dress and then get to the function.

We met our deadlines and more. In the tales of ‘It could only happen to me’ I had a little accident in the hotel car park, due to a heightened state of urgency because we first entered the wrong car park, followed by miscommunications between the operator in charge of the boom gate, Edgirl and a signal she gave me which indicated to proceed with her through the entry. I was almost half-way through when the boom gate descended upon my car, luckily only hitting my roof rack. The boom gate, however, wasn’t that lucky. I snapped it close to the hinge and it hit the ground with a mighty thump. A hotel attendant approached the wooden plank, picked it up and looked at me open-mouthed. In the meantime, I back up to the intercom again and proceed to tell the operator her boom gate had descended on my car and as a result of her unclear instructions, her boom gate was not longer attached to its hinge.

I laugh about it now, but at the time I was pretty shaken. I didn’t need this complication. Didn’t the world know I had a very important function to get to?!?

We managed to get to the Pier on time for the EDGUY Sydney Harbour Cruise. With adrenaline pumping through me I couldn’t calm down so put my extra energy to helping the Blade guys distribute tickets and collect money.

This was an exclusive event and I’m pretty confident in name it as a World First for EDGUY. One hundred tickets were sold for an opportunity to sail around one of the world’s most beautiful harbours for four hours with EDGUY, topped off with performances by DUNGEON and EDGUY.

Can you imagine? Four hours on a boat, surrounded by shark-infested waters and no way off for EDGUY! For some, a dream come true. For others, their worst nightmare.

It was a beautiful, clear, 21°C day, but a little strong wind delayed the boat leaving its port. Finally, the boat was in sight and members of EDGUY could be recognised on deck. As a result of having to give way for commuter ferries, the boat was delayed for almost 15 minutes. It was starting to think a cruel joke was being played. EDGUY were being dangled in front of the waiting crowd like a carrot in front of a racing horse. So close, but just out of reach.

As the boat docked to collect the passengers, EDGUY were still standing on the deck and were greeted with cheers and metal salutes. Still a little shaky, I headed straight for a vodka with ice and then up on deck into the sunshine.

The meet and greet part of the function was a success. Our guests were kept entertained, there were photo opportunities and, always proud of my city, I tried to give the EDGUYS a quick tour pointing out landmarks of interest along the harbour’s edge, including Mrs Macquarie’s chair – a chair carved out of stone by convicts for the wife of the first Governor of Australia, so she could sit and watch the arriving ships; Kirribilli House – the official Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia; Fort Denison – a prison built in the middle of the harbour but now used as a function centre; and of course Sydney Opera House.

 

The sun was setting and the music was turned up as DUNGEON took to the almost stage. After a short break, it was EDGUY’s turn. I was told that the band was skeptical at first when the idea of the cruise was put to them, not wanting to give a sub standard performance, but what we got was far from that. In fact, I felt like I was getting a private performance in the comfort of my loungeroom. Sure, it was a no frills performance, no keyboards, no intro tapes, but what was later termed a rehearsal gig, was EDGUY in the raw and we got to choose the songs.

First up was "Navigator". Then, distracted by the heavy metal screeches of a Sydney metal identity, Tobi treated us to a comedy routine (the first of many this night) called “Tobias Sammet meets Heavy Metal Smurf”.

It was fun watching the EDGUYs play while to boat was moving during "Mysteria", but the first-timers managed to play without falling or even needing to lean against a wall or column. Then the Tobi and Felix comedy routine began. Poor Felix has been copping it this tour-first about the size of his member and then stating that “he’s a drummer, so he’s already nuts.”

What about Down Under pie?To make up for being tortured, Tobi allowed Felix to choose the next song, "Lavatory Love Machine" during which a tradition of Australian tours (see my 2002 tour report), the g-string containing a message, was thrown at Tobi.

During Wake Up the King, heavy metal screeching continued and Tobi asked in amazement: “Still no one has slayed the Smurf?” Then a mobile phone started to ring and everyone erupted into laughter followed by an announcement by Tobi, similar to those heard before flights, to please turn off your phones. The guilty party was very embarrassed.

The song was still not over – it was time for the a Capella part. Tobi gave the signal, Jens played the chord, the arms went up to conduct and the only person who started to sing was Tobi. What followed was a hilarious “you fucked it up” routine along the line’s of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first?”. I don’t know about you, but if one person starts singing and three don’t, I know who I’d guess messed it up.

All up, I’d say it’s the best version of "Wake Up the King" anyone will ever hear and there were so many camcorders on that cruise, don’t be surprised if it’s not long before it comes across your PC. Which leads me to this question: with all the footage available worldwide of EDGUY, a band not shy of being filmed or photographed, why hasn’t a DVD been released? When one finally is released, it’ll be a beauty.

In theme with our surroundings, Tobi led us in a sing-along of 'What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor' and it wasn’t just the water that made the song appropriate.

After "Headless Game", we witnessed some sneaky combat between Tobi standing with his back to the drum kit, armed with a plastic sword motioning to stab “disrespectful“ Felix, with a Gladiator-worthy move, and Felix and his drumsticks sinking a ball in the top right pocket (Tobi’s buttock) with the precision of a snooker champion.

All these antics made "Fallen Angel" an appropriate next song. The chants of one hundred people could have easily been that of a thousand – we were all that entertained that night and didn’t want it to end. Unfortunately, time was running out and we were approaching the pier, so EDGUY thanked each Australian for their support and finished the set with Out of Control.

I must confess, I shed a tear during the last song – in happiness and in sorrow. Happy that EDGUY had returned as promised and I was able to see three fabulous shows and sad that it would probably be another two years before I would see them play again. I’m such a girl sometimes.

Unfortunately, some of the Melbourne crew were flying home that night and had to get back to the hotel by a certain time to catch the shuttle to the airport. EDGUY were sent to the hotel about thirty minutes earlier. After a very long day, I’m sure all they wanted was to shower, eat and rest. At the hotel, I witnessed something which explains why EDGUY have the respect of so many people around the world - peers, crew and fans. The whole band was outside the hotel waiting for the departing crew to say goodbye properly. And, they were the warm goodbyes of friends.

A couple of hours later, a laid-back EDGUY, DUNGEON, crew and some fans finally found a 24-hour pub willing to take in such a large and rowdy group. There they relaxed, drank, and just talked as people getting to know each other instead of as a bands and its fans. That’s probably why I felt weird about asking to have my photo taken with any of them this tour and if it wasn’t for someone taking photos all night (not me this time) there’d be no visual proof that I was actually there. Thanks Paganbaby.

Oh, and about this being a short report, I guess I lied.


Edguy Australian Tour 2002

Official Edguy site