Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

DirectTV Music Hall, São Paulo, Brazil
January, 31st, 2002

Review by Thiago


It was a difficult Thursday for me. It was a stressful week. I had lots of problems with the telephone at home – and the suckers that came here to fix it –, I had a lot of things to study for and a big test I would have on the following Sunday. The last thing on my mind for that night was the Edguy gig. I never happened to be their fan – although I liked the VAIN GLORY OPERA album a lot. I almost forgot about this gig. I remembered when it was a bit late, so I caught the bus, faced a huge traffic jam and when I got to the stage, the lights were off and the intro for Edguy was already being played. So I missed the opening act, the Brazilian band Vers’Over.

It was the Avantasia intro, “A New Dimension”. After that, the fast “Fallen Angels”, from the new album MANDRAKE, opened the set with energy, and the good attendance for that night (about 1,800 head bangers) showed how they love Edguy by singing the whole song with them. “Tears of the Mandrake” came next in the sequence and its catchy chorus received a huge cooperation by the Brazilian Edguy followers. It was clear that the band would play with the audience by their side the whole gig, even clearer when they played the great ballad “Land of the Miracle” from THEATER OF SALVATION, and the crowd kinda lost each part singing one of the vocals that got mixed in the end. They knew all the lines!

“Painting on the Wall”, “Babylon” (hugely requested by the crowd) and “The Headless Game” were played, and the crowd showed to be very much into the band, but I noticed that Tobias Sammett had already lost his voice. He couldn’t reach the high notes, he was leaving a lot of parts of the chorus for the crowd to sing, and in a lot of time the crowd was louder than him. Even though, he was so astonished by the Brazilians reaction – I gotta admit that I didn’t know Edguy was this huge in Brazil – his performance as a front man was perfect, always keeping the crowd not only interested, but participating the whole gig.

When everyone was a bit tired (I don’t remember being at a gig with so energy lately and the crowd jumping, screaming), they played the long “Pharaoh”, which I’m not sure but they put a longer instrumental section with some bass and guitar solos in the middle. I never happened to like individual solos, but this one at least came in a proper time, since the next song would be a hit.

The title-track from my favorite Edguy album – and it seems to be the most famous one around here – came to drive the crowd absolutely crazy. “Vain Glory Opera” got its chorus sung by each person inside the venue and they made it absolutely fabulous, although Tobias Exxel, Jens Ludwig and Dirk Sauer were making a strange girly dance, it seemed that it was a bit boring from them playing that specific song.

I sincerely don’t know why, but after this song there was a drum solo, that seemed to be a bit out of time, since everybody was ready to bang their heads again. The next song was the fast “Save Us Now”, well received by the crowd, but not as well as the following hit again from the VAIN GLORY OPERA album, “How Many Miles”. This song again proved that this album gave Edguy their recognition in Brazil about 3 years ago is the favorite among the Brazilian crowd. After that, the set was finished and the band got off the stage, but something was missing.

When the band returned onstage, Tobias asked “Do you wanna hear some more?”. Of course, the crowd answered yes. Then Tobias asked again “Well, do you mind if we play something different, like, a cover?” I don’t know if many people understood the question, but in the middle of the fuzz everybody said “YEAH!”. Then Tobias said the word everybody was waiting to hear “Well, we’re gonna play a song from AVANTASIA”.

Then the crowd went to the ground. I was a bit wrong about Vain Glory Opera being their bigger album: Avantasia (ok, it’s not an Edguy album) is their biggest hit here and as soon as the band played the song “Avantasia”, no one had a minimum doubt about it. Tobias Sammett didn’t have to sing a word, everybody there could sing from the first line to last one, and when the chorus came, man, I don’t remember seeing a crowd singing so highly a song in a long time… “We are the power inside, we bring you fantasy, we are the kingdom of light and dreams… gnosis and life, Avantasia!!!!” These lines were sung a lot of times in the night, since the band made a sing-alone section due to extremely great response of the crowd! Maybe it’s a new heavy metal classic.

To finish the set, they played “Out of Control” from VAIN GLORY OPERA, and then I realized how much the crowd preferred Avantasia. It seemed to be an usual song, I don’t know if the people got tired, if their voice was gone too, but this song, one of my favorite, didn’t have a reception as great as the others, but it was ok. And so the gig ended.

About the musicians, I have nothing really bad to say at all. Since I’m not that much into Edguy, I can’t say that they played everything perfectly, at least the Vain Glory Opera songs were. Felix Bohnke did a good job at drums, Jens Ludwig was perfect at the guitar, and as well as the bassist Tobias Exxel. They seemed to be having the time of their lives on stage. Dirk Sauer seemed to be a little quieter than the others.

Okay, all that can be said about Tobias Sammet was already done. He had a great stage performance, he was the man responsible for this huge response of the crowd. But, technically speaking, he seemed to be without any voice left in the beginning of the set, I don’t know exactly what happened (I’ve read in some mags that he had problems with the mics), but everyone left with the impression that his voice was gone.

After all, it was a great gig, and if I wasn’t in the mood for a power metal concert when I arrived at the venue, I left the place with a great sensation that I had seen one of the best gigs that a band at this genre can provide. I’ve seen that Edguy is scheduled to play at ProgPower, and I can assure that they will do one of the best gigs there. Don’t dare to miss it! I wouldn’t.



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