Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Via Funchal, São Paulo, Brazil
December 15th 2001

By Thiago Martins
South American Field Agent for Metal-Rules.com

About 7,000 people were at Via Funchal to see the first Angra gig in their hometown with the new line up. The concert was full of expectations. After selling more than 50,000 albums in Brazil, it was the time for the first big concert. São Paulo was the final test for the new members in their country.

The concert was opened by the Brazilian prog-metal band Karma – bassist Felipe Andreoli’s band prior to Angra. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to see them, but I was told they did a good job. About 10:30 pm, the lights went off and the opening track started.

The opening theme lasted for about 10 minutes, way too long. When the taped “In Excelsis” started to be played, most of the excitement of the crowd created when the theme started was gone. But as soon as the sampler intro of “Nova Era” started, everybody went crazy (well, I don’t know if it was a sampler or it was their touring keyboard player Fabio Laguna). Off their new album, “Acid Rain” was played in the sequence and it is clearly a new Angra classic, due to the reaction of the crowd.

The next song was the song-title of their debut, “Angels Cry”. It was a strong beginning. Falaschi’s vocals seemed quite ok on this. After that, they played “Heroes of Sand” – their first single in Brazil, and they were also recording the video for it. “Metal Icarus” was the only song played from FIREWORKS, “Make Believe” is a big hit in Brazil and received a huge reaction from the crowd. “Millennium Sun” was the next one. Then it was time for the drum solo of the new member Aquilles Priester, started with the intro from Painkiller – one thousand times better than the cover version Angra had done for this one. But they didn’t play the whole song and after this the solo got extremely boring…

The next song played was the different “Unholy Wars”. After that, two DJ’s from a Brazilian self-called “rock radio” (actually, they aren’t) entered the stage to give Angra the gold album for selling 50,000 copies of REBIRTH in Brazil. To celebrate this great happening for a Brazilian heavy metal band, they played the song-title of the acclaimed album, emended with their classic from ANGELS CRY “Time”. To finish the first part of the set, they played “Running Alone” off their new album.

The first encore started with the taped “Crossings”, the intro for HOLY LAND album. Well, the next song was already foreseen by the crowd: “Nothing to Say”, a blast. The second encore started with the intro “Unfinished Allegro”, from ANGELS CRY. Well, what has yet to be said about “Carry On”? It’s a Brazilian metal hymn. Everybody knows the lyrics by heart, it’s always great to hear it live. Following this song, Kiko Loureiro started a duel against the bassist Felipe Andreoli, a very boring one, emended with the Iron Maiden cover “The Number of the Beast”, the closer for this night.

The sound in the venue was perfect. The light-works were really good, and there were also some minor fireworks effects to give a special atmosphere for the gig. About each member, Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt showed all their skills (although I don’t understand why sometimes Kiko doesn’t play the rhythms when Rafael is doing the solo), but this time they seemed a lot happier than the last time I’ve seen Angra. About the new guys, Aquilles Priester did a huge job in the drums, playing everything perfectly, doing some minor changes, almost unnoticeable. Felipe Andreoli was a surprise to me. He had a tremendous better stage performance than his predecessor Luis Mariutti, and his bass sounded more powerful, heavier. Oh, and for the first time in an Angra concert, I’ve seen the guys doing backing vocals correctly!

Eduardo Falaschi’s task was a difficult one. While playing the songs off REBIRTH, he was almost perfect – I just think that he needs to get a better stage performance as a frontman, but he’s not bad. When he has sung Andre Matos’ one, I wasn’t completely satisfied. OK, he did it well (especially on “Angels Cry”), but I think that a lot of times he tried to follow Matos peculiar style (which I’m not too fond of) instead of doing it his own way. For example, he did a great version of the Iron Maiden cover, if he had done the same with the older songs, I think it would be a lot better. But, after all, there was no reason to complain about, he did it correctly.

As the gig ended, the crowd seemed to approve the new line up. They were always chanting the new members names, singing the whole lyrics for all the songs (even the new ones). For me, I think they still have a lot to improve, starting by the setlist. Even enjoying all their new songs, I still think they could play more of their older stuff (specially “Evil Warning” from ANGELS CRY, a personal favorite). Playing a cover is something that Angra should stop doing. I don’t think that a band with 4 albums should play covers live. If they had even chosen a different song, an unknown one, it’d be ok, but they played one of Maiden’s most famous. I really didn’t understand, but the crowd reacted very well, so maybe this has worked the way they wanted.

Now I hope they play in Brazil again after the European tour, and I’m sure they will be a lot better than it was on this first night in São Paulo. But, after all, it was a very good gig and this line up really proved that they have a huge potential.


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