Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

April 21, 2001 (São Paulo, Brazil)

Review and photos by Thiago Martins
South American Field Agent for Metal-Rules.com

Well, for those who don't know, Angra has not finished, but it has split up, only remaining from the original line up the guitarists Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt. The frontman Andre Matos, bassist Luis Mariutti, drummer Ricardo Confessori, as well as touring keyboardist Fabio Ribeiro, formed a new band, called Shaman (name of a song from the Holy Land album), and they are on a short tour to promote the new band. For the guitar works, the band picked only one guitarist, the bassist's brother Hugo Mariutti.

As we can see, there's not an album being promoted yet. The band has recorded a four-track demo, and played all the new songs on their first gig in their hometown of São Paulo. The rest of their set consisted of songs from their former band Angra, most of these tracks composed by Andre Matos, as well as some covers and a special appearance.

The venue was Via Funchal, one of the brazilian best places. There were approximately 3,500 people there. Shaman has prepared a lot of stage effects, as Angra used to do on their gigs around here. The supporting act was made by brazilian prog-metallers Karma, a good band, although I think they have yet a lot to improve, but their first album, called INSIDE THE EYES, is good.

While the taped opening theme was played (the soundtrack of Armageddon movie, as it was on the Angra Fireworks tour), a part of the stage was getting up like an elevator with Andre Matos and a keyboard, as well as the curtains were opening. Then a firework effect. The first song is a new one called "Time Will Come", that I didn't like very much, but the crowd seemed to approve. Like the other three new songs played ("Blind Shell", "Be Free", "Here We Go"), the Shaman sound tends to be more progmetal oriented than Angra, and the keyboards have much more influences on the songs, that seemed to be longer, with lots of tempo changes, a bit more intricate, but they are not bad (I would need to listen to them more carefully to give a better opinion).

From Angra, the band played "Streets of Tomorrow" as the second song from the gig, and the next one was "Lisbon". The crowd seemed to be having the time of their lives. During "Lisbon" -- a huge radio hit over here -- Andre Matos almost didn't need to sing, the crowd was terribly loud! Then they played another new one. The next song was the taped opening "Crossings", the intro for HOLY LAND. "Nothing to Say", and "Silence and Distance" were played in the sequence, and the crowd one more time was screaming like animals. Other Angra songs played were "The Shaman", "Carolina IV", and "Wings of Reality".

With only one guitar player, I was expecting those songs to be a bit "empty", but I was wrong. Hugo Mariutti seemed to play the riffs in lower tones, so they got a bit more aggressive. He played the solos from both Angra guitarists the same way as the original. Also, Fabio Ribeiro has done a great job on keys and helped to "fulfill" the sound. So there wasn't anything to complain. Luis Mariutti keeps on making his good job on bass, Ricardo Confessori porves once again to be one of brazilian best drummers, though his solo was very boring (as most of the drums solos I've ever seen).

Andre Matos had a haircut (well, it's not short, but it's not so long anymore), he seems to be not so thin, but on stage he keeps on being the same person as always, a good frontman (well, very much like Bruce Dickinson), still he is singing very well, as always (but in the end of the set he wasn't at full potential).

The highlight of the gig, for me, was the special appearance: Yves Passarell. He is one the guitarists from Brazilian band Viper (Andre's band before Angra), a kind of Brazilian legend. He got on stage and played the Brazilian heavy metal hymn "Living for the Night" (from Viper's THEATRE OF FATE album) in its entirely. Most of the people there (including me) have never seen this song live with Andre Matos, and so it was very nostalgic (I've seen even some 'older' bangers crying).

Surprisingly, the band played "Painkiller", a song that most of the people didn't expect (for the second guitar, Motorblues guitarist Arnaldo Ricci). But more unexpected was the cover for Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls", with Andre Matos on drums, Ricardo Confessori on the guitar, Hugo Mariutti playing guitar and singing. It was very fun, they played this song correctly, and Hugo's vocal sometimes seemed like old James Hetfield. Very cool!

To finish the set, the obvious (and great) song "Carry On", when the people screamed their lungs off, jumped, cried, all those usual things for Brazilian crowd. Shaman proved that they will surely be a successful band, at least here in São Paulo. The Angra fans approved their gig and are anxious to hear the first album of this new band. Now it's the time to wait for it.

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