Gaelic Theatre, Sydney Australia
10 December 2006
Review by suncross and Brat, photos by Brat
When people talk about the Gaelic Theatre they talk about the pillar that can obscure your view. What I didn’t expect was the pillock that obscured my view. This peasant spent the entire gig with his digital camera raised in mock salute (Phew! Wasn’t me this time—Brat) save only for the occasional headbang and an arpeggio run on his air guitar. It was a painful paparazzi performance but I would not let it distract me from my night of metal.
Finally, I was to bear witness to LORD and GAMMA RAY on the same bill. It could not have been more metal if Dorothy’s Tin Man had donned a mail shirt and stormed the stage singing Hail and Kill.
This was my first chance to experience the reincarnation of Dungeon. LORD delivered a blistering performance. Their power metal has a bite and while comparisons have been made to HammerFall, LORD is more reminiscent of American bands like Jag Panzer. Real rousing choruses, crunching guitars, swinging battleaxes and decapitating dragons type metal. (Not to mention the occasional pirate—Brat)
LORD opened with the epic Legend of Huma from Resurrection. Naturally the set focused on Dungeon material but the chemistry between the band members brought new energy to the songs. Mav Stevens (in one of his last gigs with LORD) and Lord Tim traded solos while Andy on bass and Tim on drums anchored the band to the intrusive backline. Terrano Del Mar was huge and had the audience chanting like pirates singing “Whoa ho, all rowing this metal manowar onward”.
Despite a stage no larger than a Porsche parcel shelf, Lord Tim and the band made it look like they were playing Long Beach Arena. “Scream for me, Sydney!”
Technical glitches then enforced a longer break than intended. I settled in to watch the intermission entertainment where two drunken yobs beside me started a fist fight. No dramas, they were obviously good mates.
Brat: It’s during these types of delays when you appreciate the brilliance of the promoters. Virgin Melbourne-based promoters-the guys from the Screaming Symphony radio program – showcased the last VANISHING POINT slab Embrace The Silence in its entirety, which by most accounts bypassed most Sydney metalheads after its 2005 release.
Somebody remembered to plug in the lights and GAMMA RAY took to the stage. I recalled hours spent gazing at the gatefold sleeve of HELLOWEEN’s Keeper of the Seven Keys in 1987, so Kai’s arrival from Germany was akin to Odin flying down from Valhalla. Allfather the creator of modern power metal was in Sydney.
GAMMA RAY opened with an almighty version of Gardens of the Sinner from PowerPlant. The grin on Kai’s face was infectious.
Brat: Never content to stay in the same spot all night unless in front-row position for one of my favourite bands, I spent the early part of the night moving around trying to get a few different angles for photos. There was a moment of extra excitement for me when from the back of the room I thought Ronny Milosevic (Sinergy, Dionysus) was behind the drums instead of Daniel Zimmermann—maybe it’s time I got my contact lenses upgraded. I eventually managed to squeeze through bodies which seemed to be superglued together in an attempt to get closer to GAMMA RAY than was physically possible, found a good spot in front of Henjo Richter and decided to stay there the rest of the night.
GAMMA RAY delivered a suitably diverse set list for their first visit to Antipodean shores, selecting a song from most of their albums.
Brat: New World Order was the next song from the same album although I would have preferred to hear Heaven Or Hell, but I wasn’t complaining as “GAMMA RAY” and “quality” are synonymous.
There was much adoration beaming up to the band from the audience—men were salivating, women were baring flesh, all with fists raised in the air while Man On A Mission and Fight pulsed through front-of-house.
Speaking of VANISHING POINT, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see VP’s keyboardist, Leonard Kopilas, on stage playing for GAMMA RAY. After all, when the bands toured together in Europe, VP’s keyboardist Danny “Danimal” Olding, was also pilfered.
Blood Religion from Majestic smoked. “It’s about vampires,” deadpanned Kai.
Brat: I‘m here, I thought as I gave a mental wave.
The Helloween medley following Heavy Metal Universe was a nice touch but to abridge Rebellion in Dreamland (with Land Of The Free after they played The Silence—Brat) was a disappointment. I could no sooner contemplate cutting Hallowed Be Thy Name than editing this jewel in Gamma Ray’s crown.
Brat: What Helloween medley would be complete without I Want Out—an anthem covered by so many bands for so many reasons. I have a new-found admiration for all that is and was Helloween after seeing them live in an intimate arena, so this medley was extremely welcome.
The evening finished with two encores. The crowd just wouldn’t let Gamma Ray go home.
Brat: The first of the encores started with Valley Of The Kings.
The highlight of Gamma Ray’s performance was a rousing rendition of Somewhere Out In Space. The building chorus was perfect for the live setting.
The professionalism and dynamism of both bands was a privilege to watch. It was truly a “Majestic” night of metal that transcended both pillar and pillock.
Brat: GAMMA RAY is the type of band where you don’t need to know the songs to really enjoy there performance. I mean, I have a couple of albums, but I’m not so familiar with the material as to be able to sing along with the songs. Hell, the only song I think I could sing to was I Want Out and that had more to do with me being a Sonata Arctica fan!
This isn’t the first time I’d seen GAMMA RAY live and even on a huge stage and fighting for a view amongst 20,000 people, they managed to keep me interested, but after the last song in Sydney, Send Me A Sign, I really didn’t want it to be the end of the set.
The band had all intentions of doing a meet and greet signing session after the show, but curses to the stupid venue which had to close early due to Sunday night licensing restrictions. A few diehard fans waited at the back entrance for some time after the venue closed and were awarded with plenty of autographs and photos—even holding phallic symbols—true sportsmanship, Aussie style!