Dystopia World Tour 2011-2012, Europe Under Ice
Fury UK (support act)
December 3, 2011
Live review and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Jon Schaffer and his Iced Earth were on a long European tour that was a great way to end 2011 for both band and fans alike. The band’s now ex-singer Matt Barlow left Iced Earth earlier in 2011 and I had the opportunity to say goodbye to Barlow at the Graspop Metal Meeting Festival in Belgium this past summer and the last show ever with Barlow in Europe was at Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany. The live CD and DVD FESTIVAL OF THE WICKED was released during the summer as a farewell to Barlow and in October along came the new album DYSTOPIA. The bands has also inked a deal with a new label in Century Media. A lot has been going on in the band during 2011 and it seems that all the turmoil hasn’t damaged the fans confidence in Schaffer and Iced Earth. For some reason, the tour did not stop in Sweden or in Norway so I got my ass over to Copenhagen and to Amager Bio to see the band.
The show was originally scheduled to take place at the infamous "The Rock" in downtown Copenhagen but the venue sadly closed permanently a few weeks before the show and me and many other frequent guests were really sad when we heard the news. Rumors started to circle around in November that the place was going to shut down at the first of January but the heads of The Rock chose to shut the place down at the end of November and all the booked shows were moved to other venues or canceled. The shows moved to other venues like Vega, Pumpehuset or Amager Bio which is where Iced Earth appeared this December night. It was a harsh set back for the hard rock and metal community in Scandinavia because The Rock was the obvious place to go to if you wanted to hear great music.
There were a lot of Swedes that had traveled to Amager Bio to see Iced Earth and I also met fans from Norway so there was no doubt that Iced Earth is really appreciated in Scandinavia. The venue is an old movie theater ("Bio" means movie theater in Scandinavia) that had been transformed into a concert venue and it has a capacity to hold about 1000 visitors. It’s a really nice place, the only negative thing is that the stage is maybe placed a little low compared to other clubs and venues. When I arrived at the venue at 8 o clock there stood a minor drum-kit on stage and a small backdrop was hung behind it. As time came and went more people arrived at the theater and soon was it time for the support act to kick off the evening. At 9 o clock the support act kicked off the evening.
Fury UK consisted of three guys that play groovy hard rock with a lots of energy and drive. The bass player and the guitarist stood on each side of the broad stage with the drummer in the middle. Their music fit quite well to open for Iced Earth but the audience seemed to be a bit reluctant towards the band. The sound worked really good but the lighting was poor and something that the band would gain a lot on is to add another guitarist. Even though the music sounded good it would not hurt to add more guitars to the sound picture. Before the band walked off and thanked the audience thanked the singer Iced Earth for bringing Fury UK out on the road. The singer invited us to come to the merchandise stand after the show in order to talk and mingle and to drink beer with the band. After 50 minutes was it time for Fury UK to finish off their time on stage and I quite liked the bands music and is definitely going to take a closer look at their music.
While the crew prepared the stage for the headline act I took a look at the merchandise stand and took the opportunity to talk with a few friends I met up with. A huge backdrop with the Iced Earth logo was hung up and one each side of the drums was smaller backdrops placed that portrayed the cover art-work of the album. It took a while for the crew to prepare the stage but after 30 minutes it was time for the crowd to get closer to the stage and scream for their idols to come out and show themselves on stage.
The band entered the stage to the tones of a mighty intro and kicked off the show with the title song from the new album “Dystopia”. The new singer Stu Block came on stage to the first notes of “Dystopia” and the crowd screamed on the top of their lungs when he showed up. The show continued with “Burning Times” and the audience hadn’t time to catch their breath in between the songs.
Band members are:
Jon Schaffer – rhythm guitar, b-vocals
Brent Smedley – drums
Stu Block – lead vocals
Troy Steele – lead guitar
Freddie Vidales – bass, b-vocals
Block asked how Copenhagen was doing and asked if it wasn’t time for a song from the album NIGHT OF THE STORMRIDER and kicked off “Angels Holocaust”. That song went straight into “Slave To The Dark” and “V”. The one who moved around the most on stage was Block while the rest of the band members stood solid on their spot during the show. The lighting was still not great but the sound system worked perfect and you could hear every members effort loud and clear. The longer the show proceeded the more Block opened up as it felt like he was a little nervous at the beginning of the show. But I can understand him, it can’t be easy following the footsteps of the great Matt Barlow and Tim “Ripper” Owens.
“Stand Alone” followed after which Block said that it was again time to travel back in time and sing a song called “When The Night Falls”. It seemed like the audience liked both the new and the older songs and clapped their hands and sang a long in most of the songs. It was the hardcore fans in the front of the stage that created the most chaos the rest of the crowd stood calm and listened to the music and clapped their hands. “Damien” and the more current song “Dark City” continued the show and the band felt and looked really solid and tight together. Smedley and Vidales worked brilliant together and created a solid foundation for the rest of the guys to lean on. Block’s voice has similarities with both Tim Owen’s as well as with Matt Barlow at least on album but his vocal abilities didn’t really show live this night. Block also left a little more to wish for as a front man to me but maybe he’s going to grow with the task in the future this is the first tour he does with the band. It can’t be easy to walk in the shoes of Owens or Barlow. From the album THE DARK SAGA came “The Hunter” and “Anthem” which Block said he had written together with Schaffer. The amazing song “Declaration Day” followed and Schaffer contributed with some vocals in the song.
Many of the fans sang a long in the song and it seemed like this tune was one of the most awaited ones. In the last song on the ordinary set which were “Watching Over Me” came no other than the Volbeat singer Michael Poulsen up on stage and sang a duet with Schaffer. Schaffer said that he had written the song to a friend that was involved in a motorcycle accident. The audience went crazy when the Copenhagen native son Poulsen showed up and Poulsen seemed to be in a great mood and shook the hands of the fans that was closest to the stage. He sang his characteristically “Ho, Ho, Ho” as he always does and the audience followed with him from the start. As the song ended Poulsen went off stage and Schaffer said that he thought that everyone probably knew who that guy was. Schaffer said that Volbeat is one of the best bands around at the moment. That guest appearance ended the show that lasted for 1.15 but that wasn’t enough for the fans and they shouted for more music as soon as the band had gone of stage. After a few minutes returned Iced Earth on stage and kicked off the first encore which was “Dantes Inferno” taken from the album BURNT OFFERINGS and it’s a really long song. Block thanked everyone for being there and also thanked the band members for letting him be a part of Iced Earth. It seemed like Block was genuine glad that have been given the opportunity to front a huge band like Iced Earth. He also thanked Fury UK and asked us to give a warm hand to the opening act. The absolute last song for the night was Iced Earth” and after that took the members off their instruments and thanked the audience for a great evening and show. Altogether lasted the show for about 1hr45mins.
The venue emptied pretty fast and when I met up with Schaffer after the show I asked him why the band didn’t perform in Sweden and he answered that there was a serious lack of interest in Sweden to book the band. Sad, because I know the band has a lot of fans at least in the south parts of Sweden. The show was great and it’s sad that many Swedish fans are missing Iced Earth. Stu Block did a good job but I guess that when he’s done a few shows he’s going to feel and act more confident. The light was pretty crappy and the biggest question was why the band only played one single song taken from the Owens era? Otherwise consisted the set list of really old songs as well as the new ones taken from DYSTOPIA. This show was the last for me for 2011 and it was the perfect way of ending the music year for me. At the beginning of 2012 is the band about to hit North America and Australia.
Slave To The Dark
When The Night Falls
Days Of Rage
Watching Over Me
Thanks to Stefan Franke and special thanks to Dario Dumancic from Century Media for help with press/photo-pass to the show.
More info about the band