Sept. 13 2009, Foufounes Électriques, Montreal, Canada
Review by EvilG
Photos by Steve Sanders
(Note: I didn't have a photo pass for this show, and I didn't realize that the venue would just let us chumps take a camera inside to take pics...otherwise I would of taken my own. However, thanks to Steve who attended and graciously gave us permission to use these photos)
When Primal Fear announced that their only Canadian stop on this leg of their 2009 tour was Montreal, it was a no-brainer on whether we'd attend or not. Primal Fear have been one of my favorite bands for a long time so the anticipation and expectations to see them live was running extremely high. I had seen Primal Fear just one time before way back in 2001 on their NUCLEAR FIRE tour stop in NJ, USA which was (I think) their first time in North America.
The opening band in Montreal was a local band called Southern Cross. On other tour dates in Europe, Primal Fear had Brainstorm with them which would have been amazing to see here. It's too bad the two of them weren't touring together in North America as well! I wasn't at all familiar with Southern Cross, so I don't have a whole lot to say. They played well but the vocals were a little too tame and safe for my tastes. They did have solid playing and many people at the venue seemed excited about seeing them. We however were a little impatient and after listening to almost nothing but Primal Fear for two weeks before this show, hearing this just didn't cut it.
After a painful wait between bands, finally we could see Primal Fear band members heading down the side stairs leading towards the small stage. The opening melody of the 16.6 track “Under the Radar” started to fill the club as all the members of Primal Fear came out, except for Ralf. Just in time for the opening line of the song, “May lightening strike me as I roam the blood red skies”, Ralf causally came onto the stage amidst loud cheers from the few hundred in attendance. Right away you are struck with the power of this man's voice, the effortless way he reaches, not struggles, for the highs, the power and richness of his lows, and his charismatic stage presence. Ralf was wearing a fancy bastard looking long jacket that looked pretty cool, but would have been cooler if it were leather!! Ha! After just one song he shed the coat to show off his massive guns of course. Ha! The other thing to point out is that the stage right guitar (the dude with the strat in the pics) was being played by Alex Beyrodt who was filling in for Magnus Karlsson, whose wife had recently had twins. For someone who is not in the band, Alex was doing a spectacular job. However, for me, Henny Wolter stole the guitar spotlight with his huge sound, and head ripping, mind-melting soloing. Of course the mid-point of the show featured a 'dual' between Henny and Alex that was fun as it wasn't just wankery but also had some humor, such as Henny putting his guitar on his shoulder like a bazooka and imitating explosive sounds while aiming and firing at Alex. The ending part of the solo was jaw-dropping with some crazy guitar harmonies really showing their shred-abilities.
Ralf remained on fire throughout the entire set, never faltering. Usually when I've seen a live band with a singer that sings a lot of ear piercing screams, there is often a place or two where there is a little wear or at least some struggle. When the band launched into “Sign of Fear” I figured that Ralf might have a hard time with the opening lines as even for him the vocals are crazy. However, he ripped it out and all I could do was stand there in awe, grinning like a fool, amazed that I was hearing something so godly, so metal, preformed to perfection...live!
After “Sign of Fear” the band slowed things down and also took things to yet another level with “Fighting The Darkness” where Pamela Moore joined Ralf on stage for a duet. Of course, most of us metallers know her as “Sister Mary” from the Queensryche 'Operation Mindcrime' album. While she wasn't the vocalist who recorded the album version of "Fighting the Darkness" with Ralf, after hearing her own this song, it makes you wish that the band would do a follow-up song like this and actually have Pamela record with them. While singing their parts to one another there was plenty of moments where they held hands and gazed into one anothers eyes...not unlike scenes from her appearances with Queensryche. My only complaint is that, since they brought this woman with them for three dates of this tour, you'd think they might have used her on more than one song! But alas, after her all too short, yet awesome, appearance it was over.
Another memorable moment in the set was the first song of the encore. I had read they were doing the 16.6 acoustic ballad “Hands of Time” live and was looking forward to hearing it. “Hands of Time” from their new album is a very different and welcome style addition to Primal Fear's already outstanding arsenal. After stools were positioned to the edge of the stage, band came back out, Henny with his acoustic, and bass mastermind Mat Sinner looked at the audience and mimicked a “shhhhhhhhhhhh....” and the band preformed a great version of the song. Reportedly, on the album, all members of the band except drummer Randy Black sing a verse. In this live environment, the singers were Ralf, Mat, and Henny (whose vocals sound a little like Neil Young).
“The hands of time are moving on
Didn't know its been so long
Clocks are ticking time away
It's sad to see”
After “Hands of Time” the band picked things back up for two more songs, closing with a song from their first album which was the first song I ever heard from the band, “Chainbreaker”.
It was hard to believe that the show was over. It felt like only a few minutes had passed, it was that magical. I can honestly say, that this was the best performance I've yet to witness from any band..what an amazing show! I am still flabbergasted that the band were not playing at the larger Montreal venue “Le Medley”, and that the Fouf wasn't jam-packed. There was a decent crowd, and what Montreal lacked in numbers was made up for with enthusiasm. Ralf looked genuinely impressed with the reception given to the band. My only complaint would be that the set-list skipped all material from the BLACK SUN album!?! They should of at least played “Armageddon”. Oh well, a minor complaint...if the band announce another date in Canada for a proper Canadian tour that consists of more than ONE city, I hope to be there!
Under the Radar
Battalions of Hate
Six Times Dead (16.6)
Angel In Black
Sign Of Fear
Fighting the Darkness (with Pamela Moore as guest)
Riding the Eagle
Metal is Forever
Hands of Time
Official website: www.primalfear.de