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This line-up simply rocks! - 80%

Lane, September 9th, 2012

It took some months before I dared to pick up this second Helloween live DVD. I kind of worried, that 'High Live' DVD (2002) catastrophy would happen again, but never really believed it would or could. And guess what? Partly it DID happen again! Once again, a Helloween DVD is badly coded. The DVD 1 contains 62 chapters, because many of the songs are chopped into multiple chapters. Forwarding from 'Keeper of the Seven Keys' to 'If I Could Fly', it takes 23 pushes of the "forward" button! When choosing a track from the menu and seeing it, after it ends the DVD jumps back to the menu... Damnit! So watching e.g. three first songs and then last three songs is a real pain in the ass, thanks to the stupid chaptering. The reason for this chopping is that there are songs featuring an "alternate view" option, meaning that there are points in a song where a viewer can switch between various recordings of the same song. This happens when a pumpkin head appears on screen and by pressing "enter", it jumps to same part of a song recorded somewhere else. So there are 2 versions of these songs (five in all) available. This is a very good idea, but the result sucks. Big time. Again.

But now to more important things: The live show itself! Helloween's career spans over 11 studio albums, so building a set-list to please all the fans is a hard task. For this DVD, the band have done a good, but not magnificent, job. The first of two 'The Dark Ride' (2000) songs is 'Mr.Torture' and 'Power' is the only one from 'The Time of the Oath' (1996), but in my opinion those two albums include a lot better songs that would've been so much better placing those two songs. And there's just one really good song from the album this tour was for, 'Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy' (2005). You see what I'm doing?! It is impossible to please every-fucking-one! Totally impossible!!! But the truth is, that many classic songs are, sadly, absent here. The main program is enjoyable viewing and hearing, as the band seem to be in good spirits doing their stuff. They are wacky, but never let that fool you to believe that they don't handle their instruments in a masterful way. Dani Löble hits the drums like a metal drummer should: hard. Markus Grosskopf does same to his bass. Guitar duo Messrs. Weikath and Gerstner play like an old partners. For many a Helloween fan, I believe, Andi Deris singing the songs from the first two 'Keeper of the Seven Keys' albums (1987 & 1988), is a sort of a sacrilege. As known, those two classic albums were made for Michael Kiske's soaring voice. I have used to Mr. Deris by now, but it took a long time, thanks to his unique voice, which is high-pitched and quite thin at times. I think Andi manages to do the old Helloween stuff well enough, except that he screams through 'Future World', so one thumb up for him. Guitar and drum solos are useless (of course Andi must rest his voice for awhile), but at least the band added funny elements to both (other guys come and meddle with toy instruments to battle).

Definite highlights for me are 'The King for a 1000 Years', 'Eagle Fly Free', 'Hell Was Made in Heaven', 'Keeper of the Seven Keys' and 'A Tale That Wasn't Right'. Of course set-list regulars such as 'Future World' and 'I Want out' are there. Interestingly enough, DVD 2 includes two goodies: Epic 'Halloween' and 'Occasion Avenue'! Maybe the songs were too long to be included on the DVD 1, but certainly they wouldn't have made it any harm (the best solution, in my opinion, would have been replacing the solos with these songs). Okay, the crowd are dead silent on 'Occasion...' and picture quality sucks plus light show is lame, but it was filmed in Japan... This certainly ain't problem on 'Halloween', filmed in Czech Republic!

The picture and audio quality, then. As much as I can hear, meaning stereo only, the sound is awesomely powerful and well balanced. Picture quality is good; much better (especially that fantastic light show) and sharper on Sofia clips than on Sao Paolo ones, which is a bit sad, of course. The camera work is good, as is the editing, showing a lot of funny and cool details.

More about the DVD 2. The road movies, one for the each continent (usual touring madness, not that much alcoholing, though) and interviews are good extra, especially the latter. Two video clips are also essential. Limited edition includes the live as audio CDs, too, but that's too bloody pricey for that kind of extra.

(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2007)