Blind Guardian, Holy Grail and Seven Kingdoms - Los Angeles

the Thursday 09 December 2010, The Music Box

Seven Kingdoms

Driving along Hollywood Boulevard in the evening of December 9th, it was quite easy to find “The Music Box”. There was a long line in front of this 1920s theater, everybody wearing black band T-shirts, waiting impatiently for the first band to finish their sound check so they could enter.
The night was promising. All Blind Guardian fans were waiting for them since the last time they came in 2006. And now, they were back to promote their new album: At the Edge of Time.

Seven Kingdoms started the concert that evening. This band from Florida managed to show everybody what their music is all about, even with a short set list: a power metal band with a lot of personality and good technique. The band members are: the lead singer Sabrina Valentine, the guitar players Camden Cruz and Kevin Byrd, the bass guitar player Miles Neff and the drummer Keith Byrd.
During songs like “Into the Darkness” and “Seven Kingdoms” we could see some good guitar solos, all the musicians playing and banging their heads and a really excited public. During the last song there were some heavier riffs and some nice back vocals from the two guitar players!
But I have to say that the star of this concert was the lead singer, who was incredibly charismatic on stage. She has a strong, solid and at the same time delicate voice. Her personality seams to “complete” the band somehow.
Overall, the concert was really nice. Everybody seamed to be having a good time.

Holy Grail

Before Holy Grail came in, I’m pretty sure that a lot of people were just thinking about the minute that they would finish their concert and BG would get on stage. Well, at least I was. When they started to play I could not believe how good they are. I didn’t feel the time passing. They played their entire set and I was still hoping to hear some more.

This power/ melodic metal band from Pasadena, CA plays impeccably! What an awesome band. This was one of the best opening bands I have ever seen. Precise and technical musicians, a lot of heavy metal attitude, amazing vocals. I even thought of Helloween and Angra in the early days.

The band is composed by the lead singer James-Paul Luna, the guitar players James J. LaRue and Eli Santana, the drummer Tyler Meahl and the bass guitar player Blake Mount. All musicians had a lot of style and also a lot of energy. From the beginning of the concert the guitar players performed great solos and the lead singer reached several super-high pitch notes. I also liked the guitarist back vocals (more towards a guttural one). In fact, all members impressed.

During songs like “Crisis in Utopia” and “Fight to Kill” the public was really excited. At the end of the concert, the lead singer said that in San Francisco the crowd was wilder and that he was expecting more from the LA audience …. He got exactly what he asked for. A huge mosh pit was formed in the middle of the floor.

Overall: Great band, great musicians, great concert! I’m definitely looking forward to see them again!

Blind Guardian

When the lights went down and the “introductory” instrumental song started, the entire public went crazy. The moment to see Blind Guardian had finally arrived. And … it started with “Sacred Worlds”. Hansi Kürsch, André Olbrich, Marcus Siepen and Frederik Ehmke entered the stage and opened the evening with this song from their last album “At The Edge of Time”. It was simply magic. Even though this song is quite “new” to the band’s repertoire, the whole house was singing it along with Hansi. Really cool.

The concert continued on with “Welcome to Dying”, “Born in a Morning Hall”, “Nightfall” and “Fly”. The metal heads were excited in each and every one of the songs, especially during “Nightfall” when everybody sang the main chorus together.

It was really funny to see the LA public static, looking to the stage like they were in some kind of spell. This is not really normal for the LA metal audience, usually moshpits and crowd surfing begin as soon as the first song starts.

The band carried on with “Time Stands Still (at the Iron Hill)”, “This will never end”, “Bright eyes”, “Lord of the Rings” and “ Tanelorn (Into the Void). During these songs the entire “Music Box” was singing all the time. Hansi interacted a lot with the crowd and even “conducted” the public into sing for several minutes the melody of the song they played next: “And then there was silence”. This 14 minutes song was beautifully played.

I can’t really make particular comments about best performances in particular songs. It seams that during the entire set list we saw amazing guitar solos from Andre and guitar / back vocals from Marcus (who by the way was head banging a lot). The drumming was incredible. The bass guitar and keyboards were also great. And Hansi… he was amazing!!! Not only in vocal matters but also because he took his time before each song to talk a little bit about its “theme”.

The band left the stage and came back for the “encore” with “Wheel of time”, “Bard’s Song” and “Valhala”. Yes… people went crazy! Applauses and more applauses to the band. Hansi asked for more noise during “Valhalla”end he got it!! Everybody was once more singing the chorus together. It was really nice.

The public started to ask for “Majesty”. The band shared some looks and laughs. Hansi said that they only had 10 minutes left and they would have to stick with the set list. It must be really difficult for a band like Blind Guardian to choose their set list. Can you imagine how many songs they have as a “must play”? I’m pretty sure that the last song played that night is the number one of this list… “Mirror, mirror”. The head bangers went completely wild: a big mosh pit and people “surfing” everywhere. It was the perfect ending for a perfect night.

This was an awesome concert. The band was amazing. I hope to see them in LA again soon!

Photos by Christine Hummell

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Seven Kingdoms

Melodic Power - USA
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Holy Grail

Heavy Metal - USA
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Blind Guardian

Melodic Power - Germany
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