Blind Guardian Live – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 26/09/2010October 17, 2010
There aren’t many things that’ll take me south of the Midlands. Short of beating back the French of our shores, I make all manner of excuses to avoid nodnoL. However, the German bards make their way over for only the fourth time in their twenty five year career, so having talked to Hansi in June and dropped a nut at the new album, I figured it was only polite to go and see them live. Again.
As had, it seems, half of the known world. The venue is absolutely jam packed, sold out. More worringly, it seems oversold, there’s so many people by the time the show begins. First up though, is Steelwing. Enforcer have unfortunately had to pull out, so Steelwing jump in headfirst and deliver an incredibly solid half hour or so of classic NWOBHM, complete with arm braces, leather waistcoats and dual guitar solos. They’re pretty decent if nothing else, but all through their set the air is thick with the anticipation of the main act.
Finally, the lights dim and the orchestration of Sacred Worlds greet us and the place goes berzerk. The band are on top form tonight, third show in on the tour, and welcome us to their show in the classic Guardian manner with Welcome To Dying, swiftly followed with Born In A Mourning Hall and Fly. Any fan of any era of the band will be satisfied tonight, the a set that encompasses all points in their career, from the masterpiece Nightfall In Middle Earth, which gets a good old going over through the evening with no less than three songs, including perennial set close Mirror Mirror. In between then and now, however, we get treated to the rare Traveler In Time and the expected singalong in Valhalla which no doubt wrecked many a neck that night, to the classic folk regimen of Lord Of The Rings (and two thousand people shouting “Mordor!” at a rather appropriate volume) and Hansi’s only break in the set, The Bard’s Song, having realised long ago it’s better just to let us get on with it. The band is backed up by some awesomely cheesy light screens that have all the mystical light stuff, but also some impressive hand drawn animations using the Imaginations… and At The Edge Of Time artwork.
Best we could get photo wise, was absolutely packed!
The encore is none the less packed with the unexpected, Punishment Divine making an appearance, as well as the barnstorming finale of At The Edge Of Time, Wheel Of Time, before finishing us off for the evening with the monstrous Imaginations From The Other Side, hands down the best rendition I have ever heard. This was a very special night, with the band being blown away by the audience reception, and bar a couple of personal opinions on which songs ‘should’ have been played, an absolutely faultless performance.