Text: André; Pics: Aidan & Christoph
If someone had told me a few weeks ago that I would be attending a Manowar club concert in mid-June with my two Epic Metal Blog colleagues Aidan and Christoph, I probably would have laughed out loud. But sometimes things happen that no one expects and that even, when looked at soberly, deserve the label “historic“.
In the Kulturfabrik in Krefeld, I was already allowed to enjoy Blind Guardian twice last year with Aidan as part of their cosy living room shows – I was even there three times to celebrate the local heroes from the “velvet and silk city“ and was thrilled every time. Although this set the bar pretty damn high, I was sure I wouldn’t be disappointed, as all the visitors to this tour, at the start of which in Münster a fortnight ago no one knew exactly who was behind The Lords of Steel, had only positive things to say.
I agree with that, but will add a few side comments that shouldn’t fall under the table. It was a bit annoying that Joey, Eric and Co. kept the crowd waiting for a very long time. Although the doors opened at 7 pm, the band didn’t start until 9.42 pm – I don’t know what the reason was, but they should have entered the stage half an hour earlier. But well, something like that is forgivable if the following concert is amazing.
That it was indeed a highlight was mainly due to one person: ERIC ADAMS! The man is almost 70 and still sings like a young god. Absolutely impressive! His execution of “Gates of Valhalla“ alone was worth the entrance fee – and at the same time consoled me that this number kicked my favourite “Battle Hymn“ out of the set. Eric kept up this high level for the whole 85 minutes that Manowar treated us to – I take my imaginary hat off to one of the mightiest metal singers of all time!
I was also pleased by the fact that the band focused primarily on classics from the 80s. With “The Dawn of Battle“, “Fight Until We Die“ and – of course – “Warriors of the World United“ (incredible atmosphere!) there were only three songs from the 2000s, the 90s were completely ignored. So on that level, everything fitted, even though there are of course many classics that Aidan and I would have loved to hear – the aforementioned “Battle Hymn“ comes to mind, but also “Hail to England“ or “Bridge of Death“. But a band with such an extensive back catalogue can of course never completely please everyone.
Basically, it can also be said that Manowar had fun with their performance – especially Eric. In the run-up to the show, there was a lot of discussion about the question of how these not quite cheap shows, defamed by some as “band rehearsals“, should be classified in general. Since Joey and Co. are always polarising, this was also a hot topic. After the experience in Krefeld, I definitely don’t see a rip-off here, but a tour where everyone gets their money’s worth. Even the stern gentleman on the bass grinned broadly a time or two yesterday! This is not the look of someone who is only out to keep a business going.
As indicated above, however, there is also something to complain about: guitarist E.V. Martel could not convince anyone I spoke to after the gig. This was not because of his very reserved appearance on stage, but due to his playing style – his strange, completely clinical guitar tone did not manage to spoil my enjoyment of this concert, but the Brazilian was unfortunately a weak point that should not be concealed. There would certainly be countless young musicians here who could raise Manowar to another level if Joey would just give them a call… they’d probably even play for free. New drummer Dave Chedrick did a better job in my opinion, he was also inconspicuous, but in essence he did what you expect from a drummer of the “Kings of Metal“.
All in all, the positives undoubtedly outweigh the negatives – even Aidan, who is not really a Manowarrior and therefore wore a red Manilla Road shirt, gave the gig a respectable 7/10. I’ll add a bit more, because for me the combination of world-class Eric, intimate club show and old school setlist was an unforgettable experience that I enjoyed for almost an hour and a half, and that’s what matters in the end. You can analyse yourself to death…. Manowar are definitely much more fun in this setting than on the big stage, which I was last invited to see in the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund three years ago. If Joey ever gets the idea to unleash The Lords of Steel on Germany another time, I’ll gladly be there again. Hail and Kill!