Text: André, Pics & Videos: Aidan, Sven Biwo and a nice lady
Blaze Bayley concerts are something very special: Even today, I am still thinking back with a big satisfied grin on my face to a remarkably intense gig at the Bastard Club in Osnabrück, when the maestro and the Absolva boys treated their fans to a magical evening. Obviously, I had raved so much about the experience that Aidan also agreed to leave the world of science for a while for a trip to Dortmund.
The Musiktheater Piano in my home town is not particularly centrally located, but it is undoubtedly one of the most classy concert venues in the Ruhr region. That’s obviously what our buddy Sven Biwo thought, too, who, by the way, will be releasing his debut album Life and Death on 11 November 2022, which we’ll certainly be talking about here a few times.
Just like a couple of years ago in Osnabrück, Absolva were already heating up the present crowd properly – although this was basically not necessary in view of the temperatures. It is always a huge pleasure to witness the quartet from Manchester – no matter if they perform under the name of their legendary boss or their own. All the musicians are perfectly in tune and extremely passionate in what they do. Above all, the guitar duo, consisting of the brothers Chris and Luke Appelton, is qualitatively on Champions League level.
After a short break, Absolva took the stage again, this time with Mr Bayley, who opened the set with the classic “Ten Seconds“ from his third solo album Blood & Belief. What followed was a good hour and a half that was equally sweaty and loud as it was emotional. Blaze is not only a fantastic frontman who knows how to animate the audience. No, Blaze is the most authentic and honest guy our scene has to offer. Only someone who has been down many times in his life is probably capable of singing so devotedly combative anthems like “Pull Yourself Up“, “Warrior“ or “The Man Who Would Not Die“. In short, Blaze gives his fans the ultimate gift an artist can present on a concert night like this: He opens his heart completely – a sign of real greatness that emotionally grabs every person who is not yet totally jaded in our plastic world.
But it would also be wrong to reduce Blaze to his personality and neglect the wonderful music he has created since the end of his time with Iron Maiden. Not least his last studio work War Within Me, which was quite rightly honoured with 6 songs in Dortmund, is a fantasic heavy metal album that I frankly like better than Senjutsu. Actually, Blaze has no need to cover Iron Maiden numbers – and from my point of view “Virus“, “Futureal“ and “Man on the Edge“ were completely sufficient to look back on this part of his career.
Blaze’s bow to the recently deceased Steve Grimmett (RIP) should not go unmentioned – he sang his “See you in Hell, my friend!“ with tears in his eyes. So much dedication is simply captivating. Yet another reason why this evening was an unforgettable experience…