HELLOWEEN - PUMPKINS UNITED -
Brixton 02 Academy, Brixton, London, Tuesday, 14th November, 2017
Set List: Helloween/Dr. Stein/I'm Alive/If I Could Fly/Are You Metal?/Kids Of The Century/Waiting For The Thunder/Perfect Gentleman/Starlight/Ride The Sky/Judas/Heavy Metal (Is The Law)/Forever And One (Neverland)/A Tale That Wasn't Right/I Can/Drum Solo/Love Ain't No Crime/A Little Time/Why?/Sole Survivor/Power/How Many Tears?
Encore 1: Taped Intro – Invitation/Eagle Fly Free/Keeper Of The Seven Keys.
Encore 2: Future World/I Want Out.
Michael Kiske is back! Not since Jesus rose from the dead has a return caused such excitement! 33 years since he first joined the band he and founding member Kai Hansen have re-joined, and a sold out world tour has resulted.
Uniquely, the band chose to continue with Andi Deris who replaced Kiske in the group, and tour with two vocalists. I was wondering how they were going to make this work but they have and bizarrely it works! Opening with a power metal classic, 'Helloween' from Kiske’s debut album was a great way to re-introduce him and showed he could still hit the high notes, assisted in part by Deris.
The two vocalists were trading lines and showing great camaraderie together. The double vocal trick continued through 'Dr Stein' until Kiske sang solo on 'I'm Alive' and Deris likewise on 'If I could Fly'. It has to be noted Deris seemed more interested in frontman duties than Kiske, bantering with the crowd and encouraging sing-a-longs.
After every few songs came a bizarre intermission featuring two cartoon character pumpkins on the big screen. For what purpose I’ve no idea! Odd German humour maybe? Guitarist, Kai Hansen got to reminisce his days of singing in the band when he played a medley of songs from 'Walls Of Jericho', which were lapped up by the capacity crowd (the biggest I've seen for a cult retro band), although not the best vocalist, his guitar playing his on point always. Word to most recent member on guitar, Sasha Gerstner, who also knows how to rock, making up three guitarists with the aloof Michale Weikath and original bassist, Marcus Grobkopf.
Kiske and Deris took to stools commenting, “London do you want to get gay?”, to sing the ballads 'A Tale That Wasn’t Right' and 'Forever And One'. A touching moment came with a drum solo featuring Dani Loble who was 'joined' on the video screen by video footage of the late drummer, Ingo Schwinterberg in happier times. Together they interlinked and copied each other’s fills - a great tribute and some excellent drumming by Loble who played a solid 3 hours that night. All 3 vocalists sang another 'Walls of Jericho' song - 'How Many Tears' before they took their leave offstage.
After each encore the crowd wanted more and more - the band having played the 'Keeper of the Seven Keys' song in full -14 mins worth! A sheer delight to be heard live. They somehow managed to top it off with 'Future World'. Confetti cannons sprayed the air while balloon pumpkins bounced around the audience - then it really was over. Hopefully in the future world a new album and UK tour is a reality.
By John Mather