Thousands Sang Along with BLIND GUARDIAN17 May 2007
A child's dream does not always come true as you have imagined before sleep, but there are some exceptions. Such an exception was witnessed by all the die-hard fans of Blind Guardian who have waited for the band to play in Bulgaria. And I think the musicians themselves were more than charmed by the three thousand people who were in Sofia's Festivalna Hall on May 17, 2007.
We were dreaming about a concert by the bards from Krefeld for years, but there was never anyone to please the thousands of fans of the band... until now, when the task was taken by the booking agency Most of Evil Music. They knew they were inviting a leading metal formation, far from the underground which is the company's main priority, and there were two options - to discredit themselves or to deliver an unforgettable show for a big audience. And they succeeded in the second one. Blind Guardian's concert is definitely the strongest gig that Most of Evil Music have ever offered to the Bulgarian fans. The preliminary information was updated constantly, the support band was chosen through a competition and fitted well in the event, the tickets were sold all over the country, and the fans only had to wait. And they waited until the last piece of information, given by the band two days before the concert in a direct telephone conversation between Hansi Kursch and Tangra Mega Rock's Vassil Varbanov.
Blind Guardian arrived in Sofia on May 16, and on the morning before the show Hansi himself agreed to visit Tangra Mega Rock for another short pre-concert interview. After explaining his opinion on the great Queen, football and music, and revealing that during a tour he never drinks beer and prefers tea, the frontman left the studio and stopped for an spontaneous meeting with a few fans who had waited for him in front of the radio's building. Although in a hurry, he agreed to talk with them, sign autographs and make some photos.
At 5 p.m. the backstage area of the Festivalna Hall was opened for representatives of the official fan club of Blind Guardian in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Bards Guild. The musicians chatted with their fans in an obvious good mood, signed autographs, made photos and enjoyed the piles of gifts they received.
Then the time came. The doors were opened at 7 p.m. sharp, and the first fans rushed to the merchandise stand and the sacred front row in front of the stage, witnessing the local opening act, Velvet Project. These guys led the audience through their interesting and skillfully played progressive metal. As matter of fact, they played just two tracks, however with a total time of about half an hour. The songs were well accepted by the people in the hall, and the band quickly got in contact with the audience, combining melodic and memorable passages with progressive transitions in the vein of Dream Theater.
The pressure was raising, the hall got filled, and exactly at 8:55 p.m. the well-known dialogue between Sauron and Morgoth sounded, emblematic for every Blind Guardian concert for almost 10 years. The band came on stage and started "Into the Storm", after which Hansi greeted the audience and wished us "Welcome to Dying". The sound was pretty good, with light downs in one or two tracks, the lights were refined, and behind the drums of Frederik Ehmke there were two giant screens showing conceptually connected to the relevant song visualizations - something quite new for Blind Guardian. The band's cast was completed by the unalterable Oliver Holzwarth on bass and Michael Schueren on keyboards.
Among a bouquet of songs from the albums after 1988 (Blind Guardian stubbornly avoid to play live tracks from their debut), Hansi showed pleasure from the fact that Blind Guardian and Bulgaria abbreviate exactly the same way, BG, and during "Lost in the Twilight Hall" a Bulgarian flag with a painted "BulGaria" with Blind Guardian's fonts was tossed to the stage. Hansi took it, unfurled it and thus sang a part of the song, and until the end of the concert the banner remained in front of the drumset.
The first part of the show ended with the epic "And Then There Was Silence" and ten minutes of darkness from the stage.
Afterwards Blind Guardian returned for the obligatory encore, and the concert finished with the obligatory finale "Mirror, Mirror". The audience got mad for the last time, Hansi, Markus, Andre, Frederik, Oliver and Michael bowed down, spread the Bulgarian flag and under the loud cheers of their fans they put the full stop of this emotional May 17.
Words: Ivaylo Alexandrov
Photos: Nicki Vassilev / Tangra Mega Rock
More photos from the show, courtesy of Victor Alexandrov, can be found in our GALLERY.
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