Helloween @ 013, Tilburg, 20 November 2017

I’m not much of a fan of power metal usually, but Helloween’s double album Keeper of the Seven Keys is an exception to that rule. Possibly because it was one of the first metal albums I got into. Later albums couldn’t interest me much as they were weirder and when singer Michael Kiske left they went in simpler, hardrock style than the speed metal early on. Helloween were touring this time under the name of Pumpkins unitied with the current line-up, but added two former members, namely the aforementioned Kiske and original guitarist Kai Hansen. And promised to play a lot of older songs. So that was a reason to go.

There was no support act, so at 20.00 the intro “Let me Entertain You” sounded over the PA in a full 013. Then the lights went on on stage, and the intro of Halloween sounded and the curtain hiding the stage dropped. As the band came on stage they played the the rest of the song with both singers. Quickly followed by Dr Stein. They sounded great, and even though I presume most of the show was largely rehearsed, it mostly looked quite spontaneous, yet they played their music tightly. Some newer songs were mixed in the set as well, but these were mostly less interesting, and frankly it’s quite obvious that Kiske is by far the better singer, even though he hasn’t performed for – as he said – 18 years. A couple of the earliest songs were originally sung by Kai, and when they now played them live, he’d sing them too. In between the songs they showed short, somewhat funny cartoons of on a big screen. After two hours the set was closed, but the band came back for an encore, to play probably the best song of the alum – Eagly Fly Free – and the other extensive song off the Keepers album, namely the title track. Michael said it was the most difficult to sing, but it worked out fine. After which they went off stage again, only to come back for more encores, starting with a guitar solo by Kay and followed by Future World and another Keepers song I want out. Nearly the entire Keepers album was played, I only missed the song We Got the Right. Even though power metal always sounds a bit kitchy to me, it was actually a very good gig, great performance by this band and a great set list. And eventually a gig of nearly 3 hours.

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