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Blind Guardian: Live in Edmonton

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Last night, I was in the venue Starlite Room having myself a blast at the first ever Blind Guardian concert in Edmonton. Though it was a small one, the venue was packed. Packed with people; packed with volume; packed with energy – basically everything you could ask for in a great concert.

I arrived at the show in time to see a couple of songs by the power metal band, Seven Kingdoms. They had a fun, friendly stage presence and good crowd interaction. Following them was Holy Grail, who had an intense, high-energy stage show; I enjoyed them more than the first act. Both were very entertaining performances, but in all honesty I was only there for one band.

Blind Guardian (rating: A-)

I referred to setlist.fm for the setlist.

Blind Guardian Setlist (December 4, 2010):

  1. (Intro) War of Wrath
  2. Into the Storm
  3. Welcome to Dying
  4. Born in a Mourning Hall
  5. Nightfall
  6. Fly
  7. Time Stands Still
  8. Majesty
  9. Bright Eyes
  10. Lord of the Rings
  11. A Voice in the Dark
  12. And the Story Ends


  1. Wheel of Time
  2. The Bard’s Song – In the Forest
  3. Valhalla
  4. Mirror, Mirror

Though they released a new album just this year, At the Edge of Time, there were only two songs played from it (“A Voice in the Dark” and “Wheel of Time”). However, this is more than acceptable, seeing how it was their first visit to the city. They had touched most of their albums, focusing more on Imaginations from the Other Side and Nightfall in Middle Earth. In fact, having the concert start with the spoken word of “War of Wrath” leading to “Into the Storm” was the perfect establishment for what was to come. The song choice was well-balanced between moshers, epic powers, and mellow ballads. And it was especially noble of them to play “Majesty” upon the audience’s request; whether or not it was planned will remain unknown. But for this show, they managed to choose the right songs for the right crowd.

The sound was great, though this seems to be a common occurrence in Starlite Room. Having only been there once, I cannot say if it was the band or the venue. Nonetheless, it was great volume and balance among instruments. There were a few moments of accidental feedback, but nothing show-ruining. The bass seemed to be the quietest instrument, but that goes for Blind Guardian’s studio work as well. The live show was as consistent as it could be with the original recordings in terms of balancing. The sound was crisp and audible throughout and of appropriate volume.

On the visuals end, there was nothing overly special going on. At first, there were flashing effects to complement the moshing songs, but it soon found comfort in basic color and brightness manipulation. However, it was very complementary to the tone of whatever would be playing. But aside from lighting, there was nothing much to look at but the band. But with Blind Guardian, there are certainly no complaints coming from this end. 

The Bard's Song

The crowd craze was constant throughout the night. It was in fact one of the most excited, outgoing crowds I have been a part of, especially accounting for its lesser size. For the opening bands, the audience was great. But even between breaks, the crowd would be vocalizing “The Bard’s Song,” or even singing along to the background music, particularly Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” and the late Dio’s “Holy Diver”. Before the Blind Guardian show even started, the crowd knew they were to give it their all. At times, the frontman had to quite the audience down knowing they were on a time limit. Still, the numerous “Guardian” chants, and the booming “Majesty” request were excellent additions to the experience. Every singable part (vocals and guitars) involved a high level of participation from the audience. Most memorable was “The Bard’s Song” in the encore, at least from the crowd perspective. The whole song was basically sung by the audience, with Kürsch throwing his share of lines from time to time. Without such a loyal base of die-hard fans, the show would not have been half as good as it was.

The band also showed that their talents are not limited to the studio. However, to emulate the quality and production of Blind Guardian’s studio work is simply impossible. There is too much double-tracking and layering in the studio for the band to completely mimic. As a result, the music does not sound as whole as it should. Also, Kürsch tends to choose his high notes wisely… as a matter of fact, too wisely. It seems overly conservative at times, though I would not blame him if it was due to strain and endurance rather than personal choice. But the fact is the songs need the high vocals to put out the overwhelming power over the studio music. Unfortunately, that was not always given this concert. Still, when Kürsch hits the high ones, he really hits them! The guitarists were quite spot-on as well, and the drums were booming with volume and power. Though the band members technically did nothing wrong, they were unable to fulfill the absolute potential of their masterpieces of songs.

Aside from the minor issues, it was an amazing night. The openers were very entertaining acts. I even got to shake the hand of Holy Grail’s guitarist, what a kind fellow. The breaks between acts, though always long, were endurable because of the fun crowd. It was high energy, great song choice, excellent sound, and a more than satisfactory length (approximately two hours). Though the studio versions cannot realistically be realized to their true worth in a live show, Blind Guardian portrayed them with a truly respectable performance. An amazing night it was. Though it may have taken a petition to bring them here, it surely won’t take one to bring them back. Well done, Blind Guardian!

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