I had the great opportunity to conduct a video interview with Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kursch before the show and it was a great honour as he's one of my favourite singers ever and I'm a proud Bard, so thank you so much Hansi for a great interview. The lineup waiting outside the venue was the real shock of the night, as it started at the entrance and went all the way down to the major intersection, but it moved quicker than we anticipated.
Grave Digger kicked off the festivities, coming on stage just as I found my spot in the crowd and this was their first ever North American tour in their 35-year history. They began their set with "Headbanging Man", followed by "The Round Table (Forever)" and "Witch Hunter", riling up fans into a frenzy. Before beginning the song "Ballad Of A Hangman", frontman Chris Boltendahl gave the crowd a chant to sing after him, but wasn't impressed by the first try as his response was "That sounds like my grandpa", which drew a big laugh from the crowd, but the crowd gave a satisfactory second attempt. Other songs performed include "Excalibur", "Tattooed Rider", "Season Of The Witch", "Rebellion" and "Highland Farewell". They closed their set with their anthem "Heavy Metal Breakdown", which the entire crowd sang along to, and I hope that it gave the band the indication that they have to come back to Toronto soon, as many fans have been waiting for them to come here for 35 years and many would love the opportunity to see them perform an complete headline set. I'll be there for that show!
Beyond the Red Mirror tour 2015
Journalist: Alex Stojanovic
Photographer: Navneet Johal
Published: November 24, 2015
Presented by Inertia Entertainment
@ The Danforth Music hall
Toronto, ON Canada
October 29, 2015
Click here for our interview with Hansi Kursch in Toronto.
It's crazy that we're already into the fourth and final quarter of 2015, but there's still more great shows to come. On a chilly October night, two days before Halloween, a huge crowd of Bards, and I do mean HUGE, from both Toronto and surrounding areas gathered at the Danforth Music Hall to see what might be a once-in-a-lifetime German double-bill: Blind Guardian and Grave Digger. I've only seen one other show at the Danforth Hall three years ago, and it instantly became one of my top favourite venues to see a show due to the amazing acoustics and the special memory I have from that show, so I looked forward to the day I would get to see another show at the hall and sure enough, that day happened on October 29, 2015 with Blind Guardian and Grave Digger.
Now it was time for Blind Guardian to take the stage. They began their set with "The Ninth Wave" warming up the fans before boosting the speed up with "Banish From Sanctuary". Aside from the mesmerizing show they put on, the best part was when Hansi Kursch decided to reverse the name of city and call us "Otnorot", as it sounds more evil than Sauron, and of course it totally sounds like a name out of Lord Of The Rings. I've also said before that it's not often you see a band, especially a metal band, where the fans know all the words to every song in the set. There were points of the set like "The Last Candle" and "Valhalla" where the crowd sang the lyrics near the endings repeatedly for a good three to four minutes. The band touched on several of fan favourites and select deep cuts, resulting in a blasting two-hour set. Other songs performed include "Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)", "Lost In The Twilight Hall", "Fly", "Nightfall", "Lord Of The Rings" and "Prophecies" to name a few. At one point, the crowd chanted the famous soccer anthem and it felt like it was a show in Latin America. Mosh pits exploded during the faster songs of the set and the fast sections of certain songs, and the crowd surfing was continuous.
Instead of just one encore, there were two. The first encore saw the band play "Sacred Worlds", "Twilight Of The Gods" and "Valhalla". The second encore started with "Imaginations From The Other Side", followed by "The Bard's Song - In The Forest", and the set ended with "Mirror Mirror". The walls resonated from the boisterous voices of the crowd as they poured their hearts out singing along. As the band took their bow, the crowd began chanting for the band to play "Majesty", which would have been really cool, but time had run out and it couldn't be done.
Hansi Kursch - Lead vocals
Marcus Siepen - Rhythm guitars & backing vocals
Andre Olbrich - Lead guitars & backing vocals
Frederik Ehmke - Drums & percussion
Barend Courbois - Bass
Michael Schuren - Keyboards
Label: Nuclear Blast Records