Oh, how should I start this report? Let′s say, till the last moment, I was not sure if I will go to this concert or not. Rhapsody in my mind has always been connected with Luca Turilli and Fabio Lione. When the concert was announced, people around me were excited, but slowly excitement faded as those people realized that is not the Rhapsody we all were thinking about. I still clearly remember the day when I proudly bought “Legendary Tales” back in 1997. Bootleg CD, with rich “booklet” that stood somewhere on the shelf over then a year when I have finally got my first CD player from Holland. Good old times…
As the concert was approaching, my inbox was empty. No sign if I will get accreditation or not, and to be honest with you, I was hoping accreditation will be not approved. Why? Cause I am sick and tired going on concerts as a professional, not a fan. Accreditation brings huge responsibility, burden, call it however you want. Responsibility to be objective, not fail in the eyes of bands, organizers, promoters and readers. And most of all don’t let myself down.
From the moment I have opened my eyes on International Woman’s Day (no idea why I even mention this holiday), something was screaming: “Don′t go!” Cold, rainy day… Yeah, I should not complain in the middle of the winter, I know… No damn running water! XXI century and I can not move whole day in order to survive till the evening as clean as possible. Luckily (however this word can sound weird in following context), I have survived a war or two, so I know how to take a shower with water I saved for flowers. It is raining anyway, flowers can survive, and I can go clean to the show.
And truth of all truths… The main reason I went to the show were my friends who came from Croatia.
Warm up started in nearby pub. After a few beers (and even more), music from jukebox, from Neil Young over Alice Cooper to Iron Maiden, a recollection of memories from their last show in Zagreb, and someone really smart from our crew said: “You know, this is one of those moments when I am sure I would rather stay here than go to the show!” I could only agree.
After we finally decided to go to the show anyway, Tales of Evening, Hungarian band, have already started their set. Mostly, the guys were curious to see (not hear) Ivett Dudás. Tales of Evening replaced previously announced Italian band Egosystema. Some might say-one in a million female fronted bands. I say, solid band with a potential to establish themselves on metal scene, if nothing for than for the reference in their biography they have been chosen as a back up opening band to Rhapsody of Fire.
In the speed of light, right on time, as announced, Symphonity hits the stage. Mayo Petranin, like a steam roller, dominated over the band mates. Infectious energy rapidly dragged people to the first rows. With a sound problem here and there, Symphonity used their time wisely to present seven songs. Actually seven minus one, since the last one was cover. Mayo, it seems, was willing enough to speak some Serbian, but soon it was clear he has lost himself. Weird combination of Serbian-Macedonian-Bulgarian language for sure was more than enough for great interaction with fans. Their set started with “King of Persia” and continued with “Choice”. “In the Name of God”, “Silence”, “Crimson Silk” and one of my favorites since the moment I have heard it, “Flying”. For the grand finale, Symphonity left, as Mayo said: “kleine Jägermeister…” Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime… This is one of those pop songs that simply sounds better in metal version. If you haven’t moved your lazy metal ass yet, now you will! But somehow I could not remember the original, so I took a sneak peak on their set list, where was simply written Nena. Yeah! The same Nena and her “99 Luftbalons”! … Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont, Hielt man für UFOs aus dem All… Come on, Ivona, focus on report!
I just love when I discover new bands, and Symphonity is true revelation for me. Ok, I knew some band history before, I have heard few songs, but live performance is total different dimension. Mayo sings I would say as an angel but there is no such thing in metal, guys can play, they feel metal, they live metal, their energy is moving mountains… And the fact mighty Olaf Hyer, who had been working with Luca Turilli and Rhapsody of Fire, recorded “Voice from the Silence” and “King of Persia” with Symphonity for me is more than enough to put Symphonity on the list of top favorite power bands. Today, Symphonity vocal parts are shared between Mayo, who is touring with the band, and Antonio Abate who is focused on studio work.
Bottom line, great band, great performance…
Headliners, Rhapsody of Fire, hit the stage sharp at 22:00. I really can not recall first moments of the show cause I was repeating in my head: “Who are you guys?” Really… All that has left from Rhapsody I know and I love is one man hidden in the corner of the stage behind the smoke machine. Great! Just great!
After two songs we were asked to leave photo pit, and that was the moment I decided: from now on, I am a fan no matter what! Giacomo Voli might be the part of the band for only about two years, but this man rules the scene! It would be absolutely unnecessary to comment his vocal capabilities. Just perfect. At some parts the sound was that loud so we could not hear vocal, but that is the problem of sound engineer, not his. Even, I believe he knew the sound was not as good as it should be, at some point Giacomo made intermezzo to thank to all the people who made the tour successful. “I want to thank to fans, to opening bands, sound engineer…” Ok, the man is not deaf, but he has great manners. And strong nerves.
No one should complain over set list. It was clearly announced that the band will focus on their last release “The Eight Mountain” and that they will mark 20 years anniversary of “Dawn of Victory”. Simple as that.
Luca Turilli’s classmate, Roberto de Micheli, who have joined the band in 2013, dominated with guitar skills, passion and dedication. Bravo maestro! If you thought mosh pit is mission impossible for power metal shows, you are so wrong. Fans united in ecstasy were singing in choirs, even dancing… Whole the time Giacomo was teasing fans: “Are you warriors?” And at the point he was obviously bored repeating the same question, he finally said that is the joke of the tour. Manuel Lotter was announced as handsome German. Scusa, signore Voli. We, Germans are super humans, so, no need to emphasize that.
While fans were screaming between the songs: “Rhapsody”, Giacomo was adding: “of Fire…” Soon, he gave up… Although smoking is not allowed, it seemed no one cared. Giacomo tried to make a joke, but people hardly got the message. “Are you warriors? Do you have horses? No? But you are a hell of a smokers.” Dear all, smoke is not forbidden cause someone was bored to death and put the stickers smoking not allowed everywhere for fun. Maybe, just maybe, those singers have to keep their vocal cords, maybe, just maybe some of us have eye lenses that can dry from smoke, maybe, just maybe to think of someone else instead putting your needs first.
The moment I was waiting for, of course, “Emerald Sword”. But, back to the beginning of this story. As the day begun, the same way it has to come to an end. In the middle of the “Emerald Sward” our crew was at the edge of fight. Guys are solving their problems with fists, girls with brain. So, in order to avoid international incident, girls were stronger and prevented possible chaos. That means, our Serb-Croat crew left the venue with the promise to gather again in Budapest on Luca Turill’is Rhapsody of Fire. Unfortunately, we all know why, the concert was postponed, but we will hear that “Emerald Sward”, I promise!
To end this epic report… This is not the band I grow up with, but hats of to Rhapsody of Fire! They did a great job. If I would be absolute evil, I would say great tribute band. And in my defense, I am just quoting my friend. Beer on me!
I was thinking to end this report with: I quit my job as concert reporter! It seems there is no need to do that. Current situation will not allow us to see any band live soon, so, my friends, stay safe wherever you are!