What a fantastic way to close the Gröna Lund summer of live shows! Europe gave a brilliant show to their hometown fanbase (well, they come from Upplands Väsby, but, yes, Stockholm can be considered their hometown), with a very interesting playlist, including hits like “Heart of Stone” or “Wasted Times”, which honestly, sounded much better played live in 2022 rather than recorded on the album in mid-80s (hyperbole for some, but the truth for me, especially how I experienced them from the audience) ... “Walk the Earth” opened the gig, a song from their latest self-titled album, and a theme so contemporary and hot, like never before. The band kicked off not with the best guitar sound on the first couple of tracks (the second was “Rock The Night” – an unusual choice so early on the show, we liked it though), but from the third song onwards (“Scream of Anger”) Norum’s Les Paul, Flying V and Stratocaster all sounded really heavy and awesome till the end. Joey Tempest performs like there has not passed any day at all and he looks fresh and with a very convincing voice. Mic Michaeli, doing his improvisations on keyboards, provides the best ‘keys support’ to the sound. John Levén has always been the calm and peaceful power behind the band and always keeps the dynamics and the balance all the way. Ian Haugland played like there is no tomorrow, with his signature playing style, doing backing vocals and, as always, playing with authority and character. John Norum, a guitar hero, the man who can play anything, in any technique, with any sound and with a tremendously characteristic tone on leads and solos, was simply amazing. A special night for him as well, as his son Jake celebrated his birthday and Joey Tempest wished him on stage, with the fans also cheering up loud. A special night as well for David Coverdale of Whitesnake, as it was his birthday too, and Joey sung a bit of “Here I Go Again”, as a connection with “Superstitious” towards the end of the gig, a very nice moment, enjoyed by everyone. And of course, as it has happened for the last almost 35 years, the show ended with a frantic version of “The Final Countdown”, a trademark song, for the band, for a whole era and with a special feeling for many many fans.

Europe don’t need to prove anything at all. Every time they play live, you feel that they are not ‘veterans’. They are some friends, who love playing hard rock and make people happy with their songs, their energy, their connection with the audience and their fans, who are lucky to see them live. Their fans were also luckier this time, as they witnessed a prize-giving to their favorite band, winning the award of multi-million views of their videos on YouTube, first band coming from Sweden, which reaches this milestone. A special moment in their hometown. In any case, every time they play on stage not only confirms their status as a global music success, but is promising on what is about to follow, regarding their next studio album. I think it’s about time for the next one, don’t you think?

Antonis Mantzavinos

On a rainy, doomy and gloomy Saturday afternoon, we headed a bit north of Stockholm (2 hours drive) to the city of Gävle, to see the Rock Out Festival. On our way, we sadly discovered that the headlining band of the night, H.E.A.T. would not play due to a sudden situation of illness among the band members, which was announced a bit earlier on the same day on the band’s Facebook profile. Of course this is not the best way to head to a rock (or any) gig, however, we continued our way, playing a lot of Treat and Eclipse songs (both old and new) in the car stereo, which helped us to cheer up and get a bit ‘warmed up’. We arrived at the venue, named ‘Gasklockorna’, which is part of a bigger industrial area, right in the outskirts of the city and by the water. A lot of gigs have taken place there, historically speaking, and it is also the home of the ‘Gefle Metal Festival’, with extreme metal bands, on a yearly basis.

To be honest, I knew about Treat and listened to their songs, but it was long time since I have been really into their albums and material. BIG mistake! The band plays fantastic all their songs and never really leaves any single piece of doubt on what they are capable for. And trust me, they KICK ASS! Of course, they are no strangers among them, as they have played many many years together; we are talking about a band, which started its career back in the ‘80s, with a pure hard rock sound and feeling, full of heavy riffs (Anders is such a capable guitarist with a lot of aces under his sleeves: solos, leads, rhythm guitars, you name it and he will do it!), solid and massive rhythm section, much convincing vocals (even though the years have passed, Robert Ernlund can absolutely deliver) and an overall really nice feeling of a very well balanced band. The venue was not completely packed, but a lot of people travelled from nearby cities to see them play, and TREAT did not disappoint them at all. To the contrary, they played a great gig and of course,  the setlist included songs like ‘Conspiracy’, ‘World of Promises’, ‘Freudian Slip’, ‘Get you on the Run’, ‘Home of the Brave’ and others. This was the first time I saw Treat, and it will definitely be NOT the last.

Following one of the finest hard rock bands out there, it was time for another finest to play. Eclipse has ‘slipped out of my fingers’ a few times, so this time it was definitely about time for me to enjoy them from close in a perfect setting for a gig. The band opened up with ‘Roses on Your Grave’ and the audience was already frantic, cheering up. One song after another, the band was getting warmer and warmer, communicating with the audience, keeping close contact, being energetic and giving back the love they received from the audience. Erik is a fantastic performer by all means (I knew that he has been an excellent writer, guitar player, singer, etc. through all his work with Eclipse, W.E.T. and Nordic Union), but this time he proved why he is sooo good on what he is doing with his band. Brothers Philip and Victor Crusner were absolutely amazing, so energetic and passionate throughout the whole playlist of 21 (!!) songs, playing like there is no tomorrow, so professionally and enjoying every single moment of it. And, what can I say about Magnus Henriksson … one of the most capable guitarists around, he plays the guitar so really well! Since he has started playing with the band, he has marked the Eclipse sound with his trademark solos and leads, which I could experience live on the gig. Pure delight!

Playlist-wise, there was no one left unhappy or not satisfied: all the band’s hits, all the successful and significant songs from their discography were there! Emphasis, of course, was placed on their latest album ‘Wired’; however they played all my favorite tracks from their albums, at least since ‘Bleed and Scream’. It was definitely a night to remember, as they also gave it all they had and thanked the fans many times for making it there to see them (there were also some fans travelling from Japan who came as well!). Personal favorite moments were: “Bite the Bullet”, “Black Rain” “Bleed & Scream” and “Battlegrounds” (acoustic version).

Thank you Gävle, that was awesome!

Antonis Mantzavinos

The pandemic is now over and that enabled Judas Priest to resume their tour, in celebration of their fifty years. The Priest visited again Athens, Greece, in the frames of Release Athens 2022 Festival and all the metal maniacs joined this metal feast. The 15th of July, 2022, was a heavy metal day and … all hell broke loose!

One day before Iron Maiden played live at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, we had the opportunity to experience another heavy metal marathon, which began that Friday, early in the afternoon, with Black Soul Horde. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the set of this Greek heavy metal act– and that was a pity, since I like very much their discography (especially their “Land of Demise” album).

But I was right on time for the live show of The Dead Daisies. Like many other people, I am familiar with this supergroup, I am very fond of their latest album, “Holy Ground”, and for sure, Doug Aldrich and Glenn Hughes guarantee for a great live concert! Yes, the supergroup entered the stage and played its material with much passion and great pleasure – The Dead Daisies’ heartfelt performance was exactly what we needed that time, a brave dose of heavy rock music, an immediate lightning of hard rock by the old ones! And of course, the true protagonist was Glenn Hughes, the Voice of Rock, who was doing whatever he wanted with his incredible voice! The audience was excited and The Dead Daisies gifted us with a tremendous version of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” and “Burn”.

Next on stage was Cradle of Filth. There is no doubt that Cradle of Filth musically has no common with the headliners, however, the English black metal armada gave a fantastic metal show! Ideal for extreme metal fans and pretty interesting for all the other metalheads, Cradle of Filth’s compositions sounded freakingly beautiful, just as the dark night was about to prevail. I really liked the band’s energetic, powerful and professional presence, especially Dani Filth was unique in every way – it was so nice to see him standing in the middle of the stage, singing with his peculiar voice some of the best songs of Cradle of Filth’s back catalogue, proving that the band is still in good shape after all these years. To be precise, Cradle of Filth were as good as they were, when I saw them live twenty years ago! Cradle of Filth is still here, alive and kicking!

Yet, the time for the Metal Gods had come! The legendary heavy metal band chose “War Pigs” as an introduction to their set and soοn Priest were there right in front of us, playing “One Shot At Gory”! What a feeling, how majestic, how awesome! With a setlist full with classics and live favorites, Judas Priest brought “chaos and destruction” and everyone went crazy, asking for more from the Brummies! And they delivered the goods, in their own masterful, wise and extravagant way. The sound was divine, the performance unrivaled, the feeling shocking. We have to admit that Rob Halford wasn’t flawless and there were certain points that he couldn’t sing like the past years, however, he showcased why he is unique, one of the few great personalities of heavy metal music, a true icon. The stage show was impressive and the whole set encompassed the elements of an original Judas Priest concert – it was an amazing heavy metal anniversary, dedicated to the Greek fans, who showed again their devotion to Priest. The encore of “Electric Eye”, “Hell Bent for Leather”, “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” was the final touch to a thrilling, monumental gig. With this kind of live shows Judas Priest will be forever in our heart. Heavy Metal is the fucking law!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

Iron Maiden’s Legacy of the Beast  WorldTour 2022 visited also Athens, Greece, past Saturday, on the 16th of July, 2022.

Some days have passed since then, and the Greek metal community has been in a great debate, talking about what happened in this significant live show. It is known to almost everybody in the world (such news travels fast), that Bruce Dickinson slammed a Greek fan at that live gig, because he lit a flare in front of him. I read about this story in the social media, in Blabbermouth, Metal Injection etc., everywhere, and everyone has his personal opinion – should Dickinson have blasted the Greek fan? Should he swear at the Greek fan? Was that an insult to the Greek audience? Such questions have divided the Greek metal community, and I think that this live report will be the way of expressing my own point of view.

Let’s remember what happened that evening. Lord of the Lost were the first to storm the stage. The German band played in its modern/melodic gothic metal and really warmed us up for what would follow. Some songs of Lord of the Lost are worthwhile and I believe that we have many things to see from this band from Hamburg in the future.

Airbourne took the baton and conquered the fans with its catchy, dirty, hard rock n’ roll. Watching the Australians play their songs was the right proof of the band’s quality, the right proof that Airbourne is not just copy of AC/DC. They had tons of energy, so much passion and their songs were the fine appetizer for Iron Maiden. Who invaded the stage, after the intro of UFO’s “Doctor Doctor”! What we witnessed was a real blast! Iron Maiden started with three songs from their latest, “Senjutsu” album, which sounded even better live. This bombastic beginning hit the thousands of fans straight between the eyes – the rest of the set was a wise selection of Iron Maiden classics, which the band performed precisely, passionately and with a fantastic, crystal and loud sound. “Iron Maiden”, “Blood Brothers”, “Revelations”, “Fear of the Dark”, “The Trooper”, “Aces High”, “The Clansman” etc. were parts of an unforgettable concert, moments that were carved in our heart and mind! It was a celebration of classic heavy metal, it was an Iron Maiden feast, which pleased everybody (both band and fans) and will never be forgotten. Of course, the stage show was consummate and added to the majesty of this Iron Maiden live concert!

It’s time now to share with you my thoughts about Bruce Dickinson and flares in concerts. The fact that we are talking about things other than the music isn’t positive, however, it is important that every fan has a point of view and shares it with other fans.  

I think that Bruce Dickinson did right and admonished the fan with the flare. Flares in a live concert may prove dangerous and harmful for both the band on stage and the fans. We shall not forget that there were women, children and people with health problems in the audience, who should not breathe smoke. Apart from that, Dickinson was singing, he was doing his job and any smoke may cause him difficulties in his singing. And don’t forget, there is always a risk of fire, when a flare is lit. So, Dickinson was right and slammed the Greek fan. But, hey, should he have sworn at the fan (he called him “Greek c*nt” and said “f*ck you”)? Well, Dickinson got angry and people usually swear, when they get angry! The fan didn’t respect Dickinson, so Iron Maiden’s singer didn’t respect him too! I can’t see, where the problem is. If Dickinson thinks that the Greek fan is a “c*nt”, Dickinson is free to express his thought!

I understand that lighting flares is celebratory in a way for Greek fans, however, the consequences may be negative and sad for everybody. Greek fans think that they are in a football match, and that they celebrate the goals of their team by lighting flares. But, who said that flares are safe in football matches? Flare are always dangerous, everywhere! So, before lighting a flare, please reconsider it. Don’t take it personally, it is a matter of my and your safety …

All in all, this night with Iron Maiden was fantastic, a real blast and a real precious experience. I don’t want to stand any more on what followed the music concert, I think that it is enough with the flares and the swearing! Come on, always let the music do the talking!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

The 6th of July, 2022, was dedicated to the one and only Alice Cooper and Scorpions. I have been many times in a Scorpions gig, but this would be my first time to see Alice Cooper live. Of course, I am so much into Alice Cooper and Scorpions, so you can understand how much I was looking forward to this live show!

According to the program, Alice Cooper would start his show at 19:30 and that’s what happened. The Olympic stadium of Athens wasn’t full at this time, but the Alice Cooper fans were already in the front rows. And when the legendary shock hard rocker appeared on stage, everyone went crazy! Alice Cooper played almost all of his classic songs, from all his long career, such as “No Mr. Nice Guy”, “Be My Lover”, “Under My Wheels”, “I’m Eighteen”, “Poison”, “House of Fire”, “Hey Stoopid”, “Dead Babies”, “School’s Out” etc. The King of Darkness was performing like a teenager, with his voice being in good shape, in front of a castle that was built on the stage and with all his stage show. The fact that Alice Cooper played early in the afternoon wasn’t an obstacle for him – everybody in the Stadium enjoyed the impressive persona of Alice Cooper and all his amazing hard rock tunes! His live band, including three guitarists (and Nita Strauss among them), was super, having an incredible sound, tight, fresh and loud! My favorite moment of the set was “Steven” and in general, we all had a great time with Alice Cooper. An unforgettable show by the one and only, Mr. Cooper!

After the extravagant, majestic performance of Alice Cooper, a whole stadium was waiting impatiently for Scorpions. The Germans were on time at their rendezvous with the Greek audience and hit the stage furiously and relentlessly! First track was “Gas in the Tank” from their latest album, “Rock Believer”, and everybody got the message – Scorpions is here, loud as hell, kicking ass, screaming and showing their “rock belief”! I don’t know what is your opinion about Scorpions, but I do know that Scorpions is an overwhelming force of true rock n’ roll, with timeless and priceless melodies, with innumerable rockers and ballads, some of which we listened to that night! I didn’t like the fact that Scorpions didn’t play a lot of their 70s stuff, but I cannot be grumpy, when this band is playing all these great numbers! Yes, I would like to listen to “Holiday” and/or “Always Somewhere”, but OK, they can’t play all their classics. It was a blast, for sure, both sides (the crazy band and the thousands of fans) were super-satisfied and celebrated a unique, hard rock night. Scorpions thanked us and said goodbye with a powerful edition of “Rock You Like a Hurricane” – yes, that was a true show of genuine rock n’ roll. ‘Til next time, of course!

This Alice Cooper and Scorpions co-headline concert was amazing and will always remain as a wonderful memory in our mind and heart. Alice Cooper and Scorpions practiced what they preach and we all testified – we are rock believers!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos