Blind Guardian

Copenhell - 2016

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Blind Guardian was definitely one of my most anticipated experiences at Copenhell 2016.
I’ve seen the band numerous times already, but never before in Denmark. Oh, and of course, they’ve always been entertaining. So this was a great setup for a good time.

“Good afternoon Copenhagen! After twenty years, we’re back! I see at least twice as many people here this time.”
- Hansi Kürsch (vocals)

Blind Guardian opened the Hades stage on the first day of the festival, and despite persistent meteorologists saying it’d be raining cats and dogs, the sun was out and boiling our pale bodies. A perfect setting, in other words.
Even before the band came on, a large crowd had gathered, and an operatic intro music filled the air. Towards the end of it, the musicians came out one by one, cheered on by the crowd, and finally Hansi Kürsch made his appearance, as the last man out. The concert opened with the first track off of last years Beyond The Red Mirror, The Ninth Wave, but other than that, the band stuck to the classics, mostly old, and a little bit of the newer stuff. Not surprisingly, the two hit albums, Imaginations From The Other Side (1995) and Nightfall In Middle-Earth (1998), were best represented, and I don’t believe anyone had any complaints about what was included in the setlist.

“Great singing Copenhagen!”
- Kürsch (vocals)

Neither could there be any complaints about the show that ze Germans delivered.
We got a great selection of songs from a band that was on fire. Kürsch, together with André Olbrich and Marcus Siepen ruled the front of the stage, and in the back we had Frederik Ehmke as the only official member hold things down in the rhythm section, together with Barend Courbois on bass and long-time collaborator Michael Schüren on keyboard.
And in front of the stage, we saw the Copenhell crowd on vocals. I kid you not, this was one of those awesome sing-along fests that saw neither end nor pause, and again, the setlist really helped this along. Who wouldn’t want to shout their lungs out to sings like, well, I wanted to make a list here, but it would just include every one of them, so why bother picking? The ending song, Valhalla, of course got a good section dedicated merely to crowd singing, and you can’t beat The Bard’s Song – In The Forest when looking for enthusiastic crowd-pleasing.

“Mange tak, as you say.”
- Kürsch (vocals)

So, with all the praise, how did this concert miss out on best-in-show?
Two reasons mainly. Well, three if you nit-pick, but two of them are closely bound together, so let’s count them as one.
The leading reason, and the one that’s bunched together, is that the set simply was not long enough. We could easily have spent much more time with the German bards, and no one would have had an ill thought about it. Now, since the time was limited, so was the setlist, and I especially missed more songs on the King Arthur theme, like A Past And Future Secret and Mordred’s Song. Heck, I could go on and on about songs I would have liked to add, but there we are. The inclusions were great as well.
The second reason, to keep things moving along, was Blind Guardian’s time to play. As this was one of my most highly anticipated bands of the festival, seeing them open a stage on the first day, simply did not provide enough time to get properly excited. First world problem, I know, but anticipation can be a good feeling, and I wouldn’t have mind holding out a bit more.
With all this said, I’ll still give Blind Guardian the praise that they delivered the best concert of the day, miles beyond anyone else we saw. So here’s hoping it won’t be another twenty years before they stop by again! I know I’m not the only one wishing for this.


The Ninth Wave
The Script For My Requiem
Tanelorn (Into The Void)
Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)
Imaginations From The Other Side
The Bard’s Song – In The Forest

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