Pretty Maids

Amager Bio, Copenhagen - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

It was a dark and stormy evening...
Quite stormy in fact, as Bodil, the most powerful storm of the year was ravaging the quiet kingdom of Denmark.
There was one place where the storm was kept at bay though, a place for the lonesome traveller and the frivolous group of friends alike, a place where a cold beer could warm the heart and delightful music lift the spirit of the high and low.

This place was Amager Bio, and the event to end all events was the annual Christmas show by the pride of Danish classic metal, Pretty Maids.
The tradition goes back I don’t know for how long, but Metalmoments have only partaken in the festivities once before, in 2011. At that time the Maids were supported by another famous Dane, Mike Tramp, and this year they had an equally if not more famous guest in the old thrash band Artillery, who were rocking the house well, but due to the rambunctious weather we only reached the end of their show.
On the other hand, Pretty Maids were the main reason for us to step foot outside on a night where even the police had advised the populace against leaving their homes, and the Maids’ coming was nigh as marked by the dampening of the lights and the Thin Lizzy song The Boys Are Back In Town being blasted through the speakers. Tension was already growing in the pressed room (was it sold out? I don’t know, possibly), and when the following Mother Of All Lies intro was replaced by the actual song and the entrance of the band was combined by the raising of the lights again, a new kind of storm hit Denmark!

As above, so below is a well-known saying, and it certainly held true this evening!
Up on the stage, the band members were partying harder than ever before, and down on the floor the fans were right there with them. Bassist René Shades is no stranger to the edge of the stage and neither is Ronnie Atkins, but even though it was definitely these two who led the show this evening as well, I was in awe over how well the entire band performed – especially Ken Hammer surprised me by delivering one of the liveliest performance I have ever seen from him, but Allan Tschicaja was well into the game as well, standing almost as much of the time as he was sitting down (as a point of interest it was also about the same amount of time as Shades spent flying through the air), and sending enough drumsticks flying to have a permanent imprint on any rain forest (if that in fact is where drum sticks come from...). Even Morten Sandager was rocking out, but was a bit more anonymous than the rest of the gang, probably due to his position on the far left of the stage and being surrounded by keyboards on all sides.

There was so much happening all the time it’s hard to decide where to start and stop, but one thing that certainly has to be in this review is actually more than one – it was a group of foreign women (they were promoting a tri-coloured, striped flag that I didn’t recognise) that were absolutely swooning over Atkins, grabbing his boot and caressing his pants whenever they could, and they also sent some love, the nearly x-rated kind, to Shades when he came walking by. I see nothing wrong with this behaviour, but I was quite stunned at seeing it here instead of from pre-teen girls at a Justin Bieber / One Direction show – yes it was that intense, they nearly cried at several points in the show!
Others took things a bit more metal, if I can put it like that without too many stupid inclinations – there was of course a resounding amount of singing throughout, but especially in favourites like Red, Hot And Heavy which came surprisingly early on in the set, the John Sykes cover Please Don’t Leave Me which was completely audience controlled in the beginning, and the more action oriented songs Back To Back and I.N.V.U. to name but a few.
When Eye Of The Storm, a very fitting song for the evening, was played we saw lighters being raised around the room, a welcome change to the smart phones that had been aired most of the rest of the night, and in response Hammer and Shades handed out several bottles of water and beer to the people in front of them.

Besides the regular set, Pretty Maids offered up a few special traits as well. The not so surprisingly performed Sykes cover I have already mentioned, but there was also a very welcome and highly praised snippet cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 which was used as an intro for I.N.V.U.. I wouldn’t have had anything against hearing the song in its entirety, but less could certainly also do the trick.
Tschicaja gave a hard pounding solo performance which could have been a bit more varied, but certainly won extra credit on the fact that he had the good taste of keeping it short instead of dragging it on like most drummers do when they finally have the stage-light to themselves.
Ending the festive season on the stage was the traditional The Greedies cover A Merry Jingle (yet another wink to their idol Phil Lynott), a song that bound everyone together in one last, joyous sing along before the lights made a final change and it was time to leave.

Back out in the stormy Bodil, the icy winds could do nothing to diminish the warmth that the highly entertaining concert had brought us. I had been sceptical about the band after their less than attractive Wacken gig in August, but December once more proved that Pretty Maids is as vital as they ever were, if not more! Hopefully, we’ll all meet up at the same place and time again next year.

Setlist:

Mother Of All Lies
I See Ghosts
Red, Hot And Heavy
Needles In The Dark
Hell On High Heels
Why So Serious
Sad To See You Suffer
Yellow Rain
Solo (Tschicaja)
It Comes At Night
Savage Heart
Rodeo
Please Don’t Leave Me (John Sykes cover)
Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 (Pink Floyd cover)
I.N.V.U.
Walk Away
Eye Of The Storm
Love Games
Back To Back
Little Drops Of Heaven
Future World
A Merry Jingle (The Greedies cover)

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