|Review: Blind Guardian - Live|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 29, 2009
Reviewed by: Baldr
Live albums can be hit and miss. This one is definitely a hit. Blind Guardian's second live album (after Tokyo Tales exactly 10 years earlier) shows the band at their absolute peak, radiating with power.
The 22 songs that made it to the two discs were recorded at several different locations on A Night at The Opera tour, but the transitions between the songs are perfectly smooth. The only giveaway are the song announcements which are made in several different languages throughout the disc. If it weren't for that you'd believe the album was recorded on a single show.
What makes this album so great? The musical output of the band needn't be discussed here, Blind Guardian had been a legend in the European Power Metal scene for 15 years already when the album was released. The song selection is simply superb, featuring every classic song the band is famous for, covering all eras of the band's history. From "Majesty" to "Valhalla" and over "Bright Eyes" to "Mirror Mirror" - it's all there. The sound is absolutely stunning for a live recording, with all instruments being crystal clear and perfectly transparent. I don't doubt there has been some digital craftsmanship going on to smooth out the edges on some songs, but who cares if the end result is so satisfying? And let's not forget that the band had over a dozen shows to choose the best recording from for each song.
What really sets this album apart from many other live recordings is how well the audience is captured. The crowd really goes wild and supports the band with all they've got. I really wish I had been on one of those shows when they were recorded. Well, this recording is as good a substitute as it gets and a must have for every Blind Guardian fan. The only slight tarnish in the otherwise shining armor is that at some points the band baths a bit too much in the crowd's enthusiasm. It's great for the atmosphere and everything, but at one point we have to sit through three minutes of claps and cheering before the band continues with the next song. The second time you listen to the whole thing you'll most likely want to skip this part. Still, this can't lessen the fact that we have over two hours (!) with some of the best music that the Power Metal genre has to offer. Many performances, especially of the older songs, are even superior to their studio versions. Essential.
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