Where do I start? I have been a huge fan of Helloween for the last 30 years, so it was no surprise to anyone when they announced their 2016 tour dates for the USA and I started talking about the upcoming show. I always hold my breath when I look at their tour dates because they usually have just a handful of shows spaced across the states so you never know which city will be lucky enough to score a spot on their tour. We lucked out that Seattle made it on this tour. The last time they were here was in 2013 and we weren’t sure if they would return to our rainy city again.
Last night Helloween arrived to play at the Showbox at the Market in downtown Seattle. Before the show Michael Weikath, Marcus Grosskopf and Sascha Gerstner stood outside the venue at various times talking to fans and taking photos. Some fans of the band had no idea they were even talking to anyone in the band which at one point was pretty comical as Sascha chatted with one fan about the band and kept making comments like he hadn’t seen them before and wondered how the show was going to be and saying how he was no one important. The fan went on and on about how much he liked the band and was looking forward to the show whilst unknown to him he was talking directly to both Helloween axe slingers in person. Then off he went, none the wiser. I wonder what his reaction was once the show started?
In talking with Sascha it became very clear to me he’s a very humble person that fame has not changed. He was very personable and engaging in conversation. He had some fun with us testing out some of his American slang he has picked up. We found out he particularly likes “awesome” as one of the best words to use. I was surprised to learn he’s actually a bit interested in one of Seattle’s own odd celebrities, Phoenix Jones. Sascha was intrigued after seeing a story that we have our very own local “superhero” crime fighter roaming the streets. Of all things that you’d ever wonder what someone like Sascha Gerstner would be curious about, it turns out he’s interested in the quirky and odd things about Seattle. We had a conversation about Phoenix, all things Seattle (to include our coffee which he sipped on while eating a vanilla biscotti), how the tour is going and how he’s getting over an illness that had him feeling pretty awful in Chicago before he headed off to get ready for their show.
My conversation then turned to Michael Weikath. My question to him was pretty simple, “who are you listening to right now?” He gave a very interesting response that I really liked to hear, the latest ELO and some Michael Schenker is some of what he’s really into right now. If you are a music fan as I am, you can really appreciate these artists. I then got to listen to him tell some classic touring stories and then off he went into the venue to get ready for the show as well.
The opening support for the show was a local band from Tacoma, WA called Children of Seraph. They started their set at 8:00pm and were a pleasant rock band to support Helloween. I don’t know who was more surprised about them opening the show, the local fans who mostly had not heard of them before, or the band who clearly were in awe they were opening for the one and only Helloween. Either way they came on and played a solid set to get the crowd pumped for the show.
Helloween hit the stage around 9:00pm, starting the show off with an intro that led into “Eagle Fly Free”. The crowds energy level was already pumped up but as soon as Andi Deris started singing the crowd went wild. This band not only sounds fantastic live, they are true performing artists. They let loose and have a fun time performing. It’s clear there is a special bond between the band and their fans as they both feed off of each other which in turn increases the intensity of the show. At times the crowd went crazy moshing in a venue really not accommodating for moshing. Thankfully security was able to get the overly aggressive ones thrashing around to calm down quickly.
The band continued on with their set playing songs throughout their career span. They played a few songs from the new release, My God Given Right and some of their biggest hits from years past to include “Dr. Stein” and “I Want Out”. Awesome solos came and went letting each artist shine, especially the man we can rarely see sitting behind his drum kit, Dani Löble. The fans were singing along to each song and there were waves of metal horns in the air. This was one absolutely fantastic show. Helloween never disappoints their fans with their performances. I am so glad that we were given the opportunity to join in on the tour this year. I would like to personally thank Helloween for not forgetting Seattle and extend an open-ended invite to the band from all Seattle fans to return here anytime! You are always welcome in our home. And hey Sascha, maybe next time we can arrange to have Phoenix Jones show up?
Setlist – Seattle, WA – 6 March 2016:
Eagle Fly Free
God Given Right
Waiting for the Thunder
Straight out of Hell
Lost in America
Forever and One
Before the War
Future and Git-Intro
I Want Out