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VELVET VIPER In Dortmund, Germany With Photos!

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 2:08 PM


At Musiktheater Piano May 9, 2018

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Photos By Juliane Renn

A very special show took place at Musiktheater Piano in Dortmund, Germany. The newly resurrected VELVET VIPER, fronted by German metal legend Jutta Weinhold, played the fourth show on their current tour on the back of Respice Finem, the first VELVET VIPER album in 26 years. The album has received outstanding reviews by various heavy metal media outlets, both nationally (i.e. German) and internationally. Little wonder – in the late 1980 to the early 1990s, Jutta Weinhold's bands ZED YAGO and VELVET VIPER were household names on the German metal scene and the artistic and musical concept she created in those days, aptly dubbed 'dramatic metal', provided the very basis imagewise for many a power metal act to come. The combination of straight-down-the-line heavy metal very much in the vein of the NWOBHM with themes from mythology, literature and drama, most notably the music dramas of German composer Richard Wagner, was something entirely new and gave heavy metal music a deeper cultural meaning, which was a welcome contrast to the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll attitude celebrated by many a rock act in those days.

Now, fast forward again to May 9, 2018. The intimate atmosphere of the Musiktheater Piano club in an otherwise totally unspectacular suburb of the city of Dortmund in the heart of the German Ruhr Area, the former centre of the German coal mining and steel industry, turned out to be the ideal place for a gig that allowed the assembled fans to be face to face with a heavy metal icon. The current VELVET VIPER tour promises “the return of the spirit of ZED YAGO” and right from the intro, an adaptation of Richard Wagner's “Ride of the Valkyries”, that promise was faithfully kept. Jutta Weinhold and her musicians, all of them top-notch players both individually and within the fabric of the 2018 incarnation of VELVET VIPER, performed the new album Respice Finem in its entirety plus ZED YAGO and VELVET VIPER classics from back in the day. The songs from the current album worked out really well live and so did the classics.

Timeless music doesn't age and that was what the show was all about, which was not only due to the material itself but also to the fresh approach of the musicians in Jutta Weinhold's band. Drummer Micha Fromm and bass player Ron Oberbandscheid, who had joined the band shortly before the tour, formed an excellent rhythm section that was as tight as a duck's arse, providing a solid rhythm basis for Holger Marx, Jutta Weihold's long-standing guitarist and co-writer in the Jutta Weinhold Band. His riffing was the driving force of the songs, always energetic but never aggressive, while in the lead parts he made each and every note count, playing with utmost precision, passion and expression. Jutta Weinhold's voice hasn't aged a bit. She still sounds like back in the days of ZED YAGO and the first VELVET VIPER, mastering every note with ease and giving meaning to every phrase. To say that it was hard to believe that she is 70 years old would understate the matter gravely. Some singers age, other get even better and Jutta clearly belongs to the latter category. Charismatic as she is, she added the necessary dramatic performance to the songs, taking the audience to different worlds and characters ranging from the tales of the Flying Dutchman to the legends of the Holy Grail personified by Lohengrin, Parsival's son, who you must not ask what his name is and where he comes from, to Mary Stuart. During the show, Jutta was always close to the audience, talking to individual fans, and at some point left the stage to sang in the middle of her fans. What's more, she encouraged the fans to keep going to club gigs and to support bands in order to keep the scene alive – necessary words in times when clubs are dying and bands are getting fewer and fewer opportunities to play live, at least over here in Germany.

After one hour and forty-five minutes the spirit of ZED YAGO had sufficiently invigorated both the band and the audience and, needless to say, everybody agreed that the VELVET VIPER had returned to stay. The viper's teeth are certainly as sharp as they used to be – possibly even more dangerous.

Setlist

  • "Intro: Ride of the Valkyries"
  • "Don't Leave Before Wintertime"
  • "Shadow Ryche"
  • "Merlin"
  • "Dangerous"
  • "Ogaydez"
  • "Fraternize With Rats"
  • "Eternally Onwards"
  • "Stormy Birth"
  • "Loherangrin-Lohengrin"
  • "Millstone of Rage"
  • "Mary Stuart Highland Queen"
  • "Raven Evermore"
  • "Respice Finem"
  • "Zed Yago"
  • "Fear Of Death"
  • "Black Bone Song"
Encores:
  • "Law Of Rock"
  • "Rose of Martyrdom"
Check out some more photos from the show!
Photos By Juliane Renn


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