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HELLOWEEN United Alive In Madrid

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 @ 11:44 AM


- advertisement -
HELLOWEEN
United Alive In Madrid

Nuclear Blast Records - 2019
http://www.helloween.org




The coming together of the past and present members of HELLOWEEN for the "Pumpkins United" tour was without a doubt one of the most memorable concerts that I've ever attended. An unrelenting two and three quarter hours show left fans worldwide with gaping jaws and raised fists. I know that the North American version of the show held me in its awestruck grasp when I saw it on September 14th, 2018. (You can read my review of that concert HERE)

Having attended the show and been blown away by pretty much the entire experience, I knew that when the live album representing the tour was announced that I had to get it. This despite my pulling back on getting live releases these days. This was a show I had to have in my possession!

The package comes in a three disc audio version and there was also a two disc blu-Ray video release. I believe there was a DVD version release as well, but the store I went to only got the first two editions. I'm still looking for the DVD release.

I picked up the audio release and while there might be just a little bit of a loss of excitement without the video spectacle that this show packed, it is still quite a thrill to hear the show. I've been playing the CDs at home, work and in the car.

Given that the show was recorded in December of 2017 in Madrid, Spain listeners will be hearing what the band did for their European tour. I know that for most it won't make a difference, but there were some changes in the set list. There were songs swapped around in the running order and then there were others that didn't make the cut either for this show or the version that was done in North America. However, for the most part, every HELLOWEEN fan got to hear the biggest songs in the band's catalog.

On the first disc, I loved getting to hear "Rise And Fall" and "Forever And One" since they weren't included at the show I attended. It's these little changes that actually make the album that much more of a powerful experience for me. There's something perversely enjoyable about the song "Perfect Gentleman" and the gut-ripping version of "Are You Metal?" still shines bright. Plus, what a way to open the concert with the epic "Halloween" song. That's never going to get old for me.

The second disc closes out the main show and featured "I Can" as the opening cut which again, I didn't get to see live myself. And there aren't many bands that can close out a concert with a quartet of songs like "Invitation/Eagle Fly Free", "Keeper of the Seven Keys", "Future World" and "I Want Out".

I will say that the audio sounded amazing, at least for most of the show. Seriously, much like the concert I was at, the band just sounds fantastic. However, I will say that there were a couple of points in the show where the vocals came off just a bit out of tune. I was grooving to the closing number of "I Want Out" and all of a sudden there was this brief moment of the vocals being so out of key that I actually thought, "What the hell was that?" Other than that bit of a technical issue though, the show still lived up to the expectations I had for it. It's nice to be able to experience what others saw when it was their turn in the tour itinerary to get a visit from these unified pumpkins.

The bonus third disc has four songs on it recorded in Brazil, Prague and Germany. I loved hearing "Kids of The Century" and "Why" in particular. It was a bit strange to me that the "Pumpkins United" song was relegated to the bonus disc when it was a big part of the setlist at my concert. But despite that ever present fear that the song would cross over into self-parody, it remains a great summation of the band's current solidarity.

I find it hard to fully describe the ins and outs of the recording. It is a live representation of what the band did on their massive worldwide tour. The band performing in the way they did with both Michael Kiske and Andi Deris switching off and/or pairing up on vocals and the music that has thrilled fans for three decades plus being in superb form once again left me in a shocked state of awe. If someone had told HELLOWEEN to "just bring it", regarding their performance, let me just say that United Alive In Madrid is ample evidence that they did indeed do that very thing. They weren't "waiting for the thunder", HELLOWEEN WAS the thunder!

4.7 Out Of 5.0


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