Artist: Gamma Ray
Venue: Gramercy Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Arctic Flame, Kore Rozzik
Label: Ear Music
Please don’t take this the wrong way but I hate Gamma Ray. Yep. Totally hate them and the other forty or so bands that just got to enjoy a full week of being on a Metal Cruise to the Caribbean with night after night of playing music and partying hard. My venom towards them all is not entirely serious and more based on the fact that New York City had been getting brutalized by Mother Nature who seems to be enjoying her ability to heap piles and piles of snow onto our Metropolis. I would not usually complain about such things but if you lived here you would probably be in agreement with me and hold a little bit of attitude about some folks who had been sailing their cares away in the warn sun. That being said, this “70,000 Tons of Metal” cruise had only just returned to port down in Florida earlier this morning and now the guys in Gamma Ray had to not only disembark from that without incident but also make their way up to a snow covered terrain that resembled the arctic more than it did a Big Apple. The guys in Gamma Ray were hitting our city for the first time in just over two years having last paid a visit with Helloween over at B.B. King Blues Club. That was a hell of a show, so I was looking forward to seeing them in action again as they delivered the goods from their newest Metal release “To The Metal”. They would be doing this particular show with two local openers and I had to say that with no offense to the pair, this was not all that enticing to the fans that had to trudge and stumble across the ice and slush to get to the venue. Our show was set to have both Desdemon and Arctic Flame, but illness curtailed the first band so the Flame moved up a slot and the opening time was left to a group called Kore Rozzik. I would miss the openers this evening and leave my time and attention to be purely centered on Gamma Ray. Here is how the set went down.
The band hit the stage to the opening strains of “Welcome” from their “Headed For Tomorrow” album, and that release still beats strong as a favorite of mine. It’s just a pity that they didn’t continue into “Lust For Life’. They would instead throttle us with “Gardens Of The Sinner” which I have never heard this early in the set when they play it. The one thing that was easy to notice right off the bat was the level of energy that they band was putting forth. Yes they usually perform in this fashion but since they had left a ship, to get to a plane and then an obvious car or bus ride to get here I was expecting a lot more exhaustion. Most people find fatigue after only one of these means of travel. I commended the tenacity of Kai, Dirk, Henjo and Dan tonight for sure. The stage setup was very sparse and left primarily to the equipment as opposed to any giant banners or extra décor. Kai did have a drink of some kind on his microphone stand for those who might be interested in knowing that little detail. The set list was pretty much different from the last time and left out numbers that the fans have come to expect with the likes of the classic “Heavy Metal Universe” and “Land Of The Free” being omitted and replaced by other tunes. Let’s face it, the band has kept active on the new release front and really has a lot of songs to browse through before deciding upon a set to entertain their fans.
We had nothing from “Land Of The Free II” which surprised me since the 2008 album received quite a few accolades from the fans and the likes of the Metal Press outlets. It was also surprising to find only a solitary tune from “Majestic” being performed in “Fight” which was a pummeling album. There were about three tunes from the newest release and a drum solo by Dan set nicely amidst the continual double guitar dueling of Kai and Henjo. These guys are a terrific pairing and it shows as tune after tune goes by. You knew the set was drawing to a close when Helloween’s “I Want Out” began and the guys really do it justice but you expected that to be the case when it comes to that bands repertoire. The end was supposed to be “Send Me A Sign” but after it had completed the guys returned to the stage quickly and delivered a vintage Helloween tune with “Ride The Sky” which comes from the bands “Walls Of Jericho” album.
That being said I will admit that I once again enjoyed having the Power Metal senses entertained at the capable hands of these German titans of the genre. Some have maintained that the show lineup could have been a little better for the price and that some of the songs left them for want, but I felt it was a treat to hear stuff that does not always get addressed. I cannot stand the shows that repeat something like 75% of the set that I saw the last time around. Classics or not, that gets old after awhile The crowd was solid this evening but could have been better and I will guesstimate that about 425 or so were in the venue but maybe a few less. That’s certainly not a bad show of support for a band on a Friday night at all and I am sure that Gamma Ray was not arguing. As I walked out into the very cold night air I was asked by one of my buddies at the venue if I was prepared for the snow that was again coming tomorrow. As these words registered to my brain I mumbled softly to myself……”I hate Gamma Ray”……
The next adventure would be George Lynch and his Lynch Mob. That should be fun.
1. Welcome (Intro)
2. Gardens Of The Sinner
3. New World Order
7. Mother Angel
8. The Saviour
9. Abyss Of The Void
10. Drum Solo
12. To The Metal
13. Rebellion In Dreamland
14. Man On A Mission
15. I Want Out – encore
16. Send Me A Sign – encore
17. Ride The Sky – encore
Continuing my usual presentation of the venue marquee with the bands names on it I give you this image
I didn’t capture as many behind the scenes shenanigans this time but here was the running order & times.
Official Website: http://www.gammaray.org