The geeks were out in force, from the aforementioned role-players to neopagans, to the usual assortment of metalheads in Manowar and Dragonforce T-shirts. Apparently, geeks have great taste in music.
Germany's Leaves' Eyes opened with a half-hour set of Gothic power metal. Vocalist Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull looked lovely in her Renaissance fair dress, and brought a sense of quiet class with both her stage presence and beautiful voice.
Her co-vocalist and husband Alex Krull (Atrocity), was clearly used to fronting a death metal band, and constantly ran around and exhorted the audience to clap along. That energy was definitely out of place with subdued tunes like “Oceans Way” and “Elegy.”
Liv Kristine was the real marvel, though; her gorgeous vocals clear even over a muddy sound mix.
Blind Guardian came out to its usual introduction of “War of Wrath/Into the Storm.” Silhouetted against a screen showing various fantasy scenes and video clips, the band proceeded to roar through 16 of its greatest songs.
Vocalist Hansi Kürsch's voice stayed strong, and the entire band performed admirably, nailing the complex song arrangements.
Kürsch knew how to work the crowd, and had a sense of humor about the band's subject matter. At one point he announced, “Some of you may have heard the rumor that we're into that Tolkien crap. Well, you heard right,” before launching into the song “Lord of the Rings.”
The fans were rabidly energetic for their heroes. In fact, during the song “Valhalla,” the audience was still singing, “Valhalla – Deliverance! Why've you ever forgotten me?” for a few minutes after the song actually ended, prompting the band to sit down and take a short break.
The sing-along continued through most of the set, which consisted of favorites like “Bright Eyes,” “Time Stands Still (at the Iron Hill)” and the entire 14-minute “And Then There Was Silence.” Even new song “Fly” got a rapturous response.The set ended with the mandatory acoustic “The Bard's Song” and “Mirror, Mirror.” Despite the length of the set, the audience was left wanting more. For two hours, Blind Guardian transported its fans to a fantasy world, and it was fantastic