Saturday, October 6, 2018

YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN - LIVE IN MALAYSIA : 29/09/2018 : WAWASAN HALL - MENARA PGRM : KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA



It was said that the two main man made objects on earth that can been seen from space were the great wall of China and the great wall of Marshalls. Metaphorically, that was how it described the show of Yngwie J. Malmsteen. With a wall of 40 marshall amps built on stage, it's a decibel onslaught !

The press conference and meet & greet session (for VVIP ticket holders) took place a day earlier at Setor Gombak. It meant so much to all those that he inspired to pick up the guitar, learn, strum and shred. They all brought along their axe, and Malmsteen would gladly and personally signed it to the pure joy of all those that met him that day.
 
 

The following night, Menara PGRM welcomed all the fans coming from every corners of Malaysia, as well as from other neighbouring countries like Singapore, Indonesia etc as the show in Kuala Lumpur was the only Asian date.
 
 
The show relatively started on time, and as the promotional video montage of Malmsteen addressing his Malaysian fans was rolled out, the venue immediately turned to life. While the use of smoke effect on stage gave the extra thrill.
 
The opening track, cranking the night, was a medley of "Rising Force" from 'Odyssey' (1988) and "Repent" from 'Spellbound' (2002). Such a monumental anthem like "Rising Force", it should be celebrated and delivered in full. It came short, and stopped at midway after the second solo with improvised long shred. We were ready to sing along to Turner's closing verse - "the lightning strikes, cranking the night, i'm not the same anymore", unfortunately, it never came. It then continued with a shorter version of "Repent" with Malmsteen on vocal. Yes, he sang well !

 
It continued with another medley. The track "Into Valhalla" from 'Relentless' (2010) kept the choir back pieces that made it sounded big on stage. Then came "Baroque & Roll" from 'Attack !!' (2002) that has evolved into one amazing piece of work.

By that time, we nod to the fact that Yngwie J. Malmsteen was rightfully - the maestro, the myth, the master. He revolutionized the world of guitar playing, trend set and expanded the rock genre with the distinction of classical music. He was also dynamic, as every songs evolved naturally on stage, at his magic fingers. We should have taken seriously on what he had said during the press conference, that the same song would not be played the same way on stage. Yes maestro, lesson learnt !

 
Malmsteen was also significant in inspiring the Malay rock scene. Even the veteran local guitar hero - Man Kidal (Lefthanded) came to pay his respect. So did King Shah (Metalasia), Karl (Cromok) etc who were also there to witness his wizardry at work.
 
It was our first time experiencing his latest work - 'World On Fire' (2016), but the live medley was enough to ignite our interest to check the album in full. The tracks in question started with "Soldier", then continued with the slightly faster guitar harmony of "Top Down Foot Down" and ended with the melodic solo of "No Rest For The Wicked".

Just like Malmsteen had warned all of us earlier (the show will not only surprise the fans, but will also surprise himself), we also caught ourselves by surprise that night. As a listener, not a musician (far being a guitarist either), we bow in respect to the shred master and reforged our interest on him. We should have not marched out after "Odyssey', should we ?!

Right after the classical displays of "Paganini 4th" and "Adagio", the long awaited "Far Beyond The Sun" was finally bestowed to all. We wished the venue was a dance floor, and everybody would just dance to it. Citing the death metal band Langsuir - Ayuh Berdansa ! The progressive keyboard solo was a threat just like in the album.

Interesting to note that Malmsteen bravely took the vocal on "Now Your Ships Are Burned" though still incomparable to Soto. It kept the midpart break, and filled it up with several solo techniques before "Evil Eye" casted all who were there into stone.
 
Those who loved the album 'Trilogy' (1986) were glad to get "You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget" as it was the last song for the set. The crowds threw a sing along during the chorus and Malmsteen gave a series of 'thank you' in returned, especially to those at the front row.
 
When Malmsteen and the band returned onstage for the encore, there stood a classical guitar at centre stage that prompted the crowds to shout out for "Blackstar". It started with a tune-up session (as what Malmsteen claimed) where his fingers were seen running free on the fretboard, and then, the famous string works of "Icarus' Dream Suite Op. 4" was heard to the big applause from the crowds. It continued with "Blackstar". Our jaw just dropped, and we don't think that our eyes blinked either. 


The album 'Marching Out' (1985) was given the honour to close the night with "I'll See The Light, Tonight". How we wished it was "I Am A Viking" that brought the night down.
 
Hat off to the drummer - Mark Ellis who was excellent throughout the night. He was also given a slot for drum solo, which he probably captured new Malaysian fan base that night. To us, the current line-ups of the band - Rising Force were just session musicians for live performance, but a top notch professional one. Nothing more, nothing less. 
  
Yet, it was a fretworks fiesta that night ! Kuala Lumpur was on fire ! Most of us were spellbound !

Thank you Panggung Asia / SoundValley Festival for giving all of us one memorable experience with Yngwie J. Malmsteen. It was also not easy to manage a perfectionist rockstar guitar hero who dealt only in absolute (sithlord ?!), so kudos to Gee, Syidah and team for the job well done.

Official shirts :-

 
Setlists
 1) Rising Force / Repent (Odyssey / Spellbound)
 2) Into Valhalla / Baroque & Roll (Relentless / Attack !!)
 3) Medley - World On Fire
     a) Soldier
     b) Top Down Foot Down
     c) No Rest For The Wicked
 4) Like An Angel - For April (Facing The Animal)
 5) Badinere (Classical piece)
 6) Paganini 4th / Adagio (Classical piece)
 7) Far Beyond The Sun (Rising Force)
 8) Seventh Sign (Seventh Sign)
 9) Medley
    a) Overture (Relentless)
    b) From A Thousand Cuts (Spellbound)
    c) Arpeggios From Hell (Relentless)
10) World On Fire (World On Fire)
11) When Your Ships Are Burned (Rising Force)
12) Evil Eye (Rising Force)
13) Trilogy Suite Op. 5 (Trilogy)
14) Blue (Alchemy)
15) Fugue (Concerto Suite)
16) Drum Solo
17) You Don't Remember, I'll Never Forget (Trilogy)
Encore
18) Icarus' Dream Suite Op. 4 (Rising Force)
19) Blackstar (Rising Force)
20) I'll See The Light, Tonight (Marching Out)
 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE - A PERSPECTIVE


 
As a listener (not musician), we are not a definite fan of guitar hero. But back then, ages ago, it seemed that everybody knew the guitar wizard by the name of Yngwie J. Malmsteen. The alphabet - 'J' in the middle represented his middle name - 'Johan'. 
 
We were at primary school at that time, and a friend who was way cooler told us about J. Malmsteen (without 'Yngwie' as he was unable to pronounce it). We didn't even bother. As stupid as it seemed, we later thought that there was a 'correlation' between J. Malmsteen and J. Yantzen (Rusty Blade). We used the big word 'correlation' as a way to deviate your attention, so that you couldn't notice that we were out of sense. The people around told us that those with brain would love Yngwie J. Malmsteen, because not only he was technically way advance during his time, he also got soul. We grew to love the debut album of Rising Force (1984), appreciated it even more later. So, would that mean we finally managed to catch up with intellectuality ? 
 
Beside the charm that "Blackstar" cast to all listeners, the album also featured the mighty Jeff Scott Soto on vocal, though only in 2 tracks but he was brilliant, especially on the classic - "As Above So Below". The galloping drumming, the progressive keyboard play and the bass line were all outstanding. Many years later, whenever we heard Rabbani - "Itifada", we somehow thought about that chorus. While, the tracks "Evil Eye" and "Icarus' Dream Suite Op 4" were even magical as seemed like it's alive ! As we all knew, Yngwie J. Malmsteen grew to become legend !
 
 
Jeff Scott Soto was given more spaces in 'Marching Out' (1985), singing his charisma out on 8 tracks from the total of 11 tracks featured on the album. However, the beginning tracks ("I'll See The Light Tonight" and "Don't Let It End") though were still good numbers seemed to have lost that heavy punch, before "Disciples Of Hell" and "I Am A Viking' came back to the glory of the 1st album. One of the biggest myth surrounding Yngwie was that he could not play at slow pace, and would fumble if he did. The track "Overture 1383" however came out to testify that it was all false claim. Yet, if we are given the opportunity, we would like to sit with him and ask the question personally.
 
The 3rd album - 'Trilogy' (1986) came out with Mark Boals on vocal. Finally, we realised that those 2 tracks - "I'll See The Light Tonight" and "Don't Let It End" on the previous album 'Marching Out' was a hint of what was to come in the album 'Trilogy'. While, the 4th album - 'Odyssey' (1988) had Joe Lynn Turner singing, and the track "Rising Force" was impressive indeed. However, in search for other musical persona(s), we marched out to explore other musical territories. Unfortunately, never turned back.

Despite whatever had happened through out the years back then, let's all take it, that today starts the Yngwie's month, up until the day that we'll see him onstage here in Malaysia on the 29th September 2018.
 

Like us, if you are not a big fan of guitar hero and unable to keep track of the many albums he had released up until 'World On Fire' (2016), just sit back and relax. In remembrance of the first 2 albums of Rising Force, we believe, eventually, that will turn out to be the biggest reason for you to be there at Wawasan Hall.

Frankly, for us, it was ...

Get the ticket ! See you there !
 
 
facebook : Official Yngwie Malmsteen

Thursday, August 9, 2018

THE IRON MAIDENS : INTERVIEW - THE ALL FEMALE TRIBUTE BAND TO IRON MAIDEN


(L - R) Nikki, Linda, Kirsten, Wanda & Courtney

THE IRON MAIDENS is the world's only all female tribute band to IRON MAIDEN. Holy smoke ! That sounds big !
 
The band was put together back in 2001 and has went thru several line-up changes with only Linda McDonald (drum) and Wanda Ortiz (bass) remained from the earlier years. Courtney Cox (guitar) and Kirsten Rosenberg (vocal) later joined the band in 2009. While the last addition to the band was Nikki Stringfield (guitar) in 2015.
 
Prior to their arrival in Malaysia this coming December, the band has already reached South East Asia in 2012 where they hit Indonesia for 3 shows (Yogyakarta & Jakarta and Bali). Later in 2015, they made their stop in Singapore during Asia Tour 2015 which also saw the band played 3 shows in Japan (Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo).

We are fortunate to be able to do this interview with the girls, a big thank you to SOUNDVALLEY FESTIVAL and THE IRON MAIDENS' management for making this possible.

These girls are damn talented, tough, and also funny ! Scream for them Malaysia !!!

Here is THE IRON MAIDENS !!! Up the Irons !!!

WELCOME 'THE IRON MAIDENS'. THANK YOU FOR WILLING TO DO THESE INTERVIEW. WHO WILL BE THE ONE ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS ?
Hello ! You got 4 of the 5 Maidens here answering questions - Kirsten Rosenberg (Bruce Chickinson), Linda McDonald (Nikki McBURRain), Wanda Ortiz (Steph Harris) and Nikki Stringfield (Davina Murray).
 
LET'S START WITH A FEW WORDS TO BEST DESCRIBE EACH ONE OF YOU PLEASE ...
Linda : I am the drummer as 'Nikki McBURRain'. I have a strong energy and can be misinterpreted as rude or stand off-ish but I am actually shy, sensitive yet guarded and very protective of our musical family. I am a founding member of the band.
 
Kirsten : I joined the band in 2009 as 'Bruce Chickinson'. I am the lead singer and 'class clown'. Still haven't learned to fly a jumbo jet plane yet ...
 
Wanda : I play bass as 'Steph Harris' in 'The Iron Maidens'. Most people tell me that they think I'm kind of a serious, quite person.
 
Nikki : My name is Nikki Stringfield and I play guitar as 'Davina Murray'.

WHAT ABOUT COURTNEY ...
Linda : I'm gonna introduce Courtney who isn't here on this interview. She is 'Adriana Smith' in the Maidens, and a silly and sarcastic prankster.
 
THE BAND IS CURRENTLY HAVING A SHORT BREAK BEFORE TOUR RECOMMENCES IN AUGUST. AS TO EASE THE TIGHT TOURING SCHEDULES, WHAT WILL YOU CHOOSE TO DO AT TIME LIKE THIS ?
Nikki : Right now I'm working on my original music and a few other projects as well as spending time with my animals at home.
 
Kirsten : I love spending time at home with my longtime boyfriend and our menagerie - a mini-horse, donkey, two dogs, four chickens and three cats - all rescued. Plus there are always chores and projects I try to complete around the house.
 
Wanda : I'll be busy playing bass in a symphony orchestra during that time.
 
Linda : One of my dogs had a major hip surgery during this down time, and my other dog that has only 3 legs is getting a custom doggy wheelchair made for him to help him get around. I've been a dog mommy and caretaker for my 2 puppies this whole time and love it, in addition to lots of family time and my brother getting married. \m/
 
HAS ANYONE OF YOU MANAGED TO CATCH IRON MAIDEN - 'LEGACY OF THE BEAST TOUR' SO FAR ?
Kirsten : I haven't and that makes me sad. I would love to see this tour but so far there's no US dates have been announced. I know Courtney will see Maiden on this tour during her travels and I'm so jealous.
 
Wanda : I haven't been able to see them this year yet. I'm hoping I will be able to catch them soon.
 
Linda : Not yet, I really hope to !
 
Nikki : Not yet, we really hope to ! We saw them in Las Vegas on 'The Book Of Souls Tour'.
 
MALAYSIA WILL FINALLY SEE 'THE IRON MAIDENS' LIVE ON STAGE. ARE YOU ALL EXCITED ?
Wanda : I'm totally excited to be going to Malaysia for the very first time !
 
Linda : I am thrilled to go to Malaysia ! I still can't believe we are going !
 
Nikki : We can't wait to be finally playing in Malaysia !

Kirsten : We are so excited to come to Malaysia ! I never dreamed it would happen. We feel extremely fortunate for this opportunity.
 

WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS YOU REALLY LOOK FORWARD WHEN PLAYING A NEW COUNTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME ? TAKE MALAYSIA FOR EXAMPLE ...
Wanda - The thing I look forward to the most is exploring new places and meeting new people.

Linda - I am always interested in seeing the local way of life, local foods and drinks, and being a dog nerd, I love seeing local dogs in the country (hehe). Of course you have to see some of the key tourist stuff too on the first visit. I'd really love to see some of the beautiful beaches  Malaysia is known, as well as the Petronas towers if we get the chance.

Nikki - I always love being able to see the culture, the country, and how much people love to rock ! Music really brings everyone together.

Kirsten - When touring, we rarely get much down time to actually see the places we play, which is very unfortunate. So I'm really hoping there will be some time off planned into the schedule. I'm always curious and eager to find the local vegan food, haha.

ANYTHING SPECIAL PLANNED FOR THE MALAYSIA SHOW ?
Nikki - We can't give away too much, but you can expect an awesome setlist packed with your favourite hits and some deep cuts ! Eddie usually makes an appearance as well and we make sure to give you a high energy, rocking show !

SUPRISES PERHAP ?
Kirsten - Hmmm ... you'll just have to wait and see ...

Linda - I'm not one to kiss and tell ! Wait for it Malaysia !!! LOL !

Wanda - You'll have to come and see. I'm sure there will be surprises.

THE BAND HAD ALREADY SET FOOT IN INDONESIA (2012) AND SINGAPORE (2015) EARLIER. HOW HAVE THE 'SOUTH EAST ASIA' FANS TREATED THE BAND ON STAGE ?
Linda - They were so fanatical about the music and happy to have us in their countries. I'm not sure if we were happier or if they were ! \m/ Indonesia and Singapore were both so very supportive of us paying tribute to Iron Maiden, and it was like a series of big parties with fellow Maiden fans celebrating this amazing music together. Such kind people there too !

Kirsten - Yes, the fans were very welcoming and an enthusiastic audience ! We are always grateful and appreciative for all the support we receive. But of course, that's because Iron Maiden has so many passionate fans around the world. Maiden fans are truly the best !

Wanda - Since we are a Maiden tribute band, people who come to our show already know they are going to hear songs they like, so the reaction was very positive. We got a very nice, big welcome from Maiden fans there.

Nikki - I wasn't there for the Indonesia show, but I was for Singapore. The fans were amazing and we felt right at home !

SPEAKING ABOUT INDONESIA, THE BAND DID AN ACCOUSTIC SET OF "WASTED YEARS" ON INDONESIA NATIONAL TELEVISION (RCTI) WHICH HAS ABOUT 191 MILLION VIEWERS. WHAT WILL BE THE BEST MOMENT YOU FIND TO APPRECIATE THAT DAY ?
Linda - That was a first time for us and so interesting ! It was odd playing with the audience in back of us though ! I am not sure how many of the audience members were actually Iron Maiden fans, but it was awesome anyway ! 191 million viewers ! Wow ! I'm so glad I didn't know that when we were performing. We were treated so graciously by everyone there. That was truly appreciated.

Wanda - We had a great time performing and working with RCTI that day. It's hard to pinpoint only one specific moment because the whole time was special. We feel very lucky to have had the experience which we will always remember.

Kirsten - That experience was unforgettable, although sitting in a TV studio you don't really get the feeling 191 million peoples are watching, haha !

SUPRISINGLY, 'THE IRON MAIDENS' HAD ALSO PERFORMED AT MILITARY BASECAMP IN KUWAIT AND IRAQ BACK IN 2008. OUT OF CURIOSITY, WHAT GOT INTO YOU GIRLS ...

Linda - We felt it was important to bring a little bit of 'home' to the people stationed in Iraq. Many of them had no choice to be there, but we did, and we would certainly be assholes for saying 'no' when asked to go and give back to our troops. My brother was out there at the time as well, as a civilian on base. It was also 4th of July when we went to Iraq, so that was even more reason to go and bring a piece of America back to those who could not be home with their families. I heard a lot of personal stories from the people at camps that were heart breaking and validated just how destructive war is, not just to the countries involved, but more importantly, the pain and damage it does to individuals who are there for things they don't understand or agree with.
 
Wanda - We were honoured to play shows for our troops there. They were very grateful that we came out and reminded them of home, and we were thrilled to be there for them.
 
Kirsten - The Kuwait and Iraq shows occurred before I joined the band, but I know that the girls wanted to give back and show their appreciation to the military personnel stationed in such uncertain and dangerous conditions.
 
SHARE SOME STORIES PLEASE ...
Linda - I remember being shot at when taking off in a Blackhawk, realising how disposable our lives were to the enemy. But the most valuable experience was being thanked by the soldiers for letting them forget where they were for that hour that we played ... One of the higher up ranking personnel was so in the moment when we played, he got up on stage and was playing air guitar on his rifle ! Oops, he got into a lot of trouble for that later ! LOL ! \m/
 
SO MILITARY PERSONNELS DO HEAD BANGED ?
Kirsten - Yes absolutely, there are a lot of metalheads in the armed force !
 
YOUR SETLISTS FEATURED RARITIES LIKE "DEJA VU", "ALEXANDER THE GREAT", "THE DUELIST" FOR EXAMPLE, WHICH IRON MAIDEN ITSELF HAD NOT EVEN PLAYED LIVE YET. THE FANS WILL APPRECIATE THAT FOR SURE ...
Wanda - We aim to please ...
 
Kirsten - For sure, Maiden fans always enjoy hearing the deeper album cuts and songs the wouldn't typically hear nowadays at an Iron Maiden concert. It's a pleasure for us to play them too.
 
Nikki - The deeper cuts are actually some of my favourites to play and the die hard Maiden fans love to hear them ! You've always got to play the big hits, but it's fun to see people's face when they hear the intro to a song they're not expecting.
 
Linda - They love hearing songs Maiden does not play live. It's awesome getting to play them too !
 
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON IRON MAIDEN DURING 'BLAZE BAYLEY' ERA ? THE BAND HAD NOT COVERED ANY FROM THE ALBUMS - 'X-FACTOR' AND 'VIRTUAL X' RIGHT ? WILL YOU CONSIDER DOING IT ?
Nikki - I love the Blaze album ! We've actually been playing "The Clansman" lately and that song is so fun !
 
Kirsten - We have started doing "The Clansman". It's a great song to perform in front of really big crowds.
 
Linda - For sure ! We've just been busy digging into some of our favourites because there are so many songs to choose from, but we have been playing "The Clansman" recently !
 
Wanda - I can't remember if we have done any Bayley era songs ever. I don't think we have and if we did, it would have been a very long time ago. I remember we played an older Maiden song with Michael Kenney siting in on keyboard, but I think it was "Blood Brother" which was not a Bayley era song. I have a friend who swears that we did "Sign Of The Cross" one time but I don't remember it. Anyway, every so often, we like to surprise the audience with a more obscure song for the really hardcore fans, so we might consider a Bayley song one day, you just never know ...
 
ANY CHANCES THAT THE BAND WILL PERFORM TRACKS FROM THE NEWER IRON MAIDEN ALBUMS - 'THE FINAL FRONTIER' AND 'THE BOOK OF SOULS' ?
Linda - When the band first started, we always tried to focus on the 'Live After Death' or earlier eras, but that was 17 years ago. There is so much more amazing materials out now to choose from than ever. We've touched in on a little of 'Dance Of Death', but I guess at this point, 'never say never' is probably the wisest answer to give.
 
Nikki - Anything is possible I guess ... but we don't really play anything from an album that Maiden is currently touring with.
 
Kirsten - So far "Dance of Death" is as modern as we get. Their catalog is so vast with so many great songs from which to choose, we never run out of material to cover. In time, we may add more recent songs. I'd love to do "Death or Glory".
 
Wanda - There is always a chance, but at this point of time, people have either just heard or can still hear the real band playing those songs live, so it makes more sense for us to play something different.
 
SINCE NIKKI WAS THE LAST PERSON TO JOIN THE BAND, THERE IS STILL NO ALBUM / VIDEO WITH HER ON IT YET. ANY PLAN TO ENTER THE STUDIO ANYTIME SOON ?
Nikki - We'll actually be going into the studio soon to record a new album with the current line-up. I can't wait !
 
Kirsten - The band has no CD recordings with my vocals either ! We will be recording a new CD with our current line-up very soon (I can't wait), so stay tuned ...
(editor - we heard you Kirsten ; smiling ...)
 
Linda - We are getting ready to go into the studio very soon to record with the current line-up ! By the time we get to Malaysia, it will hopefully have been recorded. We'll see if it is finished in time !
 
Wanda - Yes, we plan to record a new CD with our current line-up at the end of the year.
 
IS A 3RD GUITARIST NECESSARY FOR THE BAND ? IRON MAIDEN HAS 'THE 3 AMIGOS' THOUGH ...
Nikki - I think we're doing just fine with 2 guitarist ... our stages aren't quite big enough to always have an extra guitarist, haha.
 
Linda - Definitely not on a permanent basis.
 
Kirsten - We have actually done a show with 3 guitarist just as a special one-of-a-kind event. But we have no plans to add a third guitarist. It would be awfully crowded on a lot of the stage we play, haha.
 
Wanda - We haven't play many venues that are big enough for us to have 3 guitarist on stage ... but who knows, it may happen in the future.
 
IRON MAIDEN IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THE GREATEST HEAVY METAL BANDS THAT WALKED THE EARTH. IS IT DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN THE REPUTATION AS THE WORLD'S ONLY ALL-FEMALE TRIBUTE BAND TO IRON MAIDEN ?
Kirsten - I agree with you about Iron Maiden (of course) ! All we can do is aim to be the best we can, deliver a great show, and strive to be as true to Maiden as possible. That is what people who come to our shows want to experience. We are just Maiden fans ourselves, playing the music that we love. But you do have to give it your all every show, the audience wants to know that you're feeling it, too.
 
Wanda - No, not really because, so far, at least as far as I know, there hasn't been another all-female Iron Maiden tribute band. By tribute band, I mean an act that tries to emulate Maiden's show and costumes in addition to playing their music. I have heard of some all-girl acts that only play the music but that's not the same.
 
Nikki - We were all huge Maiden fans before joining the band, so we're very gratefull to be doing this. We try our best to stay true to Maiden's music and give 110% at every show to do them justice !
 
Linda - We do our best not to butcher the masterpieces of Iron Maiden ! That would just be wrong ! Maiden is absolutely the best ! \m/ We are honoured to be able to play their songs for fellow fans around the world ! What a privilege !
 
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ALL-FEMALE TRIBUTE BANDS GOIN' ON STRONG NOW LIKE '2HOT2HANDLE' (UFO TRIBUTE), 'HELL'S BELLES' (AC/DC TRIBUTE), PARADISE KITTY (G'N'R TRIBUTE) ETC ... HAVE YOU CHECKED THEM OUT ?
Kirsten - We are friends with Paradise Kitty and have shared the stage with many all-female tributes. One of my absolute favourites is Judas Priestess ! We are happy to support our metal sisters.
 
Nikki - We're friend with a lot of the other female tribute bands. I've actually jammed with Paradise Kitty before. It's so awesome to see all the female bands coming up and kicking ass !
 
Linda - It's a family within the tribute scene. and many of us girls are friends. We've known the Belles forever ! Hard working group of girls !
 
Wanda - Yes, we've seen and are friends with most of those bands.
 
ANY PARTICULAR BAND YOU MIGHT FIND INTERESTING TO SEE ALL-FEMALE PAYING TRIBUTE ?
Kirsten - I'd love to see a female Rush or Queensryche tribute ...
 
Nikki - I'd like to see an all-female Megadeth tribute ... that could be cool.
 
Linda - A female tribute to Pantera would be awesome ! Cowgirls From Hell was around but I'm not sure if they are active any more or not. Hmmm ... maybe it's time to put one of those together ! LOL !
 
Wanda - I like the heavier stuff so I really like Judas Priestess, an all-female tribute to Judas Priest. You should definitely check them out !
 
WHAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT FOR 'THE IRON MAIDENS' ?
Wanda - Steve Harris came to our show in Mexico City and let us know that he liked it ! We were also the first all-female metal band to play in Venezuela in front of 40,000 people ! Hopefully, there will be more to look forward to.
 
Linda - I'd say longevity is a huge achievement. We are going on 17 years now and going to more new places constantly ! This is due to the massive amount of Iron Maiden fans everywhere who just can't get enough of Maiden, so they turn to us as a surrogate fix until the can go see the real deal again, haha ! We are also the first tribute band to put out a full length tribute CD !
 
Kirsten - I'd say coming to Malaysia certainly ranks among the biggest achievements !
 
Nikki - I'm not sure what the biggest achievement would be, and I'm sure it would be different for everyone individually. I think getting to travel and play to fans all around the world is a pretty big achievement itself !

 
UNTIL WE SEE YOU IN DECEMBER, WHAT ABOUT SOME LAST WORDS TO ALL THE MALAYSIAN FANS WAITING FOR THE SHOW ...
Nikki - Malaysia, we hope you're ready to rock !!! See you soon and up the irons !
 
Kirsten - Malaysia, Edwina is coming for you !!! Get ready to have your faces melted ! Up the irons !
 
Linda - See you soon Malaysia !!! Up the irons and don't forget to visit us online at our website or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ... you know the deal ! We're look forward to coming to your beautiful country and shredding some Maiden for you and just can not wait !
 
Wanda - Thanks for your support and we can't wait to see you in December !!!

So, are you ready Malaysia ?!! These girls mean serious business, they will bring you all to the slaughter !!!

Get the ticket now, be quick or be dead !!! 

https://www.ticketpro.com.my/concert/rock/2331212-The-Iron-Maidens-Live-In-Malaysia.html

The Iron Maidens
website : www.theironmaidens.com
facebook : The Iron Maidens
instagram : @theironmaidensofficial
Photo : courtesy of The Iron Maidens

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

HELLOWEEN : PUMPKINS UNITED WORLD TOUR 2018 - LIVE IN MALAYSIA : MEGA STAR ARENA - KUALA LUMPUR : 28/04/2018


 
HELLOWEEN - Pumpkins United
 
Michael Kiske (vocal)
Andi Deris (vocal)
Kai Hansen (guitar/vocal)
Michael Weikath (guitar)
Markus Grosskopt (bass)
Sascha Gerstner (guitar)
Dani Loble (drum)
 
When HELLOWEEN chose to take a different path in 'Chameleon' (1993), the band eventually fell abrupt with Kiske (vocal) and the late Ingo (drum) kicked out from the band. Thus, we considered our time with HELLOWEEN has also ended.

But frankly, 'Chameleon' stood out. We believed that they needed the break, they needed the fresh air. Yet, at that time, who the hell knows what was happening in their camp ...

With Hansen (guitar) gone to found GAMMA RAY after 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II' (1988), the band was left with only Weikath (guitar) and Grosskopt (bass) to move the band forward. Grapow (guitar) who joined the band during 'Pink Bubbles Go Ape' (1991) remained, but would later made his way out as well.

Growing up with the old pumpkins thru the thick and thin of life, made it hard for us to accept the new pumpkin recruits. Those early years were nostalgic and the sense of attachment were too great to allow us to accept change. Though occasionally, we did revisited and played back those old tapes in remembrance of the old pumpkins, but that was just it. Being a hard-headed young man back then, we chose to ignore 'Master Of The Rings' (1994) which for the first time, featured Deris (vocal). Frankly, and sadly to say, that would continued for the next 24 years until the band hit the stage on the night of 28th April 2018 in Malaysia, and proved us wrong. So, these are the story ...
  
When the Pumpkin United World Tour was first announced in late 2016, we had that small hope, maybe there would be one crazy Singapore's promoter that will bring them over to Singapore. That seemed to be the only option to see the original and expanded HELLOWEEN line-ups  live  on stage after more than 30 years of waiting. While, to be there in Japan was out of picture. But SoundValley Festival surprised us all and brought them to Malaysia instead.

The change in  venue to  Mega Star Arena - Kuala Lumpur (from Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang - MAEPS) was just perfect to house the turnouts. So were the sound and lighting system that night.

We took our spot at Weikath's side, at the right, facing the stage. There was a transparent stage curtain with the HELLOWEEN logo hangin', covering the stage. While, the lighting inside the venue was dim in pumpkin orange.

 
As soon as the ticking intro of "Halloween" began, that stage curtain immediately dropped and the ground at Mega Star Arena trembled. A loud roaring of "masquerade, masquerade, grab your mask and don't be late" echoed through out the arena, welcoming and celebrating HELLOWEEN on stage. It was madness ! Those little ghosts (as well as old ones) were really makin' lots of noise ! It was exactly just like the lyric described - there is magic in the air ! Ahhh ... its HELLOWEEN !

HELLOWEEN kept its reputation as the master of Speed / Power Metal. The band was musically bigger on stage than from the album. That's the big reason to witness them live. The set continued with "Dr. Stein", and the crowds stayed insane. Kiske and Deris shared vocal duties, and so did the crowds.



"Good to be here ladies and gentlemen. The first time for us in Malaysia ...", that was the opening speech as the band began to address the crowds.

As the current singer, Deris took charge next with 4 tracks from 4 different albums. He showcased great vocal and persona on stage. While in between, Kiske did "I'm Alive" and "March Of Time", and we grinned in utmost satisfaction. His voice still remained powerful.
 
When Hansen (guitar) took centre stage and asked - "are you ready for some classic German Heavy Metal ?", the background montage aired the "Happy Helloween" sing along, and some of the crowds heeded the call, in reminiscent of 'Live In The UK' (1989). Hansen then burst into action. He belted out a medley of old time classics in its grandeur and glory - "Starlight / "Ride The Sky" / "Judas" / "Heavy Metal (Is The Law)". At such age, he got power, he was (literally) divine !
 
 
While the stage background display was grand and colourful, and the pumpkins cartoon character of 'Seth' and 'Doc' in action during every break was creative.
 
 
The two HELLOWEEN big ballads came next with Deris and Kiske sharing vocal on "Forever and One (Neverland)", accompanied with only Gerstner on guitar. The rest would later joined in towards the end. The track felt elevated with Kiske's big deep voice on it. It will be interesting if somehow the track is given a re-recording treatment in studio (with dual vocal) for a special Pumpkins United compilation album perhaps. 
 
Once Kiske requested everybody to light up the flashlight (smartphone) and announced that the song "A Tale That Wasn't Right" was next, that nostalgic feeling started to creep in as the track was monumental and had survived for more than 3 decades. The famous Weikath's mesmerising intro and mid-part solo really cut everybody's heart like a knife.


It was indeed a special night when we were also treated with two encores, all from the 'Keeper' era where Kiske dominated.

"Eagle Fly Free" triumphed with Grosskopt's pounding bass works and Loble's drum solo. Grosskopt was lively on stage and impressed us with his stage antics which we could relate him to Janick Gers (IRON MAIDEN).
 
All hands and fists were held high when the epic "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" made its live Malaysian debut with massive sing along on the chorus. Deris came in later and turned the arena on fire. The song ended dramatically where each of the band members were introduced and made their exit bid, one by one, with the crowds continued to sing 'oh...oh...oh...oh' in orgasm harmony. While Gerstner remained on guitar as the last one standing before finally making his own exit.

The band returned on stage for the final encore that led everybody into total frenzy. Kiske claimed "Future World" and shared vocal with Deris for "I Want Out". Big orange pumpkin balloon-like balls were thrown towards the crowds, floating and bouncing with great joy. While, from both of the front corners of the arena burst colourful glitters that rained onto the stage areas, turned it into a fascinating sight. It was one historical moment ! 

To most of us who were there that night, it was the 30 years celebration of the Keeper albums (Part I & II). Those two albums have been part of us since our younger days, and it was damn emotional that we finally got to experience old time favourites like "A Tale That Wasn't Right", "Eagle Fly Free", "Future World", and of course "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" live with Kiske on vocal. They gave us a total of 10 tracks and we are thankful for that.
 
Yet, as at that night, and approximately 24 years later after 'Master of the Ring' (1994), we finally found peace with Deris. The band was right to have him on vocal duty after Kiske. He definitely earned his place as a pumpkin. The selection of songs from the Deris' era was also brilliant like "If I Could Fly" and "Why?". While, the song "Power" was the best, raising the atmosphere higher with the sing along.

So were Gerstner and Loble who have done well since joining the band.
 
Albeit "Forever and One (Neverland)" had stamped its mark as the favourite ballad for most fans, but to us, none could beat our all time personal favourite - "A Tale That Wasn't Right".

What a night ! Shout it out ! Let them know ! Pumpkins United we are ! We hope that this expanded line-up will at least release one album together before call it off. A live album from the Pumpkin United World Tour is also a must release.

Simply brilliant ! Thank you HELLOWEEN ! Well done SoundValley Festival ! It was the best show in 2018 so far, no doubt !
 
Note :-
We have also updated the review with the following video, courtesy from VIDEO2U Productions.
 
 
 
Setlists
 
 Deris & Kiske
1) Halloween (Keepers of the Seven Keys Part I)
2) Dr. Stein (Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II)

Kiske
3) I'm Alive (Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I)

Deris
4) If I Could Fly (The Dark Ride)
5) Are You Metal ? (7 Sinners)

Kiske
6) March of Time (Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II)

Deris
7) Waiting For The Thunder (Straight Out Of Hell)
8) Perfect Gentleman (Master Of The Rings)

Hansen
9) Medley
    i)   Starlight (Helloween)
    ii)  Ride The Sky (Walls Of Jericho)
    iii) Judas (The Best, The Rest, The Rare)
    iv) Heavy Metal [Is The Law] (Walls Of Jericho)

Deris & Kiske
10) Forever and One [Neverland] (The Time Of The Oath)
11) A Tale That Wasn't Right (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I)

Deris & Kiske & Hansen
12) Pumpkins United (new single)

Loble
13) Ingo's Tribute - drum solo with (on screen) Ingo

Kiske
14) Medley
     i)   Livin' Ain't No Crime (The Best, The Rest, The Rare)
     ii)  A little Time (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I)

Deris & Kiske

15) Why ? (Master Of The Rings)

Deris
16) Sole Survivor (Master Of The Rings)
17) Power (The Time Of The Oath)

Kiske & Deris & Hansen
18) How Many Tears (Walls Of Jericho)
 
Encore 1
Invitation
Kiske
19) Eagles Fly Free (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II)
Kiske & Deris
20) Keeper Of The Seven Keys (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II)
    
Encore 2
Hansen
21) Guitar Solo
Kiske
22) Future World (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I)
Kiske & Deris
23) I Want Out (Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part II)
 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

PRIME DOMESTIC - PUBLIC DISTORTION 2017 : OASIS SQUARE DAMANSARA - MALAYSIA : 09/12/2017



"... kira ... 1,2 ... 1,2,3 ..." that was the loud counting from the madman on the drum stool - Ainol, who stole the night with his madness and drumming aggression. In summary, 'Public Distortion' closed the year 2017 with a high note. The venue, though a bit far, was a good pick, and the sound system blew everything away. Both bands rocked the night !

We actually took our time off in 2017, having to put other priorities ahead of everything. But 'Public Distortion 2017' brought us back, and glad that we did.
  
Earlier, we reached Oasis Square Damansara when opening band - XPDC (V6) has already belted out a few numbers, and they were about to cover "Enter Sandman" (METALLICA) by then. Having seen them at 'Rentap Kasi Sentap 2016' (with MAY) in Johor Bahru, the band continued to impress the crowds. They were musically tight on stage, and Ali (vocal) was in control as always.
 
Yet, we came to see the highlight of the night - PRIME DOMESTIC. A super group that centred on 2 local guitar heroes - Joe and Hillary from the WINGS/SEARCH fame, along with the groovy veteran bass pounder - Fauzi (ex NRG/SEARCH). The line-up was made complete with younger talents - Ainol (drum) and Aweera (vocal).  

Their night started with a poetical narration, accompanied with some keyboard plays which helped to drive the momentum. As soon as Ainol gave the cue '1,2,3 ...", the band started their opening set with a 5-tracks back-to-back. 

It began with IRON MAIDEN - "Hallowed Be Thy Name". Fauzi did the first verse narration, but Aweera came in too early for the following verse but quickly did a 'say yeargh' gimmick to amend it. That cover song was the right one to showcase the brilliant fretwork plays from both the axemans, which where PRIME DOMESTIC really dominates. They continued with 'Kau Masih Berdegil" (WINGS) which went well, as anything from WINGS is definitely Aweera's forte. Finally next, their own track "Malam Berasap" that excelled with the guitar groove. As soon as "Malam Berasap" ended, the keyboard continued to play, marking the arrival of one of the biggest intro - "Fenomena" from none other than the man himself - Hillary. It still haunts us after all these long. To us, the song "Fenomena" was musically SEARCH's biggest track from the album, even bigger than "Isabella". Next to follow was "Nasib Kita" (WINGS) where the pounding bass was best felt. Fauzi was simply stupendous and he really had a great time on stage. Aweera again nailed it. While Joe and Hillary were casting spells from their guitars through out the night. The 1st set done, and the choice of songs was just brilliant.


The following set was simply the best for the night where the band delivered all their originals, starting with "2087" - a heavy modern track but still kept that rocking sway, followed by their own version of 'fast, faster, fastest' - "Tekno Dewata" that displays melodic riff speeding on full throttle. The live version appeared heavier and killer. While, "Kurnia" has the usual M. Nasir's blueprint on it, a good ballad nevertheless.


The remaining sets were dominated by songs from SEARCH and WINGS,  until "Illusi Intonasi" and "Sedingin Pluto" came out later. Some have interesting re-arrangements done, obviously "Lena Diulit Intan" (WINGS) which has turned damn heavy. On the other hand, Aweera was no where to hit the high note in "Mentari Merah Di Ufuk Timur" (SEARCH).

The debut album 'Prima Domestika' featured 10 tracks and the band only delivered 6 tracks [inclusive of the baptized (literally) - "Illusi Intonasi"] and filled their more than 2 hours slot mostly with numbers from WINGS and SEARCH. If we are to take count of the songs in the medley, PRIME DOMESTIC delivered 8 tracks from SEARCH and 7 tracks from WINGS and that were at least 60% from the total 24 songs the band delivered that night. We understood that their (Joe and Hillary) times with those bands helped to shape who they are today. But moving forward, it is about time that PRIME DOMESTIC breaks away from those shadows. Yet, do continue with covers from WINGS and SEARCH in the setlist, but at much lesser. 

Apart from MAIDEN, it will be great if they added in a few more covers from rock/heavy metal legends like SAB ("Paranoid" please) / DIO / PURPLE etc as to offer new punch and variety. Yet, Hillary did gave us the intro of "Smoke In The Water" (PURPLE) before it continued with the last song of the night - "Pasti" (SEARCH). We are also okay if they cover SWEET CHARITY (definitely not  "Kamelia" and "Teratai", but "Ribut 10.59 Pagi" sounds cool) / RUSTY BLADE / LEFTHANDED / BLOODSHED etc with intent to pay homage to local heroes. Perhaps, something out of ordinary like HELLOWEEN - "Future World" which will be interesting to see the twin guitars running wilds.


While, the guest - Amy (SEARCH) came out in the middle of the medley, during "Isabella" and continued to do "Langit Dan Bumi" and "Kau Pergi" in full. The crowds were at their loudest during that time. Seeing him reunited with Hillary on stage was nostalgic.

'Public Distortion 2017' was definitely a success, and an official live CD release is utmost welcome. Seeing the overhead camera at works that night, a DVD release might be possible. Bring it on ...

Setlists

Set 1
 1) Hallowed Be Thy Name (IRON MAIDEN)
 2) Kau Masih Berdegil (WINGS)
 3) Malam Berasap (Prima Domestika)
 4) Fenomena (SEARCH)
 5) Nasib Kita (WINGS)

Set 2
 6) 2028 (Prima Domestika)
 7) Tekno Dewata (Prima Domestika)
 8) Kurnia (Prima Domestika)

Set 3
  9) Meniti Titian Usang (SEARCH)
10) Lena Diulit Intan (WINGS)
11) Mentari Merah Di Ufuk Timur (SEARCH)

Set 4
12) WINGS / SEARCH medleys
     a) Biru Mata Hitamku (WINGS)
     b) Rozanna (SEARCH)
     c) Ranjang Mawar (WINGS)
     d) Isabella (SEARCH) with Amy
13) Langit Dan Bumi (SEARCH) - AMY on vocal
14) Kau Pergi (SEARCH) - AMY on vocal

Set 5
15) Drum solo/battle (Ainol/Lola)

Set 6
16) Illusi Intonasi (Prima Domestika)
17) Ameringgo (WINGS)
18) Sedingin Pluto (Prima Domestika)

Set 7
19) Alam Barzakh (WINGS)
20) Sejati (WINGS)
21) Pasti (SEARCH) with Amy & XPDC (V6)