With yet another one of the monster tours
of this Spring passing, and yet another notch in my concert belt here in
Denver, CO, I can look back on Monday, May 18th and smile. My teenaged
self would have probably died had I told her that she would one day see DragonForce
sharing the stage with melodic metal giants Kamelot. Not only did I get
to see one of my favorite live shows so far, but I got to witness it inches
away from the bands in the photo pit… yeah, my teenaged self just died.
Ogden Theater is a fantastic mid-sized venue in the
heart of Denver, CO and has played host to hundreds of amazing metal shows. For
fans, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house, but for photographers, I
highly recommend earplugs since it gets extremely loud close to the stage.
While I appreciate that a weeknight show started without any delay, I can’t
help but wonder why these tours are passing through such a musically thriving
city without offering the stage to local supporters. It’s a common trend I have
seen in the past few major concerts I have been to, and it’s rather
set of songs both old and new, including a totally cheesy (but awesome) “Ring of Fire” cover.
immediately demanded the attention of everyone in the theater, complete with
their first taste of the amazing dueling guitar solo battles that were to come.
Vocalist Marc Hudson did a fantastic job of doing this classic song
justice, considering the fact that he was added to the band’s roster seven
years after this album was originally released. Personally, this is one of my
favorite DragonForce albums, so
to see this song come to life perfectly after so long really got me excited for
the rest of the set. “Three Hammers”
and “The Game” immediately followed, reminding the fans of just how much the
band has grown over the years, sounding better than ever. Watching Herman
Li and Sam Totman exchange riffs and leads was simply
unbelievable and beyond entertaining, but throw in the awesome interactions and
facial expressions from keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov and bassist Frédéric
Leclercq and you’ve got one hell of a show. “Operation Ground and Pound” shot me back to 2006, though I have to
admit, I am so happy I got to see this song live first with Hudson on vocals, because he led the
song better than I could have ever imagined. After bouncing around albums, the
band closed on their iconic track “Through
the Fire and the Flames”, where fans got to truly witness the guitar solos
of Guitar Hero Legend.
of tear-down and set up – though I may have been busy at the bar – Kamelot was ready to hit the stage. In
the world of American power metal bands, there really isn’t much competition
for the theatrical and larger-than-life sound that Kamelot brings. Rightfully, they opened with “Rule the World” and “Ghost
Opera” from my personal favorite album of the latter name. Swedish frontman
Tommy Karevik joined the ranks in 2012, but nailed the first three songs
written well before his time. “Veil of
Elysium” was Karevik’s first
real track meant for his voice, and the band was as strong and put together as
ever. Female vocal support came from the beautiful Linnéa Vikström, who
enticed and entertained the crowd from her podium behind the band, but the
performer of the night awards have to go to Casey Grillo who performed a
great drum solo in the middle of the set, and keyboardist Oliver Palotai
who performed his solo right before the band wrapped up with “Forever”. I, as well as my teenaged
self, was beyond ecstatic to hear the final encore to be “March of Mephisto”. As that guitar riff and drum beat began, I lit
up like a firecracker. I couldn’t have asked them to play a more varied set
list of tunes, ranging from their early days to their most recent album, ‘Haven’.
to add to the list of this year’s greatness. Seeing Kamelot and DragonForce live
really re-kindled the flame I used to hold for the bands. I know I am not alone
in saying that they were a couple of my gateway bands into the power metal
realm back in high school. To those that may be in the same situation as I was,
and have lost your faith in either band for whatever reason, please at least bear
witness to their live shows. Both bands truly blew me away and I highly
recommend it for any fan old or new.