GIG REVIEW: BLIND GUARDIAN & GRAVE DIGGER Live at the Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO
German heavy metal veterans Grave Digger and power metal giants Blind Guardian have hit the road together in North America yet again. This time, instead of celebrating 2015’s release, ‘Beyond the Red Mirror‘, Blind Guardian promised to play a classic album, ‘Imaginations from the Other Side‘ in its entirety – with some surprises thrown in as well. When this extraordinary set list was announced, loyal festival attendees of ProgPower USA assumed that it was a special set for their performance at the festival, since that is what fans have come to expect over the years. However, much to everyone’s surprise, the band took this show on the road from September 9th through October 5th so fans all over the country could witness this once-in-a-lifetime show. I was lucky enough to catch Blind Guardian‘s set at ProgPower this year, and for the second time in Denver, CO, at The Summit Music Hall on September 29th.
It was only about 11 months ago that the same lineup came through Denver, but being that I can now say I’ve seen my favorite band live three times in one year – when growing up I thought I’d never be able to see them at all – I’d say that’s a pretty good year. Not only was this the fourth time I got to see Blind Guardian, but they were playing my favorite album in its entirety. Needless to say, I was beyond excited for these shows.
However, the night did not necessarily only belong to Blind Guardian, as Grave Digger put on one hell of a fun show as well. Just as last time, unfortunately, it seemed as if only about ten people in the crowd actually knew who the band was; and for a band of their caliber, that really made me disappointed in the crowd. Despite clearly not knowing the lyrics to their songs, the crowd participated in fan-favorite tracks like “Excalibur” and “Rebellion”, though vocalist Chris Boltendahl had to throw some hints out there as to what the words were. It is such a shame to say that the Denver metal scene is entirely too spoiled that they don’t even care about listening to the bands on the bill. When I was growing up in small-town Iowa, concerts that I was really into were few and far between. So when they did roll around, I would spend weeks listening to all of the bands, and getting myself familiarized with their music. In my opinion, at least, that is the best way to experience concerts, instead of awkwardly standing there pretending to sing along!
Blind Guardian hit the stage to “The Ninth Wave”, then immediately paid tribute to older tunes such as “Time, What is Time”, “Nightfall” and “Welcome to Dying”. ‘Imaginations from the Other Side‘ followed, and actually had the crowd moshing for nearly every song. I had read the set lists from other tour dates, so I knew to expect a decent encore, and luckily for me, they decided to play “Sacred Worlds”; which I like to tell people is my theme song, as it has the biggest and most epic chorus of any Blind Guardian song.
All in all, especially for being over a month deep into this tour, both bands had incredible energy. The crowd was great, the bartenders were great, and The Summit has the best security guys of all the local metal venues. Though this is essentially a repeat of the winter tour last year, I would not complain at all to see them roll through again in another 11 months! But please, Denver, brush up on your Grave Digger knowledge – because they deserve just as much crowd love as Blind Guardian. Plus, I totally want to experience “Rebellion” live with a couple hundred singing fans, as it was made to be heard! Cheers to these German metal giants for giving us another fabulous North American tour! And here’s to many more!
Also check out our Photo Gallery of the gig here!