Last night, my wife and I attended the Blind Guardian concert in Omaha at the Waiting Room Lounge, a venue I have not previously been to. Grave Digger was opening, so it was sure to be a fun night of German heavy metal. The Waiting Room is a fairly small venue. It is a bar that happens to have a stage area and a floor in front. We found some seats at a table that had been moved to the back of the floor area.
Grave Digger was the first to take the stage and they played a blistering 45 minute set. They are looking somewhat worse for wear, still dressing as they would have during the 1980's, but with graying and balding hair. But they still sounded damn good. I am not completely familiar with Grave Digger's catalogue, I only have one of their albums, but I did recognize one of the songs they played, which was my favorite off of the album I own, "Ballad of a Hangman". Many of the other songs played had me convinced that I needed to check out more of their output. Singer Chris Boltendahl was definitely charismatic and kept the crowd in it throughout the entire show. All in all, it was a very impressive show for a band that has been around for more than three decades at this point.
Blind Guardian was up next, playing a track I had not heard before, though it would be the only one the entire show. Afterwards, they played the enormously popular "Welcome to Dying", followed by the rollicking "Nightfall". Blind Guardian has always had some rather unique lyrical themes for metal, and the next song "Fly" certainly qualified. Only Blind Guardian can write a song about Peter Pan and make it sound metal as fuck. After that, the band played the entirety of the album Imaginations from the Other Side, which was always my favorite of their albums. They sounded just as good live as the album did, and that album is over 20 years old, which is incredible. They closed the set after finishing up with the album, and then it was encore time and Blind Guardian delivered. They started off with "Sacred Worlds", the best song off of their last album. Later they performed the acoustic "Bard's Song-In the Forest" with the crowd singing along before closing the show out for real with "Mirror Mirror". The band really did sound like they were 20 years younger, and singer Hansi Kursch still has the dynamic range that has become one of the key components of the band's sound.
This was my first time seeing a power metal band in concert. Blind Guardian is of course one of the greatest power metal bands in history. This was apparently their first concert in Nebraska, and the crowd was really involved. Hopefully this will spread and more groups will make it over here.