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Helloween – Live in the U.K.

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Last Updated on 10:34 AM by Giorgos Tsekas

For some unknown reason that psychiatrists all over the world haven’t managed to explain properly for 30+ years Andy Deris, Helloween’s frontman is still consider to be “the new singer”. While the band was established in 1984 with Kai Hansen as their singer until 1987 when Michael Kiske was hired in order to make the big step to the top, until he was out of the band in 1993 when the dreams for world domination collapsed and Deris took his place until now…it is rather unbelievable for any common sense why pumpkins crew and fanatics still consider Deris as the new guy! Fortunately the 2017’s family gathering (actually it was in November 2016, that was announced that former members Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske were re-joining the band for a world tour titled the Pumpkins United World Tour, that would start on 19 October 2017 in Mexico) that united all 3 singers and created the all-star lineup that we will have the blessing and joy to watch in Athens this summer on Release Athens Festival has subside the phenomenon a bit. Why am I saying all these? Cause back in 1992 when I got in my hands “Live in the UK” album my older cousin that gave it to me told me listen to this kid it’s the new singer of Helloween, feel the magic little one’ so for  almost 3 years I had a live document of the new guy which was more than awesome and all my pals asking from me to borrow them or write it on a cassette and when Deris came this came to an end as by then Kiske was so yesterday…and that made me to avoid giving him a chance or even hear the brilliant 1994’s “Master of the Rings” and 1996’s “Time of the Oath”, not  until 1998 when double live “High Live” album came and Andy’s unique performance gave me my brains in my hands for sure !!!

“Live in the U.K.” is a historical release as it is the first live album released by the band. In Japan though it was out as Keepers Live, in the United States as I Want Out – Live without the track “Rise and Fall”, and with a shorter edit of the intro. It is also historical because it was the only official live album with Michael Kiske on vocals until the release of United Alive in Madrid in 2019. It was also the last album made with Kai Hansen until the release of the aforementioned United Alive in Madrid. It is also the first time that the “o” in the “Helloween” logo was not represented by a pumpkin. On I Want Out – Live, it was represented by a globe showing portions of Western Europe, Central Europe, and the British Isles. On Live in the U.K. it is instead drawn as a pumpkin logo on a bass drum.All tracks recorded in Edinburgh Playhouse, Scotland, by Manor Mobile on6 November 1988 except “I Want Out” recorded in Manchester Apollo,England, 7 November 1988. Cover Artwork by Frederick Moulaert.

But enough with the trivia. Because as the needle scratches the surface of the record in the groove, there’s no coming back, as you witness a major Heavy Metal band (defining Poweras a sub-genre) in its prime; how better can you get than that? Please note that this is also another release that would have never been out if Noise Records hadn’t decided to milk Helloween’s fans one more time after the (ρrecent back then) departure of Hansen. Same old story as if you remember well Motörhead’s “No Sleep ‘Till Hammersmith” that reached No1 in charts in the U.K was also a decision taken totally by the label, and not the band. At the end this was a triumph commercially and artistic as Helloween in this album are tremendous. C’mon you can’t deny that there’s so much tension, energy, brilliance on riffing and live performance, excellent high-pitched vocals, awesome pounding drumming, two way communications from the crowd and a confidence from the smiling guys from Hamburg that is captured perfectly in this record that we might dealing with the finest live recording of the whole sub-genre. As Kiske says to the audience in a playfully   mood and emphatic stop every time when he says the word got: “we have fast songs we got slow songs we got boring songs we got interesting songs…” as he plays like the cat and mouse the British fans that are grabbed by his lips and the electric vibes from the guitar driven hymns that doesn’t actually work as an anthology or best of but are damn strong and characteristic compositions from Helloween’s early days, especially if we think that Kai was already gone so they couldn’t use many songs that he had written.  So the material here is largely based on both Keepers, not because its songs were fitting Kiske’s vocals better but mostly to promote their RCA material. And this is probably the only ‘weak’ spot here. Everyone would prefer a double live full of hit singles and some obscure moments for the diehard as many great songs were left out but honestly it is all about quality not quantity and “Live in the U.K.” stands proud next to “Unleash in the East”, “No Sleep ‘Till Hammersmith”, “Mortal Way of Live”, “Live After Death” and “Live and Dangerous” (among other huge live albums) despite its only 7 tracks. Of course their famous singles that everyone has sung-a-long in his life (Weikath’s “Dr. Stein” and Hansen’s hits “Future World” and “I Want Out”) are here in astounding versions but my favorite moments here are the quintessential start in “Little Time” when Kiske sings “

Higheeeeeeer/It’s what I expect from my life
It’s like a wiiiiiire/That holds me back down to the ground
Ooooooooh, I hear you say/”That is the way of the world”
Nooooooooooo, hear what I say/”I wanna do so much in my way”/Higheeeeeeeer

 “Rise and Fall” in which Kiske is dominating the stage and is playful making the fans having the time of their lives and the epic finale of Weikath’s strongest anti-war manifesto “How Many Tears” and definitely “We Got the Right”is one of (19 years old here) Kiske’s highlights; almost breathtaking.

Last but not least Ingo Schwichtenberg’s playing is delightful and satisfying at the same time as he sounded sharp, precise and powerful. Here we can hear Ingo’s crescendo of solid drumming full of high technique, along with amazing emotion.

“Live in the U.K.” is a priceless release, a stunning live record experience, Heavy Metal at its finest, Power Metal at its best.

Giorgos Tsekas
Giorgos Tsekas
"Κάποτε Όταν Θα ‘χουμε Καιρό... Θα Σκεφτούμε Πάνω Στις Ιδέες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Στοχαστών, Θα Θαυμάσουμε Τους Πίνακες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Ζωγράφων, Θα Γελάσουμε Με Όλους Τους Χωρατατζήδες, Θα Φλερτάρουμε Όλες Τις Γυναίκες, Θα Διδάξουμε Όλους Τους Ανθρώπους" Μπ. Μπρεχτ

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