The 1st Hard Rock Festival at Evry, France, Saturday 29th May, 1999

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25 Mar 2009, 0:30

Sat 29 May – Hard Rock Festival

Freedom Call:
I missed them completely, due to arriving late, but apparently this is what they played.
We Are One
Tears Are Falling
Over the Rainbow
Fairyland
Shine On
Hymn To The Brave

Misanthrope:
Already on stage when I arrived, they seemed to have warmed up the crowd. French Death-Metal bands are not very numerous but this lot certainly made a fairly agreeable - if rather loud noise. As with most bands of this genre, the vocals are often problematic for the casual listener but I must admit to having found them far from the worst. The crowd certainly supported them quite warmly and their work is probably worthy of being given a listen.

Matador de l'extrême
Total Eclipse Chaos
Misanthrope Necromancer
Batisseur De Cathédrales
Humiliations Libertines
Le Roman Noir

Edguy:
The rising sons of Germanic Speed Metal were greeted with an even bigger crowd who thronged around the stage area. Given the absence of 'Royal Hunt', they had the opportunity to play an extended set of about 46 minutes, during which they gave ample evidence of why their reputation as a band is growing. Culling material from their last 2 albums, they played along with all of the genres best archetypes - synchronised headbanging, guitar-waving in the best metallic tradition. Unfortunately, the lack of a sound-check meant that the backing vocals, so impressive on disk, were all but inaudible by the mix, detracting somewhat from the power of songs such as 'Vain Glory Opera' and the set closer 'The Unbeliever'. Despite this, the French public roared their support and singer Tobias cheered them by saying "There is a great Metal Public in France!" I'm yet to be convinced that they will have a huge general appeal, but I plan to at least acquire their albums and to give them a proper chance.

The Healing Vision
Babylon
The Headless Game
Vain Glory Opera
Wake Up the King
Out of Control
The Unbeliever


Vanden Plas:
The main reason to catch the show and perhaps the only opportunity for me to see the band live this year. fresh from the studio where they have been recording the follow-up to the excellent 'The God Thing', they responded to their warm reception with an enthusiastic show. The fantastic keys of Gunter Werno announced their arrival on stage and the crunching chords of 'Rainmaker' were greeted with a huge cheer from the public, which have clearly been won over by this band. After an excellent rendition of 'Soul Survives' Andy explained that one of the main reasons for their presence at the show was to promote their new single - 'Inside of your Head' - now due for release in France in June. On the first listen it was difficult to judge but it certainly doesn't indicate a change to them being a hit-single band!

Andy then invited the crowd to sing along with the following song 'How Many Tears', during which they switched to singing the French lyrics and thus eliciting a much bigger involvement of the audience who sang along with gusto. Andy then explained that they had included some cover-versions on the forthcoming single and then proceeded to play Dokkens' 'Kiss Of Death'. The entire band were clearly in their element, making good use of the space available on stage and going through the full repertoire of rock-star poses. The crowd clearly enjoyed it and continued to cheer though the remainder of the set, which terminated, as usual, with 'You Fly'.

Once again a short set, as demanded by this sort of event, but it was brilliantly executed. It just remains for us to wait until September for the album to come out and a French tour to take place.

Fire Blossom / Rainmaker
Soul Survives
Inside Of Your Head
How Many Tears
Kiss of Death
You Fly


Gamma Ray:
Since I'm not a huge fan of Helloween or Germanic Metal in general, I didn't look forward to Gamma Ray with any great enthusiasm, but from the moment of their introduction (by means of a taped extract of a kids program from German TV), it was clear that they are nevertheless popular with the French public. For an hour Kai Hansen and his band burned through a popular selection of material, the high-point of which appeared to be their cover of the Pet Shop Boys 'Its a Sin' and the 'Valley of the Kings' which followed hot on its heels. The audience loved them, but I remained indifferent.

Anywhere In the Galaxy
Gardens of the Sinner
Short As Hell
Man On a Mission
It's a Sin
Valley of the Kings
Rebellion In Dreamland
Somewhere Out In Space
Send Me a Sign
Future World


Dimmu Borgir:
Their presence on the bill seemed to be due to the fact that they played 'Symphonic' Black Metal, but unfortunately they seemed unable to demonstrate this on-stage. They had their public - noticeably less numerous that for the other leading bands at the show, but they kept their distance on stage (and also back-stage I believe). I found their presentation poor and unimaginatively illuminated - no colored filters for these guys - this was metal in black and white - and possibly red as well, if the blood capsules a la Gene Simmons were in use, but frankly I didn't bother to look. This was the opportunity for a large part of the crowd to get some fresh air, queue for a sandwich, or to chat with their mates. The only respite in the hour plus of unremitting, bludgeoning noise was when the bassist took over from Shaggrath on vocals and singing in a normal manner showed that Dimmu are capable of making an agreeable noise. Unfortunately it was all too brief a respite during a set which can have won them few new converts (if any).

Angra:
Top of the bill of a 'Festival' for the first time, it had been expected that having packed 4,500 into 'Le Zenith' in January, selling out this 4000 capacity venue would have been achievable, but unfortunately that wasn't the case and only a few more than 2000 were present. Nevertheless, for those of us that were there, this wasn't such a bad thing since 200 in such a confined space during more than 8 hrs caused the emission of a huge amount of body heat. If 4000+ had been present it would have been unbearable.

Angra was who a huge proportion of the audience had been waiting for - the huge 'Fireworks' backdrop, the AC/DC introductory music 'For those about to Rock' - it was what they expected and Angra delivered - as usual. The setlist was largely based around the material from 'Fireworks', if a little shorter than that which the delivered on the tour in January. A rousing intro of 'Wings of Reality' followed by 'Nothing to Say' got the crowd jumping, then 'Lisbon' (despite what sounded to me like a rather badly played intro on keys) got the crowd singing. 'Metal Icarus' and 'Carolina IV (part 1)' kept up the pressure with the band exhuding confidence throughout and an efficiency which has clearly been honed by their recent heavy touring schedule.

The first solo section of Luis on Bass and Ricardo on drums gave Andre a chance to rest his vocal chords and whilst demonstrating their dexterity with their instruments, the solos were pretty forgettable. Kiko and Raphael made their way back on stage and sounded out the intro to 'Paradise' (for which the Queensryche influences are plainly evident). It was fantastic version, providing ample evidence of their ability to deliver heavy, complex, progressive tunes.

Andre moved to the side of the stage, where his synth was located and invited a member of the audience to lend him a lighter, which he lit and held up to the crowd. As he played the first few bars of 'Silence and Distance', the crowd cheered and held up their own lighters in response. Though there were fewer in evidence than at the 'Zenith' show, the warmth of the rapport between the band and the audience was evident. The the reprise of 'Carolina IV', which had seemed out of place upon first hearing, brought the central section of the set to a close. This time, the two sections of 'Carolina IV' seemed to sit together more naturally with the solos and other songs.

Andre then passed on a very important piece of news to the Parisian crowd - namely that Bordeaux had tipped their fierce rivals Marseilles to the French Football championship. The cheers which greeted the news were not as numerous as expected, but a huge cheer greeted 'Stand Away' which raised the tempo once again, and a killer version of 'Petrified Eyes' (beginning with the dueling guitars of Kiko and Raphael - one of the show's highlights) closed out the set.

Of course the crowd cheered for an encore - and they didn't have long to wait before the strains of 'Unfinished Allegro' issued from the PA, following which the band raced on stage to play 'Carry On'. By this point the audience was well warmed up and wasn't going to let their Brazilian idols depart without playing their most popular cover version - Judas Priest's 'Painkiller'. they duly obliged and the crowd showed their approval by joining in with every scream of 'Painkiller'. The band, (augmented by the new keyboard player Fabio Ribeiro) took their bow, the lights came up and the crowd made for the exits.

Overall, for an adherent of this type of metal, it was a great day, excellent value for money and a fantastic opportunity to hear an excellent selection of bands and to encounter many fans with a similar faith in this type of music. Financially, it is unlikely to have been a big winner, which may cast a shadow over whether of not they will be a 2nd Festival, but the organizers deserve thanks for having had the courage to put on the show - I for one, certainly look forward to a repeat.

Intro (theme from Armageddon)
Wings of Reality
Nothing to Say
Lisbon
Metal Icarus
Carolina IV / bass solo / drum solo
Paradise
Silence and Distance
Keyboards Solo / Carolina IV - reprise
Stand Away
Kiko Loureiro guitar solo / Loureiro-Bittencourt guitar duel
Petrified Eyes

Encore
Unfinished Allegro / Carry On
Painkiller

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