Helloween in NYC

When it was announced in October of 2017 that Helloween was doing the Pumpkins United World Tour we had to wait nearly a year to see Germany’s answer to Iron Maiden. The feedback from the shows from Europe, Asia, and Latin America left North Americans chomping at the bit. New York City is known for its appetite for metal. After the first show was sold out, an unexpected second show was tacked on, which was held at Irving Plaza. Once again, the fans came out in droves, and tickets sold out the second night. 
It is safe to say having a Titan Tron computerized LED backdrop has been the cliche thing to do, and yes Helloween has its own variation. While it was campy and humorous, the backdrop was probably one of the better animations this year. It would be nice for bands to package their computerized backdrops to be downloaded and viewed on home monitors. 
The tight setting of the venue forces the audience to focus in on the band. With little to no seating, the fans were crammed into every space available. And why wouldn’t they? After 32 years and 16 albums, for the first time in their history, Helloween would have 2 of its former vocalist along with their current singer Andi Deris. Tonight was a celebration of their legacy. Opening with the song ‘Halloween,” we got to see Michael Kiske, who has not performed with Helloween since 1994, share mic duties with Andi Deris. They shared vocal duties on “Dr. Stein” and “Perfect Gentleman.” The audience was greeted with an impressive medley by Kai Hansen, who performed material from the first album, “Wall of Jericho,” including the songs “Starlight,” “Ride the Sky,” and “Judas raise the energy of the night.”  The band seemed to take a cue on this energy and went with the flow by doing “Heavy Metal (Is the Law).” 
During the drum solo, drummer Daniel ‘Dani” Loble displayed an emotional tribute to Helloween‘s first drummer Ingo Schwictenberg who passed away at 29. As images of him were displayed, Dani emulated the picture show. It was a very touching tribute which reminded the audience how lucky they were to witness such a tribute. The next set of songs showed the band’s history with a twist: having all three singers delivering the goods. The camaraderie onstage was obvious and authentic. “How Many Tears” was a stand out as Andi Deris revealed that this was the first song by Helloween he’d ever heard. This then segued to the obligatory encore of ‘Keeper of the Seven Keys,” followed by a guitar solo by Kai Hansen. The audience was then treated to the song “Future World,” in what seemed like a statement that Helloween may have new music in the works. Let’s hope they do. 
Of course, they closed the night with the biggest song of their career, “I Want Out” with Michael Kriske and Andi Deris harmonizing and trading vocal parts. While not as popular as Judas Priest or Iron MaidenHelloween is part of that period and tonight they proved it by selling out New York City two nights in a row. 
Words by Sebastian Benedict Bjorn
Photos by Anya Svirskaya

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