GAMMA RAY 30 Years Live Anniversary - Review

By Enrico Spinelli

2001. My fifteen-year-old self found an advertisement of the new album from a band absolutely unknown to him except for some information on paper musical encyclopedias: the beauty of the cover, however, encourages him to buy it immediately, and from that moment a long love story begins; the album was "No World Order" and they were Gamma Ray.

To seal the union, the tour of support for this album with a stop in Florence, so I undertook to recover their discography to get prepared. Since then I have followed every release of the band more or less successfully, but I have always carried dear uncle Kai Hansen in my heart, to whom power metal owes a lot if not all. 20 years have passed and today I find the new "live" of the band in my hands, a celebration of 30 years of activity. So let's say no to memories (maybe I will dedicate another post to the album I mentioned above) and let's see what lies beyond the not unforgettable cover of this work.

Let's make a necessary forward: this album is 2020 live, one of those recorded without an audience, in a concert hall and in live streaming with paying users sitting on the sofa at home; in addition to this the good Kai has decided to ask the fans to record their fiery cheers and send them to the group to be able to then insert them in the final mix, thus creating a sort of artificial live. I must tell you that the intervention of the invisible audience appears only between one song and another and never during individual performances, thus limiting the invasiveness of the operation, even if the effect is not very dissimilar to the laughter recorded in the American sitcoms I used to watch when I was a child.

Let's move on to the lineup. We know well that Kai Hansen doesn't mind playing with the setlist of his shows, relatively caring about leaving some classics at home ("Skeletons in the Closet" and "Skeletons and Majesties" are proof of this), but here we talk of courage: there is not a single one, I say ONE, song taken from that absolute masterpiece of "Somewhere Out In Space" !!! We don't know what the album has done to him but the inclusion of even a single track would have done more justice to the completeness of a celebratory event. 

Having said that, we return a selection of pieces divided between recent works (the latest "Avalon", "Master of Confusion" and "Empathy", the best pieces of imperfect works, in addition to the inevitable "New World Order" preceded by "Dethrone Tyranny"), classics from Land of the Free ("Rebellion in Dreamland", not exactly thrilling without an audience, and "Land of the Free"), two excerpts from "Powerplant" such as the long "Armageddon" and the final "Send Me a Sign" and a good quatrain of classics from the first era, taking advantage of the welcome guest of the first singer Ralph Scheepers who ennobles songs like "Lust for life""One With the World", "The Silence"(I'm in tears) and long and beautiful "Heading for Tomorrow"

Excellent performance by the band with Kai Hansen sharing the microphone with the newcomer Frank Beck, whose technical and dark timbre intersects beautifully with the voice of the founder of the band. Is interesting as well as the possibility of listening to the good old Ralph with the classics ("Heaven Can Wait", where are you???), but personally I remain of the idea that such a particular event, which is thirty years old, deserved a bit of patience and a more adequate audience. It remains a pleasant exit for the completist fans but nothing transcendental compared to what one would expect from such an event.

I haven't talked about the video part, but I'll be honest, I don't know if I want to see that DVD, because if already listening to the lack of audience is weighing me down, in a video I'm afraid that this would be deeply indigestible. 

1. Induction
2. Dethrone Tyranny
3. New World Order
4. Avalon
5. Master Of Confusion
6. Empathy
7. Rebellion In Dreamland
8. Land Of The Free
9. Lust for life
10. One With The World
11. The Silence
12. Armageddon
13. Heading For Tomorrow
14. Send Me A Sign/Outro
Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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