Germanic metallers Helloween delivered the set of their career on Tuesday night (14th November 2017) at the Brixton Academy in London. Mixing three separate eras with a spectacular live production, the newly-bolstered seven-piece created an event that exceeded all expectations.
Coming together under the banner 'Pumpkins United', the unique 'experiment' sees the current line-up of the celebrated act joined by original axe man and first singer Kai Hansen, and 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys'-era front man Michael Kiske. Mixing tracks from right across their history, fans were treated to a two and a half hour spectacle.
Taking to the stage with 'Keeper' classics 'Halloween' and 'Dr. Stein', the septet delivered an intro to the evening that set the tone for the rest of the night. With an impressive animated big screen, the equally animated band thrilled, as nostalgia-inducing images mixed with euphoria-inducing songs.
However it was the camaraderie and interplay between Andi Deris - the band's singer for the last two decades - and Kiske that provided the most engaging aspect. Trading vocal lines and banter, the twosome shone, avoiding any potential awkwardness with irony and good humour. With Kiske taking on a more colourful tone to Deris' straight forward persona, Helloween proved that a dual vocal partnership is not only possible, but an asset to the band.
As if having two of the best voices in metal on stage in wasn't enough, the band added a third singer into the mix, in founder Kai Hansen, who treated the crowd to yet another slice of Helloween history. Powering through a medley of some of their earliest tracks from debut album 'Walls Of Jericho', it was this segment of the show that marked the high point for many.
Keeping the on stage chat to a minimum, Kiske did take time to speak to the crowd, proudly telling them; "Aside from the new Unisonic album, the only live recording that I was ever part of was 'Live In The UK'" - a reference to the band's 1989 mini-LP.
Although predominantly a glorious celebration of their history, the band also paid tribute to former drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, who passed away tragically in 1995, with a dual drum solo that featured Ingo via archive clips, battling it out algainst current drummer Daniel Löble,
Making their way through the likes of "One for the girls" 'If I Could Fly', and a slapstick 'Perfect Gentleman', as well as "Russian folk song" 'Forever And One', the band's later-day tracks proved almost as popular as their earlier work.
However it was the closing proto-thrash of 'Eagle Fly Free', the epic 'Keeper Of the Seven Keys' and a colourfully explosive 'I Want Out' that lifted what had been an extraordinary night to new levels. Taking their bows to an air thick with ticker tape and bouncing pumpkins, Helloween proved that pumpkins united are infinitely stronger than apart.
Helloween's 'Pumpkins United' tour continues across Europe until the end of the year, before heading to Japan. For a full list of dates, visit the band's official site.
Helloween 'Pumpkins United' Europe 2017 Dates:
24.11. D Bochum - Ruhrcongress *SOLD OUT*
25.11. CZ Prague - Tipsport Arena
26.11. SK Bratislava - Aegon Arena
28.11. PL Warsaw - Hala Kolo
30.11. FIN Helsinki - Black Box *SOLD OUT*
02.12. S Gothenburg - Partille Arena
04.12. D Berlin - Tempodrom
09.12. E Madrid - Wizink Center
14.12. BG Sofia - Arena Armeec
15.12. RO Bucharest - Romexpo