HELLOWEEN – United Alive in Madrid (2019)
Today German legends HELLOWEEN are releasing “United Alive in Madrid”, a show capturing all the band’s celebrated greatest hits from three decades and a breakneck trip through time to the entire Helloween repertoire – including songs the band hadn’t played live for a very long time, or even never before.
Anyone who saw one of the Helloween: Pumpkins United shows last year, knows how special it was. Hopefully the new studio effort will approach similar magic.
Until then, you can relive the experience courtesy of this 3 CD release – nearly three hours in duration.
If, for some reason, you missed the 2018 concerts, the trio of lead vocalists (Andi Deris, Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen) are all afforded solo showcases, but it’s the three, in combination, which is truly the landmark operation. Having three guitars also makes the sound beefy.
Opening with the mammoth “Halloween” introduces everyone onstage, right from the start plenty of high vocals from Deris and Kiske. Hansen, long the voice of Gamma Ray (until recently abdicated a portion of the lyrics to Frank Beck) has a medley of vintage Weenie songs (back from when he was THE singer), although “Heavy Metal (Is The Law)” (with its F-bomb call & response passage) is rolled in with the others, not a separate tune.
Since this show was in Spain, the fans are boisterous, singing-along throughout, but then weren’t we all, regardless of locale (Deris prods the crowd with the occasional banter in their native tongue).
“If I Could Fly” is a rare “cool down” moment, especially after the back-to-back hit laden intro (“Halloween”, “Dr. Stein” and “I’m Alive”). Heavy dose of pre-recorded keys on “Are You Metal?” The audience gets into a titular call & response with Deris.
Next is “Rise And Fall”, `while the poppy “Waiting For The Thunder” does have a nice twin guitar section. In addition to thousands of extra voices, “Perfect Gentleman” sees Kiske interrupt, and toy around with, Deris.
The portion that immediately precedes Dani Löble’s (nonexistent) drum solo, offers material scuttled on later dates, beginning with (as Kiske calls it, “a slow song”), the Deris begun (and later Kiske accompanied) “Forever And One”, which ends with “ole ole ole” soccer chant.
Another ballad follows: “A Tale That Wasn’t Right”, as Kiske explains, “The song is 30 years old. I was 18 years old and had long blonde hair. Always wanted to look like Elvis Presley, but ended up looking like Rob Halford.” Just the opposite, here, as Andi joins Michael.
Just a teaser of “Livin’ Ain’t No Crime” segues into the superior “A Little Time”, Kiske in fine form, backed by a Spanish choir comprised of tens of thousands of voices. Echo of crowd singing can be heard throughout fist pumping “Power”, before old school “How Many Tears” closes the proper set, all three singers on the mic.
The last five songs take almost 50 minutes, by themselves!
Returning for the encore(s), it’s lively “Eagle Fly Free”, complete with symphonic “Invitation” intro. Glorious “Keeper Of The Seven Keys” lasts 17:03, yet never seems that long. Does include Hansen on guitar and crowd doing their “whoa whoa” German sing-along impression.
By the time of audience introduced “Future World” (Hansen adds a smattering of Grieg’s “Hall Of The Mountain King”) and “I Want Out” finale, everyone is in party mode.
But there’s more; this digipak includes an extra disc with songs performed but not fitting the regular 2-CD sets physical space.
The sound quality on “United Alive in Madrid” and the band… these gus can play for sure: killer musicianship and performances.
1. Halloween (Live)
2. DR. Stein (Live)
3. I’m Alive (Live)
4. If I Could Fly (Live)
5. Are You Metal? (Live)
6. Rise and Fall (Live)
7. Waiting for the Thunder (Live)
8. Perfect Gentleman (Live)
9. Kai’s Medley (Starlight / Ride the Sky / Judas / Heavy Metal Is the Law) [Live]
10. Forever and One (Live)
11. A Tale That Wasn’t Right (Live)
1. I Can (Live)
2. Living Ain’t No Crime / A Little Time (Live)
3. Sole Survivor (Live)
4. Power (Live)
5. How Many Tears (Live)
6. Invitation / Eagle Fly Free (Live)
7. Keeper of the Seven Keys (Live)
8. Future World (Live)
9. I Want Out (Live)
1. March of Time (Live)
2. Kids of the Century (Live)
3. Why (Live)
4. Pumpkins United (Live)