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Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy World Tour 2005/2006 - Live On Three Continents

By Mick Stingley, Contributor
Monday, February 26, 2007 @ 9:18 AM

(SPV) 2/20

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Anyone who's ever been completely baffled by the strange popularity and seemingly defiant staying power of this twenty-something German metal institution needs only look to this truly impressive 2-disc double-feature performance, which documents, as the title subtly suggests, the band's 2005/2006 tour as filmed on three continents (Sofia, Bulgaria; Tokyo, Japan; Sao Paolo, Brazil) during the "Seven Keys/Legacy" tour.

For those who not up to speed on Helloween, there is a relatively exhaustive entry at Wikipedia, which credits Helloween as the inventors of power-metal (Wikipedia also features a host of links, including one to the Indonesian Helloween Discussion Board; though the Wiki entry fails to mention whether die-hard fans of the band call themselves, Helloweenies). Briefly, Helloween is a five-piece metal band which recalls Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, or a combination Priest/Maiden Tribute Band that throws a few late-era Meatloaf ballads into its set. They've suffered and weathered a number of setbacks and changes in line-up and direction; and yet, somehow, much like Deep Purple (or to a lesser extant, Blind Guardian) the band continues to endure.

Clearly Helloween is doing well in Brazil and Japan. From the start of the show, it's evident that Helloween fans are deliriously enthusiastic. "Eagle Fly Free," performed in Sao Paolo, gets the kind of reaction that Judas Priest usually draws with "Breakin' The Law." It's very impressive and a little jarring; casual fans and first-time listeners/viewers will wonder out loud, "Who the hell are these guys? (Seriously, who knew the they were so popular? Check out the band run-down in the middle of "Future World.")

But jaw-dropping revelations aside, the inventors of power-metal are in fine form in every country and this concert film plays to that end. Multiple-camera shots allow the viewer to set up the DVD to watch from different angles in case you can't possibly get enough Helloween (though only on certain songs). Still, there are multiple cameras in use throughout the show(s), and each band members is lovingly captured. Singer Andi Deris is charming and warmly engages the audience and is at the focus of the shows as he carries those epic arias flawlessly; bassist and original member Markus Grosskopf happily slaps and taps his fret board while fellow band founder and guitarist Michael Weikath remains positively stoic. Drummer Daniel Loble and guitarist Sacha Gerstner are equally poker-faced but nevertheless entertaining.

The second disc features interviews and what is now standard behind-the-scenes footage of the band on tour, on three continents; though these trinkets are almost strictly for the fans. That said, there is much in store for those loyal to the band; though they speak in German, Helloween is a band that is fun to watch if only for subtleties in cultural differences (that German sense of humor, for example). What is of particular interest is the inclusion of the videos for "Mrs. God" and "Light the Universe." The former is quite an unforgettable little rocker; and if one is to go by the video, puts forth the notion that God is a black woman and so not a fan of Helloween.

"Light the Universe," a duet between singer Deris and Blackmore's Night vocalist Candice Night, is a huge sweeping ballad one might expect from Jim Steinman or Andrew Lloyd Webber. Miss Night, a Long Island native, looks like she just escaped from a Ren Faire; but is easy on the eyes and couples well with Helloween.

How the band intends to top this remains to be seen. It might be stretching their, um, credibility to continue writing sequels to Keeper of the Seven Keys, but as long they put out compelling material, it would hardly matter; (and certainly not to the Helloweenies in Bulgaria, Japan and Brazil). It would be interesting to see this band take their act to Broadway and maybe write a musical or rock-opera; they certainly have the chops for it and couldn't possibly do any worse than Elton John's musical version of Anne Rice's Lestat, which closed after a month. Why not "The Keeper of the Seven Keys: LIve on Broadway?"

* * * 1/2

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