Valhalla at last–Blind Guardian brings 80s metal heaven to North Carolina

Blind Guardian

By Gus Samarco, Rock At Night Raleigh Correspondent.

Venue: Cat’s Craddle, Carboro, North Carolina – September 13 2016-Blind Guardian & Grave Digger

If you have read any of my articles, you’d know I’m a Heavy Metal fan that grew up during the British Wave of Heavy Metal era. Think I was excited when I got this assignment?

To start with, this was my first time shooting for Rock at Night at the Legendary Cat’s Cradle. Well, any venue that has been standing for over 40 years, is locally-owned and operated, with performances like Nirvana, Public Enemy and Slayer, get’s the legendary status in my book. Let me paint a picture for you that have never been at the Cradle. The mais room can squeeze in about 800 raging fans of any style–the sound and light are great and fans get a pretty intimate experience with the artists. Heck’, I moved crouched in the pit to not disturb the fans at the barrier. And yes, they serve local beer.

The Cradle was pretty much packed for this show, I was very happy they saved a tight space for me in the pit.

Grave Digger were introduced by no one else than Death himself. I tried to keep my distance for a bit. The band came on stage full of energy–well, that’s the only way Heavy Metal can be performed–with power, motion and charisma. I just couldn’t believe I was close enough to have to be careful to not touch the band members while I photographed. Chris Boltendahl had a few grey hairs, but his voice didn’t disappoint a single bit. Power vocals, flying hair all over, hard beat, fast tempo, good ol’ German Heavy Metal.

At this point I thought I was already in Valhalla. It took me a second to realize Blind Guardian was still to come. I actually saw the webcast of their performance at Wacken last month and I was pretty stoked when I found out they’d be on my backyard.

If you’re not a Heavy Metal fan or perhaps even a younger fan, it’s hard to explain how it feels to see a band that you spent your teenage years listening to and all the memories that surface with the power of Heavy Metal. It was more than just a concert–it was a travel in time, with a heck’ of a powerful soundtrack. Like Grave Digger, Blind Guardian has been around since the 80’s, and I must confess, my musical inspiration resides pretty much in the 80’s. I’d have to think, but I’m pretty much sure I can count, with my fingers, the bands born in the 90’s that can bring up this level of emotional ecstasy to myself.

Hansi Kürsch hair is much shorter than the good old days, but his voice is nothing short of Powerful. Blind Guardian did not disappoint, delivering a heavy, powerful and melodic experience to the fans (which by the way, performed their own show for the band). Did I mention they performed the whole Imaginations from the Other Side in its entirety? Yup, it was flocking’ EPIC my Heavy Metal Fans, epic!

Huge thanks to Crank it Out Loud for bringing Grave Digger and Blind Guardian to North Carolina. Thanks to the bands for a great performance and thanks to the Cat’s Cradle for hosting the show. Also, thanks to the fans for showing that a bunch of disgruntled, wild men and women can bang the crap out of their heads, mosh, dance, push around and have fun without disrespect fellow fans. Power up!

You’ll have the chance to catch Blind Guardian w/ Grave Digger during their North America Tour:

 Sep 16 – Palladium Worcester, MA
 Sep 17 – Imperial Bell Quebec, Canada
 Sep 19 – London Music Hall London, Canada
 Sep 20 – Crofoot Pontiac, MI
 Sep 22 – The Waiting Room Omaha, NE
 Sep 23 – The Rave Milwaukee, WI
 Sep 24 – The Ready Room St Louis, MO
 Sep 26 – Warehouse Live Houston, TX
 Sep 27 – Gas Monkey Bar N`Grill Dallas, TX
 Sep 29 – Summit Music Hall Denver, CO
 Sep 30 – Complex Salt Lake City, UT
 Oct 01 – House of Blues Las Vegas, NV
 Oct 02 – The Observatory North Park San Diego, CA
 Oct 04 – The Fonda Theatre Los Angeles, CA
 Oct 05 – Fillmore San Francisco, CA

Photo Gallery

Gus Samarco

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