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DRAGONFORCE, FIREWIND, VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, SEVEN SPIRES In Houston, TX With Photos!

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Friday, April 22, 2022 @ 6:13 PM


At Warehouse Live April 16

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All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography

As the temperatures are starting to heat up in Texas this time of year so are the number of concerts coming to town. As I get older the number of bands I haven't yet seen (of ones I want to see that is) has dwindled considerably. Even on package tours with 3 or 4 bands I've generally seen at least one of them but on very rare occasions there is a tour where I have never seen any of the bands on the bill and such was the case when DRAGONFORCE rolled into Houston. And unlike the review of the Los Angeles show by my counterpart Junkman, the support bands of VIVIONS OF ATLANTIS and SEVEN SPIRES were joined just shortly after that show by the mighty FIREWIND! I had never seen any of these bands live and Houston was about to get its ass kicked with a night of great power metal, which would nearly end tragically for one concertgoer.

First up for the evening was American metal act SEVEN SPIRES, led by Houston native, vocalist Adrienne Cowan, who actually had a couple relatives in attendance. The band are relative newcomers to the music scene, releasing their first album Solveig in 2017. The band kicked off their brief 6 song set with "Gods Of Debauchery", the title track to their most recent album which was released in September of last year. The band continued to impress the large crowd with more of their brand of metal with tracks like "Oceans Of Time" and "Succomb" before closing things with "Dare To Live". Vocalist Herbie Langhans of FIREWIND even joined the band as they performed "Lightbringer". SEVEN SPIRES' performance also produced the first mosh pit of the evening.

Setlist:

  • "Gods Of Debauchery"
  • "Oceans Of Time"
  • "Lightbringer" (With Herbie Langhans Of FIREWIND)
  • "Succomb"
  • "Drowner Of Worlds"
  • "Dare To Live"
Next up was Austrian symphonic power metallers VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, led by the beautiful and talented vocalist Clementine Delauney and her male counterpart Michele Guaitoli. This band is definitely not new to the scene, having released their first album Eternal Endless Infinity way back in 2002, though I can't recall them having been to Houston at any time in recent memory. I have slept since then however so I could easily be wrong. The band is set to release their new album Pirates on May 13th and they were certainly out to make the most of their short allotted time. Dressed in pirate gear to match the theme of the new album, they launched into their own 6 song set with "Master The Hurricane", one of 3 tracks they would perform from the upcoming release. The tandem vocals of Guaitoli and Delauney were impeccable and watching their interactions onstage were a sight to behold. The entire band was in top form as they concluded their night with a 1-2 punch of new songs, "Melancholy Angel" and "Legion Of The Seas", both of which had videos released and you can check them out on KNAC.COM HERE and HERE respectively. If you haven't yet heard of them or checked out the new music, do yourself a favor and do it now!

Setlist:

  • "Master The Hurricane"
  • "A Life Of Our Own"
  • "Heroes Of The Dawn"
  • "A Journey To Remember"
  • "Melancholy Angel"
  • "Legion Of The Seas"
Now, during the set changeover for FIREWIND is when something serious happened. I had just taken my place in the photo barricade when people in the crowd at the far end from me starting screaming to those on the stage that someone needed medical attention. Sauntering down the barricade to that location I could see a fairly young man, maybe 18 or 19, who had collapsed about 10 feet back and was completely unresponsive and presumably flatlined as venue security was there performing CPR on him. In all honesty this didn't look good at all as the CPR continued for over 10 minutes before the ambulance arrived. At some point during this incident, members of FIREWIND and DRAGONFORCE even came out on the stage to observe what was occurring. A few minutes after the medics had wheeled him out guitarist Gus G came to the microphone to send the guy well wishes and then to ask the crowd if they still wanted them (FIREWIND) to perform. Of course the show must go on and the crowd roared in the affirmative. Within a few minutes the band took the stage and set off on an absolutely blistering set with "Welcome To The Empire" from the band's self-titled album of 2020. From there it was just pedal to the floor. The band, guitar wizard Gus G, vocalist Herbie Langhans, bassist Petros Christo and drummer Johan Nunez wasted no time going for the throat during the set, stopping briefly following the second song "Head Up High" while Gus addressed the crowd once more to announce that the medical team was able to revive the concertgoer on the way to the hospital. I would find out later that he had had a seizure but was doing better the following day. "Destination Forever" and "World On Fire" would follow. Langhans, though he may be just the latest in a long line of FIREWIND vocalists, can definitely hold his own and do justice to the FIREWIND material, including classics like the smashing "Ode To Leonidas", a song that I'm still jamming to now even a week later. The band closed their portion of the evening with the cover of the Michael Sembello song from the movie Flashdance, "Maniac", where Langhans' earlier appearance during the SEVEN SPIRES set was returned when he was joined by vocalist Cowan for a verse of the song. Though I had not seen any of these bands before, FIREWIND made a great case for being the band to impress me the most, but one more was still yet to come.

Setlist:

  • "Welcome To The Empire"
  • "Head Up High"
  • "Destination Forever"
  • "World On Fire"
  • "The Fire And The Fury" (only about 1/2 of the song)
  • "Ode To Leonidas"
  • "Break Away"
  • "Rising Fire"
  • "Maniac" (Michael Sembello cover)
At last after a delay in the start of the show and then the emergency delay it was finally time for headliners DRAGONFORCE. Finally able to get out and finish touring for their 2019 album Extreme Power Metal, this was a celebration of everything 80's including video games with either side of the stage being adorned with huge arcade style games large enough that the band members could walk up steps fastened to the back of them and stand atop while performing, something they did frequently throughout the show. I'm not sure if this occurred at other shows on the tour but they did mention that this one was being livestreamed on Twitch.tv.

The lights dimmed, the intro of the Yanni song "Point Of Origin" played over the PA and with a blast from the confetti cannons that were stationed across the front of the stage the band hit the stage with "Highway To Oblivion", the leadoff track to the latest album, and the finale to a solid night of power metal was underway and I have to say that it's been some time since I've been to a rock show like this where the packed crowd sang every word to every song clearly. "Fury Of The Storm" was next, followed by "The Last Dragonborn" and Ashes Of The Dawn" before the band took a brief break as classic Sega video game console commercials played on the giant video screen that filled the back of the stage. The band returned with "Heart Demolition" before vocalist Marc Hudson donned a guitar to play 'everyone's favorite video game songs' in the form of "Dracula's Castle" from Castlevania Symphony of The Night and "Fight On!" from Final Fantasy VII".

What followed was a good ole fashion jam, albeit one that included guitarist Sam Totman setting aside his guitar for a banjo. The band was also joined by Gus G and Houston's own guitar maestro Rusty Cooley for a little diddley based on "Randy Lynn Rag" by FLATT & SCRUGGS, definitely an interesting and comical interlude to be sure. The power metal returned with "Black Fire", "Cry Thunder" and a number dedicated to our servicemen and women, "Remembrance Day" before finishing off the night with "Valley Of The Damned". Now at this point the huge dragon figure that was positioned behind drummer Gee Anzalone (who incidentally showed no lasting affects from his heart condition that sidelined him for the band's previous aborted 2020 tour) began to speak again, this time "dissing" the band for their inflated egos and leaving the stage simply so that the crowd would cheer for them to come back and 'play the songs they were already going to play anyway' and exhorting the crowd to scream as loud as they could to 'get these motherfuckers back'. Of course there was no doubt the band would return and they did to perform their cover of the Celine Dion song "My Heart Will Go On". Does anyone remember the old record players that had the 45 & 78 speed on them? Well, picture the Celine song being played on 78 speed and you'll kinda get the gist of what DRAGONFORCE's version sounded like. Hudson then asked the crowd how many people had come to the show just to hear one song, and of course the crowd roared knowing full well what was coming. And there it was, thanks to Guitar Hero, the night's finale, "Through The Fire And Flames". Another blast of the confetti cannons and the show was done.

I left this show quite satisfied with what I had just witnessed. All four bands played stellar sets and by now the tour has come to an end but the next time an opportunity comes to see any of these bands, don't pass it up!

Setlist:

  • Intro "Point Of Origin" (Yanni)
  • "Highway To Oblivion"
  • "Fury Of The Storm"
  • "The Last Dragonborn"
  • "Ashes Of The Dawn"
  • Sega Video Game Commercials
  • "Heart Demolition"
  • "Dracula's Castle"/"Fight On!"
  • Banjo/Guitar Jam
  • "Black Fire"
  • "Cry Thunder"
  • "Remembrance Day"
  • "Valley Of The Damned"
Encore:
  • "My Heart Will Go On"
  • "Through The Fire And Flames"
Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography


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