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HELLOWEEN, HAMMERFALL In Worcester, MA With Photos!

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 @ 11:46 AM


United Forces Tour Hits The Worcester Palladium May 21st

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All Photos By George Dionne/@rockisgeorge

HELLOWEEN made their last appearance in Worcester, MA as part of their Pumpkins United Tour in 2018. The tour marked the return of guitarist Kai Hansen and vocalist Micheal Kiske to the group. It was the first time I had seen HELLOWEEN live, and it was everything I had hoped for and well worth the wait.

Since then, HELLOWEEN has gone on to record and release a new studio album featuring the ‘Pumpkins United' line-up. The self-titled album is widely considered to be one of their best, but for me, I thought it was just okay. I was hoping that hearing the new material live would help change my point of view.

On May 21, 2023, the United Forces Tour, featuring HELLOWEEN & HAMMERFALL made its way to the Worcester Palladium. The Palladium is for all intents and purposes, THE venue for Heavy Metal in Massachusetts. I was not familiar with HAMMERFALL's music going into the show. I've heard bits and pieces here and there, but never really devoted much time to them.

HAMMERFALL delivered an energetic set full of heavy riffage, mighty drums, and powerful vocals. What impressed me most about HAMMERFALL was the ease of getting familiar with their songs. The choruses are simple and repetitive, which led me to signing along in no time. HAMMERFALL certainly have a knack for anthems and battle cry songs. They made a fan out of me.

Setlist:

  • "Brotherhood"
  • "Hammer of Dawn"
  • "Any Means Necessary"
  • "The Metal Age"
  • "Blood Bound"
  • "Renegade"
  • "Last Man Standing"
  • "Hero's Return"/"On the Edge of Honour"/"Riders of the Storm"/"Crimson Thunder" (medley)
  • "Let the Hammer Fall"
  • "(We Make) Sweden Rock"
  • "Hammer High"
  • "Hearts on Fire"
HELLOWEEN took the stage with a 15 minute epic version of "Skyfall" from their current self-titled album. There wasn't a single point in the song where I thought, okay enough already. With all the action on the stage and the tempo shifting, the performance remained interesting throughout.

"Mass Pollution" is now my favorite track from the new album, thanks to HELLOWEEN's live version. Its catchy chorus and thought-provoking lyrics really caught my ear. Their performance of "Best Time" was also better live than I recalled on recording.

Of course the set was packed with hits, with lead vocalists Andi Deris and Michael Kiske trading vocals on a handful of songs, but also singing some of their trademark HELLOWEEN tunes solo. While the group does embellish their catalog a little bit live, they do keep the songs true to its original form for the most part.

Guitarist and one time vocalist Kai Hansen took center stage halfway through the show for a medley of early HELLOWEEN material. He looked a bit naked in the beginning without his trademark guitar, but he was ripping it up again not long after.

With a back catalog so vast, undoubtedly some fan favorites aren't going to make the cut. Personally I would have liked to have heard "Mr. Torture", "Hey Lord!", "As Long as I Fall" or anything between Master of the Rings and Helloween, but they gave me "Future World", "Power" and "Dr. Stein", so I can't complain.

HELLOWEEN performed two encores. They kicked off the 1st encore with "Perfect Gentleman", and followed it with another 15 minute epic "Keeper of the Seven Keys". It was an interesting choice for its long running time, which may have served better within the main set.

"I Want Out" closed the show with pumpkin balloons aplenty and bombastic music fury. The imagery recalled ALICE COOPER's live performance of "Schools Out". HELLOWEEN broke the song down toward the end to conduct a sing along with the crowd, before bringing the night to a close. HELLOWEEN could have easily played another hour for the rabid Worcester crowd.

Setlist:

  • "Skyfall"
  • "Eagle Fly Free"
  • "Mass Pollution"
  • "Future World"
  • "Power"
  • "Save Us"
  • "Walls of Jericho"
  • "Metal Invaders"/"Victim of Fate"/"Gorgar"/"Ride the Sky"
  • "Heavy Metal (Is the Law)"
  • "Forever and One (Neverland)"
  • "Best Time"
  • "Dr. Stein"
  • "How Many Tears"
  • "Perfect Gentleman"
  • "Keeper of the Seven Keys"
  • "I Want Out"
Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By George Dionne/@rockisgeorge


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