When the last of many attempts to reunite Udo Dirkschneider with the remaining members of Accept folded back in 2009, many fans of the German Heavy Metal combo, myself included, believed that the days of this musical institution were numbered. Luckily for us, however, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and Co had other plans in mind.
Finding in Mark Tornillo a top class entertainer and perhaps the only man capable of singing the band’s classic material in a feel similar to that of Udo, the quintet went on to release three highly impressive albums, latest of which being “Blind Rage”.
Eager to listen to the band’s latest material in a live setting and in full knowledge that quite a few of the tunes that helped shape my musical upbringing would also be performed tonight, I packed my camera and headed towards the Forum.
Voodoo Six are better known as the band that introduced Richie Faulkner to the Metal word, the much talented lead guitarist who replaced K.K.Downing in Judas Priest. They also happen to be the very group that Iron Maiden chose to open for them on their “Maiden England World Tour” which was, of course, both a great honour and a career highlight.
It was during that tour that I first came in contact with the band’s music but my memories of that show were less than enthusiastic about the London band. Willing to give them a second chance, I made my way to the venue ten or so minutes before they hit the stage and it is at that point that I was informed that Luke Purdie was no longer their singer and that the show would be performed with the assistance of a guest vocalist.
Opening with “Falling Knives” and moving swiftly on with the crowd favourite “All That Glitters”, the quintet came across as both professional and well-rehearsed, using the whole of the stage space and constantly engaging with their numerous fans who, by that point, had begun to make their presence felt.
It is a great shame that the guy who filled for Purdie tonight was never properly introduced to us as it was his soulful performance that made “Stop” such an impressive musical offering, notwithstanding major problems faced by Matt Pearce’s guitar during said song.
Bassist Tony Newton is a real monster of energy on stage so it was not at all surprising that it was left to him to galvanise the band’s crowd during “Your Way”, while both “Lean On” and “Sink Or Swim” kept the crowd’s energy at a very decent level.
“Something For You” was another catchy Rock ‘n’ Roll tune and the band closed its set with the heavy-sounding “Long Way From Home”, following the performance of which the members took their final bows and left the stage confident of a job well done.
Having really enjoyed my first forty five minutes at the Forum, I made a quick stop at the bar for a much needed drink and then headed towards the photo pit, hoping to find a good spot from which to capture Accept on stage during the performance of their first three songs. I glanced at the set list and was happy to see the titles of twenty one songs, featuring a good balance of classics both old and new.
It was nine o’clock on the dot when Stefan Schwarzmann made his way behind his minimalistic drum kit and provided the opening drum beat for “Stampede” – a song that was received with a massive roar by the band’s passionate fans.
High energy has always been a standard staple during an Accept performance since day one but tonight the five musicians looked in really high spirits. Having played “Stalingrad” and Hellfire” with surgical accuracy, Mark Tornillo introduced the new “200 Years” to a raucous crowd – a reaction which further energised the band, as suggested by the massive smile on Stefan Schwarzmann’s face during its performance.
Tornillo may be a well seasoned and pretty striking performer but it was undoubtedly the duet of Hoffmann/Baltes that stole the show. Their great chemistry was quite evident during the all-time classic “Losers And Winners” when they threw shapes a la Judas Priest, a theme that continued well into “London Leatherboys” – one of the show’s many highlights.
Wolf Hoffmann and Herman Frank make a great guitar duet, something that is clearly audible during their twin guitar solo in “Starlight”, while a short false start took nothing away from a solid performance of the mid tempo “Dying Breed”.
Having loved the bombastic energy of “Final Journey” I soon found myself singing along to the melodic refrain of “From The Ashes We Rise”, while the introduction of “Restless And Wild” found me banging my head with an intensity not healthy for anyone my age.
The remaining part of the band’s main set was split between material both old and new and, though all songs were really well performed, it was the much loved classics “Princess Of The Dawn” and “Fast As A Shark” which received the most passionate of reactions from a clearly appreciative crowd.
With a strict curfew set for eleven o’clock the band’s departure from stage was short and their return was marked with a killer rendition of “Metal Heart” followed by the mid-tempo head banger “Teutonic Terror”.
Content though we all were with the band’s overall performance, a final send-off gift was something we all craved for and our wish was granted in the shape of the much-loved 1983 opus “Balls To The Wall”.
Last time I saw Accept playing in London was at the Garage in Highbury – a much smaller venue and one less capable of providing them with the sound and stage setting a band of their status and capabilities truly deserves.
Tonight, however, the setting was close to being perfect and, in the knowledge of that fact, the members of Accept made sure that what we were given in return for our loyalty and support was nothing less than a killer show!
As things stand, Accept look fairly invincible and at the top of their game – may this state of affairs continue for the years to come!
Voodoo Six Set List:
“Falling Knives” 2. “All That Glitters” 3. “Stop” 4. “Take The Blame” 5. “Your Way” 6. “Lean On Me” 7. “Sink Or Swim” 8. “Something For You” 9. “Long Way From Home”
Accept Set List:
1. “Stampede” 2. “Stalingrad” 3. “Hellfire” 4. “200 Years” 5. “Losers And Winners” 6. “London Leatherboys” 7. “Starlight” 8. “Dying Breed” 9. “Final Journey” 10.“Shadow Soldier” 11. “From The Ashes We Rise” 12. “Restless And Wild” 13. “Ahead Of The Pack” 14. “No Shelter” 15. “Princess Of The Dawn” 16. “Dark Side Of My Heart” 17. “Pandemic” 18. “Fast As A Shark” Encore: 19. “Metal Heart” 20. “Teutonic Terror” 21. “Balls To The Wall”
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