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Gamma Ray - Chicago 2-3-11

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by shreddy, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. skyrefuge

    skyrefuge Member

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    I was sort of dreading going to this show, since "professional" power metal bands don't really do it for me anymore. Gamma Ray is one of my nostalgic all-time favorites (I found out about the band in '94, from a book, in the library, in the reference section!), so I felt a sense of obligation to go, even though the two previous times I saw them didn't really live up to my expectations. Adding insult to injury, their latest album is called "To the Metal". Ugh. "Obligation" isn't really the best reason to go to a show. I didn't even buy my ticket until MPshows confirmed the show was still on (thanks for harassing him, guys!)

    Like Jose said, travel was a non-issue. I left Schaumburg at 8:00, and got there even before Mindwarp Chamber had started. I think my car barely touched snow, and given my right-across-the-street parking spot, my boots definitely didn't. Incredible job by the city/suburbs at snow-removal. But I bet it scared a bunch of people off. My count put the total at 130, 150 max.

    So, Gamma Ray. They were really damn good. It didn't take long for them to remind me that they are not the backing-tape/plays-to-a-click-track/robot/boring-as-hell power metal band I was dreading. That should have been obvious, since Kai Hansen was on Helloween's "Live in the U.K." (the best live power metal album of all time due to its looseness and constant improv jams), but I don't remember seeing that side of them previously. Here, perhaps fueled by Kai's frequent cups of "tea", they played the fast songs (Armageddon, Man on a Mission) ridiculously fast and loose, and then filled them in with random interludes, such as "Sweet Home Chicago" (more than just a tease!) and even reggae during a version of "Man on a Mission" that got awesomely close to the song "Miracle" from their awesomely awesome 'Silent Miracles' EP. By the time "I Want Out" rolled around, they had won me over so much that I actually enjoyed the song for the first time in the 20 years I've been listening to it. Kai looks and acts incredibly young for a 48-year-old German, and his Adrian Smith mannerisms are a perfect match for Henjo's Dave Murray mannerisms. They were either having a lot of fun, or are so professional that they can pretend to have a lot of fun even when getting up a 4am to catch a day-delayed flight from LA to play in front of a small crowd on a cold night in Chicago. Whichever it was, I was convinced.

    Oh man. I was right next to Jason during "Ride the Sky". That confused guy nearly could have been *me*, trying really hard to keep a straight face and not die from laughter. :lol:

    Note that Gamma Ray played from 9:53pm to midnight, so now that you guys have learned that it's possible to show up late, and Gamma Ray played as long as they wanted, you're going to have to invent a new reason to bitch about opening bands!

    Neil
     
  2. Saladbar

    Saladbar Jose Saladbar

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    I gotta say I was cracking up that Bob, Jason and you were standing a foot away from each other for about an hour and they didn't know that you were there. It was absolute hilarity that I just could not share with anyone because if I did it would sort of kill the joke so I had my own private funny moment that whole time. :lol:

    I hope there are more situations like this in future shows for my entertainment. :p
     
  3. Diabolik

    Diabolik Member

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    that is brilliant. I think I know who Neil is now. I will just have to tell Jason that every person I see is Neil and have jason jump and grab them. Talk about so many personal jokes all at one time going on.
     
  4. Jasonic

    Jasonic Doom On!

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    Yeah, based on who was around me, I still have no clue who Neil is, and chances are, it seems he knows me but still won't say hello. Oh well....

    Back to what's important......

    First off, I wanted to thank ALL the Chi-town peeps for making last night the most fun I have had at a show in a VERY long time. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood, and we all had some great conversations. During the opening bands, I kept thinking to myself how it almost felt like you were at a frat party (IE - drinking draft beer out of a cup in a big room that isn't too full with a live band in the background).

    I won't comment on any of the openers, as I agree 100% with everything that others have already said. I missed District 97.

    Gamma Ray were 100% flawless in my book.
    You would never know these cats had been up since 4AM to catch a flight from LA to Chicago. I personally was worried that we were going to get a 60 minute set tops. When I got to Reggies, the sign indicated they would have about a 90 minute set. Ended up being 2 hours. Amazing.

    The setlist went off live better than it might look on paper to some. I believe there were 5 tunes from TO THE METAL played. They all came off live really well, though I could have done without the title track. Lots of classics mixed throughout.

    The whole crowd went nuts the whole set.
    I went complete apeshit when they kicked in to RIDE THE SKY.
    That's been one of my all time favorite songs for over 20 years, literally.
    I saw them do it at Hellish Rock, but for some reason there was a lot more intensity with last night's performance of it. The whole set just had an amazing drive.

    Maybe we all needed a good release after this week's weather debacle.

    Either way, an amazing night.

    Glad to see a lot of people I don't get to see too often.
     
  5. Jasonic

    Jasonic Doom On!

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    Do it!! Do it!!!!
     
  6. Jasonic

    Jasonic Doom On!

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    Great pic!!!
    Jose is thinking...."Must....resist...urge...to....dump...beer...on....Jasonic!"
     
  7. Jasonic

    Jasonic Doom On!

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    Ah!!! Can't view imageshack at work.
    Sorry, all I see is the mighty RED X!!!
     
  8. Jasonic

    Jasonic Doom On!

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    Too bad we didn't see each other.
    Were you wearing a band shirt?
    Just curious if maybe I recall seeing you based on what you had on.
     
  9. OrbWeaver

    OrbWeaver BECAUSE FALCONER

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    I thought about titling the photo: "OrbWeaver's Harem" but that disturbed me so I didn't do it. :lol:

    Gamma Ray really was amazing. And Kai seemed genuinely happy with the crowd reaction to the band. Especially when the crowd started singing the chorus to Armageddon (I think it was that one) half-way through when GR was going to segue into something else before finishing the tune.
     
  10. AngraRULES

    AngraRULES Member

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    PM me your email address. You'll get a kick out of it.
     
  11. Diabolik

    Diabolik Member

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    when power metal bands tour the states....they definetly need stronger opening acts. Like when Strato had Pagan's Mind. It does draw more interest. I think with a stronger line up there would have been more people there.
     
  12. skyrefuge

    skyrefuge Member

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    Alright, good to know I wasn't the only laughing to myself. Thanks for being a good co-conspirator! :Spin: Bob even kept bumping into me when he talked. At one point I even heard someone say something like "yeah, we're going to have to look around for him"...I don't know if they were talking about me, but of course I chose to imagine that they were!

    Here's another shot of the Axis, trying to live up to their name (though Jason has fallen just a bit out-of-line to the right). My ultimate success would have been to sneak into the official photo without anyone noticing, but alas, it was not to be! So I'm limited to this form of creepiness:

    [​IMG]

    Neil
     
  13. Saladbar

    Saladbar Jose Saladbar

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    OMG this is turning into a riot! If you guys ever meet I want to have it on film. This story is freaking gold!!
     
  14. Diabolik

    Diabolik Member

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    actually we were looking for ModernWizardry. I kept telling Jason that different people were him.
     
  15. shreddy

    shreddy Member

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    A limited city tour and band like Gamma Ray, that sells itself. We had a good group of people from other cities and none of knew any of the openers. Sadly lame as it may be, the weather took its toll on the outcome. Regardless GR didnt care and put on a top notch show.
     
  16. Diabolik

    Diabolik Member

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    yes, but I know a few people who didnt go due to the weather but also because they saw them the last time and with the weaker line up didnt bother. But they missed a hell of a show last night.
     
  17. modernwizardry

    modernwizardry I want stout!

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    yeah after the 2nd band I ran into Al and Orbweaver (don't think I caught her name) and they said I missed the picture and that you were here so kept looking around but didn't see you. I was the tall guy close to the stage the whole gamma ray set.

    I was wearing a black hoodie open at times with a Uriah Heep (first album cover) shirt. I did meet this guy who was a Dentist that went to Progpower...is that anyone here?

    I have some decent pictures I'll post on my facebook.
     
  18. modernwizardry

    modernwizardry I want stout!

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    You guys did well too! First time hearing Mindwarp Chamber! Bought the album Supernova and jammed it in its entirety today during the commute. Nice work! I'll definitely be coming to your future shows!
     
  19. modernwizardry

    modernwizardry I want stout!

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    haha awesome! Yeah next time we will finally meet in person!
     
  20. The_Q

    The_Q No More Posts

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    Sorry Shreddy. Wanted to go but too many factors were working against me. Since I do not drive to shows in the city public transportation is my way there. And to get there from my house would require me walking 9 blocks through unplowed and unshoveled sidestreets. Definitely next time as I want to see MC live very soon. Hope you all had a great time. There will be another show soon we can all meet up.
     

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