Helloween – “United Alive In Madrid” CD / LP (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
Marking when it all began in 1984, the Pumpkins United World Tour reunited most of the line ups of this renowned ‘pumpkin’ power metal band to play to over 1 million people in 32 countries across 3 continents. Released as a double package, “United Alive” is the DVD / Blu-Ray capturing the tour with recordings from Wacken in front of 75,000 metal heads and 14,000 fans in the Madrid arena – and as a bonus, the show in the Espaço das Américas, gathering 8,000 in São Paulo, while the “United Alive In Madrid” CD / LP presents a whopping 2 hours+ of pure audio material from the concert in Madrid plus 4 bonus tracks from the shows in Prague, São Paulo, Wacken, and Santiago de Chile – with a guarantee from the band that they couldn’t fit anymore onto the discs! With 3 guitars being matched by a trio of lead vocalists in Kai Hansen, Michael Kiske and Andi Deris, this is like the original band on steroids whether singing in combination or during solo showcases – and Madrid duly responds with plenty of its own, more than justifying their inclusion on this special release, be it on the raucous opener of ‘Halloween’ with masses of roars and followed right after by ‘Dr Stein’ with even more chanting, and indeed across the 20 tracks making up this incredible album. With Deris frequently engaging the crowd in Spanish, Kiske remains as humorous as always, jesting with the crowd before ‘A Tale That Wasn’t Right’ about having long blonde hair when he first started singing and wanting to look like Elvis, and now ending up looking like Rob Halford! Naturally, the best is saved until last for the epic ‘Keeper Of The Seven Keys’, sounding spectacular with plenty of superb guitar work really bringing out the melodies, along with the added power giving the speedier bits some real gusto. With the entire arena roaring out the words of ‘Future World’, the gripping yet hearty main melody is as alluring as it was when I first heard it, and with the multiple guitars rocking out the solo in fine style, the chorus lines of ‘..a world that’s full of love..our future life will be glorious..’ couldn’t have been more truer sung that night. Closing with ‘I Want Out’ with its huge power melodies, the arena’s roof is literally lifted as the crowd have their moment led by their vocal maestros as one lot go into a ‘whoa – ohohho’ chant while the others shout ‘I Want Out’ – it’s an awesome experience, doubly so if you were there – and as such simply unforgettable.