GAMMA RAY at The Rock in Maplewood, Friday May 12, 2006
Special Guests : Mirror Black, Miles Beyond, Cellador and Avian

There are no pictures of Mirror Black or Miles Beyond though both bands kicked ass. Because of my busy schedule I was forced to buy film at a gas station and that meant having to use 400spd film instead of the preferable 800spd - yet again(sigh). The band to the right is Cellador - power metal from Omaha, Nebraska. They covered Helloween's "Eagle Fly Free" in their otherwise original set - amazing. Their CD is out in June on Metal Blade Records!

Cellador opened up for Sonata Artica a few months ago at Star Central.
I knew Avian was going to kick ass though I had only heard "The Fear," which was on a Nightmare Records sampler Lance King had been handing out at the Stratovarius show. So I bought the Cd from Lance himself long before they even hit the stage. Unfortunately, Dave Ellefson wasn't able to make it and so there were fill in musician(s) - from Conditioned Response I believe. The big surprise of their set was when the Sword Lord himself got up there and sang with Lance on an Avian song.
Dirk Schlachter - Gamma Ray
Dirk, Kai, and Henjo Richter.
Dirk, Kai Hansen, and Daniel Zimmermann on drums.

Getting decent pics of Gamma Ray was difficult due to the crowd going completely gamma-nuts as soon as the legendary Germans hit the stage. Even when I could get near the front, fists were perpetually in the air saluting one of the greatest metal bands on the planet.

For those who don't know their gamma-history, a very brief overview. Kai Hansen fronted Helloween on their debut album Walls of Jericho then relegated himself to a guitar only position on the two Keeper of the Seven Keys albums after the aquisition of the higher than a kite vocals of Michael Kiske. Kai then went on to form Gamma Ray which originally featured the vocals of Ralf Scheepers who is now belting it out for Primal Fear. For the last few Gamma Ray albums Kai has reprised his singer/guitarist role. Visit their respective websites for more details.

Speaking of history, it was almost certainly on everyone's minds. Would they play Helloween songs, and if so, which ones? Well, we weren't disappointed. The kings of epic speed riffery ran through three Helloween standards, "Ride the Sky", "Future World" and a song that is one of my favorite personal anthems "I Want Out."

I don't remember all the songs that were played and I have to say that I was unfamiliar with some of them as I don't have all their albums - yet. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it all and was very happy when they came back for two oncores.     : )

Gamma Ray please come back! \m/

Extra-supernatural thanks to each and every metalhead and music lover, and to all my friends old and new - who all made the show that much better for their presence. To show my thanks I have included a very rare picture of Kai Hansen below. The pic was taken during the Helloween Walls of Jericho era. In Hamburg Germany I believe.     \m/
Henjo Richter
Kai Hansen
A Final Word
This show was a success because it was promoted by real metalheads who care about the music, the bands, and the fans first. Special thanks to
Swordlord Productions and Seastorm Entertainment!