REVIEW: Helloween Rocks New York

Originally published 3/3/16

German power metal group Helloween brought their “God Given Right” tour to Playstation Theater in New York City on Tuesday, performing in front of crowd of roughly half the venue’s capacity along with support from “Them”, a group I could best describe as a ghoulish heavy metal band whose show is more theater than music, complete with a coffin and a leg bone as a mic stand. It’s been a good while since I listening to anything by Helloween, if I had to guess I’d say 2007’s Gambling With The Devil” was the last I’d heard from the band. Now, 9 years later, Helloween are back on the road in the US in support of their latest studio effort, God Given Right, and they’re proving to be ageless wonders.

Helloween is as much about their on-stage visuals and crowd interaction as they are music, and what a job they do blending all three. Helloween opened with Eagle Fly Free, much to the delight of the audience, before going into Dr. Stein to kick off a 15-song setlist plus one of the better drum solos I’ve seen this side of Neal Peart. The band’s on-stage antics are still as prevalent as ever, with Markus Grosskopf licking his guitar strings more than a few times and Andi Deris high-fiving every crowd surfer who was brave enough to make it over the barricade, but this night was about great music from a band that has been making great music for the better part of three decades. This night was about hard-hitting metal and Deris whaling into the microphone, and anyone who paid to see Helloween surely left a very satisfied customer as this night produced one of the better shows I’ve seen in recent memory.

Andi Deris and company showed no signs of slowing down Tuesday night, as they belted out hit after hit and even some of the newer songs including tour’s namesake, God Given Right, before closing with an extended version of instant-classic I Want Out. It was my first time seeing Helloween, and oh how good they were. I’ll definitely be getting back into these guys, and next time I might just have to catch them as a fan. What a great show from a group that had almost become an afterthought for me. It’s really amazing how seeing a band live can re-ignite your interest in them, and Helloween definitely deserves to be back in my rotation. They’re still just that good, 30-odd years on.

Check out our gallery from Helloween at Playstation Theater. Photos by Sean Murphy: