Haggard, Remember Twilight at Gagarin 205 (2008)

Gagarin 205 (Athens, Greece)

Haggard, Remember Twilight
[Harry]: Weekends are supposed to be two days of relaxation, beers, sleeping and nice gigs. […]
By Dimitris Antoniou
November 22, 2008

[Harry]: Weekends are supposed to be two days of relaxation, beers, sleeping and nice gigs. Well for me, even though it stared with the best way from the previous day with the EXCITER show, things weren't so good at Saturday morning. So, I wasn't at my best since Murphy's Law was once again confirmed! Even finding a place to park was a nightmare. Having made more than half an hour to park, I met the fellow Templars Dimitris and Irini and got into the venue to see... the supporting band!

To tell you the truth, none of us knew that there would be a support act. Luckily, I found their guitar player Felix just after their show and told me the name of the band.

The sextet from Germany was called REMEMBER TWILIGHT. Having two guitar players -one of them was also the lead singer- and two girls playing the violin, they managed to warm up the crowd, that seemed to enjoy their performance. Their mixture of thrash, folk and atmospheric melodies with a touch of SKYCLAD were good enough for me in order to make me smile. REMEMBER TWILIGHT were a really good choice for a support band that showed good potentials for the future. That was the last live show for them and they said goodbye with a bow. Hopefully, we will have news from them really soon. And maybe it's time to find those two albums they have released in order to have a better opinion. But now it was the time we were all waiting for. To see, for the first time here in Greece, HAGGARD.

[Dimitris]: Last time I saw HAGGARD live was in 'Wacken Open Air' in 1998. Back then they had only one album out, yet they were already well known in Germany. I remember coming out from a hellish SKYCLAD concert around 2.30 in the night, bathed in my own sweat and very very tired. Then I caught a glimpse of a strange band, with more than a dozen members on stage, playing violins, violas, oboes, horns and heavy guitars, while everything was in dim light of low electric lamps and candles. I was entranced by the atmosphere and the excellent performance of the musicians and decided to postpone my sleep for half an hour or so to watch the end of their show. I remember thinking that I must catch them live somewhere again. It took though ten years till I had again the chance.

I went to this show with mixed expectations. The memory of 'Wacken' was strong, yet, since then, the countless symphonic metal bands have bored me to death and I was not sure if HAGGARD would manage to win again my attention as they did when the scene was fresh and new. Plus there was a matter of stage space in Gagarin 205 club and I feared that I would only see half of what I had seen in 1998, a short version of the band or something. How glad I am that I was proved wrong.

HAGGARD came up on stage with the usual greek delay gap between support and main band. One hour and ten minutes we had to wait till Asis Nasseri, the Grand Master of the band, came on stage with thirteen more musicians to announce us that the show will begin after a short soundcheck. Lights dimmed out and the first notes of The Origin the intro from their latest album Tales of Ithiria were heard sampled from the speakers. And then all hell broke loose.

Very few bands have the talent of delivering a good quality show. HAGGARD is one of those bands and even more. So many musicians on stage and yet they were tight as a fist, united in one whole body with Asis being the architect, the conductor. Even more amazing was the fact that regardless of the high complexity of their songs they performed them perfectly and made them sound even better than the studio versions.

The guitars were heavy and full (I always complained about the fact that their studio albums were too polished and guitars were always too low) creating a huge sound wall, with the rest of the instruments sounding clear and distinct above them. The three vocalists gave a wonderful performance and together with the growls of Asis they were shifting the atmosphere of the show from darkness to light, letting you immerse totally in the mood of their songs. Their setlist included songs from all their albums. Tales of Ithiria, The Day as Heaven Wept, Final Victory, In a Pale Moon's Shadow, The Observer, Per Aspera ad Astra, Upon Fallen Autumn Leaves, The Sleeping Child, Her Manellig, Eppur si Muove, and of course the amazing Awaking the Centuries were some of them. They also included an amazing and very accurate cover of the song You Suffer by NUCLEAR ASSAULT that left everyone totally speechless. For two and half hours, HAGGARD performed one song after the other in an almost packed arena full of energy and enthusiasm.

Not for a single moment did the musicians rested. Even when they didn't have any parts to play, they were active and part of the whole show. Dancing, headbanging, shouting, they were one with the very warm greek audience. You could see all of them living the night in its full, embracing the power of their own music. They joked between them, had fun together with the audience, always smiling and good-hearted. During the show, Asis with the other guitar player and the bassist, went off the stage during Herr Manellig and kept playing their riffs and lines amidst the amazed crowd. The multi-talented bass vocalist Fiffi gave us a full display of his talents not only in singing but also in percussion, acting and fire breathing(!!).

Near the end everyone was shouting HAGGARD, HAGGARD. The band did two encores and then had a very nice surprise for their fans. Asis announced from the mic that no one should go because they wanted to meet every single one of us. True to their word, the band climbed off the stage and patiently greeted and spoke with everyone.

HAGGARD proved to me that they are not a simple band. They are professionals to the core, talented and perfectionists in their performance yet warm and very close to their audience. They respect their fans as much as they respect their own music, a trait that many bands lack nowadays. They gave a memorable show, one that I will remember and recite for many years after as an example. If they happen to stop by your city don't miss the chance. It will be a night you will not easily forget.

(photos by Harry)



crossmenucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram