1988-11-01 - Hammersmith Odeon, London

United Kingdom
November 01st, 1988

MetalHammer magazine, issue #12 1988:

It's all Saints Day actually, Helloween just missed Halloween, but pumpkins flew regardless, the crowd went suitably insane and the Odeon house one huge party.

Exploding into the show amidst a blaze of colour and 'Eagle Fly Free' the Weenies catapult themselves into full swing. And for a change, the sound at the Hammy is mega. Stacks of Marshalls dominate the scene, with sloping walkways linking all the relevant bits of stage, creating a nice little structure for loonbag guitarists Kai Hansen and Michael Weikath to gallop up and down. And lead blond and raunchy singer, Michael Kiske, leaps around up by drummer Ingo, jiving in Dickinson manner and pulling some very peculiar faces from time to time. 'A Little Time' from the first Keeper album and 'Rise And Fall' from the second, push the frenzy higher and oh god, I hope the guy next to me doesn't have dandruff, 'cos he's shaking his head so goodamned hard!

Mind you some of their quieter moments, as displayed on 'Future World' do cause the kids to calm down, astounding and causing Kiske to smile. Apparently in Germany they don't know when to stop flexing their necks! Unusually warm and communicative with their audience, clowning and fruitnutcasing around, prevents that alienation which big bands too often create for themselves. And it's brilliantly entertaining to watch!

But hold your breath till the encore kiddies 'cos fireworks, light rig tricks, illuminated pumpkins as well as inflatable ones spin havoc before the band actually depart. 'How Many Tears' and new single, 'I Want Out' are included, but even after reappearing more times than most, Helloween leave the crowd hassling for more, laying their throats on the line in the process. If someone with not an ear to spare for Helloween had come along tonight, they'd have left wishing they could go and see it all again tomorrow. That's how much fun we all had!

Kerrang! magazine, issue #11 1988:

At Hammersmith Odeon they marched out in front of an awe inspiring backline, with no prevailing wind to buffet the music about MOR-style, 'Eagle Fly Free', flew forth on monstrous wings of volume. Throughout the two hour set I was constantly struck by the sheer, all-encompassing size of the band's sound - particulary during the orchestrally enhanced section of 'A Tale That Wasn't Right'. Most impressive. Equally impressive was the rapport between Helloween and their fans.

An ailing Michael Kiske was able to sustain his soaring voice through virtually the entire show (strain only emerging during 'A Tale..' which seemed to be dogged with little misfortunes as Michael Weikath mis-started both the intro and his guitar solo!) when the audience time and again sang word perfect in his stead. Let me tell you the atmosphere was crackling. I don't know about 'I Want Out', it was more like 'I Want More'!

Niggling problems, such as Kai Hansen breaking a string during 'I Want Out' and an instrusive state of sound system spluttering prior to the rousing cresendo of a finale to 'How Many Tears'aside - the pumpkin men careered along like a well oiled machine. 'Future World' saw them gleefully swapping instruments for a jam session - complete with a perfect Presley imitation from young Kiske would you believe! - and during 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys' Michael and Kai traded solo for solo with nary a break in sight. Tight just ain't the word for it, inspired is.

Forget the first-night teething troubles, I could wax lyrical for hours and I'm still singing 'Future World' two days later! Suffice it to say that overall the only major moan was the choice of date. Why not Helloween on Halloween? Maybe next year.