I had been looking forward to seeing Kamelot for the first time ever for six months. It is a huge exception that a metal band plays in my hometown Mannheim, and even for a band like Kamelot, who have been around for over 25 years, it has been the very first time in this lovely city. Yesterday, the day had finally come for them to play in the MS Connexion Complex, a fairly new arts center in Mannheim.
I was pleased to see that the metal scene is pretty much the same wherever you are in Germany. Young and old gathered to see a show that turned out to be a highlight not only for the fans, but also for the band.
Kamelot brought two bands as support: Visions Of Atlantis, who have been warming up the German and Swiss crowds, and Leaves’ Eyes for the entire Shadows Over Europe Tour 2018. I wasn’t particularly happy with the choice of support bands this time around. However, Visions Of Atlantis turned out to be a quite good live act. The musicians really seemed to enjoy themselves and they made the most of the little time they had. They played a selection of new and older tracks, which all sounded well-suited for live shows save for one ballad that didn’t involve any live instruments whatsoever, but only a playback instrumental track. Still, the fact that Visions Of Atlantis are an enjoyable live act despite their rather generic songs actually indicates that they aren’t such an ordinary band after all.
While Visions Of Atlantis acted all melodramatically on stage, Leaves’ Eyes were simply fun to watch. They play the kind of music I like to label as “party metal” – the kind of heavy metal that is amusing and really fun after a couple of drinks (at least that’s what I have observed at festivals). I would probably never listen to Leaves’ Eyes on a regular basis, but I didn’t mind them as a support act – especially with all those vikings on stage who made the entire show even funnier. I have no idea why I thought Leaves’ Eyes were a serious band – their music and show are very much the opposite.
At around quarter to ten, “Phantom Divine” kicked off Kamelot’s show strongly with intense drumming and great energy both from lead singer Tommy Karevik and guest singer Lauren Hart (Once Human). Kamelot then continued with “Rule The World”, “Insomnia” and “The Great Pandemonium”. The latter was received really well by the crowd, as were all old school tracks like “March Of Mephisto”, “Karma” and “Forever”. The bulk of the setlist consisted of Karevik-era tracks with a few exceptions.
Kamelot really know how to please their fans and they interact quite a bit with them during the show. What I liked most is that they didn’t waste time with useless speeches in between the songs. Nevertheless, keyboarder Oliver Palotai and drummer Johan Nunez were granted some time to shine in the middle of the set. Oliver played a short (improvised?) solo that sounded like a medley of Kamelot instrumentals, and Alex showed his skills as a drummer during his solo afterwards. The time went by in a flash, and Kamelot arrived at the end of their set. During the last song “Forever”, guitarist Thomas Youngblood truly was the centre of the attention as he played the legendary lead melody as an intro to the track, and his performance was supported by a colorful light show. Most of the time, though, it was singer Tommy who caught all the attention. He has an unbelievable stage presence while coming across as very humble and thankful for every single fan singing along, and not even Lauren Hart could draw the attention to herself for too long with him simultaneously on stage.
The band came back on stage for the last time to play a short encore, and “Liar “Liar” concluded the one and a half hour long set.
This was definitely a night to remember, and I can only hope that Kamelot had such a great time in Mannheim that they will come back soon.