SAVATAGE January 6, 1996
Concert Review


"de Melkweg" in Amsterdam
Dead Winter Dead tour - January 6th 1996
Review by : Erwin Bonsma


Sinner started the show. I had never heard of them before and I wasn't the only one. They were not bad but they weren't anything special either. Their songs sounded like standard metal songs (as standard as their name sounds) but they made up for it with the enthusiasm they played. And the drummer did a neat trick juring his solo, he juggled with three drumsticks and still kept on playing. It looked cool.

After the openings band it was time for the headliner of the evening: Savatage. Their lineup was as to be expected, all the guys from DWD including Jon. They gave away an incredible show that lasted for almost two hours. Maybe I'm a little bit biased, for I do have to admit that Savatage is by far my favourite band and that it was the first time I saw them play. However, all the people I spoke after the show had liked it just as much, so I think my review will not be that much distorted.

The guys from Savatage enjoyed playing and made some jokes. To give an example: Jon started the intro of "Gutter Ballet" and the crowd (including myself) began shouting enthusiasticly and so (to tease us) Jon turned it into some silly march-like song. Zak reacted to this by starting an undefined dance/walk. This didn't last too long and they still played "Gutter Ballet" afterall.

The audience was in a good mood and interacted very well with the band. They sang along the lyrics for the well-known parts of the songs and clapped their hands when Zak asked them to. It was a pity that a few people from the audience didn't know where to stop. They climbed on stage and tried to show of or shake hands with the bandmembers (especially Jon was popular). I found it quite irritating but Savatage handled it well.

One of the highlights of the show was "Alone You Breathe". They dedicated this song to Criss. Almost the entire audience sang along all the lyrics (not just the chorus). I think you can imagine the way this sounded. Immense!

Another highlight was "Chance". I had read some reviews of earlier shows in which "Chance" was cut down. So I was surprised (and relieved) when the played the complete song, including the intro and the overlaid vocal part. Zak, Jon, Al and Chris took care of this.

To satisfy a question many of you might have: Yes, Jon did some singing too. He did "Gutter Ballet" with Zak and he sang "Doesn't Matter Anyway". It was cool to hear him sing, mostly because it was a sort of memento to the 'old' Savatage. Zak just did a great job. I always wondered whether he could sing as good live as he does on the albums (there are quite a few singers who suck live). I was greatly relieved when I found out that Zak isn't one of them. His live performance is outstanding.

The mixing of the sound was unfortunately not that good. For instance at some parts where the entire band played and one or two guitars were on the foreground the sound became a little bit distorted and somewhat incoherent. You almost had to know the songs to hear what was played.

After the show I could go backstage. For I was one of the lucky winners for the backstagepass contest held earlier on the Savatage homepage. Dan Campbell even invited the three friends that were with me to come backstage too. So we met all the guys from Savatage, they are not only great musicians but also cool when they are not on stage. We had a great time and went home with some small souvenirs and autographs on our t-shirts and jeans. We were tired but extremely content.

* The setlist *
Christmas Eve (from tape) Nothin' Is Going On Jesus Saves - Edge Of Thorns Handful Of Rain Taunting Cobras - Starlight Dead Winter Dead - Alone We Breathe (this is the way is was spelled on the setlist) Change - Doesn't Matter Anyway Mozart And Madness - Gutter Ballet Sirens - Overture + Sarajevo This Is The Time - Hall Of The Mountain King