I had this show on my calendar months ahead of time, and then a bunch of other shows were scheduled at the end of April - things I couldn't miss like Sabaton and Paganfest - so that kind of botched my plans. I wasn't gonna go, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn't want to miss this chance to see one of the heavyweights of the power metal scene - so I finally decided to head out after my kid went to bed, just to catch Primal Fear.
I hoped I'd catch at least a bit of the locals, but I had a long, busy day and then bedtime went slowly, so I didn't get to the venue till about 10:15. Primal Fear had just launched into "Nuclear Fire," which turned out to be three or four songs into their set, according to S. Still, I got to hear "Metal is Forever" (I knew they'd play that near the end anyway), "Bad Guys Wear Black," "When Death Comes Knocking," and a litany of other good songs.
A rather small crowd had turned out on this rainy Tuesday night, so small that I had to wear earplugs even standing near the back of the crowd. The crowd was not very energetic either; people cheered at the end of each song, but hardly anyone was really headbanging or moving. There was one guy right in front of us who was super amped, bouncing around, making faces and gesturing and trying to rouse the crowd. He did not succeed, unfortunately. The place felt rather empty with the small crowd in the large space, and it didn't help that they kept shining the lights on the crowd and showing just how small it really was. It might have been better at a place like Empire where a small crowd wouldn't feel quite so weird.
I also should have stood further back, because where I was standing the sound was a bit distorted, and also muffled by the earplugs. I could hear Ralf Scheepers's vocals clearly, and the thunder of the bass and drums, but the guitar leads were sometimes lost. Also, due to a combination of the sound and the crowd, I felt like most of the songs were not very intense, even great ones like "Bad Guys Wear Black," though there were a few with more oomph to them.
Still, I was glad I got out to see these guys. Just to hear Ralf Scheepers shriek "Metal is forever!" made it worth it.