Man, I love Blind Guardian. I love them so much.
Their first four albums are the greatest four-year stretch of any band’s career, ever. There is no room for discussion here. I still get ghosts of neck pain when I remember the time I road-tripped across Massachusetts armed only with fresh copies of Battalions of Fear and Follow the Blind.
Blind Guardian play with an infectious, ear-to-ear grinning passion that I’ve only heard other bands approach, but never match. And they do it on every track. There’s just no such thing as a boring Blind Guardian lead. I love Andre Olbrich’s compulsive urge to bend every single guitar note he’s ever played and whammy until he can’t whammy no more. There isn’t a zestier guitar player out there.
And they’re goddamn unbelievable live. Their live albums are meticulously tight, but they burst with energy, and Hansi’s gloriously accented banter keeps things light.
I’ll never forget the night my friends and I saw them on Halloween and Hansi came out in an impeccable Elvis costume. Marcus and Andre were in evil jester costumes. It was off the chain. Then, during “The Bard’s Song” (In the Forest, duh) myself and a bunch of other hooligans sat down on the beer-soaked Palladium floor and pretended to row a Viking longboat.
And to top the night off, they played one of my favorite songs: “Wizard’s Crown”, a track they almost never play live. I know they only played it because of the chorus, “Halloween!”, but I’d like to think it’s because I was jumping three feet in the air and yelling “Wizard’s Crown!” at the top of my lungs.
And then they played Barbara Ann.
Best night of my life. Long live Blind Guardian.