Hansi Kürsch – vocals
André Olbrich – lead guitar
Marcus Siepen – rhythm guitar
Frederik Ehmke – drums, percussion
Commonly the development of any band is judged by the means of their studio albums. But in case of Blind Guardian it's definitely worth it to cast a glance at the dimensions of the live activities in order to appraise the development of the musicians. And these have no peer, not only in Germany!
Already the first live shows of the quartet, which was founded in 1984, showed one thing: Blind Guardian has entertainment qualities, which quickly became a trademark.
Spontaneous acting builds a contrast to all the bands that try hard to deliver their studied ballet. Logically the first big tour took place shortly after the release of the debut album "BATTALIONS OF FEAR" (1988).
From this first tour on, the guys from Krefeld already had between 150 and 300 fans an evening. After the release of the second album "FOLLOW THE BLIND" (1989) an appendix operation put singer (and at that time also bass player) Hansi Kursch out of action. The consequence: reluctantly, the band had to abandon their plans to tour again. But in the following years Blind Guardian caught up on the missed tours with an impressive intensity. Especially because the third output "TALES FROM THE TWILIGHT WORLD" (1990) came as a real bombshell, the interest in concerts of the band got bigger and bigger. In Germany Blind Guardian toured three weeks and each concert was attended by 500 to 800 people. Shortly after this the first external commitment was possible. "SOMEWHERE FAR BEYOND" (1992) then fuelled the flames of success for the four guys: For the first time in the history of Blind Guardian one of their albums was on top of the international charts – the guys became stars in Japan overnight. The first trip to the Far East was also the highlight of the career of the band so far: in Japan, the quartet played in front of 4,000 enthused fans and was able to taste the mega rock star atmosphere for the first time.
The impressions that the first live album "TOKYO TALES" (1993) gave the fans also showed how strong and special the relationship between the band and audience is. A unique symbiosis, which makes every Blind Guardian concert magical.
After the release of "IMAGINATIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE" (1995) the band toured in all of Europe – some countries were even visited several times. In some large cities up to 3,000 fans came to see the show. "In Japan, we gave one concert more than on the last tour. On the way back, we had the next culture shock as we were the third Heavy Metal band after Metallica and Bon Jovi to play in Thailand. Right after we left the plane, we got some sort of Hawaiian flower necklaces from the salutation committee. On our drive from the airport into town the police escorted us. Our bus had a stereo outside, so that everyone in the streets could hear our music. We felt like gods on earth!" guitar player Olbrich remembers.
On the entertaining "THE FORGOTTEN TALES" (1996) album Blind Guardian made good for something they forgot on "TOKYO TALES": For the first time the ineffable atmosphere of the classic "The Bard's Song – In The Forest" was presented in a live version.
In 1998 the triumphal procession continued with "NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH". In Europe the band toured even more then before. For the first time the fans chorused "Nightfall" and "Mirror Mirror" like battle hymns. But the peak of the tour was the trip to Central and South America (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina).
Nevertheless the tentative high point in the career of Blind Guardian was the "A NIGHT AT THE OPERA" crusade. Andre Olbrich: "In Germany we had an average of 2,000 guests an evening, whereas the gig in the Phillipshalle (Dusseldorf), attended by over 6,000 fans, was the most touching moment to date. After we played "The Bard's Song", the traditional highlight of our program, Hansi wasn’t able to communicate with the audience for about five minutes because the jubilation was so loud."
This scene is evidenced by the live documentation simply called "LIVE". The Guardian-mania was spread all over the globe: in Turkey and Chile the band debuted in front of more than 3,000 spectators. The first concert in the capital of Russia, Moscow, went so off so terrific that the local publicist obliged the band for another concert after the official end of the tour. In England – normally a tricky terrain for traditional Metal bands, especially if they are from Germany – Blind Guardian were engaged as headliner for the Bloodstock festival. And even the first trip to North America was more successful than expected: "In big towns like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Montreal, 1,500 to 2,000 maniacs came to our shows!"
In 2003 the fresh founded Blind Guardian Open Air Festival – which took place near Coburg – was the triumphal ending of the tour activities for "A NIGHT AT THE OPERA". For the first time, the band was responsible for the complete realization of a festival. More than 6,000 enthusiastic "die hard" bards attended the festival in June, which wrote music history. Highlights full of atmosphere of these ultimate Blind Guardian shows can be watched on the live DVD "IMAGINATIONS THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS" (2004). Even classics like "The Bard's Song" redefine themselves because of the innovative camera perspectives and the tasteful used tracking shots sliding over the audience, which gives the songs a mystical depth. The strongest effect is caused by the 13 minute long opus "And Then There Was Silence" (from "A NIGHT AT THE OPERA"): The perfect assembly of light and camera causes endless gooseflesh atmosphere.
Before the phenomenal crusade in music business can write the next chapters, as is generally known, the gods placed the sweat. After the departure from their longstanding record company Virgin in 2004, Blind Guardian was able to find the perfect partner for worldwide cooperation in Nuclear Blast. Despite the split with drummer Thomen Stauch, the band is the final phase of song writing for the follower of "A NIGHT AT THE OPERA". The new songs can described as a further development of the predecessors. The outstanding qualities of the music of Blind Guardian: bombast, flexibility, dynamics, epos, hardness and a high amount of catchy melodies are descriptions of every song to be found on the new album, which is expected for April 2006. In brief the band will start the recordings with producer Charlie Bauerfeind...