The great day had come! 20th July 2018! A date that is already written in the history of the Greek metal world! Before we continue, there are some things that should be mentioned … Firstly, just put your mobile phone down! As it can be seen in several YouTube videos, most people in the audience didn’t bang their heads or just enjoy the bands, but were holding their mobile phones up, trying to shoot photos or capture the show in video … that’s tragic! Take some photos, record a small video, and that’s enough! Put it down! I experienced some frustrating moments, when during the show a lot of people were trying to pass through the audience, holding their mobiles, only to shoot photos! That’s a pity! Secondly, are you nuts? You want to see Iron Maiden, like 36,000 other people, and you come five minutes before the official beginning of Maiden’s show? We were packed in like sardines, we have been standing there for hours in order to have a decent view of the stage and you get to the venue, demanding to seat in front of the stage? Should we also let you seat upon us or what? Come on you guys, snap out of it! Thirdly, stub your cigarettes out! I don’t know how many cigarettes you were smoking, when you were in concerts in your home village! We all had attended a festival, not a small coffee shop, there were 36,000 people, we couldn’t even breathe and you light your cigarette! I saw people around me getting burned by cigarettes – I wonder how that didn’t happen to me! Is it so difficult for you to restrain yourselves? If you can’ t enjoy the music and you prefer your cigar, well, leave the space for us and go to a coffee shop and light as many cigarettes as you want! We can go on now with what we saw that day in Rockwave Festival …
We arrived at Malakasa around two o’ clock – the heat was unbearable, the hot sun didn’t show any mercy for us and the two stages were ready to welcome the six bands, which were scheduled to play.
Rollin Dice: The Greeks would open this marvelous day of loud, heavy music. With their personal sound, which mixes heavy metal music with blues elements, Rollin Dice gave a nice show of 45 minutes and pleased everybody, especially the older ones, when they covered The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”! If you haven’t seen them on stage, you should check their tour program immediately!
W.E.B.: The baton was passed to the second Greek band of the day, W.E.B. To be frank, this band plays in a dark metal style, which I am not fond of. Despite that, the guys were flawless, justifying why they are one of the biggest names of the Greek metal scene. They were unmistakable, not only technical wise, but also as a stage act. Their outfit and face make-up were impressive, just like their performance, especially if you consider the heat – they deserved our applause. However, W.E.B.’s extreme metal sound didn’t fit with the other bands of the Festival – not to mention their black metal visuals at the noon! What I am saying is that if they were playing at night in a small venue, we would enjoy them much more! Nevertheless, we must focus on their excellent performance.
Monument: 15:45 … Terra Stage is ready to welcome Monument. Despite the hot rays of the sun, most people don’t hesitate to gather before the stage to enjoy Monument (some call them “the new Iron Maiden” or “the new Running Wild”, you can call whatever you like …). Guitarist Dan Baune and drummer Giovanni Durst appear first on stage, and the crowd is going wild! Suddenly, as the first notes of “Hellhound” can be heard, Peter Ellis, the singer of the band, who comes from Greece, can be seen running on stage like a hurricane! I won’t tire you with my words – with the exception of a minor sound problem at the beginning of their show, during which the sound of the bass guitar and the drums was covering Peter Ellis’ voice, the guys were perfect! The audience was roused by Peter Ellis’ amazing vocals and generally, all the guys’ incredible performance! You could tell by their every movement, every expression in their face how much fun they had playing live and that energy passed to us, throughout their gig. The Brits said goodbye to us with the song “Lionheart”, having left everybody satisfied, having proved how good they are on stage, having shown to everyone that they are worth checking out (if you haven’t already done it). Of course, their influences are obvious (Iron Maiden, Saxon, Running Wild), but they also have their own personal touch in their songs. The only thing that we are waiting for their next show is that they will play the songs “A Bridge to Far” and “William Kidd”, which were requested by many fans and are two of their best tracks. We would like to mention that Monument were also wronged by the time they played, since most of the fans started to fill Terra Vibe after six o’ clock in the afternoon due to the hot weather. Yet, imagine what would happen, if they played later, with more fans before the stage! We thank them so much, for their outstanding performance, our neck and vocal chords were already in pain after their show!
The Raven Age: I will be frank… As long as I listened to their music at home, I was thinking that they would give a nice live show. However, their actual gig in Malakasa was a disappointment for me. I was already tired after their first two songs and I decided to hang somewhere else, far from the Vibe stage and have a rest. You can’t say that The Raven Age are bad, they are indifferent. It’s the case of a band, which you prefer to listen to through the speakers of your home stereo, not live on stage. Was it maybe, because their new singer, Matt James, seemed to take care more of his ego and less of his voice? I don’t know, I want to see them again at another live concert, just to see If I am misjudging them.
Tremonti: They don’t need any introduction! Having served a lot of years in metal and having released four studio albums, Tremonti are considered as a powerful modern metal band, which is kicking ass in its live shows. Mark Tremonti, their lead guitarist/singer, of Creed and Alter Bridge fame, is a guarantee, both in the studio and on stage. Their latest album, “A Dying Machine” rocks big time, and during the title track, everybody seemed to have a good time. Nevertheless, I found them a little monotonous. Technical wise they were perfect, their energy was remarkable, but I didn’t like all the songs on their setlist. Don’t get me wrong, the fans liked what they saw on stage and Tremonti were worth of the fans’ applause.
Volbeat: The Danish band managed to excite everybody! Their mix of Metallica’s “Black Album”/”Load” sound with southern rock/rockabilly influences was original enough for everybody to have fun! This live show revealed all the reasons why this band is beloved in Greece and the rest of the world. Most of the fans knew the lyrics and sung the songs together with Michael Poulsen (vocals, rhythm guitar). Even the doubters understood how good this band is! I personally am not a Volbeat fan, but their songs made us shout, shake and bang our heads. Songs like “The Devil's Bleeding Crown”, “For Evigt”, “Seal the Deal”, “Let It Burn”, “Black Rose” and “Still Counting” are real rockers, an amalgam of power and melody! But Maiden’s show was approaching, so we left Vibe Stage to reserve a nice seat for what would follow!
Iron Maiden: The moment that all the fans were waiting for months, since the first announcement, had come! We were all there, so anxious, so nervous for the big show! 36,000 people had paid their ticket to see Iron Maiden. At this point I would like to make a mention – Terra Vive isn’t a place for so more than twenty thousand. There was no space to stand, many people couldn’t have a view of the stage, you couldn’t even hold your glass and drink. Comfortable isn’t a word, which can describe the whole place. It was obvious that the organizers wanted to make some more money and sell more tickets than Terra Vibe could host. But that’s another story, the story of an organizing company (Didi Music), which obviously didn’t care about the people’s security and health. Let’s get back to …the Irons! According to the announcement, the show would start at 21:00 o’ clock, but the minutes were passing and the only music was coming from the decks of the DJ. And suddenly, we listen to “Doctor Doctor”, one of the favorite songs of the Steve Harris. It’s Maiden time, my friends! Everybody is yelling, as we understood that the time had come … “Aces High”! Everything is now chaotic, as the band is playing its classic songs and everybody in the crowd is headbanging, singing and playing air guitar! An impressive Bruce Dickinson is running on stage, fronting a legendary band, which is giving its 100% for the fans. The sound was perfect and the setlist ideal! I would like to emphasize on the following fact; Iron Maiden may have grown up, may have white hair now and wrinkles, but they managed to make us feel like small children! And apart from their great performance, the sextet’s show included a fantastic show with lights, videos and special effects. It is the first time we see such a heavy metal show in Greece. That’s phantasmagoria! Everybody in the band was flawless and in an ecstatic mood. Of course, some minor vocal mistakes won’t spoil what we saw, heard and felt! Dickinson didn’t speak a lot to the audience, except for in the beginning and the end of the show – his communication with us was superb (“Scream for me, Athens!”). We all wanted to listen to “Alexander the Great”, but Dickinson sang only the refrain a Capella – you can imagine how we felt when we thought for a moment that Maiden would play also this classic opus! It was a big honor for us to listen to all these Iron Maiden songs, like “The Flight of Icarus”, “Two Minutes to Midnight”, “Revelations”, “The Clansman, “Hallowed be thy Name” etc. Iron Maiden promised that they will come back – they presented a gorgeous live show, which is maybe the most complete and touching show we have ever witnessed in Greece! There are so many feelings now, after the show… We close our eyes and we are still there, in Terra Stage! We can’t believe what we experienced, not even now, some days after the event … Can you believe it?