Originally posted in Valkyrian Music.
I was sick in 2001, when FREEDOM CALL first and last played in Portugal, as a support act for HAMMERFALL. Back then I was really pissed for missing it, as I liked power metal a lot more than I do now – or actually, “as I liked power metal”. Period. Having enjoyed this gig so much in the present day was really a surprise. I guess it means that FREEDOM CALL are THAT good.
Another surprise was seeing so many people. And the high number of FREEDOM CALL t-shirts, especially on young bodies – I had no idea they were so popular around here, let alone among youngsters. It’s nice to know that not every teen follows “what’s in”, as power metal isn’t exactly the latest metal-fashion.
It wasn’t just the excellency of the performance in technical terms or the setlist – a 90-minute headlining show of a band that’s been around for more than 15 years and has 8 studio albums in its baggage is always a treat – but the good spirits of frontman Chris Bay as well. He tried to say some words in Portuguese but apart from “obrigado” (thank you) he failed totally. So he just smiled and said they had to come back more often, so he could learn. Later he said he was happy to see us there on a soccer night (the major local team had a match which was being broadcasted on TV), that we were looking good. And after asking us to raise our fists in the air, he added that we didn’t only look good, we smelled good too. Also, he asked for our help in “Beyond”, asked us to give them the rhythm by clapping our hands, as he had a tendency to go fast – and addressing the women he would then say that he wasn’t talking about sex.
I appreciated that Chris sat behind the keyboards for “The Quest” instead of using recorded samples. And that he asked for an applause not only for the support bands but also for their sound tech and even Hard Club’s own light tech, who he was sorry for not remembering the name but was thankful for the great job he did (yeah, I just wish he did the same at every gig…).
Chris told us that when they began writing the new album, they wanted to keep the word “warrior” out of it, shrugging his shoulders and almost rolling his eyes, because they were the “Warriors Of Light” after all so that word was a must-have. The setlist itself had three songs with it – that same “Warriors Of Light”, “Heart Of A Warrior” and “Warriors” (the latter already in the 3-song encore, along with “Paladin” and “Land Of Light”). And when introducing the band, he asked who had been at the 2001 gig, “on the other side of the river” (the original location of Hard Club), as bass player Ilker Ersin had played that show, then left in 2005 and was now back in what Chris claims to be “the best FREEDOM CALL line-up”.
In the final thanks he mentioned again the soccer night, and the fact that was Thursday and so late. I was one of the many who had to go to work the morning after so leaving Hard Club at 1:45 am wasn’t ideal at all. But hell, was it worth it!