Hansen & Friends - 'Thank You Wacken - Live'

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Hansen & Friends - 'Thank You Wacken - Live'

A golden ticket to reliving the show all over again in picture-perfect fashion.

You're considered the godfather of Power Metal, having given birth to it with Helloween, refined it with Gamma Ray then revived it with Unisonic, and now you've hit thirty years of Heavy Metal heaven. How do you celebrate? You throw a massive party at the biggest Metal festival in your backyard, invite all your pals and play like you've never played before. That's what Kai Hansen has done. 'Thank You Wacken' is a live CD/DVD collection that showcases this celebration (of sorts) in the shape of the first and only show Hansen & Friends have ever done, taking place during their woolly mammoth sized set on the Party Stage at Wacken Open Air in 2016.

Sticking stylistically to simplicity in shots and technique, the DVD lets the music and the charm of the German giant Hansen do the talking, the crowd-panning shots picking you up out of your seat and into the crowd as if you're right there in the thick of it all. It's nothing special in terms of shots or sound, on that front it's your bog-standard DVD/CD release. However, content wise, it isn't your bog-standard release and it is certainly special. Why? For a start, it's the only show Hansen has done with the band that featured on last year's solo epic 'XXX: Three Decades In Metal', and with the upcoming Helloween reunion that Hansen has jumped onto, it's unlikely we'll hear anything at all from their camp anywhere outside of Germany in the near future, if at all. Therefore, 'Thank You Wacken' provides a much appreciated picture of the experience.

Considering that at the time of the set, the 'XXX...' album hadn't even landed on the ears of anyone, Kai Hansen dabbles delicately in his set-list selection, filling it with five of his own choice cuts from that record, bringing out Visions Of Atlantis vocalist Clémentine Delauney for a special performance of two of the album's highlights – 'Fire And Ice' and 'All Or Nothing' – as well as featuring her and Gamma Ray's Frank Beck on backing vocals throughout the set. Whilst these picks please the praying punters, it's the frivolous moments he hops in his time machine and throws out some old-school Helloween classics that the crowd really gets going. Just as you would if you were there, the very moment Michael Kiske comes out and sings 'I Want Out' and 'Future World', goose-bumps shiver across your body as the former-Helloween/current-Unisonic members run pitch-perfect through some of Power Metal's finest cuts, the crowd somewhat insidious, wild animals worshipping at the altar of their Lord.

Whilst this collection doesn't add much in the way of anything outstandingly special, it does leave you with the feeling of attending a show you were never at, or if you were one of the lucky souls at Wacken, a golden ticket to reliving the show all over again in picture-perfect fashion.

Jack Press

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