In search for my Neverland through the falling skies

Van Canto – Turbinenhalle, Oberhausen; September 22nd, 2018

When tour dates were announced earlier this year, I immediately bought a ticket, not knowing if I’d even have time on this day. It was the only gig that was close enough to go though and so far seeing Van Canto was always greta so  I wanted to do that again. I was a little bit worried, because I had no idea if Hagen, the new lead singer, would do it for me, but I decided to just let it happen and did not even give the new songs a good listen. It turned out to be the perfect way to approaching this and I had a good time at the concert. The support acts were a bit hit and miss, but Van Canto were great as always. 🙂

It was the first day that really felt like autumn and it was raining to boot, so when I arrived I joined others who had taken shelter under a roof and only went to stand in front of the doors when more people arrived. By then it was still an hour until the doors opened. Ross dropped by to say hello and chat wih the fans for a while. 🙂  It made the waiting time appear a bit Shorter. When they finally let us in I was quite happy to get out of the cold and stand inside. It took some time to get warm, but at least it was dry now and I had scored a spot at front row center. It felt weird to have left my camera at home for once, this was going to be interesting.

The waiting time was spent the usual way: Chatting and watching the stage being set up. Around 8 a woman and a man walked on stage to cheers from thse who had already seen a few concerts – Moonsun, the first band of the night. The duo was good. He played guitar while she sang and they did it well, playing their own Songs and one cover song from a game. I enjoyed the Music much, but sadly the Sound wasn’t as good as I’m used to at Turbinenhalle, i.e. I could not understand all of the singing. I hoped it would get better and for now just listened to what hey were playing. I liked them, clapped along when they asked us to and would have been OK with them playing an encore, but they didn’t.


Fight and Pray
Return Home
The Dragonborn Comes
Don’t Lie to me

Next up were Evertale, whose Music was much harder and not so much for me. They delivered a good Show, but it was the type of metal that I find incredibly boring. Mostly just loud. It must ahve shown, because K., whom I’d chatted wih outside leaned over and told me not to worry, it would get better. Anyway, People around me loved it and they certainly were a good warm up. This band too, played a song inspired by a Computer game. They scored extra Points for their encore, a cover of Van Canto’s ‘Take to the Sky’.

Setlist (this is all I remember)

Chapter 666
And the Dragon returns
The Great Brotherwar
Take to the Sky (Van Canto cover)

Changing of the stage went so quickly that I hoped Van Canto would start at 9:30, but they kept us waiting for 15 minutes even after everything was done. The time was passed with lots of “Rakkatakka!” “Motherfucker!” call and Response in the audience and as soon as the lights went down the waiting was forgotten though and I smiled happily when they walked on stage. The launched right into ‘If I die in Battle’ and immediately took over the audience. Unfortunately, the sound had not improved much and I could not hear all of what was being sung. At times it felt as if the audience sang louder than the band did. For me, who does not know the band’s lyrics by heart, this made it difficult to get into the concert and it took me a few songs before I was there. Still, it was great fun to see them again. 🙂

Stef did most of the talking that night and started with telling us they were planning to bring us songs from every album that night. He introduced Hagen, the new lead singer and had him show off his skills, from clear voice to growls. Then they asked us to support them with singing along and we did. 🙂 Every call and response worked really nicely, from “One for all – all for one” in ‘To Sing a Metal Song’ to ‘Desert Snake’ later in the set. Most of the fans sang along to everything. I couldn’t, but enjoyed hearing it. For me, singing along makes a concert much better, even if I’m not the one doing it.

When announcing ‘Neverland’ Stef mentioned that people had freaked out the previous day, because they thought it was called ‘Netherlands’ 😀 They had nothing that could be mistaken for Oberhausen though. 😉 It was the first song of their latest album I heard that night and I loved it. ‘Badaboom’ followed and I think that was the moment I was really into the concert. It’s the first song on ‘Dawn of the Brave’ the album that was new when I first saw them live and I still have fond memories of that concert. It was brilliant this time as well and it felt as if the sound had gotten slightly better by then as well.

For ‘Rebellion’ they had to introduced Ross, the Scotsman from Austria and joked about the fact that the English band Saxon was playing next door. They asked us to make lots of noise to chase the Englishmen away which we gladly did. 🙂 “Rebellion on my mind….” From starting a rebelling they lead us ‘To the Mountains’

Regularly, after every other song or so, someone started yelling “Rakkatakka!” and the rest of the audience answered “Motherfucker!”. Stef noted that he has been doing this for 12 years and asked him to try something different. Everyone in the audience should now yell “Rakkatakka!” and he alone should answer “Motherfucker!” – seven times for the seventh album and tour as well as the seven people in the band. It worked! Many of us turned around to look at the guy too. Many people seemed to know him and while it lasted we go the full lights on too so everyone could see. Yay! From then on, each time the call and response started Ike counted to seven.

‘The Bardcall’ one of my favorites from the ‘Voices of Fire’ album was up next, followed by ‘The Bard’s Song’, where even BAsti left the drums and came to the front to sing. The second one had the audience clapping and singing along. It sounded lovely. <3 They really had chosen a good mix of songs. ‘Water.FIre.Heaven.Earth’ was a surprise for me.No idea why I didn’t expect that one, but I loved it. Stef joked about feeling old because they are making a new album every two years and how we should tell them they aren’t looking old at all. Inga was the exception of course, always looking young. 😉 We all pitied them for a moment, yelling “oooooh”. They were in such a good mood all evening and seemed to have a lot of fun on stage. The good mood bounced right back from the audience.

I had a great time, listening to the band sing and to the people around me sing along. I enjoyed not having my camera and just watching the concert. The music was amazing, even with less than perfect sound. Hagen definitely passed the test. He did a great job and so did everyone else. I’d read some harsh criticism before the concert, but I feel he is a good match for the band. I was really happy I’d gone to see them.  ‘Neue Wind’ is always one of my favorites so I was glad to hear that and ‘Heading Home’ was the perfect ending to the main set. What a beautiful song that is. <3 It was too early of course, but we all knew they’d come out again.

The encores started with AC/DC’s ‘Hells Bells’, followed by ‘The Mission’ and finally Iron Maiden’s’Fear of the Dark where they asked us all to sing along one last time. It was a good end to a good show and sent me home happily. Before everyone left though, they took a final selfie with us. I should have stayed to buy the new album but had a train to catch so I left. It was fun, see you next tour!


If I Die in Battle
To Sing a Metal Song
Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching) (Grave Digger cover)
To the Mountains
The Bardcall
The Bard’s Song – In the Forest (Blind Guardian cover)
Desert Snake
Water. Fire. Heaven. Earth.
Ride the Sky (Helloween cover)
Neuer Wind
Heading Home

Hells Bells (AC/DC cover)
The Mission
Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden cover)

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