Helloween, Gamma Ray Rock Sofia
Iconic German power metal bands Helloween and Gamma Ray gave an intensive joint show in Bulgarian capital Sofia Friday evening.
The two historically related groups are on their "Hellish Rock Part 2" European tour, joined by Brazilian youngsters Shadowside.
The show started little before 8 pm in Sofia's Arena Armeets hall, where a 6,000-strong crowd had gathered.
Warmup band Shadowside received a surprisingly warm welcome and their playing exhibited joy if not full mastery.
However, the crowd went really crazy as the stage was taken over by legendary singer, guitarist and songwriter Kai Hansen and his bandmates from Gamma Ray.
The Germans played for about an hour their brand of melodic, though diverse power metal, including many old favorites, but also two brand new songs yet to be released on album, "Master of Confusion" and "Empire of the Undead" - the first a singalong rocker, the second heavily tinged by thrash metal.
Fans were also pleased by a rendition of Hansen-penned Helloween hit "Future World."
After the stage changeover, the top act on the bill opened their set with the hymnic and ironic "I Wanna Be God" and the fast "Nabatea" from their new "Straight out of Hell" (2013) album.
The audience exploded at the third track, the old metal anthem "Eagle Fly Free." Helloween's set was otherwise dominated by their last and other recent albums and was varied, including a drum solo and many successful singalongs with the crowd.
The culmination of the evening was Helloween's second encore, a medley of "Halloween", "How Many Tears" and "Heavy Metal is the Law," with the active participation of the band's old member Kai Hansen.
At the end of the show, both bands came out to great the crowd in a display of strong musical brotherhood.