Iron Maiden came back after two years to the main stage of Sziget festival, and Kamelot also visited the Óbuda Island where they took their portable stage – both concerts were something that would have been a mistake to miss.
I’m a regular visitor of the festival for more than ten years, and sometimes I admit, I must agree with the people who say that the whole festival has grown too big and too mainstream. Still, I love it for its apparent cultural diversity, which can offer you a whole day’s or even a whole week’s programme. And still, it always has to offer some concerts which I simply do not want to miss, like the Iron Maiden – Kamelot “combo” on 14th August, completed with one of Hungary’s most popular bands, Tankcsapda.
As always, I started my Sziget day with the cultural offers of the festival, from the Green Village (environmental protection) through the Hungaricum Village (Hungarian folk traditions) to the Indian street theatre of the Roma (Gipsy) Tent. All were pretty interesting, surprising and funny, and that’s the feeling I still really love the Sziget festival for.
Ok, I stop the cultural bullshit now, we’ve come for metal, haven’t we? 🙂 As a warmup I chose the concert of Hungary’s most popular rock/metal band, Tankcsapda (their name means tank-trap): I haven’t been a big fan of them earlier, but for a few years now I’m getting to love them more and more with every song I hear and every gig I see (maybe I’m growing old or what?). Their music is fantastic for letting you totally loose on a party, for having fun, even for children’s bday parties that you can have with the help of resources from sites as http://www.jumpersjungle.com/riverside/. Laci Lukács, the head of the band is a super-talented lyrics-writer, believe me, he always hits the bulls-eye with his sentences (too bad he only writes in Hungarian). On the Youtube page of the video below you can get a glimpse of their stuff (the guy who posted the video also did the favor of translating the lyrics).
When Tankcsapda left the stage it was dark enough to have the day’s headliner of the main stage, Iron Maiden. The classic band with the classic songs – that was my overall impression of the gig, and all that’s in a good sense. Although it was a stage of The Final Frontier Tour, they only played one song from the new album (El Dorado), the rest of the stuff was chosen from the well-known songs of the band. They were criticized by some from the audience for leaving out compulsory stuff like The Trooper, and I personally missed The Clansman for Nicko’s usual Scottish dance performance behind the drumkit, but I guess if they wanted to play all of their popular stuff, they would still be playing there… I must recall one of the greatest moments when Bruce dedicated Blood Brothers to the late Ronnie James Dio whom he mentioned as one of his mentors as a singer.
As for the sound, the local media blamed the organizers for the low sound level and quality. I might have been standing at a lucky place of the crowd, as it was just ok for me – I had the impression, Maiden did their job with the usual professionalism that has kept them on the top for the last 30 years. (As for the background of the truly pretty strict sound level rules: during its 18 years Sziget festival has had to fight a lot of legal and media battles with the majors of the surrounding districts, who blamed them for the loudness of the festival…)
The stage background was a kind of sci-fi construction as a reference for the new album artwork, and Eddie also got a Predator-like format for his usual appearance on stage.
I wish I could say the same about Kamelot’s sound quality, what I said about Iron Maiden’s… I waited for this gig very much, as I missed their last Hungarian gig two years ago. I wanted to hear Khan’s fantastic voice singing my favourites, but unfortunately I could not hear it as much as I wanted – the bass & drum sound suppressed pretty much everything else on the stage. I hereby send my warmest greetings to the guys responsible for that… 🙁
Still the band and their fans were doing their best to make the gig unforgettable – Khan seemed to especially love the people, and reacting with great smiles for the responses of the audience. Oliver Palotai even got a Hungarian flag from the first rows as a reference to his Hungarian family roots. The setlist was simply fantastic, they chose the best and most popular songs of the band – something that made the sound quality problems even more painful. Overall I can say I’m glad not to have missed this concert, it was still a great experience. But I would be even happier if they came next tour as a headliner to a place where proper sound quality can be provided for them.
Setlist of Iron Maiden:
The Wicker Man
Ghost Of The Navigator
Dance Of Death
The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
These Colours Don’t Run
No More Lies
Brave New World
Fear Of The Dark
The Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Setlist of Kamelot:
Rule The World
The Great Pandemonium
When the Lights are Down
The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)
Center of the Universe
The Human Stain
The Pendulous Fall
March of Mephisto