U.D.O. and ANVIL at Manchester Academy || Manchester, UK || 13 April 2016
Words by Mark Dean || Photos by Stuart C Photography
Classic metal of a variety that was prevalent throughout the eighties is still very much alive and kicking now in 2016!
Udo Dirkschneider and Anvil, two legendary acts from that era combined forces and destroyed Manchester Academy in a midweek gig that was unfortunately a tad low in crowd numbers but very high in quality entertainment. Both acts delivered that in spades.
Following local band on the rise, I.C.O.N – who I unfortunately missed due to pre-show interviews – were Canadian stalwarts Anvil. Anvil, the name itself is metal and their first three albums were a staple of my personal rock education back in the classic eighties. This, however, would be my first time witnessing their power and majesty in a live setting. Retaining the bands classic three-piece format, they began the set in a unique fashion with guitarist frontman Lips playing a guitar solo in the middle of the crowd. Anvil is a band that have prevailed through adversity and weathered the storms thrown at them by the industry. Triumphant they have stood strong, never bowing to external pressures to diversify or change. They know what they want and they stick to their guns. Unbowed and not swayed by changing climates in the business, they endure. Combining new tracks with classic staples they delivered a quality set of pure entertainment and old-school style heavy metal. Anvil don’t break any musical boundaries but a special kudos should be awarded to drummer Robb Reiner who’s playing agility and ability comes across better in a live setting than on record. Unbelievable talent which defies his physical age. Finishing with the classic “Metal on Metal,” the band entertained and appeared to enjoy the performance. An excellent and tasty appetiser to the main course.
Udo is a legend that almost goes without saying! The albums that he cut early in his musical career with the German band Accept are what have defined him as a live performer and heavy metal icon. Despite his solo career lasting considerably longer than that of his former band-many prefer and know him for his Accept legacy. Udo in recent years has faced a dilemma to pay homage to his heritage and at the same time move forward musically with his solo career. In recent years there has been the inclusion of some Accept standards in Udo’s live set. This tour, however, would take the unique approach with Udo playing an entire and quite lengthy set comprised solely of Accept songs. This was an attempt to close the door on the past. However, it has proved more successful than he anticipated with the tour extending more and more into other countries as further dates have been added.
Well for two hours Udo and his young enthusiastic band delivered a classic metal jukebox transporting fans back in time with a Wunderbar performance. Vocally he has lost none of the extensive range which marked the songs first time around. The songs themselves sounding as powerful as they always have. This was one of the best live shows that I have seen for quite some time .It would be amiss to single out individual songs as early albums “Breaker” and “Restless and Wild” were revisited, up to Accept’s more “commercial” catalogue, “Metal Heart” and “Russian Roulette.” The musicians that supported him displayed a great range and diversity of technical prowess and ability as they successfully recaptured the tones sounds and nuances of the legendary tracks. A step back in time certainly – but it was also a night which proved that the enduring appeal of heavy metal is still strong in the modern age.