When I entered the Fryshuset Klubben, I found a very little crowd waiting for the concert of U.D.O.
A bit unexpected, but it was also early and two support acts were to play before the German band.
Opening the night, we found another German band, Red Partizan, who were in the middle of their first tour. Little known, with a small crowd in front of them, the band didn’t receive the warmest welcome and, probably because of their little touring experience, their interaction with the crowd in-between songs often led to embarrassing moments of silence before they started playing the following songs. Their music, however, was not bad and, while the first songs sounded a bit “generic Heavy Metal”, the last three, and especially “Wanted Dead or Alive”, had a nice energy to them and I found them enjoyable.
Following-up, we had Reece, the band led by David Reece, and just like Udo Dirkschneider, another former singer of Accept. Having been around for more than three decades, Reece is a consummate professional and knows well how to entertain his crowd. The gig starts with “D-Train”, a song from his period with Accept, which quickly wakes the people in the room and gets them in the mood for some powerful Metal. The setlist is mainly focused on Reece’s latest album, “Resilient Heart”, from which six songs are played: they are well written, well played, and very engaging. Other than the new songs, Reece looks back at his past by playing four songs from “Heat the Heat”, his album with Accept, and for one of them, “X-T-C”, he’s joined on stage by Sven Dirkschneider, the son of Udo and drummer of U.D.O. The crowd’s reaction is this time much warmer and everybody seems to really enjoy the performance of the American singer and his band; by the end of the gig the venue is filled with people, it’s not a sold out, but we are close to it.
Finally, U.D.O. took the stage in its recently updated line-up: in the last six years, in fact, all the members (but Udo, of course) were replaced by new musicians, among which there is also the aforementioned Sven Dirkschneider, Udo’s son. While Udo is often remembered for his time with Accept (a band which he founded, by the way), U.D.O. have existed since 1987 and have in their discography a wealth of crushing albums. The last one, “Steelfactory”, was the obvious protagonist of tonight’s setlist, but in their almost two hours on stage, the Germans explored much of the band’s discography.
The show started with a couple of new hits, “Tongue Reaper” and “Make the Move”, and continued with “24/7” from 2005’s “Mission N. X”. Even though they have been together in the band for a short time, all the musicians seem to get on well, especially the guitarists, Andrey Smirnov and Dee Dammers, who often joke together while battling riffs and solos.
Udo talks little between the songs, just a quick “thank you” to his fans and little more, and focuses entirely on the music. Even though he is 66, his voice is still incredibly powerful and he has no problems delivering the vocals to both new songs and old ones.
Together with six songs from “Steelfactory”, the band goes back to older albums like “Faceless World”, “Timebomb” and “Solid”, and to more recent ones like “Steelhammer” and “Rev-Raptor”.
The setlist is well-balanced covering the whole career of U.D.O. (but ignoring Udo’s past in Accept, after the last tour he declared he won’t play those songs ever again), and all the songs are tight and heavy, just what people would and should expect from the band. After “One Heart One Soul”, another new song, the band left the stage to come back moments later for the encore.
The show’s finale focused on the classic debut, “Animal House”, from which they played the title track and “They Want War”, together with the title-tracks from “Holy” and “Man and Machine”.
After 20 songs and almost two hours of head-crushing Metal, the show ended leaving everyone in the venue completely satisfied and sure of one thing: there is no such thing as “too old for Metal”, Udo is the living proof of that.
All photos by Davide Sciaky