Demons & Wizards, the band featuring Iced Earth frontman Jon Schaffer and Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch surprised us all when they announced working on album number three. The follow-up to 2005’s Touched by the Crimson King will arrive sometime early next year. Considering the super duo were set for this year’s ProgPower, these legends stunned us once again by booking their first-ever North American tour with Lizzy Borden and Tyr for support. Dubbed A Magical Encounter With Demons & Wizards, the trek kicked off on August 17th in Los Angeles, CA and concluded on September 7th at ProgPower. Metal Insider contributing photographer Mathieu Bredeau attended their performance on September 5th at New York City’s Playstation Theater to capture the memorable evening.
The night kicked off with a bit of controversy as protesters gathered outside the venue in the middle of Times Square with signs against Tyr from performing. Unfortunately, this is becoming a trend as protesters have been standing outside of multiple Tyr performances. Therefore, this didn’t stop these Faroese folk metallers from playing as well as their fans from attending. For those who are unaware, protesters are against frontman Heri Joensen’s decision to hunt whales for food. Joensen has previously explained numerous times over the years comparing his choice over purchasing meat in supermarkets (read more here). Regardless, people remain angry about this despite other vegetarians/vegans who have understood the singer’s mentality behind it.
Moving forward, the group brought Hel to the stage as they were there to promote their new album, which was released in March via Metal Blade. Fans continued to enjoy their set, which consisted of songs “Blood of Heroes,” “Mare of My Night,” “Tróndur Í Gøtu,” “Fire and Flame,” “Ragnars Kvæði,” “Gates of Hel,” “By the Sword in My Hand,” and “Hold the Heathen Hammer High.” Tyr promised they would return in April 2020.
The evening took a dramatic turn as it went from a Viking hell to theatrical horror when it was Lizzy Borden’s turn to walk on the platform. There was blood, masks, and vile costume changes as the group presented a slaying performance. Lizzy Borden were there to promote their first album in eleven years with My Midnight Things, which was released on June 2018 via Metal Blade. Their performance paired well with what was next to come as their unpredictable appearances continued to shock the concertgoers. The group performed a variety of songs throughout their extensive career including the hit “Me Against the World.” Other songs consisted of “My Midnight Things, Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Thunder and Lightning,” “Red Rum,” “Notorious,” “Master of Disguise,” “Terror Rising,” “There Will Be Blood Tonight,” “American Metal,” Oh oh oh,” and “Long May They Haunt Us.”
Demons & Wizards
The moment finally arrived for the NYC crowd to see the magic behind Demons & Wizards. Initially, based on the long-lasting friendship between Schaffer and Kürsch, the side project has managed to successfully collide the ferocious speed of Iced Earth with the magical tales behind Blind Guardian. Fans from both bands alike were eager to most likely see them perform together for the first time. In addition to Kürsch on vocals and Schaffer on guitar, the lineup included Jake Dreyer (Witherfall, Iced Earth) on lead guitar, Marcus Siepen (Blind Guardian) on bass, Fredrik Ehmke (Blind Guardian, Sinbreed) on drums, and Joost Van Den Broek (After Forever, Ayreon) on keyboards.
The group surpassed Demons & Wizards material as they went into a few Iced Earth and Blind Guardian tracks during their extensive set. Fans were stunned to hear a few Iced Earth tracks with “Burning Times,” as well as welcoming former Iced Earth singer Matt Barlow to the stage for a rendition of “I Died For You.” The group also went into a few Blind Guardian songs including “Welcome to Dying,” and “Valhalla.”
With a new album in the works, hopefully, fans will have another chance to see Demons & Wizards again.
Rites of Passage
Poor Man’s Crusade
Love’s Tragedy Asunder
Burning Times – (Iced Earth cover)
Welcome to Dying – (Blind Guardian cover)
I Died for You – (Iced Earth cover)
Valhalla – (Blind Guardian cover)
Tear Down the Wall
My Last Sunrise
Blood on My Hands
Fiddler on the Green