Live at The Fonda Theatre
October 6th, 2016
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Teutonic Heavy Metal legends, Grave Digger return to Los Angeles, once again accompanying the Metal Minstrels, Blind Guardian on a second North American trek in just under a year.
Grave Digger is focused around founding member and lead singer, Chris Boltendahl. Joining him on stage were Axel Ritt on guitar, Jens Becker on bass guitar, Stefan Arnold on drums, and underneath the Reaper outfit, playing keyboards, was Marcus Kniep.
I saw Grave Digger on tour last year as well, and the set list was nearly identical. They added two songs on this tour and left out a couple from last time, the new songs for this tour being, "Wedding Day" and "The Dark of the Sun" which came up as second and third songs for the night.
Their last new release (they came out with some "Best Of" and "Live" type outputtings since then) was "Return of the Reaper". They once again only hit two songs from this album which, in its entirety, is a really good record.
"Season of the Witch" is my favorite song off the new release and was my favorite song of the night as well. "Tattooed Rider" is also a pretty good song but with so many better songs off "Return of the Reaper", like the title track for instance, I would have liked something different.
Their set list being so similar as last time, the same songs stood out as being my favorites, which aside from the aforementioned, were "Highland Farewell" and "Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)".
I don't know what these guys' fascination with Scottish conflict is, but I am glad they have it because these are great songs as are pretty much anything off of "The Clans Will Rise Again" album.
In addition to all of the above, they treated long-time fans to some of their early classics like "Headbanging Man" which they opened with, and "Heavy Metal Breakdown" which they closed the set with.
They threw in a couple of mid-career fan favorites too with "Ballad of a Hangman" and "Excaliber" both drawn from the albums of the same name as the song titles.
To sum it up, Grave Digger are awesome, and a great band to see live. I am looking forward to the next outting with them, but hope they spice up the set list with more tracks from "Return of the Reaper", and it would be great to hear at least one track from the previous album, "Clash of the Gods" too.
So in case your listening, Grave Digger, focus on "The Clans Will Rise Again", "Clash of the Gods", and "Return of the Reaper" next time you come please.
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