Listening to Demons & Wizards performing Valhalla live at Chania Rock Festival 2019 was a unique experience. Or was it? Let’s find out!
Demons & Wizards is a band that was formed as a side project 20 years ago by members of Blind Guardian and Iced Earth. In live shows they like to play their own songs as well as hits from their parent bands. While I am a pretty big fan of Iced Earth, I never really got into Blind Guardian, so the live performance of Valhalla at Chania Rock Festival 2019 was actually the first time I heard the song.
And what a performance that was!
The crowd kept chanting and clapping in thunderous synchronicity. And then we kept chanting and claping way past the song’s end. Finally the band joined in and tried to bring it to a close, which they succeeded on their third attempt. It was a magical moment.
Recently I looked up the song and noticed something peculiar.
There were reports like this all over the internet: Live performances of Valhalla where the same thing kept happening again and again.
I believe it can all be traced back to this performance:
This looks to be the original magical moment, that audiences all over the world seek to recapture. This live performance of the song currently sits at 4x the amount of views compared to the studio version. I’d argue this performance capture has become the canonical version of the song by this point.
Valhalla is an 8 minute song now, with a scripted section of audience participation and scripted sections of the band attempting to coral the audience along. The band knows it’s an 8 minute song and schedules their tracklist accordingly.
So what does it all mean? I’m not sure exactly.
There is a point to be made about the value of being adaptable and opportunistically ready to seize opportunities as they present themselves.
There is also another point to be made about how easily our brains can be hijacked. Who said fabricating meaningful experiences is hard?
I guess in the end I’ll have to leave the conclussions as an exercise to the reader.
On another note, the festival had a lot of other great music. While screaming along I died for you was my highlight of the evening, it was actually Carthagods, the band that opened the day under the blazing sun, that made a lasting impact. You can find my two favorite songs they performed bellow.