170 Russell was the perfect venue in Melbourne for DragonForce to roll into town like a Category 5 hurricane and bring absolute chaos and destruction on their “Reaching Into Infinity” World Tour, which follows the release of their seventh studio album “Reaching Into Infinity” on May 19th.
Frontman Marc Hudson, the amazing duelling guitars of Herman Li and Sam Totman, the glorious five string bass of Frederic Leclercq, and the stunning drum kit that belongs to Gee Anzalone graced 170 Russell on Wednesday, June 21st 2017, where they were supported by local Melbourne band, Teramaze. Unfortunately, Vadim Pruzhanov and his musical talents weren’t around to add to the experience as he is currently on hiatus taking some personal time.
Doors were scheduled to open at 7:30pm, but due to issues with a late sound check, they didn’t open until approximately 7:45pm. All that meant was that the already excited crowd waiting outside was even more eager for doors to finally open and get inside!
Those first inside the venue were treated to the last few minutes of Teramaze’s sound check, which delivered a small teaser of what we were to expect from the Melbourne-based quintet. Nathan Peachey (Vocals), Dean Wells (Guitar/Vocals), Dean Kennedy (Drums), Luis “Thee Eguren” Eguren (Bass) and Jeremy Poole (Keyboard) were the perfect choice for a support act, as they somehow managed to get the crowd even more pumped up and excited!
Teramaze started just after 8:30 pm and Melbourne was treated to a stunning eight-song set list that entertained and hypnotised the crowd for approximately 50 minutes; playing tracks from both “Esoteric Symbolism” and “Her Halo”. The crowd was treated to fan favourites such as Bodies Of Betrayal, Her Halo, and the twelve-minute masterpiece of An Ordinary Dream, which invoked a massive cheer from the crowd when it was announced!
Peachey has a voice that you MUST experience live. The high notes that he was hitting on stage was that of a Matt Bellamy-esque level, and it really sent a shiver down your spine. Wells showcased his shredding ability throughout the evening and warmed up our ears for DragonForce, not to mention Poole’s ability to play chords on keyboards at such a fast pace, which was mind-blowing, to say the least!
At one point towards the end of their set, Peachey has made a comment about “how exciting the night was, and this is the biggest crowd we’ve ever played for!” only for Wells to respond with “That’s because it’s a DragonForce crowd”. This sort of playful banter really shows the bond and mateship that Teramaze has, and drives home why they are a MUST SEE for any Australian music fan!
DragonForce exploded onto the stage just on 10 pm to a MASSIVE explosion of cheers and excitement from the crowd, launching into their set list with Ashes Of The Dawn. Throughout the entire night, the crowd was treated to a visual display of all the album covers that each song on the set list came from, as well as specialised artwork for certain songs.
There was just an insane level of energy radiating through 170 Russell, and the band’s energy was being matched and lifted even higher by the energy of the 800+ crowd; which meant everyone had a fantastic night from start to finish! There was plenty of crowd interaction throughout the thirteen song set list that ran for close to two hours. From the DragonForce bottle of Jack Daniels being passed to members of the audience to drink from, to Hudson getting the crowd to sing along with him throughout numerous songs, Hudson jumping off stage and crowd surfing, not to mention numerous attempts by the crowd to get the band to perform a “Shoey” out of a DragonForce painted Converse All-Star!
One such example of the crowd interaction came after Operation Ground and Pound. Hudson mentioned how before they were in Australia, they were in Japan and Hudson learnt to speak Japanese so he could say a few words on stage to communicate. Hudson then went on to do his best Australian impersonation (which can’t be repeated here!), which brought on massive laughter from the band and the crowd simultaneously!
The stage was just a blur of constant motion all night, with every band member running around the stage, making sure to treat both sides of the venue to as much of the DragonForce experience as they could. Li was bouncing around the stage non-stop, as well as throwing his guitar around in his signature style at every opportunity; Totman was strutting his stuff as cool as can be (when he wasn’t standing next to Li pretending to be bored at Li’s playing, that is!); Leclercq was showing all bass players in the audience how it should be done; and Hudson was constantly treating the crowd to that smile of his whenever he wasn’t singing!
Throughout the middle of the set, the crowd was treated to a Leclercq/Anzalone mini-show. Leclercq put down his signature five string bass and picked up his iconic Sonic the Hedgehog guitar, before showcasing his guitar abilities! Whilst playing on a Sonic-themed guitar, you have to play the Sonic theme; it would be quite rude to not. And since Leclercq isn’t a rude man, he treated the crowd to that little gem, much to the excitement of the crowd.
There was more crowd interaction during Cry Thunder, where Hudson actually incited a sing-along (not that he needed to); getting the crowd to scream out Cry Thunder as loud as they could, in a competition with not only Perth from the night before but also Japan!
After Cry Thunder, Dragonforce has left the stage, but within seconds, chants of “One More Song!” started before turning into “Two More Songs!”, and even “Ten More Songs!”.
Thankfully, they didn’t make us wait very long before coming back out – Hudson even jokingly commenting about how “every band walks off stage and then comes back out for an encore, why do we even bother? (laughs)” before informing the crowd that we were being treated to a two-song encore instead of one. The crowd belted out “Ring Of Fire” alongside Hudson, before Dragonforce ended the show with fan favourite “Through The Fire And Flames”, concluding the best two hours of live music I have seen in a LONG time.
This reviewer managed to see DragonForce back in October 2008 for the “Ultra Beatdown” tour when they still had ZP Theart as their front man, but this show was a MUCH tighter set from start to finish. Hudson blew Theart out of the park from a vocal standpoint, and was just the polish that DragonForce needed to shine!
If you weren’t here, you will be severely disappointed in what you missed…
SETLIST FOR THE EVENING:
Ashes Of The Dawn
Operation Ground And Pound
Heroes Of Our Time
Curse Of Darkness
Fury Of The Storm
Fred & Gee Solo (which included the Sonic the Hedgehog Theme)
Heart Of A Dragon
The Edge Of The World
Ring Of Fire
Through The Fire And Flames