For the first time in over 13 years, Manowar played a single UK show on Sunday 27th March. This was not in London as many would expect, but in the grimy birthplace of metal itself: Birmingham.
Naturally, metalheads all over the UK and nearby European countries flocked to the O2 Academy. Some even arrived two days beforehand for a Friday – Sunday party at the local pub, Scruffy Murphy's. By Sunday Murphy's had run out of inflatable clubs and Viking hats (around six British pounds for a set) and bursting with fans shouting along to every Manowar song under Odin's eyes.
Every vaguely alternative looking person wandering around Birmingham seemed to have come down for the show, and by 7pm every vaguely alternative person ever appeared to be in line to get into the gig. People would suddenly burst into Warriors of the World or Sign of the Hammer at random moments, Slipknot shirts mingled with the topless and by the time the last people had crammed themselves into the venue Manowar were about to burst on stage to some Wagnerian orchestral music.
9pm hit the cheering crowd with 130 decibels of bass and distorted guitar as the crowd hit the band with cheers of adulation and horn-throwing. A non-stop 24 song set mainly consisting of songs drawn from their first album Battle Hymns followed. Donnie Hamzik's drumming felt like it was pumping the blood around your body as Joey DaMaio's bass rattled even the denim jackets on the backs of crowd members.
Manowar keep the words 'steel', 'power' and 'metal' eternally young despite using them relentlessly in nearly each and every song. Tearful men were sighted during slower numbers and claws of appreciation constantly visible during some blatant yet pleasing fretwankery during the guitar and bass solo's. After effortlessly ploughing through their colossal set, Manowar set the cherry atop the cream pie of the evening with the words: 'We'll be back'.
After-party's littered the many hotels of the city as the energy left by the band fizzled into bottles of Jack Daniels and the early hours of the morning. This was a night that proved Manowar fans really are mad enough to pay £80 for a ticket on eBay before splashing out on a hotel, train/plane ticket and £35 shirts – just two pounds cheaper than the original ticket price. Here's hoping that the band will be back before the next decade.
8.Sun of Death
9.Brothers of Metal Pt. 1
10.Kill With Power
12.Heart of Steel
14.Fighting the World
15.Sons of Odin
16.Call to Arms
17.Sign of the Hammer
18.House of Death
20.Hail to England
21.Kings of Metal
22.Hail and Kill
23.Warriors of the World United
24.Black Wind, Fire and Steel
The Crown and the Ring (Lament of the Kings)