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Dragonforce, Chen Lei, Yao Lin @ YuGongYiShan Club, Beijing (CN)

in Monday, 6 April 2009 at YuGongYiShan Club
by Freddy Cai

When it comes to DRAGONFORCE, what we've usually got in mind is that video-game influenced Metal with tons of super sonic solos everywhere, hot 'n fresh Grammy nominee for best Metal performance, and - ohh, of course - Herman Li. This Hong Kong born guitar hero has already become the latest idol among his Chinese fellows for quite some time. Thus, after confirming their first ever gig in Beijing during the previous month, under the name of 'Ultra Beatdown Asian tour', local metalheads and guitar kids had been given quite a bit of stir, since it's been advertised as one of the most anticipated Metal gigs in the year of the Ox. The show, however, turned out to be a little out-of-line.

April 6th, Monday, 20:00pm: doors open, over 400 fans gathered inside the YuGongYiShan club, Beijing, waiting eagerly to see DRAGONFORCE live zoomed in, mainly, to see Herman Li let-go of his power with his purple Ibanez closely enough. DRAGONFORCE's set was planned to be kicked off on 20:30pm sharp, so you could certainly feel this adrenaline pumping in this middle-sized venue downtown as time passed by. 45 minutes later, the stage was as quiet as midsummer's night, the audience was still waiting in silence, without even knowing DRAGONFORCE never properly finished their soundcheck that night.

Truth is, about 24 hours ago, all of DRAGONFORCE's gear and equipment were detained in the Customs at Beijing international airport, which was due to the domestic anti-smuggling policy. This whole unexpectancy resulted in the local promoter having to rearrange the production setup and change the PA system in the venue. Everything that left in the airport had to be replaced either by borrowing from local music stores or renting from gear suppliers so this extra over-night process cost one day long. Fans have rushed into the venue warmed up, so the soundcheck was forced to an abrupt end. It's normal for Metal shows in Beijing being postponed or delayed for half an hour or so, but when it's been too postponed, say, err…2 hours, fans would get pissed. At 21:30pm DRAGONFORCE finally ran up the stage, followed by loud screams in the crowd and 2 small fights occurred at the back of the club (somebody can get really drunk within 2 hours).

One encore, more than 15 tracks in a approx. 100 minutes of set, it was pretty obvious that the band members were in a not-so-fucked-up mood during their show time, actually it was pretty hilarious indeed, the fans who earlier were a little upset quickly got more than satisfied witnessing all DRAGONFORCE's traditions; water-sprinkling, Li and Sam's non-stoppable jumping around, ZP Theart was constantly throwing out the F-word to fill up the gaps. Meanwhile, the sound effects were also fine, despite Sam's part missed for a couple of songs. Their end credit was unsurprisingly Through The Fire And Flames, but seemed like the fact that most of the fans could sing the chords was truly a surprise for the band.

Perhaps the fans were too excited to easily forget that there were two other local guitarists on the bill. By the time the solo musician Yao Lin and Chen Lei - guitarist of Chinese Hard Rock veterans TANG DYNASTY - stepped on the stage, the venue was two-third empty, leaving two unhappy guitarists handling the rest of the night. I hooked up with Herman at 11:30pm at the backstage before the VIP signing session and chatted a little bit. When I asked what he personally thought about their debut China show, he went with a smile it's so great that Chinese fans could have us in here; unfortunately, so many troubles we've gone through, frankly speaking, it's of my 2_10. Well,not Herman's faults to blame. welcome to China, Dragons…

(photos by LostGoat & GuitarChina)


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