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Graspop Metal Meeting - Day Three @ Dessel (BEL)

in Sunday, 27 June 2010 at Kastelsedijk
by Maria Voutiriadou, Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

DimK: It was kind of a slow Sunday; the fatigue from the previous festivities had already taken its toll but we would not back up for the money in the world. So, ignoring the stubborn sun we took the path towards the Main Stage to watch EVERGREY.

DimK: It was one hour after noon and as it happened during the previous day the sun was beating really hard on us. Fortunately, the weather conditions did not stop the Swedish company of EVERGREY to get on the Main Stage and present to the ‘GMM’ crowd the brand new lineup. Indeed, this band had a really rough ride and to perform in front of such a big audience could pump their mood and their mentality up. So, after finishing a really nice interview with Jon Oliva we found a good spot to watch EVERGREY trying to handle the killing sun (remember EVERGREY is a Swedish band). So, right on time “Blinded” was the first song to open the band’s setlist after the short intro. The crowd responded to Tom salute that I have to admit he looked really pumped for this performance. What I did not like in this song was the backing vocals especially from the new members that sounded a little bit out of tune. On the other hand, this can be neglected taking into consideration that they have not been on stage with EVERGREY that many times. I am sure things will get better.

“Recreation Day” is the album that gave the band the recognition they deserved after having released albums like “Solitude Dominance Tragedy” and “In search Of Truth”. Consequently, it was not a surprise that their setlist was based on that album. “As I Lie Here Bleeding” and “Recreation Day” was perfect for my taste but the personal highlight was “I’m Sorry” that took my mind away from the tormenting heat (at least for while). With “Touch Of Blessing” the Swedish act said goodbye to the sun burned metalheads that I have to say they all looked happy with the performance.

EVERGREY setlist:
  1. "Blinded"
  2. "As I Lie Here Bleeding"
  3. "Soaked"
  4. "Obedience"
  5. "Monday Morning Apocalypse"
  6. "The Masterplan"
  7. "I'm Sorry"
  8. "Recreation Day"
  9. "Broken Wings"
  10. "A Touch of Blessing"

MariaV: We followed Tom Englund’s advice to go to Marquee I and watch their compatriots, KATATONIA, even though it was 2 o’clock in the noon and the Marquee I tent was hot as hell. The big black poster of the “Night Is The New Day” artwork album cover was set in the back of the stage and the Swedish quintet was decided to put as through their melancholic and catatonic melodies, during the middle of the day. The opening “Forsaker” started the 45 minutes show and the die-hard fans of the band were already there to support their beloved performers. The sound helped a lot the depressing KATATONIA style and everyone seemed to enjoy the show, especially the hits “My Twin” and “Evidence” where the crowd was clapping in their rhythm and headbanging as well. KATATONIA were stuck in their latest three studio albums and especially the most recent “Night Is The New Day” leaving the old fans to complain the old fans who wanted to listen to something from the early days. But this fact was fair enough if you think that 45 minutes are a short time to cover a 17 years career. Thus, “Leaders” was the last one before KATATONIA leave stage and all of us who had to move into the Main Stage again to watch the killer-thrashers EXODUS under the violent sun.

KATATONIA setlist:
  1. "Forsaker"
  2. "Liberation"
  3. "My Twin"
  4. "Ghost Of The Sun"
  5. "The Longest Year"
  6. "Evidence"
  7. "July"
  8. "Day And Then The Shade"
  9. "Leaders"

DimK: After enjoying a nice cold ice cream while watching KATATONIA we returned to the Main Stage where EXODUS were about to serve us with a hearty Thrash treat. After Rob Dukes had joined the Bay Area thrasher many EXODUS fans had expressed their discontentment since Rob did not fit the band vocally and in some extent visually. But concert by concert things have been getting better and better and nowadays EXODUS look solid as hell. And so they did that sunny day at Dessel. The brand new “The Ballad of Leonard And Charles” was the gig opener and things started looking violent almost immediately. As it seemed the new album had made quite an impact and the ‘GMM’ crowd was more than pumped to move around and headbang. Two mosh pits were created in no time under the killer riffs of “A Lesson In Violence” while the ‘GMM’ crew was pouring water with fire hoses creating a party atmosphere all around. From that point and after EXODUS were on fire! All the band members (ok Tom Hunting could not leave his drum kit) were in constant motion and in total synchronicity with the audience forcing all the metalheads to use all the energy they had saved from the hot weather. “And now we have something for the older fans” Rob Dukes said and “Strike Of The Beast” hit us like a ten ton hammer followed by the trademark “The Toxic Waltz” making the mosh pits looked even more energetic and –yes– violent. “Good Riddance” was the goodbye song underlying the fact that EXODUS still hold the Bay Area Thrash banner high!

EXODUS setlist:
  1. "The Ballad Of Leonard And Charles"
  2. "Beyond The Pale"
  3. "A Lesson In Violence"
  4. "Blacklist"
  5. "War Is My Shepherd"
  6. "Strike Of The Beast"
  7. "The Toxic Waltz"
  8. "Good Riddance"

DimK: Having in mind last year’s superb performance by the mountain king and his company we found ourselves in the front rows of the Main Stage to watch live again JON OLIVA’S PAIN. Jon himself had told us a couple of hours ago that they hadn’t been on stage for a long time so, they might had been some mistakes. But who really did care? Watching Oliva behind his piano and listening to his great vocals is at least a blessing. But, there were some problems in the bass amp and hence, a short delay in the schedule. Leaving aside the initial awkwardness JOP hit us with “Lies” from the latest and really good “Festival”. To tell you the truth I was expecting more songs from that album but after the short delay they had to stick to the basics and cut a couple of tracks from the setlist to cover the entire ‘must play’ list.

So, without a pause they hit us with a short version of the incredible “Chance” that was followed by “Jesus Saves” and “Sirens”. Jon was walking around the stage with his trademark smile connecting with the dedicated audience at ease. Of course, there was a lot of singing that evening especially during the old tracks like “The Dungeons Are Calling”, “Edge Of Thorns” and –of course– the hair raising “Gutter Ballet”. But the climax of that performance was the always special song “Believe” that Jon dedicated to the departed Dio. Actually, Jon informed us that “Believe” was one of Dio favourite SAVATAGE song. The end of JON OLIVA’S PAIN always delightful performance (despite the minor problems) was marked by the old time classic “Hall Of The Mountain King” during which we gave our last breathe singing the killer chorus. I am surely looking for an indoor JON OLIVA’S PAIN concert with more songs on the setlist!

  1. "Lies"
  2. "Chance"
  3. "Jesus Saves"
  4. "Sirens"
  5. "The Dungeons Are Calling"
  6. "Death Rides A Black Horse"
  7. "Edge Of Thorns"
  8. "Gutter Ballet"
  9. "Believe"
  10. "Hall Of The Mountain King"

MariaV: It was thirty minutes after 6 o’clock when we had to deal with the tiny and hot Metal Dome tent for the last time this year, since the Finnish folk metallers KORPIKLAANI were about to spread their dance mood that is so loved across the Europe. Violins, accordions, flutes, bagpipes and their mind-blowing guitars were set into this short folk fest (reminding a lot the SKYCLAD triumph), ready to make us dance, jump and sing with their ‘alcoholic folk’ tunes and they did it with great success. The ‘drunk-hymn’ of “Vodka” opened their 50 minutes set and the non stoppable dance ‘Karkelo’ (is Finnish for ‘party’) began immediately. The fuzzy sound and the real hot atmosphere didn’t allow us to enjoy KORPIKLAANI as we’d like, but at least we took a brave taste of what Metal party means on their way. “Journey Man”, “Korpiklaani”, “Happy Little Boozer”, “Kipumylly” were some of the following hits where Jonne Järvelä and his clan played in a great mood and made all their die-hard fans sing. Highlights of this memorable appearance were the rhythmical “Viima” and the all-time-classic “Beer Beer” (from “Voice Of Wilderness” album) that everyone expected so much and ended their show, giving the baton to some rest, for regaining powers and fluids and watching the warlike AMON AMARTH after about two hours.


DimK: I had high expectation for this one. Many friends had told me that AMON AMARTH are a guarantee for one to have a killer time in a concert. I had also heard about the synchronized headbanging and the general honest attitude by a band that gives 100% on stage. So, with a more than positive mood we entered Marquee I and realized that there was already a great number of metalheads inside despite that we had at least half an hour for the Vikings to come on stage. AMON AMARTH’s latest album “Twilight Of The Thunder God” was still hot despite that they have been two years after its release. There was a lot of tension in the air (in a positive way)and every one was pumped and loaded for the Swedish band to appear under the impressive cover art work of the latest album that adorned the back of the stage. So, the light went down and the mighty intro brought us “Twilight Of The Thunder God” commencing the “battle” not only in the front rows. It was such a great feeling watching all the girls and guys headbanging in a precise synchronicity with the band’s commands.Everything was looking and sounded great!

The band motivated by the loud reaction from the audience did their best to justify its reputation when it comes to live performances. Without pause “Runes To My Memory” followed and AMON AMARTH started the trademark “spin my hair around” headbanging reminding a lot of the video clip’s choreography. And during these songs I realized something that personally I found it very disappointing. The band was moving on the stage in a rehearsed pattern that in my eyes lucked of the impulsive that we like to have from a Metal band. I understand that you have to rehearse your on stage walking pattern when there are pyro effects involved but I strongly believe the Swedes had overdone it. Hell, I did not enjoy to the level I imagined the massive “Guardians Of Asgaard” and the killer guitar riffs.

The good thing was that most of the metalheads present in Marquee I did not share the same thought with me and hence they created a powerful atmosphere also enhanced by the pyro effect. Especially, during “Death In Fire” the whole stage was on fire. I bet that the temperature inside the tent was raised a couple of degrees or more supported by the very good light show. You should look for the respective footage in youtube to realize what I am talking about. Nevertheless, the Swedish band did very well that night and satisfied every one and –yes– they did meet the expectations built by their discography. After “Death In Fire” we have to leave since KISS were about to celebrate their last Europe date and we needed a nice looking spot.

AMON AMARTH setlist:
  1. "Twilight of the Thunder God
  2. "Runes To My Memory"
  3. "Asator"
  4. "Thousand Years of Oppression"
  5. "Guardians Of Asgaard"
  6. "Victorious March"
  7. "Varyags Of Miklagaard"
  8. "Death In Fire"
  9. "Live For The Kill"
  10. "Cry Of The Black Birds"
  11. "The Pursuit Of Vikings"

MariaV: After the total professional and almost disappointing performance of AMON AMARTH (read DimK live report above), we had to speed up a little and get at the Main Stage as soon as possible to watch the ending headliners of this 15th anniversary ‘GMM’ edition: the mighty KISS and their marvelous fireworks show. The time clocked one hour before midnight precisely when the lights turned off and a short projection of the tradition intro KISS video appeared on the main video wall, leaving us with our jaws in the floor. The giant-osaurs KISS came across the whole Europe to reach ‘Graspop Metal Meeting’ for their last European live date of ‘Sonic Boom’ tour and we could not imagine what was about to follow for more than two hours. The ‘hottest band of the world’ took over the ‘GMM’ big stage under the sounds of “Modern Day Delilah” and ‘boom’, the bridge elevator brought above Eric’s head, Paul, Gene and Tommy right in front of us that we were screaming their names and clapping unstoppable. The sound was more than awesome, the KISS setting on stage was brilliant, the whole stage direction, the lights, their costumes, every single move of KISS had been studied with every detail and the visual result was just perfect!

“Cold Gin” was next, traveling us back in time when the die-hard KISS fans began to dance and sing according Gene Simmons’ commands. I caught myself a couple of times to not know how to react, enjoy the show just watching every KISS move or headbanging and screaming every line of KISS songs; the truth is that when you have the opportunity to watch a show under the KISS standards, the dilemma becomes bigger between seat and watch or jump up and down and sing with the rest of the KISS army. If you have already the KISS experience, you know exactly what Iam talking about. So, I decided to watch quite carefully the new songs and dance with the old ones. “Firehouse” was the first highlight of this long KISS night with all the fire sirens, the thick smokes and the flames on stage and proved to all that standing there that Paul’s voice is still on great shape, comparing to other super stars that appeared in this year’s ‘Graspop’, disappointing us. “Deuce” and “Calling Dr. Love” was also some old stuff to dance frenetically with, reminding us the first five and favorite KISS albums (personally speaking) and the sonic result recompensed us for good.

After one hour show, it was time for Gene Simmons’ thing: “I Love It Loud” was about to come and Simmons’ mouth filled up with blood, making all of us to scream and go crazy with his evil bass tunes. Then, he opened his arms with his bat wings and he stood up above the stage and started singing, while 50,000 of people were shouting ‘KISS’. The three big video walls pointing all of us that were singing the chorus and Paul Stanley made us a bit crazier with his introduction to “Love Gun”. I don’t know if I am the right person to describe to you what was coming up next this, because the pyros and the fireworks and the ‘boom’ were so many that I can not tell that I remember much. The feeling of watching classic KISS songs like “Love Gun” is indescribable, so if you find some video material at video up-loader channels as youtube, you are gonna to understand better what I’m saying.

The next one was a real surprise for me: Paul began to play on his guitar the recognizable riff of ZEPPELIN’s “Whole Lotta Love” and then asked us if we knew also the following one that was “Black Diamond”, by far one of my favourite KISS songs. The die-hard KISS fans that were more familiar to this one began to scream loudly and Eric behind the drums performed it perfectly. “Detroit Rock City” was the last track that closed the regular duration KISS show with lots of pyros and fires that my ears could handle ‘em no longer. The band had completed the time table’s program but had mood for more. They saluted us and for a while the lights turned off for first time after one hour and a half and the American hard rock quartet went back stage for a couple of breaths and some rest to return for the rest of the “Sonic Boom” show.

And it didn’t take them long; after five minutes, KISS returned with some 80s stuff. “Lick It Up” from the self titled album was the chosen track and a lot of girls start dancing once more. The fatigue was enough but the KISS fans didn’t have mood to stop dancing, screaming and yelling the band’s name even louder. The atmosphere was just appropriate for the last headliner of a three-day festival and KISS were ready for more party with “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” that kept back a big surprise: Paul’s round trip ride above our heads with a little funicular till the Mini-stage that had been set on the other side of the Main Stage area!

It was awesome to watch KISS performing from two different spots at the same time: Paul singing and playing his guitar on the Mini-stage and Gene, Eric and Tommy dancing on the Main Stage, bang in the middle of so many pyros and dancing lights. The ARGENT cover of “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You” came to calm down a little the crowd when pictures of the whole KISS career was shown on the three big video walls and “Rock And Roll All Nite” put the final tone with the tones of confetti in that KISS two hours’ live performance that left everyone with the jaws on the floor.

KISS setlist:
  1. "Modern Day Delilah"
  2. "Cold Gin"
  3. "Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll"
  4. "Firehouse"
  5. "Say Yeah"
  6. "Deuce"
  7. "Crazy Crazy Nights"
  8. "Calling Dr. Love"
  9. "Shock Me"
  10. "I'm An Animal"
  11. "100,000 Years"
  12. "I Love It Loud"
  13. "Love Gun"
  14. "Whole Lotta Love/ Black Diamond"
  15. "Detroit Rock City"
  16. "Lick It Up"
  17. "Shout It Out Loud"
  18. "I Was Made For Lovin' You"
  19. "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You" (ARGENT cover)
  20. "Rock And Roll All Nite"
MariaV: Definitely, KISS were the big headliners of this year’s ‘Graspop Metal Meeting’ and the right choice to be the final band to close the 15th anniversary of the festival. The 15 minutes show with the fireworks on the Belgium sky that followed, marked that night in our hearts for good and it’s something that we never forget. Also, a short video dedicated to Ronnie James Dio was projected through the big screens of the Main Stage,under the sounds of “The Last In Line”, showing footage from all the three days with lots of highlights taken from the cameras that were in front of the four stages at the whole duration of ‘GMM’, provoking us lots of laughs and tears.

Happy Metal Birthday Graspop, hope to catch you again next year!

DimK: Really there is not much to add here. The promoters had the intentions to celebrate this continuously growing festival and by all means they did. The minor complaints we had last year had gone with the wind and hence we had a great time. We are already making plans for next year even though there is not a single name announced!

Trivia for ‘Graspop Metal Meeting 2009’
According to information we gathered during this year’s ‘GMM’, ‘Graspop Metal Meeting 2009’ had:
-Dessel population 9.048
-Graspop population 120.000
-2.100 volunteers
-20.000 meters fencing
-30.000 kilos garbage
-900 security people
-14.850 tents
-300 folding tables
-500 meters market and festival fair
-200.000 litres beer

'Graspop Metal Meeting 2010' attracted 130.000 metalheads! We all wish the best for next year.

Ticket Price: 75€ (day), 145 (three day)


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Edited 15 August 2020

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Yiannis Mitsakos

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