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FEATURES

ICED EARTH's Stu Block - "Smells Like I'm Back In Canada!"

Toronto Show Review

Posted on Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 13:50:10

By Mark Gromen

The show began with a heavy dose (accent on "heavy") of newer material, including the opening, title track and 'Democide' off Plagues Of Babylon. This the first of three Canadian dates, frontman Stu Block was pleased to be back in his homeland, commanding the stage as the others moved little. 'V' was followed by 'If I Could See You', which was dedicated to Jon Schaffer's grandfather. Still rather early in the set, but one young lady down front, atop a friend's shoulders, decided to go topless, for the remainder of the show. Introducing a green lit 'The Hunter', Block commented on the strong odor of sweet leaf present (including a stoned security guard in the pit), "Smells like I'm back in Canada!" Schaffer had switched to a Flying V guitar, as multiple banks of blinding white headlights flashed behind the band.



A tolling bell signaled 'Burning Times' as a yellow pall came over the stage. the song received a huge ovation, including a clap along section, before heading into 'Red Baron/Blue Max', which saw Block hit the original Ripper-sung high notes. Appropriately, the stage was bathed in magenta and blue, punctuated by strobes. Eventually, Stu left the stage as the band enacted a guitar dogfight. Thin moustache and pointed Van Dyke beard, founder/guitarist Schaffer is beginning to look like the Guy Fawkes mask (as in the Natalie Portman movie V For Vendetta, also inspiration for the aforementioned song) perched on the drum kit. Either that, or watermelon smashing comedian Gallagher!



'Blessed Are You' nicely offset the flying tops with a chugging bottom end. Block, pointing to the bare-chested Raggedy Ann/Wendy dyed red-head, saying, We encourage that type of activity." Speaking of reds, the lights shone as such for 'Vengeance Is Mine', as the singer, sporting an IE monogram patch on his left knee, stood, one foot on the monitors, leading the charge through the heaviest portion of the set, that also included 'Cthulhu' and 'My Own Savior'. The latter began with a fuchsia band backlit against the yellow backdrop featuring the Plagues cover art. After nearly falling off the stage (and mentioning it), Block introduced 'Question Of Heaven'. The audience sang along, as high pitched, female backing vocals were piped in to the blue hued stage. Without warning, everyone vacated the stage.



The triumph pre-recorded march that kicks off the Dystopia record announced their return to the stage, launching into that title track. The sound was suddenly a lot clearer, like the soundman had finally took the limiter off. Speaking of the guy behind the mixing board, both he and lighting tech wore Halloween style masks and winged helmet (?) during the performance. Deep blue fittingly (given the lyrical content) greeted 'Watching Over Me', before ending with the signature tune, 'Iced Earth', then f-bomb laden chants of the band name sent the sweaty musicians backstage. Another victory secured!

More photos from Toronto can be seen here.



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