MDM (Moscow Youth Palace)
Moscow, Russia
June 28, 2000

Oh, I'm sick and tired of slagging off gig organisers, but I have to do it again and again. This show was no exception, and let me tell you straight: the organisation sucked. No, like this: it S-U-C-K-E-D!!! I do not mention poor promotion, putting tickets on sale five days before the gig and total absence of information on the concert even in the specialised print media (the GO'ST Music company, which brought Royal Hunt to Moscow, seemed to be making the show a true 'ghost'). Lemme tell you this: the show was supposed to start at 20.00, but started at 23.40. Do you like that? Me neither. What was the problem? It took the Royal Hunt manager and keyboardist Andre Anderson nine hours to receive customs clearance for the band's instruments. When the two men finally brought them to the hall, it was already 22.30, but it soon turned out that half of the keyboards and the lead guitar were out of order, and the musicians had to repair them right on stage. I guess the only people who were happy about such developments were the MDM administration, as the majority of fans rushed to the bar and were drinking there until Royal Hunt started to play. By then, a lot of them were totally drunk and shouting 'fuck you, start the show!' to Andre. However the keyboardist, who is a native of Moscow, seemed to be well familiar with such type of reaction from the Russian people and paid no attention to those assholes.

Despite all hardships, the sound was great, and the band did their best to compensate for the long wait. They played like it was their last concert on earth, and the response from the audience was great. Besides, the musicians were obviously enjoying their playing, and it was clear to everybody in the hall. Before going to the show, I had a lot of concerns about the band's new vocalist John West. The problem is that their previous singer D.C. Cooper had something of a charisma, and it seemed next to impossible to replace him. However John did his best and succeeded, after all. Old Royal Hunt songs (though there were not many of them in the set) sounded great with him on vocals. The only point where I missed D.C. was "Message To God" where I still heard his voice in my ears. Nevertheless, when at a certain point in the show John appeared on the stage in a sort of traditional Indian outfit with feathers in his hair and all over the mike stand, the past no longer mattered. I won't elaborate much on the rest of the band, as everyone who loves Royal Hunt knows what great musicians they are. Unfortunately, a lot of people (me included) remained disappointed with the set list. Royal Hunt did play their best tracks from the last two albums, but a lot of earlier classics, such as "Last Goodbye," "Wasted Time," and "Step By Step," were abandoned. And don't nobody tell me about the time limits, as when the show ended, the subway was closed for the night anyway. To sum it all up, the show was really great, but my hope that Russia will someday learn to hold metal gigs in a normal manner is vanishing with each live attraction. I am calling on the organisers: it's time to do something about it, or soon not a single self-respecting band will agree to play in this country. (Maniac)

Setlist (very approximate):
Message To God
Day In Day Out
Cold City Lights
Follow Me
Tearing Down The Walls
Faces Of War
One By One
River Of Pain
Instrumental (probably Third Stage)


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