26 January 2002/Sporting Sports Hall/Athens

A few months after Savatage's second visit in Greece for the summer Rockwave Festival, the band returned (after their own request) for a headline show. The show was sold out (approximately 5.000-6.000 tickets) days before the gig. Blaze was the opening act. They played for almost 45 minutes and although the sound wasn't good they satisfied the crowd, which was enthusiastic from the start. The set-list combined songs from the band's first album Silicon Messiah, the then forthcoming Tenth Dimension and of course three Maiden tracks, with "Man on the Edge» were causing delirium to the crowd. 
Some 20 minutes after Blaze, the lights went down, and Queen's masterpiece. The show must go on introduced us to the show. The whole crowd was singing, waiting for the show to go on...and then lasers from all over the stage lightened the hall, and the band begun the gig with the single Commissar from their latest album Poets and Madmen. 
Total chaos underneath the stage as an avalanche of classic and new songs were delivered to the hungry crowd. The sound was much better than in the opening act (not perfect though), the light show was really amazing, and the band was in a great mood! The two newcomers (Jack Frost-guitars, Damond Jiniya-vocals), act as if they've been with the band for years. Especially Jiniya (although he shared the role of the vocalist with papa-John), seemed to enchant the crowd with his performance. The band chose the way of medleys in order to play more songs-something that proved successful, as we heard (whole or parts of them) 27-8 songs. 
Here is the set list (excuse me if I forget a song or two-it wasn't easy to remember): Sirens, 24 hours ago, Beyond the doors of the Dark, Strange Wings, Hall of the Mountain King (last encore), Gutter Ballet (total chaos), Temptation Revelation, When the crowds are gone (just a small part of it), Streets-Jesus Saves, Tonight he Grins again, Agony and Ecstasy, Believe (the "Streets" part was performed as separate act in the form of a big medleys with John singing all the parts-this came like a present to me as Streets is my favourite Savatage album), Edge of thorns, All that I bleed (the song was dedicated to Chris-with the whole crowd calling his name), Handful of Rain, Chance, Sarajevo, This is the Time, Mozart and Madness, Wake of Magellan, Commissar, Drive, Morphine Child, Man in the Mirror, Surrender. Quite a full set-list right???? 
After two full hours of performance, the band left the stage. I doubt that there would be one person not satisfied with the show. The only thing I saw outside the hall was tired faces with big smiles. After all, we know that..."still the orchestra plays"...and we will be able to see them soon! 

by Alex Savatianos