Newport Music Hall – COLUMBUS, OH 09/14/2012 (Review by Bill Peters)

Newport Music Hall – COLUMBUS, OH 09/14/2012 (Review by Bill Peters)

ACCEPT stormed the Newport Music Hall stage in Columbus for their only Ohio 2012 tour appearance with “Hung, Drawn and Quartered”, the opening track from their latest “Stalingrad” album. The band received a hero’s welcome from the fans, many of whom traveled hundreds of miles to see the German metal legends (including dozens from this writer’s hometown of Cleveland – a longtime ACCEPT stronghold). There was no need for flashy pyrotechnics or onstage gimmickry. Vocalist Mark Tornillo (ex-TT QUICK), who replaced the iconic Udo Dirkschneider, kept his between song banter to a minimum and owned the stage with confidence the entire evening like he had been fronting the band since its inception.  ACCEPT’s 75-minute, 15 song set was evenly balanced between old and new material.  It was much easier to balance the set on this tour with two Tornillo albums now under their belt. “Losers And Winners”, from the the best selling and most popular “Balls To The Wall” album, was a pleasant surprise.  The rest was the standard fare of classics, including the extended sing-a-long favorite “Princess Of The Dawn” (those ‘whoa’ parts still get me singing every time!). Guitarist Wolf Hoffmann was the undisputed star of the evening, entertaining the crowd with both his playing and commanding stage presence. When he ordered the crowd to clap – they clapped!  When he ordered the crowd to sing – they sang!  When he ordered them to stop – they stopped! Hoffmann is one of heavy metal’s most underrated guitar players.  His classically influenced leads, precise rhythms and on cue low range backing vocals are always a  highlight of any live ACCEPT show.  Even after all this time he still looks like he is having as much fun onstage as when he first formed the band some 30+ years ago. Judging from the crowd response, “Shadow Soliders” should be a set staple for years to come.   The song is Hoffmann’s personal favorite from the latest “Stalingrad” album and has the sound and feel of pre-”Restless And Wild”-era ACCEPT. It’s slower tempo provides a nice contrast and mixes in well with the heavier numbers.   With the set loaded with a healthy selection of some of the greatest songs written of all-time from the Udo years, it’s ironic pre-encore set closer “Teutonic Terror” from the band’s more recent “Blood Of The Nations” album generates the biggest and loudest fan response of the evening.  It’s a true testament to ACCEPT’s current songwriting abilities and fan’s acceptance (no pun intended) of vocalist Mark Tornillo to create a song that already ranks with the best of anything from their past catalog. The band hasn’t missed a beat in recent years and tonight’s show more than sends this message home loud and clear. Encores “Fast As A Shark” and “Balls To The Wall” leave the crowd in a frenzy, closing out a near perfect evening, sans a sorely missing Hoffmann guitar solo and a rarity or two for the diehards from the band’s extensive back catalog. ACCEPT are a tough act to follow. …

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