When I was much, much younger and in my initial discovery years of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, one of the first albums that I encountered was Triumph & Agony from German band Warlock. I distinctly remember my friend and I would get home from school before his sister. We would raid her and her boyfriend’s record and cassette collection. This is how we discovered harder music at first. One cassette we borrowed and rushed off to hear was Triumph & Agony. Initially drawn in by the fantasy art on the cover. Since the predecessor, True As Steel, was also in his sister’s collection, we scooped that as well. A few years later in German language class at high school, the teacher asked the class to bring in something German. To our surprise the teacher actually allowed us to play the entire Triumph & Agony album during that day’s class! The rest of the students did not share our enthusiasm, however….lol.
I was completely elated getting to see Doro for the first time many, many years later. I’ve now had that honor several times through her tours in Toronto as well as Sweden Rock Festival and Monsters of Rock Cruises. But meeting her, on her tour bus no less, was a complete thrill and near lifelong highlight. Hearing that the 2017 Sweden Rock Festival appearance would be billed Doro Pesch’s Warlock and presenting the Triumph & Agony album in its entirety was basically orgasmic. Needless to say my most anticipated thrill ride for the festival!
I worked my way to within about 4 or 5 people back from the stage as I gawked up at the huge Warlock banner depicting that same awesome album art that first led me to Warlock. Excitement and anticipation ready to burst when the band took the stage, followed by the diminutive blonde frontwoman.
WARLOCK (DORO) (Festival Stage 4PM, Thursday, June 8, 2017)
They ripped into “Touch of Evil” to get things going. Watching Doro on the catwalk during that first song had a profound effect on me. As I knew would happen, a tear welled in my eye. All her regular Doro band appeared present on stage, save one gentleman who was a new addition. Playing a Triumph & Agony guitar, he was indeed Tommy Bolan who played on the 1987 album. Flowing seamlessly next was “I Rule the Ruins” featuring some newly added growls.
While both of these first two songs were contained on Triumph & Agony, it was clear that we’d not be going in album play order this afternoon. Makes sense given that the lead track is the usual show closer of “All We Are”. The Doro staple of leading crowd cheers, left side, right side, center was out in full force during “I Rule the Ruins”. To be honest, I cheered at all of them! “East Meets West” saw Doro hoisted onto the shoulders of Tommy Bolan at its conclusion.
“Three Minute Warning” led to “Kiss of Death”, never played live before. Being a hater of ballads, I surprised myself as I began welling up in the throat during “Fur Immer”. Even included was a short Tommy Bolan solo floating out from his Triumph & Agony guitar. Seemingly ageless, Doro made it cool for metal geeks like me showing that chicks like metal too. “Cold, Cold World” brought us to another first time live in “Make Time for Love”. It wasn’t long before tears streamed freely during “Metal Tango”. Crying my eyes out with joy, some looked at me strangely. Then others hugged me in complete understanding as they shed tears too.
“All We Are” had the crowd singing strong and proud. Tears streaming, hands clapping, arm in arm with fellows rockers, my life is complete again. To keep emotions running, Doro holding the mic to the crowd to sing reminded me when she did just that to me in Toronto.
Doro thanked the crowd for wanting to hear some pretty unknown tracks from the fourth and final album issued under the Warlock banner. The band ended in a three-pack encore. The Warlock tracks “Earthshaker Rock” and “True As Steel” ending with the often played Judas Priest cover of “Breaking The Law”. As the band ended on the catwalk taking photos, passing out picks and sticks, I let out a huge breath. Complete peace attained from one of the most important gigs of my life. I dried my eyes as the sound system played out “It Still Hurts” from Doro‘s Raise Your Fist album. And I left the Festival Stage area. You know, Doro is probably the reason I like female vox so much as one of the first metal bands I’d heard.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin‘s photo gallery of Doro Pesch’s Warlock