Two Steps From Hell: The Concert. A glimpse at the event through my eyes.


This is not a professional news article – it was never meant to be. In the next few minutes, what you’ll read is merely my version of how events unfolded at the very first concert of Two Steps From Hell.

I walked into the Disney Concert Hall at 7:50 pm, along with composers Jo Blankenburg and Yuichiro Oku. At that point, I honestly did not know what to expect. TSFH had never lived up to the fans’ expectations – they’d always exceeded them by a huge margin.

But this was a LIVE event. What if the music was a letdown as compared to their studio-recorded tracks? Nevertheless, we took our seats, awaiting what the next few hours had in store for us with baited breath.

A few minutes later, in walked the one and only conductor Petr Pololanik – amidst huge applause. The applause only grew louder and was also accompanied with whistles and cheers as Thomas Bergersen and Nick Phoenix walked in, followed by vocalists Merethe Soltvedt, and Aya Peard.

As the cheer died down, Nick walked to the drums, while Thomas stayed besides Petr, electric violin ready in his hands.

And then, he began playing.

It was a melody no one recognized. And I soon discovered why: it did not belong to any song of TSFH. Thomas had just improvised and had added a violin intro to the song.

And half a minute later, Petr and his orchestra joined in. I then knew the song immediately.

Black Blade.

What a way to begin!

Nick at the drums, Thomas at the Violin, Petr conducting the orchestra, Merethe at the mic. Could this get any better?

Petr’s movements were like water – graceful, yet precise – and his baton spoke a thousand words with each swish and flick. The goosebump brigade began as soon as Edie Boddicker and her choir joined in – and was only doubled when Merethe’s vocal started.

The song ended to a HUGE applause. Everyone’s apprehensions had disappeared. They had just experienced “epicness” in its purest form, and they knew that the remainder of the night would give them far more than they could digest.

Something funny occurred a couple of tracks later. Merethe re-appeared on stage barefoot. We jokingly named her “The Barefoot Queen,” half-inspired by the tiara-like ornament on her head. (Jo later asked her “what was up with your footwear? They were on-off-on-off” to which her response was “Have you ever tried wearing heels?!”)

Later in the concert, another funny incident transpired. The people began clapping and cheering when the song “To Glory” ended – or at least they thought it had – because when the clapping stopped, Petr and the violinists were still playing the outro of the track. And when that ended, everyone clapped AGAIN – but not before bursting into laughter, of course.

Here’s the chronological tracklist from the concert: (I’ve probably missed a couple of tracks, the rest are here)

  1. Black Blade
  2. Our Last Hope
  3. Protectors of the Earth
  4. Fill My Heart
  5. Winterspell
  6. Fire Nation
  7. Mystical Beginnings
  8. Age of Gods
  9. Realm of Power
  10. Ocean Princess
  11. Titan Dream
  12. Moving Mountains
  13. Everlasting
  14. Heart of Courage
  15. After the Fall
  16. Master of Shadows
  17. Freedom Fighters
  18. Am I not Human
  19. Army of Justice
  20. Remember Me
  21. Norwegian Pirate
  22. Strength of a Thousand Men
  23. 1000 Ships of the Underworld
  24. Birth of a Hero
  25. To Glory
  26. Argovia
  27. Breathe

Nick and Thomas were everywhere – switching between piano, drums, electric violin (Thomas) and vocals (Nick). And Petr was akin to wine – getting better with time (only @ 100000x the speed). I told Jo – who was sitting beside me – “I’m going to hug Petr after the concert.”

Then came the emotional speech, just before the last song: Thomas telling everyone that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, then Nick expressing how strange things happen in life and opportunities come your way, and that Thomas inspired him (to which Thomas said – “Likewise”)

Finally, Thomas announced that the Concert Hall had a special guest that night: Eighteen year old Vincent from Georgia, who was there with the help of the wonderful organization “Make A Wish.” Thomas dedicated the last song of the evening, “Breathe” to Vincent, ending his speech with “Hang in there, buddy. This is for you.”

The song ended beautifully, and you could almost make out that the eyes of both Thomas (at the piano) and Merethe were moist. What an emotional moment!

From left to right: Petr, Edie, Aya, Merethe, Nick and Thomas.
From left to right: Petr, Edie, Aya, Merethe, Nick and Thomas.


Now begins the interesting post-concert part:

After almost everyone had left, one of the spectators came and asked Jo for an autograph. Not only did Jo sign the piece of paper, but he also had a five minute conversation with the fan. I was pretty surprised – were all composers this nice?

A few moments later, we ran into Petr and his wife Petra, and their adorable son Caspar. And I got my wish: I gave Petr a nice, warm hug!

Yuichiro Oku with Merethe Soltvedt, the Baretfoot Queen!
Yuichiro Oku with Merethe Soltvedt, the Baretfoot Queen!

We then proceeded to the after-party, where I ran into both Thomas and Nick. “I flew in for the concert from India,” I said to Thomas.

“Really? Wow! You want a picture?” he asked with a wide smile.

Why in my right mind would I refuse?!

Nick, Thomas, and me.
Nick, Thomas, and me.

I abruptly took a picture with both the amazing composers, after which I asked him, “You know Jo?”

“Of course, I love his music! Where is he?”

Thomas and Jo
Thomas and Jo

And then the two maestros met. The first thing that Jo said to Thomas was, “This concert was amazing. YOU were amazing!”

And Thomas’s response left both of us speechless for a couple of heartbeats. “I’m just another musician,” he said with a shrug.

I couldn’t believe it. Was this really the same guy who’d just been on stage?

All in all, it was an unforgettable night.

Was the time and money I’d spent to get there worth it? Totally.

Would I fly to their next concert again – regardless of where it would take place? Hell yeah.


Updated June 20th:

Enjoy Strength of a Thousand Men, Winterspell, Protectors of the Earth, Heart of Courage and To Glory live! Thanks to composer David Donges for recording it!

Discussion19 Comments

  1. I *so* envy you. Being able to attend *and* have a photo with Nick & Tom… :) Anyway, thanks a lot for this write-up, I was hoping someone would describe this amazing event in such detail. Two thumbs up! :)

  2. No way! I totally sat by you. I seriously just stumbled upon this blog. Jealous you got to meet them! That’s seriously the coolest thing! :D
    BTW, think you forgot to add Invincible to that list. [:

    • Nitish Raina

      I’ve already mentioned how I might’ve forgotten a couple of tracks.
      That I managed to write down these amidst the avalanche of goosebumps is a colossal feat, don’t you think?

  3. can someone tell me, if you know?, the possible next concerts that they will do?!!!! please im a huge fan from PuertoRico

  4. Pingback: Two Steps from Hell Update! | Ute smile

  5. We also kept a tally of the tracks. First, thanks for filling in names of a couple we couldn’t identify.

    Second, we listed “Master of Shadows” (between “After the Fall” and “Freedom Fighters”) and I think it was “White Witch” (between “Army of Justice” and “Remember Me”). Also, that flute solo in the first set, (between “Fire Nation” and “Age of Gods”); I think that was either “Mystical Beginnings” or “Deduction,” off “All Drones Go To Hell.” If anyone can confirm that we got these right, that would be great. I don’t recall hearing “Invincible,” as one commenter noted.

    I thought we traveled far for the concert (came from Wisconsin). India! Now THAT is devotion! And you’ve got that right about goosebumps. I had them through most of the concert! Lucky you to have attended the after-party.


    • I’m pretty sure the song was “Mystical Beginnings”, featuring soloist Chris Bleth on the Armenian Duduk.

  6. Thanks for this review. I came from México just for heard them, and it worth it. If I’d known that there was an afterparty I would stay, but I couldn’t. Anyway, no words for this experience, anything can describe the emotions that I felt in that night.

  7. Nice review!
    Me and a buddy were planning to travel from Norway just to see the concert. Unfortunately there was some money issues when the airplane tickets suddenly doubled in price. I hope they’ll do another one.

  8. You’ll find a playlist with the uploaded live recordings of the concert at the bottom of the article now. Let’s indeed cross our fingers for a Bluray or DVD release of this or the next concert!

  9. Fantastic. I am a huge fan of TSFH. I wish they could have one more concert in Europe, I would totally come. I am looking forward to their new album sun!

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