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Okay, Tolkien by himself (or even filtered through the eyes of demigod Peter Jackson) generally bores me, but somehow the mythos of Middle Earth becomes completely tolerable when in the hands of a German power metal band. And so it was with great excitement that I ventured to New Jersey last night to see the triumphant Blind Guardian on the sixth date of the first ever US/Canada tour in their 15-year career. Since their albums employ copious multitracking to achieve a HUGE sound, I always wondered if they could pull it off live, and I wasn’t disappointed. If the six guys onstage couldn’t quite replicate the records’ monstrous choral backing vocals, the audience was more than happy to pick up the slack. Hearing dozens of people loudly singing along with “The Bard’s Song” was surreal and wonderful, as was singer Hansi’s apparent joy at his first time in the “beautiful state of New Jersey.”