(Update: the original video I posted was already taken down; this one may soon be as well, and it’s only 30 minutes or so of the set).

The first weekend of August is history, and those of you who know me recognize that as the yearly ritual of Wacken Open Air–the largest metal concert on planet Earth, which happens in the small German town of Wacken, in Schleswig-Holstein, every August. I did not attend in person this year; my trip to Wacken 2014 was probably my last (and was itself my 12th trip to the festival since 2000). However, I did watch the live stream provided by ARTE Concerts, and the 2016 festival definitely had its highlights! Although it did rain, this year’s weather was nothing like the apocalyptic quagmire of last year, but even that couldn’t dampen the spirits of heavy metal fans, especially from Europe, who venture forth every year to the “metal Mecca” to see four days, scores of bands and party with 80,000 fellow fans.

If the video is still up, I present to you the complete record of Blind Guardian’s amazing headlining set at Wacken Open Air 2016. I watched this live from my home in Oregon–I had friends who were actually there, in some cases only meters from the stage–and I was amazed by how powerful this performance was. I’ve seen Blind Guardian live 5 times, including three previous times at Wacken (2002, 2007 and 2011), and I have to say this set is the best I’ve ever seen them do. Guardian has long been the king of power metal, with a career stretching back nearly 30 years. Friday night’s performance was a reminder of why they’ve been at the top for so long. It was absolutely a delightful performance, and one that made me wish I had been there in person.

Here’s a salute to all those hardy metalheads of all nations who braved mud, rain, long lines and primitive camping conditions to show the world again why heavy metal is the most peaceful and most welcoming music community on the planet.

Warning: I don’t know if the upload of this video is sanctioned (or tacitly permitted) by ARTE Concerts, so it may be taken down soon. Enjoy it while it’s still up! I am not the uploader of this video.