Manowarrior For Life! My Story
I cIearly remember the first time I heard MANOWAR. Fighting the World had just been released and somebody had brought the album from Germany (you could not buy officially such music in Bulgaria at that time). What first struck me was the inherent power of their music. I was asked to translate the lyrics of the songs and the very process of translating them helped me get into the lyrics to a much deeper level than just listening to the songs. Thus, the songs grew on me even more. MANOWAR were to me a band that played exceptionally powerful music and they did it really well. They were loud as hell, they had lyrics which appealed to me. My husband Miro shared my passion for MANOWAR, as did some of our close friends. However, looking back at that period from today’s perspective, I didn’t even suspect how thoroughly this band would change my life.
The day I really discovered MANOWAR was June 30th, 2007 and I will never forget that day. MANOWAR had their first ever show in Bulgaria and it was on that day that I saw MANOWAR live for the first time and I realized that this was not just a great and loud heavy metal band singing about power, might and courage. These were people who seemed to actually believe in what their songs were about and live by the highest standards they have set themselves. I’ve made many attempts to describe the feelings that hit me on that day, but it’s not possible for me to put in words all the energy, the power, the might, the passion, the inspiration that were streaming from that stage. Within those magic 3 hours they played nearly every song every local fan had ever dreamed of hearing live. They came, they conquered and they offered the perfect gift to their Bulgarian fans in exchange for our hearts – Mila Rodino. Thank you, Eric, for taking the time to learn the lyrics in Bulgarian! Your rendition of our anthem was spectacular!!! Thank you MANOWAR for showing us what a true metal show is!
It was something I had never seen before by any band. It was a magical interaction between band and fans.
It was the quality of sound never experienced before.
Having seen MANOWAR’s show in Kavarna 2007, I thought I would never see anything so great… But what did I know back then. The show in Kavarna on July 5th, 2008 surpassed my wildest dreams! 5 magic hours and 4 minutes of pure power and might on stage! As if playing the first six albums wasn’t enough, including some songs that had seldom been performed live, the band had prepared some more extra cool surprises for us: Hail To England turned into Hail to Bulgaria, as Eric replaced “England” with “Bulgaria” in the chorus! Die with Honor performed for the first time ever live! Mila Rodino performed beyond perfection with a choir and an orchestra!
Amazing! After years of waiting Bulgarian fans of MANOWAR were finally rewarded for their patience two years in a row and in what a way! I have never experienced anything that comes close to it. Valeri (some of you know him from the Czech shows 2012, others from the German shows in the following years) shared such a lovely story about a 75-years old lady they met at the 2008 show in Kavarna that I cannot resist sharing. The guys thought she was accidentally there and asked her if she had enjoyed the show, to which she replied, “It was such a stupid thing to let this band [MANOWAR] play on the first night and not ask them to perform at the grand finale of the festival, on the third night. They raised the bar so high that now it wouldn’t really matter even if a band from Mars came tomorrow…” That sums it just about right.
When MANOWAR were announced to play at Bestfest in Bucharest the following year, we had no doubts that we had to be there. Our first show abroad. Needless to say, the band offered once again an unforgettable night. We also experienced our first House of Death party that was perfectly organized by our Romanian hosts. Thanks, guys! Many of the people we met there that night have become our true friends for life. So many people that we met for the first time in Bucharest, but we felt we’d known for ages. People that we’ve barely met would later help us when we would visit their home towns on tour and would even welcome us in their homes, or would travel thousands of kilometers just to be with us on a special day. Thank you, MANOWAR for uniting us all under the sign of the hammer! After that night it’s never been only about the concert anymore – it feels like a grand family reunion on each tour!
In 2010, MANOWAR finally came to my home town, Sofia. Figures in the press are varying but at least 35.000 screamed our lungs out showing the promoters that we were at the festival for MANOWAR and MANOWAR alone. Regardless of the ridiculously short slot allowed to MANOWAR, we were happy that our 8-years old nephew Kiki and our older nephew Stefan could finally see for themselves what we were talking about all these years. After the show Kiki asked me to tell “MANOWAR that they are the greatest band ever!” And later, at the party when someone from the crew gave him a used MANOWAR-labeled guitar pick, I could see in his eyes all the excitement and pride he felt. Joey, thank you for honoring our fallen brother Joro (Spirit). All who knew him missed him terribly that night.
Tolmin was our first Magic Circle Festival. This was the first time I would ever see MANOWAR from so close, the first time I could see the devotion in Joey’s eyes, the first time I could see Eric smile live, the first time I received a present from the band – Thank you, Eric, for the signed “Ask me about Asgard” T-shirt! It is still on display in our living room, but no one is allowed to touch it. 3 glorious days and nights with our brothers and sisters from all around the world in a huge party tent the band had ensured for the fans. Million thanks for the perfect organization to all involved!
After that touring to see MANOWAR became an essential part of our lives. Several dozens of shows and tens of thousands of kilometers on the road later, I can say my life has changed thoroughly. All the excitement of shows announced, making travel plans, anticipating to see the next unforgettable performance and to meet our friends became a special spice that brings so much flavor in my life that I cannot imagine what it would be like if I didn’t have a next show to look forward to.
I won’t stop at each unforgettable MANOWAR show, but I cannot omit my last show so far – in Sofia again, on June 16th, 2019. It was a few nights of glorious parties and the best show in my life! But you never know with MANOWAR – they could easily top that the next time I see them. I am still overwhelmed with emotions and grateful for having my nephews and so many dear friends from Texas all the way to Japan sharing that night with us. Kiki did an amazing job both for securing a front row spot for me and as my bodyguard throughout the show! This was his second show and he admitted that it was a dream come true for him to share the front row with me and so it was for me. My little boy has grown up to a reliable young man. Stefan told me that it was an unforgettable experience and that he still gets goose bumps thinking of that night. This was an event that I will cherish for as long as I live and I can’t find words strong enough that would do justice to the emotions felt!
Today, I cannot imagine my life without the band and the guys at the House of Death that I am proud to call my family. I’ve got inspiring music for any mood, performances exceeding perfection that have left me speechless so many times, powerful and motivating lyrics, and a band that does care a great deal about us, the fans, the personal connection – so many unforgettable personal moments – be it a greeting, a wink, a smile, a hint that what we shared in the forum has been heard.
The sound so often felt to be loud even for MANOWAR’s standards, but still crystal clear (Hail Jeff!) I am addicted to feeling the magic sound physically, with every cell of my body. I just need to hear it again and again, to feel it all – the black wind coming out of the PA – Magic, pure magic that only MANOWAR can deliver.
Two great men have earned a special place in my heart – Eric and Joey.
At times while performing Eric seems to me like the Norse God Bragi, the God of poetry and music, at others like Baldur, the god of radiance, then like the thunderous Thor, and at times he looks like Odin himself. His voice, his facial expressions, his posture, everything about him takes him so far beyond all that is human. After every show I get the feeling that he came from Valhalla to embrace us with his magical voice.
I love the way Joey would come out on stage with slow, confident, heavy steps, like a Giant. I’ve always seen him as a Giant on stage, the genius, the virtuoso! Joey’s unconditional and complete devotion to MANOWAR is not merely worthy of great respect, but it is also an inspiring model to me. In difficult times I often find myself looking for inspiration in the battles he has won.
And now I flip through the pages of the magnificent edition The Blood of the Kings Vol. 1 and think of the days it has all started, of the days when these two men of great integrity began writing the history of true metal and from the bottom of my heart I say:
THANK YOU, MANOWAR, for your music, for the inspiration, for making dreams come true, for making the impossible possible! I admire your professionalism and your devotion to your fans that has created this special bond between band and fans… such a strong bond I have never felt before.
Million thanks also to the crew for the amazing job you are doing!
A bold mighty HAIL to the band that changed my life!
See you in April!