American power metallers ICED EARTH played their final show with singer Matt Barlow at this year's edition of the Wacken Open Air festival on August 6 in Wacken, Germany. Professionally filmed video footage of the entire performance can be seen below.
The band's setlist was as follows:
01. Burning Times
02. Declaration Day
03. Vengeance Is Mine
05. Last December
06. I Died for You
08. The Hunter
10. Birth of the Wicked
11. The Coming Curse
12. Iced Earth
Matt Barlow has announced his departure from ICED EARTH in March. In a heartfelt statement, Barlow cited his commitment to his family and the need for ICED EARTH to tour more as the reasons for his retirement; however, he committed to performing with ICED EARTH on all 2011 European festival dates, including Wacken Open Air.
Matt Barlow's official statement was as follows:
"Brothers and sisters,
"Let me begin by saying how much of an honor it has been to share my time in ICED EARTH with Jon and the guys…and with all of you! Since my return to the band in 2007, it has truly been extraordinary. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and see old friends and meet new ones. Though we had originally thought that the ICED EARTH touring schedule would be very limited, we were able to play our fair share of concerts.
"During that time we were also able to have a live DVD produced [the forthcoming 'Festivals Of The Wicked']. However, due to the rapidly changing music industry, it has become increasingly clear to recording artists that the only way to keep a band viable and to truly reach its potential is through live performances. That means that a band must reach out to new regions of the globe and become pioneers for their own livelihood. Since 2007, Jon and I have always had the best intentions for the future of ICED EARTH, and we still do. However, given the band's projected touring schedule, ICED EARTH's future and mine must now take separate paths.
"On my departure from ICED EARTH in 2003, I made a commitment to my wife and to the idea that we would start, and raise, our family together. Two years later, my first child was born and two years after that, my second. My youngest son was born about a week before Jon asked me to return to ICED EARTH. It was a very exciting and emotional time for all of us, but we were all clear on our intentions. It is apparent to us now that regardless of our belief at that time, time can change an intended outcome. In this instance, I hope that change will not be regarded as a bad thing, but rather as a necessary part of evolution.
"Jon and the band must venture into new realms to continue to grow ICED EARTH. I commend him for his ideals and wish nothing but to share in his vision. I know that this is not the last time Jon and I will work together, but it will be my last endeavor with ICED EARTH. ICED EARTH is a name and force of its own. It has been very good to me and has allowed me to live a dream that others would give most anything for. I have been truly blessed to share this experience with everyone. I will continue to support Jon and ICED EARTH in every way. I will also continue to create and perform in my own capacity.
"These next months will prove to be a very emotional time for me. I am extremely happy to be able to share the experience with Jon, Brent, Freddie, Troy and the ICED EARTH family. I am proud to know them and honored that they consider me their friend. It is going to be phenomenal to share the love of this music during several summer festivals and I know that it will be a time we will never forget.
"Please consider all that I have brought forth and all of Jon's offerings before passing judgment on the future of ICED EARTH. This band has always strived to give its listeners the very best and I know that Jon, as always, will continue to lead that charge.
"To ICED EARTH and all of you…I wish you the very best!!!"
ICED EARTH's 10th studio album, "Dystopia", is scheduled for release in Europe on October 17 and in the U.S. on October 18 via Century Media Records. The CD will mark the band's recording debut with singer Stu Block (INTO ETERNITY), who joined ICED EARTH in March following the departure of Barlow. (Note: Block will make his live debut on the European leg of ICED EARTH's world tour in November.)
The release of "Dystopia" will be followed by the most extensive world tour ICED EARTH has ever undertaken.
The European leg of the 2011-2012 "World Dystopia Tour" has been posted on the band's official web site, and all official social-media sites. The trek begins October 30 in Bochum, Germany.
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