Rammstein in Concert 2012
Rammstein at the Millenium 02, 24th February
After a Rammstein concert there is simply nowhere else to go. This is a spectacle so mind blowing that one is at a loss to know what else could top it, save another Rammstein concert, or save being on stage with Rammstein which would be perilous.
It is no wonder that the six East German individuals won the BEST LIVE BAND at the Golden Gods Awards last year, for the theatrics alone are stunning. The scene commenced with the band processing by torchlight through the crowd towards a lowered platform forming a bridge to the stage. Sombre and funereal, it was soon to crescendo into the battering ram of a show that Rammstein stands for.
In fact the catalyst for the name was the town Ramstein in Germany. Rammstein claim that because the lyrics are mostly German and not accessible to many audiences, they need to have a great visual extravaganza to compensate for this. They don’t because the music stands on its own and the chorus repetitive so that anyone can sing along and grasp the meaning.
All the same, this show offered the full monty overlaid with very literal Teutonic style: Replicated sodomy, a giant pink penis ridden by singer Till LIndemann spurting white foam to the lyrics of, what else but Pussy, simulated urination over both crowd and Doom, the drummer, flagellation and inferred cannibalism. Did I leave any taboo out? Perhaps religion? Well there were Angels (Engel) for which Till sported incredibly long extended golden wings which bellowed fire through their tips in a spectacular performance which was more hell than heaven.
Till started life as a basket weaver but is built like a brickie, he would need to be to handle the weight, but he is also qualified as a pyrotechnician having had various accidents on stage. It is fortuitous, for one could not imagine such a veritable circus act of stunts passing current Health and Safety regulations without this. Equally dramatic was Mein Teil (My Portion) gruesomely portraying the case of the German cannibal Amin Meiwes.
Here Flake (Christian Lorenz) is ‘cooked’ in a Heath Robinson style metal cauldron rolled onto the stage and set on fire by Till. Flake, garbed incongruously in a sequinned jumpsuit, survived this flaming for his next act of bravery – cooling off crowd surfing the stadium in a rubber dinghy!
One huge disappointment was the lack of big screens. Presumably these would have been a fire hazard as cannonballs of coloured flames were flying into the air, or maybe the screens would have detracted from the heavily engineered look of the set, carefully designed to evoke a futuristic factory plant from a film set and again very Germanic and stark in style. There was some recompense however as the group moved into the centre of the audience for a while on a makeshift stage offering better visibility at the back.
The music which seems to come second in any review of Rammstein was wunderbar. The sound was impactful, memorable, and almost brainwashing with its beat. Listen to it enough and you can’t get it out of your head. Much of it has a similarity, for Rammstein has a distincitive style but this is confident, solid, good, well produced heavy banging metal oddly blended with a light-hearted lilting pace and melodic tones that you can beat along to.
The setlist included old and new numbers from the recent Made in Germany album launched late last year such as Du Hasst, Ohne Dich, Keine Lust, Mein Hertz, Living in Amerika and Pussy, the latter two with crude and memorable English lyrics. Sadly they didn’t play Moscau which would have resounded so well in such a big arena. I fail to see how this 6-pack of testosterone could have repeated the same act with the same energy the following day in Birmingham and a further 2 days later in Dublin. This single performance felt like something they had psyched themselves up for over months.
Rammstein’s current tour continues till May and it will be fascinating to see how this goes down in Amerika. The support band, the Swedish Goth-metal Deathstars were one of the best supports I have ever seen – they were generously given enough space and noise by the main act to make an impact and were well matched making the overall performance even better – watch out for them.