In April Rammstein announced two headline shows at the 22,000-capacity Waldbühne in Berlin on 8 and 9 July, following their run of European festival during the summer. After both shows sold out in seconds they announced a third show on 11 July, which proceeded to sell out just as quickly but I was lucky enough to eventually get my hands on tickets for the additional show via the official Ticket Exchange and booked my flights to Berlin!
Canadian electro-artist Peaches initially seemed like a peculiar choice of support. But with her sexually explicit lyrics and sometimes disturbingly risqué costumes she did seem to be a fitting opener for a band whose live shows used to involve showering the crowd with foam from a large penis-shaped cannon.
At 9pm red smoke began to rise from the Waldbühne tent/stage as keyboardist Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz played the opening chords of new track “Ramm4” [more info]. From then on there was no unnecessary filler or chat in-between songs; they just ran through seventeen tracks one after the other for almost 2 hours.
The set included many of Rammstein’ infamous pyro effects – face-mounted flame-throwers during “Feuer Frei”, Till’s spinning bow of flames during “Du Riechst So Gut”, guitar-mounted flame throwers during “Links 2, 3, 4”, and the “bathtub pyro” of “Ich Tu Dir Weh”. For “Zerstören” Lindermann wore a large overcoat which revealed a ‘suicide vest’ filled with flashpods that exploded leaving no trace of Till.
They ended their packed set with their incredible cover of “Stripped” by Depeche Mode, but had saved the best for last with an encore of “Sonne” (complete with flames firing from all angles onto the stage), “Amerika” (with suitably-American tikka tape filling the arena) and “Engel”, which saw Lindermann hoisted up into the air wearing huge metal angel wings spewing fire from the ends.
Rammstein’s live shows have been described as “a rock opera”, and I think that is pretty accurate; their shows are a theatrical production as well as an outstanding musical performance. It barely matters whether you understand German or not as a their show is so engaging.
Some might think it is a bit excessive travelling to another country to watch a band play their hometown, but it is something I definitely don’t regret. Watching 22,000 people sing along to “Du Hast” in a beautiful open-air arena nestled in the woods was something wonderful to behold.
*”Ramm4″ is a new track that Rammstein have been playing to open their shows on this Festival Tour. The lyrics are largely made up of song-titles from their extensive back-catalogue, with a chorus proclaiming “Wir sind wieder da!” [we are back!] and an incredibly-catchy chant of “Ja – Nein – RAMMSTEIN”. There have been rumours that this new track might mean there is another album on the way. I really hope this is true and that with the album comes a ‘proper’ tour. It would be a absolute dream to photograph Rammstein if they make it to London!
Photos by Katie Frost: