Monday, June 4, 2012

Concert Review: Rammstein

The show by which all future concerts will be measured.  The motto "Other bands play, Rammstein burns" is so apt.  Indoor fireworks are one thing; fireworks ignited by some sort of crossbow contraption aimed over the audience is another.  Still not sure how they get the Fire Marshall to sign off on the whole spectacle.  And how none of the band members have been immolated is unclear.  The show is like pantomime with and crazed edge, sort of WWF meets NASCAR.  You know its an act but you cannot look away, waiting for spectacular implosion and ensuing carnage.

Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire
PHOTO BY GROOVEHOUSE, Courtesy Houston Press
Flames that were felt in Row Z.  Flames that were in the wings, flames behind the drummer, flames that shot 30 feet in the air, flames that band members blew through some crazy fire-breathing contraption that Godzilla would envy.  Flame throwers.  Flames under the giant kettle-pot that contained keyboardist "Flake" Lorenz as lead singer Till Lindemann tried to cook him (loosely based on a real-life German cannibal...).

The Grand Entrance
A definite WWF moment, the band members enter mid-stadium to a slow anthem, climb up to a sort of large podium and then make their way along a narrow catwalk above the audience to the main stage.  One guy had a Texas flag, another a Rammstein flag, another a torch.  It was quite a beginning.  "Never in my 23 years critiquing concerts have I seen such an elaborate entrance. Never in my 23 years critiquing music have I seen a show like Rammstein’s" - Mario Tarradell, Dallas Morning News

The Music
Relentless pounding. No song introductions, just ripping from one to the next.  Played for almost two hours, belting out the favorites like "Du Hast", "Feuer Frei", "Ich Will" " “Mein Herz Brennt", "Engel", "Amerika" and so on... Disappointed we did not get treated to "Zwitter"...  Much moshing, although the American Airlines Center was far from sold out.  Apparently there was a significantly better attendance at the San Antonio and Houston shows.  Sound was very good.  Those not chanting along were dazed.

"Flake" dinghy surfing was cool, as were the huge angel wings during Engel - fitted with tips that spewed flames of course.  Over the top moments: the reverse crawl along the catwalk to the small stage in the middle of the floor... and the giant phallic thing that Lindemann rode and spewed foam over the crowd.

The Critics
"I could write three more pages full of words aimed at retelling all that happened during that performance, but this Rammstein show defies mere descriptions. It really was one of those you-had-to-be-there events. I’ll be processing it for several days."  - Mario Tarradell, Dallas Morning News

"In the world of pulsating metal, Rammstein's has no peers. Not even the mighty Slayer, in its glorious days in the mid to late '80s, could match this German outfit's intensity" - David Huff, Jam Magazine

"While their show is heavy on spectacle, it's worth mentioning that Rammstein is actually pretty talented when it comes to writing catchy metal songs. Their music meets nicely in the middle of a spectrum that features Metallica on one end and Depeche Mode on the other."  - Cory Garcia, Houston Press.

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