Friday, 2 March 2012

Review: Rammstein @ O2 Arena, London

On Tuesday 21st February 2012, the O2 Arena played host to the Brit Awards, the UK award show honouring all things pop basically. Every now and then a surprise happens, like Iron Maiden winning Best Live Act in 2009 (although this was no shock to anyone who saw them on the Somewhere Back In Time tour) however this time around there were no real surprises. Apparently the biggest surprise was that One Direction won Best British Single. Now, this means nothing to me as I can't claim to have ever knowingly listened to one of their songs. News and chat shows were paralysed for the next day or two afterwards due to Adele's acceptance speech being cut off in order for ITV to broadcast Blur's set. Now, I am a fan of Blur but if this was the "highlight" of the biggest British celebration of music, then British (and indeed international) pop music is in danger. This happened on Tuesday. On Friday 24th February 2012, the O2 Arena played host to Rammstein, as the Made In Germany tour rolled into London.

As a fan, I am delighted to see Rammstein playing the O2 Arena as it is the biggest venue in London. Having seen them before, it is no surprise to me that they are not only playing this venue, but they have sold it out. As good as the music is though, it cannot be denied that part of the reason the O2 Arena is sold out is due to the world infamous show that comes along with a Rammstein gig. This tours show has received a lot of praise, including this from Ginger Wildheart: "Fucking Hell. Rammstein. There is no better live show on earth #insane" I will do my best to describe the show as it happened as I go on, along with the set list.

A quick word for the support band. For this tour, the support came from Deathstars and after a quick Google and Spotify, I came to the conclusion that I don't much like them, so I avoided them.

Upon entering the arena, I walked to about 2/3rds of the way to the front. This served me well at the M.E.N Arena when I first saw them as I got a great view of the entire stage. Looking above me, I can see a great metal walkway suspended above the crowd. I had heard rumours of this being part of the show so to see it in person made me somewhat more excited about what I was about to witness. At this stage, members of the arena staff started asking us to move as far forward as we could. We didn't get very far but they insisted it was important for us to keep going further forward, citing it was to get a bit of kit through and that "it is vital to the show!" Not long after we had moved, the lights went and the crowd roared. The walkway started to descend from above and suddenly, smoke bellowed from one of the entrances to the lower seating and the band walked out, lead by a flame carrying drummer. One member of the band was carrying a flag with the Rammstein logo on it and Flake was carrying a St George's Cross flag. They proceeded to walk slowly towards a small stage that was set up just in front of the sound/light desk. The stage rose to meet the stairs of the walkway and one by one, the band members walked across and took their place on stage. When everyone was in place, they kicked into the first song of the night, Sonne. With all this going on, you could be easily forgiven for forgetting you were here to see a metal gig.

With Sonne came the first of many uses of pyro. Following Sonne was Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen, Keine Lust and Sehnsucht. It was around this time that, along with more pyro and fireworks, the first backdrop change of the night happened. The band was now playing in front of what appeared to be a cell structure/beehive like backdrop. This being a best of tour, it shouldn't have been a surprise that one massive song from Rammstein's back catalogue would be followed by another, but the massive grin on mine and thousands of others were present throughout the entire gig, especially when hearing the opening bars of the next song.

Following Sehnsucht was Asche Zu Asche, Feuer Frei (which somewhat unsurprisingly came with a lot of pyro), Mutter and Mein Teil. An early part of this song was extended to increase crowd participation. After a short while the song kicked on as norm with Til Lindermann re-emerging on stage, wearing a bloodied chef's outfit and carrying a modified microphone which was also a butcher’s knife. There was now also a large pot on stage with Flake inside. Lindermann proceeded with the assistance of various flamethrowers to "cook" Flake until the pot exploded. Picking up yet another flame flower-looking device, Lindermann then fired fireworks into the crowd when from the crowd, more were launched at the stage. The show during Mein Teil alone justified the price of the ticket, it was outstanding. Following another backdrop change (a more factory looking backdrop was now there), the gig continued with Du Riechst So Gut, Links 2 3 4, Du Hast and Haifisch. During this song, Flake took to his famous dingy and sailed out into the crowd. When I previously saw Rammstein, Flake's turning circle was understandably quite short. However at this gig he sailed right to the back of the standing area before coming back to the stage. After Haifisch, the band disappeared aside from Richard who somehow got to the little stage (went to two shows on this tour and cannot work out how he got there!) who played a dance song on keyboard, mixing the words Buck Dich into the tune. It was fairly clear which song was coming next.

What was not expected was how the rest of the band would join him on the stage. The walkway descended again and attached to chains, 4 of the band members were being walked across the walkway (on all fours like dogs) by the drummer (now in drag) who whipped them as they crossed. About half way across the walkway, Lindermann appeared to mount Flake and was repeatedly whipped for this. When reaching the stage, the band members were unchained and pushed towards the little stage (other than Lindermann who was dragged). When the band was all set up, they launched into Buck Dich. It was a real treat seeing Rammstein perform on such a small stage as a part of this show. The size of this stage was no bigger than smaller club venues, so to witness Rammstein playing without many theatrics and letting the music do the talking was just immense. I say barely any theatrics as something occurred during Buck Dich. Flake at this stage had changed from his full body suit into leather pants with an arse flap. Lindermann bent him over in front of him and spanked him, and then took a fake penis out of his trousers and proceeded to fuck him with it. I think Rammstein are the only band where this can happen during the show and people generally think "sounds about right". I imagine the response would be quite different if such an act occurred during a One Direction gig. Anyway, Flake ran away from being fucked and Lindermann had a look on his face which said "but I was so close" and smacked the fake penis a few times. He then proceeded to reach orgasm, and spray the crowd in the liquid result of this throughout another rendition of the chorus. This is a review of the London gig, but for the record, I got caught by the water (or whatever it was spraying out the fake penis) at both London and Birmingham. After Buck Dich, they played Mann Gegen Mann and Ohne Dich on the little stage before the walkway came back down, and they thank everyone for coming. Had they actually ended the gig there, I would have got more than my monies worth, but there was an encore.

Back on the main stage now, a large fan which looked like a prop from a horror film started to lower from the ceiling (someone in Birmingham standing near me said "look, Rammstein's biggest fan!" and I laughed. So ashamed!) The band returned to the stage and Mein Herz Brennt kicked off the encore. After this it was Amerika which I was really happy to hear as it was one of the first Rammstein songs I heard when getting into them. During Amerika, tons of Red, White and Blue confetti was shot into the crowd. After Amerika, they played Ich Will which is always a crowd pleaser.

Following Ich Will, the stage was obscured by a bright light. Like if you are looking at a car that has its full beams on. Eventually the lights dimmed and the ever familiar whistling intro to Engel started. Much like the first time I saw Rammstein, Til Lindermann emerged wearing massive metal angel wings. About half way through the song the tips of the wings lit up and started shooting fire. It doesn't sound like much when reading that sentence back but it is truly an amazing sight. Following the song, the lights darkened as the drum beat for Pussy began. When the lights came back on, the band were there and the song started properly with Lindermann gesturing that the crowd sing the English lines in the song while he covered the German lines (nice of him I thought). With the lights dancing in the colours of the Germany flag, Lindermann made his way over to his penis cannon, and while singing the chorus, sprayed the crowd in foam. As the song ended, a tape of classical music played as the band thanked the crowd and left triumphantly.

This gig was nothing short of outstanding. From the opening entrance through the crowd to the very end it was stunning. The stage show I have done my best to describe (with certain pictures to give visuals) but my words alone cannot do it justice. Rammstein's show blows anything else on the live circuit out of the water. Performance wise they were tight as ever. Overall, tonight shows why Rammstein are selling out the O2 Arena. I am beyond happy to have seen this show and this setlist. I will close with some more pictures and the setlist, but first some well chosen words from The Quietus, who also discussed the week where the O2 hosted both The Brits and Rammstein (I hope their prediction is correct).

“Above all though, tonight - and indeed Rammstein’s very existence - proves ultimately that if you show people innovation, not contrived homogenised crap, if you show people dedication and talent, not auto-tuned flash-in-the-pans, you can make something of both commercial and artistic value. We won’t be staring at Ed Sheeran’s hair in 12 months time, but we’ll certainly be staring at Til Lindemann’s fake ejaculating penis for at least the next 10 to 15 years.”

Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen
Keine Lust
Asche Zu Asche
Feuer Frei
Mein Teil
Du Riechst So Gut
Links 2 3 4
Du Hast
Buck Dich
Mann Gegen Mann
Ohne Dich
Mein Herz Brennt
Ich Will

For all of the photos I took at this gig and the birmingham gig, click this button HERE!


ROBBO1959 said...

Read you reveiw with great intrest was also at the o2 and birmingham shows the later being the 10th time of being totaly amazed by RAMMSTEIN 1st see them in 2002 at the london arena with my son who was then 15 on the mutter tour we even see then in berlin and all i can is THEY JUST GET was lucy enough to be right on the rope walkway when the came in,

Mike Tyler said...

I was fairly close to the rope walkway but not right on it, thats awesome.

These gigs were my 3rd and 4th time seeing Rammstein, and hopefully they will not be the last!