Rammstein’s North American tour after 10 year absence

Posted on June 20, 2011

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BY: RACHAEL MATTICE- Tour venue- Allstate Arena, Rosemont (Chicago), IL. May 10, 2011

After the unofficial ostracizing of the band from a prude United States public indecency violation during their last U.S. 1998 tour, the German industrial metal band Rammstein made their way back after a ten-year absence to promote their latest album “Liebe ist fur alle da.”

With only seven lucky U.S. city stops in the North American Tour, Chicago, IL, was among the chosen few. Downsizing from a typical European Olympiad stadium, Allstate Arena’s walls in Rosemont had to hold up for the extravagant pyrotechnic heavy metal contortions on May 10, 2011. Anywhere from fifteen to twenty metallic semi-trucks carried all of the elaborate equipment that ensured fans a performance of a decade. (Embarrassing and curb stomping “abstract, dazzle queen” Lady Gaga’s five-truck tour brigade).

After a two and a half hour drive, getting lost without a GPS, already past the ticketed start time of the concert, parking on a domestic side street hoping the car wouldn’t get stolen or towed, my boyfriend and I downed the last swigs of Absinthe from our gas mask flask and walked the mile to the arena, thirty minutes late. After weeks of debating in February of 2011 whether or not to buy the $100 plus tickets to see Rammstein, we did not care that we missed Combichrist’s (a band we had never heard of) performance.

An over priced beer down and few snapshots taken from the impeccable seats fifteen minutes before Rammstein’s appearance, it barely phased me that two late fifties parents stood motionless behind us. They were clearly at the show to protect their innocent teenagers from the surrounding satanic weirdoes and trying to destroy our “raise hell” vibe.

Once the lights shut off, orgasmic vibrations of energy swarmed the arena as the two guitarists used a boilermaker hammer to chisel into the wall that they made their stage entrance from, followed by vocalist Till Lindermann’s flame torch hand-made hole in the wall. They premiered with the first track on the album “Liebe ist fur alle da” titled “Rammlied” which highlighted the bands name as an introduction without any awkward speaking.

Clothed in their typical dark, militaristic representations of brutality, I laughed at Lindermann’s opening Alice in Wonderland White Rabbit-looking collared red cape that added to Rammstein’s twisted theatrics. The opening song was also the four minutes that Till had the “Ich Tu Dir Weh” video LED light piercing through the side of his cheek, illuminating his mouth when he screamed. When a band has been playing for as long as Rammstein, it is not just the music that is important, but the imagery and show that must also entertain the audience. The tediously dangerous additives also keep the musicians fueled for two hours after years of playing overly simplistic riffs and boring singles like Du Hast.

Still, the music deserves applause and tangled hair because hearing the forceful howls and rolling vibrato “r’s” of Lindermann’s voice persuaded my former distaste for the German language to a lustful and fuming speech of assailants.

In fact, there are a lot of features taken from the “Ich Tu Dir Weh” video that was contributed to the entire performance. The smoke blows, gushing flames, and Flake Lorenz’s silver disco ball suit that he magically changed into after Lindermann poured sparks onto him 30 feet up in the air on a platform barely wider than his feet. Fighting vertigo and concentrating hard to stand still, Till stood on the beam without any cable support.

Playing old favorites like “Sonne,” “Ich Will,” “Benzin,” and “Feuer Frei,” the audience could feel the overwhelming heat from the fire and multiple torches attached to the guitarists mouths. There were fireworks, an old gas pump that was used to set a human being on fire across the stage, Flake’s treadmill, a giant phallus shooter that imitated spraying cum onto the audience with cotton balls during “Pussy,” Flake crowd surfing in a giant blow up boat, and the numerous other set props that contributed to the sickest concert imaginable.

However, even though the phallus shooter was controversial in the eyes of conservative Americans, it was not the gutsiest move Rammstein pulled. For the opening of “Wiener Blut,” a small bedroom scene with a gramophone pulls center stage as Till crawls on all fours, mimicking some of the most sadistic and demonic facial expressions conceivable to accentuate the eerie beginning of the song.

As the bedroom moves away and the rest of the heaviness kicks in, naked, bald dolls drop from the ceiling hanging from a piece of string tied around their neck. Not knowing the true meaning behind this song at the time, I was instantly mesmerized by the atrocity and shock that they were trying to deliver to the audience. I looked across the rest of the concertgoers and most stood still either from repulsion, confusion, or hypnotism. I cannot remember a time that I thrashed my head harder than I did during that song. Later, I read into the song’s description of the horror story of Josef Fritzl’s 24-year captivation of his teenage daughter. The true terror included raping and bearing children in the silence of a dungeon. The hanging dolls represented the malign and neglected treatment of his daughter and inbred children.

The last song Rammstein concluded with was “Engel” from the “Sehnsucht” album. Aside from the music, which did not seem to fit a dynamic enough of a closing for the outstanding performance both instrumentally and visually, Till came forth from below stage with the heaviest-looking contraption of 12 foot metal wings attached to his back. A fallen angel is not malevolent enough to describe how they looked on a barbaric gruesome being like Lindermann.

I was temporarily speechless after the finale, which also had a special ending with a champagne toast for one of the band mate’s birthdays, trying to take in the last few moments of the sickest show I had ever been to. I knew that future concerts would have a hard time living up to these standards, but it impressed me enough to confirm in my mind that they are still the only band I would pay the ridiculous amount of money to see live again.

For future tour dates and other info, go to the band website at http://www.rammstein.com, or like visit their Facebook fan page.

Until the next North American visit…

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Posted in: Music Reviews