Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US)

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DIRKSCHNEIDER / ELM STREET / ENDGAME

Date: 07th March, 2018
Venue: The Forge
Ticket: $23 (€19)
Promoter: n/a


Udo did not plan to extend this tour this long, but the way things turned up, I am glad he did. I mean, some bands would choose to continue with the same setlist and most probably revisit the same countries for just a money-grab run. There is part of my brain that sees the logic of doing this, especially when considering the economical aspect and how much time a band can spend in the rehearsal room working on songs that after this tour won’t be included in the future setlists. In this case, Udo decided to add more days and change the setlist by adding songs from his second (and last) era with ACCEPT. And for me, getting to hear songs from the amazing “Objection Overruled” and “Death Row” was an impossible to ignore deal, no matter if the show was set right in the middle of the working week. On top of this, having attended the first DIRKSCHNEIDER show, then getting more songs from the ACCEPT era was the best way for Udo and for us to close that chapter on the highest of notes.

Of course, having the show in the middle of the week meant a sparse crowd for the first bands on the billing and being extremely difficult to get early at The Forge and catch the whole package. So, when we entered the venue, ENDGAME were three songs deep into their set but they did not have a big impact to the gathered crowd. Whether we like it or not, here in the States, the classic Heavy Metal sound tends to attract the older metalheads who appreciate the quality of a veteran band. Sure, there were younger faces among the audience but the majority was the ones with grey hair...

ENDGAME’s groove Metal was well-played, showcasing a band with lots of onstage miles but did not connect with the classic Heavy Metal-oriented crowd. Still, the band did a solid set and in the end got more reaction for the gathered metalheads who were still warming up, having a couple of cold ones to help getting the working-day fatigue off their system.

Next on billing was ELM STREET, the band that DIRKSCHNEIDER list as direct support and this is why the four Aussies had a better sound than ENDGAME. Yeah, the intro came as loud as it should to draw the attention towards the stage where singer and guitarist was wearing the widest of smiles; “alright, let’s get this party started”, he said before letting “Face The Reaper” do the rest. Ok, ELM STREET sound more modern than Udo but their onstage energy and the really nice double guitar harmonies (call me MAIDEN references) did bounce better than ENDGAME did. “Kiss The Canvas” came without pausing and with the faster tempo and the additional double bass drum saw some early headbanging action. ELM STREET is a hard working band onstage, being fully aware how difficult is to pique and then capture the audience’s attention one needs to sweat his arse off and then some... Luke Man who was stepping in the shoes of Aaron Adie did a great job handling the lead guitar duties and really seemed like he had been with ELM STREET for more than just some touring dates. After the mid-tempo fists-in-the-air “Elm St's Children”, Ben said: “This is our first time in your city, this is for all the old-schoolers” and ELM STREET hit us with the indeed old school-sounding “Heavy Metal Power”. Yeah, this did work and more people seemed to get into the right concert mood. “Heart Racer” was dedicated to the ladies while the QUIET RIOT cover on “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” was to celebrate a roadcrew member’s birthday. Even though I am not a fan of covers (I prefer original material), I think ELM STREET did great on this crowd pleaser and the louder response they got was the only piece of evidence I need. Closing the set before passing the baton to Udo’s ACCEPT galore with “Metal Is The Way” was the most fitting way and the best way to drop the curtain to ELM STREET introduction to the Joliet metalheads. Definitely will check them again on the next chance we’ll get.

ELM STREET setlist:

01. “Face The Reaper”
02. “Kiss The Canvas”
03. “Elm St’s Children”
04. “Heavy Metal Power”
05. “Heart Racer”
06. “Barbed Wire Metal”
07. “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” (QUIET RIOT cover)
08. “Metal Is The Way”

ELM STREET

Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Elm Street @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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Everything was ready for a hearty dose of ACCEPT classics which some of them have lost their setlist position or it has been a really long time since the last time they’ve been in one. And this is totally understandable as ACCEPT is an active band and has been releasing very good albums, so pushing the oldies on the side is nothing to complain about. In fact, this is another reason for attending the ‘Back To The Roots’ tour and that is getting to hear such songs from the original voice. As the stage was getting ready (by the way, I love what The Forge management has done with the place and especially how they increased the size of the stage), people were moving closer to the stage and by the time the lights went out and THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN song “Fire” started blasting from the speakers, the arena felt nicely packed. Aside from checking Erika’s report from the DIRKSCHNEIDER show in Ronneby, Sweden, I kept myself oblivious on the setlist selections, something that built even more my excitement. Judging by how people reacted as the intro kept going, I was not alone feeling my blood pumping harder. And man, the moment the band members (except Udo) took their predefined onstage spot and the live music kicked in, I was over the moon. Yeah, “The Beast Inside” from “Death Row” was the first song in! The sound was loud but extremely clear (damn that Teutonic Metal rhythm!) and hearing Udo singing “my mind is razor sharp” behind the stage sent massive shivers down my spine. Udo is a unique frontman in the sense that without moving a lot or doing something special, he owns the stage with his honesty and anti-star style. It felt that we are in the middle of the set because there was no warming-up period and everything was 666% pure Metal from the start. Mind you that the first time I saw ACCEPT live was back in 1992, so this had nothing to do with some teenager’s excitement... One more amazing thing (I will be using this word a lot here) was the amount of music that was packed in this 2-hour setlist and to execute this, the band had to keep the breaks at minimum, so “Aiming High” came with all breaks off. Despite some of the members’ younger age, the entire band had the '80s attitude and this means serving the visual aspect of a Metal concert. You see, it is not just wearing your jeans and your t-shirt and go out to play; there is a role that a Metal band gets into before entering the stage. This is what drew most of us in this music; during the concert, you feel special and part of a brotherhood, so watching your band performing and “acting”, is part of this ritual. I am talking about watching Fitty, Bill and Andrey moving on the stage, exchanging sides and gathering at the center of the stage following the music, satisfies the visual aspect of a gig. And this is something many young bands have no idea how to do...

As it has been written in METAL KAOZ’s pages, Udo continues to amaze with his voice. I have no idea how he keeps up with the constant touring in both sides of the Atlantic, but he nails the vocals, especially in the slower songs like “Bulletproof” or even better on “Amamos La Vida”. Especially the latter one sent me all the way back to my teenage years when “Objection Overruled” had been fresh off the shelves - in other words, frickin’ amazing! Of course and I loved the setlist-usual suspects like London Leatherboys”, “Breaker” or “Screaming For A Love-Bite” but hearing ““Another Second To Be” and “Can’t Stand The Night” is an amazing treat and a unique chance that is most probably won’t happen in the future. The way Udo moved from the low to the higher singing pitch during “Can’t Stand The Night” is another hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-standing-up moment and there is nothing to add here because you need to be present to feel this.

As I said, there was no room to chit-chat or for long talks and the songs kept coming back-to-back, setting up an amazing pace that after a while made that Wednesday feel like a Friday rocking-your-socks-off night. And how one cannot but have fun with spirit-lifting songs like “Up To The Limit” or scream his lungs out singing along “Princess Of The Dawn”. This one came after Udo had said his goodnights with “Russian Roulette” but I don’t think anyone moved a muscle; I mean, there is no ACCEPT setlist without this Metal hymn. And the same goes with the last three ageless songs which closed the set; with “Fast As A Shark” challenging everyone not to headbang during its bone-crushing and borderline Thrash rhythm. “Balls To The Wall” was the last of the three and the one that dropped the curtain. Each and every time, I get the chills with the “show me the sign of victory” which sounds cheesy as hell, but it is also shockingly relevant to this hunt for power all the politicians are involved, having completely forgotten their true role.

I don’t care if my words may seem too much for someone who has not grown with this music, but hearing these songs being served as close as to the originals from Udo, brought so many emotions that are impossible to ignore. Do yourself a favor and check out this tour before it is too late!

Danke, Udo!

DIRKSCHNEIDER setlist:

01. “The Beast Inside”
02. “Aiming High”
03. “Bulletproof”
04. “Midnight Mover”
05. “Living For Tonite”
06. “Another Second To Be”
07. “Fight It Back”
08. “Can't Stand The Night”
09. “Amamos La Vida”
10. “London Leatherboys”
11. “Up To The Limit”
12. “Breaker”
13. “Screaming For A Love-Bite”
14. “Love Child”
15. “Objection Overruled”
16. “Russian Roulette”
17. “Princess Of The Dawn”
18. “Metal Heart”
19. “Fast As A Shark”
20. “Balls To The Wall”

DIRKSCHNEIDER

Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dirkschneider @ The Forge, Joliet (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)