RAMMSTEIN / 3TEETH
After getting a huge disappointment by the “reheated in the microwave” show by METALLICA a week ago, I had serious second thoughts for this one. I had seen RAMMSTEIN onstage three times in the not so distant future, so what bugged me was how this show could be any different considering also that the German band has not released new music since 2009. To put it simple; if METALLICA showed no excitement and passion onstage, how could RAMMSTEIN be any different? Of course, I am not against to Metal concerts turning into pre-rehearsed performances (especially for superstar bands) but when the emotion is not there, then it is almost equivalent to going to the movies... Anyway, the RAMMSTEIN shows are full of pyros and stage props, so the visually ‘having fun’ aspect was guaranteed.
Getting a photo-pass for this meant waiting a bit outside Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, and eventually losing the 3TEETH show, and by the time we entered the venue, it looked packed. On top of this, there was a lot of excitement waiting for the black curtain covering the stage to fall down. Yeah, the moment the countdown started, the crowd exploded with enthusiasm and joined into the counting for the last 10 seconds. RAMMSTEIN have managed to conquer the US market despite the fact that almost all the lyrics are written in the German language. Since for the first three songs there were photographers inside the photo-pit, there were no excessive pyros but still, the band’s entrance was dominating. The pulsing read lights with the keyboards / drums added to the excitement, and the moment the spotlight was aimed at Flake’s position (who started his trademark dance), the two guitarists appeared on two platforms brought the on stage level. After the first explosions of the night, the music stopped and Mr. Till, all dressed in white, made a tap-dancing entrance before throwing his top hat on the air that soon enough exploded... “Ramm4” started blasting off the PAs with an impressive power and clarity. So yeah, everything was rehearsed and on a predefined plan (you cannot be spontaneous when explosions are involved), but the excitement and overwhelming sound put the words ‘live show’ on bold and highlighted letters. It is amazing how this band serves this Industrial-esque type of music with that groove which gets you moving, no matter your musical affiliation. It took zero time to get the audience going and when the first opportunity to sing along came, everyone joined in. And yes, I had to quickly eat my words about my thoughts on a pre-rehearsed show, because the band looked and sounded fantastic. Till is such a special figure onstage and without doing much, he does plenty... His facial expressions, his moves and the way he stands when delivering the singing goods are one of a kind and I am still amazed he has not been offered a movie role. One thing that is also unique with RAMMSTEIN is their way of connecting with the audience despite the Industrial and (sometimes borderline Steampunk) aesthetics. After the kind of slow “Reise, Reise”, it was time to get things going with the hard-hitting guitar groove of “Halleluja” which saw more singing-along during the chorus part. Till started his trademark "smashing walnuts on my knee” headbanging before point towards Flake during the church organ-type keyboard part. The photo-shooting part was done, so it was time to bring on louder stage props with “Zerstören” and Till’s explosive undergarment...
The loud audience was responsible for making the entire experience even better, especially in the way they participating in the show with singing / chanting along, regardless if it was in the German language. So, I hope you can understand how successful was RAMMSTEIN’s performance and how impressive was their way of connecting with the audience and still follow the show’s flow. A RAMMSTEIN show is not a RAMMSTEIN show without fire and occasional explosions, so “Feuer Frei!” brought all of these. Yeah, singing-flamethrowers were brought onstage although the wind gave lead guitarist Scholle a really hard time because it was blowing the flame towards his face... I have already praised Till for his showmanship skills but I have to do the same with his singing and the way he delivered “Seemann” adding to the dramatics of this one. I guess, sometimes all these stage props kind of make your attention to gravitate towards other things and miss how good this band is.
Flake was wearing something that looked like a prisoner’s outfit but this did not last long. Close to the end of “Ich Tu Dir Weh”, Till hunt him down and after catching him, he “threw” him inside a bathtub... Yeah, it was time for a fiery bath, since Till has already started pouring on the bathtub some “fire”-liquid material while standing above the stage on a raised platform. Of course, Flake survived and got back to his treadmill keyboard, wearing an all glitters suit this time.
Watching a show like this with so many things going on may make you lose focus from the music, but in the case of RAMMSTEIN that does not happen. You see, the show has such a great flow that keeps you hooked with your ears and your eyes. Yeah, “Mein Herz Brennt” was awesome and especially the orchestral parts sent shiver down my spine. And yes, the singing-along kept going strong non-stop although I think during “Links 2-3-4” may have been the loudest moment (that groovy part was enough to make up for the headbanging time I lost with METALLICA). Till broke his speaking silence after “Ich Will” asking “let me see your hands” and that exactly is what happened. You don’t need me to tell you how it went during “Du Hast”, right? In case you may be wondering, know that there were a lot of flames onstage.
After the DEPECHE MODE cover on “Stripped”, the band left the stage but no one moved an inch because there had to be more. The sonar sounds and the huge flames coming from the two sides of the stage kicked off the encore with “Sonne” that had more fire and an awesome light show during the drum-break. For “Amerika”, the stage was lit in the red, white and blue colors (so fitting with the fourth of July approaching), although the lyrics do not praise anyone and have the classic RAMMSTEIN irony... The set of wings were brought onstage and, judging by the loud cheers, everyone knew what was coming; “Engel” closed the set with Till being raised above the stage with more flames coming from his wings. Sure, I have seen the wings-thing before but by twisting and changing things a bit, it felt like a different experience. And that was the end of the show that definitely left us wanting for more, so despite what I have promised to myself, I’d gladly watch another RAMMSTEIN show - even in the same touring cycle. Till thanked the Chicago audience by saying “You were wonderful” and then the entire band said goodnight on a bended knee. This may seem like a cheesy move, but to me, it reflected the band’s respect to everyone who came to see the show and, on top of everything, it felt sincere.
02. “Reise, Reise”
05. “Keine Lust”
06. “Feuer Frei!”
08. “Ich Tu Dir Weh”
09. “Du Riechst So Gut”
10. “Mein Herz Brennt”
11. “Links 2-3-4”
12. “Ich Will”
13. “Du Hast”
14. “Stripped” (DEPECHE MODE cover)
(click to enlarge)