Those close to me know that my current favorite band is the German not quite metal, not quite industrial, but totally awesome Rammstein. Husband has been dealing with my obsession (yes, it’s about that bad), for about 3 years now. I’m like a high school girl with a crush. On 6 grown men. Whose language I don’t speak. Who set things on fire and blow things up. And sing. You know, a totally normal crush. 😉
Anyway, they don’t tour the States often and haven’t had a new album since 2009, but there were rumors that they had gotten together and were working on one to come out next summer (2018). So I was saving my pennies for a trip to Berlin or Prague or somewhere cool in Europe to see them when the new album came out. Maybe tour around. I’ve always wanted to travel over there anyway, and Husband was totally down- he’s always wanted to go to Budapest.
But then I learned that they were going to do some shows over here for the summer festival circuit. The closest was Chicago, and it was a whole weekend and you had to buy tickets to both days (even though you only wanted one day for one band), and while Chicago is on my list to places to go (Dresden Files!), it wound up being too expensive. Alas. But then! Then! They announced they were going to do a show in NY! There was no way I wasn’t going. The morning the tickets went on sale I was up, 2 laptops and the desktop at the ticket website, ready to go 30 minutes before time. When time came I was hitting “refresh” on three computers, looking for good tickets for 2, until 2 computers froze, but Husband saved me from a freak out and long story short- I got us good tickets. Orchestra section. One section away from the pit (which, for those who are unfamiliar is right up next to the stage). I did pay too much for them. I totally did. I went through a 3rd party vendor and had a brief panic attack (after the fact) at the thought that maybe the tickets I bought had been sold to someone else too and then I wouldn’t be able to get in and oh my god how could I be so stupid!! plus many swears. Husband, again, saved the day with the plan to go down early, get in line as early as I felt we needed to (he said we could get there at noon if I wanted), so that my tickets were the first scanned and thus I was in, no problems! Phew. Ok. This was in like, December. Panic fades pretty well over 6 months.
Back to the present- we got a campsite for 2 nights (cuz we are not only thrifty New Englanders, we are hearty!), about 20 minutes from the venue. We got a pet sitter for the weekend. We packed, we survived traffic in the City (“what do you mean 2 hours till arrival? You said that 2 hours ago?! Stupid GPS! What is wrong with you?!” Lesson learned- plan leave time better), we set up camp, found something fun to do for Sunday morning (next post- promise! The American Armor Museum. TANKS!), and had a pretty chill time of it. I didn’t make us get to the venue at noon, but I did get a little panicky and we got there around 5, doors opened at 7. However- since the line went all the way back, snaked around, and back again by like 6:30, I was very glad we were so early! So very many people!
We had good line-mates. We were behind a retired NYFD guy and his family. Totally New Yorkers, and good people. The dad made P think of his own Dad, which was cool and kind of comforting. He took his phone out to show us pictures of the full moon that came out when he saw Black Sabbath and we talked bands we’ve seen, and general small talk. It was nice to hang with other fans who had good stories and were chill and chatty. While we were in line for awhile there were fun stories, fan-love, a security woman who was a hoot and a half (I swear she’d been a teacher in a former life: “I WILL make you go to the end of the line!”), barbecue (lots of people were tailgating), and great costumes/outfits. I saw a lot of metal shirts- Slayer, Megadeath, Iron Maiden, and others I know of but wouldn’t know if I heard. There were a LOT of Rammstein shirts too. And fishnet. And black lipstick. You know, the usual.
We got in. I was bouncing and squealing and giggling. I got a shirt (it’s very pretty). And we got to our seats. I freaked out a couple more times- Oh My God! We’re so close!! Oh My God! (I said Oh My God a lot that night. A lot). And then I was able to chill.
obligatory selfie (before anything started)
We had a nice couple in front of us from Canada (farthest drive I met there, though I know there were some Germans in the audience, as well as someone from the Czech Republic), and they were Our People (ie: nerds) so we had a nice time with them passing the time until the show started.
The countdown finally started- everyone was on their feet and screaming, I was bouncing again (total fangrrl. like, whoa)- and then the curtain dropped. There was the stage. There was the drummer (Schneider), there the keyboardist (Flake (prn. fl-ah-kay)), there was Ollie (guitar), hanging in back. Then, from the rafters, lowered slowly, one platform on each side, come the 2 other guitarists- Paul on the left and Richard on the right. I am nearly loosing my mind- they’re there! They’re there! I am seeing them with my own eyes! Holy crap! Oh my God they sound so good! They’re there! It’s really them! Live! And then Till, the singer, comes out. He’s in a white suit with top hat, and he taps his way out onto the stage, does a little dance, tosses his hat to the side and starts to sing. They start with their new song, “Ramm4” (this video actually shows how the concert started, though Till was wearing white when we saw him), which is a very clever amalgamation of nearly all the band’s song titles. It also has the fantastic chorus of “Ja! Nein! Rammstein!”, which, as I’m sure it was designed to do, gets the crowd even more hyped (if that’s possible).
And then… things get a bit hazy for me. I think I have all the songs they played, but definitely not in the exact order (except for the encore). They did “Hallelujah”, “Reise, Reise” (which I did not expect to hear live but loved it, that was a happy surprise), and I think that was the song where Till had his white suit ripped off to show the black leather looking one underneath. “Seeman” was third-ish? maybe? which chilled things down a bit (just a bit). That is not a favorite song of mine, but it does showcase Till’s voice quite well.
So, I’ll take this moment to talk about how amazing they sounded. Truly! The sound was awesome. Till was killing it! He’s got such a baritone, he growls, he purrs, he yells- it’s wonderful! It sounded better than the live videos I’ve watched, sounded almost as good as the album, but since it was live there was so much more energy. Watching these guys live- they are loving it and you can tell. The stage is their home, this is more than a show- this is what they are meant to do, and if you’re a fan at all, you have got to see them live just once- it is truly where they excel, it is their bread and butter, their meat and potatoes, where they reach their apotheosis (thanks Husband). And it’s just so. fucking. cool!
After “Seeman”, in no particular order since I cannot remember clearly- we had:
“Zerstoren” (where Till, controversially, comes out in a big overcoat, removes it at the end to show a suicide vest that explodes in fireworks).
“Links, 2, 3, 4”- got the crowd rocking and singing.
“Mein Hertz Brennt“- which I also did not expect and went nuts for. It would’ve been better with live strings, of course, but it’s such a beautiful song, even if it’s about monsters under your bed. The video link is from a live performance from last year. Yes, Till is pouring sweat- I am quite sure it’s hot being up under those lights, dancing around, and, you know, there’s lots of fire.
“Feuer Frei” which, of course, had lots of fire (“feuer” is “fire” in German). Till, Richard, and Paul all had flame throwing masks on! Flames! From their faces! So much fire!
“Ich Tu Dir Weh“- another favorite of mine, and where Till leads Flake into a tub, raises into the air on one of the platforms from earlier, and then pours flaming sparks down onto the keyboardist, who then pops out in a glitter suit and does a weird little dance. This prompted P to comment, “Flake is basically a Batman villain”. Yes, yes he is. (Till did not sound so out of breath when we saw him as he does here in the video I linked).
They then launched into “Du Riech So Gut” which was their first major hit (at least in Europe) and a fan favorite. The sparking, flaming bow Till spins around is not to be missed. So you only need to watch the first minute or so of the video, unless you’re liking the tune. 🙂
Photo by N. Bookstaber, Jones Beach NY 6.26.17
We also got “Ich Will”- which I love and wasn’t expecting, and by then my voice is pretty hoarse from the screaming and singing, but did that stop me? Hell no!
Also “Keine Lust” another crowd favorite and fun sing-along
And somewhere in there they played, of course- “Du Hast” which was their big hit over here in America (1997). Now, this song is the only one that ever gets played on the radio over here, or did, and it’s the one song everyone who’s ever heard of Rammstein will know or know of. So why perform such an overdone song, hit or no hit? Because, in true Rammstein style, you can blow things up and light it all on fire! Never mind that the entire crowd sang along- like all 15,000 of us- which was an amazing thing to hear and be a part of. They had towers on each edge of the venue that blazed torrents of flame in a choreographed dance to the music. Plus there were the flame shoots from the front of the stage. And at one point in the song, Till shot something into the air and sparks of fireworks ran up wires from the center of the stage to the flame towers on the sides and then back down again. It was AMAZING. I am not doing it justice. I could feel the heat with each burst of flame and the whole venue and surrounding area was lit brighter than the day.
This fan has her videos from the show up on her facebook page if you want to see. She gets some of the fire for “Du Hast”, the fireworks, and the whole crowd singing. I didn’t take video and only got one picture because we weren’t That close and I wanted to actually pay attention to the show, not my camera, but some people were closer and got good shots. Like this person. And there are some more here with a review of the show we saw.
The flames in front. Photo by J. Castle, Jones Beach NY 6.26.17
I’m not sure that they ended this set with “Du Hast”, I don’t think they did. … Found a set list! They ended with a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Stripped”, which is in English and with Till’s resonant baritone growl- uhn! So good. So so so good.
Then they go away. But they come back! They always do an encore. We got “Sonne”, which is my absolute favorite song, it’s beautiful and amazing and the stage was lit up yellow (“sonne” means “sun” in German). Then they did “Amerika” which is a bit of a critique of American culture and how it’s everywhere (“We’re all living in America, America.”), but not inappropriate, I feel. And they end with “Engel” (angel), another favorite, top 3 for me. This was the only picture I took:
Till rising into the air
That’s Till, rising into the air as he sings. The angel wings shoot flames at the end of the song. It was just so fucking cool! Oh My God! So Cool! Video (from this year, early June in Russia). The song is about how he doesn’t want to be an angel since they’re all alone and cold up behind the stars. (“Gott weiss Ich will kein Engel sein.” God knows I don’t want to be an angel)
I got chills. I bounced. I screamed. I sang. I was on my tip toes nearly the whole time and my calves were shaking. My feet hurt at the end. I thought I’d thrown out my elbow punching the air (I didn’t, just sore). My neck was sore from headbanging. My voice is still not 100% back to normal, and yesterday I was hoarse and squeaky and loving it.
There was one moment where I just stood, silent, my hands in fists at my mouth, staring wide eyed and feeling… feeling like a little girl on Christmas. When you first go into the room with the tree and it’s lit up so bright and beautiful, and the presents under the tree seem so very many, and you are just full of awe and wonder and love because you have this amazing beauty in front of you and so much love and joy behind you as your family joins you at the doorway. It was like that. I felt small and beautiful in that innocent and unself-conscious kind of way, and just completely full of awe. Speechless. And grateful. So incredibly grateful to not only be seeing my favorite band in the world*, to be seeing something so magical and beautiful and amazing, but to be there sharing the experience with the person I love best in the world. This is something I will never forget.
At the end, which came too soon, they all came forward and bowed.
Photo by C. Ugaro
I’m still floating pretty high off the experience, it was incredible. But, I’m also on vacation now and so hopefully I can catch up on some posting. I want to tell you all about the tank museum we went to (lots of pictures!), how Lucy scared me (she’s fine), and my first cosplay.
Thanks for listening, for reading, and coming along on my journeys, near, far, and in between. ❤
*who are still alive (I would sell body parts for a time machine to go see Bowie live)