Driving towards MK Dons stadium pre gig I saw a sign which could only mean that Rammstein were in town, it stated ‘Warning Special Effects!’. I can’t think of any other band who would require such a notice, however a Rammstein live show is like no other.
Demand for tickets for this show and the rest of the European stadium tour was so great that all dates sold out instantly. Such was the anticipation in our household I even joined the fan club to secure presale tickets, we weren’t missing this one!
Once safely in our seats having negotiated the longest merchandise queues in history, we took in the enormity of the stage. It was a massive structure which succeeded in dwarfing the stadium which takes some doing. Looking like something from a Fritz Lang film the band had scaled everything up to the max, this was Metropolis on steroids Rammstein style.
Opening proceedings were Duo Jatekok who were playing on a raised stage in the centre of the stadium. The duo consists of Adelaide Panaget and Nairi Badal, both classically trained pianists who with four hands and two pianos played the whole of Rammstein’s ‘Klavier’ album.
Although the duo gave it their all the sound was a bit on the quiet side and they struggled against the chatter of a rapidly filling stadium. Fan favourites such as ‘Mein Herz Brennt’ and ‘Du Hast’ were greeted with polite applause but didn’t really get anyone fired up, however it was interesting to hear the songs reinterpreted in this way. They rounded off their set with ‘Sonne’ which they brought to a climactic ending and left the stage to a cheer from the crowd.
The fact that Duo Jatekok played on a secondary stage meant that there was little gap between them leaving the stage and the start of the main event. I don’t use the word ‘event’ lightly here as a Rammstein show is so much more than a straightforward gig. Part Hollywood blockbuster and part pantomime, a night in the company of Rammstein is an unforgettable experience and one you are looking to repeat as soon as possible!
To build the atmosphere the speakers blasted out the Royal Firework music by Handel which was a very apt introduction. This was brought to an end by the first of many huge explosions, if anyone in the Milton Keynes area was unaware of tonight’s show they knew all about it after this opening gambit!
The band then took to the stage one by one to the opening strains of ‘Was Ich Liebe’ from the latest album. Last to appear through the dry ice was Till Lindemann larger than life with a manic look, it was like watching a terrifying edition of ‘Stars In Their Eyes’. The opening number soothed us into the set but the pace was then upped substantially with the marching beat of ‘Links 2-3-4’ and the addition of red banners dropping across the stage emblazed with the Rammstein logo.
The second new number of the night’ ‘Tattoo’, followed with Till prowling the stage and hamming it up for the crowd. The stage set and light show were stunning complete with a central video screen which was raised and lowered as required throughout the set. ‘Sehnsucht’ was up next which was followed by ‘Zeig Dich’ and the first flames of the night… big, big flames!
‘Mein Herz Brennt’ was as stunning as always, complete with mass vocal support from the crowd and Till sporting a burning red flare through his heart. Till disappeared at the end of the song under the stage only to reappear with a huge metal pram to the opening bars of ‘Puppe’. Till sported a head camera for this one with the images shown on the huge video screen. The projection showed a grotesque baby in the pram which was then set alight, dark stuff indeed, this was followed by a shower of grey confetti that engulfed the stadium, quite a spectacle.
‘Heirate Mich’ was up next with jets of dry ice basting the stage which was followed by a stripped back version of ‘Diamant’ with Till accompanied by Flake on keyboards and Oliver Riedel on bass. Things then took a techno twist as Flake appeared above the stage in a DJ booth to play the remix of ‘Deutschland’ whilst the rest of the band donned illuminated onesies and danced on stage, yes it was as strange as it sounds, who says Germans don’t have a sense of humour!
This was followed up by the full metal version of the song which went down a storm with the crowd, The heavy riffs created by Richard Z Kruspe and Paul Landers soon blew away any memories of the dance version. ‘Radio’, another new track, followed before one of the night’s set pieces reared its head.
‘Mein Teil’ followed complete with Flake in the cooking pot once more. Till then set about trying to fry him with flame throwers before blasting him with a flame cannon which was spectacular, you wouldn’t get this at an Ed Sheeran show! It’s well worth having a look at one of the many videos of this performance online as mere words cannot convey the size and intensity of the flames involved!
‘Du Hast’ and ‘Sonne’ both contained more spectacular set pieces with huge explosions and massive flames all around the stadium. The pace dropped somewhat again with a lilting version of ‘Ohne Dich’ which brought the main set to an end with the band taking a well earned bow.
The night was still young though and after a quick sprint from the main stage right past us to the smaller centre stage the band reappeared with Duo Jatekok in tow for a piano led version of ‘Engel’. This was accompanied by a sea of mobile phone torches being held aloft around the stadium which was something to behold. This though left the band stranded on the centre stage but not for long as three dinghy’s appeared and the band members were carried along on a wave of willing hands back to the stage, clever stuff.
Once safely back on dry land so to speak, the band launched into ‘Auslander’ the last new song of the night, which was followed by the old classic ‘Du Riechst So Gut’ complete with more onstage fireworks. The oh so subtle ‘Pussy’ literally came next with Till riding astride a huge phallic cannon spewing confetti across the first 50 rows, it was a big step up from the small pink version used on previous tours. ‘Zu gross, Zu klein’, you decide…
‘Rammstein’ and ‘Ich Will’ rounded off the night with yet more massive flames setting the night sky over Milton Keynes alight and brought a stunning set to a close.
This was masterclass in showmanship from one of the best bands in the business. My wife summed up the night perfectly by stating as the last bars faded that she could have watched it all over again there and then. We left kicking ourselves that we hadn’t taken up the offer to go and see them in Frankfurt the following weekend.
With a 2020 European tour already announced with the promise of more UK dates to be added you can rest assured that we will be back for another dose of high octane Germanic fun. Rammstein fur immer indeed!
Review and photos by Dave Wilson
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