Cricket, being German, wanted to go see Rammstein in concert. Rammstein, for those of you who do not know, is a German industrial band. All their songs deal with death, misery, sadness, rage and sex. No rainbows, no flowers, no koalas. They had one big hit in the US with “Du Hast” (“You Have”). Rammstein doesn’t like the U.S. at all, so this is their first tour here in about 11 years. Cricket was super-excited. So I bought him tickets (Madison Square Garden sold out in under two minutes!) and we went. We were seated about two rows from the ceiling, so all my pictures are not-so-great. Luckily, other people with better cameras took pictures as well, and I found them on the internet to sprinkle amongst my crappy shots. Here’s a picture of the band for you.
First of all, there were the fans. Almost all white people, mostly dudes. A great deal of black garments, especially those oversized black canvas pants with tons of zippers and latches. A lot of t-shirts featuring Slayer, Lamb of God, Metallica, etc. An ABUNDANCE of piercings. One guy had multiple piercings on his hat. (I wanted to ask him if it hurt, but I didn’t feel like getting killed.) Cricket, in his tasteful zip-up jacket, and me, in my dorky puffy coat, were not the ideal audience. We sat quietly during the opening act, CombiChrist, while people around us drank copious amounts of beer and yelled stuff. And then Rammstein came on (and immediately Cricket and I were in the center of a swirl of pot smoke). Has everyone seen “This is Spinal Tap”? Spinal Tap, the fictional band in the film, was famous for having elaborate, ridiculous set pieces, and Rammstein does the same. They need twenty trucks to go on tour with them to hold all their stuff. And pyrotechnics. Hoo boy. If you type “Rammstein Live” in Google Images, this is what it looks like. FLAMEY.
So, there was steam…
And crazy lights…
And insane amounts of fire.
It’s important to know that I’m not making up anything I say from this point on. Till, the lead singer, comes out on stage for the first song wearing a red leather apron, a hairnet, a red feathered neckpiece, and an apparatus that wraps around his cheek and lights up the inside of his mouth. For the tour, he wears the metal thing that goes into his mouth and lights up, but to film their latest video Till actually pierced his cheek, put a grommet there and wired the light into his mouth that way.
Then, in one of their later songs, the keyboardist, who goes by the name of Flake, comes down and knocks Till over. Till picks up Flake and tosses him into a large metal bathtub. Till then picks up a really weird-looking arm gun and fills the bathtub with sparks. Shortly after, Flake comes out in a sequin-covered suit and goes back to the keyboards, were he walks on a treadmill while he’s playing. None of this has anything to do with the song they’re playing, or any song they’ve ever played, or anything that’s ever happened anywhere, ever.
Then, for the song “Engel” (“Angel”), Till comes out wearing a giant pair of metal wings, which slowly open. Then fire shoots out of the tips of them and sparks fly out of the middle bits.
But, by far, the piece de resistance is during the encore, when they play the song which, for reasons of tastefulness, I will call “Kitty”. During “Kitty”, Till gets on a giant, pink cannon that shoots foam all over the general seating area. Still not making stuff up.
It was a hell of an experience. Aside from the fact that I had to stand the whole time, it was delightful. For pretty much the whole show the guy in front of me was rockin’ the devil-hands, so that was nice.
And the sea of camera-phone lights were beautiful.
The best part was that earlier that day, something called SantaCon had taken place, so many audience members were still dressed as Santa. Very trippy. Here are some pictures of SantaCon.
Here’s a link to their latest video. They filmed it on their travel set, so you can see the light in Till’s cheek, the pyrotechnics, the sequined suit and the treadmill. Also, one of the lines in the song is “barbed wire in your urethra.” Magical, I tell you.