|Woodstock Festival 2012|
The Woodstock Festival (Przystanek Woodstock) is one of the biggest musical events in Europe. Every year approximately 600.000 people from many countries (mainly Poland and Germany) invade the small town of Kostrzyn to listen to some great music and have fun for a couple of days.
The fact that I'm reviewing Woodstock on Metal Storm might indicate that it is a heavy metal event, but metal music is only a part of the attractions prepared by the organizers. Next to acts like Machine Head or Ministry were also bands playing reggae, rock, soul, electronic music etc. You see, it's a festival that endeavors to please everyone's taste.
Very often this system fails, as for many people there's simply not enough bands to see and eventually they do not decide to visit the festival. But Woodstock has two great advantages that make people want to go back to Kostrzyn every year. First of all, there's so much to do besides listening to music. For example, meeting with important Polish figures (thankfully without celebrities), and this year even the Presidents of Poland and Germany made an appearance and answered some questions.
All kinds of entertainment; anything from movie screenings to bungee jumping. But the other advantage of the festival is much more appealing to most of its visitors. It's free!
Even though I watched more performances than you will find below, I decided to include only those bands that are featured on Metal Storm.
Hardcore Superstar are a Swedish band formed in 1997 playing glam metal. During their 15-year long career they managed to record 8 albums, which is pretty impressive. I'm not really a fan of this type of music, but I'd heard many enthusiastic opinions about their live shows so I decided to see if I could find something for me in their performance.
The first impression was that their looks were absolutely matching the glam tag (picture HERE). Before their performance I wished I'd listened to some of their music, but it turned out that it wasn't necessary. Their music is so catchy and their lyrics so simple that I found myself shouting choruses of songs I heard for the first time in my life. I can't really recall the entire setlist, but I'm pretty sure that the following songs were played: "Wild Boys", "Dreamin' In A Casket", "Moonshine", "Last Call For Alcohol", "My Good Reputation", and "We Don't Celebrate Sundays".
They all worked perfectly onstage, but I'm certain they would bore me if I listened to the album versions. But after all, it's the live performance that matters. The band were tight and quite active, especially the singer who knew how to entertain the audience. They played over an hour long, but the time with Hardcore Superstar went by really fast and I guess the band pleased all their fans and gained a lot of new ones. I didn't expect much, but I spent a really pleasant time with the Swedes.
Ministry were the first headliner of the festival and next to Machine Head, its biggest star. Industrial metal has never been my cup of tea, but I've heard some pieces produced by Al Jourgensen's band. I'm also fully aware of their legendary status and impact on the metal scene, so it was obvious for me to check out their performance. And it was one hell of a show.
To be honest I came with no expectations, so it wasn't that hard for Ministry to please me. It was definitely one of the highlights of this year's Woodstock, since many tunes written by the Americans are meant to be played live, for example "N.W.O.', "No W" or "Thieves". I was really surprised the band didn't decide to include in their setlist "Let's Go" and "Jesus Built My Hotrod", which probably are my favorite Ministry tracks. I'm pretty sure they'd be amazing live as well.
On the screens placed on either side of the stage, instead of usual close-ups of the band performing, Jourgensen & Co. showed the clips to the songs they were playing, which was quite interesting. Ministry are currently promoting their latest effort, Relapse and I've heard the singles and they were quite bad. So it surprised me how much more powerful they sounded during the concert. It was a really good gig, but unfortunately way too short. (They said it was due to other concert commitments.)
2. No W
3. 99 Percenters
4. Life Is Good
9. So What
This band was pretty much the reason I came to Woodstock. Lately they've become one of the most recognized bands in the genre, and hence the headlining slot. I'd seen the Americans three months before this festival, but then they were just one of the opening bands for Metallica (seriously, how long are they going to travel with 'Tallica? It seems like they tour more with these old farts than play on their own).
Their set was supposed to be longer than the one during Sonisphere, but it turned out shorter. No idea why they left the stage early, but it certainly sucked. Anyway, the show lasted about an hour.
Robb Flynn knows very well how to get the crowd going and monstrous moshpits and circlepits proved it sufficiently. I really enjoyed Robb's speeches between the songs as they were usually more than just "This next song is called…" or "Get fucking crazy for this one!" I guess he does the same speeches every time, but nobody cared as they really made the crowd feel like the show was something special not only for the few hundred thousand people gathered in front of the stage, but also for the band.
The setlist didn't bring any surprises (unfortunately?), but if Machine Head keep on releasing such good records they will soon be struggling with creating setlists. Overall, a really good and energetic performance from the band that deservedly held the honor of having their name at the top of the festival's bill.
1. I Am Hell (Sonata In C#)
4. Beautiful Mourning
6. Aesthetics Of Hate
7. Darkness Within
You may know it or not, but Sabaton are unbelievably HUGE in Poland. I mean, I don't think any other country loves these Swedes as much as mine does.
I do not consider myself a Sabaton maniac (unlike many present at Woodstock), but I enjoy some of their songs. I'd also seen them live already, so I knew pretty much what to expect. There was no way these guys would put on a bad show. But what I witnessed was far beyond, I guess everyone's, expectations.
The Swedes performed with such passion and energy that they left all the others on the bill way, way behind. And I'm certain it's not only me who thinks like that. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that Sabaton had the biggest audience out of all acts. The band decided to shoot their very first DVD that night and they couldn't have chosen a better place.
After listening to "The Final Countdown", which Sabaton uses before each show, the crowd went completely mental; and remained that way for almost two hours. Activity on stage was also perfect, especially Joakim Brodén's, who is a master of encouraging the crowd to go even wilder. The three new members, drummer Robban Bäck and guitarists Chris Rörland and Thobbe Englund, did an amazing job. I actually forgot about the line-up change during the very first song.
Needless to say, there was a gigantic number of pyros and at the end there were even colorful fireworks above the stage. The organizers also wanted this gig to be something spectacular, so they borrowed a giant (52mx30m, 200kg) Polish flag that was used during European Football Championship earlier this year. It was unfolded during "40:1", a song that started the hype around Sabaton in Poland. (the audience actually unfolded the giant flag, held it above their heads, so the band could see it from the stage)
Another great act, this time spontaneous, was singing the Polish nation anthem. I think this sums up the greatness of the show and how grateful the audience was. I hope I won't have to wait for the DVD too long, because I'd like to get back to this show as quickly as possible. Best show of the whole festival hands down.
1. Ghost Division
3. Gott Mit Uns
4. Cliffs Of Gallipoli
5. Into The Fire
6. The Price Of A Mile
7. Carolus Rex
9. The Lion From The North
10. White Death
11. Attero Dominatus
12. The Art Of War
13. Primo Victoria
15. Metal Crüe
16. Panzer Battalion
Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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