Rammstein Sinks Their "U-Boot" In Tallinn's "Südenhafen" (If You Know What I Mean) - 24.02
|Event:||Rammstein: European Tour|
Rammstein - Saku Arena, Tallinn, Estonia, 24.02.2010 by Ivor (45)
Author's commentary: This present review contains pejorative comments on the Estonian audience. Please keep in mind that this does not apply to the good people inside the fan-zone who I am forced to believe, based on consistent eyewitness reports, had a fantastic time. To others who might feel offended, well... fuck you.
My expectations weren't exactly high ahead of Rammstein's "Liebe Ist Für Alle Da". The reason for this was two-fold. I was thanklessly toiling away in the navy when I received "Rosenrot" as a present in 2006. To put things into perspective, imagine yourself stranded on a deserted island, except instead of warm water you have the line of command and instead of sunshine you have shit. That's military service in a nutshell. So, instead of blowing off some steam to brand new tunes from the German techno-metallers, I found myself flipping through the tracks with increasing frustration in search of a decent song to make light of my unfortunate situation. So to me personally, "Rosenrot" was a bit of a punch in the broken nose.
When the first video from the new Rammstein album finally surfaced on the web, it started to feel as if there was no hope for the return of the good old Rammstein. At first glance, "Pussy" seemed to make no significant contributions to this world, aside from giving men everywhere a legitimate reason to watch porn without having to hide it from their girlfriends. Boobs notwithstanding, the riffs were simple and the lyrics made it quite explicit, to put it in modest terms, that the song was mainly about vaginas, penises and fornication. In fact, the previous sentence was more of an euphemism than any line in "Pussy". I mean: "steck Bratwurst in dein Sauerkraut." Really, Rammstein? Really?
Everything changed though when I finally (after some persuasion by an avid Rammstein fan) got my hands on the new record and discovered that "Liebe Ist Für Alle Da" is actually a consistently good album. I even made peace with "Pussy" and must admit it is a great sing-along. The English chorus might be a bit robust, but surely "der Schlagbaum sollte oben sein" and "Blitzkrieg mit dem Fleischgewehr" must be some of the best metaphors for sticking it ever conceived. Also, tracks like "Waidmanns Heil", "Liebe Ist Für Alle Da" and "Mehr" were proper monsters in true Rammstein spirit and "Rammlied" and "Haifisch" made for great new Rammthemns - the latter being especially combustible.
So it happened that I decided upon giving the Rammstein roadshow one more shot. Before this, the first and the only time when I had seen the band live was nine years ago, in the wake of the superb "Mutter" album. Back then the band's setlist was largely void of the threat posed to it by the band's many later fillers. In contrast, by the time of "Reise, Reise" I didn't even flinch when the band swung by.
This time however, I was determined to pay my respects to my once-favourite Germans, and so it was that I found myself once again setting off to the dreaded Saku Suurhall. I will say in advance that while the venue has had some serious problems with the sound in the past, it seems that they have finally found a good balance between quality and sheer volume. In terms of volume though, the sound technicians should have been informed of how the "master volume" dial works (hint: crank it the fuck up). When you can clearly hear yourself singing and screaming along, then it usually means the sound levels are probably too low.
Combichrist was a nice bonus for all those who could appreciate them.
You didn't expect them to just walk out, did you?
I reckon the "singing and screaming" part must have given away the fact that I did have a good time. Indeed, Rammstein put on a decent show with a neat setlist, even if it may have felt disagreeable at times - "Frühling in Paris" is not among the best tracks on "Liebe Ist Für Alle Da", to put it mildly. On the upside, "Engel", "Du Hast" and "Sonne" were surely appreciated by the otherwise phlegmatic audience. Which brings us to the crowd.
There really is no mild way of putting this, so I'll just say it - Estonians do not know how to have a good time. For a people in which' national discourse the word "singing" is so prominently featured, there was surprisingly little enthusiasm to get excited about what was happening around them. Sure, they jumped along to the main Rammstein hits, but most of the time they were busy meticulously recording the gig with their cellphones (dear god, why?) and getting agitated when someone so much as grazed them. One guy actually found the time to make a goddamned phone call smack in the middle of the concert. The call lasted for fifteen minutes. Son of a bitch.
"Hi mom! - Yeah, I'm at The Rammsteins concert - No, I can talk."
Most of that fifteen minutes he spent waving the phone wildly through the air so that whoever was on the opposite end too, could engage in something completely retarded. Another freckly post-teen had the nerve to ask me to stop bumping into him - a request imbued with inanity (a point which I explicitly expressed to him). And what about the loudest cheer the band got? Was it because of a vintage hit? Till's LED-teeth? Fucking exploding babies? No - it was when they brought out the Estonian flag. And here I was, thinking that people went to the concert for Rammstein's sake, and not so they could take pride in being the citizens of one of the poorer European countries. Also, how many knew the lyrics? None in my immediate vicinity ("Du Hast" doesn't count).
Rammstein > Estonian flag. [source: Destroyah's Book of Coolness]
It all might sound a bit harsh, but to expect anything less from me is to underestimate of how little I expect of people in general. Estonia is a small country, yes, but is it really that difficult to find 6,000 people who'd be willing to spend an hour of their dull lives on having fun and letting go? The sheer amount of executive overcoats, ties and suede shoes present at the gig says yes. Yes it is.
Rammstein > suede shoes. [source: common sense and good taste]
I later discovered I could have enjoyed the gig to the maximum in the comfort of the fan-zone and subsequently would have come off with a significantly better experience, but thanks to the fantastic job by the security staff I was doomed to spend my evening with the salesmen-lot. Still, Rammstein deserve the credit they have henceforth (as far as this text is concerned) been deprived of. The show was, while not their best, rather picturesque and the songs were for the most part well picked. Not in my wildest dreams would I have expected to still hear "Weisses Fleisch", and "Sonne" was as epic as ever. Aside from the latter two it was "Haifisch" that was particularly to blame for the destruction of my vocal cords. Even the laziest of the concert goers livened up to "Links 2 3 4" (how can you not?) and to top the show off with "Engel" was a move right out of Evel Knievel's book.
So I am forced to assume - judging by my broken neck, sore throat and raspy voice - that Rammstein is as effective of a cure as ever for the chronic disease we all know as "working life" (if you don't know then the razorblades are in the bathroom, next to the sink).
A concert is always a sum of it's parts (and then some), but in this case I feel I must grade each facet of the event separately in order to do them justice:
The Band - Rammstein delivered, if perhaps coming off as somewhat remote. To be fair, the crowd was a tough one. A-
The Team - I was glad to see that the sound issues that have haunted this particular venue in the past had been negotiated to an agreeable level. But because the sound technicians didn't "go to eleven", the team gets a B-.
The Crowd - while the fan-zone was reportedly well alive, the rest of the crowd gets a fat juicy F for failure to be awesome.
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