You would think that there would be more people leaving Manchester during rush hour, but for some reason the roads that are usually are quite clear were grid-locked. Luckily I was still in plenty of time to get to the M.E.N. Arena and have a wander around before heading inside.
Quite why the venue security insist on everyone sitting down I don’t know but I guess it’s a chance to rest your legs in preparation for the next 3 hours. Strange that we all stood up at the same time. There didn’t seem to be a signal we just did it. I was stood about mid-way between the stage and the mixing desk, dead centre.
The stage was already set for Combichrist so there wasn’t the usual roadies running around checking microphones with the compulsory 1-2 1-2. They have to do that as part of their union regulations. You could tell from their setup that they’re a good match as support for Rammstein. Two drummers either side of a keyboard player with a singer prowling the front of the stage. I hadn’t heard any of their stuff previously and may checkout a track or two of theirs on iTunes. As always with support bands there is always one or two people in the crowd who are total fans. Bouncing up and down and shouting along whilst the rest of us just nodded gently.
When Combichrist had said their goodbyes a woman, who was obviously the worse for drink, moved into the spot in front of me. She was already shouting ‘Rammstein’ in that delightful cracked wail that only the completely inebriated can manage. She kept swaying around and putting her hands in the air making these strange gestures like an Indian belly dancer. At least it provided a diversion during the set change.
Because I’d stopped reading Kerrang! magazine a couple of years ago I didn’t know what was in store this evening. I’d bought the new album, Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da, and to be honest I wasn’t that taken with it. I’d even bought the ticket just thinking that I wouldn’t want to miss Rammstein considering that they may only tour the U.K. once every 5 years.
I have certainly never seen a rock concert like it. It was simply amazing. I think not knowing what was going to happen made the whole experience much more enjoyable. So I won’t even try to describe the whole show. But the lights and the stage would usually be enough for most bands but the flames were simply astonishing. Fire shooting up from the stage and down from the lights. How they manage to remember where they have to be at a given moment is remarkable. One step too far and any of them could be toast, literally. Parts of it were just completely mad: the dolls, the bath, the petrol pump, Till singing at a table next to a floor lamp, Flake ‘walking’ for most of the show, the foam ‘cannon’, the wings, which other band would have the keyboard player ‘sail’ over the crowd in a dingy.
It was just the most amazing spectacle that I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to get the live DVD, or Blu-Ray, when it comes out to re-live it all over again.