Anticipation was at fever-pitch for Rammstein’s Milton Keynes show, their first headlining tour date in the UK for almost 7 years. Granted, they’d visited Donington for Download Festival twice in the intervening time, but this still meant that their previous appearance was all the way back in 2016. The fact that this tour is their first ever proper outings at stadiums only added to the excitement. The German Industrial Metal titans are known to put on huge theatrics, so how would this fare in a much larger setting? Well, I can honestly say that I really wasn’t quite prepared for how epic this turned out to be.
To begin with, there was quite an usual support act, in the form of Duo Jatekok. This consisted of a piano duo, who played cover versions of various Rammstein hits. It wasn’t bad by any means, it added a nice ambience, but it felt more like background noise, rather that a full-fledged support act. The fact that the volume was a smidge too low didn’t help either, as I could hear the crowd over their music. Still, it was good to have something different.
Then, the wait was over, it was finally time for Rammstein’s return. The monolithic stage was otherworldly, the massive structure looking like a cross between a nightmarish industrial factory, something from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Mount Doom. As smoke filled the stadium, each band member took to the stage, the crowd going wild as each of them appeared. This lead seamlessly into “Was Ich Liebe”, off their latest record. It’s surprising that they went for a less bombastic opening than usual, although it fits their typical style of toying with people’s expectations, which ended up being a theme throughout the show (in the best ways possible.) Mind you, their very presence is enough of a big event in itself, and it was clear that they were creating a build up, for the game of escalation began.
Needless to say, the pace picked up rapidly. The light-show dazzled, the spotlights so powerful that they reached into the stratosphere at times, the crazy stunts enthralled, and, of course, the pyro raged. The monstrous flames lit up the stadium, turning it into an inferno. It felt borderline apocalyptic at times (especially during “Sonne”), which only served to enhance the music. That’s always the beauty of a Rammstein show, the effects and shenanigans are there to compliment their sonic qualities, and here it was perfectly crafted and timed. Tactically placed towers around the stadium also burst with flame, which not only increased the spectacle of the proceedings, but also added an extra layer to boost the feeling of crowd participation. This is a band that doesn’t need chat or banter to effectively communicate with their audience, they use special effects. The fact that the production is the biggest they have ever done, whilst still being able to spellbind a huge number of attendees, makes this even more impressive and awe-inspiring.
The stunts were amazing in themselves too, and there were some cleverly updated renditions of old classics. A giant pram was set alight, as a freakish demonic baby spewed out ash (confetti) for “Puppe”; keyboardist Flake was yet again cooked, only to be met with a massive flame cannon; Till shot flares in the air, which caused a chain-reaction, resulting in a huge fireworks explosion on-stage; and the band were carried by the audience on rubber dinghys, leading into “Ausländer” (whilst also mimicking it’s video.) It truly was an extravaganza, and I genuinely found myself captivated by it all, legitimately slack-jawed throughout. Even as early as a third into the set, they were already pulling off tricks that most bands would reserve for their encore!
Of course, this would be nothing without the most important element of all; the music. I cannot fault this, they sounded pretty much perfect for the duration of their set. It was an absolute powerhouse, the wall of heavy industrial metal feeling blissful at times, the venue flooding with atmosphere. I especially have to hand it to frontman Till Lindemann, who’s vocal performance sounded just as amazing live as it does on record. You could tell that they were genuinely into it, giving everything they had. Some may not be happy with the setlist, but I thought it was perfect for this tour. We got a good chunk of new album material, as well as a great mix of older tracks. The fact that they dug out “Heirate Mich” and “Rammstein” were nice surprises, as well as staples such as “Du Hast” and “Ich Will” being included, the latter closing off the show. Sure, some obvious hits were absent, but lets not forget that Rammstein toured with that material as part of the ‘Made in Germany’ tour for 6 years. It’s time for the new material to shine, as well as rarities to resurface.
In all honesty, I don’t think I could ever convey how incredible this show was with words, it defies any description. This is not only the best that I’ve ever seen Rammstein, but also the best concert I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. It’s the boldest and most stunning production that any band has to offer, raising the bar in terms of live music. Even though the tickets were a whooping £75 each, I still feel like I’d short-changed the band! Dare I suggest that they’ve even outgrown festivals? Give them a sizeable venue at a festival, and they’re stuck to the limits set by the organisers. Give them a sizeable venue on their own terms, and it feels like there’s no limits. The results are absolutely mind-blowingly spectacular! They’ve made it very clear that they run their own show, and it’s a glorious triumph!
- Was Ich Liebe
- Links 2-3-4
- Zeig Dich
- Mein Herz Brennt
- Heirate Mich
- Deutschland (Remix by Richard Z. Kruspe)
- Mein Teil
- Du Hast
- Ohne Dich
- Engel (w/ Duo Jatekok; Scala & Kolacny Brothers ver.)
- Du Reichst So Gut
- Ich Will