Archive for June, 2011

“Leiht euer Ohr einer Legende”: The Wait Is Over

I wrote this in December 2010 after fulfilling one of my lifelong goals: attending a Rammstein concert. The fact that it was their first concert in the United States in ten years at Madison Square Garden made the event so much sweeter. I’m posting this here because it completely summarizes my feelings about the band.
“You would never be able to tell on first glance, but Rammstein is one of my favorite musical groups. I love the heavy and fast songs which made them famous. I love their slower ballads, overlooked by press and fans alike but are no less spellbinding. I love their ambiguity. On the outside they look very superficial with their flamethrowers and silly costumes, and a lot of their songs sound the same if you’re not listening with the ears of a longtime fan, but their lyrics are so powerful and poetic. Till Lindemann writes gorgeous lyrics, full of wordplay and imagery. They may be about some very dark topics, but they cover a lot of things most artists avoid. You can read translations of most of their lyrics at, including several notations of the biggest  instances of wordplay.

My neck is killing me, I can barely talk, and I’ve gotten about 8 hours of sleep total in the past 3 days, but you know what? It was worth it.  Each time the band releases an album, their interviews are filled with comments about how tough it was, how much they fought, and how this might be the last one. Each time I worried they would break up, that I would never get to see them perform live. I love their albums, but every fan knows that this band is not one to to be heard on a iPod’s headphones, a computer’s speakers, or even a Due to their pyrotechnics, immense sound, and general antics on stage, their stage show is often referred to by metal fans everywhere as a ‘must-see’ performance, even if you’re not a big fan of them. I’ve been a fan of them ever since my later years of middle school. During all those years, I thought, barring a trip overseas, I would never ever get to see them live. When this one date at Madison Square Garden was announced, I was over the moon. And now it’s happened, over and done with, and I don’t quite believe I actually was there.

The boys (although they’re really grown men: Till, the vocalist, is the oldest at 47, Ollie, the bass player, is the youngest at 39) did such an amazing job. Even though I was pretty far back (section 302), I could still tell the emotions and intent between every movement made, which is saying something in a large arena. I could also feel the heat from the flamethrowers. If I was that far back and could feel it, just imagine what the people in standing room felt!

The songs were perfect; Till was note on and in full booming sub-bass form. The stage show, flames and antics and flaming antics, was entertaining but didn’t overshadow the instruments at all. There were some problems with Till’s mic, but the audience knew the words anyway and sung along, so nothing was lost. Some of the most incredible moments, peppered through the entire show, happened when the audience’s words overcame the stage performances. It’s so amazing to hear 20,000 Americans singing German lyrics, lyrics which the group as a whole probably doesn’t understand 97% of what they’re singing.

And what really amazed me was the amount of respect and gratitude which came off of them in waves, much the the heat from the flames bursting off the stage in tightly choreographed patterns. In recent interviews, the whole band has talked about how it’s been their dream to play Madison Square Garden, but they’d been told it wasn’t a possibility because they weren’t popular enough in the US. After the entire show sold out in 30 minutes (which is 20,000 seats, if you were wondering), I think that proved the naysayers wrong. Hopefully it was enough to warrant a tour in the upcoming year.

When they’d finished their final encore (Engel) and took their final bows, they were so reverent and so grateful. They genuinely seemed like they were having a good time up there, hugging one another, laughing and joking, which is a big thing because they are known for being very grumpy and taciturn. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience, for both the audience and the band, and I’m honored to have been a part of it.”

Set List
Waidmanns Heil
Keine Lust
Weißes Fleisch*
Feuer frei!
Wiener Blut
Frühling in Paris*
Ich tu dir Weh
Du Riechst So Gut*
Links 2-3-4
Du Hast

Ich will*


* indicate my favorite performances of the night


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