Rammstein @ The LG Arena Birmingham, 3rd February 2010


It’s a dismally wet night outside the newly-transformed LG Arena the touts are successfully shipping tickets out at £40 over face value in the sideways-falling rain to people wearing t-shirts and leather shorts. It’s just as well that their customers speak English because it seems the international fans are in, with a large number having made the jump over from Germany to see Rammstein tonight.

It’s actually my first time inside the newly-overhauled arena and first impressions are that they’ve done a pretty good job. All the internal areas have been upgraded and it’s a better laid out space now, with the only real change to the arena being the newly padded seats which are actually very comfy and a bit bigger than the old ones.

From the elevated seating position it’s possible to see that Combichrist, tonight’s openers, have been given a reasonable slice of the stage to play with and the notable points are that there are 2 drum kits and no guitar amps. The drummers also aren’t in normal format, with the drums infront of them in a vertical line, a bit like the Japanese Kodo drummers. They hit the stage at 8pm promptly and get the crowd jumping with ‘Today I Woke to the Rain of Blood’ from the Everybody Hates You album. For those of you who haven’t seen them yet, think of a slightly more techno version of NiN and Marilyn Manson without the guitars. They get a really good reaction from the crowd in the 40 minute set, ending with “F*ck That Sh*t”, “Blut Royale” and “What the F**k is Wrong With You?” and trashing the stage as they leave.

Rammstein take to the stage 20 minutes later, with the stage show starting at the entrance point, guitarists hacking their way through backlit doors and vocalist Till Lindemann cutting through a steel door from behind with a laser cutter. It’s a nice touch, and the curtain raises to the stomp of Rammlied which has the whole arena screaming their lungs out as Till stomps round the stage, his mouth lit up from inside like some kind of Frankenstein monster, complete with red butchers apron.
You know exactly what you’re going to get at a Rammstein gig, and English isn’t high on the agenda. In the 1hr 45m set which includes two encores there were barely a dozen words spoken in English. What WAS high on the agenda were the spectacular pyrotechnics which have now become a staple signature of Rammstein’s show.

There was a front curtain of fire rising from the stage, rocket flares fired from pods under the stage, flashbangs, firecrackers, head-worn flamethrowers, drum-triggered rockets, lighting rig flamethrowers, crossbow rocket-launchers, fire-breathing angel wings and what show would be complete without exploding laser-eyed babies. To top it off, keyboard player Flake got put in a bathtub and set on fire from above by Till from a 30ft hydraulic pole, only to re-appear in a glittery suit from said bathtub, none the worse for apparently having been flambéd.

I doubt anyone has a calculator large enough to work out what the carbon footprint was from this little lot, nor does anyone care, but it was nice to see that we got the full show and that the boffins in the suits didn’t smack health and safety restrictions over it as they have done on previous tours.
The crowd reaction to some of the slower songs was sometimes a little muted but the more up tempo ones really got everyone moving, especially Feuer Frei, which is probably the bands most recognizable track from the xXx film soundtrack.

The set was only partially revealed until Ich Tu Dir Weh when the backdrop fell and revealed a massive cog-like mechanism at the back of the stage, a lot of time and energy had clearly gone into the production on the tour, but it was nice to see the low-tech, non-pyro pleasers like Flake crowd-surfing in an inflatable dinghy while holding aloft a Union Jack flag and the large pink phallic shaped foam spray gun during set closer ‘Pussy’.

Two encores might have been a little excessive but the crowd around me were all hoping that they’d play Sonne in the encore and true to form, they didn’t disappoint. The show was a definite hit and everybody left a little warmer than when they came in!

Birmingham Set List:
Waidmanns Heil
Keine Lust
Weisses Fleisch
Feuer Frei!
Wiener Blut
Frühling in Paris
Ich Tu Dir Weh
Liebe Ist Für Alle Da
Links 2-3-4
Du Hast

Ich Will


Review Matt Pargeter

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