*PHOTO COURTESY OF BRITTNY GIFFORD*
The Rammstein show at Jobing.com Arean in Glendale last Friday began with their ominous entrance walking down the steps of the arena seats past excited onlookers and over an enormous walkway being lowered slowly from the ceiling to connect a middle platform and the main stage. The entire stage seemed to represent a warehouse style feel with grey metal engulfing every part of the stage. Huge round spotlights that reminded me of archaic lighting used by a back alley doctor flooded the stage as the members began crossing the bridge to take their places in front of us. Once Rammstein burst forth with their music the crowd erupted and the energy of the band had been released. The theatrics and stage presence was impeccable and there was an abundant amount of fire spewing forth from the stage. At one point Till Lindemann, the vocalist, was surrounded by a circle of flames intermittently spouting from the floor like a Bellagio fountain. The theme of the night was definitely fire and during the song “Feuer Frei,” Till and the guitarists wore flame shooting mouth pieces on their heads and were simultaneously shooting fifteen foot flames in the air. The fire bursting from the stage was so intense that I felt the heat from fifty feet away. I am surprised the front row didn’t smell like burnt hair.
After their first intermission the long walkway once again descended from the ceiling as Rammstein made their way across to the smaller platform. The band was basically dressed as an S&M dog sled team all tied together crawling on their hands and knees while the drummer was dressed as a woman whipping them across the walkway. They performed a few songs on this smaller stage before heading back to the front which was great because it projected a much more intimate feel during the show. After a few more songs Till walked out from underneath the stage when the song “Engel” started and he wore a huge set of foldable metal angel wings that, of course, shot flames at the tips of the wings. The showmanship of this band never ceased to amaze me and it is no surprise that the founding guitarist, Richard Kruspe, was influenced by KISS. The live stage production was really one of the best I have ever seen. Rammstein closed the show down with their most recent single, “Pussy.” Their last amusing production element was a big pink canon, phallic shaped of course, that Till rode around on stage shooting massive amounts of foam onto the crowd simulating, well you can guess what this simulation inferred. I was happy to be back just far enough to not be slathered in this shooting “foam.”
Rammstein live in concert really has no equal and the entire audience was entertained with not only their music, but with the massive amounts of production. This was a full-fledged Vegas style show that you would think should be part of Cirque De Soleli. I could tell that there were a few times that Till was a bit disappointed with the crowd participation. I was in the middle of the floor and the volume level was unimpressive to me when the audience was supposed to be singing the lyrics. There were a few times I noticed the emotionless face of Till gave off that “whatever” appearance like he knew this was the best he could get out of everyone. I understand that the US is a big change from playing sold out arenas all over the world with die hard rabid fans in attendance, just don’t let me catch you showing your displeasure. This was my first time seeing Rammstein live but I had been living vicariously through their Volkerball DVD which I highly recommend every fan of theirs purchase. Some of their stage performances were the same as the show they performed on the DVD. Granted the stunts were impressive, I just wanted to see something entirely fresh and new. Even with these few insignificant issues I had with the show, Rammstein put on an amazing and unforgettable concert that I am extremely grateful to have witnessed in person. How many bands make you sonically experience the act of getting your heart ripped out and fed to you? Honestly this is the best metaphor available and the answer is without question, Rammstein.