July 1, 2017
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas NV
-T. Ray Verteramo
Informal Review: RAMMSTEIN
As an American, getting a chance to see this band live is like winning the lottery.
How many shows and where they go on the new world soil they openly detest (“We’re all living in Amerika…”) is an annual game of roulette. One year, all they did was one big brujah in New York City and to get a ticket, you needed bionic speed and a first-born child to sacrifice. But, it’s worth it.
When they do come to the States, it is truly for the fans and no other reason.
Every band says, “Thank you” at the end of their set. Usually they’ll add, “We love you all,” and it’s always lovely to hear and for the most part, it is always genuine. But, when Till Lindemann said it to Las Vegas this evening, the heart skipped a beat. Maybe it’s the gentle thunder in his voice, but something in the soul whispers that this is pure, true.
A sweet comfort sets over your heart that you, and the other thousands who have won this prize ticket, are why this special band bothers to cross the pond to deal with our backbiting, underhanded, over-corporated US media industry and work visa bullshit.
That, alone, is worth pressing your luck to catch them if you can.
But, the show…the show, the show the show. The SHOW is a show in a show in a show. And what a show.
Every song has its own theatrical interpretation. Using mostly the elements of fire and Metal — whether it be on the body, from above, from the instruments, or from the proscenium; anything from sparks and twinkling stars to infernos – they animate the ‘industrial’ of their Metal and bring the music to a new visual life.
It’s the goal that every band hopes to achieve and Rammstein hits the mark 100 percent.
It is not easy to be flashy, no pun intended. But here, they do it with panache, as well as flash, and it takes an insurmountable amount of courage to share the stage and tame the wild element of Nature in such an extravagant manner.
But, they’re fearless. Any witness can see that fire and Metal are as much in their blood as bone-crushing riffs.
The setlist does not disappoint. For the most part, they start from their Rosenrot and Reise Reise eras, and work backwards to Mutter and Sensucht, with a grand encore of “Engel” with Lindemann serenely fitted with an Alexander McQueen-esque set of fire-breathing wings.
The only surprise was the absence of “Mein Teil,” the song that earned Rammstein a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2006, though Slipknot took home the award. But, a raging and deleterious “Zerstoren” number was a lovely pick, indeed.
“Reise Reise,” “Klein Lust,” “Sonne,” “Mein Herz Brennt,” and of course, “Du Hast,” “Feuer Frei,” and “Strip” as well as, “Links 2, 3, 4,” “Ich Will,” “Ich tu Der Weh” were all present and ablazed in glory. Notable for their flawless functional fit, crowned in the deep wells of Lindemann’s ground-shaking baritone, the band’s performance and sound electrified as much as the set.
One interesting mentionable was the curious absence of the “This is not a love song/I don’t speak my mother tongue/no this is not a love song” bridge from “Amerika.”
One should never try to guess an artist’s motive, but perhaps it may have been an act of respect, being they were on US soil? Who knows. However, with the contention and dissention surrounding our present climates, it’s safe to say that not too many of us are singing love songs in our own mother tongue for our country right now, either. So, if they did choose to sing those lyrics, it’s possible that the controversy would most likely be minimal, at worst.
Politics aside, the bottom line is that to make a show like this possible takes a tremendous amount of discipline, training, re-investment of resources, a perfect sense of timing (because a split second too early or too late on the pyrotechs can mean life or death), a great amount of support, an enormous amount of insurance, a top-notch road crew, and ruthless dedication. These are many riches that many bands do not enjoy.
And though they may not be technical geniuses, to take cold, hard metal and make it throb with energy and passion and emotion, conscious with humor and sensuality and humanity, takes nothing less than pure, unadulterated vision and talent. This is why the world loves Rammstein.
In any case, the experience does not have to limit its attendees to fans, alone. Anyone who loves Metal or a great show can indulge, as well as appreciate, this remarkable spectacle.
If only our Amerika treated them better enough, that really would be ‘wunderbar.’