Jun 2012 07

Baltimore, MD, First Mariner Arena, 04/25/2012


After testing the American waters with their near instantly sold out Madison Square Garden show in 2010 and a very limited North American run of the 2011 Liebe ist für Alle Da Tour, Rammstein has returned to North America for a 21 show full out blitz for their “best of” Made in Germany tour. Likely putting fire departments everywhere on full alert, Rammstein doesn’t disappoint as they quite literally blaze a path across the country.


Combichrist’s Joe Letz joins Rammstein on the road, opening the concert with a custom DJ set. Performed before a giant screen displaying a warped mash-up of video clips from various Rammstein music videos, Letz’s set exclusively features remixes of Rammstein songs. Apparently well aware of the rather varied audience that Rammstein attracts, the set seemed to strive for broad appeal with its relatively safe and straightforward mixes, even incorporating several dubstep adaptations of Rammstein’s work. While devoting the entire set to Rammstein does make some sense and it did succeed in building anticipation for the main event, the set quickly wore thin and felt like it went on far too long.


When it finally came time for Rammstein to take the stage, their flair for theatrics was immediately present. Entering from the back of the auditorium in a torch led procession carrying both the German and Maryland state flags, Rammstein crossed the sea of people by climbing a mid arena platform and traversing a bridge lowered from the rafters. Being their “greatest hits” tour, the set list for the evening was easy to anticipate, mostly mirroring the content of the recently released Made in Germany compilation, but this did not make the show any less invigorating as ample pyrotechnics, explosions, and incredibly elaborate set pieces easily fill the audience with awe mixed with concern for the band’s safety.


The “greatest hits” also includes some of Rammstein’s most memorable pieces. Those who have seen the live DVD Volkerball will be treated to the unforgettable cooking pot performance of “Mein Teil.” The flame thrower masks made famous by the performance of “Feuer Frei!” in the film XXX also make their way into the set. While these may be familiar, seeing them live gives them an entirely new dimension and makes them all the more impressive.


Showing a masterful bit of showmanship and a desire to leave the entire venue satisfied, the bridge Rammstein first crossed was re-lowered and the band returned to the small platform they first scaled and revealed a second set of instruments. On this second smaller stage, the fans relegated to the back, the swirling mass of people treated to several songs in a smaller, more intimate setting as the band crowded onto the smaller stage that could barely hold the six of them, giving the feeling of a small club venue. As both new and old performance pieces intermix it becomes easy to start wondering, “How can they possibly top that?” This feeling persists well into the encore. Even during the final moments as vocalist Till Lindemann dons a large set of flaming angel wings, the thought “this must be the last song” creeps to mind. But Rammstein still manages to top such a spectacle with a final hilarious surprise that must be seen to be done proper justice – it is a surprise best left unspoiled.


Though the wait was long to see Rammstein perform in the United States, they absolutely proved to be worth it. Attracting a large variety of fans with their mixture of rock, metal, and industrial, Rammstein is one of the most public faces of the industrial genre that is seen by the mainstream and because of that, they may very well garner some flack due to some “hipster” like tendencies in the various scenes. Those people are fools if they allow such petty rubbish to influence their decision to see these fiery diplomats of industrial incinerate genre boundaries and forever burn their performance into the memories of those lucky enough to witness it.


Trubie Turner (Flexei)
Photographs by Katherine Gaines (AmbientEye)
Courtesy of AmbientEye Photography – http://www.ambienteye.com


1 Comment

  1. Luke says:

    Great photos & article…

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