One night my husband was at band practice, and I was just scrolling thru The Facebook when I saw a friend post a news headline about how Rammstein’s show in England could be heard over ten miles away. I went immediately to Twitter for more news and there were reports of people thinking the stadium had blown-up, scientists at the PETRA III particle accelerator in Belgium sharing seismometer readings.
Within five minutes I had purchased tickets to their show in Los Angeles.
Can I get a – HELL YEAH!!!
If you asked me to name a single Rammstein song, I can’t. But I have seen the Rammstein documentary and now I have seen them live and all I can say is – HOLY SHIT!
When preparing to see a band you know very little about, normally you start to listen to the music. I knew enough of the music to know I’d enjoy it, so I went looking for the perfect outfit. My plans came together as I found an artist selling “My Other Ride Is Your Dad” shirts on Etsy. (Shout-out to Tim Scott aka Folk Lord for getting it to me in time!)
Leading up to Rammstein felt like waiting for Christmas. And I LOVE Christmas! I was also pretty excited it was at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. I had only been there once and it was to see my beloved Broncos in a pre-season game. As excited as I was to finally see my Broncos, I was so enchanted by watching the Olympic Cauldron burn. The Coliseum was host to the 1932 and the 1984 Summer Olympics and will be hosting again in 2028. They’re kinda like the Motel 6 of Olympic Stadiums – we’ll leave the cauldron burning for you.
We arrived at the event with time for people watching, always fascinating. The crowd was incredibly diverse and impossible to sum up. I guess no surprise that German seemed to be the language I heard spoken the most, followed by Spanish. And everyone was SO happy. Well, except one lady. She was using a cane to get up to the nosebleeds where our last minute tickets were and not having it with the stairs. She finally hollered back to her husband, “This cane is a piece of crap and I’m donating it to charity tomorrow!!!” As someone who has worked at charities for decades can I please say, don’t donate your crappy cane to someone in need. Please. One charity I worked at we got car donations (long before Kars for Kids kornered the market on krap kar donations) and I can’t tell you how many letters I had to send out that went something like: Thank you for your donation of your 1982 Corolla, after towing and repairs, we received a donation in the amount of $23. Wish I was kidding, don’t get me started on dead computer donations. (Anyway, thank you for attending my TED Talk.)
In addition to people watching, we spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how the stage was brought in. It was MASSIVE! I pictured something out of the animated series “Metalocalypse” when Dethklok was having a concert and the monstrosity of a stage was flown in. There were also 4 huge speaker towers that must be the wet dream of any Full Sail graduate. My husband thought they probably belonged to the coliseum because he was trying to figure out how they would transport all of this from Germany. Later in the show when the towers started shooting fire into the sky I turned to my husband and said, “Ya, I’m sure the Coliseum just had those laying around.” One of the towers had the soundboard at the base while another had a small stage. This would be where the opening act, Duo Jatekok performed. The group featured two classical pianists, Adélaïde Panaget and Naïri Badal, performing keyboard covers of Rammstein songs. These women were fantastic and really set the mood.
As Rammstein was about to hit the stage an announcement was made to not film the concert and instead to completely enjoy it, good advice. When it all kicked in and what followed was what Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen should look and sound like, no offense to the LA Opera and James Conlon because I’m guessing the Dorothy Candler Pavilion isn’t allowing massive pyrotechnics. It was incredibly powerful and beautiful and it captured you and took you to places that transcend words probably because it was all in German and I didn’t know the words. It was truly like an opera. But with FIRE! SO MUCH FIRE!
Rammstein helped to create a German/Austrian subgenre in the mid-1990’s where industrial rock met metal and henceforth and furthermore became known as Neue Deutsche Härte (NDH) or New German Hard. (I’m not gonna lie, I had to look that shit up.) My husband noted an obvious Kraftwerk influence. Anyway, Rammstein was formed in 1994 in Berlin and their six-man lineup has remained unchanged. Even in such a large stadium the personalities of the band members came out strong. Of course there’s the initial – HOLY SHIT! It’s the guy on the treadmill, it’s FLAKE!! HE’S REALLY ON A TREADMILL! It didn’t take knowing the band or the songs to enjoy the concert. Epic barely seems to cover it. Our friends on the floor were having an equally magical time. At once point a giant penis was shooting foam over the crowd. But whether you were near or far you could feel the emotion of Til Lindemann resonate throughout the coliseum.
They played for a long time, but honestly I didn’t want to leave. So we waited for quite a while to start to file out. There were some other stragglers and we wondered if they knew something. Like when Prince was playing those shows at the Forum and you just did not leave until you absolutely had to because he would just keep coming back. It was a magical experience that filled my heart and left me wide-eyed just like a kid leaving Disneyland. Well, if Disneyland was taken over by German Leather Daddies. Even the long wait to escape P2 wasn’t gonna dim that fire.