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Gimme Fire: Rammstein Redefine The Stadium Show

Tuesday, 05 July 2022 Written by Jon Stickler

Photos: Paul Harries

Along with thousands of others drawn to loud noises and explosions, I went to the Rammstein show in Cardiff last week. And now, thanks to the pyro-obsessed Berliners' massive, cudgelling riffs, I go about my life in a perpetual state of headbanging—headbanging while having a shower, headbanging while walking to the shop, headbanging while I drive to work, headbanging while I brush my teeth. It’s debilitating. Please, rock gods, I have a family to feed.

But, every time my neck screams in agony, my brain replies: ‘Worth it.’ Opening with the raising of a giant Welsh flag, followed by the stomping Armee Der Tristen and its commanding 'KOMM MIT’ chorus hook, each of the show's 21 songs serve up the type of over-the-top, flame-drenched fanfare that is typically reserved for the grand finale of a festival headline slot.

The mind-blowing onslaught on the senses is so well orchestrated and so well organised that it will take some beating as the live spectacle of the year. It’s all the more remarkable as this has been true for some time now, and doubtless will continue to be as they wind their way across Europe this summer before heading for North America.

For the uninitiated, Rammstein's extraordinary approach to live shows works on multiple levels. It's sinister, it's fun, it's macho, it's camp, it's political, and it's humorous, with their familiar-yet-refined stunts working a treat when played out on a towering, eyebrow-singeing stage that's part Blade Runner, part Mount Doom, part Mad Max. 

Keys player Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz once again gets cooked throughout Mein Teil, a song with lyrics that reference the 2001 Armin Meiwes cannibalism case, while for the terrifying Puppe, a pram is set alight with a demonic baby spewing ash confetti. 

There are missiles during Du Hast, fireworks, explosions, a small tank blasting fire, a slightly bemusing interpretive dance routine in light-up hoodies, and of course a giant phallic cannon ejaculating foam during Pussy. Rammstein toy with public perception, getting the stadium to raise their arms to the sound of marching boots on Links 2-3-4, a song they wrote to dispel Nazi accusations early in their career.  

Newer material such as the disco beats of Zick Zack, the self-reflective Zeit, and Deutschland mix well with classics Mein Herz Brennt and Sonne, both set to endless jets of flame from pillars among the crowd, plumes of black smoke, and a stunning light show. 

Engel is played on a piano on an island-like stage in the middle of the crowd, as 30,000 phone lights illuminate all six members, and Ausländer carries added meaning, with Rammstein conducting their dinghy-surfing-across-the-crowd exploits back to the stage, greeted with a handwritten sign reading ‘Willkommen’— German for 'Welcome'.

Only Rammstein could entertain the idea of a gargantuan performance like this, torching the rule book of what a stadium show should be, and setting a new standard that is as fun as it is unsettling. It is a gig like no other. Approaching their third decade, they recently hit the number one spot in over a dozen countries with their 'Zeit' LP, a record unlike anything we've heard from them before. That, combined with their new live display, proves they remain as ambitious and daring as ever.

Rammstein Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri July 08 2022 - LYON Groupama Stadium (France)
Sat July 09 2022 - LYON Groupama Stadium (France)
Tue July 12 2022 - TURIN Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino (Italy)
Sat July 16 2022 - WARSAW PGE Narodowy (Poland)
Wed July 20 2022 - TALLINN Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Estonia)
Sun July 24 2022 - OSLO Bjeke Travbane (Norway)
Fri July 29 2022 - GOTHENBURG Ullevi Stadium (Sweden)
Sat July 30 2022 - GOTHENBURG Ullevi Stadium (Sweden)
Wed August 03 2022 - OSTEND Park De Nieuwe Koers (Belgium)
Sun August 21 2022 - MONTREAL Quebec - Parc Jean Drapeau (Canada)
Sat August 27 2022 - MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota - U.S. Bank Stadium (USA)
Wed August 31 2022 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Lincoln Financial Field (USA)
Sat September 03 2022 - CHICAGO Illinois - Soldier Field (USA)
Tue September 06 2022 - EAST RUTHERFORD New Jersey - MetLife Stadium (USA)
Fri September 09 2022 - FOXBOROUGH Massachusetts - Gillette Stadium (USA)
Sat September 17 2022 - SAN ANTONIO Texas - Alamodome (USA)
Fri September 23 2022 - LOS ANGELES California - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (USA)
Sat September 24 2022 - LOS ANGELES California - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (USA)

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