Banging for the buck

By: Meghan M.D.


The concert led with a darkened Bell Center and screams of anticipation.  While the guitarists punched holes through a wall that separated them from the excited audience, the lead singer bored one through that same wall with a laser cutter, expelling a glowing red light. This was it. It was about to begin. The minute he sang, I don't think anyone could help but notice the LED light was in his mouth! The drums exploded, ringing out like hammers. This was the beginning of a spectacle Montrealers had been awaiting for the better part of a decade.

After a ten-year absence from Canada, fans were beginning to wonder whether Rammstein would ever cater to North American again. The last time they were in this region was during the Mutter tour in 2001. However, December 9th of 2010 changed everything. They came back from their hibernation, rocked North America and are planning to do so again on May 1st, 2012. The German sextet is back and better than ever!

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Rammstein is originally from the former Eastern Germany and their genre of music is called Neue Deutsche Härte, which is under the industrial music umbrella. Rammstein's music ranges from techno to heavy metal. Their music is very different from other industrial bands and they have changed the
This band has not been in existence without controversy. Two members of the band, front man Till Lindeman and keyboardist Christian "Flake" Lorenz were arrested and forced to pay a fine of $50 in 1998 for making obscene gestures while performing the song Bück Dich. They also came under public judgment for being the reason of the Columbine High School Massacre where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold open fired on their school, resulting in 13 dead and 24 injured. Because the perpetrators were avid fans of the band, the public believed that Rammstein was somehow to blame. Rammstein issued a statement following this, assuring the population of the United States that they "have children of their own, in whom they continually strive to instill healthy and non-violent values." ( All members of the band have at least one child each.

This concert was different than all the concerts Rammstein has put on. Although they have always dealt with pyrotechnics and other explosives, they used them more frequently and to a higher level. Although the atmosphere is already very energized and fun, it is mysterious because no one knows that the band is capable of anymore. With every tour, there is more amazement. The props bring mystery and wonder to the crowd. People expect the old songs that are very popular, such as Feuer Frei, where the band put attach flamethrower masks to their faces and then shoot a large stream of fire 25 feet into the air. This has become their trademark.


Figure 2: Pyrotechnics during Feuer Frei

The work Rammstein has done is very important to German culture because it has changed it. Germany went through a cultural crisis after the wall came down and Rammstein helped bring recognition to their country. Rammstein is a very popular band, everyone has heard about them and whether they are liked or not, people are aware of what their shows are like. The fact that they came to Montreal after such a long time drew a lot of attention. Through the show, they demonstrated what they had been doing during their five-year hiatus from touring and amazed all of the spectators.

I have been a Rammstein fan for the better part of ten years and I find that the concert was a very good experience. It was a very big production, especially seeing as though it was filmed for the new live-concert DVD. Rammstein uses a variety of fire equipment that make their concert possible. They include: Lycopodium Masks, Glitterburst Trusses, Pyrostrobes, Comets, Flash Trays and Mortar Hits (wiki). Not only does Rammstein use these explosions, but also they have light shows to create different effects depending on the song. They do this because, according to drummer Schneider, "99 per cent of the people do not understand the lyrics, so you have to come up with something to keep the drama in the show" (Wiki).


Figure 3: Pyrotechnics at the Plaines of Abraham during Ich Tu Dir Weh

This is exactly what they did in the December show. However, there were some technical difficulties that did cause the effect of the show to diminish. The worst feature of the show was during the song Engel, when front man Till Lindemann had massive angel wings strapped to his back that could spout fire out of the ends. One of the wings failed to ignite. It was still amazing to see, but it would have been a lot better is the other wing had worked. Another weakness was that the show took place inside. I went to the Rammstein at the Plaines of Abraham during the summer and the band could do a lot more because they were outside. They set up tens of fireworks in the air during the song "Ich Tu Dir Weh" which wowed the crowed. Doing that in the Bell Center would be a little far fetched and dangerous, not to mention the Habs would have to find a new place to play hockey. When you know there is something great coming up in the song and it doesn't happen, it's a bit of a let down. It also would have been nice if there had been screens for people who were farther away from the stage.

That being said, the show was very much a success and filled all expectations. Rammstein delivered everything they should have and more. A few songs from their new album "Liebe ist fur Alle Da"were played, like Rammlied (the first song), Bückstabü, Waidmanns Heil, Wiener Blut, Frühling in Paris, Haifisch, and P****. During the song Waidmanns Heil, flames shot out from the first level of the stage. It was dangerous, seeing as though the flames were all around the lead singer. If he were off just a little bit, he would probably look like a singed Wile E Coyote. It was quite amazing to see and it was very well done! Through this particular event, the spectators can see how experienced and talented the band is. In Ich tu Dir Weh, keyboardist Flake got up some courage and hit Till Lindemann. However, his actions were short lived as Lindemann picked up the 6'8 Flake and dumped him into a bathtub and poured fire sparks in it. Flake emerged about a minute later in a sparkly jogging suit and danced all the way back to the keyboards before an explosion went off, engulfing him in smoke. This, of course, completely entertained the crowd and made everyone laugh. During P****, which was just before the first Encore, Till Lindemann got on a cannon that shot white confetti all over the crowd. It was great because it made everyone feel so connected.

The band also took the crowd back in time. They performed songs from their first album, Herzeleid, such as "Du riechst so Gut", which featured a light show and a little dance by a few of the band members, which amused the crowd. It was nice to have some variety in the show and not have just the songs from the new album. The audience knows what the old songs like that and what the band does during them. They've been together for 17 years. They played their most famous song, Du Hast, where everyone in the Bell Center knew the lyrics. During the chorus, however, fire shot out of the bottom and top of the stage and no one could see the band! It was a wall!


Figure 4: Pyrotechnics during Du Hast

In all, I found the Rammstein concert to be an amazing one. The band did a very good job in bringing back their most popular songs and playing songs from the new album with new pyrotechnics. It was the best concert I have ever been to and I think everyone in the Bell Center would have agreed. The band put a lot of effort and time into making the show a success and it was obvious. With the new show coming up this May, it will be curious to see what they will come up with next!



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