RAMMSTEIN / DUO JATEKOK – Stadium MK, Milton Keynes 06.07.19
With RAMMSTEIN arriving on British soil for the first time since 2016’s Download Festival and with it being their only UK show of their current tour, you can imagine the scramble for tickets when this date was announced. Stadium MK was the venue and however random it may have seemed, it turned out to be a great venue to host RAMMSTEIN’s first UK stadium show.
Opening up proceedings were classical French pianists DUO JATEKOK who played on a ‘B’ stage situated on a platform among the fans around mid-way back. Delivering a set of impeccably played piano covers of RAMMSTEIN songs from the ‘XXI - Klavier’ album, DUO JATEKOK seemed delighted to be a part of this show and relished the opportunity that had been given to them. Adélaïde Panaget & Naïri Badal exchanged pleasantries with the crowd between some blistering piano playing and when their set came to an end they were rightfully cheered. Having two classically trained pianists opening and playing a covers set of your own songs seems a bit random, but then this is RAMMSTEIN, and they’re not ones to do things as expected, are they?
DUO JATEKOK are:-
With their seventh album debuting at Number 1 in over a dozen countries where German isn’t the native tongue, multiplatinum-selling Industrial metallers RAMMSTEIN kicked off their tour back in May bringing an impressive stage show to stadiums around Europe.
Handel’s ‘Music For The Royal Fireworks’ plays out throughout the stadium, the anticipation building as each member took to the stage one by one with drummer Christoph Schneider triggering a very loud explosion that shook the stadium via his kick drum strikes. As black smoke filled the air Paul Landers (guitar), Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz (keyboards), Richard Z. Kruspe (guitar) and bassist Oliver Reidel emerged. ‘Flake’ in head to toe gold and Reidel in all red attire. Finally the crowd erupted for frontman Till Lindeman who walked out on stage in a full-length trench coat and snakeskin army outfit.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the staging. In the crowd there were three prominent pyro towers which spewed aforementioned plumes of black smoke and bellowed fire on a regular basis. The stage itself looked like something from a post-apocalyptic world where we were treated to an electrifying light show (retinas be damned!), lots more pyro and one small screen showing close-ups of the band.
RAMMSTEIN opened with an extended version of ‘Was ich Liebe’ off of their latest album. Possibly not what everyone was expecting as an opener, with it being more of a sombre, emotional song but the crowd lapped it up regardless. ‘Links 2 3 4’ picked the pace up as the stage transformed into what can only be described as something akin to a Third Reich gathering. At this point Flake is walking on his treadmill playing a keyboard with each hand.
The opening part of the set mixed the old favourites with the new album material seamlessly with ‘Tattoo’ and a particularly roaring ‘Sehnsucht’ following which were then in-turn followed by the muscular ‘Zieg Dich’ and the magnificent ‘Mein Herz Brennt’. Now, RAMMSTEIN have always been known for their love of theatrics, and their love of fire, so what better way to marry the two together than in the following song, ‘Puppe’. Wearing a headcam, Till lifted a giant pram from underneath the stage which subsequently was set ablaze as a giant mechanical baby was seen on the screen from inside the pram. It made for a very disturbing visual, but hey, that’s RAMMSTEIN, right?
Things slowed down a tad with ‘Diamant’ which featured just Flake, Riedel and Lindemann before midway through their sprawling 21-song set, guitarist Richard Z Kruspe, resplendent in a white pimp coat, was elevated up the main tower on stage to deliver a remix of recent single ‘Deutschland’ as the remaining members, minus Lindemann, came out stage front dressed in black with illuminated white limbs and proceeded to do some sort of interpretive dance. Sort of RAMMSTEIN meets DAFT PUNK. This then segued into the actual version of ‘Deutschland’ which was one of the many highlights of the night for me. Following ‘Deutschland’ was the other single to be released from the new record, ‘Radio’, and it was a one-two punch that proved to me that despite being a decade since releasing new material, the hunger for new RAMMSTEIN is very much there and these songs already sound like classics.
Hit upon hit came next, the brilliant ‘Mein Teil’ which saw ‘Flake’ climb inside the giant cauldron, which has become one of many trademark routines in RAMMSTEIN’s live shows, and get cooked by Lindemann, now sporting an apron and chef’s hat. No matter where you were in the stadium you could feel the heat from all the pyro throughout the show. So, poor Flake! Larger and larger flamethrowers were used until he waved his white flag. ‘Du Hast’ was up next which got possibly the loudest reaction of the night. The lyrics resonating across the stadium ‘Du. Du Hast. Du Hast Mich’, the pyro towers all bursting into life shooting flames and Till firing his crossbow which set off a cool fireworks display that lit up the, now, darkening night sky.
You want fire? We’ll give you fire! An absolutely breathtaking rendition of ‘Sonne’ came next both sounding and looking superb. The lightshow, the fire. ALL OF THE FIRE!! Closing the main set was ‘Ohne Dich’, with the epic ‘Sonne’ lights replaced by mobile phone torches from the crowd. A beautiful way to finish off.
It wasn’t all said and done though, as the band took to the ‘B’ stage and we were treated to something a little bit special; a vocal / piano version of ‘Engel’ with all band members performing vocals and backed by the stunning piano playing of DUO JATEKOK. There were even words projected onto the screen for all of us to get involved, and get involved we did.
The band embarked on another trademark spot, the dingy crowd surf, in order to get back to the main stage, where they were greeted by Till holding up a ‘Wilkommen!’ sign. The band kicked back into gear with the Euro-trashy ‘Ausländer’ and then ‘Du Riechst So Gut’ as we went full-on party mode with the cheeky ‘Pussy’ and its liberal use of the “cock cannon”, which by the looks of it, has had a major upgrade. The audience sang their hearts out whilst Till unloaded (ahem) his cock (double ahem) onto them and the pyro towers shot their own load (triple ahem?)
‘Rammstein’ came next (no pun intended and certainly not related to the previous track!) and the band closed the night with an absolutely barnstorming rendition of the 2001 classic ‘Ich Will’. The pyro cannons reverberated around the stadium for the last time, and it was at this point that Lindemann directly addressed the crowd for the first time, thanking them as all six band members bowed whilst the flames once again extended skywards from the central tower on the stage.
What a show! It doesn’t matter that pretty much every song is sung in German as thousands in Stadium MK sang back every word. RAMMSTEIN are a premier live act with a stadium show that is as theatrical as it is musical. The pyro is a spectacle to behold, the lightshow is something else (again, retinas be damned) and the quality of musicianship on display is other worldly. Aggressively heavy, RAMMSTEIN are a stunning live band. With tongues firmly in cheeks at times, they are unquestionably masters of what they do
Christoph Schneider – Drums
Richard Z. Kruspe – Guitar
Paul Landers – Guitar
Till Lindemann – Vocals
Oliver Riedel – Bass
Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz – Keyboards