Rammstein and I go back, way back. After moving to the US, I lost touch with the German music scene. No radio station played anything resembling it and there was no YouTube or streaming service to stay current. That all changed with Napster and its brief rain of terror (on the music industry). Suddenly there was this strange band that sounded like Richard Wagner started to write metal. And a new genre ”Neue Deutsche Haerte” (New German Toughness) a word play on the “New German Values” of the post World War II era.
The logical thing for me was to introduce my unsuspecting children to enhance their elementary school music education. Thus was born the famous “Angry Mix” playlist to give my youngest an outlet to burn off some of their anxiety. When Rammstein came to the Target Center in 2012 I dragged them at the tender age of 15 to the show and blew their mind. When TCM was founded in 2014, I called dibs on last night’s show. Never in a million years did I actually believe I would get to photograph Rammstein, but like an apocalyptic boy scout, I like to be prepared.
Before the show, it was a game of where’s Waldo, connecting with friends and family all over US Bank Stadium. Of course my kids (way past elementary school) were there. The range of fans (and casual concert goers) was impressive. Metal heads, Goths, any number of band t-shirts – we got them all.
The show started with songs from their new Album and some of the crowd not familiar with them took a bit to get warmed up. I I felt a bit like a tale of 2 shows between the people in the seats and those on the floor. I think Rammstein’s recent work is some of their strongest. Being able to understand their lyrics that often use complex German word play surely helps. They are not afraid to shock. The video for “Deutschland’ cast a black woman as Germania embodying German spirit and did not shy away from sensitive topics in German history like the Holocaust. “Auslaender” talks about sex tourism.
But much like a German battleship, the show was an unstoppable juggernaut that engulfed everyone in the stadium through sheer firepower (good thing no British Aircraft Carriers were nearby). Fans responded to the generous use of pyro and songs they knew well. Rammstein usually plays in outdoor stadiums to twice or three times the 30.000 fans in attendance yesterday. By the time “Du Hast” hammered the stadium, you could not tell the difference.
Things were quite interesting for photographers as well, we usually get to shoot the first 3 things from the pit or the soundboard. For Rammstein we were told to be ready for the last 3 songs of the show. And we would be shooting from the small stage raised above the crowd. This was a fantastic experience for me. The heat from the pyro blasted me in the face and lights were so bright at times, the camera had trouble focusing.
The show ended fittingly with “Adieu” and as Rammstein took their traditional bow and fans flocked out onto the streets of Minneapolis the buzz about what we just had experienced followed them.
Armee der Tristen / Zick Zack / Links 2-3-4 / Sehnsucht / Zeig dich / Mein Herz brennt / Puppe / Heirate mich / Zeit / Deutschland (Remix by Richard Z. Kruspe) / Deutschland / Radio / Mein Teil / Du hast / Sonne
Encore: Engel (with Duo Abélard) (Piano-Version, performed on B-stage) / Ausländer / Du riechst so gut / Pussy
Encore 2: Rammstein / Ich will / Adieu