rammstein review in ocweekly

May 23, 2011

published online here…

Rammstein
May 20, 2011
The Forum

If you’re reading this right now, then the rapture didn’t happen. But if you’re reading this right now and didn’t go to the Rammstein show at The Forum on Friday night, then you did not adequately prepare for what very well could have been the rapture.

rammstein-the-forum.6360496.87.jpg
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Only a few songs into the set (finding the correct entrance was not fun) the interior colonnade was already filled with a source-less, sweaty fog. The main arena was no less eerie, with a dungeon-esque stage design worthy of a Blade Runner remake that quickly hosted the night’s first of many special effects stunts.

With guitarists Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers standing on either side of singer Till Lindemann, the threesome donned flamethrower-equipped masks that shot 10-foot flames towards one another as they somehow still managed to play through “Feuer Frei!”–known to most American fans as “the bang-bang song” for its onomatopoeia-filled chorus, but appropriately named “Fire Freely!”

No one seemed to mind the heat, which was reminiscent of Universal Studios’ Flashback attraction, and the entire two-minute-long spectacle–which finished with an amazing drum solo from Christoph “Doom” Schneider–left fans cheering for more.

Before anyone could recover from the fire-emitting face masks, however, three chandeliers made of scuffed up dead-baby dolls slowly dropped down from the rafters. As the next song (“Weiner Blut”) built in intensity, they one-by-one lit up with green LED eyes and during its final notes, were ejected from the apparatus as mortar hits shot from either side of the stage.

After slowing down the tempo and turning on the red lights for “Frühling in Paris,” a love song/power ballad, Keyboardist Christian “Flake” Lorenz–who had until then remained a subtle accessory–emerged from under stage wearing a rainbow sequin full-body flared jumpsuit.

He awkwardly shuffled back to his elevated post between two keyboards and began to walk on a treadmill that materialized below his feet. The next two songs were keyboard-minimal, so he marched on like a backup dancer who had stumbled upon leftovers from the Forum’s last few weeks of Prince shows, owning every glittery second of spotlight.

Fan favorites “Du riechst so gut,” “Benzin,” and “Du Hast” came next with accompanying pyrotechnics for each, but it was the final songs of the set that brought out some of Rammstein’s craziest antics.

Sexual symbolism pervaded the entire evening (Lindemann’s crotch grabbing and forced-fellation pantomime did not go unnoticed), but it was during “Pussy,” the supposed last song, that it found its most obvious manifest. A skin-colored cannon was rolled out into the buffer zone between the pit and stage and as the guitars went wild, Lindemann mounted the phallic prop and proceeded to ride it back and forth while it spewed fake snow across the first few rows of the audience.

Two more encores followed, epically finishing the night with “Engel,” a grand finale that featured Lindemann wearing metal angel wings that shot fire out of the tips of its impressive 20-foot wingspan. And if an intensely futuristic German version of the Archangel Gabriel isn’t a perfect enough send-off into the apocalypse, then the final 30-seconds worth of loud-as-hell, all-or-nothing fireworks, flames, pyrostrobes and flash trays definitely was.
Critic’s Bias: I’m always looking for an excuse to headbang.
The Crowd: At least 80 percent dudes with a 50/50 split between people that wear patent leather costumes and are serious about it and regular college students feeding their dark side.

Overheard in the Crowd: “Exploding babies with laser eyes?! I’m so glad I’m peaking on mushrooms!”

Random notebook dump: Feeling guilty for not understanding German. He could be talking about the finer points of communism and we’d still all cheer at the fireworks.

And a video of the intense pyrotechnics that I took with my ipad…

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