Written by: Jackie Raner
I arrived at the Allstate arena at 7am on the day of the concert after driving 14 hours all night to get there. I took a head count and about 20 people were there before me, waiting since about 4am. It was supposed to be about 68 degrees and cloudy with a chance of storms so I dressed appropriately. It ended up being about 85 and sunny the whole day. Waiting up at the east gate in the intense sun and heat I got a horrible sunburn.
Interestingly, all the people that were the first in line with me were from other states and even countries. Our love of rammstein made us instant friends. We all worked together to hold spots, shared food, sunscreen and stories with each other to pass the time. I went up there alone so I was happy to find people to hang out with.
They let us in at about 6:30pm and it was quite a push to get in the doors. They patted us all down but we were smart enough to empty our pockets before we went in so we got through quickly. I rushed to the booth where the wristbands were handed out, avoiding the mob of people that were on the near side of the table, I went to the far side of the table and got my band immediately. I made my way as quickly as possible down the stair into to pit area. I was calm and cool as I looked for a spot in front. After looking at videos of their recent shows I knew that if I could not get in the front center, I would want front left. I began to move along the rails toward the left, but as I did, I noticed a spot in the front center open. I rushed in and was instantly amazed at how close I had gotten. I knew right then and there that all the pain of the drive, the wait and being up for 36+ hours was going to be worth it. I was about to realize a long held dream of mine.
Combichrist opened the show, I had listened to some of their stuff online and watched videos of theirs. I was not impressed with what I saw from those searches but I have to say that those videos do not do them justice. They put on a great live performance. I admit, they are worth seeing live all by themselves.
After combichrist we waited about 20 minutes in anticipation for rammstein to start. The crowd had already began to push and it was a struggle just to hold on to the rail and keep my feet in place. All of a sudden the lights went down again, the crowed roared. I was screaming. I began to see light coming from 2 doors on the left and right of the stage as Paul and Richard used their guitars to rip holes in the doors and make their entrance. Then from the center of the stage, a third door began to appear. It looked and sounded as though it was being cut open with a welding gun or blow torch. Once it had gone all the way around the door, Till kicked the door open and walked toward the front. We were all screaming as he began to sing Rammleid. He had the LED light in his mouth just like in the video from Ich tu dir weh. Every time he got to the part where they say Ramm-Stein, we all yelled it out with them.
They followed it up with Buckstabu everyone still singing and screaming, but weidmanns heil was where I got my first real taste of those flames. All the videos I have seen, I knew what was going to happen, but I was not prepared for the heat of those flame jets. Till came out with what looked like a riffle and after the second verse of the song, kneeled down and shot the gun up into the air with a loud bang that surprised me. Sparks flew out of the gun up toward the celing and then sparks came down and lit little fires all across the front of the stage as he sang the last verse of the song.
Next came keine lust. What you can not see on that song from watching videos is that there are 4 big air conditioning vents on the celing. When he gets to the end of the song where he sings “mir ist kalt” those vents begin blowing and it gets cold. It was a bit of relief from all the heat of the flames and the sweat on my back from myself and the people behind me.
Then came Weisses Fleisch. I knew they were going to play that and being one of my favorite songs, I could not help but scream out every word. By that time though the pressure of the crowd made it hard to breath. But my body found a way to get in the breaths and scream anyway. It hurt my ribs each time I did from being pushed against the rails, but I did not care. I just kept yelling it all out.
Then it was time for Feuer Frei. The videos do not do justice to those flamethrowers they put on their heads. In as few words as possible, they are Fucking Awesome. And once again, hot as hell. Each time they shouted out Bang Bang, I pretended like I was shooting Till as I yelled it out.
The music stopped and over the PA we could hear music like an old phonograph, the center of the stage looked like a fireplace and there was an old phonograph and a lamp that came out and Till was on his knees next to it. It was time for weiner blut. The babies came down from the celing with their green laser eyes looking out over the crowd. I knew they were going to explode. I even knew at what part of the song, but I jumped as they started to go off in unison with the drum beats of the song. They were so loud. It was like an artillary shell from the 4th of July, but they came down right in front of me and burnt out on top of the security guards who seemed to be getting a bit nervous at this point. Literally, the burnt out about 2 feet from my face.
Fruhling in Paris was next and what looked sort of like a microphone came down from the celing unwinding as it came down so that I could see it was not a microphone, but instead a little light on top of it. The crowed crooned out the chorus with Till as we had a slow song to break the intensity.
Afterwards they rolled out the tub onto the left of the stage and it was time for Ich tu dir weh. We all knew what was coming and we all screamed in anticipation. As seen in the youtube videos, Flake comes down and kicks Till over then runs away. Till runs after him and grabs him and throws him into the tub. He then gets up on the upper portion of the stage where there is what looks sort of like a propane tank and begins to rise off the stage on a pedestal. Once again the videos do not do it justice. You can not see how high off the stage he gets, I want to say about 50 feet off the stage and very unstable looking. He sings the last verse and pours sparks down onto the tub. Once again fireworks start popping off, this time from the tub. Once again they seem to land right in front of me. He comes down off the pedestal and makes a cross gesture like Flake is dead and walks away. Flake, who was in a long black treanchcoat when he went into the tub, rises out now dressed in a colorful suit that is lighting up in all different colors from head to toe. There are LED lights in the suit. He does his crazy dance and makes his way back to his spot on stage.
Then came Du riechts so gut. Not one of my favorite songs and one I always wondered why they seem to put in every show they have, but I still sang every word with the audience. After that was Benzin. Till rolled out an old style gas pump at the beginning of the song, and once again, from the videos online, I knew that at the end of the song he was going to use the gas pump as a flame thrower. They had something new planned for this song. Something I never saw on the videos. There was a person, one of their roadies perhaps, that was planted to look like a fan. He got up on stage at the end of the song while Till is singing BENZIN and shooting out flames from the gas pump, and begins headbanging next to Paul. He acted it out so well, jumping up and down like he was excited to get up there. Then Till pointed the flame thrower at the “fan” and light him on fire. Not just once but about 5 times until he was covered in flames. The stage hands came out with towels and fire extinguishers and got him to the ground and put the fire out. They then grabbed the “fan” and pretended to drag him off stage, but the “fan” got loose and ran up to Till, bowing to him, the stage hands chase him over there and grab the “fan” once again and drag him off stage this time, the whole time the fan is jumping up and raising his arms as if to say “I did it, I got up on stage” It was so well acted out that after the song I could hear people behind me saying I think that was real, and I don’t think that was supposed to happen. There were 2 dead giveaways that it was planned though. Other than the fact that I saw this guy walking around in front of the stage before he jumped up there. First, the obvious is that if it was not planned and it was a real fan, they would have had an assault charge and went to jail. Second, and I will never figure out how they did this, the guys clothes were not burnt in any way. I had a very clear view and he was definately on fire, and his clothes, were definately still completely intact.
Next song was links 234 and I was dissappointed that I could not stomp my feet with the beat, but the people in the seats seemed to have it under control. Du Hast followed, and Till held out the microphone and let the crowed sing the whole first part of the song. Which we did perfectly. He also had the gun like he has in the volkerball video with the 3 flares on the front that shoot out over the crowed. I know he shot it off but I could not tell if they went out over the crowd like in the video because of where I was standing.
After Du Hast they sang Pussy. I knew that the cannon was going to come out and shoot white foam on all of us followed by the ticker tape confetti. I brought a pair of goggles just for that part. Don’t want to miss any of the concert because I got soapy foam in my eyes =). He went back and forth a few times making sure to cover everyone really good. It was actually kind of nice to get that cool foam on you at that point.
They thanked us and went back stage and we knew it was time to chant for the encore songs. RAMMSTEIN, RAMMSTEIN, RAMMSTEIN! We all kept chanting over and over. They came back out to another deafening roar from the crowd. It was time for Sonne. Now during the whole concert there were flames, and as I said before, it was hot up front. But this one took the cake. Most of the songs where they shot off the flames that were in the front of the stage, they only shot off the 2 in the very front. During Sonne, they shot em all off, all across the stage. The heat was so intense that the security guards were ducking on the ground so as not to get burned. I had one guard directly in front of me, and I knew what was coming so I tapped him on the shoulder a few second before it happened and pointed at the ground. He gave me a confused look, and then all the flames shot out and he got down quick. After that he watched me and I pointed at the ground again and again just before they shot all the flames out and he did as instructed each time. I had to apologize to the girl behind me after the show because the flames were so hot that when they shot em off the last time I instinctively moved my head back away from it and hit her in the head. Not hard mind you, but I still felt bad so I apologized.
Then they played haifisch and Flake got in the boat and the crowd carried him around a bit. Sadly he never came close enough to me for me to see except when he got in and when he got out.
Next was Ich will. I knew this was an audiance participation song and so I made sure to sing my parts loud and correctly, wir horen dich, wir sehen dich, wir fuhlen dich. I made sure to put my hands up when Till sang wir wollen eure hande sehen. The people up front with me seemed to know to do this also but the second time Till made sure to tell the crowd in english let me see your hands. So I guess there were some people who did not understand their parts of the song.
When they finished, Till thanked us again and Christoph came down and threw his drumsticks out into the crowd, way too high and far for me to catch. But they still had not played Engel. So the chants came again. RAMMSTEIN, RAMMSTEIN! After about 5 minutes the band came out again and Till came out of the center doors wearing the angel wings. We all shouted with him when he got to the part Gott weiss Ich will ein Engel sein. Of course the flames came out of the end of the wings, just like in the videos. And once again I could feel the heat coming off them. The song ended and a guy came by handing out something to those of us in the front row. When I got it I looked to find he had given me a sticker that said ” I survived front row with Rammstein.” He only gave it to those of us in the very front. I have to admit, the wording on that sticker is very appropriate. Survived. It is all you can do just to stay there with all those flames and heat. All the pushing and the people getting dragged out because they passed out in the pit. There were times when I wondered if I would make it. My legs were shaking and I had been up for nearly 2 straight days. But I made it. I survived.
I did not get out of the pit in time to get an official tour shirt, which dissappointed me. But who cares. I got that sticker, Eat your heart out Rammstein fans. And I figure I can buy the shirt on the official website soon.
They did not play Liebe ist fur Alle Da. Which is my favorite song off the new album. But still, who cares right. So there you have it. I tried my best to give the most complete review of the show I could. It was the best day of my entire 30 year life. I hope to do it again soon.
I do have one word of advice for people who plan to attend a Rammstein concert and have floor tickets. There was a group of about 10 people who began tailgating and drinking beer at about 9am all the way up to about an hour before we were let in. I saw EVERY one of those people get dragged out of the pit before they were through the first 5 songs. So DO NOT drink a bunch of alcohol before the concert. Make sure you are well hydrated. Drink water, gatorade, whatever you want but NOT beer. If you want to see the whole show and not end up in an ambulance, you will take my advice.
For Affenknecht Jackie RanerRammstein in Chicago, Allstate arena 5-10-11 review,