-- A lead singer throw the keyboardist into a bathtub, rise high into the sky on a platform and dump a jug of sparks onto him
-- A song (Wiener Blut) with plastic baby dolls suspended on strings that ceremoniously explode into fire balls at the climax of the song
-- A giant uncircumcised penis cannon that shoots goo (soap) all over the first few rows of the mosh pit and the stage
-- Thousands of English-speaking fans chanting, fist-pumping and singing along to songs in a language they don't even speak (most of them, at least)
All of these things happened last night at the LA Forum, and all of these things were even more badass in person.
This being Rammstein's first visit to Los Angeles in ten years, everyone in attendance was expecting all sorts of fireballs, explosions, and homoerotic phallic appendages. That's what you pay for when you shell out $80 for a ticket and $25 to park in the cavernous Forum parking lot.
But it wasn't as if the crowd only knew Du Hast - there were huge mosh pits going on all night long.
When the house lights cut out and thunderous sounds came from the stage, we knew it was time. Emerging from the back of the stage and breaking down the wall with axes, the familiar glow of thousands of cameras and phones lit up the venue.
After breaking through the wall, huge beams of white light illuminated the Forum, and the band started playing Rammlied, the opening track from 2010's Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da.
For the next hour and forty five minutes, we were all in fire-y industrial rock heaven.
Of course, since it's a Rammstein concert, each song features chugging industrial rock riffs, vocalist Till Lindemann's gutteral yells and ominous tones, and keyboardist Flake either being doused with a jug of fire (during the song Ich Du Dir Weh), dancing around in his sparkly sequined tracksuit, running in place at his keyboard stand on a treadmill, or taking a ride through the crowd in an inflatable raft.
Concert-wise, Rammstein couldn't have left anyone in the crowd wanting more, as far as the song selection was concerned. They played an hour and forty five minutes, which is A LOT OF RAMMSTEIN SONGS. Touching on every album they have released, they played six new songs and hit all the songs that American audiences would know: Du Hast, Engel (with Lindemann wearing a giant set of angel wings that ignited, of course), Pussy (with the penis cannon), Feuer Frei! (with dueling fire cannons), Links 234, Ich Will, and Sonne. They even went back to 1995's Herzeleid and played Du Riechst So Gut and Weisses Fleisch, which was a nice treat.
This was my first Rammstein show since 2001 (on the Pledge of Allegiance Tour), and to say it was worth the wait wouldn't do it justice.
There was such a sense of joy from everyone in the crowd, whether or not they were caked in layers of black makeup and oddball, late 1990s Ozzfest haircuts. Everyone seemed really pumped up about the show, as if we had been waiting a lifetime for it. Considering the outpouring of love from the crowd on this and other stops on the tour, it will be interesting to see if Rammstein tries touring the US again anytime soon. Personally, I don't think they have to. Part of why this show was so great was the whole "they haven't been here in 10 years!" aspect. To tour again next year would take away a little of the impact of this current tour.
At the end of the show, the band joined up and did a respectful bow to the crowd, with Lindemann saying "Thank you, we love you very much". If this really was a special one-time US tour, then that was a good way to end the show: bowing in appreciation of all the love this country has given the band for so long, considering 8 out of 10 people in the US probably only know Du Hast (and maybe Feuer Frei! if they watched the XXX movie with Vin Diesel).
Of all the concerts I've seen in my life, the amount of effort and work Rammstein put into a live show really makes them something special. The energy, the aggression, the pyrotechnics, the choreography, everything. It's much more of a "show" than a "concert", and that's why there's been such a demand for them to play the US for so long.
They finally decided to satisfy those demands, and the Forum won't ever be the same. Nor will I.
Thank you Rammstein.
This was the setlist from last week's show in Tacoma, and it looks the same as last night's set:
Fruhling in Paris
Ich Tu Dir Weh
Du Riechst So Gut
Links 2 3 4
Below are some videos from the show, for your viewing pleasure: