Rammstein were meant to be on the road right now, taking their world-renowned fiery theatrics to stadiums across the globe. But – for reasons we're all too familiar with by now – the world had other ideas.
Rammstein, like all other artists with summer tours planned, have been forced to postpone their dates until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But if there's one thing we've learnt through decades of watching Rammstein live, it's that the 2021 dates will be well worth the wait.
Below, we recap what made their last tour so special, and give you a taste of what you can expect to see next year.
The staging is from another planet
Rammstein deliver a show that packs an extraordinary emotional wallop. The size of the spectacle is part of it – the staging on their 2019 stadium tour looked like an oil rig plucked straight from the set of Mad Max: Fury Road – and if you stood on the floor of the arena you were essentially inside the production. Each time flames erupted from the relay towers you got a blast of heat so intense it was disconcerting, and the volume was physical. Those brute-force riffs thumped. You felt them in your chest.
Rammstein do live shows like no one else
From the towering, industrial nightmare of a set to the endless jets of flame, plumes of black smoke, stunning light show and, yes, confetti, their shows are quite unlike anyone else's. Each time they head out live, Rammstein plant their flag loudly, and confirm themselves as the biggest and best show in rock music. Twenty five years in and the Teutonic titans are inexplicably still raising their own bar.
The classic stunts still pack a punch
Flake getting cooked! Dinghy-surfing across the crowd! The crossbow that shoots flames! There have been slight tweaks to the props, but these refined stunts still pack the same joy, and it doesn’t feel like being short-changed. That firework trick during Du Hast – where they race back and forth across the crowd – still takes the breath away.
It's not just about the pyro
The set pieces are spectacular. During Puppe, a demented-looking Till Lindemann wheels a giant flaming pram onstage: inside is a screaming, horrific baby that belches black soot. In Mein Tei, the traditional attempts to roast keyboardist Christian "Flake" Lorenz as he hides in a cauldron are enhanced by a trio of increasingly ridiculous flamethrowers.
When the band emerged just before Deutschland, wearing light-up hoodies that looked like they'd been bought at a Cyberdog sale, no one knew what the hell was going on. What then followed was a charming – if slightly bemusing – interpretive dance routine, the musicians throwing shapes that made it look like a bunch of neon stickmen had invaded the stage. It was bizarre. It was daft. It could only have been Rammstein.
The show is immersive
Two examples: before the show kicks off, a sombre voice tells the crowd that the band would really prefer it if no one filmed the show, thank you very much. It's not an announcement that's greeted with universal approval, but you can see why they do it. It's not that they're necessarily concerned about low quality footage finding its way online, or that an arena filled with cameras will spoil anyone's experience: it's about being involved.
Second example: Rammstein have done the crowd-surfing-in-an-inflatable-rubber-dingy thing before. But here it takes on added meaning, as the band "row" over a sea of audience members from the second stage to the first, powered by the strength of fans, arriving in a manner that replicates the beginning of the Auslander video, with a hand-written sign reading "Willkommen" there to greet them. This is the kind of evolved, joined-up thinking you won't find at a Kiss show.
They’re not afraid to be political
When they launch into Links 2 3 4, the song they wrote to defy Nazi accusations, six massive Rammstein banners unfurl, as well as the digital banner on their huge, central tower. Between that and recent single Deutschland, it’s clear they’re still not afraid to look their history in the eye and subvert its iconography.
They're the best live band on Earth
Right now, there is no better stadium show on earth than Rammstein's. They're a better big venue live act than the Rolling Stones. Better than Guns N' Roses. Better than Metallica. Better than U2. And if AC/DC decide to come back next year for one final spin around the globe, those canons are going to look pretty puny.
For more information and tickets to Rammstein's rescheduled 2021 dates, head to AEG's official site