In the run up to the extensive European stadium tour booked to follow the release of their new album Zeit, Rammstein scheduled two dress rehearsal shows. After all, following a period of pandemic-enforced inactivity, the art of operating heavy machinery - such as, say, penis canons - while pulling off eyebrow-singeing pyrotechnic displays may require a little practice.
The first of said dry runs, held at Letňany Airport in Prague last night (May 11), welcomed a handful of Rammstein fan club members - who had to secure their golden tickets in a lottery - to witness the sextet's newly recalibrated shock-and-awe spectacle. And judging by the fan-recorded footage from the night, the show was quintessentially…well, Rammstein (BIG. LOUD. LOTS OF FIRE).
With dress rehearsal two scheduled to take place tomorrow (May 13 ) before the tour launches for real two days later, here’s a glimpse into what madness was unfurled and what more there might be to come…
Armee der Tristen made its live debut…and so did Rammstein’s new stage outfits
Recently, Rammstein announced that they'd be recruiting two pianists - Duo Jatekok and Duo Abélard - to open their shows across Europe and North America. In accordance with what perhaps may be a more sombre-than-usual introduction to the night's entertainment, the industrial-metal maestros elected to reintroduce themselves to live performance with Zeit's sately but stirring opener Armee der Tristen. Making its live debut, the song's pant-blackening rhythmic weight pulsates and stomps, with frontman Till Lindemann fiercely stabbing out each lyric while sporting a majestically long military coat. Understandably, Till soon takes that off because you know, fire is hot.
Everybody was Zick Zack dancing…
Next up, the sextuple launched into another Zeit track; bouncy and bizarre single Zick Zack. As the audience chants along, fists punching the air, there's no doubt that this number is destined to become a Rammstein party classic. We personally would like to suggest fans adopt the scissoring hand motion that's featured in the Zick Zack music video, if we're going to be serious about our dancing in the future though.
Disappointingly, after this, the band played only two more songs from the new album, namely the brooding Adieu and title-track Zeit. When the full tour kicks off, we better see some Giftig, Dicke Titten and OK added to the setlist. OHNEEEEEE KONDOMMMM!
Rammstein aren't shy about whipping out the big hitters
Although there weren't as many Zeit tunes as we might have wished in the setlist, Rammstein did treat their invited guests to some of the very best of their catalogue; Links 2-3-4, Deutschland, Du Hast, Sonne, Ausländer, Pussy and Rammstein... that doesn't sound like a terrible night out, does it, so it's hard to be disappointed.
Feuer frei! Ever seen a cloud made entirely of flames? Just you wait
Rammstein and fire go together like peanut butter in a jelly sandwich. By themselves they're pretty, pretty good, but together they're a strange yet highly appealing taste sensation.
In a similar vein, at a Rammstein gig, expect to sample the faint trace of smoke settling on your tongue, because where there's Til Lindemann and co...there's shit tonnes of flames. Although we can't see all the fiery gadgets and gizmos they have in store from our trawl through fan footage, what we do know is that there will be volcanic-like eruptions, spiralling/shooting flames and more. Let's just hope all this incendiary inventiveness has been thoroughly tested, for we wouldn't want any mishaps ...like, say, the time they accidentally torched Tool's stage in 2011.
Phallic-shaped gateway to hell? Rammstein's stage is classically intimidating
Erected at Letňany Airport in Prague, Rammstein's new stage set-up looks as gloriously garish and intimidating as we could have hoped. Beaming spotlights far into the sky and encircled in red hot flame, the whole thing looks jaw-droppingly impressive. Resembling some kind of industrial, dystopian laboratory, it's the perfect setting for Berlin's mad sonic scientists Rammstein to unleash their bold new blueprints.
Paul Landers and Richard Kruspe share the love with on-stage smooch
Over the years, Paul Landers and Richard Kruspe have had a number of tender moments on stage. So much so that the Rammstein fandom claim to "ship" the loving pair under the joint pseudonym "Paulchard".
Famously, at a 2019 show in Moscow, during the track Ausländer, the two guitarists hit headlines after locking lips in protest to Russia's anti-LGBTQ laws. Later, the moment was celebrated by Rammstein in an Instagram post headlined "Russia, We Love You!".
When they played Ausländer this time round though, it looks like Landers and Kruspe shared a kiss because...well...they wanted to. Which is awfully sweet, right? From what we know, there's no laws permitting LGBT couples from living as their authentic selves in Prague, so this moment of lip-smacking was no act of protest but just a nice moment between pals...or shippers...whatever you crazy fans want to call them.
Christoph Schneider’s birthday was celebrated and champagne glasses were smashed
In another touching moment for the band, the performance was halted in order to celebrate drummer Christoph Schneider's birthday. As Till encouraged the crowd to join him in song, the venue and band members sang Happy Birthday to the musician, before toasting him with alcoholic beverages, and smashing glasses into the floor. Rock'n'roll, eh?
The penis cannon made an appearance, naturally
Along with fire, phallic imagery is one of Rammstein's trademark tropes. From merchandised dildos casted from their own members to songs about said genitalia, these chaps are loud and proud when it comes to celebrating what hangs between their legs. As ever, frontman Till brings out the band's trusty penis canon, i.e a huge machine, shaped like a willy, that he straddles while it fires out white liquid onto the audience during Pussy. What could it possibly mean?
Excited? Us too. Here's the full setlist:
Music for the Royal Fireworks (George Frideric Handel song)
Armee der Tristen
Mein Herz brennt
Deutschland (Remix by Richard Z. Kruspe)
Engel (Piano version)
Du riechst so gut