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Rammstein at Hammerstein Ballroom - 5.99

I thought it was the best that Rammstein was playing Hammerstein, cause itís a lot of fun to yell. Anyway, Iíll spare you the details of the machinations involved to get there, but suffice to say I wore my yellow shirt, Fish wore black, but Dave fouled it by wearing some plaid shirt. Maybe it was Fish, but I forget. We were supposed to be the colors of the German flag so Rammstein would notice us, but this mustíve been their 169th show and they were too bored to even notice the crowd.

There were opening bands. Opening bands as a general rule piss me off. I didnít go there to see ĎBald Lady From South Africa Wails Like an Idiotí or ĎBrazilian Punk Band Exactly Like Every Other Punk Band but With Some Stupid Instrumentí. I paid to see Rammstein, and I didnít relish standing for 2 hours getting bored and ruining my destructive mood. The bald South African was pretty good in my opinion; the music was catchy (it was like some futuristic thing from the year 2100) and her voice lent a haunting quality to it. My admiration lasted for one song. The Brazilian Bastards or whatever were apparently pretty popular. Much of the crowd seemed to have come for them and had no desire to see fucked up German antics. I will never speak of them again. Donít go see them.

Rammstein was indeed everything I couldíve expected. The show began with curtain closed, and a strange buzzing/throbbing noise issued from places unknown. The noise took about 5 minutes to pick up to full intensity, and at its pinnacle lines of fire shot up either side of the stage and blew the curtain down. Some music started playing, and one by one explosions issued from the positions of the band members, and each explosion spawned a new Rammstein-guy. (I donít know their names). The Lead Singer was the last to appear, and he arose wearing welding goggles where from one eye issued a rather powerful laser beam. I cracked up, because with his eyes occluded he looked exactly like Tim Allen. No question; if Tim Allen and the Lead Rammstein Guy were both before you wearing welding goggles with lasers, you would not be able to tell them apart.

Anyway, I recall not the order of songs nor all the songs played that day, but they included crowd favorites "Du Hast", "Spiel Mit Mir", "Engel", "Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen", and the ever popular "Rammstein"! For each song, a different set of antics ensued. For "Engel", a woman was brought out in a cage of wrought iron and was forced to sing the female vocals. I was really looking forward to some hot bondage/S & M, but nope, she just sang and was sung to. Everything on stage at one time or another burst into flames or exploded. I believe it was during "Du Hast" that Lead Rammstein Guy had to make a telephone call. He dialed with great musical talent, extensively yelled at the person on the other end, threw the phone up in the air and shot it. Needless to say the phone exploded. He sang into a flaming mic and mic stand. He himself burst into flames. The keyboardistís keyboard was engulfed in .. you guessed it .. flame. You know what happens when you throw a mic stand into a speaker? I assumed it would just ruin the speaker, but contrarily it exploded.

All this music-playing and fire I suppose became too much for the German Tim Allen, so he brought the keyboardist to the forestage. The keyboardist was at this point in a full bondage outfit, his leather pants conspicuously having no bum. Tim Allen bent him over and licked his bum extensively while singing. This apparently aroused him to such an extent that he (Tim Allen) whipped it out and proceeded to urinate all over the prostrate keyboard player. He then turned around, and for about two minutes of song urinated on various sections of the crowd. Iím assuming that this was all real, because Iím also assuming the hose running up his pant leg was just there for his amusement.

The mosh pit was fierce, and therefore immensely enjoyable. (Nothing by the standards of Woodstock, of course. One guy felt my ass, I think, but I may be lying.) The centerpiece was a massive 6í9" 400 pound German guy (complete with Hitler moustache no less!) who picked up and threw anyone who approached him to the side of the pit. It surprised me (and to an extend disappointed) that whenever anyone fell, people didnít trample them! Au contraire mon amis! The moshers instead stopped moshing and helped them up! Now, this was good for me, for I would have been dead or injured otherwise. I suppose itís also good that no one gets hurt so that moshing may continue unhampered by the whiney bastards who wished to outlaw it lo those many years ago.. Itís just that this was New York and a band thatís alleged to have incited killings in various schools nationwide, so I expected some broken bones or something.. (Not that I think Rammstein could incite anything besides horribly unsafe driving and yelling at passerbys, but thatís just me).

Among their props included a bow and arrow that exuded sparks from every orifice, cannons of fire, and a real-life gas flame thrower. That was truly intense; shot above the crowd, I could feel the heat of it from 20 or 30 feet away.

You could imagine that to leave the stage they vanished within some elaborate explosions of fire and sound, but you wouldn't be imagining well. Just like any other band, they walked calmly off the stage.

I for one am a big fan of Rammsteinís music, not because it speaks to me, inspires me, or is clever (itís not), but because itís an excellent motivator. It makes you feel like you should be out there yelling and partying and doing cool shit. It doesnít matter if you canít understand them or donít like their techno-industrial-metal styles, go see them for the show. Itís better than the fucking circus any day.

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