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30/07/2009 - 01/08/2009, Wacken Open Air 2009, Part 20 – Wacken – Germany

Wacken 2009 - Met o.a. Schandmaul, Heaven & Hell, Vreid, Gamma Ray, Nevermore, Hammerfall, In Flames, Bullet For My Valentine, Heaven Shall Burn, Testament, Volbeat, Saxon, Machine Head, Dragonforce, Trouble, Borkangar, Pain, Motorhead, Napalm Death and many more...

 

It has become a tradition for us to attend Wacken, Europe’s largest metal festival, in order to review the event. And so, at the beginning of August, we made our way to the village named Wacken situated approximately 70 kilometers north of Hamburg, Germany. Eugene was there to photograph the bands, the review was written by Talitha, Martina, Eugene, Kick, Majelle, Anton and Jaco.

 

 

Over 80.000 people gathered together to enjoy what metal is all about: live music. It is safe to say that Wacken is the metal Mecca of Europe. The location of choice was once again the cozy village Wacken which is inhabited by a couple of thousand people at the most. Every summer, Wacken becomes the home of around 80.000 people for one week as they set up camp in the village. Besides many Germans, a whole host of headbangers from various European countries flock to Wacken. Although this year it seemed that there were less Dutch people there than usual. The explosive expansion of Wacken may be to blame for this, as it has led to enormous distances on the camping site. Or maybe it was the fact that this year’s line-up was slightly less impressive than it has been in the past. Who knows. However, Wacken 2009 was already sold out at the end of 2008, by then the tickets were going for high prices on the internet. Some lucky metalheads managed to obtain tickets a few weeks before the festival at reasonable prices because of last minute cancellations.

Thursday July 30th 2009

When we arrived at Wacken early on the Thursday morning, we found an already completely packed camping site, no sign of the credit-crunch here! Even in the backstage camping area it was hard to find a free space. The 20th edition of Wacken was bursting at the scene with around 80.000 visiting metalheads. After setting up camp, we were ready to embark upon a weekend packed with music , partying and beer. Even though this year’s line-up was not one of our favorites, we were stoked to be there. Like other years, many people had been waiting at the gates the whole day. Most of them had managed to entertain themselves at the sizeable metal market right next to the festival area. Furthermore, a true medieval village, bearing the name “Die Wackinger” had been erected near the camping grounds, where one could busy oneself with archery, sword fighting and axe-slinging, or simply enjoy a drink in a bar, made out of an authentic pirate ship. Next to the medieval village, an enormous market has been set up which sells food and souvenirs such as drinking horns, axes and swords. Moreover, a stage has been placed in the area where acts such as Ragnarock, Swashbuckle, Fjed and Ingrimm can be witnessed. The atmosphere in this medieval corner of Wacken is especially brotherly.

At four o’ clock, the gates to the Wacken festival area finally open and in no time the space before the two main stages is filled with metalheads. The German band Skyline has the privilege of opening the 20th edition of Wacken. They were also present at the very first edition of Wacken Open Air in 1990, hardly a surprise as Skyline is Wacken initiator Thomas Jensen’s band. Today they have invited special guests on stage, they are joined by Tom Angelripper and German beauty Doro among others. Skyline warms up the crowd with songs such as “Harder, Faster, Louder” and “W.O.A.” while a number of sexy girls in sexy outfits dance on stage. Doro performs the specially composed anniversary track “We are the Metalheads” and after this first highlight of the day, the crowd is treated to a number of good old covers such as Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark”, AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To The Top(If you wanna rock ‘n roll)” and “Whisky in the Jar”. Then super German Tom Angelripper steps up for a number of songs. We hear “Auf Nach Wacken” and Angelripper’s hitsingle “Es Gibt Kein Bier Auf Hawaii”, much to the pleasure of the crowd. All together this was a cool kick off of the festival.

 

 

After the opening ceremony we decide to pay a visit to the Party stage in order to watch the Danish rock formation D-A-D strut their stuff. These guys have been around for decades, they started out their career under the name ‘Disneyland After Dark’. We witness an over the top, sometimes hilarious show with eccentric outfits and lots of fireworks. Throughout the show, bass player Stig Pedersen consequently disappears off stage, only to reappear with an endless array of the most outrageous bass guitars you will ever see. We hear “Riskin’ it All”, “Beautiful Together”, “Jihad”, “Rim Of Hell”, megahit “Sleeping My Day Away” off the 1989 album ‘No Fuel Left For The Pelgrims’, and the title track of their 2008 release ‘Monster Philosophy”. This was a happy, feel good show. Great entertainment!

Due to the cancellation of Thin Lizzy, only weeks before the festival, and the last minute cancellation of Anthrax, a number of gaps have been left in Thursday’s running order. It has been announced that a surprise act will step in for Anthrax and so a large curious crowd has made its way to the Party stage in order to find out what’s happening. We had already noticed the pink amps on stage and so it was an easy guess that the surprise act would be J.B.O. . In itself it was probably a smart move to book J.B.O., a typical German phenomenon. Though their Germanized fun covers of classic hits do not always manage to amuse non-German metal fans. The most part of the crowd is simply having a ball, but halfway through the show, we’ve had our share and so we set off to explore the rest of the festival area.
 

 

Some months ago it was announced that Running Wild would exclusively play their last show ever at Wacken 2009. Running Wild is known as the first “pirate metal” band. Since the release of their debut album entitled ‘Under Jolly Roger’ in 1987, they have managed to build a sizeable fan base. As expected, the enormous field in front of the Black stage is ram-packed with fans, long before the start of the show. After a short introductory sketch by a bunch of guys, dressed up as pirates, the band kicks off with “Chamber Of Lies” followed by “Port Royal”, “Bad To The Bone” and the hit “Riding The Storm”, among others. Running Wild has been out there for many years and so they have an extensive catalogue of songs to chose from. The crowd sing along as one and in a high tempo the band continues to play “Prisoner Of Our Time”, “Black Hand Inn”, “Purgatory”, “The Brotherhood” and “The Battle Of Waterloo”. All of this is followed by a drum solo by Mathhias Liebetruth. It is evident that both the crowd and the band are bent on enjoying every second of this very last show, and all parties present are giving it 200%. The end of this show is near when we hear the songs “Tortuga Bay”, “Branded And Exiled”, “Raise Your Fist” and “Conquistadores”. After a good two hours this spectacle is ended with the Running Wild classic “Under Jolly Roger”. The band exits the stage for the last time, leaving thousands of fans chanting the band’s name for several minutes. Rest in Peace!

 

 

Although I am not a great fan of Lacuna Coil, I decide to go watch a couple of songs in the rain. In the U.S.A. this band has reached superstar status and when they start their show it becomes evident that the Italians also have a large fanbase in Germany. They start off with the song “Fragile” followed by “Fragments Of Faith”, “Closer” and “I’m Not Afraid”. Cristina Scabbia enchants the masses with her fine voice and the band is playing a tight set today. The variation of the beautiful double vocals by Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro have become the trademark of the band. Cristina and Andrea have reached a vocal equilibrium and they both give away an excellent performance today. We hear the songs “Swamped”, “I Won’t Tell you” and “Spellbound” followed by “Enjoy The Silence”, a Depeche Mode cover which I can totally appreciate. There is a lot of interaction between the crowd and the band who repeatedly thank all those present for coming out. This performance is ended with the songs “Our Truth”, “To The Edge” and “Survive”. This show was definitely no disappointment.

After many years, Heaven and Hell is still going strong and so they are a worthy headliner for this day. The stage has been decorated with gates, crucifixes and a video screen, objects that signify what Dio, Geezer?, Vinny and Toni stand for. I have seen this band play numerous festivals but this is the first time that I have actually seen every individual band member move! I don’t think I have ever seen Toni Iommi walk around and smile as much as he does today. And Geezer? Seems more outgoing too although judging from the faces he’s pulling, this show is kind of a strain for him. Dio has the crowd eating from the palm of his hands as usual. He is a proper master of ceremony and he takes every opportunity to compliment and thank the crowd. “Turn the camera’s to the people so I can see them!” And the beauty of the thing is, it seems so sincere! Dio strikes us as a genuinely nice guy. We hear the songs “Die Young”, “Bible Black”, “Follow The Tears”, an extended version of “Heaven And Hell” and, of course, “Neon Knights”. We would like to note that the sound of this band was truly amazing, a big compliment to the technicians. Especially Tony Iommi’s guitar sounded so crisp, it was almost bizarre. Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice play a solid show while the man with the golden voice entertain sus with excellent vocals and his trademark devil horns gestures. Over the years, many bands have attempted a reunion for the sake of the music or just plain financial reasons. This band, however, simply has the right to exist. Respect!
 

 

In our book, the first day of this anniversary knew only a few real highlights. Of course the crowd went wild over bands like Running Wild, Lacuna Coil and others but apart from them we had to make do with mainly mediocre acts which we had witnessed on a number of occasions at previous Wacken editions. Heaven and Hell was definitely the most exceptional band of the day. Due to the lack of time we were forced to skip the shows on a number of stages. Unfortunately this meant that we had to miss bands such as Bloodwork and Grand Magus on the Wet stage. Better luck next time.

 

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Friday 31/07/2009
Saturday 01/08/2009