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05/08/2004 - 07/08/2004 Wacken Open Air 2004, Part 15 –Wacken-Germany

Thursday 05/08

This year we decide to head to Wacken, North Germany early on Thursday morning in order to be there in time to see Zodiac Mindwarp and Motorhead strut their stuff. However, like every year it takes us approximately 11 hours to get there due to the endless traffic jams on the German highways and so we’re late as usual... When we finally arrive ate the festival site Motorhead are already halfway through their set. As we still have to find a space and put up our tents, we miss most of the Motorhead show. We do, however manage to see the following act: the German band Der Bohse Onkelz. Thanks to their enormous number of –mainly German-fans this band has contributed to the growth of the Wacken Festival into one of Europe’s biggest metal festivals. A few hours before kick off the Wacken Festival 2004 is completely sold out.

Friday 06/08

Orphanage - Black stage

It’s Fridaymorning, the sun is blistering and the temperature sears up forcing us out of our steaming tents. Consequently we are nicely on time to witness the performance of the first band of the day: Orphanage from Holland on the Black Stage. Despite the high temperature and the fact that they are the first band of the day, there is quite a big crowd awaiting them at the stage. A large part of the show consists of songs off Orphanage’s latest album “Driven”, a splendid mix of Gothic and hard Metal. Singer George Oosthoek is obviously having a good day and so is his female counterpart Rosan van der Aa. The acoustics arereasonable, too. The crowd really seems to enjoy the show, I believe Orphanage has won over a number of fans today.

Arch Enemy - Black stage

By the time Arch Enemy takes the stage the temperature has soared to approximately 35 degrees Celcius and not an inch of shadow is to be detected on the huge festival site. This, however does not seem to bother the large crowd of Arch Enemy fans that gathers anxiously before the stage. Arch Enemy play “We will rise” and “Dead Eyes see no Future” from the album “Anthems of Rebellion” released previously this year. They also treat us to “Heart of Darkness” and “Ravenous” among others. The acoustics weren’t too good; at our side of the stage it was clearly audible that one of the speakers had blown up. Still, Arch Enemy gave 200% today and this was clearly appreciated by the crowd.

Dio – True Metal stage

When Dio enters the stage we are just enjoying the sunset and the falling temperature. Ronnie James Dio appropriately kicks off with the song “The King of Rock ‘n Roll”, followed by the 1981 Black Sabbath classic “The sign of the Southern Cross”, “Stand up and Shout” and “Don’t talk to Strangers”. Next, we’re treated to a new song called “Master of the Moon”, the title track of Dio’s upcoming new album. The set is continued with the song “Rainbow in the Dark” after which we witness the only hitch in an otherwise flawless set: guitarist Craig Goldy and bassplayer Rudy Sarzo start off “The Man on the Silver Mountain” with the wrong chords and consequently Ronnie James Dio starts singing out of tune. Throughout the song the band manages to correct itself and they make up for this mistake by interweaving a perfect version of “Man on the Silver Mountain” into the next song “Long live Rock ‘n Roll”. Dio finish their set with a string of classics: “Rock ‘n Roll Children”, “The Gates of Babylon” and “Holy Diver”, leaving the ecstatic crowd screaming for more. As an encore we get an immaculate version of “Heaven and Hell” and “We Rock”.

Destruction – Black stage

After an excellent show by Dio it’s now time for the German thrash band Destruction to entertain the huge Wacken crowd. Destruction get off to a good start with oldies “Curse the Gods” and “Mad Butcher”, followed by “Nailed to the Cross”. The set is supported by a great lightshow and columns of fire that add to the high temperature. They also play “Metal Discharge”, the titletrack of their latest album. During the final song “Total Disaster” we witness guest-appearances of Sabina Claassen (Holy Moses), Abbath (Immortal) and Hypocrisy’s Peter Tatgen, among others. The crowd goes mad!

Doro – True Metal stage

Together with the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra Doro is the headliner of the day. As an extra treat the show is followed by Warlock in its original line up. Initially, the stage is completely darkened and as we hear the first chords of the Iron Maiden classic “Fear of the Dark” the drapery falls. The singer is in fact Blaze Bayley (ex-Iron Maiden) who is joined by Doro during the song which results in a splendid duet supported by the complete orchestra and the band on acoustic guitars. This excellent opening act is followed by the tracks “Metal Tango” and “Touch of Evil”. Blaze then re-enters the stage and joins Doro in singing “the Trooper” and “Man on the Edge”. The Orchestra adds and extra dimension to the songs and, together with a beautifully decorated stage this is an extremely impressive show. The set is continued with a new song followed by “Deep Inside my Heart”, “I Rule the Ruins”, “Burn it Up” and “Fur Immer” during which we witness a guest-appearance by Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery. Finally a splendid version of the Judas Priest classic “Breaking the Law” was presented .This fantastic, unique show is completed with the song “All we are”.

After a short changeover Warlock played a complete set with the band comprised of the complete original 1986 line up. The show starts with the songs “Out of Control”, “Fight for Rock” and “Metal Racer”, one of the hits from the 1984 debut album “Burning the Witches”. In addition, Warlock play “Midnight in China”, “Burning the Witches”, “Hellbound” and “True as Steel”, ending a truly legendary Warlock show.

Saturday 07/08

Death Angel – True Metal stage

Saturday morning is as hot as ever, the heat forces us out of our tents at about 9 am. After a bit of make-do showering, some weak coffee and a bun we are more than on time for Death Angel. The Bay area thrashers are today’s opening act on the True Metal stage. They start off with the song “Seemingly Endless Time” followed by “Thrown to the Wolves”, the powerful first track of their latest album “The Art of Dying”. Next on the list are “Voracious Souls”, a splendid rendition of “Thicker than Blood” and “The Devil Incarnate”. The acoustics are good although the wind does carry the music away from time to time. This, however does not in the slightest affect the passion and vigour displayed by the band. Death Angel end their set with the songs “Bored”, “Famine” and “Kill as One” sung along loudly by the large crowd.

Anthrax – True Metal stage

Next up on the True Metal stage are New York thrashers Anthrax. They’re off to a good start with “N.F.L.” and “Got the Time”. The first (big) moshpit of the day is evoked by the song “Caught in a Mosh”, followed by the ballad-like song “Safe Home” off the 2003 album “We’ve come for You all”. Singer John Bush manages to get the huge crowd going with the track “Antisocial”. After “Room for one more” Anthrax impress with the powerful song “Indians”, followed by “Deathrider”, a track off the debut album “Fistfull of Metal”. The set comes to an end with a solid version of “Be All, End All” and an prolonged version of the hit “Only”, with many fans singing along on the tops of their voices.

Nevermore – True Metal stage

Nevermore opens their set with the song “7 Tongues Of God” followed by “This Sacrament” and the titletrack of their latest album “Enemies of Reality”. After this we‘ve got an excellent performance of the track “Beyond Within”. Singer Warrel then entertains the crowd with an anecdote and asks them to guess the next song starting with an “H”; he then jokingly shouts “Hammer Smashed Face!!” (referring to a Cannibal Corpse track) and then the band starts to play the brilliant song “The Heart Collector”. At the left side of the stage the acoustics are not too good as the volume is down way too low and the wind carries away what’s left of it. So we move into the centre of the crowd to hear “Next in Line” and “Never Purify” which sound much better from where we standing now. Next, we’re treated to an excellent cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” followed by “I, Voyager”, for which the band have recently shot a videoclip (which was banned by MTV because it is too violent). After this song the show ended with the track “The River Dragon” . Nevermore is most probably going into the studio in Nnovember with Andy Sneap in order to record the follow-up to the album “Enemies of Reality”.

Helloween – True Metal stage

Helloween’s immense popularity in Germany is proved once again by the gathering of an enormous crowd when the band takes the stage. They start off with “Starlight”, followd by the classic titletrack “Keeper of the Seven Keys”. Unfortunately the length of this song and the endless introduction of the next song “Eagle fly Free” by Deris and Weikath break the dynamics of the show, resulting in a messy and dragging impression. The tempo is picked up by the songs “Hey Lord”, “If I could Fly” and “Power” during which the band urge the crowd to sing along. The crowd’s response is at its best when Helloween play older, classic songs such as “Dr. Stein”, although Andi Deris was clearly having an off-day with regard to his vocal cords. This messy, substandard performance could not even be salvaged by the guest-appearance of ex-Helloween member Kai Hansen on guitar during the final songs “How many Tears” and “Future World”.

Saxon – True Metal stage

Saxon headline the True Metal stage today and kick off with the classics “Heavy Metal Thunder” and “Dogs of War”, followed by excellent renditions of “Backs to the Wall” from the 1979 debut album “Saxon” and 1990 titletrack “Solid Ball of Rock”. Singer Biff Byford was on a roll and asked one of the many cameramen if he looked like Steven Spielberg in an attempt to get him out of his face, and then continued his set with “20.000 feet”. Festival organiser Thomas Jensen joined in on bass guitar for the song “Motorcycle Man” and drummer Nigel Glockner joined Saxon again for the first time since 1999 for “747 Strangers in the Night”. The band continued to play mostly classics such as “And the Bands Played on”, “Crusader”, “Wheels of Steel” and “Denim and Leather”, during which Saxon was joined by guitarist Chriss Caffery (Savatage) and bass player Smier (Destruction). It was then time for the fireworks and the encores “Forever Free” and “Dallas 1pm”. Saxon managed to deliver an enjoyable show and worthy closing act of the Wacken Open Air Festival. Today, Saxon and Death Angel were the only two bands that could live up to the phenomenal performances of Dio and Doro the previous day.

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