If time machines were available I could have transported P.T. Barnum (who once proclaimed his circuses were “The greatest shows on Earth”) forward to the Milton Keynes Stadium to see Rammstein live up to that title. His eyebrows would certainly have been raised and probably singed due to the amount of pyro they used throughout their cataclysmic two hour show.

Support band Duo Jatekok were a delightful French female duo on two pianos who played a selection of Rammstein covers and were greatly welcomed by an ever filling up venue. Highlights for me were a frenetic ‘Du Hast’ and a surprisingly heavy ‘Sonne’. This was mine and my girlfriends first Rammstein gig and we were on the edge of our seats as an orchestral intro and the first of many flashbomb explosions came to make us jump throughout the day. Set opener ‘Was Ich Liebe’ was the first of eight new songs played from their new, self titled album. Drummer Christoph Schneider arrives first, followed one by one by the rest of the band as all hell breaks loose! It’s closely followed by an earth moving ‘Links 2-3-4’ that saw the whole standing area bouncing. ‘Tattoo’ kept the intensity levels high with a rasping main riff from guitarists Richard Z. Kruspe and Paul Landers. An armageddon like blast of pyro propelled a hefty ‘Sehnsucht’. ‘Zeig Dich’ riffed with aplomb with yet more front row frying pyro. ‘Mein Herz Brennt’ saw vocalist Till Lindemann deliver a lung busting performance over a pounding band backdrop. ‘Puppe’ sent chills all over as the live take is even more demented than the album version. Till enters from under the stage with a giant child’s pram that ignites in the first chorus.

‘Heirate Mich’ was a swirling industrial thumper as the whole stage lit up like the fires of Hell. ‘Diamant’ was a brief moment of calm of beautiful balladry as the insanity returned with a twelve minute marathon run through of ‘Deutschland’. An intense intro was blasted away as the band and the crowd were as one in the huge choruses. ‘Radio’, probably the most commercial new song played, bounced along in the blazing sun. ‘Mein Teil’ was a major game changer. The Jeffery Dahmer influenced theatrical number still sees Till roll out the cooking pot with keyboard player Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz ready to be cooked, but on this tour, as well as a flamethrower, Till fries him with a flame cannon! The stadium erupted as the instantly recognizable keys intro for ‘Du Hast’ saw the riffs send shockwaves out. There was no let up as the pyro and deafening crowd participation midway made it my set highlight. Almost every song they played could have been an encore, point proven by a mesmerizing ‘Sonne’, as supertrooper spotlights lit up the ever darkening sky. A mobile phone illumination for ‘Ohne Dich’ saw the band leave the stage only to reappear on the small B stage in the middle of the stadium for a beautiful ‘Engel’ The band sang with musical accompaniment from Duo Jatekok’ as the audience not only lit up the stadium, they also gave huge backing vocals.

Hilariously, the band returned to the main stage on a sea of hands inside three inflatable dinghys! The first set of encores saw ‘Auslander’ up the ante in cheesy heavy metal with retina burning lights. Godzilla sized stomping saw ‘Du Riechst So Gut’ rattle our ribcages. ‘Pussy’ was as hilarious as usual with Till firing white ticker tape whilst astride an inflatable phallus. Second round of encores saw their theme song sang by Till with a flame throwing backpack as if there was not enough mayhem already going on and Richard and Paul joined in at the end of  the song with flamethrowers. ‘Ich Will’ somehow out heavied everything else that had gone before it as flames shot high up into the sky and a piano version of ‘Sonne’ gave us time to get our breath back as they bade us farewell. In over forty years of seeing bands, I’ve never heard or seen anything on this sort of scale!

Thank you to Anthony May for the use of his live photo.

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