I saw Rammstein 6 times on their European Tour. Was it worth it?
6 shows, 5 venues, 4 countries. 3 feuerzone, 2 general standing, 1 seated ticket. This is an article about my Rammstein journey in 2022.
I’ve managed to see a good chunk of the Rammstein tour this year, and even though it’s not entirely prog – I thought I’d cover my experiences regardless for what I personally believe to be the greatest metal act of all time.
Originally the second part of a tour to celebrate their 2019 untitled album, this tour was postponed twice before finally happening in 2022 thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. The band also managed to release another entire studio album around a month before the tour started which led them to having fresh material to share with the crowd to inject some fresh blood into the setlist.
Ever since I was young, hearing stories of groupies following around bands on entire tours, I’ve always wanted to give it a bit of a go, and following around Rammstein seemed like a no-brainer – even though that wasn’t my original plan. I didn’t originally intend for the 2022 Rammstein tour to turn into that experience for me, but the number of tickets I had gradually increased over the pandemic from the original two (Belfast and Turin), to picking up a tickets for Cardiff and Lyon after the tour got redirected from 2020 to 2021. And as I was living in the city at the time, grabbing fan resales for the two Berlin shows – as well as Coventry, which wasn’t too far from home in the UK. Belfast did eventually get cancelled entirely, but that still leaves me with 6 gigs lined up for the same band on the same tour – and I do admit, that is slightly nuts.
Maybe in part this was due to Covid depression – being stuck at home not spending money on socialising, being isolated from the world of live music, longing for release into the outside world whilst I was in the deepest depths of self-isolation to protect my family before the vaccines came out as I was, in turn, aiding to look after my grandad who lives on his own in his late 80s. It was a form of escapism, knowing that one day I’d be back out in the big wide world seeing the greatest band of all time live on tour. It always helps in times of grave sadness to have something to look forward to that you know will put a smile on your face.
The closest I’ve gotten to this before was in 2019 seeing Haken 4 times, but this was on two separate tours and for two of those shows they there playing support instead of headlining, with an 8-month gap in between… Still a noble effort though I like to think.
Was this not expensive to do? Short answer, yes.
Ok so, the tickets themselves on average cost around €100-110. Buying them over the course of 3 years made those costs slightly less offensive, but it’s still not an insignificant amount of money. The other side of costs were of course travel related. Now technically 4 of the gigs were in my country of residence as I was living in Berlin for two months of this year, so I already had accommodation sorted from the apartment I was staying in, and in fact, those were the easiest two to get home from as the travel only costed me as much as the €9 monthly public transport ticket that was on offer in Germany to help with the current cost of living crisis.
Trips to Coventry and Cardiff in the UK were slightly simpler too as I could get a train to a cheap-ish hotel near the venue (~£120/night), and then walk to the stadiums. No flights, customs checks, taxis, or anything like that involved. Just in, out, with an adept efficiency given these were shows 3+4 of my 6 date run.
In fact, the most expensive show was Lyon, having had to have spent near €100 on taxis because of a lack of clear public transport infrastructure. My flight in Lyon didn’t arrive until gone 1am, which meant there wasn’t any transport I could take to my hotel, and I couldn’t walk there either which ended up costing me €51. And because I couldn’t speak any French, I couldn’t find any useful public transport infrastructure to the stadium. I tried to walk as far as I could, but after an hour of walking in the 30C heat, and the stadium being so far out of town, I eventually relented and spent €45 on a surge-priced Uber to get me to the venue.
Thankfully on the way back to my hotel public transport was on offer, but it wasn’t clear where it was actually going. I hopped on the tram directly outside the venue, hoping that it would take me back in the general direction of the centre of town. It was a lucky gamble, and it ended up stopping once at the end of its line a very short walk from my hotel which was certainly a result. If only I’d had known about that on the way up…
Okay Grace, but surely after six shows of the same setlist, same theatrics, gags, and stage it must have gotten a bit boring, right?
Well, honestly? Yes. I do have to admit that for the last couple of shows I went to, that Rammstein magic was starting to dissipate – particularly so for the 30C heat that I found myself in sat lying around in open-air stadiums with no ability to dart back and forth for sustenance or to relieve one’s bowels at risk of losing my spot in the standing audience. At this point, I more or less had the setlist unintentionally memorised so I started spending most of the time looking for tiny subtle differences in the shows. Different outfits, different approaches to ongoing gags, little changes in choreography, minor additions to the pyrotechnics, or indeed just mistakes that actually added to the entertainment. We are all human, after all. It has led me to understand what the ‘perfect’ Rammstein concert means to me, and what the perfect fan experience is.
I know for example now that I wouldn’t do general standing in the future, and I would take a seated ticket above it. Yes, maybe you’re slightly off to one side of the stage, but you can actually see things, and you don’t have to sit on the floor for several hours, unable to eat or drink in fear that you’ll lose your spot by having to go to the toilet, only for some random person a foot taller than you to barge right through the crowd and stand in front of you moments before the first song starts. (Do not do this people! It is very rude!)
The feuerzone experience is like no other, and for me is the quintessential way to experience one of their shows. The emotional impact of the lyrics really hit differently when you can make a visual connection with the band without having to stare at a giant screen 100m away hoping that the camera will pan to the member of the band you want to look at. And there are other benefits to this zone too when you can really feel every pore on your body sweating from the pyrotechnics.
Well okay, there were some minor changes between the live shows, but how did the venues differ?
One of the most interesting differences I found between the venues in different places and countries were the food and beverages on offer – and how localised they felt. At the Berlin show, I scoffed my face with some local German weißbier, sided with a large portion of Currywurst – a German national dish with some British origin thanks to the period of occupation post World War 2. Food and drink stalls were open around the stadium well after the concert finished, some even still serving alcohol. It wasn’t hard to keep the party going for a little longer, especially on the first day as I’d been sitting on the floor for hours on end with no sustenance to keep me going. The immediate post-gig procurement of food was delightful, and there was a very communal vibe around the stadium after the gig with many fans chatting, taking photos, and partying long into the night.
The UK was very different. I had Feuerzone tickets for Coventry which lead to me running into the stadium to get as close as humanly possible to the front, and camping there until the concert had finished. Taking in knowledge from my time seeing Rammstein in Berlin, I presumed there would be food and drink options right after the show finished so I wouldn’t end up light-headed on the journey home. Alas, that was not the case. I stepped outside the venue and every single stall was closed bar two. An ice cream truck (… what?) and a coffee stand – which I struggled to see how it was a good idea to give everyone caffeine at 10pm, but then remembered that a lot of people still needed to drive home that night – so maybe the idea wasn’t so insane. My dinner that night was a hot chocolate, until I walked about a mile from the stadium to uncover a Chinese takeaway that was still open. Even getting to that point was agonizing, and the relief I felt decimating a large portion of chow mein didn’t outweigh the fact that it took me an hour or so to get to that point of sustenance given the stadium wasn’t really near anything in particular.
Cardiff was slightly different, as I somehow managed to win the ballot for a meet and greet! So there was absolutely no point trying to plant myself for a good spot in the crowd by getting there early. I took a different approach by picking up some food in the stadium and took in the general vibes of the crowd before the event. I managed to procure a few pieces of cold fried chicken and a pint of beer for a non-nominal cost. Not to lean into the general international consensus that British cuisine is bad, which I would personally disagree with, I was pretty disappointed that this embarrassment of fried chicken was my only food option until the concert ended 4 hours later. At least this time around the venue was planted right in the middle of Cardiff, so even though the food and drink facilities ended inside the stadium, there was still an easy way to ‘fuel-up’ before heading off to bed.
So, what venue was the worst?
Hands down it has to be Coventry. I had another major issue at this venue which was that my tickets had to be collected from the box office. And it was possibly the absolute slowest moving queue I’ve ever been a part of in my entire life. I was stood in it for an entire hour, waiting to get a ticket so that I could get into the venue. There weren’t even that many people in the queue, especially when you take into account that most of the people there were in groups with one purchaser. Why couldn’t they have just emailed a QR code stlye ticket? Why did they have a manual printer inside the venue for this subset of people – granted I was in a unique situation only having bought a ticket the week of the show – but surely not everyone in that queue had done the same.
That issue combined with the lack of food and refreshments at the end, and the terrible location of the venue relative to nearby public transport (it was impossible to get the train out of the city that night), plus the early curfew leading to most of the set being played in broad daylight which nuked a lot of the atmosphere, definitely puts this at the bottom of my list.
Wow, what a hard life you lead. So which venue was the best?
I think partly for the history, but Berlin’s Olympiastadion might have been my favourite. Knowing how the band formed, and prior musical projects such as Feeling B which all originated in Berlin, really gave it a special feeling that I don’t think you can get from any other city that Rammstein play in. Both nights the crowd went absolutely wild, and the venue was entirely sold out top to bottom with not an empty seat in sight. Yet it still wasn’t stressful to navigate through the crowds.
Would I go and see Rammstein again? Absolutely. My current count is 8 over the last 6 years, and it doesn’t get old from tour to tour. However, I don’t think I’ll go to as many as 6 next time…