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21.06.1999 – House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV, United States

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Las Vegas, NV United States
Venue: House of Blues
Country: United States
Support: Soulfly + Mindless Self Indulgence

Fire, stunts punctuate Rammstein show

Wednesday, June 23, 1999 | 9:57 a.m.

Rammstein doesn’t want to hurt anybody. Except maybe themselves. Near the end of “Sehnsucht (Hunger),” vocalist Till Lindemann — the man with the low-hanging pants that never fell down — hit himself in the head with the microphone a few times. As the song roared to a finish, the shirtless vocalist threw the mike down in disgust.

Aww … Rammstein needs a hug!

Well, not really, but they put up a good front of industrial metal/ death-disco angst. Actually, they put up a good front of all kinds of things. Rammstein is one of the most theatrical bands I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. After Monday night’s assault on Mandalay Bay’s House of Blues, I think the German band could easily replace the pirate battle at Treasure Island. Hell, they even look better in short pants. Shows at seven and 10.

Again, not really. Though I can honestly say that Lindemann’s little stunt in “Buck Dich (Bend Down)” — pulling a comically rubbery phallus out of his pants and spraying the band, the crowd and the 11 security guards lining the stage with water (I hope) — made me happy that we, as a nation, really got behind the Berlin Airlift. You wondered when we would get something back; now you know.

Nothing I say will begin to approximate the visual ends of a Rammstein show. Everything that could be set on fire was set on fire; every that could shoot sparks did so; everything that needed to be blown up exploded on cue. Case in point: after growling “Du hast mich (you hate me)” into a prop phone for the band’s biggest American hit, Lindemann placed the phone gingerly back on the hook and hurled it into the air, where it — yes! — exploded in a fireball.

There were a few downsides to Rammstein’s performance, mostly technical: The band sprayed enough dry ice into the room to coat my lungs and some of the flashpots were just this side of blinding. On the plus side, however, was just about everything else: They are consummate performers, they aren’t afraid to look, well, dopey, and best of all, hard rock sung in German is just way too cool. Even the lone song the band performed in English — a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Stripped” — sounded foreign.

And Lindemann caught fire while he was singing it.

The crowd knew. They were driven to distraction, not violence, and the wacky Germans sure knew how to distract.

Dangerous? Only to the pirates of Treasure Island, whose positions would be in danger if Rammstein decided to settle into a Vegas gig. Hang on to your jobs, you swabs! Ich bin ein Rammsteiner!


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