The Ostend pizza maker is on the verge of a ruptured aneurysm. Heavy drops of sweat fall from his ruddy forehead, his protruding veins are overloaded, his vacant stare says a lot about the intensity of his day. For a good three hours, hordes of barbaric fans in search of food and hops have been storming his little cafe. The sea is not far, neither is De Nieuwe Koers park, the place seems ideal for warming up before one of the most anticipated concerts of the summer.
This Wednesday and Thursday evening, more than 100,000 fans of metal and pyrotechnics are expected on the Coast to see Rammstein bring his long European tour to a close. The Berlin group already passed through the King Baudouin Stadium (Brussels) just before the Covid, but no matter, the tickets for their double return to Belgium were snapped up in a few minutes. People want fire, fury and German.
The pizzas drag on, the restaurateur suffers, big fellows decked out in denim shorts and black T-shirts leave the bistro to rush towards the plain of all dangers, without even having eaten. As often, when a concert event takes place, the main alley leading to the site looks like a religious procession. The fans are hilarious, ecstatic, practically all wear one or the other coat of arms of their cult group, whose merchandising must seriously pay off.
We are told behind the scenes that the six original members of Rammstein are particularly relaxed. Till has a few drinks, Richard polishes up his make-up, a platoon of groupies enters, the routine, for a formation from the East German underground, which has become unifying and almost family lately.
We leave the “greenwashing” to Coldplay
At 8:35 p.m. sharp, Rammstein enters. Handel’s very justified “Music For The Royal Fireworks” rings out to announce “Armee der Tristen” and “Zick Zack”, both taken from the latest album – Zeit – released in 2022. It screams, it drinks, it raises its arms… The crowd is happy, and the Ostend site is truly impressive, while offering much more pleasant acoustics than the infamous King Baudouin Stadium. The sequel is a pure delight, “Links 2,3,4”, “Sehnsucht” and “Mein Herz Brennt” take us back to the real great period of the Rammstein, late 90 – early 2000, when the mere mention of this name still gave chills of terror.
While Coldplay tries in vain to greenwash its tour by replanting trees on the other side of the planet, the German group doesn’t really bother with this kind of detail. The gigantic baffle towers spread across the four corners of the site are billowing billows of coal-black smoke, and the guys are consuming thousands of liters of kerosene to blow up the stage or burn each other, sometimes with a flamethrower, sometimes with a tank. Finesse, poetry, fun guaranteed.
The rest is expected, we know that a bow with arrows in flames, a microphone decorated with a dagger, a giant penis propelling white foam in the crowd (always chic), and a slew of tools will arrive in turn tailor-made pyrotechnics for the group. After two or three recent hits, including a “Deutschland” still as effective, Rammstein unsurprisingly releases the big cartridges: “Mein Teil”, “Du Hast”, “Sonne”.
The time seems ideal to go have a beer, but curiously, all access to the bar is blocked. Fury, anguish, hordes of stewards hold each other’s arms to prevent the vigorous spectators from making their way through. We only understand what is going on ten minutes later, when the members of the group pass a few centimeters from us to join the central stage. Till looks straight ahead, Richard is smoking his cigarette, cool, quiet, the routine. “Engel”, “Ausländer” and the incredible “Du Riecht So Gut” ring out, before the royal sequence of “Rammstein” and “Ich Will”. We may have seen this show several times, the show always takes, and this visit to Ostend seems even more attractive than the previous ones.