With a stage-wide curtain keeping the set secret, and Sunday’s sunshine dwindling into the night, the excitement in the air is almost palpable for final headliner Rammstein. The Berlin industrial metal heavyweights have been long awaited by Download-goers and tonight the arena is Ramm-packed with eager fans.
The screens turn to black, the curtain drops and Rammstein explode onto the stage, with frontman Till Lindemann being ceremoniously lowered on a firework wreathed platform from the ceiling. Whilst Lindemann’s menacing grin is enough to spark fear in the hearts of many, his pink fluffy jacket (which sort of looks like a bloody Wampa skin…) is just giggle-worthy, but the massive cobweb-like stage set and enormous drum-lights behind make for an impressive backdrop.
Without further ado the band get right down to business, ‘Keine Lust’ and ‘Sehnsucht’ get the crowd warmed up, with the enigmatic frontman maniacally wielding flaming poi, but it’s ‘Feuer Frei!’ that pushes the circle-pits into overdrive with raw firepower, quite literally as the stage lights up with fire cannons. Keyboard-jockey Christian "Flake" Lorenz, in a bejewelled suit, marches along on a rotating treadmill as he plays – which whilst mildly entertaining just doesn’t cut the mustard when you’ve seen *that* OKGO video, but the night is young…
Drawn from real-life events ‘Mein Teil’ (The Meiwes Case) and ‘Wiener Blut’ (The Fritzl case) are peppered with sadomasochistic overtones, and later ‘Buch Dich’ sees Lindemann don S&M gear to roleplay anal sex with an assless-chaps-wearing bondage Lorenze, on a rising platform. From the platform, Lindemann proceeds to spray the crowd with ‘ejaculate’ (clever/gross hose attached to inside of trousers, activated through the platform), screaming girls seen rubbing it into their hair and chests: shame on you – your mothers could see this on tv, *wink*.
A giant cauldron containing Lorenze, set alight by a bloodied-chef-costumed, flamethrower brandishing Lindemann, Bane-esque face cages which also shoot fire, guitars that shoot fire, fire cannons, flaming-spinning fire bow, a man on fire… it’s safe to say the German metallers just bloody love fire, and so do the crowd. ‘2, 3, 4 Links’ and ‘Du Hast’ are yelled simultaneously by the entire arena, with fireworks travelling along cables across the crowd to the sound tent and back to an explosive finale and the stage lighting up in a cloud of sparks. ‘Ich Will’ is the real show-stopper with every hand in the air and Lindemann’s trademark low-growl calling out “Thank you very very, very much. Danke schön, we are RAMMSTEIN” before leaving the stage.
After a brief break and a rather pretty acoustic ‘Mein Herz Brennt’ it’s back into heavy for the epic ‘Sonne’ and the band close out this extraordinary show with the comedic ‘Pussy’. As Lindemann rocks up with a giant penis-shaped foam cannon and sprays it into the crowd, completely covering the front facing security staff (who were doing a sterling job of looking like they weren’t at all bothered about being ceremoniously covered in fake spunk…) the ticker tape bombs detonate, covering the entire stage. Kneeling superman-style, the band show their appreciation for the rowdy Download crowd with a final “You are amazing, we love you, thank you very much”, and it’s over. Rammstein at Download 2013 were definitely a crowning moment in the festival’s history, and it has been more than worth the wait.