Wacken Open Air 2005

Thursday August 4, 2005

The day started slow and, thankfully, the weather held up while my friends and I put on our packs and took the 2-day hike to the media centre to pick up our photo passes. The trek proved fruitful as the jeweller in the village had some watch faces printed with “wacken” and the logo and was selling them for about 19 euro. I scored a cool, square-faced one on a red, studded leather band.

The walk through the village is always interesting. Metalheads swarm the footpaths on their way to or from the village as the traffic congestion from people still arriving to Wacken slowly moves towards to campground. One year, I?d like to spend the day sitting in front of one of the stores, cashing in on the festival by providing refreshments, and just watch the day?s festive procession.

After a few hours I returned to my tent with my purchases and ate the remainder of the small amount of food I brought with me. I hung out a little more with my Wacken Forum Camp neighbours, then made my way to the now open festival area.

To avoid the heavy traffic and nuisance scrutiny of my camera equipment by the general entry security, I circled the festival area for the VIP entry, bypassing the many people who kept themselves entertained at the Jim Bean stage, located outside the festival area, beside the Biergarten, karaoke-ing with full air guitar back-up to their favourite metal tunes or just enjoying the spectacle from the crowd.


I went to the VIP camping area to greet the arrival of my first metal-sister, drink with her for a while. I could hear TRISTANIA launch Wacken Open Air 2006 in the background.

Source: By Tommy (www.alexundtommy.de)

As I walked around checking out the festival area and watching Nightwish?s signing session, CANDLEMASS were on stage. From different places my attention kept drifting back to the stage. CANDLEMASS was definitely gaining my interest. Why do so many bands? names give me the impression they?re Cookie Monster bands?

At the NIGHTWISH signing session Tarja Turunen was looking extremely glamorous and hip in her off-stage attire, wearing a short dress, stockings and fine, knee-high boots. Marco was wearing sandals and socks. Sure, the socks had a skull motif, but I think Marco Hietala is the only person who?s cool enough to get away with such uncool foot attire.

My next memory is of the NIGHTWISH performance. What can I write about NIGHTWISH that hasn?t already been written?Tarja Turunen was dressed in black pants and a long bright yellow flowing top?a style fans will be familiar with?as she walked on stage to launch into Dark Chest Of Wonders, followed by Siren, Ever Dream, Deep Silent Complete and The Kinslayer. (Little did I know I would to meet “the voice”, apparently, in this song in Helsinki a week later.)

During the Pink Floyd cover, High Hope, sung by Marco, Tarja changed into the black cutaway top recently featured in her new promotional photos and a bright yellow skirt. I realised at that stage that her microphone was also bright yellow. When I saw the streaks of bright yellow again, I was reminded of the weird dresses Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) wears. As much as the colour was striking and suited her complexion, I couldn?t help but visualise a “metal canary singing into a banana”. And so, the canary, accompanied by the rest of NIGHTWISH launched into the ball-breaking Planet Heeeee-eeeellllllllll from the Once album.

As per the Sydney concert earlier this year, I revelled in the mind-blasting drumming of Jukka Nevalainen during the introduction. I rarely see his name in lists of great drummers and I think it?s time he was recognised for his ability, style and power behind the skins.

As much as I don?t like having to fight with thousands of people so I can get a glimpse of one of my favourite bands, I love seeing the one thing Australian venues can?t offer?pyrotechnics that blast our eardrums and burn our retinas.

The set continued with Wishmaster, Slaying The Dreamer, Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan and Nemo, which got a great response from the crowd, as successful singles do.

During Ghost Love Score (I think) I could have sworn I saw guitarist, Empuu Vuorinen running across the stage to deposit a bottle (vodka or beer, couldn?t tell) beside Marco?s microphone stand before ripping into his lead break. It looked hilarious. Was he taking his drink with him because he hated drinking Marco?s seconds or was he replenishing Marco?s stock?

Unfortunately, NIGHTWISH loses me with Ghost Love Score. Most diehard fans bow at the sound of it?I just get bored and my mind floats away. At least Tuomas Holopainen has written a toilet break into the set for me.

For the encore of Over the Hills And Far Away Tarja came out dressed in a flowing, long, white dress?in costume and ready for I Wish I Had An Angel. As NIGHTWISH took their final bows, fireworks burst overheard amidst cheers, claps and awes.


On my way to the showers at 01:00 I saw the electronic information message displaying that HANOI ROCKS would be replaced by DOOMFOXX. Hey! That?s an Australian band, but what the hell are they doing playing at Wacken? Word in Sydney is they?re a glam rock outfit and one of the members even looks like the singer of Ratt in their promotional photo. I assumed their support slot on the recent Rose Tattoo German tour was met with success.

I was a little disappointed I wouldn?t get to see the 80s glammers, HANOI ROCKS, even with the abysmal reports I?d read of their performance at Bang Your Head festival, but I was glad Australia would be represented again this year. I don?t know what it is about the Germans, but they love Australian rock. I just wish they?d acknowledge our real metal bands as much.



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