Wacken Open Air 2006: THURSDAY
So I packed my daypack for the hike to the press accreditation centre to get my photo pass. On the way Joey and I located a concentrated campsite of Aussies and stumbled upon some of them running amok to kill time—a silly German, after drinking too much, refused to join his friends at the festival area instead choosing to pass out under the blazing sun. This was invitation enough for the Aussies to pull out the trusty gaff tape and put it to what they thought was good use.
As Joey and I were walking through the village, it started to pour. Luckily we were already under an awning and stayed there for over 30 minutes and were later joined by Johnny and Mag. Flashbacks from last year filled my head as I silently wished the rain away. Eventually it passed. We passed MORTAL SIN sitting as their van crawled in the peak Thursday traffic. They all hung out of the van excited at the atmosphere surrounding them. We chatted quickly about the overall festival vibe and continued to the accreditation shed.
While waiting in line, Joey calculated the line moved at a rate of 1 metre every 15 minutes. A long wait when the line can exceed 50 metres depending the time of the day. Accreditation and photo pass had, we stopped at the nearby bakery for food as there was no way I’d make it back to the festival without eating.
On the way back to the festival, at about 1700, another Aussie was hanging out of a car about 2–3 kilometres from the festival entry—Yuri from Canberra band Kill For Satan. I told him of the plan for all Aussies to be in the Wet stage for the Mortal Sin show. When I saw him again he said he only managed to get into the festival area in time for the start of Scorpions. 3.5 hours! What a nightmare. I was so glad we arrived the day before.
By the time I got back to camp, all plans for a power nap before the festivities started flew out the tent flap. Being exhausted before the festival even started was not my ideal beginning.
As I was able to see VICTORY and MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP (MSG) at the Markthalle Wacken warm up show in Hamburg, so I wasn’t torn when it came to abandoning the True stage.
VICTORY and MSG flashback
Victory played many of the songs from their best of CD, Fuel To The Fire.
There was controversy at Markthalle with rumours flying around that MSG had cancelled at the last minute. ROSE TATTOO were meant to headline that evening, but at the end “the Tatts”, as they’re lovingly called at home, were followed by MSG who used the gig to warm up for their big show the following Night to Remember.
Schenker waiting for his brother
The Schenker bros introducing their guitar models
I was off to the Wet stage to watch the first of the three Australian bands to play Wacken this year—MORTAL SIN. I am proud to say that in the 5 years I have been to Wacken, I have only front-rowed for four bands and one of those bands was MORTAL SIN.
I had tried to spread the word to all attending Aussies to be in the tent to lend support to our fellow countrymen and there were many familiar faces in the crowd. The Wet stage was so full, that people were forced to stand outside the tent to watch MORTAL SIN play their long-awaited show in Germany. I was talking to a lot of people in the pit and singer Mat Maurer launched himself at the crowd right above me and when he moved to the other side of the stage, a guy rejoiced “I’ve been waiting 20 years to see this band!” Although I’ve never had to wait that long to see one of my favourite bands live, I can imagine his joy.
The band looked pumped and I think seeing the many familiar faces in the audience helped make them feel at ease playing such a huge show in the MORTAL SIN career as they launched into “Voyage Of The Disturbed”.
As Arto said, I wouldn’t be able to give an unbiased report about the MORTAL SIN set, I’ll leave it to him:
Arto: Wau, more Aussie thrash now after HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH played at Wacken a couple of years earlier doing an utter ass kicking whipping and thrashing set. Now it was MORTAL SIN’S turn to bring the Aussie thrash feast to the European festival. Before the Aussie thrashers started, the tent wasn’t packed, it happened a little bit later. Mortal sinners were on damn fire all the time. The band thrashed and sounded heavier and rawer on stage than on any album and the mosh pit turned to be rather brutal. The frontman Mat Maurer turned out to be a real wildman as he kept spinning his massive hair all the time through the whole gig and wanted the audience to cause a real ballistic pit.
The band covered plenty of songs from the debut album MAYHEMIC DESTRUCTION and of course the second output FACE OF DESPAIR and also a few new songs from the forthcoming album like the mandatory continuation of “Lebanon”. If the vocalist raged all around the stage like a wild man both the guitarists Shae and Sultana remained more in the background, whereas the bassist Andy Eftichiou was like a young kangaroo jumping back and forward on the stage. The Australian thrashers delivered a real asskicking and thrashing set of old school thrash metal stuff what the whole packed tent were eager to hear. Killer set, killer stuff.
MORTAL SIN treated us to some classic and new songs: Blood, Death, Hatred; Lebanon; Out Of The Darkness; Lebanon part 2; Say Your Prayers; I Am Immortal; and Mayhemic Destruction.
Arto: Somehow it wasn’t a surprise to find out about the booking of the SCORPIONS for Wacken as the legendary five piece have some kind of cult status in the history of the German as well as worldwide hard rock and heavy metal genre. The whole Wacken gig had been built on the classic and evergreen songs picked from their long career. Especially, people got an opportunity of voting for songs via the net and the result could be heard at Wacken.
The German veteran hard rockers unleashed one hell of a rock show by playing a really dynamic set of several tunes from the first album, the latest studio album and everything between. The highlight of the show were guests such as Uli Jon Roth, Herman Rarebell, Michael Schenker and his son Tyson.
It was absolutely fantastic to see the whole clan playing “In Trance” together on the stage. However the whole set was nothing but a real crossfire of old classic tunes of Scorpions picked up from several decades. It is amazing how this band formed in the mid 60s is still able to rock like a hurricane.
The whole massive gig lasted about three hours and was shot for an upcoming DVD and live CD which is expected to see the light of day in December, at least let’s hope so.
Brat: By the time I got out of the Wet stage, SCORPIONS were due on stage. After some delay the distinctive voice of Klaus wailed to 30,000 people. In my five year history of Wacken, Scorpions were always on my wish list, but somehow Wacken never got their attention, they’d played Sweden Rock and other summer festivals, but I kept waiting in hope.
I watched the first 30 minutes putting up with the bad sound of too much bottom end. After appreciating SCORPIONS for all these years, I have to say I was disappointed, maybe in their two and a half hour set, there were just too many songs I didn’t know and with every man and his dog who had ever played with SCORPIONS on stage during the set, all the solos got boring.
Excited about the MORTAL SIN set and wondering how the guys felt after an experience that could only be equated to their first blowjob, I went in search of them and a drink with bite, but kept returning to grab bits and pieces of the SCORPION’S show with Chewy, the drummer of MORTAL SIN, who is a good friend at home.
“Don’t Believe Her” and “Tease Me, Please Me” were surprising inclusions for me because they were my favourite songs from Crazy World. They didn’t play Wind Of Change which is considered their most commercially successful song, but a fellow press person suggested that it’s a song that may still be too sensitive to perform on home soil.
When they performed “Still Loving You”, I was expecting more. I’ve never known any band to cover a song better than its original performer, but since SONATA ARCTICA’s fast powerful version, the original leaves me wanting—all right, so flame me!
Kottak sat on a drum riser from hell—any higher and he would have been able to hit the overhead lights. Plenty of puddles were left behind from drummers who watched the show, including the one next to me.
What was with the yoga guru? I thought maybe David Coverdale had come to steal the show.
Jay Reynold (Metal Church), Athena and James Kottak
They ended with the song that launched them into my psyche—“Hurricane”, metal scorpion and all. Of course the song perked me up to the point that I managed to seer into Chewy’s head a very uncool version of me holding a drink in one hand, the other hand/fist raised in the air singing the chorus at the top of my lungs alla drunk (although sober) yobbo style. Chewy said I looked like I was having the time of my life and he would have joined me had he known the song.
I wasn’t really impressed by such a legendary band, but I’m sure diehard fans were wetting their pants all over the festival grounds. With this performance being schedule for release on DVD, maybe I’ll enjoy it more from my couch.
If the full set will be released on DVD, here’s what to expect: Coming Home; Bad Boys Running Wild; The Zoo; Loving You Sunday Morning; Make It Real.
Uli John Roth enters the stage for Picture Life; Speedy´s Coming; Dark Lady; We´ll Burn The Sky and then Uli Jon Roth leaves for Love´em Or Leave´em; Don´t Believe Her; Tease Me Please Me.
Michael Schenker hits the stage for Coast To Coast; Holiday; Lovedrive; Another Piece Of Meat (by this stage it was all a bunch of beating the meat to me—Brat).
Kottak´s drum solo came next; then Blackout and No One Like You with Herman Rarebell; Matthia´s Guitar Solo; Big City Nights; Can´t Get Enough.
Encore 1 was Still Loving You; In Trance and He´s A Woman She´s A Man with Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker; and then Tyson Schenker joined them for In Search Of The Piece Of Mind.
Encore 2 was Dynamite and encore 3 was Rock You Like A Hurricane.