Released: 2001, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Ah, the glory of Wacken! I’ve been in a nostalgic mood lately and this little DVD was nothing less than a time machine, a Guardian of Forever transporting me back to the halcyon days of early August 2000 and the first time I attended the mightiest metal festival on earth. WACKEN 2000 SPECIAL REPORT is a fairly straightforward showcase of the metal world’s Woodstock for the year 2K, but, having actually been there in person, the DVD brought back a lot of great memories!
Metal Warriors is apparently a video ‘zine from down under, at least I gather that because most of their reporters have thick Australian accents, and they all love the band Vanishing Point. Nonetheless, the reporters don’t get in the way very much, as most of this video consists of clips of live performances at Wacken, and the occasional short band interview or comment session. Numerous bands who graced the stages at Wacken 2000 are showcased, starting with Samson, and including Dark At Dawn, Angel Witch, Rhapsody, Stratovarius, Hypocrisy, Liege Lord, Steel Attack, Squealer and Raise Hell. Concert videos can really drag, but whoever edited WACKEN 2000 SPECIAL REPORT must have cut their teeth editing car chases or something – the action moves very quickly, presenting enough on-stage time to convey an accurate sense of how the band did at Wacken, then moving on to the next item so things never get boring. This is an 80 minute video but seems like about 15 minutes. With all the material here, it’s amazing they crammed it all into only 80 minutes.
The highlight of this video is – can you guess what I’m going to say? – the Rhapsody performances. It’s difficult to capture on video the sheer awesomeness of a band that comes on as strong as Rhapsody, and, although I love them, I have to admit that they’re sort of a “you had to be there” kind of band, very easily appearing ridiculous and over-the-top if you weren’t there at the concert to see them. Thankfully this video conveys what it was actually like to be in the audience watching Rhapsody perform, and what it was like to be on stage with them during the performance. “Emerald Sword” is the song showcased here though you hear and see clips of various other songs, including the glorious title track to the album DAWN OF VICTORY, and, seeing the sunlight splashing over the crowd, hearing the roar of guitars, you can’t help but be swept away by it all! The Stratovarius stuff is similarly top-notch, and I actually think the Stratovarius performance clips here rival or surpass those on the band’s own INFINITE VISIONS video. If you’re into either Rhapsody or Stratovarius, you need to own WACKEN 2000 SPECIAL REPORT.
This is a very good DVD, but it’s not perfect. The DVD format itself is almost wasted. Far too many shots are black and white, grainy, with a deliberate “documentary” style that really detracts from what you’re trying to view on-stage or backstage. Also, much of the DVD documents bands that really weren’t among the top tier of acts that were at Wacken in 2000. Did anybody really think Pink Cream 69 was one of the top Wacken bands? And, I realize Vanishing Point are the hometown boys of the Aussies who made the video, but the band really isn’t that impressive. Nonetheless, this DVD is well worth owning despite its imperfections, and is likely to become a favorite, if you like concert-style metal videos.
In closing, if you buy this DVD, I urge you to fast forward to track 12, “Comments about Wacken 2000” from Nik Petrov and Anna of Metal Warriors. Watch the background to the left of Nik’s head during his comments, and spy the motley crew (no pun intended) shambling through the backstage tent and walking through the frame. NO LESS THAN THREE METAL-RULES.COM STAFF MEMBERS ARE CLEARLY VISIBLE AND RECOGNIZABLE IN THE PICTURE, INCLUDING ME! I have to say that, while the camera is not particularly flattering to yours truly, that is the reason why my mom owns WACKEN 2000 SPECIAL REPORT, and is on the Blackmetal.com mailing list. Who’da thunk?