Back To The Roots European Tour 2016
Anvil – special guest
Rampart – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
25/2 – 2016
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Former Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider is out on tour and sadly he’s performing Accept songs for the last time. It’s the last chance we’ve got to hear him sing the classics that he and Accept created together. When he’s out doing this he’s calling himself Dirkschneider and since I’ve been a fan of Accept since the early 80’s, it’s very sad to know that he’s not going to perform these songs any more. Before the tour was even announced, the tickets to some of the shows were sold out and one of those was the one in Malmo. The tour ends in Berlin at the end of April but Dirkschneider is also doing festival shows during the summer, so if you missed the tour you still have a last chance to see him live.
The line-up in Dirkschneider is the same as in U.D.O. and as support they brought along Canadian band Anvil who recently released their latest album, ANVIL IS ANVIL. Rampart was the first support act and opened the night. But of course, he highlight was totally Dirkschneider and his 2-hour set of Accept songs. Since there were three acts performing, the doors to the club opened early at 6.30 and Rampart got going at 7pm. I met my friend outside and together we waited in the long line that led into the club. It was a while since I last saw such a long line waiting to get in the club, so I guess many were like me: eager and sad to hear Udo sing Accept songs for the last time. About 15 minutes after the scheduled time, the doors opened and it was pretty nice to escape the cold weather and come into the venue. As always I looked for a photo pit and was really glad when I saw that there were one. It makes taking pictures so much easier not having hands in the way and people shoving and jumping up and down. The merch stand sold shirts and albums and as I took a look at the items, Rampart began to make their way to the stage.
The band comes from Bulgaria and is totally unknown to me. After two songs the female vocalist said it was nice to perform in Malmo. Since the band had quite a limited amount of space to move around on they didn’t do much but play. The lights didn’t benefit the show but singer Diese did her best to get the crowd going and head banged her way through the songs, urging the crowd to follow hear lead. Rampart is:
Maria Diese – lead vocals
Victor Georgiev – drums
Yavor Despotov – guitar
Sebastian Agini – guitar
Alexander Spiridonov – bass
Not much happened on stage during the show and I got the impression that the band, and especially singer Diese, felt a bit insecure. The band spent most of the time looking down at the floor rather than the crowd; the guys need to gain some more live experience until they’re able to confidently stand on a stage performing next time. The music was a boring version of 80’s heavy metal sung in a really poor English. The show and the music was boring, uninspiring, and I was tired of it pretty quickly. It was not only me that got bored; the amount of people that started out listening to the band pretty soon got fewer until by the end of the show most people stood by the bar talking to friends and drinking beer. Rampart has a lot of issues to deal with until they take on a stage next time; I wish them good luck but their music is never going to land in my stereo again.
Luckily their 30 minutes went by fast and it was time for the crew to prep the stage for the legendary metal act Anvil. I have never been impressed by the band and can’t understand their appeal but apparently they were pretty popular amongst the Malmo crowd. As it got closer to the show more people arrived to the club. It only took about 10 minutes for the crew to get the stage ready and at 7.40 it was time for Anvil to hit the stage.
The band was already standing on the stage as the show began and I guess they were a bit stressed because of the time limit. “March of the Crabs” opened the night and the fans greeted the band with cheers and applause. Lips stood to the right, Robertson to the left with no one in the middle. “666” followed and the dedicated hardcore fan base that stood at the front of the stage went wild. Lips said thanks for the support, said it was nice to be back in Sweden and that it had been a long time since they last visited the country. “Hope In Hell” followed; the line-up of the band is:
Steve “Lips” Kudlow – lead vocals, guitar
Rob “Robbo” Reiner – drums
Chris Robertson – bass
The smoke on stage was heavy and the lights were pretty bad, so it was hard to get proper pics of the band. “Badass Rock n Roll” was the next song for the night and Lips got everyone in the club to clap along and the fans sang the chorus on their own to the great joy of Lips. He said that the crowd was bad ass and that he is a hippie that smokes pot; the next song was taken from the album FORGED IN FIRE, “Winged Assassins”. This song really woke up the crowd. Lips introduced the bass player and he did a bass solo in the middle of the song and while he played the crowd shouted “hey, hey”.
I wasn’t that impressed, it was pretty much what I had expected the show to be. I wasn’t into the songs, vocal, and found it all to be boring 80’s heavy metal. Even though I guess people are going to hate me now, I have to say that Anvil is not a good band. They have credit for sticking to their guns and for fighting their way through bad times but their music and approach have never appealed to me.
Lips dedicated the next song to their friend Lemmy whom he had known since 1983, and it was the proper song “Free As the Wind”. The new “Zombie Apocalypse” continued the night and “Mothra” instantly followed. Once again Lips talked into the pickups in his guitar in the song, like he did in the first song and told the crowd to scream heavy metal! He brought out a large dildo and it was time for a guitar solo. For some reason the fans screamed at the top of their lungs when he brought out the dildo. I thought it was juvenile, and for some reason the fans seemed to love the long solo. What’s the purpose of playing a guitar with a dildo? I thought it was ridiculous and only showed that the band is stuck in the 80’s where a dildo might have been a fun and forbidden thing to show, but come on, in 2016 it takes more than a dildo to surprise and entertain people. Lips said he loves Sweden and kept talking for too long. It was so time for the band to play a song they hadn’t play live before and it was “Die For A Lie” taken from the new album ANVIL IS ANVIL.
The hit “Metal On Metal” followed and the fans sang along with Lips when he invited everyone to join in. In “Swing Thing” it was time for Rob to show off on the drums and that song ended the show. Almost 60 minutes of my life was stolen from me by Anvil and if I never hear their boring 80’s metal again it’s too soon.
The show was crap and I felt embarrassed to see Lips who has to be 50+ playing guitar with a dildo, talking about the perks of smoking pot. The band is stuck in the 80’s and have never gotten out of their cave. I can’t understand why this band is considered to be legends? They are a mystery to me.
March Of Crabs (instrumental)
Hope In Hell
Badass Rock N Roll
Free As The Wind
Daggers And Rum
Metal On Metal
Finally the Anvil show was over and it was time to get ready for the reason I was at the club this Thursday night. A huge back drop with the band name on it was raised and on each side of the drums two gigantic boxes with lights in them came forward. It was going to be a sad evening but I was also glad that I had the possibility to attend the show and hear Accept songs sung by Udo one last time. I grew up with Accept and can’t count how many times I’ve listened to RESTLESS AND WILD and the rest of the classic albums they released. So it was time for the German panzer wagon to make his way onto the stage and at 9.10 the lights went out and “Just A Gigolo” with David Lee Roth was heard and that was the start of the show.
The last man out on the stage was Dirkschneider and the crowd screamed at the top of their lungs when he arrived. “Starlight” started the show and instantly the amazing “Living For Tonight” followed. The crowd did exactly what Dirkschneider told them to and they sang along, screamed, and clapped their hands for their idol. It was full speed ahead from the start and “Flash Rockin Man” continued the show. There was no doubt that the fans loved the music and the little big man that stood on stage. The Dirkschneider band consists of:
Udo Dirkschneider – lead vocals
Fitty Wienhold – bass
Andrey Smirnov – guitar
Kasperi Heikkinen – guitar
Sven Dirkschneider – drums
While Dirkschneider took it quite easy on stage the other three front men moved around and changed positions with each other, Dirkschneider took a step back and let the other three take the lead after the four gathered at the front of the stage, positioned as a unit. On each side of the stage machines were placed that burst smoke up in the air, however one of the machines was placed right beside Smirnov and when he stood by his mic singing he was lost in the smoke. Dirkschneider thanked the crowd and fired off “London Leatherboys”. He hardly did any talking in between the songs but he normally doesn’t anyway, so the songs all came straight after each other with no interruptions. The fans chanted “UDO, UDO”, and he looked a bit embarrassed at all the attention he got. The next song “Midnight Mover” was taken from the epic METAL HEART album and Dirkschneider let the fans take over the chorus on their own.
Dirkschneider sang as good as ever and it’s hard to believe that the man is over 60-years old. He felt vital and I have nothing but respect for the man who is one of the inventors of German heavy metal. The first Accept album was released in 1979 and he and his mates in Accept are icons today. “Breaker” followed instantly and the fans had no time to catch their breath in between the songs. Heikkinen ended the song with a guitar solo after which he left the stage and let Wienhold do a bass solo. He was standing alone on stage while doing his solo and again the fans shouted “hey, hey, hey” and clapped their hands during the solo. The solo turned out to be the beginning of “Head Over Heels” and it was like hearing Accept playing the song again; it sounded great. For some reason the lighting was pretty bad and I can’t understand why the club doesn’t use the full capacity of their lighting equipment.
All the band members but Smirnov, who was doing a lead guitar part, went off the stage only to return when “Neon Knights” kicked off. Even though many of the well known Accept songs had been played, there were still monumental hits left to be heard. Heikkinen was once again left alone on stage with a lead guitar part but a few minutes later he was joined by Smirnov and they both ended the song. Dirkschneider entered and said the words “We princess…” and then everyone knew which song he was talking about and went crazy when they heard the first notes of “Princess Of The Dawn”. In the middle of the song he stopped and let the fans sing along and he hardly had to sing as the fans took care of that. All four stood at the ramp close by the fans playing and singing as the song became really extended with all the sing alongs. So it was time for another bass solo with Sven joining in on drums and later Heikkinen joining. The solo turned out to be “Winterdreams” taken from the epic BALLS TO THE WALL album from 1983. It was a bit unexpected, but fun, that they chose to dust off that song; the set list doesn’t usually feature it. The temperature dropped a bit with “Winterdreams” but the audience didn’t seem to mind a breather and sang along to the ballad. The cooperation between the band and the fans was magical and the atmosphere was electric. Udo screamed “We restless…”, which made the fans jump into overdrive because what other song but “Restless And Wild” followed. The band members seemed to be having a really great time together and their joy rubbed off on the fans.
“Son Of A Bitch” followed as Heikkinen and Smirnov walked out on the ramp to end the song. Udo thanked the fans and asked if they wanted to hear more music and asked if they had fun. “Up To the Limit”, “Wrong Is Right”, and “Midnight Highway” followed instantly and the fans hardy had time to catch their breath. We only had to lean back and enjoy the well played German heavy metal music that was performed this night. Dirkschneider had the club in the palm of his hand the entire show. “Screaming for a Love-bite” continued the intense night and it was now quite clear that Udo stayed in the middle of the Accept era with the main part of the songs from RESTLESS AND WILD from 1982, BALLS TO THE WALL from 1983 and METAL HEART from 1985.
From RUSSIAN ROULETTE came “Monsterman” which really woke up the fans and since all of the songs are more or less classic tunes, the fans knew the lyrics and sang along in most of the songs. The smoke machines went off and “Losers And Winners” followed. I think that Dirkschneider could have done a lot more talking in between the songs, after all this was the last time he played the Accept songs in Malmo, and the fans maybe deserved a few stories about how the songs were made or something like that. All of the four front men walked on to the middle of the stage and fired off “TV War” and when the song almost was over Udo thanked the fans and said good night. A long outro followed and the band said good night and went off the stage.
The band returned almost straight away and the first encore was “Metal Heart” which was one of the songs it was obvious the fans had been waiting for. It’s also one of my personal favorite songs so I was really glad but not surprised he had featured it. Udo asked if the fans wanted to have some more music and then followed with a real old track in “I’m A Rebel”, taken from the second Accept album I’M A REBEL from 1980. The song paused in the middle and it was time for the fans to sing and just when the song was about to end someone played it wrong and it made it end in a kind of strange way. However there was one song left to play and it was one of the songs that Udo HAS to play, he said that the following “hei-di hei-do hei-da” was taken from an old 50’s song and when the fans heard that they took over and went berzerk when they heard “Fast As A Shark”, which is pretty much THE trademark song of Accept. Udo left parts of the chorus to the fans and the band made an excellent version of the song. “Balls To The Wall” was the next amazing encore and needless to say the audience sang along and after Udo said “show me the sign of victory” the real sing along began. The fans had the opportunity to sing accompanied by bass and drums in the middle and it all took while to execute until it was time to end the classic piece. “Burning” was the last encore and it was nice to hear a song from the BREAKER album from 1981. The stage was filled with smoke and the fans made a last effort to support their favorite band with claps and cheers as the last note of the evening faded out. While the band went off the stage some of the fans shouted for encores but the pause music took over the speakers and it was time to say goodbye for real to Dirkschneider and the 2-hour long excellent show they had treated us with.
The show was magical and brilliant and I’m so happy I could experience it live. It was an amazing set list that included many of my personal favorite songs that I have loved since I was a boy. I do miss some of the songs Accept released during the 90’s but I guess the band’s got such a huge catalogue of songs that it’s hard to choose which ones to feature. It was unexpected but nice to hear “Winterdreams” and I was amazed that Udo had the energy to last for 2 solid hours on stage and he executed the songs just like he did in Accept back in the day. All the music, as well as the lyrics, sounded exactly the same.
It’s sad to think that this was the last time Udo sang Accept songs but I guess it’s time for him to move on. He’s got an amazing set of solo songs to choose from. If you have the chance then make sure to check out the band, you won’t be disappointed.
Just a Gigolo – Intro
Living For Tonite
Flash Rockin Man
Head Over Heels
Princess Of The Dawn
Restless And Wild
Son Of A Bitch
Up To The Limit
Wrong Is Right
Screaming For A Lovebite
Losers And Winners
I’m A Rebel
Fast A Shark
Balls To The Wall
Thanks to Totte Lundgren head of Kulturbolaget for help with press/photo pass to the show.
Thanks to the always friendly staff and security at the club.
Udo Facebook Page