Copenhell Festival 2016 at Refshaleoen Copenhagen, Denmark

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Thursday

The first day of the festival took place during the Swedish national celebration/holiday Midsummer, but since it felt lot more appealing to enjoy good metal music rather than celebrate an old holiday we headed to the festival straight after Ulrika left her job. Because of the celebration, and the fact that many of the trains over the bridge were running on a holiday schedule, it took a while to get over into Denmark. It started with the train being delayed, then it turned out that there were too many trains on the track when we entered Denmark so our train didn’t make a stop at the airport where we needed to get off. We had to get off at the next station and wait for the train back to take us to the airport.

copenhell_2016_the_festival_13The border controls also added minutes to our schedule but finally we got over and took the metro to the bus station where the shuttle buses waited to transport people to the festival. The first day opened a little later than the following ones and the bands started to play a little later. Because of our travel problems, we didn’t get to the festival in time to see Dropkick Murphys which we were really bummed about; we really had looked forward to seeing them. The festival area had expanded since last year and they had opened up the space at the side of the Hades stage so it was possible walk around it all the way to the Paendemonium stage. The position of the three stages wasn’t moved and they were located where they been the past few years. Helviti is the largest one, then comes Hades, and last but not least comes Paendemonium. The weather was pretty nice with a little sun and partial clouds, however there hasn’t been an Copenhell without rain since I don’t know when so we were prepared with rain capes just in case. On the Helviti stage the crew was preparing the area for the Alice Cooper show. Out in front of the stage, his hard core fans were already gathered. From the middle of the stage a runway extended so the artists could walk out and come closer to the fans. When it was about 15 minutes left for the show to start Anders made his way to the photo pit and Ulrika was ready to take notes. Finally the clock struck 7.15 and it was time for the legendary Alice Cooper to meet the fans.

Alice Cooper

The curtain opened as the intro played, unveiling the band member. Cooper stood at the front of the stage holding a cane in a shower of sparks as the band kicked off “The Black Widow”. To the fans’ delight, Cooper used the runway straight away and sang the beginning of “No More Mr Nice Guy” out there among the fans. The band line-up is:

Alice Cooper – lead vocals
Ryan Roxie – guitar
Chuck Garric – bass
Glen Sobel – drums
Tommy Henriksen – guitar
Nita Strauss – guitar

Cooper changed clothes and came out with a black and white stripe costume and once again walked out on the runway, followed by Roxie and Strauss. With his charisma and stage presence, it’s hard to imagine that Cooper is 68 years old today. He still manages to put on a vital performance. The sing along favorite “Billion Dollar Babies” followed and Cooper picked up the usual sword with all the money attached on the blade and threw the money out into the audience. “Woman Of Mass Destruction” followed, during which it was time for Strauss to do her solo piece. I think it’s a good thing to let the musicians throw solos, in that way Cooper has a little time to catch his breath and rest for a short moment. The mega hit “Poison” lit the fans up and it was no doubt that this song was one of the most anticipated ones. Cooper let the crowd do the chorus and since Ulrika is a fan of Cooper she was really happy when she heard it. At the end of “Halo Of Flies” everyone went off the stage besides Sobel and it was time for him to do a solo. We’re not huge fans of drum solos but have to say that Sobel did a great piece that never got boring to watch or listen to.

copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_1copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_2copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_3copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_4“Feed My Frankenstein” continued the show and Cooper was strapped to an electric chair. He then vanished and a huge monster came on stage ,finishing off the song with Cooper’s voice. Cooper returned on stage during “Ballad Of Dwight Fry” and he was accompanied by a hellish nurse putting a straitjacket on him. A few notes of “Killer” were played, the straitjacket went off, and Cooper was led to the guillotine and was beheaded. As one of the minions held his head up in the air “I Love The Dead” was played. Still holding Cooper’s head, he walked out on the runway kissing the head while getting his mouth filled with blood. The intro to “Under The Bed” followed and Cooper returned. A cover of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” played as the curtain unveiled the grave stone of Keith Moon. Strauss ran down the runway firing off the Jimi Hendrix cover song “Fire” and she really impressed big time. Bowie’s “Suffragette City” followed and the last song in the medley was “Ace Of Spades” by Motorhead. Now on stage were gravestones with all the band/artist names raised as a tribute to the fallen heroes. The fans loved the medley and sang at the top of their lungs during “Ace Of Spades”. The medley lasted for about 12 minutes and was a really beautiful celebration to some of the world’s greatest musicians.

The amazing “I’m Eighteen” continued the night and Cooper ran out and came back, addressing the crowd in a black top hat and suit. firing off “School’s Out” which made the fans explode. Huge balloons and soap bubbles poured down on the fans and DJ Ashba from Sixx A.M made a guest appearance on guitar. Cooper said that fans should now sing on their own which they did and the stage filled up with smoke and pyro as “Another Brick In The Wall” by Pink Floyd could be heard, after which the band went back to “School’s Out” again. That magical ending put a stop to the show, at least that what’s everyone thought, but Cooper and band came back firing off “Elected” with Cooper wearing a shirt telling us to vote for him. The backdrop had now changed into the American flag and two guys, one dressed up and wearing a mask looking like Trump and the other one as Clinton, came out on stage as the song proceeded and started to either fighting each other and making out. I guess that pretty much sums up what Cooper thinks of the two presidential candidates America’s got. The song ended with pyro, sparks and confetti rained over the crowd, it was crazy but magical; just like what a Cooper show should be.

copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_5copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_6copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_7copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_8copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_9copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_10copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_11copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_12copenhell_2016_alice_cooper_live_13The madness lasted for 75 minutes and even though it was pretty much could have been expected by Cooper it was still 75 minutes of great performances, great music. He really knows how to entertain a crowd. Cooper did everything right and we’re in awe for the great musicians he surrounds himself with on stage each night. Really talented people for sure!!

Set list
Vincent Price Intro
The Black Widow
No More Mr Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
Woman Of Massdistraction
Guitar solo – Nita Strauss
Poison
Halo Of Flies – drum solo
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad of Dwight Fry/Killer/I Love The Dead medley
Under The Bed
Pinball Wizard
Fire
Ace Of Spades
I’m Eighteen
Schools Out – Another Brick In the Wall
Encore
Elected

Next act up for us was Sixx A.M who were going to kick off their show at 8.30 on the Hades stage. The band toured Europe heavily this past summer and did both festival shows as well as single shows. The band’s debut album THE HEROIN DIARIES SOUNDTRACK came 2007 and two more have been released since then, the latest one at the end of April, titled PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED. The nice and sunny weather disappeared and rain clouds started to fill up the air as people started to gather in front of the stage. The buzz around this band is huge and since neither of us had seen them live before we were eager to see if the band’s greatness was true. Finally the narrator came out on stage and introduced the band, the huge flame thrower went off and it was time for Nikki Sixx and band to take on Copenhell.

Anders – just before I headed into the photo pit the security told us that we were only allowed to take photos during the first two songs and not three as told earlier.

Sixx A.M

As soon the intro was heard the members entered the stage and the fans screamed and clapped their hands. The stage filled up with smoke and the first song “This Is Gonna Hurt” kicked in. There were three small podiums used by the three front men during the show and it was full speed ahead for DJ Ashba and singer James Michael from the very start. Sixx didn’t move around at all and mostly stood still playing bass. Michael thanked the fans and said it was time for “Rise” and he worked hard to get the fans clapping and singing with him in the songs. The line-up in the band is:

James Michael – lead vocals
Nikki Sixx – bass
DJ Ashba – guitar
Dustin Steinke – drums
Amber Vanhuskirk – background vocals
Melissa Harding – background vocals

The two background singers were placed so far back on the stage it was hard to even see them through all the smoke that covered the place. Michael said it was fun to be at Copenhell performing and announced “When We Were Gods” as the next song.

copenhell_2016_sixx_a-m_live_1copenhell_2016_sixx_a-m_live_2copenhell_2016_sixx_a-m_live_3It was now that the rain started to pour but that didn’t seem to bother the fans who continued jump up and down enjoying the performance. The song “Everything Went To Hell” was taken from the new album PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED. Even though the fans seemed to love the show, we thought it felt like just another day at work for the band and thought they lacked that spark and energy to make the night memorable. The ones who saved the show were Michael who impressed with his voice, and Ashba who ran around trying to get the crowd in the mood. Sixx didn’t add much and he was the one that felt uninspired and lazy. The title track “Prayers For The Damned” followed and Michael seemed to be impressed that the fans stayed put despite the bad weather. “Stars” followed but we weren’t that impressed by the band’s alternative metal/rock music. Maybe we would have been more impressed if the band actually had put some effort into their work this night. The last song of the show was “Life Is Beautiful” and the band thanked the fans for being there supporting them.

copenhell_2016_sixx_a-m_live_4copenhell_2016_sixx_a-m_live_5copenhell_2016_sixx_a-m_live_6copenhell_2016_sixx_a-m_live_7copenhell_2016_sixx_a-m_live_8The quiet unexciting show lasted 45 minutes which for once felt like an acceptable amount of time; I don’t think we wanted to see more to be honest. It was OK but nothing more and felt mostly like another day at work for the band. We’re convinced they can do much better than this. Those that were there to see Nikki Sixx in action must have been disappointed, he did his job nothing more. The sound system was good but the lights were worse and the rain didn’t help in keeping the show up.

Set list
Intro
This Is Gonna Hurt
Rise
When We Were Gods
Everything Went To Hell
Prayers For The Damned
Lies Of Beautiful People
Stars
Life Is Beautiful

The rain kept on drizzling over the festival and the darkness had now set in. Most of the people walked over to the Helviti stage where Scorpions was about to play next. Thunder and lightning made its entrance to the festival and we could see several flashes per minute. After the festival we read in the magazines that the stormy weather had reached Sweden and was the worst weather for years with animals being hit by lightning and died.

copenhell_2016_the_festival_12Well, now let’s get back to what’s important and that was now Scorpions. The band is out touring on the Return to Forever/50 anniversary Tour. Drummer James Kottak, who has been part of the band since 1996, is in rehab and is replaced by none other than Mikkey Dee. The release of the new album RETURN TO FOREVER was followed by re-releases of the old albums TOKYO TAPES, LOVEDRIVE, BLACKOUT, LOVE AT FIRST STING and WORLD WIDE LIVE in deluxe versions. The backline looked amazing with huge video screens behind the drums and finally it was so time for the legendary German metal act to enter the biggest stage at Copenhell.

Scorpions

Followed by the rest of the band, Dee entered the stage and the first song out was “Going Out With A Bang”. “Make It Real” followed, after which Meine asked how the fans were doing and if they had a good time. The fans clapped their hands and screamed back at him and the band fired off “The Zoo” in which Meine played a cow bell. Scorpions are:

Klaus Meine – lead vocals
Rudolf Schenker – guitar
Mathias Jabs – guitar
Pawel Maciwoda – bass
Mikkey Dee – drums

Meine took on a guitar and it was time for the instrumental piece “Coast To Coast” and everyone but Maciwoda headed out on the long ramp to get closer to the fans. We have to say that we felt a bit scared to see the guys go out there in the rain and the thunder and lighting. The screens showed pictures of various monsters while the song was played and it looked really nice and suited the music perfect. Meine thanked for the applause and said it was a long time since the band was in Denmark. He said it was time for songs from the 70’s with “Top Of The Bill”, “Steamrock Forever”, Speedy’s Coming” and “Catch Your Train” which was executed as a medley.

copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_1copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_2copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_3copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_4Meine said the band had been alive for a really long time and that the time had now come to play a song from the new album, titled “We Built This House”. Despite the rain and thunder the crowd were excited to see their heroes and did their best to make the band feel welcomed. However it was notable that the older songs were the most anticipated ones and were the ones that brought down the most applause. It was time to slow down with the major hit “Send Me An Angel” which is not one of our favorites but I guess that have to play it since it became such a huge hit. Meine said he saw flags from all the Scandinavian countries amongst the audience but also flags from Russia and USA which means we have fans from all across the world. The next song he said, meant a lot to people nationwide and it stands for unity across the borders – “Wind Of Change” and since that is one of the band’s biggest hits ever, the crowd went crazy and sang along out loud. One of the screens showed shots taken from the when the Berlin wall fell back in 1989 and Meine let the fans take over the chorus as he strolled out on the ramp.

The evening proceeded with “Rock N Roll Band” and “Dynamite” after which everyone but Mikkey Dee left the stage and it was time for his solo. The solo was actually quite enjoyable and after it ended Schenker rushed on to stage with his guitar and on to it he had a tailpipe that threw out smoke as he rushed in. He did a shorter guitar solo, the stage turned red and sirens were heard and it was the opening to “Blackout”.

copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_5copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_6copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_7copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_9It was nice to see how great Mikkey Dee and the members completed each other and he brought a totally different edge and heaviness to the music. Anders has seen the band live with James Kottak and he’s nothing compared to Dee. Dee should have the solid position as drummer in Scorpions! (Editor: It’s now official!) Ulrika’s favorite “No One Like You” followed and she, as well as the rest of the fans, were in heaven. Meine asked if Copenhell was ready for “Big City Nights” and once again the crowd exploded. Meine led the fans in sing along and urged everyone to sing louder and louder. That song ended the show but the fans wanted more than 1h 25min of music and screamed for encores.

Meine had the audience to scream “hey, hey” and the encores were “Still Loving You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” which set the rainy festival on fire. Those amazing songs put an end to an equally amazing show consisted of 1h 45 min music, love, madness and fun.

copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_8copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_10copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_11copenhell_2016_scorpions_live_12It was so nice to hear the old classic songs again and it felt like Dee had really lit a spark to the band. They all seemed to be having a really good time together and not even the constant rain could keep the spirit down.

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Set list
Intro
Going Out With A Bang
Make It Real
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Top Of The Bill/Steamrock Forever/Speedy’s Coming/Catch the Train – medley
We Built This House
Send Me An Angel
Wind Of Change
Rock N Roll Band
Dynamite
Drum solo
Blackout
No One Like You
Big City Nights
Encores
Still Loving You
Rock You Like A Hurricane

What a better way to end the night than to witness this amazing show? The clock had now turn 12.15 and we decided to start to make our way home. Despite the long line to the busses it all went really fast and we were shortly at the metro station. Now we really longed for a warm shower and a bed, our plans were to be back at the festival at 4 the next day.

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