Dirkschneider w. Elm St.
Marquee Beer Gardens
March 15th, 2018
Photos by Jeff
Good things come to those who wait. I’ve been a fan of Accept since the early days. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Accept back in 1989 in Toronto (opening for W.A.S.P. and supported by Metal Church and Nuclear Assault!) on the Eat The Heat tour. This was, of course with singer David Reece who temporarily replaced Udo Dirkschneider. Soon after when Udo left Accept and started a new band, U.D.O., I became a fan and loyalist right away. I followed the band and bought pretty much everything they have ever done, ever since. So my history with Udo Dirkschneider is long but one item was missing. I had never seen him perform live! Well, it took over 30 years but Udo finally came to Calgary with his solo project, Dirkschneider.
If you are not familiar with the story, back in 2015, Udo Dirkschneider (the man) while in U.D.O., (the band) publicly stated that he is tired of getting asked about his old band. Let’s face it, he has written more and recorded more and sung more, over a longer period time with U.D.O. then his previous act. I would get annoyed too, if journalists kept dwelling on something from 20 or 30 years ago when I had a viable band going for ages. So he devised a plan, one last huge Farewell to the old days (Accept) tour and call it Dirkschneider. Essentially it is a solo tour from U.D.O. and one last chance to play the old Accept songs before dropping those songs from his live sets with U.D.O. It is a clever move in my opinion and a real treat for fans like me who never saw him perform with Accept. So the second leg of the North American tour rolled into Calgary on March 15th, during a nice snow-storm. It might have hindered attendance a bit but there were several hundred people in attendance to pray at the altar of steel.
The opening act got a pretty enviable slot, on a big tour. The young thrashers, Elm St. from Australia warmed up the crowd with vintage thrash, high energy, good sound, good looks and they even threw in a cover of the old classic, ‘Metal Health’ from Quiet Riot. I was impressed enough to buy their debut album. They certainly fall in the whole big third wave of thrash, all the young dudes in bands like Warbringer, Toxic Holocaust, Municipal Waste, Havok and all those guys. Classic!
*Please note our apology to Elm St. Lightning issues made the photos unusable.
It was 9:00pm and time for the main attraction. It was a night of heavy, nostalgic fun for me; to finally get to see (and hear) these old songs.
The razor-sharp precision, the militaristic efficiency and the Germanic engineering with which the Dirkschneider band relentlessly executed their high-octane, synchronized head-banging for two hours on stage would make Karen Kain, the artistic director for the National Ballet of Canada, seethe with jealous rage and simultaneously weep tears of joy. The crowd of the old faithful were out in force, old guys you never see at local Metal shows, but obviously fans from back in the day.
Dirkschneider, the solo act, has released not one, but two Double Live albums from the European leg of the Farewell to Accept tour. One was recorded in Germany in April 2016 and the next one in the Czech Republic in December 2016. A side note: The second Double Live album was stupefyingly unnecessary as it is was virtually identical in every respect to the first one just released 10 months earlier. It had almost exactly the same title, track-list, sequence, line-up, sound and album art to the first one. I mention this only because, what I thought was cool is that on the second North American leg of this tour (the one the band is currently on) they have changed up the set-list quite significantly from the other three legs of the tour. We got to hear stuff from the second-era of Udo’s Accept years, (1993-1996) as compared to the other tours which only focused on 1979-1986. The set had songs from DEATHROW and OBJECTION OVERRULED and looked deeper into the 1979-1986 era as well. In fact, they opened with ‘The Beast Inside’ from DEATHROW which really surprised me!
Another gem was the ballad ‘Can’t Stand The Night’ (from BREAKER) which I didn’t even recognize at first. It was played back-to-back with another great ballad ‘Anamos La Vida” (from OBJECTION OVERRULED). There were so many ‘hits’ as well all the classics one would expect, ‘Metal Heart’, ‘Fast As A Shark’ and a really extended sing-along version of ‘Princess Of The Dawn’. The young band had lots of energy and gave the songs lots of kick and punch while remaining faithful to the original sound.
It was so good to hear the old songs, just once, probably never again, so it was a night to remember. Something to look forward to as we’ll a new U.D.O album (their 16th) is coming in August of 2108!