Rammstein Lights Up the LA Coliseum — Literally — with Unforgettable Stadium Tour Spectacle (Photos)
Rammstein LA Memorial Coliseum, Sept. 23, 2022 (Image: © Jerome Brunet)
Everything — and I cannot stress this enough — everything is on fire. That’s not surprising at a Rammstein concert — what is surprising at a Rammstein concert is when something isn’t on fire, exploding or on the verge of igniting.
It’s perhaps not even fair to call it a “concert,” because the experience the German hard rock/metal band offers to fans at its anticipated North American stadium tour is indescribable in scope and breadth, the musicians essentially stunt workers with flamethrowers, elaborate onstage props and a team of hundreds behind-the-scenes making everything work as it should.
For a band always known for pushing boundaries and challenging norms, it’s only fitting that the live experience also stretches expectations of what a concert can be to its absolute limit — and beyond.
Two fiery nights in Los Angeles to say: Danke, Adieu, auf Wiedersehen, USA! © Olaf Heine, Paul Harries & Jens Koch pic.twitter.com/dvR9MHezQS
— Rammstein (@RSprachrohr) September 25, 2022
That was the experience that the ensemble (lead vocalist Till Lindemann, lead guitarist Richard Kruspe, rhythm guitarist Paul Landers, bassist Oliver Riedel, drummer Christoph Schneider, and keyboardist Christian “Flake” Lorenz, the lineup that has never changed since the band’s formation in 1994) gave to tens of thousands of screaming fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Sept. 23 (and again the following night).
There are “concerts,” when a band takes the stage and plays a selection of songs for an adoring audience, and there are stadium presentations that require a multi-day setup and roughly 900 equipment trucks stacked in the parking lot outside the venue.
Most bands or acts of “stadium headliner” status utilize elaborate stage setups behind them to help the entertainment value match the venue (and the ticket price).
Rammstein essentially constructed its own miniature city/skyscraper.
Whatever you want to call this city block of industrial architecture:
This tour marked the very first time Rammstein has brought its full stadium stage production to the United States. Previously, the band’s occasional tours here came decades ago as part of the Pledge of Allegiance tour package with System of a Down and Slipknot in 2001 and a few years earlier on the Family Values tour, as well as a few other headlining runs — but always in indoor venues, rather than the full-on spectacle they’ve routinely delivered elsewhere around the globe.
Not only that, this tour was postponed twice due to the pandemic, after being originally scheduled for 2020. This extended period of waiting provided a celebratory and especially anticipatory tone among those at the Coliseum. Walking the huge concourse of the football stadium that the USC Trojans call home, it was striking how many different eras of Rammstein’s career were represented in T-shirts worn by fans standing in line for food or merchandise.
These were real, longtime fans of the band thoroughly enjoying the chance to finally be immersed in the full-production show, which began with Duo Jatekok, a pair of French musicians who delivered an opening set of Rammstein songs in piano arrangements.
Stateside, Rammstein achieved notoriety in 1997 with “Du Hast,” arguably the band’s most well-known song, from the album Sehnsucht. Several albums have followed since then, the most recent being this past May’s Zeit, but Rammstein — at least in the mind of the average consumer of “rock” music or listener to SiriusXM stations who hasn’t sought out the band’s wealth of additional material — will inevitably always be “that German band with the ‘Du Hast’ song” to some.
(A caveat to that generalization: The deliriously crass “Pussy,” from 2009’s Liebe ist für alle da, and “Amerika,” from 2004’s Reise, Reise, also made an impact here, with “Amerika” still getting relatively consistent play on SiriusXM’s Turbo channel).
For those truly in the know, though, Rammstein’s catalog is filled with bangers, so to speak. And though they haven’t been playing “Amerika” on this tour — which would have made sense given its lyrical critiques of American imperialism and commercialism — everything else fans could have hoped for was in the set list, with the exception of “Feuer Frei.”
In this case, though, “everything else fans could have hoped for” isn’t limited to which songs were played, because so much more goes into a Rammstein performance beyond the set list.
We’re talking a huge baby carriage in the middle of the stage for “Puppe,” the twisted slow-burn from 2018’s self-titled album, which ends up engulfed in flames as Lindemann howls his haunting vocals to match the song’s disturbing vibe.
“Deutschland” was prefaced with a build-up reminiscent of a European night club, the band members (except for Lindemann) in light-up body suits … because why not?
This part?? pic.twitter.com/BAjGw0P9Qw
— Adrian Garro (@adriangarro) September 24, 2022
For “Mein Teil,” Lindemann donned a butcher’s outfit and carried an oversized prop knife around the stage before aiming a huge flamethrower toward a giant pot. Lyrically, the song — a hit from the band from 2004’s Reise, Reise — references the story of Armin Meiwes, a German man who was arrested in 2001 for (per Wikipedia) “murdering and eating a voluntary victim he found on the internet.”
It’s precisely this sort of twisted thematic content that has helped Rammstein stand out (and amass controversy) over the years, Lindemann leading the charge with his commanding stage presence, he and his colleagues dressing to match the “heavy industrial” vibe of everything going on around them.
The band pulled out all the best effects during “Du Hast,” which saw Lindemann shoot what looked like a crossbow of fireworks toward the back of the stage, setting of more explosions that carried over the heads of those in the general admission/pit area to the giant risers in the middle of the stadium:
#Rammstein concerts exist on another plane entirely. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/0xuwjeQwBi
— Rock Cellar Magazine (@RockCellarMag) September 24, 2022
“Engel,” a notable single from Sehnsucht, began the encore in a stripped-down piano arrangement, Rammstein venturing out to the B-stage riser in the pit and singing it together, accompanied by Duo Jatekok (who opened the night’s events with a set of Rammstein covers).
The very end of the night saw the members of Rammstein riding an elevator that appeared to be built into the back of the stage up toward the sky, before it “exploded” — because of course it did.
Well that’s one way to finish: riding an elevator up your makeshift city and having it unexpectedly explode. 💥 #Rammstein pic.twitter.com/gYAgyRZPcE
— Adrian Garro (@adriangarro) September 24, 2022
An especially nice touch at the end of the show saw a lengthy credit scroll play on the video screen, presumably giving every individual contractor and worker who helped assemble this presentation their moment in the spotlight.
The show was honestly stunning — and this is coming from someone who went into it fully aware of the scope of this stadium tour. In person, the effort and scale of everything is just jaw-dropping, a mind-bending production put on by the band and the crew.
There have been rumors that this North American stadium tour may very well be Rammstein’s final shows in the United States. Whether that turns out to be the case remains to be seen. They’ve been at it for decades, after all, and all of the effort and work that must go into a production like this can’t be easy.
If these L.A. Coliseum shows do end up as the band’s final concerts in the States, they’ll serve as a more than fitting farewell. The tone of the night was celebratory and electrifying, a shared appreciation felt by band and audience that gave the whole thing a palpable magnetism. It was an unforgettable, enveloping experience that all who were in attendance knew they were lucky to witness.
Armee der Tristen
Mein Herz brennt
Deutschland (Remix by Richard Z. Kruspe)
Engel (with Duo Játékok) (Piano version; performed on B-stage)
Du riechst so gut
Below, enjoy a gallery of photos from the show, courtesy of Jerome Brunet.