Tag Archives: avantasia

The Soundtrack of my life – excerpt

Instead of the 20th Weekend Guess, I wanted to finally cover something Fairy posted over at Darkfairy’s Senf a couple of months ago:

Which song stands for which chapter of your life and why?
(translated from the post)

As I already contemplated the different chapters of my life in a couple of posts and am able to think of a few songs, I guess I might as well do her the favour and write about it – instead of so many other things that are still unfinished, again.

Though instead of choosing a song that would best describe that part of my life in retrospective I chose the songs that have affected me at at those times, which is also why this is only an excerpt as I can’t remember all of them.

Live, PoiSonPaiNter

During my time in the Secondary School (Realschule) I was one of the most avoided people around, but as I described here, was there one song in particular that made me rethink my behaviour: Leb (Live) by Schandmaul.
In particular the lines were they describe a person barely straying away from the flock, unable to lift their head from the road before them and not seeing the nice things that life provides for them. I rarely looked up or went out on my own during that time as the few people I considered friends back then usually had to ask me out. It’s probably not a surprise that I know more about cartoons and anime from that time than about parties and celebrities.

When I changed to Grammar School (Fachgymnasium) my soundtrack changed as well. The defining songs that created my alias (see: link) became more and more important to me. Edguy’s Wash away the Poison and Painting on the Wall became synonyms for how I felt when nearly no one around even thought of interacting with me. During this time the interest for Metal that was spurred shortly before I learned about Leb was broadened to new bands, including Avantasia. This resulted into one of my favourite concerts at the Wacken 2008, my very first festival.

With Avantasia came new songs, most prominent amoungst them Memories. This song accompanied me into the beginning of my studying years, just as the instrumental song Reqiuem for a Dream and Invasion, Treachery and other songs from the Bleach soundtrack frequented my player. The epic-like scoring of the songs just made me re-listen to them over and over again. It just felt like with this „background“ music I could accomplish anything. Even though, in Invasions case, it is still misspelled in the play-list and I still mishear the lyrics …

Fear, Anger, Mighty Canines and Knight Shoes

Towards the end of studying more Metal came into my focus due to me attending a couple of more Wacken (2010, 2011, 2012) and the Metalfest. Through this I re-learned about Powerwolf and Sabaton, but also about Letzte Instanz that would provide me with a song that I can no longer listen to while thinking. For many people their studying years become the best years of their life, I can’t say the same for several reasons. One of which is the fear of losing my mum when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, which made Ohne Dich (Without You) such an emotional song for me.

On the opposite emotional scale did Alestorm’s Keelhauled provide me with the needed stress-/anger-relief whenever I turned up the volume while driving and sang along just as loudly.

Powerwolf and Sabaton on the other hand gave me songs that just grabbed me and took me along with so much energy that I do not grow tired of hearing them, even after seeing each band live for several times (six and four times respectively).
Prayer in the Dark and Saturday Satan also managed to get into the Soundtrack for the book project of Fairy and me: Warlords (its own Blog: dfppentertainment.wordpress.com), but the most defining one is Sabaton’s Carolus Rex. It not just perfectly portrays our Nameless King, the whole album reminded me of something I had forgotten for some time: My home town used to be Swedish during the reign of Karl XII. (aka Carolus Rex). 😀 Regardless of that do the songs of both bands, like Ruina Imperi and Amen & Attack, still hold enough power without additional (personal) meaning to them.

Currently my new soundtrack is still in progress, but To Hell and Back and Resist and Bite are some of the songs I currently can’t skip when they start playing.
In a way did my Soundtrack change from moody and relatively slow to fast power numbers with strong lyrics and rhythms. This is also portrayed in the way I am now, as I became more outgoing than I used to be a couple of years ago. I am no longer bound to a flock, I travel or attend concerts on my own and pretty much do things the way I want to do them. And I am fairly certain that music played a major role in this development.


P.S. If you are interested to have a go at this again, feel free to use my translation, but don’t forget to mention Fairy as original Blogger.

In Concert 2013: Avantasia – Berlin

As I said in the review for Letzte Instanz: I split apart what I wanted to write about the concerts I attended this year.
So here is the continuation of my reviews.

Journey to the Tempodrom…

For the next concert I did not find any company. I had asked a couple of people – even including a woman I know through giving lifts – but no one had time or was interested in it. Besides, with ~40 Euro the concert was my most expensive one so far. But it kind of was a reasonable price as the concert wasn’t only in the Tempodrom in Berlin, but also three hours long, with a good dozen of different musicians from all kind of bands. Well, if you read the list from the post above properly you know which concert this was: The long awaited Avantasia concert. 🙂 (Which I also mentioned in my review for their Album The Mystery of Time)

As Berlin is a bit further away then Rostock and I did not want to drive through the night I had asked Liathano if I could take up the offer she had given me for the Paganfest and stay at her place again, which I then did. When I was about to depart for the concert she and her boyfriend gave me instructions as to which train-thing (I think it was a tram) I needed to use to get there. I’m always nervous when I take these things alone and checked my notes a few times…

On my way to the Tempodrom a guy with an Avantasia shirt entered the train-thing as well and sat himself right across from me. I couldn’t help myself but to grin at him as we most likely would have the same destination. Especially as he even resembled Tobias Sammet – the mastermind behind the project – a little…
But before we exited the train I entertained a little kid that his mum had placed beside the scary looking black-clad person. He was moving around his stuffed doggy(?) and I was making faces accordingly. He even waved at me when they left. 😀
When we arrived at my final station Shirt-guy finally asked: „I guess we have the same destination?“ and we started talking about the band, it’s musicians and the question of where the hell we would have to go…
Let’s just say we struggled a bit with the actual direction, but in the end we did find the Tempodrom – after some asking around – on the other side of the road… 😀
There he said he’d meet up with friends and as they had tickets for the ranks and mine was for the arena itself I parted from him and entered the building.

The Tempodrom is a huge building which kind of resembles a circus tent. You have the stage on the far side, which is the entrance of the artists. In front of it there is a round flat area, the arena. And then the whole things is surrounded by the tribunes, with quite a number of seats. As I said, I had a ticket for the arena, so I made my way to a position where I could see well.

Soon enough the musicians entered the stage, but the audience didn’t really do the same. My guess is, that the arena was only half full, while the ranks were nearly empty. Tobias even claimed that a Berlin audience is always hard to catch and hard on the musicians, but that they still would give their best to turn the Monday into a Friday (or Saturday, I don’t remember, but it was something like that).

Pleasing the foreign audience

As he had seen a couple of foreign flags in the crowd Tobias also decided to use English for his (far too long) monologues. Well, I certainly don’t mind people from abroad to visit or be on concerts in different countries, but I don’t really get why a German musician would have to not talk in his native language just because of that. I don’t know if this counts as considerate on Tobi’s part or as simple misjudgement as to the amount of people with no knowledge of the German language in comparison to those who did. I mean, I don’t expect a musician to change into a different language, just because I’m waving a flag, showing that I am not native to this country. I go to the concert for the music, not for the ramblings of the artist – though Tobias is well known for long ramblings/rants…

To digress a moment I’d like to give you two examples of bands, who wouldn’t change the way they speak:
At the Blind Guardian concerts at Wacken and at the Metalfest the singer didn’t speak English, though he knew of the multinational audience. This might as well be due to the fact that he has quite a horrible accent, but still.
On the other hand, when Sabaton play in Germany they talk English with a few German words here and there, but if a German were to attend a concert of them in Sweden, I doubt they would do that throughout the whole concert. For a few things probably, but not for the whole thing.
In conclusion: I have no idea why he decided to switch to English, regardless of the people expecting him to use his mother’s tongue.

Three great hours

Regardless of that and the fact that he really talks a lot, the concert was great. Not as great as I had expected due to the weird atmosphere of a half-full location, but still great.
They played a nice mix of old and new songs – even some that are around 10 minutes long – and showed me that all those ballad-like songs from the latest album are indeed quite rock-ish (Black Orchid has become one of my favourites of the record). The songs just have so much more energy when played live, with all these brilliant musicians. I mean they had Kai Hansen, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Amanda Somerville, Eric Martin, Ronnie Atkins and more.

It was great to see and especially hear all these amazing singers.
It was also great that some of the songs where usually Tobias sings the main part in the vocals were sung by other people and I have to say that those sounded even better.
The chemistry between the musicians was also quite amazing.
Even when Bob had just finished his first part their wonderful duet The Story Ain’t Over and it was time for Tobias to sing his part, but he instead just started laughing, Bob took over for him. Ronnie and Eric joked about Tobias‘ endless monologues and so on. You could just see that, even though there were not as much people as they had expected, they still enjoyed playing for the audience. And it is always fun to see Catley perform. He is always smiling and moves his hand according to the rhythm of the lyrics. 🙂

During their song Stargazers, a song that I don’t like that much, I got out to get some water – only to realize at my return that there also was a bar within the arena and I wouldn’t have had to go outside…
Though it gave me the chance to see that there were still a few people standing outside, for whatever reasons, but they wouldn’t have managed to fill up the arena either.

Anyway, some of my highlights, beside the ones I’ve already mentioned, were definitely: The Scarecrow, Twisted Mind, Dying for an AngelThe Seven Angels and Sign of the Cross. Unexpectedly also What’s Left of Me, due to the amazing performance of Eric Martin.
On a side note: I shortly wondered why the actor Benedict Cumberbatch was sitting on the stage, when Eric had first appeared…
In my defence: I just saw the the short black hair and was strangely reminded of him. And I didn’t know the faces of all of the musicians. I rarely do, because it’s about their voices not their looks…

Well, after the concert when I went back to the station – which I found through following random people and again asking for directions – I saw the guy from before again, typing away on his phone. Until he had to get off the train we continued our conversation, this time obviously about the concert itself. He was positively surprised that they had played so many of their longer (~10 min) songs, but I assured him that they also did that during their performances at Wacken, which was much shorter than the concert here.
When we parted again he said that we’d see us again when Avantasia would return to Berlin, but I doubt I would recognize him again…I can’t even remember what his name was….

Even with all the slightly negative stuff I mentioned, I really enjoyed the concert and I’d like to see them again one day. Maybe in four years, as Tobias had promised during the concert. 😀


Avantasia – The Mystery of Time

Something different for a change as I’d like to write about my thoughts on the newest addition to the Avantasia releases: The Mystery of Time.
Avantasia is a side project of Edguy’s singer Tobias Sammet, who’s quite skilled when it comes to song-writing, in which he uses these skills and creates (captivating) stories and brings together many different musicians from many different bands to play and/or sing them.
I’ve talked about this project in my Wacken Reviews (just search my blog for those) and told you that I’ve been fortunate enough to see them perform on stage, twice.
But today I’d like to talk more about the „printed“ versions of the songs.

When I first heard about this project I was curious as I read that Sammet had wrote a Fantasy story and made it into a Metal Opera.
It took me a while to get my hands on the releases, but when I did I was captivated by the brilliance that are

The Metal Opera Pt. 1 & 2.

Coverart of „The Metal Operat Pt. II“

These two tell the story of the young cleric Gabriel that gets a closer look into the schemings of his brothers/superiors. They try to get their hands on a relic to close off peoples imagination forever.
When his sister is put under arrest for being a witch and he reads some documents he shouldn’t have read, everything changes. He himself is put under arrest and meets Vandroy the magician, who promises to help him in Anna’s rescue, if he in turn would bring back the artifact. So they flee together and Gabriels mind is sent into a world of Fantasy (Avantasia) where he faces many trials, while the elder stays behind guiding him.
This short summary doesn’t give enough credit to the story those two long-players depict.
And while in the first one Sammet explains the story in a lot of details, he didn’t do this in the second one – because fans were to lazy to read. I obviously do not belong to those and would have liked to have the story there as well.
But that can’t be helped and I am left with the little hope for a story-only release some day. I really liked the characterizations and thoughts he had put into the story. It’s a pity that only so little of it could be told.
As I said, these compilations were my first contact with Avantasia and when I found them the project was long since disbanded. Or so everyone thought.

Around 2007 Sammet decided to let Avantasia resurface.

The Wicked Trilogy

„The Scarecrow“ cover

As Gabriels story had been told, he now went into a different direction – not only story-wise.
Again many musicians from the first two albums like Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen (the founding members of Helloween and by now in their own projects Unisonic and Gamma Ray) joined him again, but also new additions and special guests like Alice Cooper and Bob Catley (Magnum). All in all it is always an interesting ensemble with this project and to name everyone would take simply too long.
This new version told the story of a man trying to follow his dream to become a memorable musician and is not just told in the 2008 release „The Scarecrow„, but also in 2010s double-album „The Wicked Symphony“ and „Angel of Babylon„, giving the story the name „The Wicked Trilogy„.
While the first two albums were depicted as Metal Opera’s, these were as Rock Opera’s. Describing the new sound pretty well.
But as I am a fan of fantastical stories this one didn’t really capture me, though the music did. And that was worth it. Though it made them just like any other album, without this special something they had in the Metal Opera storyline. After all the project name has the word „Fantasia“ (Fantasy) in it, but there wasn’t that much Fantasy in this one, unfortunately.
The change in sound and storytelling was strange at first, but the songs proved captive again. What also changed, was that Sammet got more and more into the focus, well he is the mastermind behind all of it, but as these three albums also held a little autobiographical background, it felt to me as if the other participants became less and less important. Though probably only in the eyes of the audience. He hopefully still sees them as what they are: amazing musicians; and not gets this whole thing over his head.
Regardless, I anticipated each release and of course the tour they had started.
This after all let to two of the greatest concerts I’ve been at so far. But I already covered those in my Wacken-Reviews.

Having said that, I have reached the point I wanted to write about in the first place:

The Mystery of Time

Again Sammet had told the people Avantasia was finished.
Again he couldn’t stop writing for it – he even turned the music of his own band, Edguy, more Avantasia-like, which is a pity as they were capable of making their own great kind of music.

The brilliant cover of „The Mystery of Time“

And thus he created a new story. This time he again tells a tale, though in a more scientific setting, as the main character Aaron Blackwell (who probably gets stuck in my head with the name Arthur o.O) argues with Science and Reason amongst others about the mysteries of time. I am personally not that much of a SciFi fan, but this story is also interesting in his „philosophical“ aspects. Where The Metal Opera dealt with the struggle of losing ones make-believe, the Wicked Trilogy with the prices that come with fame, this piece deals with the momentariness of time. What it means to use or not use a moment given to us in a situation. This again is an interesting concept and as it seems The Mystery of Time is only the first chapter of the story. I’m curious where this is headed, especially as the story itself is partly told through what seems to be diary entries (with a hard to read font) of the protagonist.
With the return to the storytelling also returned the great (cover) artwork that has been there with the Metal Operas. I kind of prefer those abstract creatures over the clearly outlined pictures they used for the Wicked Trilogy, though the Scarecrow, the (creepy) Angel and whatever it was for the third part, were done well too. Still, in the inside were only photos of Sammet, which again supports the focus theory from above…
Anyway, while there was a return to the original roots with the story and the artwork, Music-wise the long player describes itself as Rock Epic, which again fits it quite well as it is a mixture of rock tunes combined with the music of the Filmorchestra Babelsberg. I might haven’t mentioned this before, but I’m quite a fan of orchestras and orchestra elements in songs, so this was a really nice change. Surprisingly all songs are rather soothing and calm. For me it seems like an album with 10 ballads (well 11, but the last one’s an extra). Nothing really that much of an up-tempo track, at least not compared to what I listened to these past months. Where I could pin point the songs I liked right away with the other albums, I can’t with this one.
I don’t know if this is just me or the music. I have listened to it several times by now and I am only slowly getting used to the songs, but I still haven’t found any where I would say: Yes, that’s it.
I am somewhat looking for songs like „Memories„, „The Toy Master“ or „Death is Just a Feeling„, but none has a similar streak to them…Some even remind me of old or other songs…
Don’t get me wrong, the songs are great and all, but I haven’t found that special something I am looking for in a song, but maybe I will after listening some more to it. Some songs do have the potential for becoming my favourites. Simply because of the orchestra elements and the melodies. 😉

Nevertheless, the Mystery of Time is again a great piece of musical conception and storytelling. And another reason for Sammet and his people to tour again.
And as luck would have it they play a show in Berlin.
And guess who will be there to enjoy it. 😉

So, see you around


[Edit: If you are interested about how the concert was, look here
© The rights for the covers belong to their respective owners.]

At the Festival: Wacken 2011

This is the continuation of my first post about the Wacken Open Air (and you might want to read that one before you continue, as I occasionally mention something that had happened previously 😉 )

Incredible planning…

2011 was, like 2008, a year where I could stay the whole time, but the planning for it was nerve-wrecking …
I decided on going there with some guys from another forum I’m part of and the final planning was made the Monday(!) before Wacken.
In case you don’t know: The official start of the festival is on Thursday in the first week of August and this Monday is the one before that…
We decided that one of the guys (Drummpossessed), who would come first, would keep space for us, but it ended up in a completely different way …

As it turned out I was the first to arrive, as I had an appointment in Elmshorn on Tuesday and drove on to Wacken the same day. Drumm originally said, he would arrive on Tuesday evening as well, but they arrived Wednesday morning.
So that got me a day to spend by myself.
Earlier I had asked one of Nazguls friends from the year before, whether they would be there as well, so I met up with them after I got my bracelet. After spending some time with them I returned to my car and prepared my backseat-bed again.
Early the next morning came the message that Drumm and his mates had arrived at the camping ground and as I had suspected they ended up in a camping only area, meaning: No cars allowed. I forwarded this news to the other two guys and waited for them to arrive.
When Ian did I decided to re-park my car.
On my way there I even helped some other people carrying their stuff with my car for a bit. The (camping) area itself is like a maze so it always takes some time to get accustomed to it (again) and it is quite helpful to have some indications where you need to go, like toilets or Breakfast Booths as they are depicted with differently colored circles in the map.
The last one, Shinigami, arrived sometime during the day, but we hadn’t had enough space to let them stay at our camp as well.
So it was only Ian’s guys and I and not everyone as we had planned …

Of a morbid meeting and an awesome coat

Even though I camped with the other guys I barely saw them during the whole time. I did go with them, when they picked up their bracelets, but  then I just strolled through the area and stayed for the Horch concert in the Wackinger Village as it sounded fun when I passed by.

On the festival area there is also a place called Metal Market where you can buy all kind of trinkets and I found something I’ve been looking for for ages: A coat. Totally expensive, but awesome nonetheless.
Ever since I watched Buffy and saw Spike in his leather coat, I wanted to have one myself and after trying out several different ones the saleswoman showed me a cotton one: Black (for obvious reasons), half of the front with a zipper and above it are carabiner to close it once more. The back has three cloth-strips that end in large silver rings (they lie that close to each other that they clank while walking). From the hem of the coat up to the waistline (about where the zipper starts) are four laces and on the cuffs are rows of holestuds.

Anyway, when I finally decided I would buy it I gave her some advanced payment and went back to the camping side to get some more cash.
While doing so I was writing DarkFairy a SMS; telling her about the coat. Later on I wanted to write her something including the word „makaber“ (morbid), but I wasn’t sure how to spell it, so I asked people that I passed by. When I asked a woman (Julastika) that was walking on her own as well, I asked whether she would like to accompany me back to the market. And so she did.
It was a good I idea to ask her as we had a lot of fun throughout the festival, starting from that coincidental meeting.

As the coat was a bit too long we needed to shorten it. Fortunately Julastika was skilled enough to do so and even sacrificed her travel sewing kit for the cause.
With this the black coat got a quite colorful hem, as she had to use blue, white and I think green yarn alongside the black one. But that’s something you don’t see while wearing it; still funny though.
To get used to wearing it – which is one awesome feeling – we walked off to stroll through the market again and even found some more funny stuff.
As I returned that evening the boys had done what they seemed to do best: They got wasted. But if that wasn’t enough, no, within half an hour two other drunks came by our camp and asked for directions. Let me tell you: It was annoying and I was glad when I finally could hit the hay or rather: The backseat-bed. 🙂

„And here I cry for Tanelorn“….

When it was time for the first „official“ concerts on Thursday we went to see Skyline (the „band“ that’s always opens the festival) and afterwards the start for Comedy at the open air: Bülent Ceylan – A German-Turkish Comedian with the fitting appearance for such an event, but even though he has some funny stuff in his program, the wind didn’t play in his favor and swallowed most of his jokes.

Julastika’s „Baby“ (the minor she had to have an eye on) had joined us this time and we went to see Helloween together: They needed three attempts to start their first song, as the sound didn’t want to play with them. 😀 Say what you want, I consider the singer to be quite dislikable and I instead was all the more drawn into the charms of the singer of Blind Guardian: Hansi Kürsch.
It was my first time seeing them live and it was awesome. I’ve occasionally listened to them throughout the years and knew at least „The Bard’s Song“ thanks to Van Canto., but hearing this song sung live by all the people on the festival was an indescribable experience. You should try YouTube for a live recording and you even will get goose bumps from that one…
They also played other brilliant songs such as Valhalla, Tanelorn, Time Stands Still and so forth.

It was to stuffed for Pikachu as well.

It was too stuffed for Pikachu as well.

The last concert for the day was the one and only: Ozzy Osbourne. Julastika did the right thing and went to the back of the stage area, while Baby and I stayed within. It was awfully cramped and far too crowded and we soon fought our way out of the masses behind a mobile bar. We couldn’t see that much from there, but we could breath and had space and we still heard the music. Which was odd, as there was a long instrumental part; we later heard the theory that Ozzy was in the oxygen tent during that time.
We ended the evening with some mead and talking at their tent and with their neighbor and over the loud current generator of their other neighbors …

Back and Forth between the stages

Before the festival DarkFairy had asked me to listen to Ensiferum and Rhapsody of Fire for her and so I did or at least I tried.
I only saw the rest Ensiferum as the boys took too long to get ready that day.
Afterwards I went to see Van Canto with Julastika and her boys. We stood a bit farther away from the stage where only a few people were actually enjoying the songs, but we soon found someone else to sing along with. It was great and I’m really looking forward to seeing them on their own one day.
We decided to go with the other sing-along to see Rabenschrey at the Wackinger Stage, which I only could see for a moment, as I „had“ to return to the Stage Area for Rhapsody of Fire. We still had fun with him and his people – a family that had taken him in during the festival.

Rhapsody of Fire wasn’t that thrilling for me. The music was nice and stuff, but they didn’t play anything too special and/or memorable. Later on I also watched Deadlock on the W.E.T. stage – hearing so much about deadlocks in studies just made me go there. They weren’t that bad, but nothing too special either.
The highlight of the evening for the most people were probably Judas Priest. Great performance, good songs and awfully cold ground. I had watched it via the video wall outside of the Stage Area and shivered all the time.
I even managed to see a bit of Heaven Shall Burn before that. Though I was more fascinated by the Metal Bible I had acquired earlier and every time they spoke of the giant Circle Pit they had the people make around the sound towers I didn’t look …

Anyway, the ending concerts for this day were Apocalytica and Saltatio Mortis – at the same time. We kind of wanted to see both, but decided for Apocalyptica – as seeing SaMo again is more likely to happen, as they play a lot of concerts like those on the MPS. As it was cold and we didn’t really want to get into the Stage Area again we took chairs with us to watch over the video walls – as I had done earlier.

Yet, the sound was against us or rather: SaMo’s bag pipes were just too loud for Apo’s cellos. So we went farther away from the Party Stage towards the Black Stage, but the bag pipes stayed with us. Therefore we decided that day that we were watching Apo Mortis.

Dragon boat? Which Dragon Boat?

Even the Dragons were thirsty for the tasty "Wackinger Blut" (Wackinger Blood - Cherry Mead)

Even the Dragons were thirsty for the tasty „Wackinger Blut“ (Wackinger Blood – Cherry Mead)

Beside 2008 this year was the sunniest Wacken I had experienced. I even had bad sunburn on my shoulders/upper arms or at least on one of them.
So while having breakfast with Julastika, Baby and the Neighbour I tried to burn the other arm as well as one-sided suffering is no fun. 😉
Anyway, that breakfast I discovered something weird: On festivals they sell to-be-fried eggs in a carton and no, I am not joking about this: eggs in a carton, like the ones for milk, opened and then put into a pan for frying and Julastika eagerly waited for those things to arrive at the vendors place. Sometimes people at festivals are as weird as their customs, but great people nonetheless. 🙂
The concerts on the Main Stages are always quite loud so we even managed to hear Moonsorrow while we sat there waiting for the eggs in the carton …

As I might have mentioned: It is hard to find each other on the Festival area – mostly trying to phone/write each other and missing each other’s calls.
One thing I learned that Wacken was, that people do not read their messages very thoroughly – but probably I just write too complicated.
There are two Dragon Boats in the entire area: One in the Wackinger Village; one in front of the Stage Area.
Every time I wrote the people I’ve tried to meet up with that they should come to the Dragon Boat in front of the Stages, they went to the one in the Village …
For one I tried to meet up with the Chilean woman (Jasz) I’ve met the previous year after the Fiddler’s Green concert.
I think we somehow ended up at the same Dragon Boat at some point, but it took us a while.
So when we finally did we went off to see Kataklysm. We sat somewhat in the middle of the free Stage Area and talked a bit more than what we were able to last year.
I have to say that I don’t really like Black and/or Death Metal, so the evening became quite disturbing for me as we kind of went from one Black/Death concert to the next.
Including the Japanese Death Metal band Dir En Grey, which was pretty hilarious. We stood at the side in the front row and had a good look at those tiny dudes growling their lungs out and what not. The „singer“ even had to jump on a little metal cage to be seen from the audience and as the concerts on the Main Stages are recorded they had a camera man on stage that was nearly twice their size – though I might be exaggerating here. 😀
I couldn’t really take this concert serious; making jokes about everything the whole time, but even the fans we made conversation with – a German girl and a Danish one – laughed at some of them. They were fun too, as they were probably taller as the stars they admired … sorry …
Anyway, after the concert I parted with Jasz as she went to see Vreid later.
I accompanied the Danish girl for a moment as we continued talking, but even though we wanted to continue the conversation after the festival and I gave her my mail-address to do so, she never wrote. 🙁 Seems like I’m more suited for random conversation during random meetings than anything else …

Anyway, the other attempted meeting was between the guys from the forum.
Well, we kind of managed to meet up – just not every one of us at the same time. Well, at least I can say I’ve met all of them …
I’ve met with Shinigami and someone else, whose name I’ve forgotten, when I was about to watch Iced Earth. Though there were even more Pizza booths than Dragon Boats, I managed to find the right one quite fast. We then moved a bit so I could see Iced Earth better and talked through the first few songs. It was nice meeting them, seeing as they had plans to start similar studies as I am about to finish anytime this year, though they only stayed for a short moment.
Well, at least I had the concert afterwards, which was a pretty great one and among the best that year.

But my highlight was still about to come.
Sometime during the day Julastika wrote me that they would depart sooner as they originally had planned. I’m not sure whether they saw this amazing concert I’m about to cover now.
The concert I’m talking about and was looking forward to the whole time was Avantasia.
This time it was way more awesome than it had been 2008.
I mean Michael Kiske and Kay Hansen (founding members of Helloween) had joined the people on stage to play all these amazing songs and I’m still thrilled even thinking about it.
Songs like The Story Ain’t Over, The Scarecrow or all the old stuff from the first Metal Opera compilations were just amazing …
It is one thing to make a brilliant show, but it is a totally different to do so with a dozen of different musicians and an audience that has been through three days of festival, a ton of concerts and many other things.
And let me tell you, I am not that old, but after that concert, well, I needed a rest. With a grin spread across my face I made my way to my car and just wanted to lie down for a moment…as that wouldn’t be my last concert for the day, but definitely the best.
Writing all this made me decide to buy the ticket for their show in Berlin this April, which I was contemplating for quite some time now. I am more than looking forward to that. =)

The Dragon Boat no one was able to find at first try...

The Dragon Boat no one was able to find at first try…

The last attempt at meeting up with everyone was set out shortly before Subway to Sally would close that year. Well, it rained and I think only Drumm showed up and left not long after that. While waiting for them to show up I listened a bit to Motörhead and decided that while they are good, they aren’t anything that I would listen to over a long period of time.
When Drumm finally appeared it had stopped raining for a moment and then it started raining buckets and we found shelter in a food booth, but Drumm had other places to go to so it was only a brief last meeting.
The StS afterwards was kind of weird.

For once it still rained and for the majority of the show I was wearing a rain poncho to not get too wet. A lot of people have a dislike for the singer and I can kind of see where they come from, as he isn’t the most likable of people – still a tiny bit better than the one form Helloween, but it was fun watching him bounce while singing. Another thing I remember was when they left the stage and everyone started to sing Julia und die Räuber (Julia and the Bandits) and made them return for an encore.
Well, after that I then finally was able to get some sleep.

Memory gaps …

Which I needed, though it didn’t help me in the usual traffic jam the next day. When I was forced to wait for all the cars in front of me to move forward, so I’d be able to move as well, I kind of drifted off every now and again …
It was nice feeling the warmth of the sun through the window, hearing the music from the last few campers and not having to concentrate on anything but waiting, it kind of helped me through the four hours of driving afterwards, though I can barely remember those …

What I also can’t remember are when some of the things I still haven’t talked about, happened.
For example was there a third meeting of the forum people, where only Drumm and Ian (and I) managed to meet up, but I have no idea when that was …
Or when I strolled through the Metal Market again with Julastika and I bought some new shirts. Was it the same day we met? I kind of doubt it. Was it any day later? Probably. Which one? No clue.
Looking through the photos I’ve noticed that I tried spear and axe throwing in the Wackinger Village – according to the date on Tuesday, but I can’t really put it to that day and I think I pretty much failed at actually hitting the target. but it was nice of those guys there to show me. I also watched the Bruchenball tournament apparently …
I guess some things are just not that memorable enough to stay at the right place or to stay at all, but there are also things that I still remember but didn’t include, because that would simply make this post even longer.

And speaking of long, guess what: I am splitting the topic one more time and continue with 2012 at a later point. 😉


At the Festival: Wacken

As the billing for next year becomes better and better by each passing day I’m kinda forced to finally write the post I’ve postponed since August and just like the title suggests: This post is about the Wacken Open Air or short Wacken or even shorter the W:O:A.

Wacken, is that something you can eat?

For those of you who really don’t know what Wacken is – it is said such people still exist: Wacken itself is a small village in Schleswig Holstein and each year, for 22 years now, the number of inhabitants multiplies several times throughout the first weekend of August (2011 it were 4.885,85% or 4,885.85% of the original population) during one of the major Heavy Metal festivals in the world (they even claim it’s the largest).
This year (2012) was my fourth time – and the third one in a row – at the Wacken Open Air and I’d like to review these past years and share some of my experiences.

Back in the day…

I don’t really remember when or how it was that I first heard about this festival, but I do remember that I would have liked to attend it way earlier than I really did. It sounded like fun and a lot of good music, but apparently my parents thought I was too young at that time, so hitting the age of majority my very first Wacken was in 2008.

That year a childhood friend of mine (Blackwolf), two guys from my class back then, one of their girlfriends and I went there together for our first festival ever. Though the other three just tagged along for the ride and had their own schedule. Originally, I think, we planned on meeting up with IceWolf, as he is a friend of Blackwolf, but he couldn’t make it that year – and by now is not interested in this kind of festival anymore.

When you experience something for the first time it is always fascinating. I remember being all hyper and exclaiming: “We’re in Wacken. We’re really in Wacken” all the way to the booth where we got our festival bracelets. Halfway through Blackwolf became pretty annoyed by it, but I can’t blame her for that, as it was quite annoying in my excitement…

The area: From U to the stage area

The area: From U to the stage area

We planned on seeing so many bands, but unfortunately BlackWolf felt sick (which is no surprise as it was hot as hell…) and couldn’t really participate in all of them. Besides that did we camp at the end of the camping area (U – if this letter means anything to you), so just going to a concert wasn’t that easy as it took us about 45 minutes to even get to the entrance of the stage area.

If “U” is just a letter to you: The camping area for the festival stretches over several fields owned by farmers from different villages. So “camping in Wacken” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re camping IN Wacken. It might as well mean you’re camping three villages further away and area U is one of the farthest off areas.

Anyway, before Blackwolf felt that bad, that she couldn’t accompany me anymore we managed to see some fun concerts together.

Our longest day was the Thursday, the Night to Remember – as they called it back then.
It started with Sturm & Drang and Leaves Eyes at the Party Stage and though we hadn’t really planned on seeing them, the concerts were good. Leaves Eyes even had a giant Viking boat on stage.
Instead of Icewolf one of his friends accompanied us and as he is quite a tall guy it was really helpful when we went to Iron Maiden that evening and he “rescued” us from all those annoying Crowd Surfers.

On Friday we wanted to see Avantasia and I felt so bad when I went there alone, when Blackwolf decided to stay at the camping side and I still hope I could at least tell her about the concert in a way as if she had been there herself.
But before that we managed to see Sonata Arctica together. Sitting by the side at the end of the stage area and simply enjoying the music.
We also tried to get an autograph of the Avantasia guys, but the queue was too long and a lot of people stood there that were already waiting for the band after them, so we didn’t manage to get one. 🙁
When I later arrived at the stage area to see Avantasia, Van Canto just started with their show on the W.E.T. stage (a tent-stage), but as the other concert started just shortly afterwards I only could see some of their first songs before walking across the area for the main stages.
While waiting for Avantasia to start I even heard some of the last songs from Corvus Corax (Cantus Buranus). You can see that the main stages are quite huge, but if you see it packed with an orchestra, then you definitely know it’s enormous. And that’s what Corvus Corax did: One side of the stage was an orchestra, the other a choir and in the between the band itself, which are about ten people as well…so masses of people on the stage.
As Avantasia is a co-operational project with many different musicians, brought together by Edguy’s Tobias Sammet, they had quite a bunch of people as well, but not that many. When the first chords began to play, I knew that this was what I’ve been waiting for. It was an amazing concert and I still wish that I could have shared this experience with Blackwolf.

The hole

The hole

I can’t really remember what we saw on Saturday. I remember that we wanted to see Lordi and we returned from the stage area when Nightwish started and decided that the new – by now again old – singer wasn’t able to perform the songs to our liking. But I can’t remember what we saw before that…(Note: Looking through the pictures it seemed as if we even where in the stage area for Nightwish, but departed from there, when she started singing XD)
What I remember is that we watched the Wacken FireFighters (the brass band of the village). Though I can’t remember whether it was Saturday or Sunday morning, guess it was Sunday. (Note: It was Friday by the date of the photos XD) But when we returned we met with quite an unpleasant sight: The tent I had borrowed from my dad had a hole in its side.
And by our assumption that was caused by the remaining ash of the small barbeque we had, which toppled over and hit the outer tent. Which only could have been done by the guys from school…(or someone else, but rationality isn’t a common thing in such moments, so that was simply my first clue). And they of course played innocent. I was in quite a fit about it – and I had any right to be, as my dad is still holding it against me whenever it comes to his mind.
Well, when we left I urged one of the guys to cut out a piece from one of the tents someone else had left behind, so I would be at least able to fix the hole again.
On our way back we/I picked up Nazgul in Elmshorn, to show him around in my part of Germany. Little did I know I would return to that place so many times afterwards.

A Gap before the hat-trick

2009 would have been the next, but no one had time to accompany me. So instead I visited Nazgul in Kassel (the week I mentioned in my travel journal) and DarkFairy at her home. I had a lot of fun that year and DarkFairy and I made quite some progress planning our Novel, but as Wacken only had like three to five bands I would have liked to see, this was a way better way of spending my last official Summer Holidays.

The next year was not just my first year of studying, but also a quite stressful Wacken as the 2010 edition was just at the beginning of my semester. Which meant for me: I had to depart each morning for studying and return at the evening. Luckily Nazgul and I had a secure place in the camp of one of his old friends. Well, at first it didn’t look like we would actually meet up with them as Nazgul had her phone number in a different phone, but coincidentally she and her boyfriend stood at the bracelets booths just when we arrived there to get ours and we just had to re-park.
This time we arrived at Wednesday and were able to see the shows of Fiddler’s Green and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers (mind the last word, it’s not Peppers 😉 They have way better Bagpipes than the Peppers could ever have 😀 )
Two great concerts that even managed to play the rain away. After the Fiddler’s concert I’ve met a Chilean woman, who also waited for an autograph. We exchanged mail addresses, so we could send each other the photos from the concert and as life is busy and I am forgetful I sent my part short before the next Wacken, where we met again.
But back to this one.
When I arrived on Thursday with a fellow student we just hurried to the stage area to see Alice Cooper and – again – Iron Maiden. As Icewolfs friend was at the festival as well I had asked him if I could accompany him to those concerts – to have Crowd Surfer protection again. Somehow Maiden wasn’t as good as they were 2008, even though it was still fascinating to see Bruce Dickinson (the singer) run from one side of the stage to the other and back every few minutes, but it was somehow slower…
Alice was quite fun and it was interesting to see him die every few songs in a different way. =D

The Dragon Boat in the Wackinger Village

The Dragon Boat in the Wackinger Village

On Friday I had several attempts at meeting up with Feuerflügel, who spontaneously came to the festival, and Nazgul at the Wackinger Village. I think it was even the first time they provided this attraction: A more or less medieval area shortly before the stage area, with a stage for medieval bands and a field for Knight tournaments (without horses), Bruchenball, Highland games, LARP fights and so forth.
It also includes the best place to meet: The Dragon Boat (Meat bar).
But before I turned to the village to meet up with Feuerflügel I watched Die Apokalyptischen Reiter on one of the main stages and The Other – as suggested by a colleague of mine – on the W.E.T. stage .
We had fun from the Schelmisch and til the Letzte Instanz concert and simply sat there and talked the time away or alternatively enjoying the concert itself. Her friends who tagged along were a bit…different…though: One of them was fascinated by my teeth, the other claimed me as her property… o.O
Anyway, at some point I went off to see Grave Digger, as it was said they would have Van Canto in their anniversary show and they had. =) They played “Rebellion” with them and Hansi Kürsch from Blind Guardian. The show wasn’t too bad and had some interesting guest appearances. Funny was that the women I stood next to was, like me, simply there for this one song. On the Powerwolf concert I mentioned in one of my last posts I met someone who said, that he liked the songs with the guest stars better than the original ones – as he doesn’t like Chris Brodendahl’s voice.
This was also the first evening where I could drink with the others, but somehow everyone was either celebrating somewhere else or just too tired to sit too long, but I had an interesting conversation with one of the guys regarding his work in Japan and his knowledge about the language and culture, thanks to his studies. As evenings always do, they end at some point, just as this one.
Yet, the next day held some of the concerts I was looking forward to the most.
It all started with W.A.S.P. on the True Metal Stage, but as I was quite tired I simply sat throughout the concert while Nazgul took care of standing through it.
Afterwards we went to see Stratovarious on the Party Stage. It was fun, especially when they played “Hunting High and Low”. I was later asked if they managed to capture the audience like the old frontman did, but I couldn’t tell the difference as I only knew this version. I enjoyed it and that’s what counts for me.
My last concert that day were Edguy. I wanted to see them live for as long as I know them – which is approximately since Icewolf introduced them to me in 2005 or 6 – and the show was great. Nazgul later told me, that I was more excited with each concert, which isn’t much surprising as they were in an order that would lead to such a phenomenon. The Avantasia concert in 2008 was great, but seeing Tobias Sammet with Edguy is different, in a good way. He has an amazing presence on stage, he simply knows how to play with his audience. And for some odd reason the Metal audience doesn’t mind being insulted. They just roar to everything the singer says to them…
Still the concert was fun, though I would have liked them to play some more of their old songs, but you can’t have everything.


Beside some great concerts my tent (a different one, as the other hadn’t been fixed in time) and I, could again not be put into a positive context. Though this time it was more or less my fault. When we arrived on Wednesday I set up my tent and spend the first – freezing – night in it., but when I was at study the next day it was bucketing down and in the trunk of my car was the top of the tent. As a result my tent swam more or less, though Nazgul at least managed to dry some of it until I returned, but some of it was still wet. Therefore I put it in my car and turned up the heating to dry the rest, but when it was dry I didn’t felt like putting it into the tent again so I made myself comfortable in the back of my car – and did so ever since. It is quite comfortable and warm and quiet in it. So no tent needed. 😉
Besides it let to one of the weirdest conversations I had so far.
When he returned from drinking with some random people from another camp, one of the guys from our camp and I engaged into a conversation. Well, a quite uncomfortable one for him, as he set with me on my backseat-bed, but that cramped that his feet fell asleep and he wasn’t able to get out of the car that easily. XD But it was a fun and interesting conversation nonetheless.

And as this is already a long read, I decided to split the post as I have so much more to say about the follow up festivals. So these are my reviews for 2008 to 2010.
The missing ones will be added later.
So stay excited for the continuation. 😉