Wacken Open Air – Rain or Shine

Due to airplane delays, we were not on time to see the first day shows, that is The Gentle Storm, New Model Army, Uli Jon Roth and Europe, but we could make it the other three days, the “big ones”. As if the first day wasn’t big enough.

After getting equipped properly, rain boots mainly, we came inside the Festival zone for our first gig of this Wacken Open Air 2015: U.D.O. with the German Army Orchestra at True Metal Stage. Starting with “So Spoke Zaratustra” both Orchestra and Udo Dirkschneider gave us a great show, including some parts of the main theme from Star Wars and Kalinka, and of course some Accept songs, like “Metal Heart” and “Princess of the Dawn”, the tune that finished his show.

In Extremo followed next on the Black Stage, right next to True Metal. Being a folk metal band that I have seen several times, this was a special one, ’cause they were having their 20th anniversary show, birthday cake included. Great sound and a positive actitude is what this guys have every time on stage.

After the germans, I moved to Bullhead City Circus, the tent that has two stages inside: WET and Headbangers stages to see Dark Tranquility. Missing some songs, specially “Lost to Apathy”,  we can say their show was enormous, but short. Special mention to “Feast of Burden”.

The sun was almost hiding at this point, and it was time to probably the most wanted and waited show of this Wacken Open Air 2015: Savatage and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Starting with this Savatage reunion, we were a little bit confused. It was supposed to be at the same time as Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the other Jon Oliva’s band, but… it was not. At least, by now. Starting with Gutter Ballet, it was not until the third song when Zak Stevens went to stage. After “Hall of the Mountain King”, lights headed to True Metal Stage, where TSO started with “Madness of men”, a new song that we could hear here for the first time. Everything in TSO is great: violin players, singers, chorus… until “A Last Illusion”. After that madness came to earth. Two stages, True and Black, united at the same time, and sounding as it was only one… with two full bands and remember, TSO is not a small one.

Both stages made a quick review, alternating Savatage and TSO songs. That should be complicated for the techs: two drumming kits, four guitars, two bass guitars… everything playing at the same time, more than 30 people only on stage… incredible.

Ensiferum made it the next day, and I must say they didn’t have a great sound. Talking with some more people, seems like it’s usual for them not having the best sound when playing live. Sepultura was coming next, and personally, it was one of their best show I have ever seen. Great actitude of their singer while on stage. After those crazy brazilians, I went to one of the “small” stages, the Party Stage, to see Stratovarius.

Starting hard with “Black Diamond”, they made an almost classic-only songs show: “Eagleheart”, “Against the wind”, “Paradise”… and “Shine in the dark”, first time they were playing it live.

After a technical stop, Dream Theater were playing at True Metal Stage. What a great show they did! Virtuosity on stage, true, but also feeling what they were playing. Turn for Black Label Society. I must say they made a great show, with hard riffs on Mr. Zakk Wylde guitar. Sincerely, one of the best shows, (Savatage and TSO do not count this time) I have seen at Wacken.

After them, In Flames. Must say I don’t really like their style, with only one exception: “Only for the weak”. Incredibly for me, it was their first song, so… time to shoot them and go having some food, ’cause almost at the same time, Within Temptation were playing at the Party Stage. Having a lot of collaborations make some of their songs almost impossible to play live, but they fix it with pre-recorded track -i.e. Paradise (What about us?) with Tarja Turunen.

Last day of Wacken Open Air was starting, but an interview with Skindred that finally we couldn’t make  because they were stuck in traffic, made me to skip some bands. The first one I saw this last day was Amorphis, which I must say I didn’t get the proper attention, as I was heading to press area to make another “pit stop”. Rock Meets Classic were the next ones in my list. A big orchestra + rock superstars + Wacken Balls. What could go wrong? Exactly, nothing at all. First singer to go on stage was Marc Storace, Krokus, to make it with Thunderstruck. After him, Jennifer Haben and Christopher Hummels, Beyond the Black. The next guest was Joe Lynn Turner, to play Rainbow songs, and Michael Kiske to sing some Helloween anthems. But the one we were really waiting for was Dee Snider, the next guest singer. After giving a quick review through Twisted Sister songs, all the guests came to stage to sing “Highway to Hell”, giving the audience the end they deserve.

Bloodbath were coming next, a band I really don’t like, so time for get some drinks and food. Sabaton, the next band on stage were also recording their live DVD, so everyone up there were wearing cammo clothes, from the ones that take of the curtain to the cameramen. A great show, full of jokes and good music. Let’s see the DVD when it goes out!

Judas Priest were the last day’s headliners. A full setlist with all their classics, motorcicle on stage and Rob Halford changing clothes several times included. A great show, exactly what we expected from this true heavy metal legends, with Rob keeping his voice high as hell.

After Judas Priest, we all felt the force was no more with us. Time for some food, and back to the camping tent. Wacken 2015 was over. See you in Wacken 2016, rain or shine!

Text: Alberto Sanz, Photo: Andrés Abella (Fotoconciertos.com)

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