I was very pleased when I spotted Adamson’s of Pittenween oatcakes in the tartan shop at the Gretna services, so I stocked up. The road was quiet, even though I was hitting rush hour crossing east to Newcastle I got straight into the city centre, where I took a wrong turning up the hill but it meant I got to pull over and snap the sunset on my phone while casting an eye over the map.
I was in the car park ten minutes later with time to find a cash machine and food, both of which were found at the railway station next door. Didn’t have a lot of time to explore, it was about half six, I’d wanted to visit GuitarGuitar and Wild Trak but Subway for a meat and cheese concoction would have to do. I like Newcastle, I’ve been here many times over the years for gigs and whatnot, just not in the recent past. It’s a bit like Glasgow, grand industrial past written large in sandstone with a future creeping out uncertainly from between the blocks. Cracking accent as well.
The Metro Radio Arena looked like a brighly lit cash and carry, but inside I was pleasantly surprised. The foyer is well set up with food and t-shirt stalls, it’s bright and friendly and the arena area itself is way better than my comparable local choices, SECC you should be ashamed. It’s a good size, not too big and has carpets!?
Deathstars the support act played 40 minutes of the same song with a black metal version of Falco as a singer. Which is something I suppose. Rammstein were something else altogether.
They marched in from the balcony through the crowd behind a flaming torch to the centrally located sound desk where a mini stage sat and rise to meet a bridge which lowered from the roof to allow the band to walk to the stage. Corny and cool at the same time, I loved it. Once on the stage Sonne opened the show and for the next two hours and ten minutes I saw one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life. Perfect sound, flawless performances from the musicians and more pyro in each song than KISS have used in their entire careers.
I was astounded, captivated and overjoyed for the entire show. They played all the good stuff, not one filler in there and played one-after-another with no time to catch their, or our, breath.
The bridge came down again and the band were whipped across it in an amusing S&M way to play a few numbers on the little central stage including a little bare bum and robot boaby moment that had folk in tears of laughter. Flake the keyboard player, who spent much of the show walking on a jogging machine of sorts, surfed the crowd on a dinghy at one point, Till the singer tried to cook him in a giant pot with a flamethrower, two actually he brought on a sarcastically big one when the regular “Aliens” sized one didn’t kill him. Never seen flames like it, how the hell the get away with staging this stuff I dodn’y know. Flames were licking the lighting gantry at times, and that’s where the roof is.
The show was incredible no doubt, the lighting, props (most of which were on fire, projected fire or shot fireworks) all moved and changed to give a different mood or effect for the whole set, the best show I’ve ever seen from that perspective. But, without the music it would be all for nothing and Rammstein have the depth and ability to match and beat their own show, in a club under a single 40watt bulb Rammstein would still be awesome.
Now, there were some stupids in close proximity and I could see what was going to happen, staff moved in, warned and then later came back and removed. Smooth and effective, and all done not by the aggressive towering fight-mongers in hi-viz vests I often see at home, the staff here all looked like regular folk, calm and well drilled. I really was impressed, by the whole trip to the venue in fact. As much as I miss my days at the Newcaste City Hall, I’d go back to the Metro in a shot.
Loch Sloy always hovers on my horizon, this is a cracking postcard from around 1949/50. Always odd seeing the concrete of dams still all shiny and new, hard to imagine the Highlands without these now grey and white streaked mouldy barriers thrown across our most beautiful glens.
Still, the girls don’t care, they’re in summer mode already, even if I’m not sure if spring is entirely here or not yet. With everybody seeming to go back to bottles, it’s good to see the flag being flown for hydration systems by Grethel there at least.
Better look out my shorts then.