09.08.2011 Wacken is over, waiting for the next to come
The Wacken Open Air 2011 is history. Across four days the heroes of metal like Blind Guardian or Judas Priest but also smaller bands as well as newcomers from all styles of metal music were playing. In keeping with the motto: "See you at Wacken, rain or shine" you could tell this also about the weather because really everything was offered: it was changing all the time with rain in the morning, clouds around the time until noon and afterwards mostly sunny. The concerts thankfully took place only during the dry phases, just during the last two bands of the festival Children Of Bodom and Subway To Sally two short but heavy rain showers went down turning the festival area into a huge puddle of mud.
Thanks to the promoters I received a photo permission and so I was able to take my DSLR with me. That was especially during the nightly concerts very helpful. For me it started quite relaxed on Wednesday where only Horch was on my schedule (but I did not take any photos there) and later that evening the Belgian Metal Battle winners Powerstroke.
Already on Thursday that changed and the festival marathon began. Before the "Night To Remember" started on the main area I went to Stier and Kvelertak at the extremely increased Bullhead City tent. Inside that not only shows like Wrestling or Miss wet T-shirt contests took place but also comedy and several concerts. Afterwards I went over to the first band of the "Night To Remember": the South Tyrolean Frei.Wild. After them Helloween played their great gig but had in the beginning issues with the electrical equipment. The evening was enclosed by the two headliners Blind Guardian and Ozzy Osbourne. That was how the second festival day ended.
But already the next day I had to get up early in the morning again because the first concerts were already beginning at 12:00. The Friday started with Ensiferum and Suicidal Tendencies after which it came to the first highlight of the day on the enlarged Party Stage with Van Canto. The a-capella metal vocalists were obviously impressed of the masses of people in front of the stage but performed an outstanding show. I continued afterwards with Sodom and the surprisingly well live performing As I Lay Dying. After a short break Heaven Shall Burn performed a very promising show before the doyens of Judas Priest played for more than 135 minutes a wonderful best of through their 40 years lasting career. Already 15 minutes earlier than planned Airbourne entered the True Metal Stage and started a tremendous show including a neck braking special (all I can tell you is: solo at the stage roof!). Additionally they played 15 minutes longer than planned so they were besides Van Canto and Heaven Shall Burn one of the highlights of the day. The closure was performed by Apocalyptica. Overall a good show although I was not that enthused about them (just opposite to many others who thought that it was the best gig of the festival).
The last festival day started inside the tent of the W.E.T. Stage. After The Murder Of My Sweet and the very good Triosphere I shortly went to the Bullhead City tent to Onslaught after I returned for Stormzone and Hämatom. But that should be it for staying inside because outside the air was much better and temperatures were also more comfortable. Before the first highlight of the day Avantasia there were the men of Iced Earth on True Metal Stage. Both had farewells to announce: Iced Earth of their singer and Tobias Sammet of his project Avantasia (so it was the last concert of Avantasia forever). At 21:45 Danko Jones entered the stage and performed the best gig of the festival in my point of view. Slowly we were getting to the end but still three big ones were there to come. First Motörhead with leader Lemmy Kilmister rocked the festival ground before Children Of Bodom as well showed a fascinating performance. The lights went out after Subway To Sally had played.
There were great concerts, it was very exhausting (28 concerts in 4 days), the weather was with us (although it could have stayed dry also for the last two shows of the festival), to sum it simply up: is there anything anybody could want more? The first bands for next years edition are already announced so there can be only one motto: "See you at Wacken 2012: rain or shine!". There is just one improvement proposal I have for the promoters to reduce the amount of bass on the main stages. That was one of the main issues during the festival because the base drums and bass overruled everything else on stage. It was much better on the W.E.T. Stage where the sound was much more clear.
The pictures are already on my compunter and waiting for their sorting and rework. I will put them online one after the other including reviews across the next three weeks and announce updateds here and via Twitter.