Wacken - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Helloween would be the first ’real’ band for me at Wacken this year, and that’s certainly not something you’ll hear me complaining about!

It would seem that a lot of people shared this feeling with me, and if you’ve ever been to Wacken you know that when I say a lot of people, I do mean insanely, over the top, look it’s not even funny anymore lots of people!
Still, I managed to get a spot over by the soundtower with an acceptable view and a pretty decent sound. If only...
You see, Helloween kicked their set of with their fairly new song Are You Metal?, or at least they tried to. However, after shortly stopping the music to hear the crowd sing the chorus, they were unable to get the equipment going again. A short break ensued while the technique was sorted out, and the band could continue the song; however, as Helloween reached the next chorus they again wanted to hear the audience, and again they couldn’t get their equipment going afterwards... An almost 10 minute long break ensued this time where the band left and the crew worked hard to fix the problem.

So, the real concert started quite late, when the band finally came back on. This time they didn’t take any chances though, moving directly to Eagle Fly Free and completely skipping the accursed first song.
So, for now the show was flowing without further mishaps, and finally both the band and the crowd could get the energy going like it was supposed to; whatever troubles had been were quickly forgotten as we moved into power metal paradise with a band that’s been in the genre longer than it has even been a genre!
Now, if this gig was some special event for Helloween or not I cannot say, but for some reason they clung almost exclusively material from the first two Keeper albums; the only further detours from these were Where The Sinners Go (opening track of their latest album), and a partial The King For A 1000 Years which served as the middle of a Keeper trilogy. This suited me just fine, as this is the period I am the most familiar with, and for me the most classic era as this was where I got into the band.

Now, I mentioned that Helloween had decided to mash some songs together as a Keeper trilogy, the songs being Keeper Of The Seven Keys, The King For A 1000 Years and lastly Halloween, and the reason for this was, according to Andi Deris, that the song would simply be too long if played in its entirety. Fair enough I suppose, if you want to keep things moving along. What does surprise me though, is that if this was the case, why the hell did a song like Future World (4:02 on album) take more than 15 minutes to finish?! Because of sing along’s, that’s why... And it didn’t stop there, the last song of the day, I Want Out (4:39 on album), took more than 10 minutes to finish for the very same reason... Now, I’m all for crowd-participation, but this was just silly! The inflated pumpkins were a nice touch though...
The show also contained a drum-solo by Dani Löble, which in comparison to the aforementioned songs felt neither too long nor forced, but was rather playful and entertaining. The only thing I want to comment on here is the fact that the man had four bass-drums! Honestly, is he compensating for something (or does he just have an odd sense of humour)?

Still, there was plenty to enjoy in this show as well, something the crowd proved loudly and proudly every chance they got; and even though the band certainly could have filled their time out more efficiently, and even though Deris only spoke in German in spite of the fact that at least half of the very international crowd at Wacken certainly didn’t understand a word of it, this was an extremely enjoyable festivity which I wouldn’t have missed for the world. When Helloween gets it right, they are true masters of what they do!


Are You Metal?
Eagle Fly Free
March Of Time
Where The Sinners Go
Solo (Dani Löble)
Future World
Dr. Stein
I Want Out

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