Wacken - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

True to tradition, we had met up in as good a time as possible in front of the Black Stage at Wacken on Thursday early, eagerly awaiting the house-band Skyline to announce the official opening of yet another year at the festival.

With us was an unusually large crowd of metalheads, unusual not for Wacken which has been sold out for many years in a row now, but surely unusual for Skyline; I couldn’t help but think that their reputation must be spreading and wonder how they were going to use this for their advantage. Surely they would have some special trick up their sleeve, some special guests and a special song or two…
If you are familiar with this band, you will know that they are a local cover-band who for a lot of years running now have had the opening spot at the Wacken festival. This year, they kicked the party off with Saxon’s classical heavy metal tune Strong Arm Of The Law, just to get people in the right mood.
I didn’t immediately recognize the vocalist they had singing for them, but the rest of the band were familiar faces all the way. Now, as I mentioned in my review of them from last year, they are unnameable due to the fact that it’s near impossible to dig any facts up about these guys, but a bit of friendly stroking on Ye Olde Googling Machine has led me to believe that the vocalist may be one Olaf Senkbeil (ex-Uli Jon Roth, ex-Jack’s Hammer). Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong though.
After a couple of more songs, another familiar face came on stage, the face of Dan (insert last name, sounding like Hollweiser), the very, very longhaired guy also sung with Skyline last year. This year he got to sing such prestigious songs as Paranoid and T.N.T., and was duly praised for it by the audience.

The audience was, as mentioned above, a great deal larger than I have ever seen at a Skyline concert in the past, and yet everyone seemed to be happy to take part, and do their part, in this great festivity.
Songs were gladly sung along to, ad loud shouts were raised between said songs; Skyline isn’t exactly your wall of death/wild moshpit type of band, but even though everyone was calmly swaying along to the music instead of violently smashing into each other, the positive feeling of an entertained crowd was ever present none the less.
Especially the final song of the set, Paradise City, got a lot of love and a great deal of participation; towards the end of this, Senkbeil (let’s assume it is him until proven otherwise) got a loud and capturing sing-along going during the final rounds of the chorus.

So the crowd was into it, and the band was definitely getting some kicks out of this as well, that much was clear to see, but what about the extras I was anticipation?
Well, very strangely enough, there were none. None whatsoever.
For the first time ever, as far as I’ve known the band at least, Skyline played a straight through and through cover set. Well, not so straight actually, as they also played their original song Violent Sea, a piece written by their long-haired guitar player (again, if you should know any of these names, feel free to jump right in!), but apart from this one song, there truly was nothing else to see. Long gone were all of the guest artists, mainly vocalists, whom they have had visits from in the past, and gone were also every singly Wacken hymn from the setlist. Wacken had a run of a few years where each year a new famous metal band/artist would create a Wacken hymn leading up to the festival, and this would then be played by Skyline on stage, with the participation of said band/artist.
Gone completely was also the presence of Thomas Jensen, one of the founding members of Wacken Open Air, who usually comes on stage and joins the band on bass for one or a couple of tracks.

For me, all this really took a lot away from the quality of the overall show. It was great hearing the different covers they had rehearsed, and I had a good time throughout the concert, but the uniqueness of the performance was gone. Honestly, how can we have a Skyline show without Doro singing Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads)??
I will be back next time as well though, watching the band and singing (if one can call it that) along to the songs, but I really wish they get back in the saddle and bring some extra icing for the cake.


Strong Arm Of The Law (Saxon cover)
Still Of The Night (Whitesnake cover)
Turbo Lover (Judas Priest cover)
Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)
Bark At The Moon (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
Violent Sea
Kashmir (Led Zeppelin cover)
T.N.T. (AC/DC cover)
Paradise City (Guns N’ Roses cover)

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