Wacken - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Even though Rammstein had ruled the first day, Wacken wasn’t about to come short in the headlining department during the rest of the festival days. Second night held a giant in her own right, the native Queen of Metal – Doro Pesch!
Doro was beginning, and announcing her 30 years in rock anniversary, and she was doing it in style.

”Wacken, you look fucking good and you scream even better!”
- Johnny Dee (drums)

Just from arriving before the True Metal Stage, we could see that the entire setup screamed of grandeur, it spoke to us and said that this was something above and beyond what we were used to, something truly special. The night air was warm, and in front of us we had one of the largest heavy metal stages in the world, covered with amps, lights, a special backdrop and cool stage drops, larger than life skulls next to the drumkit and an intro sequence depicting all of the albums that the singer/band has released through the years.
As soon as the intro was over, the members poured onto the stage with great energy and vigour, and threw us and themselves straight into a blistering Warlock cover in I Rule The Ruins, one of my personal all time favourites of hers. Already at this stage, Doro had the audience in the palm of her hand and could demand of them what she pleased; this lead to a loud and enthusiastic screaming contest, the first of many.
The following set gave us a strong mix of mostly old Warlock classics with some of her solo material thrown in for good measure, all nicely intertwined with a couple of covers from other metal greats.

The entire band proved that they knew exactly what it took to live up to a headlining gig in front of some 75-80000 people, but still they decided to up the ante and exceed any and all expectations we might have had – from Johnny Dee’s somewhat long but highly entertaining drum solo to the energetic performance during the songs and the small-chat and many, many, many thanks between those same songs, Doro and band proved without the shadow of a doubt why they were entitled to this highly prestigious spot.
Still, that wasn’t enough for them, they just had to squeeze the lemon for a few more drops, a few more drops of sweat had to glisten from our raised fists and shaking necks – and in came the guest stars!
First up was Chris Boltendahl of Grave Digger who sang East Meets West together with Doro, then there was Peter ‘Biff’ Byford singing his own Saxon classic Denim And Leather, Uli Jon Roth delivered an elongated guitar solo in Für Immer, Phil Campbell of Motörhead fame (was he going to make guest appearances for every band this year?) delivered a heavy guitar string in Breaking The Law, and Eric Fish and Frau Schmitt delivered respectively vocals and violin for Metal Tango.
The grand finale came with All We Are, and here all guns were blown – Eric Fish was back doing guest vocals, now joined by Sabaton’s Joakim Brodén and three others whom I sadly didn’t recognise well enough to give names. Extra instrumentation was also once again provided, this time in the form of bagpipes delivered and played by members of Corvus Corax. Not one mind was left unblown after this thunderous performance!

“Oh man, this is so great, you are so amazing!”
- Doro Pesch (vocals)

It wouldn’t be a true Doro show without us being told that it’s all for and about the fans however, and also here the band weren’t afraid to put their money where their mouths were, figuratively speaking.
Thus we saw the Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads) performed with a full choir of fans on the stage!
Are you having fun it was asked, and I think we can safely state that there was a resounding yes heard all over the festival area. It wasn’t only the people on the stage who proved to possess a lot of energy and will to sing you see, most of it was going on down on the ground among the common metal fans from all over the world making up this wonderful community that Doro especially have always a sincere and reliable grip on, mostly probably because she never seems to put herself above anyone else but rather meet us all at eye-level. An impressive feat after so many years playing and with all the success she has had, but I think that it what sets her apart from so many others and keep people coming back for more.

That was a bit of side-tracking there, but returning to the point there are some highlights that deserve some extra attention – opening the gig with I Rule The Ruins was such a great choice, it really put us all in a good mood right from the beginning. The duet with Boltendahl, because that’s exactly what it was; the others gave good to great guest vocals on their songs, but none of them could live up to the intense connection and the spark that Boltendahl and Pesch had. It was as if the rest of the duets showed vocalists performing admirably individually, but these two took it to the next level and created something outstanding because they did it together.
When it comes to stage gimmicks, I totally fell for the somewhat cheesy but highly entertaining part in Raise Your Fist In The Air where Dee’s drumkit was elevated high up, showing a long cloth hanging from beneath it with artwork depicting a raised fist (surprise, surprise)!
I could go on picking special memories from this gig forever it feels like, but I’d better tie things up now. Finally, I would just like to say that this was exactly what it means to have a true metal moment!


I Rule The Ruins (Warlock cover)
Burning The Witches (Warlock cover)
Rock Till Death
East Meets West (Warlock cover, feat. Chris Boltendahl)
The Night Of The Warlock
Wacken Hymne (We Are The Metalheads) (feat. fan choir)
Raise Your Fist In The Air
Solo (Dee)
Denim And Leather (Saxon cover, feat. Biff Byford)
Hellbound (Warlock cover)
Für Immer (Warlock cover, feat. Uli Jon Roth)
Metal Tango (Warlock cover, feat. Eric Fish, Frau Schmitt)
Breaking The Law (Judas Priest cover, feat. Phil Campbell)
All We Are (Warlock cover, feat. Eric Fish, Joakim Brodén, Corvus Corax)
Earthshaker Rock (Warlock cover)

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