Markthalle, Hamburg - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As Pain began its European leg of the tour, they chose the often visited Markthalle in Hamburg as their point of origin, a perfect choice of location one must admit.
Earlier in the evening Turmion Kätilöt and Engel had done what they could to get the crowd warmed up, but it was not until now, when it was time for the main event that the crowd really began to loosen up...

It was quickly made obvious that a few things had changed since the last time Pain was in town; they had a completely new stage setup for one thing.
This time there was a high wooden fence-like thing stretching out to both sides of the stage with the drums in the middle, and in front of this fence there were four flat-screen TV’s (in contrast to the two video-screens they had hanging the last time) which at first showed the picture of Painhead sitting contemplating something, which can also be found in the booklet of the band’s latest CD, You Only Live Twice. Actually, the whole scene looked very much like the artwork from said album, and it had a very fitting and nice appearance up there on the stage.
Actually, the picture of Painhead wasn’t the first thing shown on the screens, the first thing was a collection of clips in black and white which showed us all the silly things the band get up to backstage when on the road, something which could obviously go on for some time! The screens would change their images for every song played with something either fitting the music (like the disaster images in Psalms Of Extinction) or the videos for songs which have had videos made for them (these videos were re-cut and edited for the use on this show).
There were also some minor lineup changes within the band – David Wallin was back behind the drums, taking them back from Tomas Lindgren who had held the position two years ago as he in turn was filling in for Wallin. Johan Husgafvel couldn’t make the European leg of the tour due to obligations on the homefront, so Peter Tägtgren had brought back someone from the past of Pain to fill the position; André Skaug from Clawfinger! This was a welcome addition indeed, not that I have anything at all against Husgafvel who usually does a terrific job, but Skaug is nothing less than a wildman, and a delight to see perform!

Interestingly, the return of Skaug, and the unusually eye-catching good mood of Michael Bohlin, rendered main-man Tägtgren the least interesting man on stage to watch. Now don’t misunderstand, Tägtgren was really into it as well, it was only that he had some tough competition from his fellow musicians this evening.
Still, no matter how wild Skaug’s performance was, it was still easy to see that he was (even with his previous history with the band) the new kid on the block, and it was Bohlin who took charge over when the two were to change side of the stage with each other; not at all like a dictator or anything, more with an aura of being more at home in this band, and sure on what was going on.
Still, there is no question as to who is the leader of this rat-pack, and that man is Peter Tägtgren, and if you weren’t sure about what effect he had on the audience tonight, well just think of the pair of black panties that a girl threw up onto the stage for him! Like straight out of an Elvis concert...
Tägtgren didn’t think much of the gift however, and passed the underwear on to Bohlin who readily hung them on the headstock of his acoustic guitar.
Wait, what? An acoustic guitar in Pain?
Yes, that’s right! You see, one of the most innovative and surprising parts of the show came with the first song of the encore, Have A Drink On Me, for which, as you have gathered, Bohlin had changed to an acoustic guitar, Tägtgren had dusted of an old, worn Fender, and this trio (incl. Skaug) got a beer-crate each to sit on. This way, the song got a really bluesy feel to it which worked great with this particular song, making it almost more interesting than the original album version of it.
The best part of this little stunt however, was definitely what was done for Wallin. When everyone else took a lower position on the stage, so should he, and he was given the smallest little drumkit I believe I have ever seen. This was duly put up on the front of the stage next to the other three, and with the risk of hurting his nose with his own knee-caps as he sat down behind it, Wallin took the stool and played us some amazing, yet simple, drums which underlined the rest of the performance perfectly!

”You guys are fucking maniacs tonight, and we fucking love it!”
- Peter Tägtgren (vocals/guitar)

Now, with all these wonderful treats the band was so generously handing out of, one would think that the Hamburg audience would be fire and flames over the show, but was this really the case?
When we look back at the two previous bands, neither of them really got any reaction from the crowd at all. Pain certainly did fare a whole lot better than these two in this department, with people dancing, headbanging and singing along to the tunes, but it wasn’t the wildest crowd I have ever seen at a Pain concert.
Maybe the occasionally bad sound quality which was especially noticeable in the beginning of the concert, and straight after they came back on for the encore songs, had something to do with it, or maybe people just weren’t drunk enough, this being a normal Wednesday night after all. Whatever the reason, the crowd could have been more supportive than they were...

Looking away from that for a second though, there is now doubt that it was a powerful, playful and altogether positive band we had in front of us, and they performed masterfully. My only hope is that they can keep the fun going for the entire tour...


Let Me Out
Dancing With The Dead
Psalms Of Extinction
Dirty Woman
Zombie Slam
End Of The Line
Suicide Machine
Nailed To The Ground
It’s Only Them
The Great Pretender
I’m Going In
Monkey Business
Have A Drink On Me
Supersonic Bitch
Fear The Demons
Same Old Song
Shut Your Mouth

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