- <b>WACKEN OPEN AIR 2014. FULL REPORT</b> (2-8-2015) - The MetalList Webzine - metal music zine

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WACKEN 2014. Sold-out in two days. Eighty thousand people! 132 bands! Three or even four days of pure metal life without borders. Music, big camping area, community, beer, full metal village, different languages, black T-shirts, rain, clouds of dust, 7 stages, a swimming pool, a huge market, and, of course, people: 80 thousand visitors, and hundreds (even thousands) people who make this tale possible. For the 25-th time. Rain or Shine!

Some words about changes. First of all - unification of the whole concert area and the elimination of the checkpoints inside. So that was possible to go from main stages area through the food area to the Circus without checkpoint. Excellent innovation. At the same time VIP/ journalist camping was moved, we had to get on the bus to reach the festival area, we had only some homesickness for the days when it was possible to do it in five minutes on foot.

Oh, Well. Wacken - a quarter of a century!!! That’s what matters.

DAY 1. SKYLINE is the band that is active only one day per year. This is very special day for metalheads – first day of Wacken Open Air. Some covers and the madness began. Two hours later tens of thousands people were before one of the main stages. HAMMERFALL setlist included their full debut album.

The main events of the first day were performances of heavy metal veterans SAXON and ACCEPT. Saxon is real talisman of Wacken. In 1992 it was first non-German famed band that visited modest festival in northern Germany. They came back in 1999 when the festival increasingly developed. Since that time they performed at W.O.A. 5 times before 2014. So this performance was the eight at the holy land. First song – “Motorcycle Man". Straight off! One of the best SAXON songs. Vocal of Biff Byford sounded incredible for a man who celebrated 63 that year. All high notes were flawless. SAXON performed excellent best of…

ACCEPT. First time they played here in 2005 with Udo. A lot of sceptics can not live without talking about indispensability of Udo Dirkschneider. But there is a very simple fact: Mark Tornillo fits into the band. There are three studio albums which are much more interesting in comparison with U.D.O. releases after 2005. His voice is absolutely perfect for the band and he is not the worst frontman. Accept at Wacken 2014 – they were like a storm or maybe a machine gun. 18 hit songs, excellent performance, bright light and the ocean of energy. Fantastic conclusion for the first day.

DAY 2. CHTONIC and SKID ROW opened this very warm day. But first band that gathered a lot of people was KNORKATOR. It's very difficult to describe the show of this band. It was a comedy, brought to absurdity. Songs full of humor with very unfunny texts gathered a huge amount of people, a lot more than before Black stage, where ENDSTILLE performed simultaneously. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and BRING MУ THE HORIZON continued main stages’ relay.

Have you ever seen a cloud of dust with diameter of 10-12 metres (100 ft). NO?! If not, then you definitely haven't visited WACKEN 2014. At least You missed the performance of HEAVEN SHALL BURN. I still cannot imagine how it was possible to play songs in this sandstorm. But hundreds people were in circle pit... Every year you can hear more melodic death and less metalcore elements in studio songs by the band as well as during live performances. Even voice of Marcus Bischoff changed from high screaming to growling. This tour HSB included in their tour setlists one cover song - very surprisingly it was "Valhalla" (Blind Guardian).

CHILDREN OF BODOM. Can you confess your love to someone, discuss about politics, to tell some different stories, talk about weather etc. with only one English word. Alexi Laiho can do it without any problems. And you know this word. For CHILDREN OF BODOM it was their seventh Wacken. First riffs of "Needled 24/7" and the show went on. The setlist included 14 songs, almost every song could be considered as one of the greatest hits of the band. Best setlist for big fest. And the performance was at a very high level. SANTIANO performed at the same time on Party stage.

APOCALYPTICA with orchestra - so pathetic and so boring. They lost all drive. This format are not for them. 4 cellos are enough, full symphonic orchestra is redundant. Under the roof of Circus German band HÄMATOM gathered at least 5000 people. A big surprise was the show of psychedelics rock band from Iceland THE VINTAGE CARAVAN. Unforgettable performance with a stunning atmosphere.

So come back to the main stages. For MOTÖRHEAD it was the eighth Wacken. Last year Lemmy had to stop the performance due to problems with health. This year he was playing rock’n’roll during 70 minutes without any problems. But many people preferred to see CARCASS at Party stage. Interesting set with two medleys.

SLAYER! Sixteen songs. No! Sixteen thermonuclear explosions - so it will be more correct. No encore. No speech. Just dazzling and too kind smile of Tom Araya which is more similar to Santa recent years. Kerry King either looking at the floor or standing with his back to the audience. 4 strong bearded men with their music that kills you. SLAYER performed 4 hit songs from "Seasons in Abyss" as well as 2 from "South of Heaven". Of course there were "Angel of Death", "Postmortem" and "Raining Blood". But the main feature of this year was an accent on the earliest period: five songs of sixteen were created in period 1983-1985, before the band released "Reign in Blood" - number one CD in thrash metal throughout the years. Honestly it wasn't the best SLAYER performance but it was still magnificent as ever.

KING DIAMOND. It was like a real Black Mass on the stage with Kim Bendix Petersen as a main exorcist. A lot of decorations, theatrical moments, a long scene with cremation. This devilish spectacle began when the sun had gone down so the atmosphere of ominous night accompanied whole performance. Of course there was grandma during "Welcome Home", fence at the beginning of the show etc. Despite serious problems with health during some recent years King Diamond was in very good shape: no problems with falsetto.

Wacken 2014 was first time I saw W.A.S.P. on the festival stage. And I have to noticed that it was completely different from their club performances. Blackie was a real king of the stage. Moreover he demonstrated a quite good vocal. Setlists od W.A.S.P. haven't had serious changes for at least 15 years (except some concerts with presentations of full albums). 3-4 hit songs from the debut album as well as "Crimson Idol", 2 songs from the second album and sometimes one or two songs from some album, that was released after 1992. W.A.S.P. fans are not against this situation. Wacken's set of the band wasn't an exception. "L.O.V.E. Machine", "Wild Child", "I Wanna Be Somebody", Medley from "Crimson Idol" etc...

DAY 3. ARCH ENEMY and SODOM opened the program of two main stages. Is it possible to establish the kingdom of darkness under the shining rays of the sun that are ready to incinerate the darkness. Yes, it is possible if you see BEHEMOTH on the stage. It could be seen a demonic incantation and felt a savage rage... A kind of theatrical occultism with death metal riffs, a choir of growling voices and blast beats. 12 songs from 6 albums (2000-2014). True invasion of the devil to the desert.

DEVIN TOWNSEND. When you see this very extravagant musician the first thing you notice - his inimitable mimicry. It's real one-man show. Yes, of course, you can see another musicians at the same time, but you do not pay attention to them. This post-apocalyptic madman captivates you from the first note.

Last year there was a huge excitement at the fact that EMPEROR would perform at Wacken 2014. It was a special show with very special program. Whole album "In the Nightside Eclipse" - one of those legendary black metal releases that are considered as the standards of the genre. Ihsahn and Sammoth, Faust on the drums, Einar Solberg from LEPROUS as the keyboardist. There was no pathos in their performance. Only music. I don't know why such a few amount of audience saw this performance. But it was a fact, that area in front of the stage had a lot of free space. They performed every song from the album as well as BATHORY's cover and two songs from the band's demo "Wrath of the Tyrant". Was it magnificent? Definitely, no. Just some very professional musicians performed a music that was created by them at the age of fifteen. Actually this album has a unique, primitive and raw atmosphere which was completely lost. At the same time for EMPEROR's fans (including yours truly) it was a remarkable opportunity to see the band on the stage...

AMON AMARTH always gathered huge army of fans and this Wacken didn’t bring any changes to this situation. Next band was MEGADETH. One of those bands that always similar. Big club, stadium or festival stage - there is no no fundamental difference. One pose, the same expression on his face, almost unchanged setlist. It's all about Dave Mustaine, of course. They began their show with the one of the most famous hits - Hangar 18. Some problems with sound were eliminated very quickly... Really good show with a great energy.

AVANTASIA. The most beautiful light show of this year. Tobias Sammet was supported by Amanda Sommerville, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley as well as famed voice of PRETTY MAIDS Ronnie Atkins. Only four songs of 16 were from Metal opera. At the same time there was a strange situation. The band had about 100 minutes but the program was shorter so it was something like stand-up show within music set. Unfortunately during their set great band performed under the roof of the Circus. It was ICS VORTEX.

I have seen this band for too many times so it's unavoidable that I have to compare different gigs of KREATOR... I will never forget extraordinary performance in Belarus at 4.30 a.m. It was to late due to problems with Customs. It was really incredible, musicians were exhausted but that did not prevent them to be kings of the stage. KREATOR at festival stage as well as at club area always gives you an absolutely unique impression by its energy and some constructive anger. Kreator at Wacken 2014... It was to short and very strange. KREATOR is one of those bands that can perform setlist without changes during 75 or 90 minutes depending on the situation. The time is short so KREATOR kills you as quickly as it possible but not at Wacken 2014. Only 12 songs during 70 minutes. It was great but soulless. Faded completion for Wacken, I don't know why... If you stood before Black stage you couldn’t see another very interesting band – VAN CANTO as well as CREMATORY.

Almost every Wacken ends with a performance of some well-known German folk metal band e.g. SUBWAY TO SALLY (They are Wacken record holders – 10 times!), IN EXTREMO etc. For Wacken 2014 it was superior band SCHANDMAUL.

That was all. Next morning… ALL THE TICKETS WERE SOLD OUT. Yes! Within only 12 hours, 75,000 tickets to the 26th Wacken Open Air were sold. AMORPHIS will present a special show with whole legendary album “Tales from the thousand lakes". Also there will be SABATON and POWERWOLF. Onl;y show of legendary RUNNING WILD. Another great live reappearance – SAVATAGE. Moreover there will be simultaneous show of SAVATAGE and TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. Great bands, magical moments await us but... I’m absolutely sure that even if the bands weren’t announced all the tickets would still have been sold... Because WACKEN OPEN AIR is absolutely unrivaled metal festival.


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