Bats and a Racist

Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, Austria – July 26 & 27, 2023

Rammstein, Vienna 27.07.2023 by Christian J. Weber @lifad_switzerland

The Rammstein shows in Vienna were visited by curious bats, but also by something not so welcome – a racist. Rammstein answered to that by taking a clear stand against racism and antisemitism at the end of their second show.

By KidArctica, Anna @anna26am (Guest Reporter), and Christian J. Weber @lifad_switzerland (Guest Photographer)

Flake Lorenz, Vienna 27.07.2023 by Christian J. Weber @lifad_switzerland

Located about 3,5 kilometres east of Vienna’s city centre, Ernst-Happel-Stadion is situated at the edge of the Prater Park. Because of this, it was initially called Prater Stadion when it was constructed between 1929 and 1931. With a capacity of 50,865 people, it is the largest stadium in Austria, though its record attendance was set in 1960 when 90,726 people saw the Austrian and USSR national teams play. Back then, the venue had standing areas, though like many other stadiums, these were converted into seats during a refurbishment. The stadium also got a name change in 1993, after legendary Austrian player and manager Ernst Happel died the year before.

Ernst-Happel-Stadion has hosted many important football games, though it has also hosted other sports. Since 1980, it has been a major arena for concerts as well. Many world star artists have performed there, including The Rolling Stones, Genesis, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Metallica – plus of course Rammstein, who filled it twice in 2019.

This year Rammstein was back for two more sold out concerts, and our guest reporter Anna was there to let us know what took place:

Vienna was one show for which some of the hardcore Rammstein fans had high expectations. The rumor on the ground was that the entry for the previous Vienna shows had been more or less well-organized and the crowd had been treated well. After the unexpectedly good entry arranged by Stade de France, the security of Ernst-Happel-Stadium had a high benchmark to compete with.

Till and Paul, Vienna 27.07.2023 by Christian J. Weber @lifad_switzerland

The fans started to line up at the two Feuerzone entrances, Rot and Grün, the night before the show, even though the weather was getting more chilly by midnight. Because people had to enter through the entrance listed on their ticket, some fans were still buying new tickets for the next day’s show to be able to line up at the same entrance as their friends. The issue was that when fans were buying tickets online, both on the official seller’s website and on Fansale, it was not clear which entrance corresponded to which side of the stage. Close to the concerts, however, some of us figured out that, despite what maps on the ticketsellers’ websites suggested, the Grün entrance was closest to Paul Landers‘s side of the stage, while Rot was next to Richard Z. Kruspe‘s side.

After two nights and days in line, the Rot side proved to be the harder one: it was more windy at night, more sunny during the day, and had a more pushy crowd all throughout. However, when it came to entry, security seemed to play it into the hands of the Rot fans. First, their entrance opened slightly earlier on both days. Second, the first dozen fans who were running from the Grün side on the first day got confused when they ran into the stadium and ran into an impasse instead of a Feuerzone entrance. It took security quite a few seconds to direct everyone to the right entrance, which resulted in quite a few people of the first 20 numbers in line not getting their preferred sports in the first row, or not getting the first row at all.

After the Groningen shows, which were under threat of cancellation due to the danger that the noise from the shows could pose to birds, any appearance of birds next to the stage drew attention and some jokes from fans. Even Paul had been seen wearing a t-shirt that read “Society Against Noise, here to turn you down.”

Oliver Riedel, Vienna 27.07.2023 by Christian J. Weber @lifad_switzerland

In Vienna, we had unexpected guests flying around the stadium. Not birds… but bats. They were flying close to the round light towers of the stage, as if they lived in the Rammstein tower during the whole tour. Some of us wondered if the bats would be smart enough to fly away after the show. Meanwhile, the fans on the tribunes started a wave around the stadium. The waves were quite a success on both days and warmed us up before the fiery show.

Both concerts were as spectacular as always. The second one felt more energetic than the first one, at least for the fans on Paul’s side. After the first show, we speculated that Paul might’ve gotten sick – it looked like he struggled with a cold – but the second show did not support our theory. Paul was Pauling and interacting with the crowd as enthusiastically as before. He especially enjoyed Giftig and mimed parts of the song: “Ein Gegenmittel gibt es nicht,” and he shook his head signaling a non-negotiable “nicht.”

Christoph Schneider and Richard had fun as well, though unlike other shows, Schneider ended up dancing alone during Mein Teil. He seemed to have a lot of fun regardless, and in the second show, he got his regular Mein Teil support team back – Richard and Paul joined him for an unexpected new dance. The group started in sync but finished pretty disorganized. “Chaos!”, one of the first row fans noticed.

Till and Oliver Riedel looked very upbeat on both days. Oliver even made a few unexpected appearances at the front of the stage, including spending a good 40 seconds right in front on Paul’s side during Du riechst so gut, something that didn’t happen as often during this tour. He also briefly goofed around with Richard during Mein Herz brennt, yet firmly denied Paul’s invitation to come to the front of the stage during Zeit.

Richard, Vienna 27.07.2023 by Anna

Till was in high spirits in Vienna. He addressed a bright genuine smile at Flake Lorenz a few moments before burning him alive, chased Paul around the stage a few times, and interacted quite a lot with the first row, including people on Paul’s side. He obviously had enough energy to spare even halfway through the second show, so he channeled all of it into Paul’s mic. Literally. Till hit the mic so hard while Paul was away during Mein Teil that Paul had to adjust it after coming back, and then a Rammstein crew member had to spend a quite few minutes checking and fixing the mic while the band played Engel on B-Stage. The mic was fixed, Till, however, got a huge bump on his head. He seemed to be staggering while walking to the B-Stage and was bleeding heavily till the end of the show.

While there were no flash mobs planned for Vienna, some fans still brought heart-shaped balloons and showed them to the band during the boat ride. During the boat trip, Schneider picked up a Ukrainian flag from the crowd. He held it high as he stood up and balanced on the boat together with Flake, showing the band’s support for Ukraine and many Ukrainian fans in the audience, including some in the front rows.

After the first day of the show, there was an incident outside the stadium when a person who had attended the show attacked a local journalist, spouting a racist anti-semitic slur. At the end of the second day, after thanking the crowd for the two shows, Till addressed this incident with a short speech against racism and antisemitism: “Ganz kurz zu dem Vorfall gestern hier: Wir hassen Rassismus und Antisemitismus. Wir hassen das.” [Regarding the incident here yesterday: We hate racism and anti-Semitism. We hate that.] Till’s words were met with applause.

The Vienna shows might not have been the best by any specific criteria, yet they were as fantastic as any good Rammstein show from this tour. The bats, by the way, did not fly away after the show started – they provided entertainment for Paul and Till, who paused a few times to watch them flying over Ernst-Happel-Stadium. After all, who can willingly skip a Rammstein show?

Christoph Schneider, Vienna 26.07.2023 by Anna @anna26am

A few more moments from the Vienna shows:

During the first show, Paul decided to dance his own little dance during Puppe, rivalling Richard’s so-called mosquito dance.

Oliver did a little jumping/dancing around on one foot during Ausländer during the first day.

In Berlin, Till changed the lyrics of Angst to “Alle haben Angst vor Lindemann”. The Austrian crowd had clearly picked up on this, and during Angst, they loudly sang along, using Till’s alternate lyrics.

During the Mein Teil intro the first day, Paul playfully tickled Richard’s thigh while Richard was playing. During the bridge, Paul sat down in the stairs, holding his guitar high. Richard had problems with his guitar, and had to change it while Till was trying to cook Flake. Because of this, he also left the stage instead of dancing in the background.

Till decided to change up some more lyrics. During Ausländer, he changed “Ja, mein Sprachschatz ist nicht schlecht” to “Ja, mein Po-Klatsch ist nicht schlecht” [Yes, my ass-slapping is not bad]. He also slapped his own ass at least four different times. Shortly before the Vienna shows, new allegations from an Austrian women had been spread in the media that involved such practices, so it is safe to assume that this was Till‘s own way of responding to the Austrian media storm.

The second day, when Till had a big, bleeding bump on his forehead, he wanted to bang his head against Paul’s mic again during Sonne, but Paul wouldn’t let him.

26.07.2023 & 27.07.2023

  1. Rammlied
  2. Links 2-3-4
  3. Bestrafe mich
  4. Giftig
  5. Sehnsucht
  6. Mein Herz Brennt
  7. Puppe
  8. Angst
  9. Zeit
  10. Deutschland RMX
  11. Deutschland
  12. Radio
  13. Mein Teil
  14. Du hast
  15. Sonne
  16. Engel
    (Piano version with Abélard)
  17. Ausländer
  18. Du riechst so gut
  19. Ohne dich
  20. Rammstein
  21. Ich will
  22. Adieu
Till Lindemann, Vienna 27.07.2023 by Christian J. Weber @lifad_switzerland

KidArctica is a RammWiki editor who has been part of the website for years, working in the background with edits and content. Fun Fact: Anna sometimes headbangs so hard when listening to Rammstein at home, that she gets a headache and neck pain for the following few days.

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