Them’s fighting words

A week ago today, I went all the way to Cologne, Germany, to see Meat Loaf perform live at the Kölnarena.

And to but it bluntly, he sucked ass. His voice was terrible. During his very first song — yes, that one — it struck me that if he would sing any slower, he’d be singing backwards. From there on it did improve, but not much. It was hit and mostly miss throughout the show. The “new” edited live version of Anything for Love was ridiculous: intro, jump cut to the first verse, and then straight onto the end. Mr. Loaf may claim that he never liked the song, but that ain’t no way to treat your biggest hit. Objects was bad, Frying Pan wasn’t all that hot either, and the encores (three covers: Black Betty, Mercury Blues and Gimme Shelter) left me totally indifferent.

But you know what: it wasn’t all bad. Musically it was great. The band was top notch all around (mad props to mr. Dave Luther on saxophone), and there were some nice visual effects (flamethrowers, fireworks, video, inflatable dolls, the works). Land of the Pig (my favorite from the album by far) rocked my ass off. In fact, the whole show rocked my ass off (well, apart from that song and the fake duet version of It’s All Coming Back To Me Now). All Steinman for the main set (as he dropped Blind as a Bat), and well, I’m a Jimmy fan boy.
And, despite his voice being terrible, you can’t fault Meat for trying. I go to concerts to be entertained, not to hear album-like renditions. And luckily, mr. Loaf is still one hell of an entertainer. He gives it all he’s got, but sometimes, giving it all you got doesn’t quite cut it.

Ah well. Next week I’ll be seeing him again in Amsterdam, and we’ll see what he makes of that.

On to the next point: Fields of Rock. My first two-day festival, which we extended to a three-night camping trip. The weather forecast promised lots of rain, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad. The crowd was mild, too. Not too busy.

All in all, there were three bands I had to see (Heaven and Hell, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater), and some bands I wouldn’t mind seeing (again).

The first band I saw on saturday I saw After Forever. The missing second guitar was quite noticeable during the older songs, but George (formerly of Orphanage) made up a lot. Then we lounged on the grass during Dublin Death Patrol, waiting for Heaven and Hell. And they were the shit. Dio >> Ozzy. Past sixty, and still hitting the (right) notes. Eat that, mr. Loaf. And the rest of the band, as well as the material, wasn’t too shabby either. Heaven and Hell were simply the shit. Slayer isn’t my thing, so I walked around a bit, only to find that Kamelot isn’t quite my thing either. Tight trouser metal indeed.After some more Slayer, it was time for Maiden on the main stage. And they rocked. The new shit didn’t go down that well, but the old shit… wow. Wrathchild, Children of the Damned, Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Two Minutes To Midnight, The Evil That Men Do, Fear of the Dark… wow. Very metal. It isn’t that the new stuff is bad, as I quite like the album. But personally, and I guess it goes for most of the crowd, I was waiting for the classics. Imagine the reaction when they announced to be back next year with the second part of their “Early Years” tour. With pyramids, albatrosses and more old shit. Count me in already. But I digress. Great show, all in all.

Sunday started of with Delain, which made a very nice wake-up call with their dime-a-dozen Efteling-metal. From there on, I sampled a lot of different bands: Megadeth was boring as hell. To me, they sound like a mediocre Metallica cover band that hasn’t go the memo that they did anything past “Kill ‘Em All” yet. Amon Amarth makes kick-ass “we have come to eat your puppies” Viking metal, and I need to check out some of their stuff. Motörhead was Motörhead, Life of Agony was interesting but not quite for me and if you ask me, Type O Negative’s puppies got eaten, and they were really not happy ’bout that. Then, the highlight of the festival: Dream Theater.
If Heaven and Hell was the shit, DT were the muthafuckin puppy eatin shit. Crap be damned, they were tight and heavy, all of that and several bags of chips. If their set would be any heavier, it should be outlawed. Socks can only be rocked that far, and they were bordering on unacceptable levels of kickassness. See? I made a word up to convey how freakin awesome they were. Concert of the year material. I can’t recall when I’ve last been this psyched about a concert. Holy Sweet Mother of All that is Bright and Shiny, if they’re only half as awesome when they come back in October, it would still be more than mindblowing.
After that I saw some songs by Ozzy, and I expected that it could only suck. Which it did. Sucky songs (no No More Tears), sucky lame-ass overlong guitar solo, and a voice that was on par with mr. Loaf’s in Cologne. And no, I do not mean that as a compliment.

It was a great weekend, and my socks were thoroughly rocked.