“Well, @diminishedsrini666…we finally did it.”
“We sure did. This was the best last concert for awhile.”
* * *
“WE GOT ‘EM!!! @diminishedsrini666!!! WE’RE GOING TO SEE RAMMSTEIN!!!”
I woke up early that morning, bright-eyed and bushytailed, Hell bent on snagging floor tickets for the greatest firestorm on Earth. Nate and I eyewitnessed the glorious Hellscape during Chicago Open Air 2016, and I could die happy…but I could die happier feeling the heat of combusting fireballs on my cheeks just once more. Thanks to the pre-sale, no one would stand in my way. Figuratively. I could not wait to celebrate the victory with V at the office about our impending Metal adventure in September.
And then it all came crashing down. Scheiße.
It was the beforetimes. And then we fell into our current reality. No Metal band could withstand the impenetrable forces of COVID-19. Not even the mighty Rammstein. Not even with fire. Shows cancelled. Tours halted. Musicians questioning how they’d make a living. My favorite hobby tabled until Dio knew when. Shuttered inside like a rat in a cage, despite wanting to rage.
Oh, and it did not stop there. Even Rammstein rescheduled the American tour not once, but twice. I held onto our tickets for zwei and a half goddamn years in the safe. No shows for me and my fucked immune system until the world better managed the virus.
* * *
No one tells you surviving a pandemic can kick the shit out of your mental fortitude, but I am here to confirm as such. Thank Priest V enjoys driving. We started the day off early with a 2.5 hour drive up to my ‘Rents, still not knowing if we would be driving ALLLLL the way up to Soldier Field in ChiTown traffic…OR take the train. This type of unknown stresses me the fuck out, even on happiest of days. After Soldier Field’s parking website decided to take a shit one last time…THE TRAIN, IT IS!
We zipped all over I-55 as if we stole the damn car. Upon reaching the first pit stop, we cam to the next obstacle…Ma her Midwest goodbyes. We had a train to catch! Even with V racing down the country roads, the odds laughed at our futility. The clocks smirked back in our faces. No sooner did we skid into a spot did we sprint as Olympians, fumbling at the meters…no longer taking cash…THE APP, IT IS!
“BRIE! YOU PAY FOR THE SPOT! WE GOTTA HAUL ASS TO THE OTHER END AND GET OUR TICKETS!”
Fumbling for my phone between racing down steps, we made it to the platform with yet another hurdle…people in front of us at the ticket dispenser…who didn’t know how to work it. Well, V stepped up and figured something out because soon we were all banging on the train doors with tickets in hand. “Hey! This door is open!” Just one last sprint, Brie. Upon collapsing into a seat, the train departed. Mein herz brennt.
An hour later, we stepped out to a view of Soldier Field and a line of Metalheads which seemed a mile long. Needing libations and a snack, V and I forwent the wait and looked for bar. By now, my feet are aching…but I believe in the magic of concerts, and I focus on the adventure and laughs.
“V, I’m turned all the Hell around. Where the fuck are we?”
“I don’t have GPS activated on my phone.”
“Damn it, V. You paranoid brown man. Take my phone!”
We ended up at nice little watering hole with divine pretzel bites and Goose Island 312. We caught our breath and caught up on some life transitions. Soon enough, we made our way back to the line of black shirts. And then to the stand with black shirts for yet another black band shirt to add to our wardrobes. We then felt the audacity to walk into the stadium before being met with “Hey! Girl! They won’t let you in with that!” “…excuse me?” “Your bag. They wouldn’t let me in with mine either. You have to go back under the tunnel to the lockers.” V possesses the patience of Indian saints as my face must’ve silently screamed the the haunting wails of 1,000 agitated banshees. He valiantly led the way. THE LOCKERS, IT IS!
For a small crossbody bag. It’s bad enough the patriarchy fucked us with pockets, but now we need to pay a locker tax. With my daily luck lacking, I expected to never see my purse again as I signed standard liability paperwork for lockers basically on the curb not far from LSD. We crammed all my important shit in V’s wallet and skinny jean pockets. I have NEVER been to a show that didn’t allow smol bags in, but I’m sure lack of security staff played some roll in the matter. Utter horseshit. But we trekked on!
We made it to floor. FUCKING FINALLY! Still, I struggled to get out of my exhausted, agitated mindset. I kept meditating on the long journey through time and physical space it took to get to this spot…even if drunken 6 foot something men impeded my view. This must be penance…Judas wept.
And then came the bright rising band logo…and blinding lights…and first explosion of the night! And so the Armee der Tristen emerged. And my line of sight immediately blocked. Ich war so traurig. TIPPY TOES, IT IS!
I mean, I expected this…but I didn’t expect to be so flustered and out of spoons by the beginning of the show. Getting old is a bitch. Still, I heartily believe in the magic of concerts. Please the Metal Gods, and ye shall receive. Always. If I couldn’t view the stage well with my own tired eyes, I sure as the fires of Hell could feel the heat of the brimstone flames on my face and hear the heavy Neue Deutsche Härte industrial groove.
About halfway into the show, a loooong line of stadium personnel pushed us forward while carrying a mysterious cable. Was it a fuel line? It seemed much too small for that purpose, but what did I know. Stranger still, the staff stood sentinel, budging not. Then came the commotion…”…Oh my God…IT’S THE BAND! IT’S THE BAND! TILL! FLAKE!”
THE BAND WALKED RIGHT PAST US TO THE CENTER STAGE!!!
I COULD SEE THE SWEAT ON TILL LINDEMANN’S FACE!!!
And what a beautiful, serene version of Engel the band sang. Soon, five of them sailed off to the stage in an inflatable lifeboat as Till quickly snuck back to the main stage.
And so begin the Double Encore. Both V & I hoped for our favorites, and the band delivered on both. V got to sing along to Du Riechst So Gut, and I got to headbang to Ich Will. We both laughed to Pussy, especially when Till blew his load.
That day was an adventure, panic and excitement. All of it. Really, this day exuded the highs and lows of life, complete with good tunes, good brew, and good buddies. Always move forward and enjoy the magic.