ANNIHILATOR, DEEP PURPLE Kick Off 24th Edition Of Wacken Open Air; Report, Photos
August 2, 2013, a year ago
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By "Metal" Tim Henderson
The 24th edition of Germany's Wacken Open Air festival kicked off yesterday (Thursday, August 1st) with our Canadian brethren ANNIHILATOR's first appearance in ten years and the band led by the grinning master of the Flying V (he uses an Annihilation-V) Jeff Waters delivered the fest's first dose of thrashing madness. It's difficult to really pin-point what festival set-time is truly prime-time, but 5 PM in the blazing sun saw tens of thousands revel in the band's catalog including such tasty tidbits as the storming 'King Of The Kill', 'Set The World On Fire', 'Welcome To Your Death', 'The Fun Palace' and the obligatory finale 'Alison In Hell'.
Waters is not only a Canadian hero, but an overall gem in the metal scene, cursed maybe by one ailment; they rarely tour on our shores. This fall they have another healthy run of Europe in support of their new album, Feast, which their label UDR Records proudly showcased on the video screens before the band's set. And it was cool that organizers have a new way of introducing bands as a slot machine appeared on the giant screen rotating the possibilities like potential winning until we struck gold with Annihilator as the photo below showcases. The band aired one new track yesterday called 'No Way Out', the four-piece delivering the neck breaking goods once again. Of note, Annihilator's singer for the past ten years is the multi-talented Dave Padden, a giant on stage whose voice and abilities on the guitar is taking the band to the next level. And the vocal harmonies between Waters, Padden and bassist Al Campuzano collectively throw a curve ball in the thrash world, truly unique.
Must admit that DEEP PURPLE seem to be a bizarre fit at Wacken, but when you step back and view the hard rock/heavy family tree there are numerous roots that need to be recognized and praised, no matter how ancient they may seen and the British icons took matters into their own hands with a wealthy catalog that's second to none. And the not-so-recent addition of guitarist Steve Morse and keyboard maestro Don Airey, sees that classic Deep Purple sound elevated to a different groove, while longtime members Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice just soak in all of the glory they deserve.
So the crowd of 80,000-plus - of all shapes and sizes - lapped it up in front of the Black Stage (the True Metal Stage was empty all day in preparation of RAMMSTEIN's massive stage show). And whether you were a kid who is barely of age to remember this current line-up of the band, or an aging metalhead who was around when 'Hush' ruled the airwaves (which the played as an encore by the way), Purple is a band that satisfies generations. And who can argue with the likes of 'Strange Kind Of Woman', 'Space Truckin'', 'Woman From Tokyo', the glorious 'Perfect Strangers' and the jam-filled monster 'Lazy', which the crowd soaked in with the slowly fading sunset. Speaking of beasts, 'Vincent Price' from the newbie NOW What?! was aired, but the crowds of course craved the classics, but Morse started the opening riffs of GUNS N' ROSES' 'Sweet Child O'Mine' the Wacken masses stared in awe. But when ULI JON ROTH appeared on stage to handle Blackmore's main solo on 'Smoke On The Water' the fans witnessed history (signs in the crowd read 'Smoke On The Wacken'!). And the late Jon Lord was there in spirit as the big screens flashed many classic shots of the keyboard legend. And if you weren't there, no worries, the entire event was filmed for an upcoming 3D DVD/Blu-ray.
But the festivities have only begun … they are forecasting 34 degrees Celsius today (Friday, August 2nd), a vast difference from wet/muddy grounds in 2012! And check out today's line-up: MOTÖRHEAD, IHSAHN, DORO, SABATON, GRAVE DIGGER, AMORPHIS, SOILWORK, ANVIL and ULI JON ROTH!
Stay tuned for more BraveWords updates from the fest!
And follow all the action on Wacken's Facebook.