Job : Fire and steel, aggression and dark comedy. A creepy vocalist, two stoic guitarists, a monster sound and a few tablespoons of shock value is all Rammstein needed to jump into the public eye with their second release ‘Sehnsucht’ in 1997. While the music is tight and unforgiving, it has always been the live shows that keep their audience engaged well past the teen years are long gone. It’s no surprise that the band has tried to capitalize on that by releasing recordings of their live shows throughout their career. While the first, ‘Live aus Berlin’ was good, it was the second DVD ‘Volkerball’ that really showed a Rammstein on top of their game. I regret to inform you that ‘Rammstein in Amerika’ is nowhere near as good as ‘Volkerball’ was, with a dated and tired Rammstein routinely playing some classics but mostly more recent material. Some songs even feature playbacked sections (‘Ich Tu Dir Weh’ and ‘Rammlied’ are good examples) and many of the show stoppers really only appear halfway through the DVD.
It’s not just overall performance that’s lacking: the setlist isn’t all that great either, with absolute classics like ‘Reise Reise’, ‘Buck Dich’, ‘Wolt Ihr Das Bett in Flammen Sehen’ and even ‘Mein Teil’ missing the cut. It shapes a rigid and fragile performance, clearly based on American guidelines and audiences, that balances on the edge of boring at times with mediocre material from ‘Liebe ist fur Alle Da’ filling the spots where those classics normally belong. ‘Waidmanns Heil’ filling the spot for ‘Wolt Ihr…’ and a superficial ‘Fruhling in Paris’ filling in for ‘Mein Teil’. While some more recent songs hit the right buttons (‘Ich Tu Dir Weh’ and ‘Haifish’), it’s the older bangers like ‘Du Riechst So Gut’ and ‘Weisses Fleisch’ that offer some insight into a Rammstein that hasn’t lost all will to exist.
So, I’ve done some research into what makes releasing this DVD worth it for anyone and apparently this concert at Madison Square Garden was the first time Rammstein played in the US since 2001. Since 9/11. And there you have the very reason why this DVD saw the light of day: it’s meant to appeal to US audiences and the added “Americanized” documentary about Rammstein’s past speaks volumes for that argument. People outside of the US can completely neglect this DVD and its documentary because honestly, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. There’s a performance filmed by the crowd (!) from Paris two years after Madison Square Garden happened which is far superior, both in setlist and band performance, with sections done on a ministage within the crowd and show elements implemented in the right way. If you’re an American fan of Rammstein you might enjoy this DVD, if you’re from outside of the US please leave this DVD for what it is and watch the YouTube show. It’s not worth spending your hard earned cash on this unless you’re the biggest Rammstein fan.