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WEBCounter by GOWEB    

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   WACKEN OPEN AIR 2003
crowd at Wacken © Nico Wobben Wacken (D)
July 31st-August 2nd 2003

http://www.wacken.com

THURSDAY

In the middle of the night 5/7 of the Morrigan's Pit delegation drove to that small town in the north of Germany we call our heavy metal mecca, aka Wacken. We arrived there at 7 am, got our passes at 8 am and the backstage campsite was not supposed to open until noon, according to the security guy at that entrance. We ended up waiting first in line, having some breakfast and translating the message to other foreigners - who in their right mind put a totally German-only speaking guy at a backstage entrance where many international bands and press would be passing??! Luckily they opened the campsite at 9.30 am so we (Cora, Katalin, Silkie, Nico & myself) could put up our tents plus partytent for some highly-needed shade. We met up with Paddy and Andreas, had some beers and BBQ, a bit of sleep and way too much sun. Our neighbours were a big bunch of drunk Swedes, but as they had also been driving through the night, they passed out at some point and behaved MP crew at Wacken © Nico Wobben pretty good throughout the whole festival ;) Most hilarious was the singing of Swedish folk-songs, sometimes even in the middle of the night from one of the tents when everything else was quiet LOL!! Other things that marked the festival were a much better organisation (as far as we could tell) and the heat - this must've been the hottest Wacken in my 5 year history! Of course it saved the organisation a lot of the problems of last year, but it also lamed the crowds a bit. You could tell that they weren't as fanatic for the most part - including myself. We had some good showers near our camp, so that became a highlight on each night for us ;) But back to business and on with the show.....A Night To Remember. (Marlies)

Circle II Circle © Nico Wobben Maybe opening Wacken Open Air isn't as ungrateful as it seems. Zak Stevens was happy with it. The turnout for his new band CIRCLE II CIRCLE was big, lots of people made sure they were there to welcome the former Savatage singer back and he gave them just what they wanted. After a bombastic intro the band started their set with songs from the debut album (like "Forgiven", "Watching In Silence" and "Into The Wind"). It was funny to see the first crowdsurfers during a semi-ballad like "Forgiven", and in this heat even. Zak still has many friends in Europe and he twisted the audience around his finger. They really freaked out when the band played "Taunting Cobras" and "Edge Of Thorns". The atmosphere was incredible and everybody around me had goosebumps! The band is amazing, so very very talented, and Zak's stronger and more enthusiastic than ever. After "Sea Of White" they closed with "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", but on this song Zak sang not nearly as vicious as an old Metallica-classic requires. His imitation of Ozzy on stage (though I fail to see the connection - or was he saying Ozzy belongs in a sanatorium??) was funny though. What an incredible opening of the festival! (Marlies)

Annihilator © Nico Wobben Next up was ANNIHILATOR. I had seen them 5 weeks earlier at the Bang Your Head festival which was the first show I saw with the new singer Dave Padden. He easily convinced me of his talents and here in Wacken his confidence seemed to have grown already. His voice has the range of all previous singers (sounds closest to Comeau's voice I'd say though) and his screams sent shivers up and down my spine. Featuring songs from old and new times (see setlist) the show was one fast metal attack and while announcing "W.T.Y.D." Dave made a circulating gesture requesting a mosh pit in the front. As usual they played very tight and Jeff, Russ and Curran were running up and down the stage. The set was way too short, but it was great anyway to see them again in such a short period of time. Next to some "standard" songs they also played "Imperiled Eyes" from "Never Neverland" and unlike in Balingen, I got my "Shallow Grave" this time, rooaaawk! (Marlies)

men in kilts © Nico Wobben Ultra Motion
King Of The Kill
Set The World On Fire
W.T.Y.D.
Never Neverland
Imperiled Eyes
Alison Hell
Shallow Grave
Phantasmagoria

Well, what can I say about VICTORY... the official festival-magazine claims them to be one of the most important German hardrock bands in the eighties and early nineties... very strange that the vocalist Charlie Huhn didin't speak a word in German, but a few in accent-free English instead. The music was nice, kinda easy-listening hardrock, and the only thing else I can say is that the drummer, Fritz Randow, also plays in Saxon... (Paddy)

crowd © Katalin Sipos...and that was the surprise which was announced before by Holger, the "inventor" of the Wacken Open Air, with Biff, the well-known Saxon-vocalist standing right beside him: SAXON!!! Even Circle II Circle-singer Zak Stevens said it before ..."Enjoy this night with Annihilator, Saxon, Victory, and Running Wild". Due to that fact, Victory only played about an hour, and afterwards Saxon entered the stage, introducing the new DVD and playing three songs ("Motorcycle Man", "Denim And Leather" and "Princess Of The Night"). Afterwards, in a short interview, the band announced a christmas tour this year, and they will be in Wacken in 2004. The DVD will be out in late August/early September. (Paddy)

The pirates of RUNNING WILD entered the stage and played a best-of show; due to the 20-years-anniversary of Rock'n'Rolf's band, nowadays completed by Bernd Aufermann (guitars, former Angel Dust), Peter Pichel (bass) and Matthias Liebetruth (drums). Ninety minutes was quite enough time to play sixteen songs, among them two unreleased songs, which will be on the upcoming double-CD ("20 years In History", in store on September 15th this year), where some classics can be heard re-recorded. Running Wild © Nico Wobben One of the unreleased songs was "Apocalyptic Horsemen", which is a Running Wild-typical song, but the absolute highlight of the show was the 14-minutes-epos from "Pile Of Skulls"-record, "Treasure Island"! Then there were the classics such as "Bad To The Bone", "Riding The Storm" and "Conquistadores". The show ended with the almost usual songs "Prisoner Of Our Time", a song from the first Running Wild-album, "Victory" and, of course, "Under Jolly Roger". But the very last song was a real surprise for everybody, the band played "Chains And Leather" as their final encore, a great finish to a great show!!! The only bad thing for me to write is that they had no new merchandising...no anniversary-shirt or something like that for the fans, only shirts and other stuff from "The Brotherhood" and "Victory". (Paddy)

FRIDAY

W.E.T. STAGE

a typical MP breakfast;) © Cora Gonser And this year again, the W.E.T. Stage was put under a tent. I wonder whose idea it was...For me it's a pain in the ass to go there and watch a full-length gig. This year the Wacken-days were pure summer, temperature over 30°C degrees and sunshine all day long. I guess you can imagine how hot and moisty the air can turn inside a tent. The other problem I found quiet annyoing is when a well-known band plays on the W.E.T Stage where many people gather and there isn't any place left (and at an open-air festival, it's rather "funny").
Despite all of my negative forecasts I was eager to see OBSCENITY. I was not familiar with the music but I read good reviews about them and I always welcome "new" death metal bands. Obscenity was formed in 1989 and they released six albums so far (note for myself: need to check them all). I watched a few songs only (I left to see The Crown) but they fulfilled my expectations. Though the sound was crappy I could hear the melodies in their brutal and on a certain level technical death metal. I enjoyed that few songs and I hope I can see them soon again with better conditions. (Katalin)

fans at Raise Hell © Nico Wobben After Dismember I needed some rest so a catchy punk-rock band seemed to be the best solution. I'm talking about the Swedish (the third Swedish band I saw in a row...*lol*) PSYCHOPUNCH. They were formed in 1998, released three albums and toured a lot but since normally I'm not listening to bands like them at home, this was my very first time with these Swedes. From the amount of people who gathered to watch them seemed I was not the only one who didn't know them, the tent was approximately half packed. But they didn't seem to take a notice of it and just kept playing their rhythmical, vivid songs. I think this mixture of rocky, Motörhead-Ramones kind of music is very good as a backgroundmusic and for partying. But at a metal festival like Wacken Open Air, I don't see the use of having such bands on the billing. It's a nice try to widen our musical taste but the band won't get the attention they would deserve and not many will be interested in them either. Well, let's say they were a colourful spot in the metal-mass at WOA. (Katalin)

Raise Hell © Paddy Wicke RAISE HELL - death or thrash? Well, the first record, "Holy Target", was definitely death, but the follow-ups, "Not Dead Yet" and "Wicked Is My Game" are pure thrashy metal. They played on the W.E.T. Stage, and the tent was so fucking hot... well, the only thing I can say about them is that their new singer sounds just like the old one, Jonas Nilson, who now only plays guitar, and some backings of course. But the new vocalist can scream/shout just as good as Jonas did on the records before, there is not much change at all! Anyway, they played "Dance With The Devil", "Night-Watcher", a great song to perform live, and "Devilyn", which has a killer-intro... Great gig, two thumbs up. Next time in Wacken around 5 pm on a real stage, please ;) (Paddy)

Symphorce © Nico Wobben SYMPHORCE were up against Testament and playing in the tent, so I feared for a very small audience. Luckily many were interested in seeing Andy B. Franck (also in Brainstorm) and Cede Dupont (also in Freedom Call, he had just played with them on the True Metal stage) doing their own thing - maybe also because most people have seen Testament before at one time or another and Symphorce haven't been playing nearly as much as they should've in their years of existence. It's beyond my comprehension why their old label hardly supported these guys, when they recorded a gem like "Sinctuary" under their flag. Since "phorcefulAhead" they've been part of the Metal Blade family and finally we get to see what they are made of: raw kick-ass energy!! Most songs were from "phorcefulAhead", but we also got to hear a few from "Sinctuary", one song from their debut "Truth To Promises" ("Drifted"). I don't think I have to tell you how Andy is on stage, nor how incredible his voice is. One song they did from "Sinctuary" was the Powermad-classic "Nice Dreams" and on earlier shows Cora and I always waited in vain for the high screams - not sure whether he did them or not because the sound was always terrible in the front. Here at the W.E.T. stage the sound was great and although he skipped the screams in the choruses he finally did one towards the end of the song and Cora and I went totally berserk, hahaha!!! HELL YEAH!! /mp/\.jpgm/ People around us were looking funny at us, but we couldn't care less ;) But let's not forget the rest of the band: the rhythm-section Dennis (b) and Sascha (dr) put down a solid and fucking heavy base for the two fabulous guitarplayers Cede and Markus, who were also running around and headbanging like crazy. More people need to see this band! Fuckin' A!! (Marlies)

zzzzzzzzzzzz © Nico Wobben Speak My Mind
Unbroken
Drifted
Touched And Infected
Until The Last
Reveal The Secrets
Nice Dreams
Slow Down

Time had arrived to see my favourite Greeks, ROTTING CHRIST. I was a bit late for their gig and they were just about to play "Quintessence" when I arrived at the W.E.T. tent. The sound was so crappy there again I left shortly afterwards. Well, I just heard my favourite song from "Genesis" and I saw them twice in the last 10 months, so I thought I should skip this event now, to keep their live-performance memories nice in my mind. (Katalin)

PARTY STAGE

The Quill © Nico Wobben I first got acquainted with THE QUILL at last year's Bospop festival in Holland. They play a heavy kind of stonerrock, with some great soloing by Christian Carlsson and what specifically got to me were the soulful and strong vocals of Magnus Ekwall! The power, the emotion! This time he seemed either somewhat bored or under the influence of something, I remembered him a bit more lively than this. But he sang just as passionate, like in the heart rending "Hole In My Head" and "Virgo" from "Voodoo Caravan". There were some fans in the front row with a Swedish flag with "The Quill" on it and Magnus brought the flag upon the stage to show the whole audience with pride :) They also played a new song, "Spinning Around", from the upcoming 4th album "Hooray! It's A Death Trip" and it sounded very promising - be sure to check that one out! (Marlies)

Dark Age © Silkie Gerold Well, I always said I was curious to see DARK AGE live and I finally got the chance to check them out. And I for sure was not disappointed. Dismember were playing the Black Metal Stage at the same time but still quite a nice crowd showed up to see Dark Age and I don't think anybody had a reason to complain. The show started with "Last Words" and it soon became clear the band really enjoyed playing there. The band members kept banging their heads and especially Eike Freese, though handling both vocals and guitar, was always looking for contact with his audience and stepped to the very front of the stage. They played a well balanced mix of older ("Storm" and "Trial By Fire") and newer ("Know Me Strong", "The Silent Republic") tracks as well as a brand new song that is still to be released. "The Suicide Crew" marked the end of the regular set but they returned for an encore consisting of Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" in which the keyboards appeared to be a bit misplaced but then again, it's their interpretation of the song and Dark Age do use keyboards. I bet Dark Age made some new friends with their show. (Cora)

While Sentenced played I left the Black Metal stage for a few minutes, to check LOTTO KING KARL. The only thing that is special about him is that he won on the lottery and that helped him to make his dream come true and become a pop-rock star. I don't know if he is a star already...but seemed many were interested in the band. I'm not sure if they were having a good time or just wanted to piss themselves off. His simple, light, typical heavy metalish music, with keyboards and saxophone and some hip-hop influences, is an easy-listening music but the market on the campsite © Marlies Wobben nothing special I could really care about. Ok, I admit I listened to only one or two songs and despite my open-mindness I rushed back to see Ville and his super gay shirt. As I stated earlier about Psychopunch, Lotto King Karl was a "colourful" spot at WOA but it didn't make much sense to bring them here. (Katalin)

I loved both the ASSASSIN albums back in the day. Since I never found the re-issues on CD and I haven't had a recordplayer for many years, it's been ages since I heard the songs. The turnout for this gig wasn't too bad, considering they were up against In Flames! I didn't really get the titles anymore (except for the band anthem "Assassin" where Robert asked to get out the lighters and "Bullets"), but I think most of it was from the second album "Stellar Experience". From this reunited line-up I only recognized singer Robert Gonnela (what would a reunion be without his not too great but oh so typical voice!), although I've just found their website (www.assassin-online.de) and apparently original guitarists Dinko and Scholli are also in. Bass is now played by Joachim (ex-Tusk, -Defender) and the musician that captured most of my attention was the incredibly energetic and tight drummer Atomic Steif (Stahlträger, ex-Violent Force, -Living Death, -Holy Moses and -Sodom). It was great to finally see them live after all these Lordi © Nico Wobben years and I would love to see them again, but I will be either borrowing a recordplayer or searching for those re-issues before that, to refresh my memory! ;) (Marlies)

LORDI is the next hot thing from Finland, but it wasn't what many were expecting it seemed. Musically it was kinda like Alice Cooper, but not as good. There were a lot of pyros, but all those hoping to see something bloody and provocative like Gwar were disappointed. The costumes, theatrical make-up and masks they were wearing were impressive, but as far as I could see (I didn't stay for the whole show) they didn't do anything else with them. Although costumes like this and so many pyros aren't exactly your standard metal show, the hype around this band had us hoping for more. (Marlies)

BLACK METAL STAGE

One of the first bands to open on friday were German thrashers DEW-SCENTED. And they certainly didn't fail with their wake-up call ;) Among the songs they played were "Locked In Motion", "This Grace" and "Inwards". From where I was standing I didn't see too much but shouter Leif seemed to be happy about the reaction of the crowd which obviously had build a moshpit. The band also introduced two new songs from the upcoming album "Impact", namely "Cities Of The Dead" and "Acts Of Rage". (Cora)

The Crown © Nico Wobben Last time I (Andreas) saw THE CROWN was in the late 90's, when they were still called "Crown Of Thorns". I remember being impressed by the drummer but nothing more. Since then I have gathered all their albums and they are certainly one of my favourite bands in this genre. Their apperance was solid, without surprises, and they had a good variety of songs from the albums, with a little emphasis on the latest two albums. "Intro/House Of Hades", "1999 - Revolution 666", "Blitzkrieg Witchcraft", "Crowned In Terror", "Deathexplosion", "Under The Whip", "World Below", "Face Of Destruction/Deep Hit Of Death", "Total Satan", "Satanist" and "Executioner - Slayer Of The Light" were great live songs and with "Face Of Destruction" (a typical The Crown-song, fast and tight death metal) they introduced a new track from their upcoming album "Possessed 13" (to be released October 20th) - can't wait to hear the new album. Still we spent most of the show watching Janne Saarenpää behind the drums: he is bloody amazing! He looked perfectly relaxed all the time while delivering those ultra fast beats and fill-ins! Oh, and before we would forget about it, Elvis lives. We saw him on stage. He sings in The Crown now...Johan with his sideburns looks more and more like him... *freaks us out* But even though the sideburns cracked us up, one can't question his singing! (Andreas/Katalin)

Dismember © Nico Wobben One and a half hours after The Crown's blasting appearance, it was time for another brutal band from Sweden, which just happens to be another of our fave bands: DISMEMBER. Eventhough the sound was a bit bad from where we were standing (we got the impression that it was better elsewhere from talking to other people), the concert as such was great. Highlights were "Dismembered", "Misanthropic", "Casket Garden", "Soon To Be Dead" and "Skin Her Alive". The band was not as tight as they have been on other gigs we've seen, but the change in guitarist recently is probably the reason and it will hopefully get a lot better with time. They did play a new song, "Tragedy Of The Faithful", from the upcoming album "Where Ironcrosses Grow" that sounded really promising, and made us looking forward to that album even more! Exactly knowing what their fans wished for, they closed their set with "Driven". (Andreas/Katalin)

Sentenced © Nico Wobben What to say about the serial selfkillers SENTENCED? Their performance left me with mixed feelings actually. One one hand, the performance itself was really good, with a selection of songs ranging from old ("Nepenthe") to not so old (such as "Sun Won't Shine" and "The Suicider") and newer tracks ("Broken", "Brief Is The Light", "No One There", "Luxury Of A Grave") but on the other hand I just didn't understand what singer Ville (wearing a shirt saying "super gay") was up to that day. I've seen the band live twice before and I do know he might have some strange humour or whatever - but he was really talking a lot of rubbish in between the songs this time. He kept ranting all the time and when only 20 minutes had passed he announced "Farewell" as the last song for example (which of course was meant as a joke). At the same time you could clearly see he had way too much fun performing and yes, despite the depressing lyrics Sentenced work during sunshine. Before the song "The Suicider" he warned us to pay attention to the lyrics though he also stated he doesn't want to commit suicide anymore - he wanted to get laid that night ;) So, even though I know he didn't exactly mean everything he said it kind of left a bad overall impression on an otherwise solid show that ended with Maiden cover "The Trooper". (Cora)

Testament © Nico Wobben TESTAMENT were one of the bands I was looking forward to the most. They had their schedule Friday at 7.45 pm, which is in my opinion one of the best times you can play at Wacken. People are not tired yet from standing all day long, etc... Hard to say how many thousands of people were watching the show, but it was amazing to take a look behind me and seeing a never ending horizon of metalheads...must have been a fantastic view from the stage! Testament gratefully thanked the audience with a superb show, Chuck's charisma - so powerful and Steve DiGiorgio just ruled on the bass. I'm always amazed again and again when watching him play. It's also great watching Steve Smyth and Eric Peterson on guitar. They were playing songs from the albums "The Legacy", "The New Order", "Practice What You Preach", "The Ritual", "Low" and "The Gathering". When they played "Over The Wall" I somehow expected the fans to storm the stage again, like they did at the No Mercy Festival, but that didn't happen, even though Chuck invited them. In my opinion Testament did the best show at the Wacken Open Air 2003 and hopefully they play in 2005 again the latest. (Silkie)

I've been following the progress of IN FLAMES since 1995, and I like most things they have done thus far, eventhough my fave tracks are from the early period. This show was one of the highlights in my Wacken experience 2003. The main reason for it was not that they played all my fave songs, because they most certainly didn't, the setlist was good but not great, in my eyes. But the show was brilliant! Everything, from In Flames © Nico Wobben how the music was performed, to how the lights and pyrotechnics were used showed me that they have come far in these years. Even my friends that really dislike the new material think that the show was great, mostly due to the well synched light and pyrotechnics, and the display of good taste in the choice of backdrop: an enormously Swedish flag :) Anders Fridén had contact with the crowd all the time and was working well ("We creat magic" - meaning the audience and themselves). The whole band did what was expected from them, but I got the impression that the others are very happy to give Anders the job of the frontman with all the attention on him, because they just played their instruments, which they, by all means, did very well, but they were not trying to make contact with the audience. I don't really like it when bands have to have a good show to make a good impression, but I cannot deny that it really makes a diffrence when it is as good as In Flames' was. Best songs were "Behind Space", "Moonshield" (without the intro, as usual, which is making the song less good IMO), "Only For The Weak" and "Gyroscope" (even though it was hard to actually hear what he was singing, good thing I know the song by heart :)) (Andreas)

young fans at Wacken © Marlies Wobben Since among us I'm the only one who likes SUBWAY TO SALLY it was my turn to go and see them again and so it's also my turn to do the review again. I'm not sure if I have only seen this band way too often by now (I stopped counting after the 13th gig) or whatever else it is - but with each time I see them it feels as if they are "loosing it". I still enjoy seeing them but they are nowhere as great as they used to be unfortunately. And as if that wasn't enough, in the beginning they had to suffer quite a bad sound, at least from where I was standing. The show started with a triple of the latest album "Engelskrieger" ("Geist Des Kriegers", "Unsterblich" and "Knochenschiff"). Subway To Sally mainly focused on the last three albums, "Mephisto" being the only somewhat older track in between. "Minne" saw thousands of hands clapping along to it again and I noticed singer Eric doesn't encourage the crowd to shout the Subway To Sally-scream ("..und der Schrei!") as often as he used to. But the most disappointing moment for me was when Bodenski and Simon came up with rammstein-ish firearms during "Das Opfer". Couldn't they have sticked to conventional firespitting or hitting these cow heads of steel they used to have during that song? Not only that it is fuel for fans who complained about the rammstein-ish direction of the new material, in my opinion it's just lame and isn't Subway To Sally at all. The regular set ended with "Falscher Heiland" but of course the crowd also got their alltime favourite tune "Julia Und Die Räuber". (Cora)

TRUE METAL STAGE

Diamond Head © Nico Wobben With DIAMOND HEAD I had a high expectation, remembering them form the 80's NWOBHM, but also the songs "It's Electric" and "Helpless" covered by Metallica. They had ex-Tygers Of Pan Tang singer Jess Cox with them and I was wondering what he'd be like singing the songs of Diamond Head. Frankly, he couldn't do justice to any Diamond Head song. Well, I can't really describe my disappointment, half of the set included songs of Tygers Of Pan Tang (like "Euthanasia" and "Suzy Smiled"). Surely there were some metalheads enjoying them, but as much as I forced myself catching the ol' spirit, I just couldn't. Jess Cox just didn't match with Diamond Head. Not even the last song of the set, my beloved "Am I Evil", could lighten me up and made me leave before the song even ended. (Silkie)

For God's sake, it wasn't too hot at 4.15pm, so good time for the German happy-metal band FREEDOM CALL. If anyone doesn't know Freedom Call yet, mostly they are even happier than the happiest songs of the early Helloween...that should be enough information. Freedom Call © Nico Wobben Strange that I am the only one in Morrigan's Pit who likes them... I guess... ;) Well, the setlist was nearly the same as one the Blind Guardian Open Air in June, not as long as at the BGOA, because they only had 45 minutes here. But they did a good job, they did not only play happy tunes, but also a "more complicated" song ("The Quest"), but mostly happy...as usual ;) "Flying High", "Land Of Light" and "Warriors" from their latest album "Eternity", "Eyes Of The World" as the opener, "Tears Of Taragon", my favourite song from "Stairway To Fairyland" and the last song was "Freedom Call", taken from "Crystal Empire", the second of their three studio-outputs. (Paddy)

PRIMAL FEAR. Well, I didn't see them, and I didn't want to see them, but what I heard was... well, "same procedure as every gig". In my opinion the songs sound too similar. The first record was great, but well, I am afraid I am standing quite alone with that opinion, because they really have loads of fans, don't ask me why - I mean, "Final Embrace", "Angel In Black", "Silver And Gold"... no big difference, and all songs are from different albums. Uhm, I almost forgot to mention, Primal Fear did a cover of Judas Priest's "Metal Gods", as heard on the Nuclear Blast sampler "A Tribute To The Priest". We all agree that Ralf Scheepers, formerly in Gamma Ray, should have gone to Priest, maybe he would be with Iced Earth now... ;) (Paddy)

Katalin and Paddy working hard;) © Paddy Wicke At first, I wanted to see Testament, who played right before GAMMA RAY, but then I thought, I might get into the first row at Gamma Ray, and so I stood in front of the so called True Metal Stage. To be honest, it wasn't the front, but not too far away. The Rays entered the stage with "Gardens Of The Sinner", and one could really feel the good mood of Kai Hansen (g, v), Henjo Richter (g), Dirk Schlächter (b) and Daniel Zimmermann (d). After the opener, Kai immediatley said that they are promoting the upcoming live album "Skeletons In The Closet", and they won't play any stuff like "Rebellion In Dreamland", but quite the same setlist they had on their last tour in November 2002. The band from Hamburg continued with "New World Order", and afterwards came "Armageddon", a track with almost ten minutes length, and within these ten minutes, I was out of the crowd! Some people jumped around right beside me, that was one thing pissing me off bigtime, but the other thing that made me leave the "pit" was the fact that there was a fucking crowdsurfer coming every 30 seconds, and I absolutely don't like feet in my face or somebody falling on my head. And that was a real pity, because, as I wrote earlier, I could feel the good mood of the band. Well, I watched the gig from far in the back, and they still did a great job, playing their own Manowar-tribute ("Heavy Metal Universe", doesn't fit to the Rays at all I'd say), "One With The World", "Last Before The Storm" and even "Shine On" from "Somewhere Out In Space", one of my overall favourite songs. The last song of the show was a Helloween song, as you know, Kai was in that band the first three records, so they played a fan favourite, which was "Victim Of Fate" from "Walls Of Jericho". A great gig, if it wouldn't have been for the.. well, you know... (Paddy)

Twisted Sister © Nico Wobben So five weeks after the Bang Your Head gig I have to review TWISTED SISTER again. I could pretty much copy that review, the only difference was that the novelty wore off just a little bit, since a lot of the visitors seemed to have seen them in Balingen as well. The band was a tad less enthusiastic as well because of it I guess. Not musically, just in the chats in between. That difference was just small though, so don't worry, it was still amazing! Some bands are at their best in smaller venues, but fuck, Twister Sister need a big stage and a big festival-site. Dee Snider plays the crowd so well, he has the lightmen turn off spots and turn on the lights on the audience ("We're Not Gonna Take It"), he reaches out to the people who are way in the back. No one can capture an audience, hell, a whole festival-site like Dee can. The setlist was almost identical to the one in Balingen. I was secretly hoping that a Dimmu Borgir member would join them on stage for "Burn in Hell" - Dimmu covered that song and I know some of them were there - but that didn't happen. "Ride To Live, Live To Ride" was dedicated to all the bikers in the crowd and "We're Not Gonna Take It" was again the biggest sing-a-long. Where I was standing (on the left side) it was a bit higher than in the middle so I had a great overview. It's chilling to see crowdsurfers just glide over the heads and hands of the audience and nothing beats seeing the whole crowd jumping on command with 30,000 fists in the air to the "rock!" in the chorus of "I Wanna Rock". The big balloons came out again and were bounced around by thousands of hands before the band came back for their encores "Come Out And Play" and of course "S.M.F." - dedicated to the "sick motherfuckers" of the organisation, Holger and Thomas. (Marlies)

intro: AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)"
What You Don't Know (Sure Can't Hurt You)
The Kids Are Back
Stay Hungry
Destroyer
Like A Knife In The Back
the wacken cow © Nico Wobben Under The Blade
You Can't Stop Rock & Roll
I Am (I'm Me)
The Fire Still Burns
Ride To Live, Live To Ride
Shoot Them Down
We're Not Gonna Take It
The Price
I Believe In Rock & Roll
Burn In Hell
-drumsolo-
Tonight (not sure!)
I Wanna Rock
---
Come Out And Play
S.M.F.

SATURDAY

W.E.T. STAGE

Raunchy © Silkie Gerold Supposed to see Malevolent Creation for a review, but we ended up watching RAUNCHY from Denmark. When we arrived at the W.E.T Stage, the tent was already packed, well sort of at least and we decided we better watch the show from the entrance. As soon as the band started to play many metalheads left the tent and looking at their faces, they were kind of shocked of what they were hearing... We were kind of amused. I guess most of them had the old running order and expected Graveworm there. But their schedule was exchanged with Raunchy, so Graveworm's gig was at 11 am on the Party Stage. Anyway, back to Raunchy, after 70% of the audience had left we decided to go in. Raunchy play a kind of modern metal influenced by different musical genres, which is not really our pint of beer. Nevertheless we managed to watch the complete show. Despite our taste in metal, we have to say that being from the modern metal genre they were very good and rocked the tent. We heard (hope we got the titles right) "Drive", "Bleeding", "Tonight", "Twelve Feet Tall" and some new songs: "Beating Up A Dead Horse" and "The Fat Ones And The Tall". If you enjoy a singer jumping around in hip-hop manner, if you like to have a techno freak on the keys, a punkish guitarist, etc...you'll surely enjoy them. We on the other hand, even though we tried to to be as open minded as possible, prefer to stick with the ol' brew! (Silkie/Katalin)

Callenish Circle © Nico Wobben Before I went to get me yet another falafel for lunch I payed the W.E.T. Stage a visit to check out CALLENISH CIRCLE. I'm not all too familiar with their material but I've heard a couple of songs from the last two albums and liked it. The tent was pretty packed with people and I was really hoping to be blown away or at least to be well entertained but I'm sad to say the noise coming out of the speakers sounded all quite the same to me. I picked up two songtitles ("Soul Messiah" and "Forsaken") but I have to admit that I left after something like 20 minutes. If I had been more familiar with their songs or if the sound had been better I would probably have had the chance to say more about it but with the circumstances as they were this is more or less all I can report. (Cora)

crowdsurfing during the Strato gig © Nico Wobben Another band I dropped in to see in the W.E.T. Stage tent was CRYPTIC WINTERMOON. I knew next to nothing about them and just wanted to see what they were like. They played songs like "Fallen Kingdoms" and "Dark Crusade" and the sound was pretty bad. It was only then that I realized that there was no bassist on stage! I found out their bassist had an accident and they obviously could not find a replacement but still didn't want to cancel the gig at WOA. Thumbs up for that, I bet their fans were thankful to see them in spite of these not all too nice circumstances. The female keyboardist first looked a bit like a mermaid with her loooong dress but after not having moved much during the first few songs she started headbanging to "Supersatan", a song that also got very good response from the audience. I left the tent during the follow-up ("Black Moon") to see what Soilwork did on the Black Metal Stage. (Cora)

DARKANE were one of the bands I was looking forward to the most. I'm still quite new to the band as I only got into them during the No Mercy Festivals a few months ago and I couldn't wait to see one of their steamy live shows again. And hell yeah, they lived up to my expectations. A lot of people were attending the show in the W.E.T Stage tent but I still managed to get somewhere in front. After a short intro Darkane © Nico Wobben Darkane started the show with "Third", which was followed by "Violence From Within", "Chaos Vs Order" and "Emanation Of Fear". We were not only headbanging but there was also a wild moshpit in the center and the band showed no laziness as well. Apart from vocalist Andreas who was always getting in touch with the audience encouraging them to raise their arms and shout along, especially bassist Jörgen and guitarist Klas constantly ran around on stage (which of course drum wizard Peter couldn't do but he thanked the crowd in German after the show) while Christopher concentrated more on his leads. Darkane had this poll on their website where people could vote for the songs they wanted the band to perform live and it is nice to see Darkane actually cared for the votes because they played "Fatal Impact", a song they played live for the first time (according to Andreas). "Hostile Phantasm", "Innocene Gone" and last track "Convicted" were also on the setlist. Darkane is so intense live and they so well deserved the good response! Go and see them live if you can!! (Cora)

PARTY STAGE

Twisted Tower Dire © Nico Wobben I first saw TWISTED TOWER DIRE three years ago here in Wacken. I was very impressed by their old school US metal and impressed by their first album. I didn't like "The Isle Of Hydra" as much since they started to incorporate some "happy" elements and at first I felt the same about #3, "Crest Of The Martyrs". But by now I have to admit that it is a much, much better album, much stronger songs, even with the happy parts that I don't really like. In Wacken, singer Tony Taylor said Twisted Tower Dire didn't change much and it hurt me to hear him say "fuck the critics". Twisted Tower Dire used to be refreshing with their real US metal and last thing the old-school fans wanted was to have Twisted Tower Dire go into that "happy" direction. Of course the band has to do what the band wants to do, plain and simple. Just don't expect that the fans (and/or critics) like it as much, that's not fair. But ok, on with the show. And a great show it was! Twisted Tower Dire is simply a great live band and Tony is a great singer and symphathetic frontman. He came up wearing a big cowboy-hat, but he didn't wear that for a long time ;) There were some familiar faces in the line-up: Jim Hunter from October 31 and Matthew Crooks from Division (as far as I know just filling in for Scott Waldrop). And they rocked!!! Next to songs like "At Night", "Some Other Time, Some Other Place" and "Axes & Honor" from the new CD, they covered "The Trooper" as well! (Marlies/Paddy)

Lars of Metalium had told us to check out EVIDENCE ONE and so I did for a few songs. Unfortunately it was not at all my thing, even though it sounded pretty good. This kind of hardrock just can't hold my attention though, sorry Lars... I took a little beer-break to prepare for the next band on the stage, that happened to be a very favorite band of mine ;) (Marlies)

Eidolon © Nico Wobben Finally on European grounds again! This time EIDOLON came from Canada with new singer Pat Mulock who joined the band just before the recording of "Coma Nation". At this point they've already finished album #6, "Apostles Of Defiance" (#4 for Metal Blade, to be released in October) and from the one song they have played here, "Demoralized", I think we can expect one killer album! Pat and drummer Shawn alternated some vocals there and that sounded great! The setlist contained songs of the last 3 albums plus the new song where Pat shows he's finding his own way within the band, even though the vocallines will always be typical Eidolon. The only thing still too obvious, is who his god is, even the stage-acting was way too Halford-ish - he needs to develop his own style esp. since he has the quality to become a force on his own! Eidolon's music is heavy and at times thrashy, missing a second guitarplayer sometimes makes the sound a bit thin, although bassplayer Adrian uses pedals for some extra sounds to fill that up a bit. Glen's soloing was top-notch as always, as well as Adrian's bassparts and of course Shawn hitted that drumkit again Shawn Drover and Marlies © Silkie Gerold like it's nobody's business. Great show! Funny to see such great musicians begging a cheesy band like Stratovarius for autographs later that night, hehehe. (Marlies)

Nightmare World
Coma Nation
Prelude Into Fear
Demoralized
Lunar Mission
Life In Agony
The Pentacle Star
Eye Of Illusion

"Yes, we waited a long time for it. I think we deserve to play at such a big festival and now we are among the first bands that has been confirmed". It was Maurizio Iacono's dream to play Wacken. After 10+ years it was finally going to happen, and it fitted this year's Wacken slogan "where metal dreams come true" perfectly. Katalin and Andreas already loved Franco-Canadians KATAKLYSM and their Kataklysm © Nico Wobben unpredictable "Northern Hyperblast" brutal death metal for a while now - Marlies just got to know them through our tourreport of Into Eternity earlier this year, but we all had quite high expectations when we headed towards the Party Stage to see them. This was actually not a bad thing this time! They were tight and made a professional appearance without the need of anything else than four guys rocking hard! We were glad to see that the good old "everyone is headbanging frenzy on stage" as the only stageshow still can make the audience go wild and mosh. No need for a special image when you are able to do that! We're damn happy Maurizio gave up bass to be a frontman years ago, he's great. The musician that drew the most attention though was new drummer Martin Maurais. During his solo and actually during the whole set, you could see what a fucking insane drummer he is - triggers or not, he just blew everyone away and he received a warm welcome! If our photographer Nico would've had a stage-pass he would've been I'm-not-worthy-ing in front of the drumkit, LOL!! They started off with "In Shadows & Dust" and we also heard "Beyond Salvation" ("murdeeeeeeeer.....!";)), "Illuminati", "Manipulator Of Souls", "Enhaced By The Lore", Kataklysm © Nico Wobben "Chronicles Of The Damned", "Machiavellian" and "Where The Enemy Sleeps...". Andreas' fave song from "Epic (The Poetry Of War)" is "Il Diavolo In Me" and to hear it live sent shivers down his spine. They did two songs from the upcoming album "Serenity In Fire" (to be released in february 2004): the slowest track and first single/video "As I Slither", and as an encore the awesome "The Ambassador Of Pain". That's gonna be one killer album, so we really hope they will come back and play the bigger Black Stage at a better time. They deserve it! (Andreas/Katalin/Marlies)

SINNER has been around for at least 20 years probably and they have a strong fanbase in Germany. None of us really went to see them though, but we could hear them play while taking a break at our Morrigan's Pit camp. Songs we knew were "Knife In My Heart", "Requiem For A Sinner" and Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell". (Marlies)

dirt everywhere;) © Katalin Sipos SONATA ARTICA: the best gig in Wacken this year for me!!! The worst thing is, I wanna say it first, that they didn't bring any merchandising from their "new" record "Winterheart's Guild", but they did an excellent show!!! Opening up with "Abandoned Pleased Brainwashed Exploited", the opener of the latest album, the band stood on the stage as a unit, which was not clear before, because before the new album, their long-time keyboardist Mikko Harkin quit the band and singer Tony Kakko played the keys on the album, together with Jens Johansson of Stratovarius. But the new keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg kicked some ass!!! He was on stage like a four- or six-stringer, because he had a portable keyboard, and he jumped around more than the other members. Well, they played a good gig, just as I said, and they played stuff from every album. "My Land", the ballad "Replica" and the high speed "8th Commandment" from the debut "Ecliptica", "Black Sheep" from "Silence" and, because there unfortunatley was no tour to promote "Winterheart's Guild" YET, they played the opener (see above), the first single "Victoria's Secret" and the second single "Broken", a midtempo-title and finally "The Cage", another speed-song. (Paddy)

porno-casting:) © Paddy Wicke On sunday morning, about 2 o'clock, I just returned from Sonata Arctica and there were two bitchy looking women passing by the place where there used to be a tent from friends of mine, who departed sometime after Slayer. On that tent, there had been (since they arrived on tuesday night) a sign saying "Porno-Casting - ladies only". Of course, no one expected any girl to come to that "casting", but as I said, the tent was gone and the guys were too, and those two women stopped near us and said: "Wasn't that here with the porno-casting???" and they meant it really seriously... Well, we were laughing our asses off, and the two just went on :)

Then Sunday morning after getting up (8 o'clock I suppose) there was a woman and her friend walking by. She - still drunk it seemed - had a tin of beer in her hand, screamed "WACKEEEEEEEEEEEN", opened the beer, spilled it over her head, not drinking anything of it, said "best beer on earth", threw the empty tin away and went on...Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me! (Paddy)

BLACK METAL STAGE

Marlies and Rachel © Marlies Wobben I ran into Rachel of Sinister when they arrived at the festival and I heard they couldn't play because their guitarplayer (and they had only one) left the band the night before! HOLY MOSES immediately volunteered to replace them and so Sabina and co. opened on Saturday morning. Unfortunately I wasn't up and ready in time so I missed the gig! I heard Rachel was supposed to join Sabina for "Too Drunk To Fuck" (like Doro did 2 years ago), but wasn't there. I don't know if that's correct, but that sure would've been a sweet duet. (Marlies)

Corpse-paint in the bright sunlight is something I can't take too serious. I'm a big fan of black metal but I know sometimes the timing is just not right for black metal bands. The grim, stormy, cold music has a completely different atmosphere played in a sunny afternoon than played at a dark night, under the plain sky. Though the intro and the songs of "Bloodlust And Perversion" still sends shivers down my spine whenever its played, seeing CARPATHIAN FOREST at 3 pm on a hot summer day, isn't the best experience ever. Well, the warmth was Carpathian Forest © Silkie Gerold really hell-ish and the necro sound was there but their black-metal-looks took all my attention. And now I'm not just talking about the melting, slowly flowing corpse-paint but about their huge, half naked bass player, Vrangsinn. No doubt, there is nothing wrong with being huge, but why did he has to wear trousers that were way too small for him? He wasn't sexy at all, especially after flashing his butt out - actually we could take a look at Nattefrost's blue underwear too (they weren't preparing any kind of S & M show, so I didn't see the point in this at all). His experiment in mouth-full-of-beer-singing also failed. But let's get back to the music. They played a good variety of songs from all their albums: "The Suicide Song", "Black Shining Leather", "In The Shadow Of The Horns", "He's Turning Blue", "One With The Earth", "Knokkelmann", "Carpathian Forest", "It's Darker Than You Think", "Skjend Hans Lik", "The Well Of All Human Tears", "Mask Of The Slave", "Angel And The Sodomizer", and some more. The music could've been really enjoyable if you had closed your eyes and just forgot about the sun and everything "nice" around you, to let your soul get possessed by evil and hatred. (Katalin)

Soilwork © Nico Wobben When I came to see what SOILWORK were up to they were playing the titletrack of the last album "Figure Number Five" - certainly not one of my favourite tunes. A huge number of people were in front of the stage which shows the status this band has now. There's not much to complain about as long as you're not eager to hear older tracks because Soilwork mainly played songs from the last two albums, such as "Distortion Sleep", "Follow The Hollow", "The Bringer", "As We Speak" and "Rejection Role", to name but a few. The band members are quite strange to look at sometimes: vocalist Speed was wearing the red Ferrari shirt he is almost famous for, one of the guitarists was wearing a kilt and bassist Ola is still the one that is moving the most, walking around like crazy on stage which I personally enjoy watching. Soilwork are certainly a good live band but they somehow failed to really grab me. (Cora)

crowd and Wacken flag © Katalin Sipos NILE's time arrived after 10 pm. They started to play a few minutes earlier than they were supposed to but I don't think that any fans missed them. And even if Slayer was still left to play I dare to say there were only two bands at W.O.A. this year who were truly heavy. One of them was Dismember and the other was Nile. Of course I know the low-tuned guitars alone sound heavier but their mix with the slow death metal themes, results in an undemolishable, killer heavyness. Dark, overwhelming atmosphere goes along with Nile's music to represent the force of the Egyptian gods, attracting more and more fans around the band. Nile is one of the best death metal bands these days. Their songs, "Sarcophagus", "Nephren-Ka", "Serpent Headed Mask", "Execration Text", "Stones Of Sorrow", "The Blessed Dead" thundered and roared over the fields of Wacken. By the way, they were really pissed off. "Fuck the fucking airlines" - had been said several times because most of their stuff was lost on the airport and they had to play on borrowed instruments. That was the explanation why the first song sounded like they were just having a soundcheck. But actually the true anger they played with made their music more intensive. But despite all of the negative aspects, they ruined and crushed Wacken!!! (Katalin)

campsite © Katalin Sipos "It's hard to play after a band like Slayer" - said Peter of VADER when they started their show. And in many ways it's true. But I guess they didn't have a reason to fear playing after Slayer. They have a strong fanbase and though it was late and many might have been tired after watching Slayer, a great amount of people showed up to watch the Polish Vader. Some years ago they opened one of the days at WOA. Times are changing and now they were the closing act of the last night and in my opinion that is a much better position. Their new session bassplayer was introduced during the songs, who is also a well-known Polish musician, namely Novy from Behemoth. Was it really hard to play after Slayer? I don't think so. They gave a killer show, even with better sound than Slayer had, with songs like "Vicious Circle", "The Nomad" or "Wings", etc. (Katalin)

TRUE METAL STAGE

Thyrfing © Nico Wobben Acting true to the roots of the viking spirit, braving the elements of nature - in this case the savage sunshine - the bringer of the magical sword, THYRFING, entered the stage and conquered the hearts of all their fans. We were amazed of how many metalheads came to see the band and celebrated them with a fantasic enthusiasm. Just as on the pics on "Vansinnesvisor" they were dirty, covered with mud, except Thomas Väänänen who looked like he had taken a shower in fresh ox-blood. Unfortunately this year they were the only viking band playing at WOA, so the viking feast lasted only for 45 minutes. But what a feast it was, just look at their setlist with a perfect mix of songs from all albums: "Mjölner", "Ways Of A Parasite", "Digerdöden", "From Wilderness Came Death", "Draugs Harg", "The Voyager", "Raven Eyes", "Kaos Återkomst", "Storms Of Asgard". At the end of the set Thomas jumped into the pit and spilled ox-blood all over the fans...they seemed to enjoy it. Some years ago I (Katalin) missed their gig in Hungary so this was my first time to see them live. They were one of the bands I made my trip to WOA. for and I can tell you it was worth all the trouble :) (Katalin/Silkie)

Metalium © Nico Wobben I've reviewed METALIUM several times over the years and they haven't changed much. It's a very professional band with great musicians and singer Henning Basse is good at giving you goosebumps with his voice anytime, he's one of the best around! And so it was this time as well, esp. with songs like "Fight", "Steel Avenger" and "Free Forever", where Henning loves to demonstrate that one "free" with the looooooong breath. The most special part of the show was when Zed Yago/Velvet Viper vamp Jutta Weinhold joined the band for a few songs. Starting with the Zed Yago song "Black Bone Song" she took over with her charm and most of all her power. What a voice!! Then she asked Henning if he would like to do "it" with her, and together they did Led Zeppelin's "Rock 'n' Roll", awesome! (Marlies)

Metalium w/Jutta Weinhold © Marlies Wobben Fight
Metalium
Odins Spell
Break The Spell
Pain Crawles In The Night
Name Of Blood
Steel Avenger
Rasputin
Free Forever
Black Bone Song
Rock 'n' Roll

Just like on their tour, MASTERPLAN were great. The band formed by the two former Helloween members Roland Grapow (g) and Uli Kusch (d), Ark-, Beyond Twilight-, and Brazen Abbot-singer Jorn Lande, Jan-S. Eckert from Iron Savior (b) and Masterplan © Nico Wobben Axel Mackenrott (keys, Gamma Ray, at least on the last tour, not on this festival) played many songs from their album...well, they only have that one album. One title was not from the album, it was a medley of "The Chance", an old Helloween song and some newer Weenie stuff from "The Dark Ride" ("The Departed" & "The Sun Is Going Down"). The highlights IMO were "Kind Hearted Light", "Crawling From Hell", "Soulburn" and Axel, the keyboarder, who ran around on stage all the time. And a fascinating Jorn Lande, who doesn't only have a good voice in the studio, but live as well, he really communicates with the crowd, and he has the music within his blood. It is really a pleasure to see and hear him. There was Jan-S. Eckert with the great fish-shaped bass-guitar, who did good backing vocals and of course Roland Grapow, an excellent six-stringer. Nothing more to say, great show, let's wait for the next album and the first headliner tour!!! (Paddy)

Paddy w/Mike Terrana © Paddy Wicke The setlist of RAGE was quite similar to the one at the Blind Guardian Open Air, but there was a slight change. I think they didn't have as much time, and so they shortened the solo-part ("Unity"), and they performed a new song ("War Of Worlds"), I liked that one. Nevertheless, they played about ten minutes longer than they actually were supposed to, but that was ok. Once more, Rage appeared as a tight unit, and one can look forward to their new record "Soundchaser". Peavy told me that if one liked "Unity", one will like the new one as well :) The highlights IMO were the medley "Black In Mind/Solitary Man", "Straight To Hell" and "Higher Than The Sky" which, of course, was the last encore. Unfortunately, I don't like "From The Cradle To The Grave" but anyway, good job, guys!! (Paddy)

Stratovarius © Nico Wobben I have to admit that I didn't see STRATOVARIUS' set completely. Stratovarius started off with "Kiss Of Judas" and Kotipelto didn't hit a single tune. So I decided not to watch the gig but to go shopping instead, I did hear them anyway. Well, after the opener it couldn't get worse, but during "Speed Of Light", one could hear that they were in no good shape during the gig. But indeed, it got better. The setlist was excellent though, just imagine "Visions Of Europe", the 1998 live-double-album plus "Hunting High And Low" from "Infinity" plus one of the long songs from "Elements Pt.I", I think it was "Soul Of A Vagabond". The highlights were "Black Diamond" and "Visions", but these songs always are highlights. Sorry dudes, you had better days, for sure!!! (Paddy)

Slayer © Nico Wobben It was about time a band like SLAYER played Wacken. But still having last year's killer show at Bang Your Head in mind, I felt there was something off. First up they came on stage 15 minutes too late and during the first songs the sound was not nearly loud enough. Even though it got better later, the sound remained pretty lame. Those first songs were some newer, lesser-known songs - then the good old classics came out ("War Ensemble", "The Antichrist", "Mandatory Suicide", "Hell Awaits" and "South Of Heaven") and I enjoyed them even though the lousy sound certainly spoiled part of the fun. There was no time for "Chemical Warfare" or "Die By The Sword" because with "Angel Of Death" they started to play the whole "Reign In Blood" CD (only interrupted by "Dead Skin Mask")! After the last notes of "Raining Blood" they immediately left and roadies started to clear the stage (while the audience started boo-ing). You could see everybody look at each other with questioning eyes.. "WTF?? This is it?". Slayer just played 75 instead of 90 minutes and even though the songs were played with eerie precision, there was something missing the whole time. No hello, no comments in between (so even less communication than usual), no enthusiasm, they just seemed to do their gig as quick as possible and you got the feeling they couldn't wait to get off that stage again. A thank you from Araya afterwards couldn't really save the day and most people left mumbling about their disappointment. (Marlies)

Ira Black w/his self-built guitar and promoting Rock Detector © Nico Wobben Just before Onkel Tom took over the True Metal Stage, closing the night, the organisators of WOA, Sheree Hesse, Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner, came on stage and said thank you to all the visitors and everybody who took part in the festival in any way. Then they called for Ira Black, guitarist of Vicious Rumours, and together they drew a lucky winner who could go home with the self-built (by Ira himself) made-especially-for-WOA guitar. He had been posing with it all day, just walking around with it or promoting the Rock Detector books (see pic) and I know it was signed, but I'm not sure by whom exactly. They finished in a few minutes and let Onkel Tom and his drunken friends having a good time at the "farewell-party" of the WOA 2003. (Katalin)

ONKEL TOM - what can I say... he did the usual thing what some people call music, I call it "accoustic drinking", because he only played German drinking-songs, and it must be really great to see him - as soon as one had enough beer. (Paddy)

metal slippers /mp/\.jpgm/ © Katalin Sipos The 14th edition of Wacken Open Air ended. The thousands of metalheads have left the field and the small village fell back to its sleepy silence. More than 60 bands have been there to entertain us but beside the official programme we had lots of opportunities to have fun and meet interesting people. And if you took the time to walk around the campgrounds you could see even more interesting and funny things, sometimes almost crazy ones.
Every open air festival has a special, own atmosphere but since WOA is the biggest and most dignified one, it is even more special. One of the reasons is its internationality. Visitors and bands are coming from every corner of the world to celebrate their addiction, metal. Another reason is the almost tradition-like habit how visitors are preparing for this event. For example, I remember when we were on the road thursday morning, it Wacken car:) © Katalin Sipos was easy to recognize the people who headed for the festival as well, and not just because of their black clothes but because of the different WOA signs - with those they promote WOA every day of a year.

We have the unforgettable memories and I bet many of us are already counting back the days until the first weekend of August 2004. The organizers said thanks to everybody who participated in the festival in some way and now it's our turn to say thank you to them for keeping WOA alive for more than a decade now. WOA 2003 meant: 1.000 people from stuff built in less than two weeks a 100 acres great festival area. 500 Securitys, 200 medics and 50 policeofficers were in the use, 4 fire-brigades had fortunately no necessity to disengage. The site crew set up 15.000 m fence, hung 5.000 view covers and blocked in addition still 1.300 m stage and inlet lattices. 500 signs attached and 450 m emergency routes were built. 7 large tents were established. The technology shifted 85 km cables, in 35 containers. Altogether 40 grade channels were put and 20 computer-workplaces had to be furnished. The steelhands built the 4 stages from 100 tons of steel , 70 generators produced the same electricity needed for a small town. In this year 350 mobile toilets, 380 fully flushed toilets were placed. 45.000 rolls of toilet paper were in use. 300 showers, 50 washbasins plus free entrance in the Wacken public swimming pool provided sufficient body Cheers! © Cora Gonser hygiene. The result: 120.000 m³ waste water had to be disposed. 7.000 crew meals were prepared and eaten in two catering areas. 61 bands on stage, that means: 500 hotel reservations and 300 shuttle travels with altogether 8 shuttle vehicles. But the WOA vehicle park had to offer still some more. 5 nightliners, 3 fork-lift trucks, 4 wheel loaders, 2 jeeps, 2 pick-ups, 1 touring bus, 2 tractors, 3 trucks, 2 recovery vehicles, 2 General German Automobile Association vehicles and 8 toilet suction cars were 24 hours at work. And in two days they picked up garbage which filled 40 trucks.

Everyone of us, including organizers, bands and visitors, did our part in making this event a cult festival. Same place, same time, next year. See you again! (Katalin)

submitted by Marlies 31.08.2003

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