It’s time to get together again and trawl through some of the highlights of 2013’s Wacken Open Air festival. It’s been said plenty of times before that live DVD’s are really only appealing to the faithful or a souvenir of a great time if you were there on the day, but the collection of bands and performances brought together in this collection do have something of a wider appeal and only goes to show how diverse the world of hard rock and metal can be.
For instance, the first disc in this collection is probably the most interesting and appealing, bringing together the metal goodness of Annihilator, Trivium (why only one track?) and Sabaton with cuts from hard rock legends like Alice Cooper, Motörhead, Thunder (hilariously playing on The Black Stage, which makes the sight of beer-swilling gumbies singing along to ‘Love Walked In’ all the more joyous) and Deep Purple (again, why only one song? And why the extended jam of ‘Lazy’ and not something a little more crowd-friendly?). The choice of songs may be a little underwhelming in some cases but there’s almost a sense of relief having the seasoned professionalism of Deep Purple coming after the raw and raucous performances of an on-fire Anthrax (getting in three songs in the form of ‘Deathrider’, ‘Indians’ and ‘Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t’), Agnostic Front and DevilDriver, which is what you may have felt if you were there that day.
Discs two and three are a little less exciting in terms of bands but they do contain a brilliant rendition of ‘The Paranoid’ by Ihsahn that only goes to show what an immense song it is, whether it’s the polished studio version or live on the stage. Candlemass‘ ‘Psalms For the Dead’ probably isn’t the best choice to represent a festival set but the band sound strong and make an effectively doomy noise but the real highlight/car crash moment is the fact that Ugly Kid Joe get three songs here – that’s more than Motörhead, Deep Purple, Candlemass, Ihsahn, Trivium, Alice Cooper and DevilDriver got – and one of those is a cover of ‘Ace of Spades’, during which the band are joined by Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell. The other two songs aren’t the two you’d have thought and seeing as Motörhead played at the festival – so you’d get to hear the real thing done properly – it’s difficult to say whether the band have got balls for playing a classic by a legendary band or just plain dumb. Nevertheless, it does hammer home the fact that a brilliant song is still a brilliant song, even if it is being played by a bunch of buffoons (and Phil Campbell).
Not a lot else to add really. The remainder of the footage is made up of songs from the likes of Whitechapel, Alestorm, Chrome Molly, Ragnarok and Soilwork, and they’re the better known bands. Like with the “Live at Wacken 2012” DVD, there are plenty of bands that played on the day that could have been included to make the package a bit more essential – Danzig, Anvil, Gojira, Fear Factory, Rammstein and Lamb of God were all on the bill – but sadly it just isn’t to be. Instead, what is included is very good and a decent showcase of what was undoubtedly a great festival but ultimately it’s not the full picture.