Livebericht Rock Hard Open Air (mit Stratovarius und In Extremo)

Ein Livebericht von TexJoachim aus Gelsenkirchen (Amphitheater) - 29.05.2004 (14696 mal gelesen)
The iteration of the Rock Hard festival looked promising. And promising it was!

Day 1:
What can be better than having a party with same-minded people? Nothing, and since the weather forecast for the Pentecost-Weekend looked promising and the Rock Hard festival took place in my wider neighbourhood, I packed my stuff and started on my way quite happily.

Right on time, at 11:30, I arrived at the Amphitheater in Gelsenkirchen and had my wristband only a few minutes later. On to the grounds! The theater itself had not changed during the last year, those who had been here before could feel right at home. Everything else was fine, too: beer ¤ 2.- (+ ¤ 1.- deposit for the glas), Brez'n ¤ 2.-, Döner ¤ 3.50.

The first band to enter the stage was THUNDERSTORM, who replaced their countrymen DOOMSWORD. They did a good job and earned more than just a polite applause from their third song onwards, but placing a Doom band as a heater was not the best option.

DEAD SOUL TRIBE are pedantic when it comes to sound quality. How else can you explain that the man at the mixer was asked to make minor adjustments three times during the set? On the other hand, everything just fit into place and the audience honoured that.

A Black Metal band in the best of afternoon heats? Oh yeah, it could not be changed and NAGLFAR had to deliver. And deliver they did and gave their fans what they wanted.

GLUECIFER, with their version of Rock, are definitely nothing for me and I therefore used their set to find a meal and devour it.

Because MARDUK had to cancel their appearance at the festival, the thrasher DESTRUCTION took over their set. With their best-of-programme, they did exactly the right thing and simply gave the order to crowd-surf. After two surfing incidents between fans and security, the Rock Hard team reacted fast: the two security persons were transferred to other positions and the fans were asked--by Götz Kühnemund right before the next band's set--to take some respect for the security officers.

KROKUS had undoubtedly the hardest place in the billing. Between the hammer and the anvil (precisely between two Thrash giants), I had already seen them punched to the ground. Oh how I erred! The audience welcomed the Swiss export frenetically and made their show a complete success.

What is left to say about EXODUS? Just like on their headliner tour at the beginning of the year, they delivered a great performance and song selection. Truly a clandestine headliner of the festival.

One anecdote happened during their show and it needs to be told: an utterly smashed male individual undressed down to his bathing trunks (which were continentally short) and started a mixture of assaulting others and moshing. Some fans could luckily persuade him to put on his trousers again. In the end, he was complimented to leave the grounds by two security officers.

The co-headliner GAMMA RAY was the first to profit from the available lightshow, as the sun had already set. So, there was a fitting backgound to the teutonic export-hit. Why they favoured some lenghty instumental parts to playing more songs will stay their secret, however.

Because I had already seen IN EXTREMO this year and sleep started to demand its due, I decided to go home early.

Day 2:
"Fear the return!" Take that word by word, at least when travelling by public transport on a Sunday. Even though I got up early and made it to the bus station in time, I missed the show of DESASTER completely.

When INTO ETERNITY started, I was present and was astonished how many fans this band had won already. Simply fantastic how they banged to the complex material. INTO ETERNITY rose to the responses and delivered a great performance. Keep an eye out for them!

ILLDISPOSED were hired to play for MALVOLENT CREATION whose booker was to incompetent to get them on the way to Gelsenkirchen. This, of course, was no hindrance to the present moshers, so it was party all right. As an aside I'd like to share that ILLDISPOSED seem to have the most funny fronter alive: who would actually admit to "lose" a roady in Vienna?

PINK CREAM 69 were in a situation similar to that of KROKUS on the day before. Unfortunately, they were not able to satify like they did. Although some fans had only come for them and the band did their best to motivate the rest of the audience, they could not thrill them. A pity.

During METAL CHURCH, it looked completely different. The guys from Seattle, with new singer Ronny Munruo and a new guitarist, were welcomed back like long lost sons. This is what Power Metal has to sound like.

Slowly a queue started to form at the signature booth. It seemed like STRATOVARIUS were present, so I took my booklets and found a place at the end of the queue. Some 1.5 hours later (so I missed the entire set of DARK TRANQUILITY which was, I can confirm so much, very listenable), I was right at the booth with some other Strato-fans. Well, STRATOVARIUS had already left and MACHINE HEAD were smiling at us. Bummer, but I took the chance for a small chat and shake-hands.

That RAGE, the trio from Herne, consist of exceptionally good musicians should be known already. That they have quite a good number of fantastic songs in their catalogue that they smashed around our heads today, I can confirm. But why did they include two solos (first Victor (g), then Mike (d))? This might be fun for a headliner with unlimited playing-time, but not with such god-given songs that waited to be played.

Will they play, or will they not? This was the question that arose whenever the topic turned to STRATORARIUS this weekend. They did! With their "Visions" backdrop in the background, they performed a firework of old and new hits and were in musical top form. Only the fact that Timo Kotipelto threw his microphone pillar off the stage into the waiting hands of a roady, right past Timo Tolkki, provoked some questions marks on a number of faces. Nevertheless, it was a great show that we probably will never see again in this form. Bummer!

Because it is best to quit when the times are good, I decided against seeing the headliner MACHINE HEAD in my melancholic state.

Finally, I'd like to note that the second Rock Hard festival was definitely worth coming. This year, the party of some 3500 fans established the RHOA as a force to be reckoned with. A third repetition in 2005 was already confirmed. Gelsenkirchen: "I'll be back!"
Location Details
Amphitheater in Gelsenkirchen (Deutschland)


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