It really does took us a while to write this review, we are back after a long trip from Europe just after the Wacken Open Air 2016, so let’s get started with our impressions from this year’s edition.
Complete sold out event again with over 75 thousand people from all over the world! And even though the weather conditions weren’t the best, the rain didn’t stop the headbangers from enjoying the shows. Not many changes in the event’s distribution but they were heavy security measures due to all the terrorism attempts in Europe.
Like we mentioned in a previous post we attended as press at this year’s Wacken, so we had a couple of benefits this time:
• Access to the VIP area and VIP camping area
The VIP area was a big space with all the commodities to just hang out in there, it had its own bar, food stands, press conference room and a working area with multiple tables and also a PlayStation 4! This VIP area was located just next to the entrances of the 2 main stages so it was really easy to just get there in a few minutes from there to the stage just before a show starts, so yeah it was a huge plus.
The VIP camping area was far from the other camping area and it was a small and quieter place, which can be good or bad depending on what you wanted to do at night.
• Pit Access
The pit area is located just beneath the stage so it was the closest place you could be from the performing band. So of course with that privileged spot we get to shoot a lot of awesome pics that are all over this article. From here we were able to see Eluveitie, Hansen & Friends, Unisonic, Dragonforce, Symphony X, Twisted Sister and Archenemy!
So let’s get started with to the most important thing of the festival, the shows! This year as always we had a little bit of everything for everybody and due to the huge number or performing bands every day it’s virtually impossible to get to see every band you want to, here’s a quick review of some of the bands that we get to see at this year’s Wacken:
This listing was not made in any particular order, but the first band that comes to our minds when we think of Wacken 2016 is of course Iron Maiden! These guys are always huge live and through all this years they are always flawless at stage, but playing on Wacken is on a whole new level, plus this was the last show of The Book of Souls’ tour. This was probably the first time we saw the whole arena at its whole capacity, it was completely crowded from the stage to the entrances so probably everybody was there to watch Maiden, even the people that usually just stays at the camping area drinking.
This was the most amazing show we’ve ever seen! If you guys were there or if you watch it live or afterwards then you know what we’re talking about in here. Bruce Dickinson is a total showman and there was this giant Eddie throughout the songs with lots of pyrotechnics too.
The setlist was mostly from the latest album, The Book of Souls, but of course there were some classics like The Trooper, Powerslave, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Fear of the Dark, The Number of the Beast and Wasted Years.
The night become really emotional with Bruce’s speech just before playing Blood Brothers, he mentioned all the bad things that were happening all over the world: people killing each others because of religious or other causes but then he said that we were all brothers and the beautiful thing about metal was that it joins totally different people. And that’s why this song was so appropriate for this message and moment too.
Without a doubt Eluveitie isn’t the same after the lineup changes, it was a great show anyway but Liv Kristine from Leave’s Eyes didn’t have that feeling Anna Murphy gave at the stage in the power ballads The Call of the Mountains and A Rose for Epona. But since Anna’s departure was kinda a last minute thing it was still a good presentation considering all the changes the band had to do to still be able to play at Wacken.
Hansen & Friends
As we mentioned on a previous post, this was gonna be the exclusive release presentation of Kai Hansen’s solo album “XXX” so we couldn’t miss this one, also it was announced that there we´re gonna be some special guests, and we were right, Michael Kiske appeared to play Helloween´s classics: I Want Out and Future World. The other special guest was Clementine Delauney from Visions of Atlantis who also appears on the record, she sang along with Kai, Helloween’s classics Over the Rainbow and Save Us.
Michael Kiske is without a doubt one of the best metal vocals and his vocal range is still almost intact. Excellent performance with a setlist mostly from their latest album Light of Dawn but there were of course some Halloween oldies: A Little Time and March of Time. So as you can see this was like a small Helloween reunion!
This was one of the bands we were expecting the most and luckily for us Marc Hudson was able to recover for the festival, he wasn’t at 100% but he still managed to make it. In previous shows, the YouTube star Pellek backed up Marc so as a sign of appreciation, the band decided to invite him to play at Wacken too, so he sang along Marc the cover The Ring of Fire and of course Through the Fire and the Flames.
The setlist was very similar to the one on their latest live album: In the Line of Fire. Dragonforce was a real show and Sam and Herman were both fantastic at the guitars with all those stunts. This was the first time we’ve seen these guys after the ZP era, and we really could say it was for the best. They’ll probably never be able to surpass the Inhuman Rampage but we really like the direction they´re heading, so we’re looking forward to see them again in the next events.
This was one of the stellar presentations and what an awesome performance it was! Twisted Sister is a legend and Dee Snider is a real showman, this was our first time seeing this guy live and what awesome and funny guy he is. In our opinion, this was the second best show just after Iron Maiden.
It was a really fun presentation but it also had an emotional moment when Dee talked about all the great losses in the Rock and Metal world this year referring to his drummer AJ Pero and Lemmy Kilmister. He dedicated their classic song “The Price” to them. Snider also told the story of how Mike Portony ended up playing with them. He said that it was all AJ’s idea when one day they were talking about who everybody would like to replace them in case of they couldn’t make it for any reason like becoming sick or something like that. AJ said that he would love to have Mike Portnoy replace if that was the case. And then a few time later, AJ died and they were wondering who would they call to replace him so they thought why not choose the person AJ himself chose.
This was Mike first time in Wacken even though he has played in tons of bands. Mike was awesome as always but Twisted Sister is not a band in which he could show all his monstrous skills and for times he even speed it up a little bit and we could feel his own personal touch on some classic songs.
The setlist included all of their classic hits and of course the metal anthem “We’re not gonna take it” was loudly sang, a truly memorable moment.
Wow! What a change from their Wacken debut at 2014! These guys sure came big this time jumping from underdogs to the stellar bands this year. Third best show in our opinion, which is really good considering it’s Iron Maiden and Twisted Sister the guys on top.
Alissa White-Gluz is a show just by herself and she sure was way more confident and had a lot more presence on stage this year. The whole production was huge, and it kinda reminds us the one that King Diamond had also on 2014 which they played too, maybe it served as influence for this show.
On their press conference they had earlier they mentioned that the DVD/Blu-Ray from this tour will be available on March 2017 approximately and the new studio album they are currently working on will be on September 2017 more or less. They were asked if it was expected to see Angela also on stage which they said that she haven’t mentioned any interest to returning to the stages any time soon and also that she haven´t been working in any musical project since she left the band so it was probably not going to happen. Alissa was also asked if he could expect to hear more of her clean voice in the next album, question that was confirmed so we would have to wait for next year’s album.
Here are some pictures we took during the festival: