Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wacken 2007 - Tuesday and Wednesday

These now somewhat delayed reports cover my journey to Wacken 2007 and what happened there, including reviews of the bands and commentary on various events. Since these were documented in running fashion, they are presented similarly, in a "you are there" style, with a few exceptions where stuff has been edited, either for clarity or because it serves more to fill space than add anything relevant. The days proceed chronologically as follows.

Tuesday - Into The Pentagram

So I got in a little early to the airport, but fortunately I've got a full mp3-player of Cock Sparrer, among other bands, so I don't have to listen to the bullshit Logan radio and its constant advertising. This time, I'm going through Zurich; a little longer and more expensive (on Swiss), but it's on civilized carriers the whole way and doesn't involve Newark. Also, I add another country to my list of touches. Slowly but surely, the map is filling in.

I left on Thursday night, and due to the vagaries of time zones I ended up in Switzerland on Wednesday morning, having slept precious little. I was thinking of taking some pictures of the country around the Zurich airport through the windows, as it's really picturesque, but the terminal was filling in and I had a Bundesliga-preview magazine to occupy myself with.

Wednesday - Unholy Water

It's tough to describe how good it feels to be back in Germany again. It's not quite Dresden, but it's close enough to stir the old feelings again -- and I was sore tempted to take that train down towards Prague that will clear this platform (this portion written at the Hamburg train station) before the train to Itzehoe comes, to go down to the banks of the Elbe again and try to go back in time. Even here in the northwest, though, Germany is just fine.

The public transit is already thick with festival-goers, and I shudder to think how crowded it'll be next year. We had a fair number of Wacken-Pilger on the plane from Zurich, more on the airport bus, and the station here isn't as brim-full as it's been on the Thursdays in the past, but for Wednesday morning it's still a lot. Here's hoping I still manage to beat the crowd and get a decent tenting place.

01: The Metal Train pulls in.

02: The inmates of the Metal Train agitate the populace before pulling on to their next stop at Itzehoe.

This was about 3 million times more impressive in person - a train of 20 or so cars, packed with just metalheads, going to just one place. There's no possible way to write AWESOME large enough to cover this. Picture this train moving, people waving, roaring, giving the horns - and now put the beyond-epic chorus of Kreator's "Enemy Of God" behind it, because that was what was on my headphones at the time. Amazing. Even if everything else had sucked, this year would still have been awesome, courtesy of this one moment.

03: Jamming out on the hardboard.

04: The plywood Immortal axes and the dudes who brought them. There were a lot of props in evidence in transit, but these were about the coolest and most noteworthy.

Unfortunately, it was a 6-hour wait between arriving at Itzehoe and getting on the bus for Wacken. More unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from this time of Dick Wang (his real name, from Philly) or the very cool British people, including the hot South Asian girl who could do polytonic burps, that we hung out with and ran through half a case of Holsten with. It was an entertaining way to pass the time, but too damn much time to pass. With my tent set up, Mambo Kurt was playing, but by that time I'd been up for about 46 hours with almost no sleep; I hit the hay soon after getting everything set up, hoping that exhaustion would trump the noise, fireworks, and floodlights.

05: Night from my tent.

06: Dawn from my tent, six mostly sleepless hours later.

In between these two pictures, I went to use the portatoilets, and en route ended up walking through a part of the field that looked like a normal bit of waterlogged ground, but was actually a ditch filled brim-up with nearly two feet of rain; hence the name for the day. In the course of the festival, as we'll see, there was a certain degree of elemental theme to each day.

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