Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rockin' at Wacken!

21 years, and I was finally there.  It was worth the wait.  And the beer prices.

So I am back from Wacken, dear reader, and what can I say, other than  . . . well, how could I even encapsulate the experience for you guys?  Words fail me.  My own wit cowers at the challenge, bringing to mind the awkward shower scene from Mad Science.   Anything I say couldn't do it justice.  I could mention the bands I saw: Opeth, Hammerfall, Saxon, Volbeat, Napalm Death, Paradise Lost, In Flames . . . The Scorpions.  The list would go on into the night, like a vintage Van Halen guitar solo.  Suffice to say, oh man, I saw some bands, ladies and gentleman.

I saw some bands indeed- had some beers, ate great food, got covered in mud, and was pleasantly reminded of the outfits most woman wear to metal concerts . . . glad some things haven't changed since my far gone youth.

Did I mention they had wrestling?

What more could any man want?

It was probably one of the greatest times of my life, and considering I once spent New Years on a tropical beach with two Russian women who spoke like 10 words of English (mostly used up by the phrase "You want me buy you beer now?" ) that is definitely saying something.

Dimmu Borgir (with full orchestra . . . so good) kicked at least 2 tons of ass.

There were times when I was overwhelmed with simply the thought of being there- the realization that I had finally made it to Wacken would at times move me to either happy tears or manic headbanging.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.

A sexy, leather clad candy store.

A candy store filled with heavy metal Amazons and drunken Vikings.

A candy store where beautiful people will talk metal with you for hours, even when your feet look like this:

Sometimes, dear reader, metal is kind of gross.

So how do I sum up this experience?  How can I impart that sense of transcendence, ecstasy, fervor, the wonderful feeling of belonging at Wacken?  Easy enough- I will tell a story.

It was Sunday morning at 7am- I had left Wacken at 2:30 to depart for the Hamburg airport and made the plane with about 40 minutes to spare, still covered in the scattered flotsam of heavy metal rage.  Probably reaking of beer, but most definitely covered in mud (I didn't have the time to clean off my feet from the picture above- I went for a quick rubdown in the airport bathroom but by then they had dried), and having a 15 hour journey back to Congo to look forward to (I started working the next day- sweet) I spent a moment taking in the plane.  It was mostly empty, thank the gods, but about three rows back was a large man, wearing a black wife beater, with tattoos covering his burly arms.  He had what I thought at first glance to be a topknot on his head but when I looked closer I saw his scalp had been heavily bandaged.  There was a fine trickle of blood running from underneath the bandage and descending down his chin.  His eyes were barely open but I could see he was wearing the Wacken bracelet on his wrist.

He looked up at me and nodded towards my soiled feet.

(As an aside, it is now two weeks later and my toenails are still black.  Heavy metal don't come off easy.)

"Wacken?"  He asked.

I laughed and nodded.


He smiled and pointed at the blood running down the left side of his face.

I shrugged.


He smiled again.


And that, delicious reader, is why Wacken was awesome.

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