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Schloss, Merseberg, Germany & Wasserschloss, Klaffenbach, Germany
29th August & 30th August 2008
In Extremo and End of Green

Notorious for their great live performances, IN EXTREMO selected venues that they described as “handpicked and intimate” and which they themselves personally love in their Ius Primea Noctis (Right of the First Night) Tour. This led to a level of expectation that I wasn’t sure they could live up to. How wrong I was, for I was present at two of the best concerts I have ever attended.

The Venues

The Schloss (Castle) at Merseberg, steeped in history as it is, was a beautiful setting for the music in a court yarded Castle keep, which despite the obvious issues with acoustics in such a scenario was a fantastic venue full of vibrancy and atmosphere, as the lighting crew used the architecture to it’s best potential, throwing gobo’s and light shows against the castle wall in a 360° circles so that the audience felt it was part of the show rather than just being spectators. The Wasserschloss at Klaffenbach was no less spectacular although slightly smaller, set on the river, offering a similar courtyard set up and with plenty of provision for people who wanted to eat and sit down whilst enjoying the performances. All round they were both great venues and I now understand why the band love them so much.

End of Green

A wall of unique sound hit me as END OF GREEN struck up. A mix of Metal, Goth and everything else you can imagine, they have a truly individual sound and a great visual stage presence. With their new album ‘The Sick’s Sense’ deservedly riding high in the German Album chart, these guys gave their live performance their all with a heavy driving beat and lots of clever and intelligent lyrics. By the end of the first song they had the audience 100% into what they were trying to give them and there was a feeling of slight disappointment in the crowd and rapturous applause when they finished their excellent set. END OF GREEN are Sad Sir, Kerker, Darkness, Hampez and Lusiffer, check them out here you won’t be disappointed.

In Extremo

From the second the instrumental refrain of ‘Requiem’ started with moody blue grey lighting to add atmosphere, the audience stood with baited breath until the band entered the stage. Straight off they launched into the old favourite ‘Omnia Sol Temporat’, which soon had the crowd joining in with loud enthusiasm. Red and green lighting followed on from the first song to the second, their recently very successful single ‘Frei Zu Sein’ from the no 1 album ‘Sängerkrieg’. By now the audience was in full throttle and Das Letzte Einhorn, Micha(el) Rhein had them in the palm of his hand with inspiring and passionate vocals that at times seemed ripped from his heart. Loud and proud pipers Flex and Yellow Pfeiffer regaled us with accurate and intricate melodies as they led us through track after track both old and new including ‘Küss Mich’, ‘Ave Maria’, ‘Horizont’ and ‘Singapur’, with all members of the band taking time out to joke and interact with the audience.

The gorgeous harp introduction to ‘Vollmond’ was flawlessly executed by the larger than life Dr Pymonte as rose petals cascaded from above and glitter cannons fired silver shards into the air that fell across the crowd in a spectacular light display that was as much focused on the crowd as it was on the band. The very inclusive way in which the lighting design had been conceived made the audience feel part of the show rather than merely spectators and by the time the band had reached their 20th song, the ever popular ‘Villeman Og Manghild,’ everyone present was aware of exactly what a special concert this had been. As the flaming drumsticks of Rainer Morgenstern gave them the first bite of the ancient Scandinavian song and Micha’s vocals ripped into the night with a breathy and deep resonation, fire cannons roared and strobe lights and pyros went off to make a truly breath taking finale to the show. With that song over an the band looking as though the gig was winding down, the audience spontaneously broke into chants of “Es regnet, Es regnet Blut, Es regnet, den Spielmannsfluch” much to the amusement of Micha Rhein who smilingly announced to them that they don’t play that.

He was soon proved to be wrong as the razor sharp and precise riffs of guitarist Sebastian (Der) Lange rang through the air to announce that ‘Spielmann’s Fluch’ was indeed next, and the hard driving bass line of Kay Lutter joined him to bring the old favourite to life without it ever once sounding tired or jaded. The crowd had been treated to 22 songs in total, all chosen and performed with care to incorporate the very best of IN EXTREMO’s long and varied career, as well as their new work from the fantastically successful ‘Sängerkrieg’ album such as ‘Mein Sehnen’, ‘In Diesem Licht’, ‘7 Köche’ and, very popular with the crowd, ‘En Esta Noche’. The sound crew had done a sterling job of maintain tone and balance under very difficult acoustic conditions at both venues, whilst the lighting design was nothing short of spectacular.

IN EXTREMO care deeply about their fans, this much is obvious, from their choice of excellent support act in END OF GREEN, to their thoughtful and intelligent choice of venues and attention to detail in lighting and sound application, which culminated in a concert which has to rank in the top three of anything I have ever attended. They have come a long way from their roots in the Medieval Markets, but they have not lost their drive, sense of fun or sheer love of what they are doing and this emotive connection with their music and their audience shone through like a beacon in what can sometimes be a cynical industry where money is everything. They truly outshone any expectations I had of them and it was pleasure to attend two such great gigs.

00. Requiem (Instrumental. Intro)
01. Omnia Sol Temporat
02. Frei Zu Sein
03. Wind
04. Sängerkrieg
05. Ave Maria
06. Küss Mich
07. Hiamali
08. Herr Mandalig
09. Mein Sehnen
10. Horizont
11. Rasend Herz
12. Wesebronner Gebet
13. Poc Vecem
14. En Esta Noche
15. Vollmond
16. Singapur
17. In Diesem Licht
18. Villemann Og Manghild
19. 7 Köche
20. Spielmannsfluch
21. Ai Vis Lo Lop
22. Palästina
Music: 9
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 9.3

All pictures Maddi Isaacs

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