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Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Msg, Benedictum @ Nordwaldweck, Bad Arolsen (GER)

ALICE COOPER, TED NUGENT, MSG, BENEDICTUM
in Thursday, 10 July 2008 at Nordwaldweck
by Erika Wallberg

It's always very nice to visit a new Festival and I've said that I really should explore at least one new every year. It turned out to be 'Magic Circle Festival' this year. There's no way to predict how it will be until you actually arrive at the festival. Well, besides music, beer and a lot of cool people that is. But what will the area be like, what's going to be good and what will be bad before you've actually been there and done it! From my spot on the campsite I had a perfect view over the main entrance and could just hang around my car and watch people go on and off to the festival area. If I would have been bored with that I could always have checked out the flora and fauna in the area. It must have been a zillion crickets there, playing in the grass. That was quite a weird way to start a festival, one cold beer in my hand and listening to crickets.

I was just ready to head off to the festival area to make sure that I wasn't going to miss anything of BENEDICTUM when something that sounded a lot more like a real concert than soudcheck kicked off at the main stage. And yes, that was actually BENEDICTUM who started playing, more than 20 minutes ahead of schedule. The line into the festival was still at least 100 meters long and they had missed to put up a Press_VIP entrance from the Camping so it was just to give up on seeing BENEDICTUM. I have the luck to get another chance to see them at 'Headbangers Open Air' in the end of July. But judging from the few songs I actually saw this band has grown a lot. Veronica Freeman wasn't screaming as much as she did at 'Wacken Open Air' last year; her voice was a lot more dynamic and the vocal melodies came though like a way they didn't do before. To play a cover of ACCEPT's Balls To The Wall was probably a brilliant move when you're in Germany and the addition of two background vocalists for the choirs sure was a great idea. But if extra resources are used they should at least look a little excited about it. I thought something was wrong and wondered when the roadies should leave the stage. Veronica did leave the stage before the song was finished and I thought it was a strange move to sing the last few lines out of sight. Their final song for the day was the title track from BENEDICTUM's latest album, Season Of Tragedy which sounded absolutely great and I felt really disappointed to have missed most of their show.

Well, inside the festival area there was no way I would miss MSG at least, or? Michael Schenker has always been one of my absolute favorite guitar players and I've been lucky, because I've never seen him in one of his really low points. It has always been if not brilliant, at least very good when I've seen him. The organizer claim everyone's attention just minutes before the gig was supposed to start and I got this feeling in my stomach that he was bringing bad news. Apparently vocalist Gary Barden was stuck in traffic and the concert was delayed 15 minutes. Because of that the festival gave everyone free beers until it started. Quite a cool move to compensate for lost time, I give them that but I'd rather have had more of MSG. To have Gary Barden back with Michael sure is a dream come true for me, so the shortened set was a huge disappointment. Not that MSG wasted any time when they finally started though, Gary came running up on stage to the last few notes of Into The Arena and they just kept serving hit after hit. Cry For The Nations, Attack Of The Mad Axeman, Armed And Ready and my all time favorite Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. The best thing with this concert was to see Michael back in shape, his guitar playing was perfect and he seemed to enjoy being on stage again. I've never seen him this happy before. He even joked around a little with the introduction to Doctor Doctor, playing a variation of it, very soft and quiet. But he wasn't fooling anyone; it just took a few notes before everyone knew what was coming and started screaming.

From one quite eccentric guitar player to a stir crazy one! TED NUGENT, the madman from Detroit brought on everything from the start.


It was completely impossible to keep track of everything that was going on on stage. To just watch, listen and try to keep up with every move and manage the camera at the same time felt like an impossible task. It was total chaos. I felt a little stupid when I had the chance to calm down and realized it was mostly Ted and his guitar that was going on on stage. It's so fascinating to hear a trio sound that much, not one bit empty or weak, ever. Ted goes from sounding like a black gospel preacher to a coarse car salesman when introducing the songs, constantly chewing widely on his chewinggum. But everything was very believable and had a lot of humor without being  too much. That's a balance very few manages to master. There was nothing else to do that get in the line and enjoy, this was high quality Rock'n'Roll. You know Ted said, it's DIO's birthday today; give it up for Ronnie! Of course that earned him some free credits, after all this was a Metal festival but it's still very unusual for big bands to talk about other bands. Especially ones that's not even present in the billing. The real disadvantage for me here is that I've never taken the time to get into TED NUGENT's music. Of course, everyone knows Cat Scratch Fever and that's about all I recognize too.

From a trigger-happy ranger to the godfather of Rock 'n' Roll Horror! ALICE COOPER need no long introduction, he's been creating lots of headlines for himself over the years.


First, because of his quite controversial stage show and secondly because of releasing a whole bunch of great albums over almost 4 decades. Maybe the show wasn't as spectacular as the regular concerts, festival-shows seldom are but it felt very intense, no dead moments and it got more and more exciting the longer the gig went. It felt like the show moved to a higher lever for each song and my focus were on stage the entire time. There's always something new to watch, even if it was just some little thing like a new cane and a hat for Feed My Frankenstein or something really big as the gallows with the traditional execution followed by I Love The Dead. My favorite part though wasSteven from Welcome To My Nightmare.

ALICE COOPER might not be the greatest singer in the world but the emotion he puts into the vocal arrangements when it's needed makes him so unique. And looking at the entertainment value there's only a few artists in the world that can give him a match.

(photos by 'Welcome To My Nightmare' Erika)

BENEDICTUM

MSG

TED NUGENT

ALICE COOPER

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