|» U.D.O. 2006 02 14||
I can't think of any better warm up act for U.D.O. than the metal pride of Växjö, Bullet! The five guys shine of pure joy over every opportunity to play their early 80s metal, in the vein of Priest, Maiden, AC/DC and - of course - Accept. The permanent special guests, Memorized Dreams from Norway, had got kicked out of the tour and that gave the local support act a bit more time than expected, which resulted in a couple of spontaneous numbers. A situation the band handled well. They played with pure inspiration.
"Hell" Hofer could use some more strength in his voice sometimes, but it is impressing that he manages to hold that characteristic Brian Johnson tone through a whole set without any sign of being strained. It is not often the crowd wants more of the support band, but this is a home game for Bullet and they get great response. This is party metal, even on a Tuesday. I just hope that they soon will break through also outside Växjö. With songs like Leather Love, Hard Luck Lady and Speeding In The Night they have quite a great foundation already. Bang Your Head would even fit on most Accept records.
8 chalices of 10
I think Udo Dirkschneider must be the truest metal heart still alive. Although having reached a respectable age he is so in love with his hard and straight 80s metal that he rather performs before a small crowd in Växjö Folkets Park than selling just a slightest ounce of his soul for another arena/festival tour with Accept. That is perhaps the truest decision ever made by a hard rocker of such status. Therefore you can see him totally enjoying what he is doing today, even in front of just above three hundred persons in Växjö.
Another easy way would be to play the songs everyone knows. But this is a tour proclaimed to be based on a best of U.D.O. setlist, with songs that fans have voted for on the band's homepage. That means that the usual quota of about fifty percent Accept songs are skipped. Naturally that put a lot of extra pressure on the band to please the audience.
U.D.O. thought they were going to play in Värnamo and therefore arrived in Växjö a bit late. Anyway they go on stage a bit earlier than planned, because of the missing support act. But it takes a couple of songs before they seem warm enough to reach their usual standard. Mission No. X and 24/7 from the latest album passes by quite unnoticed. Udo never warms up his voice before a concert, he told me in an interview. Well, maybe he should start to do that. From time to time his vocals are not as strong as we are spoiled with. But it might be the sound that is the problem as well. It is when a remarkably heavy version of Independence Day pounds out with extreme volume that the evening starts to reach higher levels. Trip To Nowhere - number two in the fan vote - gets lost somewhere in the sound mix, since the, for the chorus important, choir gets totally lost. The Bullet And The Bomb straighten things out again.
Udo can still surprise as well. Dressed as Death, in a black robe and without showing his face, he performs Mean Streets, the strongest track from Mission No. X. Heart Of Gold from Faceless World won the vote among the fans. The version we are delivered tonight is so heavy compared to the quite lame production on Faceless World that I hardly recognise it. Again the sound is almost too loud and blurry. The band continues with a couple of slower songs, in the exact right moment. Blind Eyes is one of the best ballads they have ever made and Cry Soldier Cry works surprisingly well live. Udo needs to rest for a while and leaves Igor Gianola to perform a quite unexciting guitar solo. Not until he takes the chords of Princess Of The Dawn the crowd gets totally on his side.
They Want War - number four in the fan vote - is a welcome contribution to the set. A really underrated tune, when you take away the children's choir from the record version. Man And Machine - a more expected number three - always works well live, with its brutal, pounding march drumming. But Udo should need a lesson from Till Lindemann in the art of moving like a German robot. With Mad For Crazy the number of new songs reaches five, and that is a couple too many for such a middle class release as Mission No. X. The encore numbers are predictable, with Holy and a couple of Accept classics, but nonetheless they do their work. Songs like Metal Heart and Balls To The Wall are irresistible for every metal fan, even if you have heard them hundreds of times before.
I missed a few personal U.D.O. favourites such as Shout It Out, Azrael
and Like A Lion. But most of all I wanted Stefan Kaufmann to bring out
the accordion and introduce us to Trainride In Russia. It is sad that
the band don't seem to understand that this song should be compulsory
to include in the set. Nevertheless U.D.O. always deliver, and their love
to metal always spreads itself to the crowd, no matter the size. By the
way - all respect to Jörg Fischer, but Stefan Kaufmann should have
been playing the second guitar on last summer's Accept tour! The old drummer
almost fit in Wolf Hoffmann's shoes nowadays.
8 chalices of 10
1. Mission No. X