DIRKSCHNEIDER – Bergen – Ricks
The legend that is Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O., ex-Accept) hardly needs any introduction. Some of the most memorable and catchy heavy metal tunes of all time are by Accept and, to some extent, U.D.O. That is simply a fact, or a law of nature, if you will. Along with the Canadian outfit Anvil in tow, Dirkschneider rolled into Bergen on a cold and rainy Sunday night to lay waste to the venue named Ricks, and what a treat it turned out to be. The thing about this particular tour of Dirkschneider’s is that he and his fellow band mates only perform classic cuts by Accept in order to "retire" them for good, which is to say that this tour is actually somewhat exclusive and special in that you will never hear him sing or perform any of these particular songs again. Quite cool, eh? Anyway, my wife, my dad, and I all went, and we were very excited about the prospect of witnessing an Accept marathon delivered by one of the best vocalists to ever grace this particular genre of music.
We arrived shortly after Anvil had taken the stage. They launched into "Badass Rock ‘n’ Roll" when we walked in and the trio appeared quite enthusiastic. Steve "Lips" Kudlow was all smiles and he managed to get the crowd going in places and have them sing along and clap. The band was in pretty good shape and ran through songs such as "Winged Assassins", "Free as the Wind" (which was dedicated to Lemmy), the awful "Zombie Holocaust", the funny "Daggers and Rum", and the classic "Metal on Metal". Overall, Anvil were relatively fun to watch, but musically there is nothing interesting going on. Decent and entertaining, but that is about it. In addition, the German guys who were standing right in front of us during Anvil and farting like motherfuckers were no damn fun at all.
(Photo: Camilla Nepper)
Close to 10 PM, everything went dark and a great and moody ambient-like intro filled the venue. The members of the band then gradually took the stage. The stage setup was pretty minimal; there was no back-drop or anything like that. The band opened with "Starlight", and I dare say that we were off to a great start. "Living for Tonite", "Flash Rockin’ Man", and "London Leatherboys" followed. The band was inhumanly tight and everything was spot-on without being rigid or stiff. However, the lame Bergen crowd did not really get going until "Midnight Mover" crushed our bones into dust. The sound was both good and punchy, at least where we were standing. Songs such as "Breaker", Head Over Heels", "Neon Nights", and "Princess of the Dawn" followed. The latter was probably the highlight of the evening in my opinion. The mellow and melancholic "Winterdreams" added some variety and diversity to the performance while "Restless and Wild" and "Son of a Bitch" kicked our asses thoroughly. Everybody was singing along and clapping and so on. The interaction on stage between the different members was awesome; they were all smiles and you could tell that they were having a blast. In other words, they all brought something to the table. Udo was excellent and delivered every damn note with passion and intensity. He still sounds like he did in the old days. Incredible! I also have to hand it to Sven Dirkschneider; he beat the hell out of those drums and played a large part in making the songs sound more intense and aggressive live compared to their studio counterparts.
(Photo: Camilla Nepper)
Songs such as "Up to the Limit", "Screaming for a Love-Bite", and "Losers and Winners" were up before the band left the stage following the main set. After a few minutes, they came back and plunged into "Metal heart", another highlight of the evening. "I’m a Rebel", the immortal "Fast as a Shark", and the face-melting "Burning" followed suit and left us all in state of heavy metal ecstasy. 2 hours of Accept classics delivered with class and aggression. I counted 23 songs in total. How can you not love something like that? This was not only a memorable and highly entertaining show, but also a very inspiring one in that Udo is well past 60 years old and yet his voice is intact and he still delivers the goods. Truly admirable, and a show to remember.