Last year the legendary Wacken festival in Germany welcomed 75,000 fans to watch over 120 bands spread over seven stages. Unlike 2012, 2013 was notable for the beautiful hot sunshine that lasted almost all weekend with just a couple of short downpours. If you haven’t been then it’s certainly a festival that I can’t recommend enough.
One thing that Wacken does each year is to release a DVD. Now, just days before the 2014 festival, the DVD of last year’s festival is here. It’s being released as a triple DVD, with 3x BluRay and 2x CD versions also available. The DVD/Bluray versions feature 106 songs from 43 bands – now that is impressive. The first disc alone is almost 3 hours of music, so that one disc is impressive, even before you make a start on the other two.
Before I go on to talk more about the contents of the disc, something well worth knowing about is the special prizes hidden in some copies. There is a Golden ticket, along with 10 silver tickets, so 11 winners in total. What do you win? Well the lucky winner of the golden ticket will get a Lifetime membership of Wacken Open Air – which means free entry to every year’s festival for the rest of their life. The silver tickets give the winners a tour through the artist village (i.e. backstage area where the dressing rooms are) at the festival.
The release sounds good already, but to make it even better, all the bands and labels involved have donated their royalties to the Wacken Foundation, a non-profit organisation in support of the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal scene (www.wacken-foundation.com). UDR Records will also be making a donation of 1 Euro for each and every DVD & CD sold, with everyone involved, from manufacturing to marketing, supporting the Foundation.
The DVD features 43 bands including Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Nightwish, Sabaton, Motörhead Deep Purple, Annihilator, Anthrax, Lingua Mortis Orchestra feat. Rage, Soilwork, Devildriver, Doro, Agnostic front, Thunder and Ugly Kid Joe. Nightwish fans will no doubt have already purchased the Showtime Storytime DVD which was filmed at the festival, and Annihilator fans might have the special edition of “Feast” which included a bonus DVD of their Wacken 2013 performance, but most of the footage of the other bands is being seen here for the first time.
Generally you get two or three songs of each of the bands that appears on the DVD, so in the case of Motorhead that’s a large part of their set since they had to abandon their set quite early on due to Lemmy’s health and him struggling with the heat.
Sound and video quality are both excellent (my neighbours can confirm the sound quality is good as I must admit to having it on a bit too loud), and there’s a good use of the various camera angles, mainly focussing on the arists performing, but also showing some crowd shots.
It’s nice to see that some of the guest appearances that took place over the weekend are included on the DVD, such as Motorhead’s Phil Campbell guesting with Ugly Kid Joe for a cover of “Ace of Spades”. Also it’s good to see that the DVD doesn’t just cover the bands on the main stages, but also includes some of the bands who played one of the two stages in the tent.
Altogether you get around seven and a half hours of live music plus a 45 minute documentary talking to some of the fans at the festival.
One thing I would say is that while the CD and DVD versions are well priced at the usual online stores (£25 for the DVD version, £15 for the CD), the BluRay is massively overpriced by Amazon in the UK, coming in at £53, so if you want it for a more reasonable price, follow the merchandise links from the Wacken website as EMP in the UK have it for just £32 – that’s a saving well worth knowing about.
It’s a great DVD and I’d recommend it to anyone who was at Wacken Open Air last year – and to any metal fan who hasnt been as there’s something for everyone on the DVDs.
“Live at Wacken 2013” will be released on 28th July.