UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER SHOWS HIS METAL HEART TO CALIFORNIA
Dirkschneider: The Grove, Anaheim and Whisky A Go-Go, Los Angeles, 23rd and 24th January 2017 27th January 2017
Words: Steve Göldby, Pictures: Don Tampa
Hardcore Californian Metallers really were dreaming last Sunday and Monday nghts but rather than all the leaves being brown, they were coloured Teutonic Metallic as Udo and his superb band accepted no prisoners and slayed an expectant audience.
"It's been a long time California - it's good to be back," bellowed the mainman in Arnheim early on as his compatriots kept things moving along at a blistering pace, despite the ridiculously low volume for the first few numbers threatening to subdue the gathered throngs.
The decibel count improved considerably during the set but it still didn't reach European levels, however those who made the effort were always going to enjoy it to the max, whatever the restrictions and provocation from over officious security. That's just the way it is on this side of the Atlantic and to these guys it's the norm.
What is not the norm is Accept's original vocalist bringing his band to this part of the world and whilst he stated last year that this mammoth run of dates, billed as 'A Farewell To Accept', would be the final ever time he would perform the songs of the band that first brought him to the attention of the world, the demand is most definitely there for a repeat performance as the Californian rockers speak of Udo in reverential terms.
The tour has been extended due to big public demand and while it's understandable that Udo wants to be known for the tremendous material he has created since he went solo, it's also near impossible to imagine a Udo gig with no 'Fast As A Shark', 'Princess Of The Dawn', 'Restless And Wild', 'Metal Heart' and the rest of a setlist that reads like a contemporary guide to the formative era of German Speed and Heavy Metal with wall to wall classic tracks taking us right up to the limit.
'Metal Heart' was the standout track of both nights but with so many excellent tracks on offer, there will almost certainly be a difference of opinion regarding that, especially amongst the Whisky crowd who lapped up every moment of a very special LA night.
Dirkschneider played to a less than capacity theater in Arnheim but the Whisky on Monday was a complete contrast as it was almost at bursting point and had another handful of carloads showed up, they might well have been hard pushed to get in.
Udo and his colleagues called into the Rainbow Bar And Grill, which is just a few doors up the street, after their soundcheck to pay homage to Lemmy and later in the evening, the German maestro took his own plaudits as America saluted one of the greats and was left burning by two blistering performances.
Finishing up with an outro of Sinatra's 'My Way', you have to say that Herr Dirkschneider has done exactly that and there are most definitely many more neon nights to look forward to from the original midnight mover.
This is the best line-up Udo has had since he departed Accept with guitar duo Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkinen utterly nailing it every time. The band is completed by Udo's long time bass man Fitty Wienhold and his drummer and son Sven, who took centre spot for the group's on stage post gig photo both nights.
The starlight shone bright over two wonderful nights on America's west coast with only winners and no losers witnessing their winterdeams come true and their balls well and truly nailed to the wall.
Udo talked frankly and sincerely about his time with Accept when he spoke with MetalTalk's Mark Taylor last April. Here's the conversation in full and you can see what happened at Dirkschneider's excellent performance at London's O2 Academy Islington just after this tour began right here.
Setlist (both nights):
Living for Tonite
Flash Rockin' Man
Head Over Heels
Princess Of The Dawn
Restless And Wild
Son Of A Bitch
Up To The Limit
Wrong Is Right
Screaming For A Love-Bite
Losers And Winners
I'm A Rebel
Fast As A Shark
Balls To The Wall
Remaining US tour dates:
January 27th: San Antonio, TX Alamo Music Hall
January 28th; Houston, TX Scout Bar
January 30th: Tampa, FL Orpheum
January 31st: Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
February 2nd: Baltimore, MD Soundstage
February 3rd: Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
February 4th: Philadelphia, PA The Trocadero