Wacken is a small village in northern Germany with a population of 1,800. Wacken would not be very well known if a few guys had not decided in 1990 to follow their passion for heavy metal and set up a festival themselves.
We all know that what started small has become one of the most famous and popular festivals in the world. The W:O:A initiators Thomas Jensen and Jens Hübner have thus turned an obvious disadvantage of the location into a unique feature – and that impresses.
After a two-year Corona-related hiatus, Wacken 2022 is going full throttle, bringing 85,000 people to the village.
Metalheads and Wacken locals, this has already become a community for decades, which meets each August. This year, you get the impression that everyone had really missed each other. The close connection is evident also when you hear that metalheads from Austria came to Wacken even last year, although there was no festival – simply out of their passion for Northern Germany and to visit their ‘landlords’, who have become almost friends over the years. That’s the spirit of Wacken and everyone is happy that it’s starting again.
W:O:A., that means either dust and heat or rain and cold. This time the weather god has provided the first. So, day one starts very warm and the festival area can be easily recognized by a small cloud of dust.
The unlucky ones of the day are Gloryhammer. The band can unfortunately only play four songs, for which they are not responsible. Canceled flights and traffic jams on their journey lead to a delay that could not be compensated and results in a very shortened set. Nevertheless, the fans don’t let their party vibe be spoiled and the day still offers enough good metal.
On Wednesday, the two big main stages are not in operation, but this does not mean that there is not much going on. Concerning the bands, metal fans can also look forward to the first highlights.
Michael Monroe is one of these great moments and offers one of his unique and powerful shows on the ‘W:E:T’ stage. The Finnish whirlwind immediately creates a positive atmosphere. Songs like ‘One Man Gang’ and ‘Last Train to Tokyo’ provide a perfect start into a great rock’n’roll spectacle. Whether standing, jumping, sitting, or kicking a Wacken ball, Monroe is a high energy guy who is always on the move and lives the spirit of rock. Supported by his great band, this show is a great moment on day one.
Equally snappy and with a heavy dose of 80’s disco sound it is The Night Flight Orchestra who kick off their set. The band brings glitter and glamour to Wacken plus a solid portion of good vibes. The audience is fascinated from the first song, which is only more motivation for The Night Flight Orchestra. Björn Strid and his men (and girls) spread a great atmosphere for an hour and those who have only heard the band on record so far should definitely see The Night Flight Orchestra live. This concert is simply fun and joy.
Holland’s flagship in the field of symphonic metal is, besides Within Temptation, for sure Epica. The latter play the ‘Louder’ stage, and it is a considerable number of fans who want to see the dutchmen. 2022 is a special year for the band. Founded in 2002, the sextet celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, which will be extensively celebrated in September in Tilburg, the Netherlands. But today the W:O:A is on the schedule.
Epica are offering an eleven song setlist and start with ‘Abyss of Time – Countdown to Singularity’, a newer song. The ‘Omega’ album was released in November 2021 and there haven’t been many moments for fans to listen to the new songs live yet. Nevertheless, to offer a good overview, the three new tracks are joined by songs like ‘Consign to Oblivion’, which takes fans back to the band’s beginnings which fans appreciate a lot.
On the ‘Louder’ stage it continues with Avantasia, the headliner of the day. Wacken is in a way a home game for the band and the large number of fans in front of the stage manifests the popularity. Mainman Tobias Sammet never gets tired of mentioning how happier he is that after 2,5 f**king years of pandemic the band can finally play in front of fans again. And the fact that the band performs ‘The Wicked Rule the Night’, a new song from the upcoming album, relatively early in their set, boosts the atmosphere in the audience.
Two hours and sixteen songs, that’s what Avantasia brings to the stage this time and it’s the well-known singers that support Sammet. Metal siren Ralf Scheepers is the first to come into action, a powerhouse, not only in terms of voice. With Jørn Lande a little Dio spirit comes into play while Eric Martin shines as usual. And how good it is to see Ronnie Atkins on stage and hear his distinctive voice.
Wednesday had quite a few highlights and with sunset also the temperatures became bearable. The beginning of a warm and long summer night.
Location: Wacken, Germany
Date: August 3rd, 2022
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