Sunday, January 29, 2017

Restless and Wild

Slim's, San Francisco
January 21, 2017

Since the world is going into the shitter, it was nice to start this new year with this time machine show as a distraction.  It had been pissing down rain all week as well.  However, this only added to the atmosphere for what turned out to be one of the best shows Umlaut has seen in awhile.

As weird as it sounds, the last time Udo Dirkschneider visited The Bay Area was in 1993 with Accept.  However, before tonight he had never performed here as a solo artist, which is pretty mind blowing.  The first 4 Accept albums (Accept, I'm a Rebel, Breaker, and Restless and Wild) were hugely important to me as a teenage Metalhead and this show reminded me how sacred they still are to me.  While the vast majority of people only know the band from Balls To The Wall, I hated that song but that album was the first time Udo and Accept visited The Bay Area. 

[From the Umlaut Archives]

In San Jose back in 1984 we left after Accept played and skipped Saxon so we could make it back to San Francisco in time to see Megadeth at The Stone.  Those were the days, man.

Meanwhile here in 2017, Udo is playing a set of all Accept songs as a career victory lap, but I went into this show with zero expectations.  Although I had heard positive things about the earlier shows from friends on the East Coast, at this point you never know how it's going to be seeing your old heroes as old men.  Despite the storm outside, Slim's was comfortably filled... Not sold out.. but full enough that it felt good.  There were also a lot of old school Metal faces in the crowd as people came out of the woodwork for this special show.

Umlaut can be a very jaded mofo, but as Udo and his band took the stage I got caught up in the moment and moved closer to the stage than I normally do at Slim's.. and it was worth it.  Although I saw Accept back in The Day, they didn't play many of their early songs.  As a result, I'd been waiting since I was 17 to be in the same room as Udo as he sang Accept songs like 'Breaker', 'Son Of A Bitch', 'Midnight Highway'.. and he sounded great! Amazing.

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

There were some nice moments in the show where I felt like I was hearing songs for the first time again.  How did I never realize how punk 'I'm A Rebel' is before?!  I remembered that 'Restless and Wild' is one of my all-time favorite songs... and after all these years I was finally in the same room as Udo to sing along with him during 'Son Of A Bitch' on one of the greatest Metal lines ever written ("Cock sucking motherfucker I was raped!").  For the newbies:  The song was written about their record label at the time.

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

Udo's band was competent with his son playing drums... which was kind of weird since it was like watching 2 Udos at once onstage.  The guitarists lacked the defining Wolf Hoffmann tone of the original recordings, but they weren't bad despite their constant mugging and funny face-making.  Also, the sound tonight was one of the best I've heard at Slim's in a long time.  There have been many shows in recent years where Slim's has had the worst sound of any venue in The Bay Area.  Thankfully tonight someone had their shit together.  For those who care, this was the solid setlist from the show:
  • Starlight
  • Living for Tonite
  • Flash Rockin' Man
  • London Leatherboys
  • Midnight Mover
  • Breaker
  • Head Over Heels
  • Neon Nights
  • Princess of the Dawn
  • Winterdreams
  • Restless and Wild
  • Son of a Bitch
  • Up to the Limit
  • Wrong Is Right
  • Midnight Highway
  • Screaming for a Love-Bite
  • Monsterman
  • T.V. War
  • Losers and Winners
  • Metal Heart
  • I'm a Rebel
  • Fast as a Shark
  • Balls to the Wall
  • Burning
Four songs off the Breaker album.. Five songs off Restless and Wild.  Not bad.  My inner teenage Metalhead left the show feeling giddy.  Time travel does exist.  I'm still not a fan of 'Balls to the Wall' but tonight was the first time I didn't hate it.. but it was cool Udo closed with 'Burning' like Accept did in their glory days.

I completely forgot to check out the merch tonight.  It's weird how I don't care about that stuff anymoreOn the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags.  It's times like these that I'm glad I'm a pack rat with certain things, such as old cassette tapes like this one. 

Accept on the Restless and Wild Tour in 1983 in their homeland.  It's one of the best audience bootlegs I've ever heard.  The taper must have been in front of a PA stack because the sound is stellar and there's just enough of the crowd so you feel like you're getting elbowed in the face by drunk teenage German headbangers while getting beer spilled on you.  Time travel does exist.