In front of tens of thousands of spectators in Munich's Olympic Stadium, the rock band Rammstein played the first German concert of their current European tour. The band did not respond to the allegations made against frontman Till Lindemann (60) during their performance on Wednesday evening. Singer Lindemann was, as usual, taciturn between the songs. He said goodbye to the audience with the words: "Munich, thank you for being here. Thank you for being with us."
Unlike the first concerts of the current European tour, the band did without the song "Pussy", to which Lindemann usually sprays the audience with a huge, penis-shaped foam cannon. The omission resulted in a small shift, otherwise the recorded program remained unchanged according to the set list.
There was also no comment on the allegations at the second Munich concert on Thursday evening.
Several women have raised allegations against Lindemann in the past few days, some of them anonymously. The women describe situations that some of them would have found frightening. Young women were selected during concerts and asked if they wanted to come to the after-show party. According to some women, sexual acts are said to have taken place there. The women had previously been selected from an area at the very front of the auditorium - the so-called row zero (English: Row Zero).
Band is hit by allegations
In a statement by Rammstein, it was said that the allegations hit the band very hard and that they were taken extremely seriously. "We say to our fans: It is important to us that you feel comfortable and safe at our shows - in front of and behind the stage." The letter went on to say: "We condemn any kind of transgression and ask you: do not participate in public prejudice of any kind against those who have made allegations. They have a right to their point of view." But the band also has a right - namely not to be prejudiced either.
Lindemann rejected allegations against him on Thursday. He is now having his interests represented by a lawyer. This was announced by the Berlin lawyers Simon Bergmann and Christian Schertz. "Serious allegations against our client have been made by various women on social networks, particularly on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube," the statement said. "It has been repeatedly claimed that women at Rammstein concerts were drugged with knockout drops or alcohol to enable our client to perform sexual acts on them. These allegations are untrue without exception."
Protest also in the Olympic Park
In Munich, crowds of Rammstein fans flocked to the Olympic Park on Wednesday afternoon. In the evening, the band also countered protest. Around 60 people gathered with megaphones and banners with inscriptions such as "It's never the victim's fault", "No show for perpetrators" and "Believe victims of sexualised violence".
There aren't many, but they are loud, says a 27-year-old woman from Munich who has joined the protest. "I live right next door, and the thought of having four Rammstein concerts here was unbearable for me. It's very important to me that a counter-event is somehow visible."
Individual fans felt provoked by the protest and pointed the middle finger at the gathering. A few times the police had to intervene; a spokesman reported no major incidents towards the end.
The Olympic Stadium was packed for the concert on Wednesday evening, but a few seats remained empty. Many tickets were previously available from ticket exchanges on the Internet. There were a total of four Rammstein concerts in Munich - also this Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. In Berlin, the band will play three concerts in July.
Row Zero locked
Some changes had been announced for the concerts in Munich: There were no longer any guest groups in Row Zero, the security area immediately in front of the stage. The concept for the after-show parties has also changed, according to those close to the band. There shouldn't be two parties anymore - a big one for fans and band, a small one for Lindemann and women. In the future there should only be one celebration after the concerts. After the concert, the band, friends, relatives and fans met in Munich, as it was said.
For the concerts, the band has also commissioned a so-called awareness concept, i.e. a concept for mindfulness against abusive behavior.
Since the start of the tour in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, the band has been investigating the area. There should already be witness statements. A law firm interviews crew members, the security team, the band. Women who may be affected should also be interviewed. According to the information, it is still unclear whether the first results should be published this week.
Politicians want more protection against attacks
In view of the allegations, demands from politicians for more protection against attacks in the German cultural sector have also become louder. Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) said that it was necessary to talk about how young people in particular could be better protected. She invites the music industry to join the alliance "Together against sexism". The alliance is a broad alliance of politics, business, administration, media, culture and civil society, said Paus.
The Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) was open to this. The association had entered into discussions with the ministry "in order to advance this important process together," said a spokesman.
Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth sharply condemned attacks in culture. "Patriarchal mockery and sexual assault no longer have any place in the music industry, or in art and culture in general or anywhere else," said the Greens politician. She welcomes the courage of many young women to speak openly about their sometimes traumatic experiences.