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Polo Rock Festival

- Polo Rock Festival - - Düsseldorf (D) -

- Polo-Festival 2002 -
- Düsseldorf - July, 1st & 2nd 2004 -

In Extremo, Die Happy, Subway To Sally, Crystal Ball, Adler's Appetite, The Stranglers, Saxon, Queensrÿche

The Düsseldorf-based company Polo started 3 years ago with some entertaining for their customers and to bring some more people to the companies HQ. As a motorcycle cloth supplier they mainly attract rock and metal fans. Last year it was just one day, this year the program was Friday and Saturday. On Friday the bands attracted more the fans of alternative and mediaeval metal. Opening acts were Cheb Balowski and Sub7even, but I missed them. Actually I haven't heard of Cheb Balowski before and so I have no idea if I should regret it or not. Sub7even are more known, coz part of the band played for years with Rage and they had 2 singles which clips got played at Viva and MTV. I haven't seen them live, so...
During the change over Axxis singer Bernhard Weiß and Diana Herold - known from the Bully Parade - gave information about what to come. First highlight at the Polo-Festival were Subway To Sally. Due to the early stage time not that many fans were there, most had to work and didn't made it in time. Their last album Engelskrieger was more metal then their previous releases. Some fans might regret this change, other might need some time to get used to it and some - like me - welcomed the more metallic sounds of Eric Fish and his pales. From the first note frontman Eric had the audience and they screamed when he ask them to. Part of the show was Eric spitting fire and later they showed that the 'pistols' they brought on stage were flame thrower. The fans knew the old and the new tunes and sang along. The older ones sound more metal now and it seems that the fans like that. The songs did sound more fresh and I hope that they will continue this with their next album which they are recording right now. They had only 70 minutes, but I prefer a good 70 minutes show then see a longer, but boring show. And they will be back!
Next came Die Happy. The band of frontgirl Martha had to convince the fans, coz playing between 2 mediaeval bands isn't easy. But Martha and her boys gave everything and soon had the audience on her side. It 2 years since they got first attention by media and fans. I mainly know what been shown on Viva and MTV, but this music works even if you don't know the song. They presented their show with a lot of power and presented themselves in a very sympathetic way. I think they made a few new fans and they will make their way. The are touring very hard and if all their shows are like today's, then they will make it big. No doubt about it!
Today's headliner was In Extremo who just supported Red Hot Chili Peppers in Germany. Their 90+ minutes long set was full of their own classics, highlights. And it just took Herr Mannelig, Vollmond and Küss mich to heat up the audience. Touring helped them to get tighter and they act more professional on stage now. As like the older stuff of Subway To Sally also the older songs of In Extremo sound more metal and in their new powerful outfit I - and many of the other watchers - like them better. Unusual was that fronter Micha got two fans on stage to sing with him. Okay, it didn't sound perfect, but they had the guts to do it. My respect for that. When the set was over the fans shouted for more and so they stayed for 2 more songs. And so the show was almost 110 minutes long when the band said farewell and wished everybody safe trip back home. (CE)

I missed the local bands, sorry guys, but you played too early for me. I was there in time for the Swiss rockers Crystal Ball. They just toured with U.D.O., Axxis and Pink Cream 69. It was obvious that they are very experienced - they also toured with Dokken 2 years ago - , I guess that took them a step up the ladder of professionalism. It seemed that they wanted to fight the rain with guitar riffs and they positive hard rock. They haven't played many festivals in the past - at least not here in Germany - , but bands like Gotthard, Axxis and Pink Cream 69 showed us that this music works good at festivals. And even the rainy weather couldn't do any harm, but surely we all hoped for more sunny intervals.
Actually I didn't know what to expect from former Guns'n'Roses drummer Steven Adler and his band Adler's Appetite. But what everybody hoped became true, Adler and his companions mostly presented old Guns'n'Roses classic in a modern, new arranged sound. I think nobody missed Axl Rose. The band of former band members presented the old classics brilliantly. It was fun to watch them, even if we got showered again. Due to the bad weather conditions just about 300 fans were there to see the Americans. Hopefully they will come back. Okay, I don't know, if non-Guns'n'Roses material would work out for them...
With The Stranglers a band entered the stage which created something new when they first got public attention. Their mixture of punk and new wave might not fit to a biker festival, but the reactions of the people seemed to proof POM - organizer - right. They had their chart entries, but live they sound more underground. Beside their hits Golden Brown and Sweet Dreams I didn't knew the songs, but I had fun.
The NWoBHM heroes Saxon came next. I think most of the spectators came just to see them. I saw Saxon a couple of times during the years and also saw some festival performances of Biff Byford and his mates. Mr. Byford is the only original member, but most of the others are in the band for awhile now. The band started about 27 years ago and they still rock the house! It was a best-of set and when young and old fans shouted for Crusader the master answered: "We never play Crusader in the daytime..." Unfortunately they had to leave after 60 minutes, coz they had to play another show tonight! Biff explained the situation and so they gave the fans what they want... Crusader!
I missed Stamina, coz even journalists need a break and once in awhile some food and drink.
Then it was time for Seattle's finest! Queensrÿche! It was great to see them again, even if I still miss guitarist Chris DeGarmo... Geoff Tate and his circle of friends played all their hits including Queen Of The Reich, Operation: Mindcrime and Empire. They also played some new tracks, but the 80's / early 90's tunes were what the fans waited for. It seemed that they were aware of it and played many old ones. My personal highlight was the ballad Silent Lucidity. One of the best ballads of all times, if you ask me. After 2 songs during the encore and more then 100 minutes the band left the stage and Polo-Festival 2004 was over.
Many thanks to the organization and the friendly crew / security. Next year Polo is celebrating their 50th anniversary and so I think it'll be a big event. This year about 5,000 came to Polo-Festival and next year there probably more will come... Perhaps another location would be a good idea... And to do the festival on Saturday and Sunday, so that everybody has the chance to see it. Beside that, no complains. It was a pleasure to be there! See you next year!?! (Thommy)

Claudia Ehrhardt
           ©2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:  contact@ice-vajal.com

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