NASHVILLE (Billboard) - German goth/industrial band Rammstein has dreamed of playing Madison Square Garden for years.
But considering that the band hasn’t performed in the United States since 2001 — and that it’s completely under the radar of the mainstream concert business — conventional wisdom would say that landing a date at the storied arena would be one hell of a long shot.
Or maybe not. Not only is Rammstein booked for a December 11 show at the New York venue, the act sold out in about 30 minutes.
Rammstein will also play two sold-out nights December 6-7 at the 20,000-seat Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City before jetting up to Montreal for a December 9 gig at the 21,000-seat Center Bell hockey arena. It will also headline the annual Big Day Out festival in Australia in January.
The sellout at the Garden makes the prospect of a proper U.S. tour more intriguing, says Michael Arfin, the band’s U.S. booking agent.
“The goal was to see what kind of demand there really is,” he says. “It has been made really clear to us that thousands of people were unable to get tickets, and it’s great to see that there is a market here for the band, and our goal is to build that.”
Rammstein’s biggest album here, 1998’s “Sehnsucht,” has sold 1.2 million units to date, while its last album, 2009’s “Liebe Ist Fuer Alle Da,” debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 93,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Although Arfin initially thought a Garden show was beyond Rammstein’s reach, he came around after watching the band succeed in other parts of the world. “There seems to be an underground growth here, the mystique grew quite a bit,” he says. “The longer they were away, the more popular they became, and the more demand was created.”
The band, which is known for its elaborate stage sets and pyrotechnics, went all in.
“One of the most interesting aspects about this is these guys themselves were willing to risk an incredible amount of money to bring 10 semis of gear over here for one show to try to present this production to the American audience,” Arfin says. “They risked it, put it all on the line to try to do this, and we all succeeded.”
Still, Arfin believes that Rammstein should proceed with caution in this country.
“There is a fine line on the appropriate play for the band, what makes sense and how to present them properly,” he says. “The band needs to be seen in a certain setting, a certain type of venue, with their production. They’re not coming over here to play a ballroom tour or secondary markets. Everything is planned very clearly with a long-term goal of how to get this to the next step.”