I’ve probably said this before, but Accept is one of my all-time favourite metal bands. It just so happened they were one of the first metal bands I heard on the radio when I started getting into the heavy stuff, thus the connection was established long ago. I’m not sure there was one thing in particular that got me into them, but if I had to guess, it was probably the vocals. I had been a big AC/DC fan before I ever heard Udo Dirkschneider and company, so I probably made the connection through his not-so-golden voice.
So when Udo (or rather U.D.O., as he now prefers to be known) first announced his North American solo tour back in January, I knew I had to be there. I’ve had the opportunity to see Accept three times since their 2010 reunion, but I’ve never seen the original voice of Accept. And that’s no knock on Mark Tornillo, who has filled in admirably in both the vocal and the height department. I kid you not, shortly after their first post-reunion Toronto gig, someone said to me, “So, Udo dresses like a biker now, eh?”
Not to my knowledge, anyways. While his bandmates have taken a few breaks since the end of the 80’s, the five-foot-five frontman has kept on donning the camo with his solo project, whose 14th studio album comes out next month. And while my Accept collection is pretty much complete (I even own Eat the Heat!), I’ve only got two or three U.D.O. albums. But hey, he mostly does Accept stuff in concert, right?
Well, not anymore, apparently. An early tour report on Bravewords.com noted that Accept tunes make up less than a third of his current set–and there’s no “Restless & Wild” or “Princess of the Dawn,” but he did play “Head Over Heels” and “Screaming for a Love Bite(!)” in NYC, along with the usual encore suspects (“Metal Heart,” “Fast as a Shark” and that song about balls). The reason, as BWBK scribe Mark Gromen postulates, is that Herr Dirkschneirder recently welcomed two new guitarists into the fold for Album #14, Steelhammer. You mean to tell me that having the entire Accept catalogue memorized wasn’t required for the audition? Ach mein Gott!
Then again, these hired guns couldn’t possibly play the old stuff as well as Wolf Hoffmann and *insert second guitarist here*, right? Considering that Accept has hit Toronto in each of the past two years, it’s probably just as well that U.D.O. isn’t going back over too much pre-conquered territory. And while I probably won’t know a good chunk of his material, I’m still looking forward to seeing one of my childhood idols in concert for the first time–pretty sure I was already taller than him when I first heard “Balls to the Wall,” mind you.
Besides, I don’t see how I could come away too disappointed. Most of Udo’s solo stuff sounds a lot like Accept, anyways. 😉
U.D.O., Halcyon Way and Axxion @ Mod Club, 772 College St, Sunday, April 14th. First band @ 7:45, Udo @ 9:45. $20.