Five years after announcing that he would embark on a special tour during which he would perform ACCEPT songs one last time under the DIRKSCHNEIDER banner before closing that chapter for good, former ACCEPT frontman Udo Dirkschneider is continuing to play ACCEPT material at select shows, including at the September 18, 2020 U.D.O. concert in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, which will be released on DVD and Blu-ray later this month. Asked in a new interview with Canada's The Metal Voice why the ACCEPT tracks are still finding their way into the U.D.O. setlist, Udo said (see video below): "In the beginning, I said, 'With U.D.O., I don't play any ACCEPT songs.' But for this concert [in Plovdiv], the promoter was really begging: 'Is it possible to play some ACCEPT songs?' And we said, 'Okay.' And in the end, we did five songs — the classic stuff, of course. It's the same with the [upcoming U.D.O.] tour in America. The tour in American and Canada was confirmed already. Now we have to wait for new dates, and I think it will happen in 2022. The promoter in America, he said, 'You don't play any ACCEPT songs with U.D.O.?' And I said, 'Yeah, normally we don't do it.' [And he said] 'But you cannot do a tour in America and Canada without [playing] 'Balls To The Wall'.' I said, 'Yes, I can do that. No problem.' He said, 'Why not? It's not a big deal. People wanna hear that.' I mean, I don't have a problem to play 'Balls' and maybe two more other ACCEPT songs.
"After three years of DIRKSCHNEIDER, playing every night only ACCEPT stuff, and on the other side, I have 16 U.D.O. albums, and the seventeenth is coming up," he explained. "So that was the point to say the people heard enough now of ACCEPT, it's done, and now I concentrate on U.D.O. and I don't need to play any ACCEPT songs; there's another band that can play ACCEPT songs.
"I was just talking also in another interview today, and they said, 'Who gives a fuck about this? The people wanna [some ACCEPT songs].' Not 50 percent of the setlist, but they wanna hear the classic stuff, like 'Metal Heart', 'Balls', 'Fast As A Shark' — stuff like that. And I said, 'Yeah. We will see. I don't know yet.' But at the moment, I don't have to think about it, so at the moment, there's nothing going on."
Udo went on to confirm that U.D.O. will "definitely" play some ACCEPT songs if the band's North American tour materializes in 2021 or 2022.
When he first announced the DIRKSCHNEIDER tour, Udo said that had "to make a clear break for myself — close the book and this is it. And I have the problem that people come to me and ask me to play more ACCEPT songs," he explained. "Other people ask me why I play ACCEPT songs at all, because there are [more than] fifteen U.D.O. records. I want to avoid such things and avoid the repeating questions concerning ACCEPT. I just can't stand that anymore. There is nothing more to be said. U.D.O. exists longer than ACCEPT. We have more records than ACCEPT."
While acknowledging that some ACCEPT fans want to hear the band's classic songs performed by the group's original singer, Dirkschneider explained that "you always have these comparisons [between how these songs are played by ACCEPT and U.D.O.]. I don't want this anymore either. [The current lineup of ACCEPT] also play 'Metal Heart', they play 'Balls To The Wall' and 'Princess Of The Dawn'. And then some people tell me, 'Oh, [current ACCEPT singer Mark Tornillo] is doing it better than you.' And I go, 'That's fine. Enjoy yourself.' But I don't want this anymore. And to avoid all of this in the future, I said, 'We are doing this one more time.'"
Dirkschneider said that his vow to never play ACCEPT material again came with one caveat. "If the band ACCEPT dissolves one day in the near future and I am still around with U.D.O., then there is a chance that I put ACCEPT songs back in the setlist," he said. "But currently there is ACCEPT, so go see them [if you want to see those songs performed live]. They are playing these songs."
Udo previously said the original plan was for DIRKSCHNEIDER to only "a few shows," and "then [the tour] got bigger and bigger [due to demand]." But, he added, "I don't want to complain about that."
Back in 2018, ACCEPT guitarist Wolf Hoffmann declined to comment on Dirkschneider's decision to embark on one final tour during which the singer would perform nothing but ACCEPT songs. "I have lots of thoughts about that, but I'm not gonna share 'em with you," he told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". "I'd rather not comment on that, because that seems so much 'back and forth,' and I think I should stay away from it… You can draw your own conclusions all day long, but I'm not gonna get into it; it's just not worth it.
"I get asked [about Udo] so many times, and, man, it's been so many years — it's such an old story by now," Wolf continued. "We've moved on way past that, and we've had 10 brilliant years [with Mark Tornillo], we're making cool albums; I think we're doing fine. So I don't spend any time thinking about it.
"I'm very proud of the history we have together and all that, but I'm just not gonna get into the current 'he said, she said' whatever — it's not worth it," Hoffmann concluded.