Alive and kicking, get the best out of me

Gotthard – Turbinenhalle Oberhausen; February 18th, 2017

Gotthard are an old love of mine. Not the music I listen to on a daily basis, but always fun to catch on tour. This year marks their 25th anniversary and for 21 of those years I’ve been seeing them live. However, I did take a break for the past two tours and had never seen them with their singer Nic. He has been around since 2011, but I hadn’t been since 2009. What can I say? They still rock and I had a fun evening at the Turbinenhalle with them. 😀

Arrived a bit after 5 pm and spent the waiting time chatting with the fans who were already there. We shared a few memories and smiled about the confusion caused by two bands playing that night. Gotthard were playing hall 2, whereas Ska-Punk band Sondaschule occupied hall 1. Until the venue’s security guys put up a sign, many people asked for the right entrance. Other than that it was the usual wait and ended with a spot in front row.

Supporting were The Pretty Maids from Denmark. While looking at their stage backdrop I tried to remember when and where I had heard about them first. I know someone told me about them at another concert I have been to years ago, but other than remembering the name, I had no idea what to expect.

They brought us colorful stage attire, at least as far as the guitarist and the bassist go and rocking songs. I enjoyed their set, I smiled at the keyboarder’s haircut, loved the energy they brought to the stage and even sang along a bit. They had fun and got the audience going. Quite a few knew their stuff and sang along so it was just the right warm up. For the one hours they played, I got a good taste of their songs and liked what I heard. There was a lot of action going on too and towards the end, the guitar player walked along between the barrier and the stage, leaning out into the audience a few times. Overall it was an hour of high energy and fun.

Setlist:

Mother of All Lies
Kingmaker
Face the World
Rodeo
I.N.V.U.
Bull’s Eye
Little Drops of Heaven
Back to Back
Red, Hot and Heavy
Love Games
Future World

Pretty Maids pictures

While the stage setup was changed, I got a little bit nervous. Steve, the band’s original singer, had been amazing and his stage presence accounted for much of the magic of Gotthard’s shows. With Nic, I had no idea if I’d feel the same. I already liked his voice though and the three albums since he joined the band had all been good, so I knew I’d love the music, no matter what. By the end of the night I was sure I’d go and see them again. Nic is very different from Steve and that it exactly how it should be. He honors the older songs and makes them his own and he rocks the new ones. I did reminisce about old times occasionally, as one should at a 25th anniversary concert. It added some good memories to an already entertaining evening. 🙂

When the band first walked out I wondered if Hena had gotten a tattoo on his neck. Only when the lights went up I realized it wasn’t Hena behind the drums. I kept wondering what I’d missed until Leo explained that he was ill and Halloween’s Daniel Löble jumped in and learned their set in a few short days. He did a great job too. Impressive!

They started with ‘Silver River’ from the current album and I realized I should have listened to it more often. There was no chance of singing along. Thus I watched, listened and soon got into the mood. By the time they played ‘Hush’ I had fully arrived, finally singing and loving it. The setlist was a good mix of older and newer songs, just right for an anniversary tour. Except for the acoustic set, they mostly picked rock songs, just as I had hoped they would. Their acoustic ‘d-frosted’ tour was great, but other than that I want Gotthard to sound like Gotthard and love it when they rock.

Steve, Freddy and Marc powered through the songs, all getting a chance for solos. I wasn’t always close enough to watch their fingers working, but when I was I did. 🙂 Of course Ernesto on keyboards and Dani on drums got their solos too and Nic played ‘Remember it’s me’ on his own. For that song he was quite chatty, telling us how the song came about. Other than that there was less talk and more music, but the band did make connections with the audience, drawing us in.

For the acoustic set it was just Leo, Marc and Nic, giving us some of their classic love songs and asking everyone to help out and sing along. Of course we did. I must admit, I liked the older songs better, but that’s only because I have a stronger connection to those, i.e. know them better. I listened to the first three albums a lot more often than to the last three. My taste in music has changed over the years and also I have many more bands to listen to know than I did the first time I saw Gotthard.

Before ‘Miss me’ Nic told the women in the room to decide who wanted to dance with him. Funily enouh I didn’t see any hands raised in front row and the girl he chose was a few rows back. A security guard helped her over the barrier and walked her on stage. She hugged Nic and they danced for a while. I would not have wanted that kind of attention, but she seemed to enjoy it and it was a nice gesture. 🙂

Some songs I recognized right away, some took a little bit. ‘Mountain mama’ is hard to be mistaken for anything else, but when Nic read us the lyrics to ‘Firedance’, mentioning this was a love song we didn’t know as a love song, I recognized the words, but could not name the song. Loved it though. It has always been a highlight for me. They played a powerful two hours set and even gave us an extra encore in the end, because we were yelling so loudly for more. They might be doing that every night, but judging by the fact that the fans who had already seen a few concerts, packed their things after ‘Anytime Anywhere’ makes me think they have not. Either way, it was a good night, hopefully to be repeated on the next tour.

Getting home after the gig proved difficult. It was an excellent display of Murphy’s Law where what should have been a one hour trip turned into three. I made it eventually though and of course it was all worth it.

Setlist:

Silver River
Electrified
Hush (Joe South cover)
Stay With Me
Mountain Mamay seen a few concerts
Remember It’s Me
Feel What I Feel
Sister Moon (with bass intro)
What You Get
Keyboard Solo

Acoustic set:
One Life, One Soul
Let It Be
Angel
Heaven

Miss Me
Firedance
Everything Inside
Top of the World
Lift U Up
Drum Solo

Encore:
Standing in the Light
Anytime Anywhere

Come Together (The Beatles cover)

pictures of this concert

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