Concert Reviews

Gotthard / Unisonic Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 10, 2014    
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Gotthard / Unisonic - Zenith, Munich (Germany) - 17th November 2012 / Gotthard - Gemeindesaal, Kundl (Austria) - 23rd November 2012

Unisonic started right on time with their song of the same name. For those who don't know, Unisonic consists of the two ex-Helloween members Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen, who haven't played together since the glorious 80s, along with Pink Cream 69 duo, bassist Dennis Ward and drummer Kosta Zafiriou and guitarist Mandy Meyer (Asia, Krokus, Gotthard and Kathmandu). The band delighted their fans from the very beginning with their whole performance and the fun they had on stage. Songs including 'Never Too Late', 'I've Tried' and 'Never Change Me', from the fantastic debut album were featured and they invited the audience to sing along. The emotional ballad 'No One Ever Sees Me' is just beautiful, really bringing out Michael's vocal quality. The final highlight was playing an encore featuring Helloween classics 'Future World' and "I Want Out', really reaching the hearts of old Helloween fans and the audience showed their appreciation with well deserved applause.

Personally, I thought one Helloween song would have been enough and more Unisonic songs should have been performed, such as 'King For A Day' or 'Renegade', especially as the set-list was much shorter than other shows on this tour. I guess they had to cut the set due to Michael Kiske's cold, although we didn't notice any effect on his voice.

Now it was time for Gotthard. We got to see them in two locations that were completely the opposite – a large concert hall in Munich and a smaller city hall in an Austrian village. Both venues were sold out but neither has a good reputation regarding sound quality, so Gotthard's job was to make the best of the situation. The audience was an interesting mixture: long-time Gotthard fans, casual rock fans, regional musicians and parents with their young children, possibly watching their first rock concert in awe.

Without a big intro, Gotthard started with the unspectacular 'Dream On' as on all the shows of this tour. Not the best choice for me as an opener, but after 'Gone Too Far' and 'Starlight' they finally had the audience on their side. They further convinced with a clever mix of old Gotthard classics and excellent new songs, treating us to the likes of 'Sister Moon', 'Hush', 'Fist In Your Face', 'Give Me Real' and great ballads such as 'Remember It's Me', 'Falling', 'Tell Me' and 'Heaven'. The most emotional part was definitely the ballad 'One Life, One Soul' which they dedicated to Steve Lee.

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Previously, I had always criticised Gotthard as a band with two great performers (Steve and Leo) with the rest only replaceable background musicians. All the shows seemed to be the same: high quality, excellent stage presentation but I missed the enjoyable part. Now I saw a completely new band. During the whole show I could really feel this new spirit...the smiles, the little positive gestures and the fun between the individual musicians who performed with high intensity as a unit. New singer Nic Maeder has been perfectly integrated into the band and from show to show he gets more confident with his new role as a front man. I could really see the improvement and more confidence, only one month after playing at Firefest. Nic is the perfect choice for the new vocalist in Gotthard; he's not only highly gifted with an excellent voice, he also brings harmony and new power to the band.

The show finished with two real Gotthard classics: 'Lift U Up' in the main set and 'Anytime, Anywhere' as the encore. They left to resounding applause and lots of satisfied fans realised now that Gotthard will be continuing with the quality they had before.

Some points of comparison for the various Gotthard shows. Firstly, In Munich I missed the energy they showed us at Firefest whereas in Kundl, where they knew that the sound is horrible, they rocked their asses off and gave all they could for their fans; so everybody was able to forget about the venue's shortcomings and enjoyed the show to the fullest. Secondly, why didn't they have their string players at the Austrian show or at Firefest? They added so much to the ballads and also created an excellent sound for the encore song, 'Anytime Anywhere'. It really would be fair (although costly, I admit) for everyone to get the same show...

Claudia and Roland Maurer


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