Gotthard - 'Homegrown - Alive In Lugano'

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Gotthard - 'Homegrown - Alive In Lugano'

Live release from arguably the finest band from Switzerland ever.

This is a live release from arguably the finest band from Switzerland ever! The show was recorded in July 2010 in front of over 20,000 people at a Harley Davidson enthusiasts rally, something that meant a lot to the band as they are bikers themselves, and it was also a rare chance to play in their hometown of Lugano. The band admit it was a stroke of good luck that the show was recorded, as unfortunately it would turn out to be one of the last shows ever performed with charismatic vocalist Steve Lee, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident just three months later, bereaving the rock world of one of the finest and most respected front-men of all time.

Although it has only been five years since Gotthard’s last live release ‘Made In Switzerland’, there aren’t too many similarities in the set-lists. And those that do reappear would always be welcome to any G fan anyway. As this concert was recorded on the ‘Need To Believe’ world tour, that album is plundered fairly heavily for material, with ‘Unspoken Words’, ‘Unconditional Faith’, ‘Shangri-La’, ‘I Don’t Mind’ and the title-track all given a rousing reception, while the ‘Domino Effect’ album is visited for ‘Gone Too Far’ and ‘The Oscar Goes To…’ There are also a couple of modern classics from the ‘Lipservice’ album, the pop-rock of ‘Lift U Up’, and ‘Anytime Anywhere’ closes the show in dramatic style. Elsewhere, the cover of ‘Hush’ is the only real oldie in the set, and as always comes complete with a crowd sing-along, while ‘Sister Moon’ and ‘Top Of The World’ are two of Gotthard’s most popular songs.

It’s a largely up-tempo set, so the mid-set acoustic medley is a welcome respite, featuring just Steve and guitarist Leo Leoni, and it includes snippets of ‘Sweet Little Rock’n’Roller’, ‘Angel’ and ‘One Life, One Soul.’ The only out-and-out ballad of the show is featured towards the end of the set, ‘Heaven’ is Gotthard’s biggest hit, and its inclusion here is made ever-more poignant in retrospect.

This live set is as enjoyable and professional as you would expect from Switzerland’s finest, and the sound quality is exceptional, making it tremendous value for money, but the addition of a previously unreleased track gives the package even more appeal. ‘The Train’ was originally slated to appear on a ‘D-Frosted 2’ album, but has now been added to this release to close the chapter on one stage of Gotthard’s career. It’s a mid-tempo acoustic piece with touching lyrics and a clever train-sounding rhythm that kicks in towards the end, and is reminiscent of the band’s lighter output circa the ‘Open’ and ‘Homerun’ albums.

I applaud the decision to continue that the remaining Gotthard members have taken, and the search for Steve’s replacement goes on, but I fear the audition process will be enormously demanding, as replacing someone with the calibre of Steve will be an exceedingly difficult task.

Ant Heeks


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