24.03.2018 – Z7 Konzertfabrik Pratteln, Schweiz
It took almost twenty years that the most famous Swiss Rockband returned to the Z7. Normally they play at much bigger venues, but their Defrosted II Tour provides a more intimate environment. Surely there’s a high demand and most of the shows are quickly sold out, the same issue here. Two huge queues at the venue, therefore just getting inside is much more problematic than usual. I do appreciate the thorough controls, but when it’s clear that the event will be sold out, shouldn’t you open the doors sooner? And also at food and beverage stands you have to wait in a queue for a long time, maybe it would have been a good idea to open the doors one hour earlier and/or hire more staff.
At 20.15 h the evening starts with Eric Martin, singer of Mr. Big who joined forces with Demon guitarist David Cotterill for an acoustic show, just two guitars and voices. Although Mr. Martin has some issues with the lyrics when covering Cat Stevens «Wild World», those two perform a good show and indeed warm up the audience for the headliner. I personally even like Eric Martin better this way than with Avantasia or Mr. Big. After 40 minutes Martin and Cotterill wrap up their show with Mr. Big’s super hit «To be with you».
More photos HERE
The changeover takes a while and some in the crowd get audibly impatient, but Gotthard react quickly to that and appear on stage even ahead schedule to provide a 2-hour program for about 1500 people. Normally there are only five in the band, but tonight and for this special Unplugged Tour they have support: On keyboard Ernesto Ghezzi, Percussions Andy Pupato and background singers Barbara Comi and Maram el Dsoki. This is only my second Gotthard gig and the last one was not quite to my taste, but this Defrosted version is indeed my thing. Even though the guitarists Leoni, Lynn and Scherer are not sitting on bar stools all the time, there’s not too much action on stage, and it is so much easier for me to focus on the songs. Nic Maeder as MC – and grinning all the time – has no problems with his voice during those 2 hours, but those statements in between – languages mixed, sometimes assisted by band mates as he still does not speak German – could have been shorter. I think many people do not like that too much and would have preferred more of the music. The last song is the only one I like the least, the Gotthard Version of «Smoke on the Water» where the background singers each get a solo part. A fully packed Z7 cheers Gotthard enthusiastically, and let’s hope it does not take 20 years again to have them back here.
Leo Leoni and Hena Habegger will be back at Z7 on June 23, 2018 for the Summer Nights with their other band CoreLeoni.