Gotthard and Pretty Maids, Ratiopharm Arena, Ulm, Germany on February 11th, 2017

Live Report and Photos by: Markus Wiedenmann

 

 

Swiss-based hard rockers Gotthard recently released a new album called “Silver”, a record that also celebrates 25 years of the quintet from the Tessin.

The celebration continues with Gotthard embarking on a tour through Europe, playing shows mainly in Germany with some more gigs in Spain, Italy and so on. The third concert on this tour brought the guys to Ulm, Germany. As exciting as the headliner show is the special guest that joins the Swiss on this tour. Legendary Danish metal institution Pretty Maids is part of the game as well and it was up to them to raise the temperature in the Ratiopharm arena. The venue is actually the home base for the local basketball team but this night it was turned into a converted hall with a surprisingly good acoustic.

To my surprise, the show wasn’t sold out, a fact that might has to do with the show in Ravensburg two days earlier, a city that’s just 40 minutes away from Ulm.

Anyhow, Pretty Maids started the night through metal at 20:00 and it was obvious that the Danes had quite some fans in the audience. Solid riffing from Ken Hammer, a great voice of Ronnie Atkins and a bass player being in constant motion dominated a set of almost 60 minutes. What made Pretty Maids even more powerful was the keyboarder Chris Laney who took the rhythm guitar once in a while.The new songs worked as a springboard for what came in the last third of the show. The new tunes are good but the old ones are great. “Back to Back”, “Red Hot and Heavy” and “Future World” are classics in metal and it wasn’t a surprise that the crowds celebrated every single note played. Talking about “Future World”, the album celebrates its 30th anniversary and how great would a classic Pretty Maids set be for the old school fans.

All in all the Danes ignited a metal firework and was more than just a special guest. Horns up.

After a stage rebuild, it was time for Gotthard. The show was a journey through 25 years of Swiss-made hard rock and after having had some mainstream years the band went back to their roots with playing harder stuff again. No doubt, catchy melodies are still in focus but also the guitars are back in the forefront which makes the tunes again more exciting for headbangers.

The stage scenery was kept very straight-forward. The drum kit was surrounded by a wall of speakers with a big lettering of “Silver” right in front. A big ‘Gotthard’ backdrop completed the picture and it was obviously the music that should get the attention rather than a lot of frills and decoration.

“Silver River” and “Electrified” have been two great songs to start the show with and also the Billy Joe Royal cover “Hush” is a fixed part of each Gotthard show. Fans were enjoying each of these songs and the concert became more a Saturday night party.

Half way down the road the quintet added an acoustic part to their show, which was OK, but it also felt like a break in an energizing rock’n’roll night. Furthermore, this night became an unforgettable one for at least one girl who was invited to a dance on stage with frontman Nic Maeder during “Miss Me” was played. Up to this moment in time, the show was good and solid but the real moment of turning the hall into a madhouse was with “Top of the World” when the crowd joined the chorus as being a big choir and also clapping hand filled the Ratiopharm arena.

To sum up, Gotthard played a rock solid show and created a party vibe that fitted very well to a Saturday night. 100 minutes of melodic hard rock were a treat for your ears and since the ‘special guest’ is almost as great (some voices in the crowd whispered “…even greater…”) as the headliner things worked out very well. It was quarter past eleven when the last note was played and a satisfied crowd started their way back home.

One short remark about the venue. Food and beverages price were OK, but the payment card system to buy a drink is annoying, esp. if you aren’t aware of it. Lining up just to be sent back in the line since the card was missing is truly annoying. This setup might work for regular visitors of basketball games but it’s frustrating for single events like a rock concert.

 

Location: Ratiopharm Arena, Ulm, Germany

Date: February 11th, 2017

 

Setlist Gotthard:

  1. Silver River
  2. Electrified
  3. Hush
  4. Stay With Me
  5. Mountain Mama
  6. Remember It’s Me
  7. Feel What I Feel
  8. Sister Moon
  9. What You Get
  10. One Life, One Soul (acoustic)
  11. Let it Be (acoustic)
  12. Angel (acoustic)
  13. Heaven (acoustic)
  14. Miss Me
  15. Firedance
  16. Everything Inside
  17. Top of the World
  18. Lift U Up
  19. Medley (Come Together, Make My Day, She Goes Down)
  20. Anytime, Anywhere

 

Setlist Pretty Maids:

  1. Mother of all Lies
  2. Kingmaker
  3. Face the World
  4. Rodeo
  5. I.N.V.U.
  6. Bull’s Eye
  7. Little Drops of Heaven
  8. Back to Back
  9. Red, Hot and Heavy
  10. Love Games
  11. Future World

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