Heading to the main festival stage to see my favorite band of Sweden Rock 2017 some memories flooded my head. Here is a band that I thought I would never see live. Thanks to Monsters Of Rock Cruise they brought Gotthard on for 2 shows in 2016 where I had the chance to be their photographer for their fan photo experience. It was great hanging out with the band for an hour and a half. Trying to keep it together and not be the fanboy I wanted to be, it was an incredible experience.
After talking to their manager on that cruise, I took him up on his offer “Come to Switzerland and he will put me on the guest list for their Monsters of Rock Switzerland with Krokus and Shakra“. So I put the bug in my wife’s ear and went overseas March 2017. I headed to Munich Germany, Bern and Zurich Switzerland for 3 shows. An experience I will remember forever with my fellow geek Rich “The Meister” Dillon and our good buddy Mike Belanger.
When I found out Gotthard was going to be at Sweden Rock I was so pumped to see them again!!!
Day 3 of Sweden Rock was a huge day of shows, but nothing compared to seeing Gotthard for the 6th time.
The show started out just as expected with Nic coming out with his acoustic guitar playing the title track from the new album, “Silver River”. The band joins in, and the crowd erupts with cheers. With thousands of people in the audience to see the show I made sure I got a good spot to stand first row at the catwalk so I can get some photos. The sound was a lot different than the 5 previous shows with being the main stage. One side to the other, and out on the catwalk, kept the band working hard to cover all the space so everyone can see this amazing band from Switzerland.
They played “Electrified”, sticking with the new album Silver. This elicited a great response from the fans. The new album took a bit for it to grow on me. Once I heard the songs in March live, I was hooked and love the new material.
Leo starts off on guitar with the wrong cover song, on purpose, of course, only to go back to the crowd-lifting track Deep Purple cover “Hush“.
Back to the new album, they played the first single, “Stay With Me”. It was amazing hearing this track live. The band looked like they were having so much fun playing at the best festival in the world. So much energy, they let the music do most of the talking as they go into “Mountain Mama” before trying to slow things down. With the guitar failing on Nic, they decided to go into “Feel What I Feel”.
Going back to classic Gotthard with “Sister Moon” then the upbeat track “What You Get”.
It is then time for the crowd to get very emotional as the screen behind the drum set displays Steve Lee singing “Heaven” joined in by the band live, and a duet with Nic. There were a lot of watery eyes in the crowd as Steve was the most talented singer. Singing with so much emotion, the band kept the Gotthard experience going. Thank you. Nic has been a perfect fit for the band, and like Adam Lambert for Queen, no one will ever forget the original singer, but the current vocalist keeps the spirit of the band alive.
Speeding things up, Leo and Freddy have a short guitar duet before kicking it up with “Top Of The World”. The crowd needed this after remembering Steve. Keeping up the pace with possibly my favorite song, Hena starts off with a drum solo. It is great to see Hena back in the band after having some issues that left him on the sidelines of the current tour. A big thanks to him for making sure I was set up for the 3 shows I saw in March as well!
With a short drum solo, Hena kicks into “Lift You Up”, which lifted Sweden Rock into a frenzy. With everyone clapping and singing it is easy to realize this is a track that should be played at every Gotthard show.
As we got close to the end of the show we knew they couldn’t leave without playing “Anytime Anywhere” to keep this crowd pumped.
It was sad to see the band walk off the stage. Thankfully they were cheered back on for an encore. They did another cover once again released on a CD, The Beatles “Come Together”. This is a cover of one of the biggest bands of all time, but they pumped it up and rocked the world the Gotthard way.
Looking like it was over, Nic mentioned one more. Well, don’t ask the crowd twice as we all said yes as loud as we could. A great way to finish their set at Sweden Rock, from the album Lipservice, “All We Are”. Now I wonder, when will I see Gotthard again?
If you get a chance to see Gotthard, don’t miss it. Being around since 1992, this hard working band knows what they are doing. The fans in North America don’t understand why we can’t get more of us enjoying this amazing band.
Maybe one day Gotthard will play over here. We can always dream!!
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin
Stay With Me
Feel What I Feel
Remember It’s Me
What You Get
Top of the World
Lift U Up
All We Are