Lovely seems an understatement
Reading such a lovely Line-Up, one simply couldn’t not go to 2015’s Lovely Days Festival in Wiesen, Austria. The festival area of Wiesen is quite a small one, with only one stage, one food-tent, one sanitary station. But exactly its cozy size makes it so comfortable and intimate. The thing about this festival especially is that people do actually go there for the music, rather than the party. There was no fighting, no mayhem; it was all truly peaceful. Certainly, one of the reasons for this was the average age of about 40 of most of the visitors, but this is hardly an important factor. What constitutes a good festival is – as always – the music.
The Doors Alive
The first band to take the stage was The Doors Alive, not hard to guess: a Doors tribute band. They opened their set with Light My Fire, rolling on from one hit to the next, including Touch Me, Roadhouse Blues, Break On Through, Riders On the Storm, and many more. They closed the set with The End, and in some moments I could have sworn it was Jim Morrison singing. They copied their role models fantastically, obviously being highly trained musicians, with a great keyboard player. As the singer told the audience, it was the first time for them to perform at Lovely Days. Maybe that was the reason for them being a little, well, quiet. The frontman hardly said a word, the performance was not energetic at all. For a live concert, this was a bit too phlegmatic, but the musical quality was without a doubt very high.
Next came Nazareth – a band I was very excited to see. Being from Scotland, the band announced their performance with nostalgic bagpipe-playing. Then the four guys came on stage, with bassist Pete Agnew being the only original member. The new singer, Carl Sentance, joined in 2015. Nazareth would have completely rocked the audience’s heads off, hadn’t it been for their boring guitarist Jimmy Murrison. Naturally he plays the guitar well, but he was so lazy and undynamical, there was no tightness in his playing at all. This immediately reduced the whole band’s performance, which is really unfortunate, since the singer did a truly great job with his powerful voice and its range.
Having already seen Uriah Heep in Vienna last November (review here) I had high expectations regarding this band. Sadly, I was really disappointed in comparison to the last gig. Singer Bernie Shaw was not at his best, honestly the whole band seemed really down. One might guess the reason for this lack of energy is their extensive touring over the last months, with a show almost every day, traveling around, doing the same thing over and over again. The setlist this time was exactly the same as in Vienna, the bits and speeches in between the songs were exactly the same, too. Knowing how good Uriah Heep actually are, it was far more disappointing to see them hitting rock bottom.
Famous Jamaican reggae artist Jimmy Cliff instantly brought a change of atmosphere. To his all-time-hits I Can See Cleary Now, You Can Get It If You Really Want, Wonderful World, Beautiful People etc. the whole audience wouldn’t stop dancing, everybody seemed so happy. And this was again the reminder of what music is supposed to do, when it comes down to the very core. Jimmy Cliff managed to put a smile one everyone’s face with a few simple tunes played and sung perfectly.
To Status Quo I honestly cannot say much – they were the band I put the least interest in before as well as during the festival. Somehow I just never really liked them – the songs, the tunes, for me there is simply too little going on. Certainly they were the highlight for a lot of people in the audience, though, and judging by only the few things I know and the few things I’ve seen that day, I think they satisfied their fans.
Eric Burdon & The Animals
Finally Eric Burdon, my actual reason for buying a ticket to this festival, came on stage. And if there is one thing to be said: this man has still got it. Singing about Bo Diddley and spilt wine he proved to still have the Blues. He has become old, and his voice definitely has changed to a darker and deeper timbre, but in some moments he sounded just like on his old records. After only a few tunes it was clear that a legend is up on stage – somebody who is officially one of the greatest singers of all time. He proved very energetic, his voice strong. Approaching the end of the set, though, I think he did get a little tired. This great show, naturally including The Animals and WAR hits like Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, House of the Rising Sun, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, only lacked one song I wished for: As the Years Go Passing By.
Looking back, it really was a very Lovely Day.
Author: Robin Frank
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