HiRock Festival 2013
(1st and 2nd Jun 2013) On the top of the Loreley hill is a beautiful amphitheatre. This
year‘s festival newcomer HiRock is happening right there.
It‘s packed with a lot of great rock acts like TOTO,
WHITESNAKE, JOURNEY, EUROPE or SURVIVOR.
But it‘s kind of heart to get to the festival site because you have to cross the Mosel at St. Goar, but due to high tide it‘s kind of hard to get to the other side of the river. You have to drive another 20 minutes to get to a working ferry boat. But once you crossed the river it‘s just a drive to the top of the small hill.
I only attend to the festival‘s second day, so I missed the ones of TOTO or SURVIVOR. The first band I get to see is H.E.A.T. The Swedish melodic rockers are still new to the European rock scene, even though they released three records so far. Though, they get recognized since singer Erik Grönwall, Swedish‘s casting show winner, is on the vocal spot. Their most recent record Adress The Nation is a great hard rock/glam metal record in the vain of EUROPE. The six-piece kicks in with the record‘s opener Breaking The Silence. It seems like most people aren‘t familiar with the band, but the younger part of the quite old audience is rocking out to the melodic anthems. During their set the band can attract more and more people to their sound. So after playing for more than 50 minutes I‘m sure that this band gained a new fan or two.
Next is the follow-up band to Irish hard rock legenda THIN LIZZY, BLACK STAR RIDERS. These hard rockers seem to hava a few fans already. They released their debut record only a few days ago, but the HiRock Festival‘s crowd seem to know the lyrics to the new songs, so sing-alongs are possible. People are even more excited about the THIN LIZZY tacks such as Jailbreak, The Boys Are Back In Town or Cowboy Blues. For an hour the five-piece is delivering a quite good rock‘n‘roll show for their fans.
But it gets even better during the 30th anniversary show of EUROPE. Fans are expecting some old and rare tunes, of course. Singer Joey Tempest and his band are starting their set with some tracks taken from their most recent record Bag Of Bones such as Bag of Bones, Not Supposed To Sing The Blues and From Riches To Rags. Now it‘s getting more interessting due to the old songs the band chose. Even an really old jewel like Seven Doors To Hell, which apperad on the band‘s 1983 self-titled debut, gets his treatment today. I‘d loved to hear some more stuff taken from Prisoners In Paradise, but they can‘t play everyone‘s favourite songs. Nevertheless today‘s setlist is great. I only miss Open Your Heart, which the band plays frequently. EUROPE play at least song from every record they released, but there is not a single song taken from their comeback record Start From The Dark, though. After The Final Countdown and 75 great minutes EUROPE leave the stage.
Up next are WHITESNAKE, who celebrate their 35th anniversary. The sound isn‘t as good as during previous performances. It‘s too loud, too harsh and not balanced enough. Despite that fact the band is in a great condition today. David Coverdale is in a good mood, talks a lot to the fans and gets close to the crowd while his band is rocking tight and very solid. The setlist features some old stuff, which they haven‘t played on the last tours like Ready An‘ Willing and Don‘t Break My Heart Again. To my own dislike the band doesn‘t play any song taken from Slip Of The Tongue and only play the first half of Slide It In‘s opening track Gambler. There are plenty of songs taken from their last two records Good To Be Bad and Forevermore and, of course, 1987. The crowd is eager to hear some classic tunes such as Is This Love, Here I Go Again or Still Of The Night. Sadly they play Bad Boys and Children of the Night in a medley and not in full. There is also no track from Coverdale‘s DEEP PURPLE era. Even though the whole band is doing a great show, the bad sound and the too short setlist are a big minues for WHITESNAKE‘s show. To be perfectly honest: I expected more, but this was far from a bad rock‘n‘roll show.
Today‘s headling act JOURNEY brought their full light production with them and use it from the very start of the set‘s first song, Seperate Ways. The five-piece sound perfect! The band choirs are always on the spot and give the songs another kick. The setlist is a pure greatest hits set, packed with hits and classics like Any Way You Want It, Lights, Keep On Running or Chain Reaction. There are no songs included, which were released after 1986‘s Raised On Radio. I was kind of afraid the recent singer Arnel Pineda might ruin the songs former singer Steve Perry record, well, at least ruin them on a high level. But to my surprise the Asian-rooted singer sounds live very close to Perry‘s voice, if you‘d close your eyes you could hardly point out any major differences between both vocalists. The last four songs of the mainset are close to perfection: Wheel In The Sky, JOURNEY‘s most epic ballad Faithfully, Be Good To Yourself and the band‘s biggest hit Don‘t Stop Believin‘. After 75 fantastic minutes the band says goodbye for the first time. But they return for Lovin‘, Touchin‘, Squeezin‘ before they finally say goodbye for tonight. JOURNEY was a perfect headliner for today‘s festival line-up.
The whole HiRock Festival was something I‘d like to see happen again. The location is great and the whole organisation was real good. There was enough food, enough drinks and no problems at all. A great festival, which you should attend if you like 80‘s rock!
Text © by Sebastian Berning