RICHIE KOTZEN SHOWS WHAT ‘REAL ROCK’ IS ALL ABOUT
Show Date: March 12, 2012
Location: Vienna, Austria
Venue: Reigen Club
Reviewer: Fat Peter
Band Website: richiekotzen.com
Ever since my hometown of stopped being every hard rock musician’s ‘city to avoid’, it takes more than just an average rock show to move my ass to some other part of the world to see a musician live. I value my laziness, but I decided to break from my habit when I heard that Richie Kotzen — a former member of Mr. Big, Poison, some lesser known groups, and all around guitarist extraordinaire — was going to Europe for a short tour.
This was easy for me, as Kotzen was playing nearby abroad, not that far from where I live. What made my decision easy though was that, ever since I saw him in my hometown in 2009, I was immediately hooked, and promised myself to catch his next European tour.
What needs to be noted about Richie Kotzen is that he is not just your average guitar virtuoso. He managed to whip out solos that could stand toe-to-toe with Joe Saitriani‘s or Steve Vai‘s work way back on his first two albums which he recorded in his late teens and early 20s. Since then Kotzen has purposely moved on from high-octane guitar noodling to a more song oriented approach. Baring in mind that he mastered almost all guitar styles — spanning from rock, jazz, funk, flamenco to fusion — and adding to the fact that he has a great, well trained soulful voice — hitting high pitches that even Axl Rose has problems belting out today — makes him a complete musician.
I saw Kotzen playing live at the Reigen Club in Vienna, the beautiful capital of Austria. Opening for Kotzen was a solid Italian act, boldly named Porn Queen, who put on a solid rock show. Nothing outwardly brilliant, but a good warm-upper, Porn Queen were greeted warmly, but the crowd really came alive when the main act was about to hit the stage. Although no one knew at the time that this was to be one of Kotzen‘s last shows on this tour, as he happened to catch a cold and his voice was wearing out quickly with every gig.
Kotzen‘s band had changed completely since the last tour, as he had a completely fresh bassist and drummer. Both gentlemen delivered perfectly and had a great symbiosis with Richie. As for the main man himself, Kotzen was doing great playing his songs a little differently than on the albums, warming up the crowd between each song, reminding them of the opening act, and asking the crowd to buy their demo and to check out their website. Apart from that, he really delivered with the songs, mixing classic cuts with new ones from his latest release ’24 Hours’. There really wasn’t a single weak spot in his show, apart from the fact that his voice was apparently wearing out. Nonetheless he soldiered on and finished the show in style with a great medley, then came out for a short encore and had a few drinks with some fans after the show.
“Touring and making music is my life. It is all I have ever done. I am very grateful to all the people around the world who have made that possible,” Kotzen humbly stated in one of his interviews. I’m sure a lot of us are grateful to Richie for keeping the rock flame alive by recording new albums regularly, touring almost constantly, and giving us nothing but his best with every song recorded and every show played.