Alte Mälze – Regensburg 13.02.2018

Who wants to break free? Almost twenty-five years after they first played at the Mälze in Regensburg on ‘Faschingsdienstag’ , Midlife Crisis ltd seem have given their best shot for this occasion. Faded, bored: not a sign of it.

Two decades ago, with a different line-up entirely, their live show was a depressingly blokey and homely affair. But their current reincarnation feels more in tune with the show, for its end of Fasching feeling and youthful turbo-glam seventies attitude. Dynamic on the guitar and flamboyant with the between song banter, Wolfgang Haarer makes a superb mc, one minute telling a joke, the next cajoling a willing audience into mesmeric chant of ‘we want sweet’ before the well-oiled (in every sense of the word) band launch into a rousing version of ‘Love is like Oxygen’. More importantly, he can still muster the swashbuckling gitarrero posing and tight-trousered showmanship that these ageless anthems demand. But he’s not the only weapon of mass seduction. The shed builder that supports the whole construction and keeps it on the fine line between self-parodying ‘Schlager’ and a good kick in the balls rock night, is Andi Gmeinwieser. The newbie in the band, he displays an envious grasp of beat gymnastics to keep the whole ship afloat. But………

Who wants to break free? That was the newly cobbled together intro for the evening, put together by the man with twelve fingers on the ivories, Martin Wirthensohn. WTF? Darkness, and then the sounds of a hybrid ‘Captain Future’ theme overlaid with Neil Armstrong’s immortal lines. Blam! Lights,action. Then comes Queen’s paean to freedom, the floor immediately full with a black sea of dancers, the audience a mixture of regulars and freshers dressed as pirates, witches and hippies looking for the last kick before diving headlong into the melancholy of ash Wednesday at the stroke of midnight.

Three and a half hours later and, in what seems like the blink of an eye, it’s all over. The five sweat encrusted musos take their well-earned rest and head back to the awaiting oxygen tents at the rear, looking back on a gig that will stay in the memory for a long time – the perfect blend of a band enjoying being there to play, and a crowd that wanted them to.

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