16. June 2022
Wolfgang Ambros has gone through “hell” in recent years, as he says himself. Despite suffering from cancer, unbearable back pain and an unpleasant separation from his twins’ mother, he has never let his audience down. On Wednesday evening, his fans in the Wiener Stadthalle thanked him with standing ovations. “50 years live” was something to celebrate – and “Wolferl” was simply great.
There was a time when the hall took over the command of “Skifoan”, i.e. the singing. It was no different this time, when Ambros only had to conduct the choir of almost 6,000 throats in this obligatory final encore. But the followers didn’t save their energy for the end, from the opener “Verdullost aber frei” they proved to have an affinity for the lyrics and were very enthusiastic.
And rightly so, because the local institution when it comes to singer-songwriters (the celebrant consistently denies the term Austropop) was in the best of spirits and vocally more than just solid. You haven’t always heard the 70-year-old sing “Von Liebe ka Spur” or “Slowly woch’s ma z’amm” so inspired and harmoniously. Ambros had to endure a serious operation in order to be able to live pain-free again – the sigh of relief was noticeable in his performance.
It became a colorful journey through the decades on stage. The Lower Austrian, who lives in Tyrol, entered it with hiking sticks to thunderous applause to take his place at the bar stool. The radius of movement of his band, the No. 1 in the Vienna Woods, adapted to that of their boss. But it wasn’t about the show, it was about the songs. And they are legend. It could be a bit morbid (“I drah zua”), funny (“Hoit, do is a Spoit”), critical (“Ignorantenstadl”) or dramatic (“Drawn for life” in a wonderful execution).
Ambros announced old and very old songs, “because we don’t have new ones anyway”. “Wolferl” doesn’t need them either, if he can pull “Zwickt’s mi”, “I’d like to stay” and “Die Blume aus dem Gemeindebau” from the talon. Of course: “Da Hofe”, the “Zentralfriedhof”, a velvety “Baba & foi ned”, plus a commemoration of Georg Danzer (“Jö schau”) and Kurt Ostbahn (“Feia”) – there was also a contribution missing from the legendary album ” Ambros doesn’t sing “Dylan” (“True Love”).
The selection was clever, 23 audience favorites without mistakes. It is debatable whether “Du bist wia de Wintasun” really needs to be wrapped up in a fat folk rock arrangement, thereby stripping perhaps the best love song of, ahem, Austropop of its tenderness. But somehow that worked out too. The motto stated on the tickets was: “and still not quiet” – that’s a good thing.