Gil Ofarim in Wetzikon

Round'n'Round it goes

Round n round it goes … and that for 20 years. Gil Ofarim, the former BRAVO Fotolovestory boy and worldwide teen star, stopped in Wetzikon during his anniversary tour and celebrated his tour final with the Swiss fans. He enthused the especially female audience not only with great voice and rousing rock songs, but also sexy dance moves.

Gil who?

Okay, when I mentioned Gil Ofarim, not everyone knew who I was talking about. If they would hear his former hit [listen to it here], that would probably change quickly. For everyone else:

Gil is the son of Israeli singer Abi Ofarim and was discovered in 1997 by a BRAVO photo love story (2 + 2 = Love / Round’n’Round, see  at Bravo archive), in which he played with his younger brother Tal. His song “Round’n’Round (it goes)” became a hit and he became a worldwide teen star. Especially in Asia, he was celebrated very big and even got four times platinum in Indonesia, as he told during the concert.


No more desire to be a teen star

Well, at some point he was tired of being such a teen star and wanted to develop further. With his brother Tal he founded the rock band “Zoo Army” in 2005, later in 2008 then “Acht”. In 2010 he founded his own label “Neuzeitstürmer” to release his music as he wished.

All-Rounder

Gil is not only a talented musician, but has also been working as an actor, dubbing actor and musical actor over the years. These were roles in TV series such as “Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten” or “Ein starkes Team”, films like “Der Sturm” and the cinema comedy “Unter deutschen Betten” and recently as a Prince in the ARD fairy tale “Das Wasser des Lebens”.

Here’s a short chronology:

1997: discovered through BRAVO Foto Love-Story
1998: Hit “Round’n’Round (it goes)”, 1st Album “Here I am”, Role in TV serie “Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten”
2003: Support Bon Jovi at Munich Olympia stadium, Album “On My Own”
2005: founding rockband Zoo Army with brother Tal
2006: Role in TV two piece “die Sturmflut”
2007: Songs on Disney OST of “Triff die Robinsons”  (Meet The Robinsons) & “Verwünscht” (Enchanted)
2008: founding Rockband “Acht”, role in detective series“Ein Fall für B.A.R.Z”
2010: founding Label Neuzeitstürmer, role in serie “Ein starkes Team”

2012: participation at The Voice Of Germany (quarter-final in Team Xavier)
2015: Role in mystery series “Armans Geheimnis”
2016: Musical role in “Hair” at Magdeburg theatre, sol as Gil Ofarim on tour again
2017: winner at “Let’s Dance”, role at cinema comedy “Unter Deutschen Betten”, role in ARD-fairy tale “Das Wasser des Lebens”, Coach at RTL Show “It Takes Two”, role as dubbing actor at “My Little Pony: the movie”, with “Disney in concert” on tour
2018: 20 Years Tour, EP “20 Years (#1/4)”

The concert

HALL OF FAME in Wetzikon

I have been wondering that such a concert will take place in Wetzikon and not somewhere in Zurich. I had never heard of the “Hall of Fame” before and Wetzikon is not on my way. Since I’ve learned from the last concerts , I booked a hotel room to be on the safe side 😉 It has proven itself.

The concert venue seems to be pretty cool. The club has two rooms, one bigger and one smaller, both with stages. Lounges and even a fixed merchandise stand are available. In addition, in the main room a huge, glittering disco ball is haning and on the walls  cool Graffiti pictures are painted. The concert was not sold out, but well attended.

Zurich band Kabelbrand supported Gil

The Zurich German pop/rock band Kabelbrand with front-singer Tanja Dietschwiler opened the evening with a short, about half-hour set. Above all, I remember the covers “Applaus Applaus” by Sportfreunde Stiller and “Millionen Lichter” by Christina Stürmer. First, because I know the songs, and second, I did not expect these covers.

But with “Männer” or the current single “Liebe vs Freundschaft” the band also rocked their own songs. By the way, you can find them on their debut album #WirSindNeuHier. Their sound is reminding of Silbermond. But no surprise as after all, they call this band their inspiration next to Juli or even Luxuslärm.

Kabelbrand

Gil Ofarim rocking Wetzikon

The years of Zoo Army and Acht I had not really noticed. It was not until Gil joined  “The Voice of Germany” in 2012 that he reappeared on my screen. I tried to get informed the best possible about what he was up to and how the bands sounded, but what was really awaiting me, was not clear to me .

While the band entered the stage and positioned themselves, there was a kind of medley intro, with especially the older songs, if I got it right. They rocked off with “In Your Eyes” and immediately continued with “Castaway”. The latter can be found on the new 20 Years (# ¼) EP.

I was standing there during the second song and paused for a moment. Glanced at Gil deliberately, trying to pick up his deep, harsh rock voice and the words he was singing, to take it in. Gil Ofarim was standing in front of me. I really was standing at a concert by GIL OFARIM. And it sounded great!

Let’s Dance

The third song “You Do not Belong To Me” was not only followed by keyboards and bass solos, related to the RTL show “Let’s Dance,  Gil also brought a woman to the stage for dancing. When fans are asked and claim that they can do something, it does not always have to be that way. But hey, they put some fiery salsa steps on the floor. So she had not exaggerated a word that she could dance.

Where to go with the enthusiasm?

Gil finally introduced himself and warned that he likes to talk and talk a lot. Often even without point and comma. The past 20 years had shown him that sometimes you really do not know what’s going on. But you should never give up and keep trying. Which lead on the setlist to “Do not Stop Trying”.

With “Seid ihr dabei”, from his band Acht, not only the first German song followed, but he involved the audience to sing along and showed with some reggae beats even more versatility. Latest from this moment I was completely excited. That was a moment when you do not know exactly where to go with your enthusiasm and happiness. Gil Ofarim and the band are actually a lot cooler and sound even better than on TV or in all the Youtube Videos.

Stories and other events

Between songs, Gil kept telling stories and about events from his life and his 20-year career. From the Bravo photo love story, through which he learned to pose for photos (remember specifically the shower photo), to the current anniversary tour.

Then he told how he was a little boy at the Michael Jackson concert, absolutely had to go to the bathroom and therefore missed the opportunity to be allowed on stage with the other children. But many years later, thanks to his success, he was invited to an event with Michael Jackson. He laughed, he had suppressed there the bladder rush and so finally managed to meet his big idol. As a great Jackson fan, he sang that night, accompanied only by Stefan Meier on guitar, a beautiful cover of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”. That was also one of his songs at “The Voice”.

Off to Asia

At that time in 1999 Gil had been on a big Asian tour and had taken fourfold platinum in Indonesia. During this time he had been in Sweden to record his 2nd album. But that his former management didn’t want to publish it in Europe then. And because they did not really want to support him at that time with a further development, Gil had understandably no longer the desire to be this teen star.

Among other things, Gil also talked about how superstar Jon Bon Jovi called him in 2003, and that only after the fifth call he did believe that the real Bon Jovi frontman was actually on the line. After a concert visit and meeting with the famous musician, Gil finally performed in his hometown Munich in the Olympic Stadium as a Bon Jovi support act.

When # still was called “Raute”

Did you also know that Gil was the support act of Gotthard here in Switzerland with the founding of his band Zoo Army? That was in the year 2005. But that was at times, when you did not have Internet and hashtags were still called  “Raute” (in German) 😉

Yes, about all the events, his life, Gil ‘s singing in “Still Here” (check out the official video), which followed before they even presented some Zoo Army titles to us. These were “fading”, “change” and “beautiful”. In between they played with the song “Neuzeitstürmer” again one of the German Acht songs. The transitions between German and English were so smooth that the language change never bothered. I also think that both languages suit him well.

Unexpected concert interruption

Gil repeatedly thanked for coming and the long-time support. But was also especially happy about the few kids in the audience, who have been not even born at the time of his career start. This was making them feel like rock stars. But hey, so they really are.

After “The Reason”, just before the end of the concert when the band was about to start the encore, there was an unexpected interruption. A woman in the front rows fainted. In the back rows there was quite some confusion, because you did not even know what had just happened. But Gil responded immediately and was super caring. He stepped off the stage, brought her water and organized a chair before helpers took her to the back. I heard rumors that this had already happened at a concert before. Gil was then very unsure whether it was okay to continue the concert and finish with the encore. But the security gave them the thumbs up quickly to go ahead.

Round’n’Round’n’Round

With his big hit “Round n Round (it goes)” they went into the encore. The song had long been embarrassing for him, but nowadays he sees it as a part of himself. It made him what he is today and what he has achieved. So after almost two hours they ended the concert with the Tim McGraw cover “It’s Your Love” as well as the Acht song “Zufall”. Gil even jumped into the audience at the end and rocked out with the concert visitors.

Okay, what was that?

So the concert had absolutely exceeded my expectations. Every song, every moment was really awesome and was absolutely fun. My highlight was above all, how his deep voice sounds really cool live and the band really rocked with great songs.

It was very different after the concert. I had already wondered about the barrier in front of the stage before the show. Now it turned out that it was indeed necessary somehow. It quickly became known that for “organizational reasons” no merchandise was available. I found it strange that nothing was set up and had assumed that the band just did not want to build it up yet. I was so looking forward to be holding the 20 Years EP as a CD in my hands. But I know, sometimes it does not work so easily with the merch across the border.

However, I had already imagined, because the concert was not so big, that it would be so easy to be able to have the EP signed. Quickly take a picture, exchange a few words … but thought wrong!

Gil Ofarim and meWhat was that? For a moment, I felt like I was 20 years back, where all the teens were courting for Gil’s attention. He came out to write a few autographs and take pictures. But that went chop chop with a lot of crowds and quite a mess, and was also quickly over again. A blurry photo the result. I got barley some information about the nonavailable EP. So I had quite a wrong idea about this. That was a bit disappointing, from all sides.

When’s the next concert?

Well, the concert was fantastic and the memory stays. That’s the most important. And even the online shop is in work. So I hope to see Gil live again soon – even if I have to go to Germany;)

 

And here the setlist:

  1. In Your Eyes
  2. Castaway
  3. You don‘t belong to me
  4. Don‘t Stop Trying
  5. Seid ihr dabei 
  6. Du weisst 
  7. Man in the mirror 
  8. Still here
  9. Fading 
  10. Neuzeitstürmer 
  11. Change 
  12. Beautiful
  13. The Reason
  14. Round n Round (it goes)
  15. It‘s Your Love 
  16. Zufall

 

Info about the bands you can get here:
www.kabel-brand.ch
www.gilofarim.com

 

GALLERY


Kabelbrand

 

Gil Ofarim

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