Released by: SPV/Steamhammer
Release Date: March 26th, 2013
Genre: Melodic Metal
Johnny Gioeli – Lead and Backing Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Mike Terrana – Drums
1. THE GUILLOTINE SUITE (Intro)
2. GHOST IN THE BLACK
3. STRONG AS A ROCK
4. BEFORE I DIE
5. THE MASQUERADE BALL / CASBAH / DREAMING DEAD / WHOLE LOTTALOVE / DREAMING DEAD
6. DRUM SOLO
7. MYSTICA / MISTREATED / MYSTICA
1. OCEANS OF TIME
2. CIRCLE OF THE OATH
3. FOOL FOOL
4. KEYBOARD SOLO / CAROUSEL / JAM / CAROUSEL
5. TEAR DOWN THE WALLS / NASTY REPUTATION
6. ROCK THE NATION
Well here’s another trip down memorylane.
German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell, already in the business for almost 30 years (!), and his band just released another live album ‘Live On Fire’. Recorded live in his home country (at the Essigfabrik, Cologne, oct.18th 2012) and available in all kind of formats, from DVD to CD and even on vinyl, this package is ofcourse a cross section of Axel’s work but for me (and I believe there must be many, many other listeners out there) it’s moreover going back to my youth to one of the first hardrock bands I ever heard: Rainbow.
First I have to point out that this review was written only for the music as I had not a copy of the DVD-footage. On the 2-DVD you even get more than the complete Cologne-gig. Axel added another show to this package as well: the co-headlining gig form the ‘Rock Of Ages Festival’ (summer 2012).
According to the info I got together with the music it was at first not planned to film the Cologne show. But when the opportunity arose, Axel decided to give it a try. And it turned out very well. Clearly it was an appropriate move to deliver a snapshot in time with this live album, his 3rd, as 2012 turned out to be Axel’s most succesfull year with his latest studio album ‘Circle Of The Oath’ scoring high in the European charts. Besides that there was also a big tour with shows on different European festivals and even a three night sold out gig at the ‘Zeche’, a venue in his native Bochum.
Axel’s band is a steady outfit that has remained unchanged for the last 14-15 years and you can definitely hear that experience on stage and on this live album. The joy and sweat jump out of your speakers and the message of singer Johnny Gioeli to the audience ‘We can’t get too serious’ is clear as well. Meaning ofcourse that playing in front of an audience should please both camps.
With a live album you always wonder how it sounds, well the band assures that it was recorded with absolutely no overdubs, something you don’t come across too often.
With this ‘one-take’ approach you capture the energy and the emotions of that particular night which is awesome. Still, I myself would have preferred at least a little post-production as the album sounds a bit flat. A little more depth, or should I say a fatter sound, would have done the record more justice. But that’s only a minor flaw.
Axel Rudi Pell is a honest, humble guy paying tribute to his icons from the seventies and it’s obvious who his main influence was: the prince of darkness himself, Ritchie Blackmore. Returning to my opening phrase in this review, when you close your eyes and listen to Axel’s performance it’s definitely back to the old Rainbow days. I mean the late seventies when this band was fronted by one of the best hardrock singers ever, Ronnie James Dio.
That re-created seventies live atmosphere is probably the biggest achievement from Axel’s band. Johnny Gioeli’s vocal performance is also very Dio-like although he sounds more like Dougie White to me, the Rainbow singer from the nineties. In his banter between the songs Johnny ‘copies’ some of Dio’s phrases quite literally giving you the impression that he’s Dio’s little brother.
So what’s the bottomline ? With this live album you can’t go wrong especially when you’re a fan of the hardrock pioneers from the seventies. Axel’s band delivers a honest, entertaining liveshow through their own catalogue, with a slight emphasis on their latest work, but above all take you back to the times of abundand soloing for all, stretched medleys and a little bit of improvising, all in the emotion of that particular night. Something of which I can’t get enough. So where is that old VHS tape from the Rainbow Rockpalast concert in Munich 1977 ? I’m aching to see that one again now.
Written by Ruud
Ratings Ruud 8/10
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