Album Reviews

Bonfire – Live At Wacken Review

bonfire_liveatwacken_cover

Released by: LZ Records/ Sony

Release Date: May 31st, 2013

Genre: Hard Rock

Links: www.bonfire.de

 

Line Up:

Claus Lessmann – vocals, guitar; Hans Ziller – lead guitars; Chris Limburg – rhythm guitars; Uwe Köhler – bass; Harry Reischmann – drums

(Rhythm guitars (tracks 1?7, 9,10, 12): Chris Lausmann; Drums (tracks 1?10, 12?16): Jürgen Wiehler)

The Live Tracks recorded @ Wacken (1?11) @ Ingolstadt (12?14)

 

Tracklist:

Intro/Wake Up’

‘Never Mind’

‘Sweet Obsession’

‘In Zaire’

‘The Stroke’

‘Sword And Stone’

‘SDI’

Drum Solo

‘American Nights’

‘Ready 4 Reaction’

‘Obsessive Prelude’

‘Champion’

‘The Räuber/Bells Of Freedom’

‘Let Me Be Your Water’

‘Black Night’

‘hank You’ (Previously Unreleased)

‘Hold Me Now’ (Extended Mix 2013)

 

Anyone that reads the stuff I write will know that my “forte” (if I even have one) is doing live gig reports. There’s very little that brings such pure joy as seeing a band I love live, whether it be a band I’m seeing for the very first time or a band I’ve logged in so much time in concert I may as well be an honorary member. I’ve been blessed with the chance to see some incredible shows over the years, and have managed to cross off some bands from my vaunted list of “Bands I Want To See Live” list. A few of the more recent shows I have seen were on the short list of those bands I wanted to check out, but never imagined getting the chance to witness. There are other bands that I will never get to see live due to deaths or the bands just not interested in being together any more. The next best thing to seeing a band live, though it never comes close to capturing the feel and vibe, are live albums (and a better representation: DVD.) For some, live albums rank right up there with greatest hit releases…a waste of money. Personally I’ve always had an affinity for them. Probably stems from getting KISS Alive on vinyl at such a young age and being reeled in by the aural spectacle of it all.

Legendary German melodic rock band Bonfire, with the surprise release of the thought to be lost forever recording of their performance at Wacken Open Air represents two dreams of mine in regards to live shows: I must attend Wacken once before I die and Bonfire are on the list of bands I want to see live, but doubt I’ll ever get the chance. Having gotten their start in the mind blowing distant 1972 as Cacumen, the band only cracked a taste of US interest when they changed their name in 1986 to Bonfire, and the release of their first few albums, they’re a band whose name is only known by true connoisseurs of excellent AOR/melodic rock. Despite numerous line-up changes, including the two remaining originals in Claus Lessman on vocals and Hans Ziller on guitar for some years, the band has released some of the most incredible and respected material of the genre. On the heels of the soon to be released new CD, the band decided to put out this live nugget Live At Wacken to appease the masses until its release.

Even though the band has released a couple live albums over the years, what helps this one stand out from the others, besides being lost, is the fact that it’s a true representation of what one would expect from the band live. Clearly taken straight from the tapes, you can hear the rawness which strengthens the powerful performances. The band is obviously having a great time and feeding off the crowd. Something else that makes this set special is the setlist. Containing great performances of classic tracks like “SDI,” “Sweet Obsession,” “Sword and Stone,” and the rarely performed “Wake Up,” plus a unique cover of the Billy Squier classic “The Stroke.” Capping off the already fantastic live show are two extra tracks, a previously unreleased “Thank You” and a remix of “Hold Me Now” from this year.

This album is a must have for fans of the horribly overlooked German titans Bonfire. Those unfamiliar with their brilliance may wish to check out their studio albums or other live releases than Live In Wacken for no other reason than this may be a bit too “rough” and live for folks not into this sort of release. Personally I think it is a fantastic collection and will likely be the closest I get to experiencing them live. It also has me pumped for their new album and has me chomping at the bit to pull out their catalog and reacquaint myself with some old friends.

Written by Chris Martin

Ratings    Chris    8/10

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