Axel Rudi Pell – “Magic Moments – 25th Anniversary Special Show” 3CD / DVD (Steamhammer / SPV)
Already a legendary guitarist in his own time, melodic hard rocker Axel Rudi Pell decided to celebrate his 25th anniversary as a solo artist in style – by playing a once in a lifetime show at last year’s Bang Your Head Festival – along with a few friends! From previous vocalists like Rob Rock (1991) and Jeff Scott Soto (1991-1997) to guests like Vinnie Appice, Uriah Heep’s John Lawton and ex Rainbower’s Tony Carey and Graham Bonnet, they came from all over the world – along with all of Steeler from Bochum! Playing an equally diverse set list ranging from old Steeler songs like ‘Call Her Princess’ to ‘Undercover Animal’, ARP classics like ‘Rock The Nation’ and ‘Mystica’, to the Neil Young classic ‘Hey Hey My My’, the extravaganza even featured an 11 minute drum duel between Appice and current ARP drummer Bobby Rondinelli! ‘..fuckin’ hell, that’s too loud, can you turn it down a wee bit..’ shrieked Dougie White before launching ironically into a 14 minute version of ‘Mistreated’ as the list of classic rockers rolled out from Pretty Maids frontman Ronnie Atkins getting the 15,000 strong crowd to singalong to ‘Black Night’ to a raucous n still rebellious Graham Bonnet kicking things up on ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’. The crowd were duly charged for the glorious finale of ‘Long Live Rock N Roll’ led jointly by White and Bonnet (and Joe Lynn Turner’s jacket lol) with Tony Carey’s moving keyboards adding some serious atmosphere to the whole affair – not that the massive crowd need any encouragement to join in! Of course, the encore had to be ‘Smoke On The Water’ with every guest now on the stage but professionals to the end, the huge jam somehow worked (even with a rehearsal only the previous day). Throats were frayed, there’s a lot of swearing n pissing about by the old rockers, Peter Burtz (nowadays a comedy producer) sounds rough as hell, but everyone – band, guests and crowd – sound like they’re having a ball and that in essence is what makes this a ‘special’ show, complete with no edits, overdubs etc so that you actually feel you’re there too. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Axel and his band, delivering note for note perfection across the 3 hours(!), not to mention his legacy in the first place in being able to pull so many friends together for one special show. From this gargantuan set come 24 tracks spread across a monster 3CD / DVD package truly making this a magic moment – and best of all, not a drop of rain so Dio smiling down must have approved too!