Axel Rudi Pell – “XXX Anniversary Live”

Axel Rudi Pell – “XXX Anniversary Live” 2CD / 3LP (Steamhammer / SPV)
Battle Helm Rating
My god, does this man have any limits?! At 58 years old, having released 17 albums, sold more than 1.6 million records with his songs being streamed more than 37 million times, one must ask where Axel Rudi Pell is destined to go next? Illuminated by Blackmore, Pell has been gifted by playing with some of the best rock vocalists around, including Charlie Huhn (ex-Ted Nugent, Gary Moore, Victory, now with Foghat), Rob Rock (ex-Impellitteri, Driver) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, now with progressive super group Sons Of Apollo). Besides that, he’s jammed Hendrix with Uli Jon Roth, been knighted by Dio himself and taken to the stage for an award show at the Moscow Kremlin! Now, with 30 years behind him as a professional musician, comes the aptly titled “XXX Anniversary Live”, a 16 track extravaganza culled from shows across Europe ranging from Budapest in Hungary to his hometown in Bochum, Germany. Best of all though, is that the album wasn’t planned but secretly recorded by the soundman, who upon hearing the stellar performances, handed the tapes to Pell at the end of the tour, prompting this amazing release. Indeed, while some bands may set up for a live recording, this captures the flawless musicianship this legendary guitarist, not forgetting Johnny Gioeli’s truly moving soul and backed by matching icon in ex-Rainbow/Black Sabbath/Blue Öyster Cult drummer Bobby Rondinelli! Backed by faithful Volker Krawczak on bass and Ferdy Doernberg’s pumping keyboards, the set list is made up of classics like the 14 minute epic ‘Mystica’, it’s unmistakable Rainbow tones running through its grooves that need no prompting to get the crowd singing along before Pell’s mesmerising lead, pulsating both virtuosity and classic rock pedigree, echos its brilliance. Along with newer songs like ‘The Wild And The Young’, the rock factor is an undeniable and no less in its passion thanks to Gioeli’s stirring tones. Equally, ‘The Line’ from 2000’s “The Masquerade Ball” is sublime in its serenity while ‘Carousel’ takes us right back to the late 90s through its massive organ keys and electric chorus, and finally ending with nothing better than ‘Rock The Nation’, which is of course, what this amazing man and his band do gig after gig, year after year. Axel Rudi Pell, I truly salute you!
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