U.D.O. – “Navy Metal Night” DVD/2CD (AFM Records)
Since from his Accept days Udo Dirkschneider has always had a military theme (even if the man himself is anything but a warmonger) so its little wonder that he decided to make a special show last year inviting the German Navy Orchestra and choir on a unique musical collaboration! The first thing that struck me was just how many people were crammed onstage but at least there was no need for any pyro with Udo of course being right up front in the crowds face, who of course duly sang along to every song arms aloft! Opening with the brooding ‘Das Boot’ film theme, the orchestra soon showed its worth adding its symphonic splendor whether on its own on the epic build up to ‘In The Hall Of The Mountain King’ or providing a deeper and wider atmosphere be it through backing horns on ‘Heart Of Gold’ or providing choral majesty to complement the soulful guitar work on ‘Days Of Hope And Glory’. Far more radical however was the jazz cabaret rework of ‘Cut Me Out’ which is even more funked up than its original version although ‘Trainride In Russia’ gets more balls to the wall this time round thanks to heavier guitars and that powerful orchestral backing making it worthy of a Red Square march! Of course, the icing on this very rich cake has to be the ballad duet of ‘Dancing With An Angel’ with none other than German metal queen Doro Pesch whose smooth femme vocals brilliantly contrast with Udo’s own unique cat purr style – and backed once again by some emotional cellos and horns – very cool indeed. With everyone including the orchestral going balls out for closer ‘Animal House’, the 18 tracks on “Navy Metal Night” prove that going beyond a highlight in Udo’s 40 plus year career, this spectacle simply has to repeated – and so it will be in a few weeks at Wacken where the man will be joined by the German Federal Armed Forces Orchestra no less!!!!