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Axel Rudi Pell - XXX Anniversary Live Award winner

Axel Rudi Pell
XXX Anniversary Live
by Rachel Montgomery at 03 July 2019, 7:45 AM

AXEL RUDI PELL has been going strong for decades, and from their recent tour, they’re pulling out the best of the best from the years they’ve been performing. Now, currently on tour in Germany, they’ve put out a live album which showcases what they can do and who they are outside of the studio. The opening songs showcase the band’s foundation. “The Medieval Overture” is a nice, mood-setting intro that piques my interest about the rest of the performance, especially with the crowd getting pumped. The guitars on “The Wild and the Young” have a nice flow with the vocalist when he starts singing. I enjoyed the solo and the sound quality of the album so far; everything is clear and showcases great technical ability. I enjoyed Axel Rudi Pell’s vocals on “Wildest Dreams”. They’re clear and it shows that he has great technical ability outside the studio.

Fool Fool” is a traditional live track: addressing the audience with active participation. While the beginning captures the audience and dilutes the sound, it closes up and focuses on instrumentation again once the vocals start. Same with the next track, “Oceans of Time”, where the announcer dedicates the song to the fans. The guitar work is great on “Only the Strong Will Survive”, showcasing the guitarist’s ability with a long intro and an intricate solo. Speaking of solos, “Mystica” features a lengthy drum solo. Even before the solo, the percussion is pronounced and on point. The solo itself keeps with the tone of the rest of the song and shows off technical ability. Personally, I’m not a fan of lengthy drum solos, but I appreciate it when it shows skill. The drummer brings out everything: fast rolls, trills, varying rhythms and cowbell. There’s even a part where the bassist joins in to show how well the drummer can work off the other members of the band.

Long Live Rock” is a debut song at the time of this writing. It’s a lighthearted follow-up to the more technical last track with more audience excitement, a song to get the crowd pumped up after long solos. Still technically well, but the song is more about having fun and getting your blood going, especially with the audience interaction. After the intermission, they kick off with another long song, a medley of “Game of Sins” and “Tower of Babylon”, including a keyboard solo. The buildup is long, culminating in a keyboard shred that kicks into the solo. I will admit, the keyboardist has some skills, but I have to wonder why they went with an organ sound most of the time. The keyboardist has great technical ability; he can harmonize using fast chords and can clearly play well. I would have loved to see some range in his sound.

The Line” begins with a touching thank-you to fans and the crew before moving into a slower song. I feel like they put this one here due to the last song’s speed and energy. However, the song picks up and becomes a steady, anthemic rock ballad (I can picture the cell phones and cigarette lighters swinging in the crowd as this song plays). The next song is a crowd favorite. “Warrior” is as fast and exciting as the last one was steady and anthemic. This is one of my favorite songs on the album, and I would love to hear a studio version. I have to say it also shows the band can arrange a live performance, having a healthy mix of technical songs, crowd favorites and slow ballads neatly interspersed through the concert.

I love the announcer’s presence on stage: it’s heartwarming and inviting, especially in their performance of “Edge of the World.” It’s one of my other favorites, given the energy they can add to the track. I love the variety in speed and tone, and the audience interaction was cute. I have to wonder why they’re introducing the band so late (it’s almost the encore), but it was lighthearted and fun, and it showed great personality. “Truth and Lies” is a great instrumental which serves as a little interlude between the band intro and “Carousel”, which is one of their more well-known songs and another one of my favorites. Again, it goes form fast and fist-pumping to a slow ballad with their next song, “The Masquerade Ball”. The audience is invited to sing, suggesting this is a highlight of the band’s shows.

The closing song, “Rock the Nation,” is a fun rocking track that leaves fans energized and fitting as a closer for the show. The audience participation when they drop the song was a nice touch. Overall, the arrangement of songs is great: the selected songs vary in speed and tone and keep the audience engaged through lengthy solos and slower moments. Normally, I’m not a fan of live show albums and prefer to hear the studio versions. However, there’s something to be said for bands that perform live and make their music an experience. I enjoyed this fun, personable album and if you’re a fan of live shows or AXEL RUDI PELL, you will be too.

Songwriting: 9
Production: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Medieval Overture
2. The Wild and the Young
3. Wildest Dreams
4. Fool Fool
5. Oceans of Time
6. Only the Strong Will Survive
7. Mystica
8. Long Live Rock
9. Game of Sins/Tower of Babylon
10. The Line
11. Warrior
12. Edge of the World
13. Truth and Lies
14. Carousel
15. The Masquerade Ball/Casbah
16. Rock the Nation
Lineup:
Johnny Gioeli – Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Bobby Rondinelli – Drums
Record Label: Steamhammer
     


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Edited 16 September 2019
 

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