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Pride Of Lions - Live In Belgium (CD)

Pride Of Lions
Live In Belgium
by Grigoris Chronis at 10 July 2006, 3:32 AM

Belgium's Lokerse Feesten is no widely known festival. 'Digging' a little in the WWW, I found out it's a pocket-friendly event as you can see lots of irrelevant (speaking about sound) bands at low cost. This 'cute' happening has hosted - in the Melodic/Hard Rock 'path' - acts like Europe, Bob Catley, Vaughn and Gotthard in the past (just thinking of my town's 'popular' Hard & Heavy fests…). August 2005 was the year for Jim Peterik's Pride Of Lions to taste the hospitality of Belgium's melodic rockers.
Who's Jim Peterik?, was it that I heard… Hmmm, remember 80's U.S. Rock 'arena' monsters Survivor? Memorize Eye Of The Tiger and Burning Heart - the ultimate Survivor 'landmarks' - and you'll recognize Peterik as the main songwriter (along with Frankie Sullivan, if I can recall well). Don't think anyone of that age will read this 'online' review, yet it is to be told that Peterik entered the world of Music in the mid-to-late 60's with Ides Of March.
Peterik's luck - apart from the money he got with Survivor till 1994 - carried on into the 21st century. Toby Hitchcock is no fatal loverboy (thanks!) but is a helluva singer (more thanks). Bearing in mind he's no more than 30 years old, his warm, clear and passionate voice was - show mercy, Jim - the main reason to 'warmly' applaud on both Pride Of Lions (Frontiers, 2003) and The Destiny Stone (Frontiers, 2004) albums of Pride Of Lions (so far). Still, the 'ghost' of Survivor over Peterik's songwriting still does something to fans of the specific vibe.
On to the disc(s): Pride Of Lions' performance in this Lokerse fest starts off with - maybe - their most outstanding tune. It's Criminal - even if played a little bit slower - is the ideal kick-off teaser. Both Peterik and Hitchcock appear onstage in fine mood and the celebrating begins. Most tracks come from the same titled debut, while three Survivor songs and Vehicle - from Peterik's Ides Of March days (remember?) - burn the golden sky in the dead of a moonlit August night. Latest album's pointer Parallel Lines is obviously missing, as well as Survivor's Burning Heart - 'd love to hear Toby in this one - but, anyway, the set list is surely fine.
To the band: Peterik may seem too retro to some. He may even seem boring. Opinions. I saw him enjoying 100% the whole show while traveling for the first time in Europe for a Pride Of Lions gig. Catwalking, fine-tuning with the crowd, cheer leading for the whole band, Jim seems to be in his second youth (reaching his 60s, I assume); especially when singing the Vehicle classic… As for Toby, his voice - a fine mix of Survivor's Jimi Jamison and Styx's Dennis De Young - rode the sky in perfect 'I-guarantee' mood and no negative standpoint can I deal with in him. Watch him during Eye Of The Tiger; what a fresh 'addition' to the classic is he. Finally, check Black Ribbons (Voices Of The World) - a farewell to the victims of the 'terrorist' train attacks in Madrid, Spain two years ago. Golden…
As for the cons: i) I'd rather not want Peterik to wear a tiger-bar shirt, we know his past and this surely cheers us up, ii) the rest of the band is too low of profile. Pardon me, we - again know - the main duo, still some buzz could they make to 'enlighten' the background of the stage, iii) wish the rhythm guitars would be a little bit more on front in the final mix. Yeah, yeah, it's AOR music but - anyway - not pop (stop laughing!).
The bonus audio tunes - in CD #2 - vary from ballads to more vivid tunes. So Deadly is somehow a weird creation for the Peterik standards, while Reckless Love is ideal for some night drive and Surrender To The Night's passion is a teaser. Bonus features include a TV Show performance plus the music video for Sound Of Home. Nothing special, but I don't want to 'influence' your choice.
Is this going to be a CD/DVD combo or will they be released separately? If yes, try the DVD for sure - the audio extras come in second notice. Pride Of Lions proves to be more Survivor than the 2006 'reunited' ones themselves. All this, if you tend to stick to the typical Survivor sound of the 80's.

3 Star Rating

Disc 1

It's Criminal
Sound of Home
Man Behind the Mask
The Search Is Over
Music and Me
The Courage to Love Somebody
Black Ribbons (Voices of the World)
What Kind of Fool
I Can't Hold Back
The Gift of Song
Eye of the Tiger

Disc 2

Reckless Love
Stand By You
So Deadly
Surrender to the Night
Dark Angel
Black Ribbons (Voices Of The World)
Feels Like Another Planet
Toby Hichcock - Lead Vocals
Jim Peterik - Vocals, Guitars & Keyboards
Mike Aquino - Guitars & Vocals
Klem Hayes - Bass
Ed Breckenfeld - Drums
Christian Cullen - Keyboards
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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