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German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell and his band are highly productive. Without checking any sources, I believe this band has at least one album out every year, whether it's a studio release, a live album or a DVD. Their new effort is this live release, coming in a variety of formats, such as a double CD, a triple LP-edition, a limited box with 2 DVDs and 2 CDs, as well as the product I hold in my hand, the double DVD-edition. 2 DVDs filmed last year in Germany at two completely different locations. Disc 1 is from a smaller venue in Cologne and disc 2 is recorded at the Rock Of Ages festival in Seebronn.
Disc 1 is filmed in a club, where the lights aren't to one hundred percent properly installed to film. The picture quality varies from fairly good to somewhat gritty. The camera in the back has often not enough depth to get a good grip of the activities and more cameras in the stage area wouldn't have hurt, even if I know there's probably a financial aspect in this. The sound quality is what it should be, which means live, as I'm a huge objector for massive corrections. No visual effects or pyros are presented, as this recording was never meant to be, which Axel later in the bonus material section tells us more about. Basically this is a gig filmed from start to finish, even including the two-minute mandatory wait for the encores.
The band never made themselves a name by running around like maniacs on stage, even if lead vocalist Johnny Gioeli is a great frontman. Mike Terrana does his best and acts like a lunatic behind his kit and keyboard player Ferdy Doernberg does what he can on his platform. The main man, Axel, is as always almost cemented to the stage floor playing his Fenders. Bassplayer Volker Krawczak only occasionally steps up closer to the audience, making it visually dull.
I'm not too fond of the phenomenon to play all these medleys, making the show feel rather chopped to pieces and non flowing. With this also including a drum solo, fairly good I must say, but nothing I'm too keen with. Add a shorter keyboard solo to this and people are running around looking for nooses to end the misery. Ferdy is a brilliant player though, but it gets real boring. On the other hand, many songs are awesome and Gioeli's voice is doing more than good.
Disc 2 contains the same songs minus a few. I saw this band playing live on two occasions last summer and they played the exact same songs on both sets. It's a bit of shame that the song material on the two discs doesn't differ more. The show starts in daylight and ends at dusk, but there are more cameras on location and the picture quality is much better than in Cologne. The recording's depth and volume also appears clearer when filmed on a bigger stage.
Even if there is more space on this stage, I would heavily exaggerate if I was to say that they make use of it to fill the void. It's still the same deal, with limited movements. Still I like this disc better than disc 1, because it's just a better place to film a DVD in.
The bonus material contains a 9 minute interview with Pell himself, where he explains the differences with playing a festival show and playing as headliners in smaller venues. Perhaps obvious answers, but it's cool to hear his view on that matter. I won't tell you more, because it would ruin the experience if you plan to purchase this release. Furthermore we get an 8 minute view, all recorded in German with English subtitles, of his home, his instruments and his demo-recording devices, as well as a videoclip of the song Hallelujah.