Axel Rudi Pell - Magic Moments - 25th Anniversary Special Show

Axel Rudi Pell Magic Moments - 25th Anniversary Special Show cover
Axel Rudi Pell
Magic Moments - 25th Anniversary Special Show
Not too long ago (a year or so) and while Axel Rudi Pell, was touring in support of his latest opus “Into the Storm”, the “25th Anniversary” of his came up and with it, the idea to celebrate the proceedings in a special way, so the stage was set, for a live performance at that years installation of “Bang Your Head” festival in Balingen/Germany, that was special and memorable for a variety of reasons. For the first time in absolutely ages, Axel, did perform a short four song set with his original band Steeler (not to be confused with the Ron Keel led American “Steeler” which also featured guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen) then a set that utilized as many of the studio singers as possible, was performed, with them, singing their “own” era’s material and finally a bunch of classic rock tracks were performed by the band enlisting the aid of some special guests/friends. All in all the whole show lasted for almost three hours and celebrated the long history of ARP, in the best way imaginable!
So a year later “Magic Moments – 25th Anniversary Special Show” arrives on the ridiculous 3 CD, 3 DVD or single BluRay configurations, choke full of that show, plus various rehearsal footage. Axel & his buddies were quite lucky, since the weather report had predicted a storm coming that actually did not manifest, until almost the end of the three hour tenure, of the various forms of the ARP band and friends, on stage... and since the rain began pouring during the last song of his regular set, the Rainbow classic “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”, promoter Horst E. Franz speculated “That was Ronnie James Dio crying from above”…
Most of the people that Axel wanted to be there were able to make it on that July evening, with only a few unable to be present due to prior engagements. There was a rehearsal with most of the band and people involved, (with only Doogie White, not making it until show date, since he had a live performance with Temple of Rock, to fulfill) and then it was showtime on the very next day.
Steeler, took the stage, for a historic reunion and performed some 4 songs, “Call Her Princess”, “Night After Night”, “Rockin’ the City” and “Undercover Animal”... Peter Burtz’s vocals (who also had a staple with Avenger/later Rage) sounded a little rough, but overall things were quite good, but before things got off the ground, the set was over!
Next up – the main event was on as Axel took the stage with his band. Other than Charlie Huhn, the band’s original singer who had already agreed to play a gig in the USA with his current band Foghat, Axel’s former singers turned out in full force: Rob Rock (1991) and Jeff Scott Soto (1991-1997) and current mainstay Johnny Gioelli, together with longtime ARP drummer Joerg Michael (until 1998) took the stage by storm for a best-of show which in all reality, was too short, to cover, the numerous albums and songs the maestro has churned out, through the years, only scratching the surface of each “era”, omitting classics and utilizing a couple of medleys, to try and cover as many bases as possible… the inclusion of covers such as Neil Young’s classic “Hey Hey My My” (even if it comes from the latest album) was a little too much, imho, when classics like “Cry of the Gypsy” didn’t get an airing... some later classics like “Mystica”, “The Masquerade Ball”, and the title track from “Into the Storm” were aired, but the overall choice of songs could have been a little more careful. Instead there was a ten minute drum battle between Vinnie Appice and Bobby Rondinelli (wtf, that could have been an extra couple of ARP songs, right there), only to then go over a set made up of a bunch of classic rock “covers” along with the “friends”.
Stepping in for Joe Lynn Turner, who was tied up with business affairs, Pretty Maids frontman Ronnie Atkins performed a really good version of Deep Purple’s “Black Night” with the crowd, chanting along… John Lawton, one of the former vocalists of Uriah Heep and one of the best next to the inimitable David Byron, demonstrated why he still deserves a lot of “Sympathy” by airing the said Uriah Heep number and he even went on to look for some “Tush” checking out ZZ Top’s bar classic. Ex-Rainbow keyboard player Tony Carey joined in for an emotional take on “Mistreated”, along with also ex-Rainbow alumnus Doogie White (who’d finally made it) and band’s current singer Johnny Gioeli, really going for a loooooose and extended fourteen minutes rendition... that I presume again, could have still been “long” but could have won time for another ARP original on the previous set, had it been a few minutes shorter... yet another Rainbow veteran Graham Bonnet, took the stage, with Doogie, actually welcoming him on stage, for his “classic” – “Since You Been Gone” to get an airing. Surprisingly, for his age, he sounded, pretty frigging solid... the duo also handled “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”, another Rainbow classic, with the rain, starting to come down, at that time... At the end of those three hours plus all guests (and friends!) gathered on stage for the grand finale with Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”. Effing banal choice and in no way were these choices the biggest possible Ritchie Blackmore worship this side of Yngwie Malmsteen, but, hey... who am I to judge…?! (But I’m doing it anyway).
That brought a close on that eventful evening, which was indeed quite memorable, but could have been a little more “heavy” on the ARP aspect, with at least 2-3 more songs that weren’t aired, due to the band, mucking about with solos or later with overextending “Mistreated”… Other than that, it must have been a cool night out, with a bit of rain, towards the end.
Recommended to fans of Rainbow, Purple etc. and I suppose a sure purchase for all ARP fans. I just hope they price those packages, reasonably…
The Blue Ray and DVDs contain the full three sets:
Steeler: “Call Her Princess”,  “Night After Night”, “Rockin´The City” and “Undercover Animal”
ARP with guest vocalists: “Nasty Reputation”, “Warrior”, “Fool Fool”, “Burning Chains”, “Strong As A Rock”, “Long Way To Go”, “Hey Hey My My” (Neil Young cover), “Mystica”, “Into The Storm”, “Too Late / Eternal Prisoner / Too Late”, “The Masquerade Ball / Casbah”, “ Rock The Nation”, and “Drum Battle Appice/Rondinelli”
ARP+Friends: “Black Night” (Deep Purple w R.Atkins), “Sympathy” (Uriah Heep) and “Tush” (ZZ Top) both feat. John Lawton, “Mistreated” (Deep Purple) feat, Tony Carey, Doogie White and J.Gioelli, “Since You Been Gone” and “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” (both Rainbow) feat Graham Bonnet and Doogie White and last but not least “Smoke on the Water” (featuring everyone)
Also included are “The Rehearsals” from the previous day, incl: “Fool Fool”, “Sympathy”, “Tush”, “Black Night”, “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Mistreated” and “Smoke on the Water” which are omitted on the 3 CDs version