Axel Rudi Pell / Mad Max - Capitol, Hannover (Germany) - 20th April 2012
As their faithful companions for many shows, Mad Max again supported Axel Rudi Pell on this tour. Michael “Vossi” Voss and his band opened their show with ‘Burning The Stage’. That title was meant to be the program for the night - exuding happiness, freedom and their typically unique Mad Max sound, they caught the audience from the first second on. Having the original band line-up back together seemed to be their recipe for success as the band rocked like hell and was celebrated by the German rock fans correspondingly. “Getting back together was the best and only decision we could make because this is Mad Max and no other line-up could ever replace what we mean to each other!” Juergen told me later on. A very strong set list included several new songs, and Hannover had finally woken up. Vossi, Juergen, Roland and Axel truly did an amazing job: they were loud, they had fun and most of all they prepared 1,400 loyal and faithful fans for the night’s main act.
After a short break, a dark and epic-sounding intro sounded from the PA, mist ascended from two pillars with evil-looking LED-eyed metallic skulls standing next to the drum set and one after another the band entered the stage. The second when the animal Mike Terrana started to count in ‘Ghost In The Black’ the crowd went completely mad! Axel stroked his guitar with the soft but so energetic insanity of a guitar God and Johnny let all his power blast the stage off.
The band was celebrating the opening show of their tour with all their faith and love they could put into their music. ‘Strong As A Rock’ let the Capitol tremble whenever the crowd shouted “ROCK!!” and I guess no one was able to withstand the force. The musicians managed to create an absolutely unique atmosphere while the dark lights and the mist completed the setting. Keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg conveyed pure joy from behind his keys, smiling and fooling around all the time.
The “silent giant” on stage – bass-player Volker Krawczak – was looking so cool! Skull-bandana and sunglasses (which Johnny stole later on) completed the appearance of the rhythm-man who hammered on his bass like crazy, leading the “melody-section” through the songs. The awesome mixture of new and old material such as ‘Before I Die’, ‘Fool Fool’ , ‘Circle Of The Oath’ and ‘Mystica’ was completed by some very well-chosen and amazingly interpreted cover-songs like ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Hey Joe’ – the latter being sung by Axel himself as Johnny … uhh… had to take a leak, ha ha! Axel did a fantastic job even though one could see that he loves his guitar much more than the mic.
The 15-minute medley of ‘Masquerade Ball’, ‘Casbah’ and ‘Dreaming Dead’, including a piece of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, let Hannover get totally hooked on the sound of good old hard rock. Also, I’ve rarely seen and heard a crowd enjoying a drum-solo that intensively! Mike Terrana maltreated his drums like thunder and lightning gone wild while Jacques Offenbach’s Can-can from ‘Orpheus In The Underworld’ was played from a tape. The drum-solo was neither too spectacular nor long… but different.
My personal favourite this night was definitely ‘Oceans Of Time’ in acoustic-version. Johnny Gioeli seemed to sing his heart out of his chest, putting 10,000% of his love into that song, showing his phenomenal ability to touch each and everybody’s heart and unite the whole Capitol as one. Having the regular set finished with ‘Fool Fool’ and ‘Carousel’ the crowd definitely wanted more. After some jokes and a lot of applause the band took the stage once again to ‘Tear Down The Walls”… and hell – they DID! There was no holding back when the last song ‘Rock the Nation’ sounded from the speakers. I guess the crowd and both of the bands knew that this was a truly amazing start to the tour.