Axel Rudi Pell - 'XXX Anniversary Live'

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Axel Rudi Pell - 'XXX Anniversary Live'

Stunning!

It's hard to believe that erstwhile Steeler guitarist Axel Rudi Pell released his solo debut 'Wild Obsession' thirty years ago. What's even more amazing is that his ensuing career has seen him forge an unbreakable bond with the same record label, a feat almost unparalleled in the modern-day music industry. Yet, despite ups and downs on both sides, Pell and his band (and believe me, it is very much a band rather than a bunch of backing musicians) have continued to deliver their own brand of Rainbow-infused Hard Rock to the same impossibly high standards.

Apparently the result of a happy accident (or at least an unplanned one), 'XXX Anniversary Live' documents the final stages of his most recent world tour in support of his last studio album 'Knights Call'. Featuring recordings culled from selected European dates in October/November of last year (recordings which Pell himself admits were just too good to throw away), it captures the raw energy and high drama of a Pell show in its purest, most concentrated form.



Pieced together with minimal studio input – there are no overdubs, but it was obviously cut together to make it sound like one continual show – this live offering packs quite the proverbial punch. Arriving on stage to the strains of 'The Medieval Overture' intro, Pell and the band really let rip with a rousing (if at times a little ragged) run through of 'The Wild And The Young'. The crowd go nuts, the group feed off of that and you can probably figure out the rest!

From the evergreen 'Fool Fool' (A Jeff Scott Soto era classic that Johnny Gioeli has really made his own) to the mesmerising fusion that is 'The Masquerade Ball/Casbah', fans old and new should lap this up with relish. Both 'Mystica' and 'Game Of Sins/Tower Of Babylon' push beyond the fifteen-minute barrier – the former with a Bobby Rondinelli drum solo and the latter with some seriously moody keyboard noodling from Ferdy Doernberg. The juxtaposed moods and tempos of tracks like 'Oceans Of Time', 'Warrior' and 'Edge Of The World' are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat come what may.

Pell and Gioeli constantly duck 'n' weave as they trade licks and hooks like the well-oiled machine they've undoubtedly become over the years. This latest release from Axel Rudi Pell can be described with just one word – stunning!

Dave Cockett

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