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Axel Rudi Pell - "Knights Live"
Steamhammer 2002

I'll be straight. This is a fantastic live album. No overdubs, just "simple" authentic sound. Where are the mistakes? It's hard to find them. With the same line-up that appears also on Axel's this year's release "Shadow Zone", the man decided that time for a new live album has arrived. The second one after "Made In Germany" from 1995. This one was also made in Germany, or if I'm more precise it was recorded in Bochum's "Zeche" hall.

Line up consists of five well-experienced musicians. First highlight is medley, where Mike Terrana is destroying his drum kit to pieces. I mean all sorts of things that only Mike can offer you. A drum solo begins with double bass pedal kicking universe. A pure Harley Davidson machine sound: "Wroooom, wrooom!" Just take a deep breathe, relax, close your eyes and enjoy. Medley begins with "Masquerade Ball", then continues with "Casbah". The band did here also a short main riff with first few verses of the Rainbow's "Stargazer". Band's introduction is something special, where guys are showing a great sense of humor. Second CD begins with impressive "Carousel" and serves a real "killing time" conversation between Ferdy and Mike, where "skinhead" F. Doerneberg shows his great talent for improvising in his keyboard solo. Vocals. In verses where high sequences should be sang Johnny Gioeli remains in lower gear. He is lower for a half of a tune. But on that "weak" points he was brilliantly backed up by two guest vocalists. Girls of course. I would otherwise call this live release a perfect one. Johnny's singing is very powerful otherwise.

Axel "in live", maestro with his speed of light finger split. Just can't stop himself. With no mistake he is fighting the fire. A guitarman simply doin' his mission. Axel and all the rest of the band just can't do it without improvisation. And this is one of the best things that this live journey offers. "The Clown Is Dead" is ending with: "…and she's buying a stairway to Bochum" for example. Solos are much different (also longer) from the ones, which appear on original album releases. Remind me of old good Deep Purple or Zepps days of stage performance. Just that Axel doesn't aloud himself any psychedelic adventures. Surprise after surprise, all the time. After "fill in" motives full of improvisation (good example is "Call Her Princes" with fantastic fade out), you can never be sure if the band will return to the main motive.

This live album offers you everything. A great sound. Instruments hanging in perfect balance. A great contact between the band and audience. A great set list, full of unexpected turnovers inside songs. An excellent full portion of improvisation extra time. Feel this pure magic experience!

Author:   Ale¹

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