Just witnessed your
best live gig?.. send us a review!
Camden Underworld, London 22 April 2012
night gigs are a real pain in the proverbial nowadays. Sure, as an
eighteen year old, sleeping a couple of hours before heading to work was
not an issue but, two decades later, you realise that it takes a good
couple of days before you start recovering.
come I am writing a review of a Sunday night gig? Simply because the man
who was playing London that night was no other than the German axeman
Axel Rudi Pell - a Ritchie Blackmore enthusiast who, since the release
of his debut album 'Wild Obsession' back in 1898, has been providing us
with top class quality melodic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal anthems.
purpose of tonight's show was the promotion of Axel's much anticipated
fifteenth studio album 'Circle Of The Oath' - if the long queue outside
the Camden venue was anything to go by.
show had only one opening act, the Münster-based Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
quartet Mad Max who, surprisingly enough, were first formed eight
years before Pell's outfit, taking a ten year hiatus during the period
1989-1999. Equally attracted by the works of Scorpions and Thin Lizzy,
Mad Max proved to be a very worthy opening act, enjoying one of the best
sounds I have ever experienced by an opening act at this venue and soon
winning both the attention and the appreciation of Axel's audience.
rhythmical tunes of 'Burning The Stage' provided a good introduction to
the band's classic-sounding material and by the time the sing-along
belter 'Welcome To Rock Bottom' was introduced, the crowd had already
been won over. Michael Voss proved to be in possession of a deep soulful
voice, but is also a very skilled guitarist, providing songs like 'Metal
Edge' and 'Wait For The Night' with some really impressive leads.
earth he chose to break the set's momentum by performing an 80s sounding
guitar solo only god knows but both the Scorpions-sounding 'Fall From
Grace' and the more flamboyant 'Love Loaded' re-established order in the
cheered enthusiastically to the question 'Are you ready for Axel??!!',
but the band left the stage only after performing 1987's 'Night Of
Passion' - a song that both the band and the crowd seemed to enjoy in
last fifteen years Axel Rudi Pell has been recording music with
the support of some of the best musicians in Metal and though I was
quite eager to see them all displaying their skills, it was singer
Johnny Gioeli who I put under the microscope throughout the show. His
studio performances have always been of the utmost quality but would the
Italian American bard manage to re-create his wide-range vocal parts
equally successful in a live environment?
a few minor exceptions, Johnny's vocals were simply outstanding! From
the moment the first notes of 'Ghost In The Black' were heard, Johnny
proved why he deserves to occupy the space previously engaged by iconic
frontmen such as Jeff Scott Soto. Johnny moved constantly around the
small stage of the Underworld like a fierce demon, allowing Axel to
perform his magic during 'Welcome To Rock Bottom' and 'Metal Edge' by
standing to the side of the stage - almost in total anonymity!
was filled with screams when Johnny asked how 'my friends in London are
doing tonight' and again after the band introduced the first medley of
the crowd-pleasers 'Masquerade Ball' - 'Casbah - 'Dream Dead',
incorporating snippets of Led Zeppelin's all-time classic 'Whole Lotta
Love'! Following a tremendous solo by the mighty Mike Terrana, the band
produced the second medley of the night, this time merging parts of Deep
Purple's classic 'Mistreated' in between the wonderful 'Mystica'.
same-titled 'Circle Of The Oath' was another new track that was
well-received by the audience, followed by the catchy sing-along Rocker
'Fool Fool' and a keyboard part, courtesy of Mr. Fredy Doernberg, whose
equipment was somehow miraculously squeezed into the area normally
reserved for the press! The last song of the main set was my personal
favourite, 'Carousel', which Johnny and the band performed somewhat
faster than the original, but which still sounded great.
the crowd's warm reaction, they left the stage for the first time. The
band's return was announced by the mighty 'Tear Down The Walls',
followed by a warm rendition of the four minute classic 'Nasty
Reputation'. The band's second exit from the stage convinced some of the
crowd that the show was over, however these were the same people who
missed a killer rendition of 'Rock The Nation' - the perfect ending to
what was proved to be a very enjoyable show.
I am not really sure who decided to host an Axel Rudi Pell show at the
London Underworld, but what became fairly obvious quite early on was
that someone hadn't done their homework!
energetic band needs a lot of space, especially with so much equipment,
so many people missed their chance to see Axel performing his magic,
either because he was behind a column or because many had to stand way
back in the venue where you can't see very much of anything at all.
venue lacked, though, the band provided in passion and skill, making
this a night to remember! I really hope it is not too long before
someone decides to bring Axel back to London, this time at a more
Madmax Set List:
1. 'Burning The Stage' 2. 'Welcome To Rock Bottom'
3. 'Metal Edge' 4. 'Wait For The Night' 5. 'Guitar Solo'
6. 'Fall From Grace' 7. 'Love Loaded' 8. 'Night Of Passion'
Axel Rudi Pell Set List:
1. 'Ghost In The Black' 2. 'Strong As A Rock' 3. 'Before I Die' 4.
'Medley: Masquerade Ball' - 'Casbah - 'Dream Dead' (Included snippet of
'Whole Lotta Love' from Led Zeppelin). 5. 'Drum Solo (Mike Terrana)' 6.
'Mystica - Mistreated (Deep Purple cover) - Mystica' 7. 'Circle Of The
Oath' 8. 'Fool Fool' 9. 'Keyboard Solo (Fredy Doernberg)' 10. 'Carousel'
1st Encore: 11. 'Tear Down The Walls' 12. 'Nasty Reputation'
2nd Encore: 13. 'Rock The Nation'
Alayne Taylor except where indicated
|Print this page in printer-friendly format