Axel Rudi Pell – Magic Moments (25th Anniversary Special Show)
Release Date: April 28, 2015
25 Years is a long time to do just about anything besides breathe but for Axel Rudi Pell, 25 years is just the icing on the cake of a long, epic, and now legendary career. While he may not be a huge name here on American soil, in Europe he is held in the highest regard and rightfully so. For 25 years Axel Rudi Pell has been delivering his own brand of classic heavy metal music to a loyal, devoted following and picking up new fans with each passing year. Like any great milestone, Axel chose to celebrate his 25th anniversary as a solo artist. This monumental celebration was staged at Germany’s Bang Your Head festival in front of 15,000 people and Axel called on some old friends to help him bring it all home for just one night.
Axel opened the set with a facemelting reunion of Pell’s former band Steeler and these guys fucking brought it in a huge way. Kicking things off with “Call Her Princess” just blew my fucking mind and lead vocalist Peter Burtz was owning shit in a huge way. The band sounded fantastic as they pummeled through their powerhouse four song set. Following the Steeler set was a heap of Pell’s solo material as he was joined by each of his previous singers from over the years. Rob Rock joined the band for “Nasty Reputation” which in all honesty I could have done without. Rock’s voice always annoyed me but it was the enthusiasm and epic power of vocalist Jeff Scott Soto on “Warrior” and “Fool Fool” that rocked my lame ass. While I always loved Soto’s work with Pell, current (and my favorite to date) vocalist Johnny Gioelli took the stage for a set of songs proving why he is without a doubt the best vocalist Pell has ever recruited. Gioelli connects with those songs unlike anyone else and he sings them like he wrote every word himself. “Mystica” off of this set just floored me as did this version of “Rock the Nation.”
To close things out, Pell invited some more friends for a great set of covers. Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids took the stage with Pell and Co to deliver a facemelting rendition of Deep Purples “Black Night” and the Rainbow classic “Mistreated” featuring Doogie White. Graham Bonnet in my opinion was a real vibe killer on “Since You Been Gone” and “Long Live Rock N’ Roll.” The man’s voice is shot beyond all recognition and I really think that it was a huge mistake to have him along. I get that he’s a legend in his own right but to have him guest so late into the set really dragged things down a bit. They should’ve had him much earlier in the show so that all the greatness that followed would just bury how bad he sucked.
Magic Moments is a really fun album and the thing that I love the most about it is that it is “live” in the truest sense of the word. Axel Rudi Pell has had an amazing, timeless career for 25 years and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this occasion. Sharing this magic moment with his fans was something that was really awesome for those of us that are fans and may never get the chance to see him live. Happy Anniversary Axel and hey, let’s do this for another 25 shall we? Thanks for the timeless music. Cheers to you.