From an outsider's perspective, the fact MOTORHEAD releases a live document in nearly the same increment as their studio records constitutes a bit of narcissism. Of course, those who've attended a MOTORHEAD concert or two understand just why a live album or video after one of their touring cycles is all but expected. In fact, MOTORHEAD, AC/DC and IRON MAIDEN may be the only automatics in hard music who can guarantee sales of their live recordings, no matter how pedestrian the prospect may be.
There's an inarguable aura to MOTORHEAD's live performance and that's why they capture themselves as frequently as they do. They do nothing overtly flashy and they never have. Yet their continued drawing power from the audience's perspective is the anticipation of getting brained with rock 'n roll so dense and controlled there's still no way to prepare for it.
Lemmy Kilmister remains a figurehead of the heavy music industry because of his gruff vocal delivery and colossal hefting of his bass. Of course, his satirical wit has more than just a hand in his popularity. Phil Campbell has long buried his predecessors with 27 years of riff perfection you just know even when he naps he still striking chords. Mikkey Dee has likewise earned his due respect as MOTORHEAD's restless drumming machine, and he remains one of the greatest of his ilk. There's just something aesthetic about watching Dee's blond mane fluff rhythmically overtop his kit, while the live presentation of MOTORHEAD allows the audience to truly appreciate how many fills, rolls and triplicates he throws into his work. Dee's playing comes off far more dynamic live than in the studio, and that's saying everything for a man of his caliber.
No need to dwell too hard on what you're getting on with this CD/DVD/Blu-ray set, "The World is Ours Vol. 2: Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else" because a MOTORHEAD show is self-explanatory. The biggest notable to this series of outdoor festival gigs from 2011 is that MOTORHEAD isn't so much slowing down in their elder years as they are laying down the heaviest possible touches to their mostly mid-tempo performance. Even "Iron Fist" and "Stay Clean" come off a click slower than what we're accustomed to, yet there's still the menacing vibrato and pulverizing crush you don't necessarily miss the full, expected thrust. Lemmy continually posits to the point of defensiveness that MOTORHEAD is merely a rock 'n roll band and this set proves his point. It's the muscle, not the speed that magnifies "The World Is Ours Vol. 2".
You're simply drawn into watching Lemmy and his road crew drown the Wacken Open Air, Sonisphere festival and Rock in Rio with some of the loudest music any of those crowds likely ever saw. Whether MOTORHEAD chooses to wallop you fast or not so much, you're going to get walloped, and therein lies the reason "The World Is Ours Vol. 2" becomes another compulsory pick-up.
Some other usual haunts crop up in this offering: "Stay Clean", "Metropolis", "One Night Stand", "In the Name of Tragedy", "Just 'Cos You Got the Power", "Killed By Death" and of course the mandatory tag team finale of "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill". Added are a few selections from MOTORHEAD's last two studio albums, "Motorizer" and "The World is Yours". While the absence of "Burner", "Sacrifice" and "R.A.M.O.N.E.S". from sets of their past sting just a little, your investment into this set is reaped once "Bomber" arrives towards the end of the Wacken performance. The morph of the lighting rack into the shape of a RAF bomber is one of the coolest visuals MOTORHEAD has in their arsenal and it's so old school you can't not cheer as it hovers over the grand finale. No doubt everyone who came out of that experience was drained of their juices.
In some ways, the 2005 "Stage Fright" DVD better captures the live mystique of MOTORHEAD, largely in part to all of the whirring multi-angle camera swoops, yet you can't go wrong with "The World Is Our Vol. 2". Shot perhaps with less dramatics, there's still flair to the footage, in particular the Wacken show. The older MOTORHEAD gets, the more they come off like sages basking in their glory. Following Mikkey Dee's drum solo, Lemmy and Phil Campbell strut back onstage in the midst of "In the Name of Tragedy" to a huffing of stage fog and somehow the electricity grows even more once they rip into "Just 'Cos You Got the Power" and "Going to Brazil". Heaped-up energy stored for the explosive curtain call and the roller-coaster fleetness of "Overkill".
Particularly poignant is Lemmy's dedication of the Sonisphere show to former MOTORHEAD guitarist Michael "Wurzel" Burston, who passed July 9th of last year. That alone is worth taking the ride through "The World is Ours, Vol. 2".
- Ray Van Horn, Jr.