Despite having planned his career meticulously over the past 25 years or so, even in the camp of German hard rock master Axel Rudi Pell surprises cannot be ruled out: Before playing in front of a sold-out Cologne crowd on the second leg of his wildly successful "Circle Of The Oath" tour, the opportunity arose for taping the whole show, with cameras being all over. Well, Axel gave it a try. And that was a good move. Ten years after his last live album "Knights Live" (2002),you can — again — be a witness of a complete concert from the Bochum-based guitar virtuoso and his German-American all-star band. To round out the Axel Rudi Pell live package, the recording of the co-headlining gig at last year's Rock Of Ages festival was added to "Live On Fire", the name of his newest live oeuvre.
Obviously, a live album doesn't have the same importance and significance as a new studio output, but it nevertheless is a perfect snapshot in time, because 2012 was the most successful year in Axel Rudi Pell's solo career by far. "Circle Of The Oath", album No. 14, was released on March 23 and rode high on the charts all over Europe: in his homeland Germany, the critically acclaimed disc made it up to No. 16 in the first week, Switzerland welcomed good old Axel on No. 30, Austria on No. 55, Norway on No. 69 and in Sweden he went up to No. 51. And last but not least, he received another gold award for selling out three consecutive nights at the famous Zeche venue in his native Bochum. Apart from that, he rocked the summer crowds at the legendary Sweden Rock and Wacken Open Air festivals, as well as the open-air Rock Of Ages in Germany together with his band.
Even though Axel loves the composing part at home and the recording business in the studio, home is where the heart is and that's being on stage. Being musically socialized in the Golden Age of hard rock (the Seventies) he's probably a bigger fan of live albums than he would admit. As they say: applause is the performer's meat and drink. But without sometimes being anarchistic spontaneously and playing with the audience's emotions, without the sweat coming off the ceiling and the priceless energy being trapped in the middle of an adventure that is called live concert, when the lights go down and every amp is on fire — the life of a true rocker would be incomplete. Speaking of which: besides his success, Axel Rudi Pell has always been that down-to-earth guy and mainly the fan he was turned into when he first heard DEEP PURPLE's "Fireball" back in the day. With "Live On Fire", he accomplishes a long-desired wish and gives his fans what they desperately want for quite some time.
No surprise at all that the main focus is set on the newbies: here's the striking chords of fast and furious opener "Ghost In The Black", the hard rocking pounding of "Before I Die" and without a doubt one of Axel's best songs written in a decade: the brilliant "Circle Of The Oath", which would make Jimmy Page cry out loud. But there's more to listen to on "Live On Fire": the passion for medleys ("The Masquerade Ball"/"Casbah"/"Dreaming Dead") combined with some all-time classics here and there (ZEPPELIN's "Whole Lotta Love" or PURPLE's "Mistreated").
And they aren't finished yet and will enter the studio in autumn of 2013, with a tour coming up in February/March of 2014. This could be something, as after a quarter of a century as a successful solo artist, Axel Rudi Pell and his mates are still "Live On Fire"!
"Live On Fire" track listing:
Cologne, Essigfabrik (October 18, 2012)
01. The Guillotine Suite (intro) 02. Ghost In The Black 03. Strong As A Rock 04. Before I Die 05. The Masquerade Ball / Casbah / Dreaming Dead / Whole Lotta Love / Dreaming Dead 06. Drum Solo 07. Mystica / Mistreated / Mystica 08. Oceans Of Time 09. Circle Of The Oath 10. Fool Fool 11. Keyboard Solo / Carousel / Jam / Carousel 12. Tear Down The Walls / Nasty Reputation 13. Rock The Nation
Rock Of Ages Festival (July 28, 2012)
01. The Guillotine Suite (intro) 02. Ghost In The Black 03. Strong As A Rock 04. Before I Die 05. The Masquerade Ball / Casbah / Dreaming Dead / Whole Lotta Love / Dreaming Dead 06. Drum Solo 07. Mystica / Mistreated / Mystica 08. Oceans Of Time 09. Circle Of The Oath 10. Tear Down The Walls / Nasty Reputation 11. Rock The Nation
A trailer for the effort can be seen below.
"Live On Fire" will be released on March 26 (one day earlier internationally) via SPV/Steamhammer.
"Live On Fire" recording lineup:
Johnny Gioeli - Lead Vocals Axel Rudi Pell - Guitar Ferdy Doernberg - Keyboards/Backing Vocals Volker Krawczak - Bass/Backing Vocals Mike Terrana - Drums
* Limited Digipak 2CD / 2DVD plus poster and tour pass; Bonus: new interview with Axel Rudi Pell, home story Axel Rudi Pell, "Hallelujah" video clip * 3LP in colored vinyl (Cologne, Essigfabrik) * Digipak 2CD (Cologne, Essigfabrik) * Digipak 2DVD (Cologne, Essigfabrik, Rock Of Ages festival) (also on Blu-ray: release to be announced); Bonus: new interview with Axel Rudi Pell, home story Axel Rudi Pell, "Hallelujah" video clip * Download (Cologne, Essigfabrik)
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