German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell will release "Magic Moments - 25th Anniversary Special Show" on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray on April 28 (one day earlier internationally) through SPV/Steamhammer.
The weather gods smiled on Axel Rudi Pell on that memorable magic evening of July 11, 2014 at the Bang Your Head!!! festival in Balingen, Germany: There had been a severe weather alert, but in the end the floodgates of heaven opened only during the last song of the German guitarist's regular set, the RAINBOW classic "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll". "That was Ronnie James Dio crying from above," promoter Horst E. Franz speculated while bidding his farewells to the almost 15,000 drenched-but-happy fans at the festival site.
Three hours before, the sun went down, creating a beautiful atmosphere at Bang Your Head!!!, where Axel Rudi Pell celebrated his 25th anniversary as a solo artist with a once-in-a-life-time performance. The CDs and DVDs document a show that is unlikely to ever be seen again in this constellation — a special present the protagonist had worked hard for.
It took almost a year to set everything up. "The actual organization started in the summer of 2013 when the promoter and I went public with the idea of this event," Axel says with obvious relief. He's still happy about how things have turned out. With a little help from his friends at his booking agency, the Bochum guitarist set up an extraordinary lineup. "It was mostly all about personal contacts," because, after more than 30 years in the business, Axel Rudi Pell is not only well-known, but also well-respected in the worldwide rock community, so the affix "& Friends" is not one of those usual exaggerations. Almost all of his favoured candidates agreed on this one July date.
As Axel is an early bird, the whole organization was fairly easy. Of course, there were rehearsals, but only one day before the show. Over fifty minutes worth of footage from those remarkable sessions are featured on the DVD and Blu-ray versions of this package. During those sessions, Axel realized that something unique was happening. "Everybody involved had a blast and was right on track," he remembers. Unfortunately, Doogie White had a prior engagement with Michael Schenker on that rehearsal day, but was replaced with Axel Rudi Pell frontman Johnny Gioeli. And except for Charlie Huhn, who had already agreed to play a gig in the USA with his current band FOGHAT, Axel's former singers turned out in full force: Rob Rock (1991) and Jeff Scott Soto (1991-1997) alongside longtime Axel Rudi Pell drummer Jörg Michael (until 1998) took the stage by storm after a historical four-song STEELER reunion at the beginning of the show. Axel's current lineup put on a best-of show with a blisteringly atmospheric version of the Neil Young classic "Hey Hey My My" and a few epic Axel Rudi Pell classics like "Mystica", "The Masquerade Ball", "Casbah" and "Into The Storm". You could feel those goose bumps spring up, and the climax was still to come: after a furioso battle between drum gods Vinny Appice and Bobby Rondinelli, a long list of rock legends took the Balingen stage: stepping in for Joe Lynn Turner, who was tied up with business affairs, PRETTY MAIDS frontman Ronnie Atkins performed a superb version of DEEP PURPLE's "Black Night", including an audience singalong. Then John Lawton, the former voice of URIAH HEEP, demonstrated why he still deserves a lot of "Sympathy" (URIAH HEEP), and he was still looking for some "Tush" (ZZ TOP). When ex-RAINBOW keyboard player Tony Carey joined in for an emotional "Mistreated", the now-available Doogie White and Johnny Gioeli set the roof on fire. Graham Bonnet, another RAINBOW veteran from the glorious "Down To Earth" era, remembered the good old times with "Since You Been Gone" and, of course, the aforementioned "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll". At the end of those three hours, all guests (and friends!) gathered on stage for the grand finale, "Smoke On The Water". A legendary evening drew to a spectacular close.
Are you happy, Axel? "Of course!" he says. "I could have played at least for another hour."
Did anything go wrong? "Nothing, but there was no way we could have prevented those long change-overs in between," he adds.
"Magic Moments - 25th Anniversary Special Show" track listing:
01. Call Her Princess (STEELER)
02. Night After Night (STEELER)
03. Rockin' The City (STEELER)
04. Undercover Animal (STEELER)
05. Nasty Reputation (Rob Rock, Jörg Michael)
06. Warrior (Jeff Scott Soto, Jörg Michael)
07. Fool Fool (Jeff Scott Soto, Jörg Michael)
Current Axel Rudi Pell band:
08. Burning Chains
09. Strong As A Rock
10. Long Way To Go
11. Hey Hey My My
13. Into The Storm
14. Too Late / Eternal Prisoner / Too Late
15. The Masquerade Ball / Casbah
16. Rock The Nation
17. Drum Battle (Vinny Appice, Bobby Rondinelli)
18. Black Night (Ronnie Atkins)
19. Sympathy (John Lawton)
20. Tush (John Lawton
21. Mistreated (Doogie White, Tony Carey, Johnny Gioeli)
22. Since You Been Gone (Graham Bonnet, Michael Voss, Doogie White)
23. Long Live Rock 'N' Roll (Doogie White, Graham Bonnet, Tony Carey)
24. Smoke On The Water (all guests)
Axel Rudi Pell - Guitars
Johnny Gioeli - Vocals
Ferdy Doernberg - Keyboards
Volker Krawczak - Bass
Bobby Rondinelli – Drums
Peter Burtz (vocals)
Tom Eder (guitar)
Roland Hag (bass)
Jan Yildiral (drums)
Rob Rock (vocals)
Jeff Scott Soto (vocals)
Jörg Michael (drums)
Vinny Appice (drums)
Ronnie Atkins (vocals)
John Lawton (vocals)
Tony Carey (keyboards, vocals)
Doogie White (vocals)
Graham Bonnet (vocals)
Michael Voss (vocals)