Axel Rudi Pell - Live Over Europe

SPV
Produced by Lindemannfilm

The German guitar hero's second double live DVD chronicles the last three years, mostly centred around 2006's Mystica album. The first disc is a complete pro-shot show from the 2007 Rock Hard Festival in Germany and the second disc is an "Official Bootleg" compilation of tracks shot by fans at various shows and festivals, all in Europe, between 2004 and 2007.

Although complete, and refreshingly free of unnecessary bonus feature clutter, the Rock Hard Festival set isn't impressively long. Pell wasn't headlining and as such only had one hour to play, so there are just nine songs on disc one. The band are electrifying but too few cameras at the front of the stage makes most of the close-up shots simply nauseating as the poor guy with his handheld camera tries to follow whoever he's focusing on around the stage. One of the cameras further back in the venue is of noticeably lower quality than the rest (perhaps taken from an audience bootleg?) but the others are of excellent quality and are steady, making those shots the most watchable ones.

There is also a dreaded drum solo in the set, but being Mike Terrana, one of, if not the, greatest drummers in the World, who's stick-twirling skill has to be seen to be believed, it's one of the more tolerable of it's kind. Pell and vocalist Johnny Gioeli are on amazing form and with the likes of Terrana and Ferdy Doenberg (keys) in the band they've got some natural showmen and virtuosos behind them. The sound quality is also superb, which makes it even more disappointing that the camera work and editing are not up to scratch. An audio CD of this concert should be outstanding.

The second disc is a little confusing. Culled from Pell's own collection one has to wonder why his collection doesn't have more professionally shot, good quality recordings in it. The title of this disc, "Official Bootleg", pretty much tells you what to expect. Only one song (Strong As A Rock from Wacken 2005) is pro-shot, and it is clearly taken from the annual Wacken television broadcast as the song is interrupted a couple of times for an interview (in German) with Axel. All of the rest are very obviously audience footage and vary greatly in quality.

First off are two songs from the 2004 Sweden Rock Festival. This is shot by one camera in the audience, from quite a distance back and one camera at the side of the stage, probably a crew member. Both the camerawork and sound are passable, but nothing outstanding. Strangely, the shows with the most songs included are the worst in quality. A show from the Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland in 2005 suffers from poor sound, overbearing crowd noise and a single, unsteady audience camera from the back of the club. Essentially, everything most audience shot bootlegs suffer from.

Exactly the same can be said of the two tracks recorded in Axel's local rock club Zeche in Bochum, Germany in 2004, the track from Bloodstock 2006, two acoustic at Zeche in 2006, four more songs in the same venue the night after and the one track from Graspop 2006 (actually the worst of the lot). Some are better than others (the second Zeche 2006 show has better audio than the rest, just), but overall this is the kind of stuff you buy an official DVD to avoid.

One exception to this is the one song (Fool Fool) from the 2005 Bang Your Head!!! festival, which is obviously shot by the band's crew. The sound is outstanding (obviously taken directly from the soundboard) and the song is captured by no less than six (at least) cameras; one mounted at the back of the stage above Mike Terrana, one positioned at the soundboard and four held by crew members at the side and front of the stage. The camerawork is actually better than the main concert feature on disc one. They should have made the effort to record this set instead.

Of the eighteen songs on the second disc only six are not present on the first, making it even less worth watching as you can watch most of the same songs in better quality on the first disc. Live Over Europe isn't as good as it could have been. A better shot main concert feature might have saved the set, especially given the band's performance on that night and the crystal clear sound quality, but as the footage isn't up to the same standard much more rests on the shoulders of the second disc than was necessary, and it simply isn't strong enough to bear the burden. ARP fans only, unfortunately.

“ natural showmen and virtuosos ”

Tracklist:
DVD1 - Rock Hard Festival 27/5/07 Fly To The Moon / Strong As A Rock / The Masquerade Ball/Casbah / Drum solo / Tear Down The Walls / Mystica / Rock The Nation / The Temple of The King / Fool Fool / Call Her Princess
DVD2 - Sweden Rock 12/6/04 Tear Down The Walls / Strong As A Rock / Bang Your Head!!! 24/6/05 Fool Fool / Z7, Pratteln 6/6/05 The Masquerade Ball/Casbah / Carousel / The Temple of The King / Call Her Princess / Zeche, Bochum 26/4/04 Legions of Hell / Take The Crown / Bloodstock 29/9/06 Rock The Nation / Wacken Open-Air 6/8/05 Strong As A Rock / Zeche, Bochum 30/9/06 Love Gun / Oceans of Time / Zeche, Bochum 1/10/06 Fly To The Moon / Mystica / Haunted Castle Serenade / Rock The Nation / Graspop 25/6/05 Call Her Princes

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2008, Live DVDs, Power Metal,

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