Axel Rudi Pell & Friends: Magic Moments – 25th Anniversary Show

Prolific German axeman’s guest-filled live set.

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He’s introduced on stage as “The hardest working man in metal”, and Axel Rudi Pell is certainly no slouch when it comes to giving his fans new product.

This is his fourth live album to date, but here he has a pretty good excuse, given that this show, recorded in Berlin last summer, was designed as a celebration of his 25 years as a solo artist. That’s no reason to exclude his original band Steeler from the party, though, and while their brand of spandex trad-metal hasn’t dated as well as it might, their six songs here are at least full of joyous rolling-back-the-years spirit.

A faintly surreal revolving door of guest vocalists then follows to help Herr Pell romp through his solo back catalogue, including ARP frontmen past and present, before a covers set in which ex-Uriah Heep vocalist John Lawton and erstwhile Rainbow singer Graham Bonnet show up to roar pretty raggedly through Sympathy and Since You Been Gone respectively. Then we’re sent on our way with a communal rendition of Smoke On The Water.

Imagine the world’s biggest bierkeller karaoke party, with celebrity guests, and you’re just about there. And who would deny them their fun?/o:p

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock