Released: 2010, Nuclear Blast
I’m not quite sure why this is coming out again. 25 YEARS IN ROCK was already issued late in 2010. I would guess that the majority of true, die-hard Doro fans already own it, however this is the North American version, which is identical to the original. That’s OK, you can never have too much Doro! The title of this set pretty much says it all, this is the definitive Silver Anniversary celebration of Doro. This is her second live album overall and it has been almost 20 years and six or seven studio albums since LIVE came out! This package is absolutely loaded with content. Two DVD’s and a Live CD, all told it would take you well over five hours to get through everything! It is housed in a standard, 4-panel, fold-out, digipak and comes with a 16 page booklet, loaded with almost 40 photos and a message from Doro thanking her fans. It’s a really nice looking package.
I do have a bit of an issue with the name of the package. Let’s face it, even casual observer of Metal over the past decade will admit that Doro has usurped the throne, and has seized the title of Metal Queen from Lee Aaron. While Lee Aaron hasn’t put out an heavy album in 20 years, and she plays the retro-casino circuit sporadically in Western Canada, Doro is still cranking out the full-on Metal albums and playing stadiums in Europe. Doro is the new Metal Queen. So why was this package called 25 YEARS IN ROCK? It doesn’t even make sense. It should have been called ‘25 YEARS OF METAL’…not 'IN ROCK’!!! She is even introduced as ‘the Metal Queen’ in the concert intro! During the Documentary both Klaus Meine and Tom Angelripper call her the Metal Queen so that’s good enough for me!
Another problem is that there is some technical detail from the booklet that should not have been omitted. When was the concert? Where was the concert? It’s not mentioned at all. For the record the concert was held at the ISS Dome in the city of Dusseldorf on Dec 13th, 2008. The booklet doesn’t say which special guests appear on which songs so we are just supposed to guess? It’s odd that in the booklet specifically designed to celebrate the monster 25th Anniversary concert, that critical information was skipped. In the booklet there are photos from unrelated concerts like Wacken 2009 and Female Voices 2009. Why were those included? It doesn’t make sense. So really, this package is about two years late and the booklet is poorly done.
The track selection is pretty decent, spanning her entire career. She covers at least one song from most of her 14 albums (4 Warlock / 10 Doro-solo albums) with only the albums TRUE AT HEART and ANGELS NEVER DIE not having any representation. She plays an entire half (5 songs) of TRIUMPH AND AGONY, arguably her most popular album, but I would have dropped a couple songs from TRIUMPH AND AGONY and added a song from each of the un-represented albums, just for the sake of being comprehensive. There are only five cuts repeated from her last live album. That’s a good thing! There is nothing more annoying than having live album after live album with virtually the same set-list…Iron Maiden anyone? It’s nice to see Doro is not stuck in the past with a full seven songs from her past two studio albums, (plus an EP), making the cut, giving excellent representation of her past half-decade as an artist. To me this shows that even after 25 years in the game (Rock or Metal) her music is still relevant, it’s not just a retro concert. In fact, she was brave enough to play four unreleased tracks from FEAR NO EVIL, which came out about a month after the concert.
It’s pretty rare to hear me say this but I actually would of liked to hear more ballads in the set-list. I can hear you now…”Ballads JP? Are you mad!?” Yes, one of Doro’s greatest strengths has always been her softer, slower voice, especially in the many, passionate and heartfelt ballads she has done on every album across her career. Of course the set-list almost by default has to be really rocking for such an important anniversary event so songs like, ‘I Rule The Ruins’, are given a different treatment. The song, which as always been a very decent, mid-tempo cruiser, gets the heavy treatment (placed high in the set-list at track #2) which, to be honest, kinda wrecks it for me to have the whole punchy audience participation, sing-along vibe. It’s not that kind of anthemic, sing-along song, so to have the whole excited crowd yelling, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” really detracts from the song. Conversely, ‘Walking With The Angels’ (a ballad from FEAR NO EVIL) is presented as a duet with Tarja Turunen and it is a stunning, version, sending shivers down my spine, with two of Metal greatest female voices adding a new dimension to the song.
Speaking of Tara, we should take a moment to discuss the guest-list at this exclusive event. By most accounts Doro is a humble, polite, enthusiastic artist who has never let success go to her head. Accordingly, many people have worked with her and want to work with her. So when people get the call to help Doro celebrate her Silver Anniversary, the answer the call in droves, happy to help. There are at least a dozen guests who pop up throughout the show to share a special moment with Doro. Members of Overkill, Nevermore, Grave Digger, Scorpions, Axel Rudi Pell, Holy Moses, After Forever, Leaves Eyes and the aforementioned ex-Nightwish chanteuse, (and many more!) all make an appearance.
I’ve pretty much analyzed this thing to death but I suppose I should discuss the visual aspect of the package. It is a double DVD set after all! This monster clocks in at just under four hours. It’s a visual spectacle. The documentary is very interesting lots of interview clips, behind the scenes info and of course the mandatory slow-motion montage of the set being built and taken down. The documentary is about 77 minutes long and there is another full hour of bonus features as well from various concerts, TV Specials and so on. The documentary is spoken in German but there are English sub-titles.
Visually speaking, the concert is immaculate. It’s a multi-camera shot of course and it looks gorgeous. The Warlock is the anchor/focal point of the stage set with his smoke and fire and moveable parts. The lights, the smoke, the cheerleaders, the flash-pots, lasers and flames, the confetti it’s all very well done and impressive. The sound is great too. It’s one of the better concert DVD’s I’ve seen.
The live CD is the weak link in this set. At 43 minutes it only captures a few select (10) songs from the 25-song show. Who wants an incomplete concert? I feel 25 YEARS IN ROCK should have been released in three formats, the Double DVD in a standard DVD case, the Double Live CD (of the full concert) in a jewel case, and some sort of ultimate 4 disc box-set with everything. The sound on the live album is decent enough with a nice balance between crowd and band. The sequencing on the CD is messed up as well. For example the song ‘Unholy Love’ was track 25 in the DVD but it’s track 6 on the CD.
I feel for such a monumental occasion there should have been more time and attention put into the presentation of the package. The booklet is weak, the live CD needs work, but the visual aspect of the DVD’s are top-notch and world class. 25 YEARS IN ROCK captures a truly special moment in time for not only Doro fans but all Metal fans in general and is now available at a great price in North America.