Reviewed: June, 2020
Released: 2015, AFM
Rating: 4/5 (Just the DVD)
Over the years I’ve done a number of more ambitious series of reviews instead of simple stand-alone reviews. This is perhaps my most ambitious project yet. This series of reviews was born out of three seemingly dissimilar and unrelated components; my viewing habits, a stockpile and the global pandemic of 2020.
As a habit and personal preference, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I prefer to read and listen to music. Over the years whenever I have bought a CD, often it will come with a bonus DVD. I would listen to and enjoy the CD and because I don’t watch much TV I just started putting the CD’s with a bonus DVD in a pile, thinking to myself, “I’ll watch the DVD….‘someday’. Over time the pile grew and grew and grew.
Secondly, it has long been a personal goal of mine, and Metal-Rules.com, to review every Hard Rock and Heavy Metal DVD on the planet. Over the years we have reviewed hundreds of stand-alone DVD’s, more than almost every other Metal webzine. However these little bonus DVD’s that come with CD’s are often, dare I say it, are largely inconsequential or ‘throw-away’ DVD’s, with not much substance other than a video or two, or maybe a brief ‘making of’ the album at hand. They are neat for the die-hard fans who want to shell out a couple extra bucks for the deluxe version of the CD but mostly they are not a big deal, very often there is not enough true content to release on their own.
At the tail end of March 2020, like many thousands of people, I lost my job due to lay-off’s precipitated by the global pandemic. In my first real full-week of self-isolation, it was April 1st in the evening, and I was sitting thinking, “How am I going to keep myself productive and occupied these next several weeks?” And there it was, sitting on my desk, staring me in the face as it had all these years. A pile of EXACTLY 50 CD’s with bonus DVD’s that needed reviewing! That ‘someday’ had suddenly became, ‘now’.
And so begins… The Covideo Chronicles. (Covid + video…get it?) By the time you read this I will have reviewed all 50 DVD’s sitting in that pile and compiled this series. 50 DVD’s. 50 days. 50 reviews. Some of these bonus DVD’s are full concerts and documentaries, some are merely a few minutes long. My goal was to do a very quick synopsis of the DVD (not even the CD) just the DVD. I’m quite sure many of these albums have already been reviewed over the years here on Metal-Rules.com. In fact, the longest part of these reviews will probably be my rambling introduction.
These are in no particular order. I was thinking of doing them chronologically by release date or maybe alphabetically but in the end I decided to review what I felt like watching that day. This exercise was a simple daily task, it kept me keep me amused and primarily I’m glad to get that damn pile off my desk. Enjoy!
Very often buying CD’s can act as a memory trigger. I know exactly where and when I bought this DVD! It was at a Dirkschneider gig in Calgary, Alberta on March 15th, 2018.
A bit of background. I’m a big U.D.O. fan however, in my area, some of material is only available as an import at extremely high prices in retail stores, as high as $35.00 to $40.00 each for the Double Live albums! So I had not yet bought the last three Double Live albums; LIVE IN SOFIA (2012), LIVE FROM MOSCOW (2014), and NAVY METAL NIGHT (2015) preferred to allocate my budget to the U.D.O. studio albums.
So Dirkschneider played in town, I went to the gig and to my joy, all three of the above Double Live 2CD/DVD, double digipak albums were available (with zero region code!) at the merch booth for $20.00 each! That is basically 50% off so I bought all three in one shot! Score!
Now after sitting here in ‘the pile’ for two years, I reviewed all of them in this feature in chronological order starting with LIVE IN SOFIA (April 9th), LIVE IN MOSCOW was next on April 24thand now I complete the holy trinity of U.D.O. Double Live with my review of NAVY METAL NIGHT.
It is sort of bitter-sweet writing this last review, the 50thin the series. It has been a superb project and it has reinforced to me how much one can accomplish if they do a little bit every day. It will feel weird tomorrow not having to watch a Metal DVD for the first time in six weeks!
Unlike the last two DVD’s there are no bonus features, just the concert. I listened to this album three times and I always wondered what the show looked like. I was not disappointed when I watched the DVD.
In case you are not familiar with the concept on February 20th, 2014 at the Stadhalle in Tuttlingen, Germany, U.D.O. combined forces with the Germany Navy Orchestra (The MarineMusikKorps Nordsee) to perform a symphonic concert. What I found curious is that it does not say in the booklet when or where the concert was filmed! I had to go on-line to find the information and bring it here to you. You’re welcome.
This is one of the shorter concerts with 17 songs, compared to 21 songs performed on LIVE IN SOFIA and 23 tracks on LIVE FROM MOSCOW. What absolutely blows me away that there is very little song duplication from the other two live albums! That is a testament to the depth of U.D.O’S catalogue and how hard they work to learn and perform all those songs. Due to the nature of the show, being paired with an orchestra, this albums leans a little more heavily on the melodic side of U.D.O. with three tracks from his most commercial sounding album, FACELESS WORLD and a couple of ballads and a number of mid-tempo cuts. There are a couple of cover tunes and some deep cuts as well, making this a superb and deep set-list for the true U.D.O. fan.
The concert itself is something g quite unique. It was a seated show to begin with. The show opens revealing a white dark stage with, at least a 40 piece orchestra sitting in place and the the sound of recurring sonar pings. The conductor enters the stage to cheers. The lights come up a bit and the orchestra starts with ‘Das Boot’ an iconic navy song and perfect start to the show.
The band then hit the stage dressed all in black and wearing ties. Udo looks sharp in a white dress shirt, black tie, and black vest. The band start with a slightly downturned version of ‘Future Land’ accompanied by the orchestra. The only disappointment to this point is that after the opening song, Udo addresses the crowd in Germany and there is no sub-title option. It is my loss. Everything is top notch, very cheat sound and visuals for the multi-camera shoot.
The show goes from highlight to highlight with a nice cool blue lighting scheme for most of the show. The band leaves the stage and the orchestra performs a version of the iconic Savatage track ‘Prelude to Madness’. Yes, I know it is a cover of Grieg’s, ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’ but this is a metal review, so they are covering Savatage in my mind! It is greeted with many cheers and the band looks amused but happy at the enthusiastic response. The band rejoins the stage and the show goes on.
At one point the Metal Queen herself joins Udo on stage to huge cheers for a duet of their immortal ballad, ‘Dancing With An Angel’. The orchestra integrates very nicely with the relatively simple compositions of U.D.O. and they even mix it up when they do a lounge/swing version of ‘Cut Me Out’ with a 10 piece back-up choir! There is a long acoustic intro, complete with choir and accordion, into ‘Trainride To Russia’ one of U.D.O.’s most beloved songs. They finish up the epic show going all the way back to the beginning of U.D.O., with a pounding version of ‘Animal House’.
The whole concert was simply superb and this is one of my favourite live albums in recent memory. I really enjoy when bands go symphonic or orchestral. It really adds a unique dimension and NAVY METAL NIGHT is no exception. U.D.O. fans do not want to miss this little slice of history!