Reviewed: April 2021
Earlier this month (as of time of writing) I got an advance copy of Axel Rudi Pell’s 21st studio album and 33rd release over all. It’s called LOST XXIII and in anticipation of the new album I decided to review Axel Rudi Pell’s first DVD which I happened to find cheap last month.
KNIGHT TREASURES (Live and more) came out 20 years ago! It is a two-disc set and it comes with a booklet. The authoring of the DVD could be better, it is hard to navigate around the blurry menu with a ‘red-on-red’ colour scheme making it hard to see which menu option to select. Aside from that the quality is decent keeping in mi d it was his first DVD twenty years ago.
The first DVD is the live concert of his second live album that was released separately with an alternate title of KNIGHTS LIVE and different cover art. Disc Two is all the cool bonus stuff.
The concert was recorded in Pell’s own stomping ground of Bochum, Germany in May of 2002. It is a packed house and a decent multi-camera shoot, with at least six different vantage points. The editing is not too choppy and we get a nice overview of the whole show. In terms of song selection this is a mixed bag. This was the album where Pell really established the tone and style of his live albums going forward. This includes huge long medleys and lots of long songs and extended jams. Accordingly, there are not as many songs. This two-hour show is only 11 songs long! Five of those 11 songs are over 10 minutes long, including a 23-minute medley.
By this time in his career, Pell was already nine studio albums deep. This was the tour for the SHADOW ZONE album and we get only two songs from that record. The rest of the songs are spread pretty evenly across his catalogue.
Highlights include the aforementioned medley complete with a reggae break-down and a very entertaining drum solo by Mike Terrana, where he sings some show tunes! Ferdy’s keyboard solo/drum battle a bit later in the show was also top-notch!
The show is very entertaining, Gioeli is at the height of his power and show never seems slow despite a lot of long songs. This is arguably Pell’s heaviest live album driven in part no doubt by Terrana’s ample double kick drumming. By the time the next live album was out (11 years later) Pell had publicly stated that his songs were no longer featuring double kick drums and Terrana was out the door shortly after. As a side note: Terrana was replaced by ex-Rainbow skins-man Bobby Rondinelli which only furthered comparisons to Rainbow. I’ve heard every Pell live album to date, all five of them, and this one is my favourite.
Disc Two is loaded with bonus material; interviews, a ‘making of’ segment, videos and more.
It starts with a 30+ minute interview with Pell as he runs through his career, inspirations and makes a few comments about each of his current band mates. The audio and video quality seems average at best. It was neat to see old photos of him dating back to the 70’s!
There is a 30-minute making of SHADOW ZONE segment with average ‘fly-on-the wall’ in studio footage. Everyone gets a turn to be the center of attention and it is the usual hi-kinks, jokes and making faces for the camera. I can see why the studio is called ’the bunker’. It seems pretty barren and no windows. The downside for me is that there are no sub-titles. Pell speaks German as do Volker and Ferdy, but at least I understood the Americans, Gioeli and Terrana. It is neat to see the ancient gear by today’s standards. We also get a backstage glimpse of a photo shoot for the album.
There are also some post concert exit-interviews with fans, again only in German. Lastly, we get two videos; one for ‘Cry Of The Gypsy’ (from BEHIND THE WALLS) and an old Steeler video for a ballad called, ‘The Deeper The Night’ from 1987. I had never seen either video so it is cool to have these. I’m not sure how many videos Axel Rudi Pell has, not too many, I believe.
For their first home video AXEL RUDI PELL did a really good job. A great show and lots of bonus content make this worth tracking down.
Ferdy Doernberg -Keyboards
Volker Krawczak- Bass
Axel Rudi Pell -Guitar
Mike Terrana -Drums
Johnny Gioeli -Vocals
1. Edge of the World
2. Nasty Reputation
3. Tear Down the Walls
4. Medley: Masquerade Ball / Casbah / Drum Solo / Stargazer / Casbah
5. Follow the Signs
6. Fool Fool
8. The Clown Is Dead
9. Call Her Princess
10. Snake Eyes
2. The Making of Shadow Zone
3. Fan Cam
4. Friends & Fans
5. Video: Cry of the Gypsy
6. Video: The Deeper the Night (Steeler)