As a good friend (who made the pictures featured in this article) and I arrived at the z7, the legendary metal-temple of Switzerland, we were astonished by the large number of elderly people attending it. As soon as we came near the building and saw the rest of the audience that friend (33 years old) exclaimed that he was feeling really young again amongst this crowd. Most of the metalfans attending this concert were over 40, and many even over 50. Yet this didn't affect the atmosphere at all. In fact I have seldom witnessed a concert during which such an amount of energy radiated off the crowd. Long before the lights were turned off and Vengeance took over the hall, it was overfilled with men and women longing to see the two bands.
Vengeance, the Dutch band in which Arjen Anthony Lucassen himself once was guitarist, certainly knew how to put on a good show. Before it started and when all was still dark, one could see red and blue blinking lights on the stage, which turned out to be lights on the guitarists guitar. We were then welcomed by filmscore music. When the lights turned on I instantly thought I was seeing the most cliche band ever to trod earth. Oh boy, I was wrong.
While the lead guitarist didn't stop presenting furious riffs and amazing solos to us, the vocalist raced up and down the stage, with an umbrella. The show continued like this, awesome riffs, fast and technical, with hilarious stage presence of the vocalist. The vocalist, who was drinking coca cola and beer nonstop during the first half of the show (not to forget spilling coca cola on the stage), was hopping and running around and making jokes the whole time through. This silliness found it's climax when he built a children's tipi on the stage, crawled into it, and disapointed crawled out again, sadly stating that "There is no woman in the tent." But not only the show was extremely entertaining, although most people, including me, didn't know the band before the show, we were all singing along the (very easy) choruses after the second song. The show ended with a song the crowd was already yelling for since the beginning of it. Arabia. And I agree, the yelling of those others was well worth it, it was an awesome song.
The vocalist with a tipi...
Setlist Vengeance: Intro, Take It Or Leave It, Back In The Ring, No Mercy, Take Me To The Limit, She's The Woman, Rock'n'Roll Shower, May Heaven Strike Me Down, Arabia
After a very, very long break, Axel Rudi Pell and his crew took over the stage. The crowd was screaming in delight as the show began with Fly To The Moon, which is also the first song of the new album. Already after the first half minute it was clear, this show was destined to rock.
When a musician is extremely talented, he or she is able to choose any other musician to play with him. This is exactly what Axel did. With drummer Mike Terrana, drummer of the band Rage, Axel has someone who doesn't only hit hard, fast and versatile, but also someone who knows how to put on a show. Unrelentlessy twirling around his sticks and throwing them in the air Mike had soon won the hearts of the crowd. Ferdy Doernberg, the keyboaridist, took delight in lifting one of his four keyboards on his shoulder every once in a while (especially in the second half of the show) and walking around with it while playing. Volker Krawczak, the bassist, unfortunately didn't do much at all except for playing his parts, but those he played very well. The vocalist was a completely different case. The amount of energy that man had was absolutely shocking. Apart from singing beautifully, powerfully and perfectly, he kept running back and forth over the whole stage and even jumped on Mike's drumkit a few times! What did distrub me though, was that he kept spitting on the ground (or stage in this case), something I personally see as disgusting and which irritates me alot. He also called us "fuckers" and "motherfuckers" numerous times. Luckily however he stopped with it after realizing that he wasn't at a rap or hiphop festival and that behaviour wasn't too appreciated by the crowd.
Drummer Mike Terrana
What shall I say about the master himself? Axel Rudi Pell is a genius! The underrated guitarhero played awesome. He carried the crowd from one amazing solo to the other, enchanting us all with a mixture of fast metal solos, soothing blues solos, and interesting jazz solos. On stage he didn't do very much at all, except for his fingers and his head, with which he nodded in the rhythm of the music, he barely even moved. Yet by the simplest and tiniest move of his hand he had the whole crowd clapping in rythm. A single glance was enough to send all of us cheering. He didn't do much apart from the perfect playing, but he had an overwhelming presence.
Not only did Axel deliver stunning solos, also Mike Terrana and Ferdy Doernberg had their chances to shine. Unfortunately I had already seen Mike's drum solo before as he did exactly the same solo with Rage when I saw that band earlier this year. Rather bored as I was this time, I do recall being absolutely baffled by it the first time I saw it. Ferdy's keyboard solo luckily was all new to me as well. With a wide grin on his face he used his four keyboards to the fullest, switching from one to the other every few seconds. There was also guitar and keyboard duel as well as a part in which the vocalist invited us to sing along his ooohs and uuuhs. And of course not to forget, the three songs played in acoustic. Axel Rudi Pells' "Oceans Of Time," Rainbow's "Temple Of The King," and Kiss's "Love Gun."
Axel Rudi Pell in acoustic
After two hours of beautiful and wonderful singing, amazing instrumental technicality and perfect guitar-playing, the crowd was still begging and screaming for more, but unfortunately it was time for this underrated guitar god to leave the stage, already now having us longing for him and his band to return to the z7 as soon as possible, to deliver another breathtaking show. This was certainly one of the most impressive concerts I have ever witnessed, and certainly an experience I recommend to all of you.
Setlist Axel Rudi Pell: Mysterius Return (Intro), Fly To The Moon, Strong As A Rock, Follow The Sign, The Masquerade Ball/Casbah, Mike Terrana Drum Solo, Mystica, Love Gun, Oceans Of Time, Haunted Castle Serenade, Ferdy Doernberg Keyboard Solo, Temple Of The Kings, Tear Down The Walls, Rock The Nation, Call Her Princess, Fool Fool, Carousel
Axel Rudi Pell
Bassist, keyboardist and vocalist
Thanks alot to Pascal Gschwind for the pictures.