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UDO: Live in Sofia
UDO - Live in Sofia Review

UDO: Live in Sofia

Heavy Metal

Perhaps a bit dated in this instant digital age, but in light of the forthcoming fifteenth studio album from Udo Dirkschneider, Steelhammer, we should consider the recent live set, Live in Sofia. It's a DVD with double audio CD release filmed in Sofia Bulgaria during the Rev-Raptor tour.

UDO Band Photo

UDO:: guitarist rip it up as Udo looks on.

First, the good news: in the age of digital technology and recording, you can expect a rather satisfy visual display, thanks to multiple cameras. There are lots of wide shots of the band and the crowd, with many zooms to individual performers and audience members, especially for singing choruses. That latter is a nice touch for fans who were there.

The quick transitions from shot to shot by director Martin Muller and finished by editor Stefan Kaufmann can sometimes remind of the same found in Paul Greengrass's film, The Bourne Ultimatum. It's effective if only to keep your interest. Often Muller and Kaufmann use a lot of blur for transition which seems more to be artistic thing than practical effect.

Additionally, Udo and band offer a lively performance, playing well, and engaging the audience often for the choruses or simple call and response. Udo is no youngster any more, he turned 61 this year. But his enthusiasm, while singing in his signature camo attire, is self-evident, and his fellow band members back him with the same.

Also, there's some excellent highlights here. Some songs simply fly off the screen and grip you. These include I'm a Rebel, Thunderball, Screaming for a Love-Bite, the Accept classic Balls to the Wall, and band and audience play of Princess of the Dawn. Another fun part is when guitarist Igor Gianola teases the audience with his absent guitar playing.

The downside here is minimal, and comes at the beginning. Rev-Raptor begins the album and the mix is problematic. The guitar solo is washed out. Udo, who can be hard to get to begin with because of his raspy raw low register vocals, also sounds muted. Dominator improves both moderately. Then beginning with Thunderball the improvement is huge, the mix better. But sometimes, not so much for Udo. I've heard this before on other live albums, passing it off as the guys at the sound board getting it right as the performance moves along. However, it can be a distraction. Thankfully, it does get better, and would you have is a fine UDO live show recorded for both video and audio. The DVD also includes 'making of' video clips as well as song videos. Recommended.

U.D.O. - Screaming For A Love-Bite / from "LIVE IN SOFIA" DVD - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

In Short

Despite a slight shaky start with the mix, UDO's Live in Sofia finds the band delivery a fine show of classic melodic heavy metal with Udo's distinctive raspy vocals.

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