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HARDWARES

U.D.O.

Live In Sofia

(AFM)

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 7.0

As he hopscotched from Nuclear Blast to XYZ and now AFM, the last eleven years has seen a trio of live releases (Live In Russia, ’01, Mastercutor Alive ’08 and this latest double CD/DVD collection) from former ACCEPT singer Udo Dirckschneider, not to mention the pointless Best Of & Live cash-in by XYZ and a pair of compilations (‘Metallized – 20 Years Of Metal and the rarities Celebrator, from earlier this year). While he kept the name “Accept” alive for decades, now that Misters Hoffmann and Baltes are up to their old tricks, their camouflaged comrade is sort of a man without a country, living off past glories. And now, with the defection of drummer-turned-U.D.O. guitarist Stefan Kaufmann, do you really need to hear the little general sing those classics with a backing band? Shame really! From the Bulgarian capital, we get 21 songs (plus guitar and drum solos), nine of which harken to Herr Dirkschneider’s old band (no ‘Fast As A Shark’ nor ‘Restless & Wild’ though), predominately found on the latter disc. Hey, I understand it was the Rev Raptor tour and he wanted to get some of those tracks in there, but given the plethora of solo material to choose from, not the most stellar running order. Yeah, U.D.O. tried not to repeat themselves, the earlier live discs containing many of the best tunes (and the studio output since 2000 has been sketchy, at best) but how about dusting off some moldy oldies, like anything from the criminally underrated Timebomb! While not quintessential, ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Two Faced Woman’ are steps in the right direction (both off Solid, which has been reissued by AFM, with bonus tracks, as have No Limits, Holy plus Man And Machine). Always liked ‘I Give As Good As I Get’ and ‘Living On The Frontline’ is something unexpected, especially the LED ZEP riffs. The second disc, thanks to the Accept catalog (minus glaring omissions), is basically beyond reproach. Perhaps down to the language barrier (a German speaking English in Bulgaria), but there’s little interaction/banter between the stage and crowd. Let the music do the talking, as Joe Perry (AEROSMITH) said decades ago. Available in Blu-Ray and standard DVD, the visual bonuses include a pair of promotional videos (‘Leatherhead’ and ‘I Give As Good As I Get’) as well as montage of other shows and touring hijinx, including making of the Sofia show.



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