Album Remarks & Appraisals:
With a career stretching back over more than 30 years Foreighner are now laying more shows in more countries than ever before. The band have sold over 70 million records worldwide. Only Les Zeppetin have sold more albums for the Atlantic Records label. This CD was recorded at the Bang Your Head Festival at Balingen in Germany in June 2006 and captures the band rocking harder than ever before on a setlist of their biggest hits.
The songs are the perfect rock-set, the kind of skipped the softer songs and ballads for this performance, knowing the crowd would be more of the heavy kind. The even throw in a version of Led Zeppelins 'Whole Lotta Love', it's cool to see young Mister Bonham doing the parts his father did create somewhere far in the past.
That "blend" was never more evident than on this rockin' night as Jones - with vocalist Kelly Hansen, drummer Jason Bonham, keyboardist Jeff Jacobs, multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel (guitars, saxophone, flute) and bassist Jeff Pilson - knocked out a crowd-pleasing set that included eight U.S. Top 20 hits including anthems "Juke Box Hero" "Cold As Ice" and "Hot Blooded."
If you've already seen the DVD, you already know how energetic the band were here and how completely rocking this set was. Hansen, much like Arnel Pineda with Journey, has proven that he truly belongs in this band and can really do the Lou Gramm material well, as evidenced by his powerful renditions of "Head Games", "Dirty White Boy", "Double Vision", and "Feels Like the First Time". Plenty of hard rock muscle to be heard throughout from Jones, as his crunchy riffs on "Cold As Ice", "Juke Box Heroes" and all the already mentioned songs take these songs up a notch. Having Jason Bonham on board to add some drum thunder certainly doesn't hurt, and the band even get into a little Led Zeppelin with "Whole Lotta Love" as a tribute to his late father John. Gotta love also that the band dug out the classic prog track "Starrider" at this show, a real hidden gem in their back catalog.
The set list is focused on their true classic rockers opening with "Double Vision" -- rockin' guitars, Hammond organ and strong vocals. Great stuff!
Foreigner's current frontman Kelly Hansen is a quality vocalist. He sings every Foreigner song with a strong sense of how it was intended. And this is evident on the latest concert audio release of Alive & Rockin' (previously, Alive & Rockin' has only been available as a DVD - click to purchase here). That being said, it is nearly impossible to replace Foreigner's iconic voice: Lou Gramm. Gramm had such a distinctive style and it was perfectly married to guitarist Mick Jones' gift for hard rock songwriting. It was a once-in-a-lifetime pairing.
Personnel: Thom Gimbel (vocals, guitar, flute, saxophone); Mick Jones (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Jeff Jacobs (vocals, keyboards); Jeff Pilson (vocals, bass guitar); Kelly Hansen (vocals); Jason Bonham (drums).
Audio Mixer: Don Dodge.
Recording information: Bang Your Head!!! Festival, Balingen, Germany (06/23/2006).
Editor: Bernhard Baran.
Photographers: Marty Temme; Stefan Glas; Ernie Manrique; Tony DeFilippis.
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