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introGruga Halle, Essen, Germany
23rd February 2013
Rock Meets Classic with Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, Queen), Eric Bazilian (The Hooters), Steve Augeri (Journey), Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band), Mat Sinner Band & Bohemian Symphony Orchestra Prague

Once a year there is a meeting of some of the most outstanding voices in rock music, ready to present world hits in updated sonic fashion with an orchestra and a band. The 2013 edition of Rock Meets Classic featured amongst others the voice of Paul Rodgers and the talents of guitarist and singer Eric Bazilian.


The Show

Last time around we were caught up in wind and heavy rain. This time we have freezing cold and snow. Good times! Just good that we were soon walking into the hall where the spectacle would begin in a few minutes. First of all, the mandatory introduction, more like an ad spot for the event, followed immediately by the orchestra entering from the side and loudly welcomed. Then, right away after the little welcome of Matt Sinner, followed the news that BONNIE TYLER wouldn't be performing because she was struck down by the cold as so many have been already. He said that there would be something coming to make up for it a little in the end. We were curious. Now let the show begin and the first artist entered the stage with CHRIS THOMPSON delivering a fiery introduction with 'For You', although the performance had one drawback. His vocals at various points broke away. It was like he'd literally squeeze the notes out while on other occasions he blew out as much power as you were rightfully expecting.

01 thompson02 orchestra

Following his 3-piece warm-up, it was Steve Augeri's turn to enter the stage with 'Separate Ways'. Well, that was a truly impressing vocal performance, no doubt about that. To hear such classics as 'Wheel In The Sky' or 'Don't Stop Believing' in a new fashion with the grandeur of a talented orchestra made those songs larger than life. It multiplies the intensity these songs have on their own a lot. You were kind of going with the flow while listening and watching him, the band and the orchestra enjoying themselves while playing it. I'm sure that many of you will disagree with me if I'm saying that the following artist should have made the headlining act for the show: ERIC BAZILLIAN. Unpretentious as he is walks on stage takes the astounding thing of a guitar and starts kicking it with 'All You Zombies', a song with verve, power and intensity. Sure, that wasn't the peak of what was to come. Since the orchestra was already there, why not putting out 'One Of Us', a song he's written for JOAN OSBORNE. Gentle and poignant. These are the adjectives you should use to describe the purely orchestral rendition. The fact that Bazillian performed the second verse completely in German and with little accent was the icing on the cake.

03 augeri04 bazillian

The next thing happening was an amazing Viola solo by a young guy named Tomasz. You couldn't guess at the moment that this was actually a lead-in for 'Johnny B.'I could fire at you so many superlatives now, you could drown in it. If you ever get to hear, there's an official video of it on the internet, watch it and you'll at least get a hint of how it felt being there. A break followed, much needed by everyone attending, followed by the second coming of CHRIS THOMPSON for two of the most known songs with 'The Voice' and 'Mighty Quinn', making the audience go mental completely. Now followed what was prepared to make up for the absence of BONNIE TYLER. Three of the background singers now stepped into the spotlights to impressively perform 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' and 'Holding Out For A Hero'. There's quality in every corner of the stage.

05 band06 backing

Last but not least there was the headlining chapter of the evening with PAUL RODGERS, surely an icon in popular rock music, having many hits under his belt. Really, from the first song on, the sheer anticipation broke way to utmost excitement on the side of the audience. Now everything was like it should be. Everyone was celebrating, both the audience and the crew on stage, and for 'All Right Now', the finale, all the other artists came back on stage to contribute making this one hell of an experience altogether.


Setlist

01. Child's Anthem (Orchestra & Band)
---Chris Thompson---
02. For You
03. Davey's On The Road Again
04. Questions
---Steve Augeri---
05. Seperate Ways
06. Wheel In The Sky
07. Faithful
08. Don't Stop Believin'
---Orchestra---
09. He's a Pirate (Orchestra & Band)
---Eric Bazillian---
10. All You Zombies
11. 500 Miles
12. One Of Us
13. Johnny B.

---Orchestra---
14. Brahms Ungarian Dance (Orchestra)
- BREAK -
---Chris Thompson---
15. The Voice
16. Mighty Quinn
---Bonnie Tyler Songs presented by Backing Singers---
17. Total Eclipse Of The Heart
18. Holding Out For A Hero
---Paul Rodgers---
19. Can't Get Enough
20. Feels Like Makin' Love
21. Shooting Star
22. Rock'N'Roll Fantasy
23. All Right Now
- ENCORE -
24. Wishing Well


Rating

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 8.9 / 10

07 rodgers08 all

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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