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What can really be said about the tiny German lady with the vocal chords that can shake the walls of the Aragon Ballroom (and she literally did just that in 1988 when I saw her with Megadeth and Sanctuary)? It’s hard to believe Doro Pesch has celebrated her 25th year in metal music; it seems like only yesterday when I first discovered Warlock after hearing the Burning the Witches album in my local record store in late 1984. I purchased the vinyl and one 7” EP that day, both of which sit proudly on my wall, fully signed and full of personal memories…but enough of my trip down memory lane.
Doro went out before a capacity crowd of 10,000 screaming fans in Dusseldorf, Germany on December 13, 2008, and brought the house down with a vocal ability that never seems to grow older or tarnish under the glare of four decades under her studded leather belt. While Lee Aaron may have coined the phrase on a 1985 album, Doro is the reigning metal queen; that’s really not even up for debate. So Doro goes out on stage and holds an entire audience in her tiny palm and elevates us to heights we’re somewhat used to, but always willing to go back for more. The show itself went on for over three hours, but while I am sitting here designated to review the CD portion I’m picturing how epic that must have looked in the stadium at any distance. This abridged CD of the show showcases Ms. Pesch at her absolute finest, powering through her incredible discography with the pride and posture of reigning royalty.
While the DVD set has infinitely more to offer in the visual realm, this CD is not without its charms and surprises. Chock full of guests including Axel Rudi Pell, Sabina Classen, Liv Kristine and Floor Jansen to name a sparse few, some of Ms. Pesch’s best work is found on this disc by way of “I Rule the Ruins”, “Burn it Up”, “Unholy Love”, “Earthshaker Rock” and a memorable version of Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law”. One of the highlights for me personally is “Herzblut”, which proves that Ms. Pesch can still cut into my soul with her sorrowed delivery of a ballad ala “Kiss Me Goodbye” from her underrated 1998 album Love Me in Black or “In Freiheit Stirbt Mein Harz”; as a companion to the DVD set, this CD is certainly a nice addition, if flawed only by being a portion of the epic set. That little imperfection aside, Doro Pesch is a consummate professional in the live setting, giving every bit of herself in every song, every note, every banter to a willing audience; she has managed to play in the boys’ arena all of these years and hold her own amidst the misogyny of a male-dominated medium. Hands down, this is a really great live CD companion to the set, which I implore you all to buy immediately. Tarja, Floor, Liv, Sharon…they all owe Ms. Pesch a debt, and they know it by appearing in some capacity in this memorable box set.
There is really little that need be said when it comes to Doro Pesch. You know exactly what you’re getting: a quality performer that is one of the lost loves of my life for many years now; that voice, the sweet demeanor and humility she brings under all the black leather, blond hair and steel blue eyes are enough to keep her going another 25-years, Mother Nature willing.
(Originally written for www.MetalPsalter.com)