• Rating: 5 / 6

Recorded for posterity nearly four years ago in Hamburg, this double disc release by the phenomenal Don Airey and Friends band is a blindingly good reminder of just how many great and legendary groups that the aforementioned keyboard magician Mr. Airey has been (and in some cases still is) a member of. Completely raw and honest with absolutely no overdubs or any studio trickery involved at all, "Live in Hamburg" captures an amazing vibe, and these particular renditions of timeless classics (as well as a few cool surprises) from the Deep Purple/Rainbow/Gary Moore/Whitesnake/Colosseum II songbooks and catalogues are as vibrant and vigorous as ever in this setting. Simply put, these are utterly classy versions of much-loved tunes performed by a cast of veterans firing on all cylinders.

You can actually feel the sweat in the room as "Pictures of Home" (Deep Purple), "Lost in Hollywood" (Rainbow), and "Still Got the Blues" are delivered with a seemingly endless supply of authority and conviction. The inclusion of Airey’s own material is superb too, and the best part about this wicked live document is that you can easily tell that these gentlemen are truly enjoying playing all these tracks together and just having fun with it. Being a huge fan of his work with Black Sabbath on their majestic "Headless Cross" LP, it is a thrill to hear bassist Laurence Cottle wield his wizardry here alongside Airey, vocalist Carl Sentence, guitarist Simon McBride, and drummer Jon Finnigan. That line-up right there basically says it all.

"Live in Hamburg" is an essential purchase for fans of Airey’s past and present work. High-energy hard rock and pure joy!


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