“Rock For Asia” [DVD] by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Rock For Asia”
Label: Locomotive Records
Release Date: 8/1/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

The Rock For Asia concert event was put together just a month after the Tsunami natural disaster of 2004 that devastated the lands of eleven countries and killed more than 225,000 people. The Tsunami was set off by the Indian Ocean earthquake which was the second largest quake ever recorded on seismograph. It’s magnitude fell between 9.1 and 9.3 and it remains one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. The event on this DVD film found scores of artists banding together to help raise money for the people in these regions who had truly lost more than anyone could ever imagine. For the most part the bands reflected are German acts and we get some really incredible ones performing their hearts out. The hardest part for those who watch the film in the comforts and safety of their homes might be that it is a little difficult to just sit and enjoy the concert while at the same time knowing what it was being done for. Of course, when one realizes that this was delivered to be a part of the healing process and how all involved are hoping to make a difference you cannot help yourself in at least giving it a try. Obviously we don’t seem to get the full concert as I am sure this ran for several hours but with the dialogue being primarily in German, I am not too certain of that fact exactly. It’s very likely that while the bands only presented us with two or three songs on the film that they did at least a couple of more for the audience in attendance. It begins with Bonfire, who are a really talented act whom I felt that some parts of the world got to enjoy while others were left with a big “who are they?” sort of thing. They have some really good songs and while they didn’t play my favorite tune “Starin’ Eyes”; we get the picture from their included numbers just the same.

Having such a limited background in the band myself made me look over the rest of the performers on the film and realize that many others had also escaped my notice. In my opinion this was going to be one interesting ride and here are some more of its highlights. Bonnie Tyler comes up next and presents the audience three numbers done acoustically. The first is her debut hit of “It’s A Heartache”, which is an incredible tune that has held up well over the years. I wasn’t sure why she did the BeeGee’s tune “To Love Somebody” or Guns ‘N Roses “Sweet Child Of Mine” as opposed to her mega tune “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”. It would have been interesting to hear that done acoustically but if she did it during the show we don’t find it on the film. In Extremo comes up next and this was an amazing act to see do their thing as I had only heard about them in whisper over the past couple of years. They are a German Folk Metal group that uses a large amount of bagpipes but also has a very Industrial feel to them. I really enjoyed their two performances and plan on digging into them some more. Krypteria delivers a more Progressive Rock sound and their contributions came off as big audience sing along during the chorus numbers. The band is fronted by the lovely Ji-in Cho who not only has an awesome voice but a win you over smile. Nu Pagadi was next and these guys were visually quite the interesting group as some of their outfits reminded me of something out of the movie Zoolander and their use of two male and two female vocalists gave it this Hard Rock Abba feel to it. They are a Pop Rock group for the most part and their main hit “Sweetest Poison” is an infectious number that took me a couple of days to get out of my head. While I am not too sure how well Pop Hard Rock goes over in Germany, I felt they might have been able to build up a cult following stateside had they not broken up around the same time that this film was completed.

There is little need to go over how good Doro Pesch is with her band as she is one of the true queens of Metal and has been going strong since the eighties since hitting the scene with the band Warlock. You have to love Doro because she is so into it and performs with levels of vitality and excitement and even after two decades at the craft she never shows signs of disinterest or boredom while she delivers her set. It’s a shame that we only get two numbers from her during the film. EdGuy is another one of those acts who once you see you can never get enough of and again it’s for only two songs but the selections are two of their catchiest and most amusing tracks. They’re totally geared towards the audience participation angle and find the assembled crowd singing along on queue. I didn’t know much about Crystal Ball or Com ‘N Rail to offer much insight and while it was great to find the diversity of David Knoplfer (of the Dire Straits) present, his presentation came off as a little bit tedious after all the Metal bands showed us their wares. Saxon pops in for a couple of songs as well and they still sound good even though there are only a couple of the original members touring under the banner now and just after them comes one track from former Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell who is joined by saxophonist Claudia Raab. Together the pair offer up a smooth jazz rendition of the Scorpions classic “Still Loving You”, which in my opinion is a song that should never be tampered with or reworked to be anything other than its original intent. It’s a genius level Power Ballad and hearing it in this fashion did not come off as creative to me at all but instead bored me to tears and had me thankful that we only had the one song from them. “The Man Doki Soulmates was another group that I didn’t have much background on outside of their being an all star group, but they delivered a couple of solid Beatles renditions and were even joined by Toto’s Bobby Kimball for them. Bonfire returns for a mega star laden closer and at the end of the day I would like to think that they managed to achieve their goals and raise money that would be put to some good. This was a really interesting DVD and I recommend it for the curious and fans of the featured bands alike.

Track Listing:
1. Bonfire – “Under Blue Skies”, “Proud Of My Country”, “Song For Asia (R&R Cowboy 05)”
2. Bonnie Tyler – “It’s A Heartache”, “To Love Somebody”, “Sweet Child Of Mine”
3. In Extremo – “Erdbeermund”, “Omnia Sol Tempest”
4. Krypteria – “Get The Hell Out Of My Way”, “Liberatio”
5. Nu Pagadi – “Sweetest Poison”, “Dying Words”
6. Doro – “She’s Like Thunder”, “Fur Immer”
7. EdGuy – “Lavatory Love Machine”, “King Of Fools”
8. Crystal Ball – “Helvetia”
9. Com ‘N Rail – “I Won’t Let Me Down”, “If I Knew The Way”
10. David Knopfler – “Ship Of Dreams”, Easy Street”
11. Saxon – “Man & Machine”, “Requiem (We Will Remember)
12. Rarebell & Raab – “Still Loving You”
13. Man Doki Soulmates – “All You Need Is Love”, “Imagine”
14. Bonfire & Friends – “Song For Asia (R&R Cowboy 05)

Official Website: http://eng.locomotive.es

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