BONFIRE – FireWorks… Still Alive! (2011)


After the release of their anniversary album ‘Branded’ early in 2011, Bavaria’s finest rockers BONFIRE are surprising their fans with a second birthday party and a special present; “FireWorks…Still Alive! “

A quarter-century after its release, Bonfire’s sophomore album ‘Fireworks’, is still hailed as a bona fide classic in the Melodic Hard Rock genre and the only ones who would argue otherwise are those born without ears.
That album had it all: loud guitars, powerful vocals, big hooks, anthemic choruses…in other words, ‘Fireworks’ had the works, the kind of melodious hard rock magic that seemed so prevalent during the ‘80s.
The glorious decade may be long behind us, but Bonfire has decided to define the present by returning to their past on this special live album. Recorded at a string of concerts in Sweden, Romania, Switzerland and Germany, the album features nearly every song off Fireworks, including “Rock Me Now” which the band had not played live in over 20 years.

The sonic quality of this album is astonishing.
This is a live album for those who loathe live albums. If you’re looking for a raw, unpolished concert experience, then you probably want to exit this review and return to trolling the bootleg sites, because “Fireworks…Still Alive!” almost sounds like a studio album.
Like a criminal that doesn’t care if they get caught, this album makes no attempt to conceal the evidence of its post-recording enhancements.
The audience noise has been removed save for the very beginning and end of the tracks, allowing the songs to be appreciated in all their beefed-up power and glory without suffering the distraction of yelling and hollering and clapping and whistling from the crowd.

What this album really sounds like is a re-recording of ‘Fireworks’ with the songs being treated to a muscular upgrade, particularly in the guitars and drums department. In fact, while some might consider the following statement blasphemous, the songs sound better here than they do on the original album—they really are that much improved.
Even the gang backing vocals are still present, arguably too stacked to have been accomplished live, so perhaps sign of further post-recording tweaking, but one that works to retain the original structure, composition, and vibe of the songs.

A track by track rehashing of the songs seems pointless, as most Melodic Hard Rock fans have been cranking them up on a regular basis for over two decades now and are well aware of how great they are.
In addition to the Fireworks tracks, the band also included a live recording of “You Make Me Feel” from their debut, which is a decent tune but proves Bonfire didn’t really hit their stride until Fireworks.
Also included is “Just Follow The Rainbow”, which appeared on the band’s last album and “I’m On My Way” is a emotional tribute to tragically-deceased Gotthard singer Steve Lee.
One of my favorite Bonfire tunes, “Sword And Stone” off the Shocker soundtrack, is served up with an extra dose of attitude from Lessman while the band just slams it out. Forget the original recording, this is the version you’ll be reaching for from now on.

If you shy away from live albums like a witch shying away from a burning stake, I beg you to give “FireWorks… Still Alive!” a shot.
Aside from some short snippets of audience interaction, what this really sounds like is a re-recorded version of Bonfire’s seminal Fireworks album, and while they say you can’t improve upon a classic, this release proves them wrong.
Bonfire was once considered the Best of the Best in the Melodic Hard Rock business and this updated trip down memory lane will make you remember why.
A Must Have.

You’ve seen it first here, at zerodayrock

01 – Ready 4 Reaction
02 – Never Mind
03 – Sleeping All Alone
04 – Don’t Get Me Wrong
05 – Give It A Try
06 – Fantasy
07 – American Nights
08 – Obsessive Intro (inst.)
09 – Sweet Obsession
10 – Rock Me Now
11 – Champion
12 – You Make Me Feel
13 – Sword And Stone
14 – Just Follow The Rainbow
15 – I’m On My Way (live Gotthard cover)
16 – Let It Grow (edited studio cut)

Claus Lessmann (vocals, guitar)
Hans Ziller (guitar)
Chris Limburg (guitar)
Uwe Kohler (bass)
Dominik Hulshorst (drums)


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