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Pride of Lions: Live in Belgium (DVD/CD)

Jim Peterik is one hell of a guitar player, as he proves when stealing the show at the end of this 90-minute live set with his latest band Pride of Lions. He struts his stuff on a catwalk stage that juts into the crowd at Belgium's huge Lokerse Feesten festival and pulls out practically every rock star cliché known to aging rock stars before ripping into the instantly recognizable riff to "Eye of the Tiger." But, man, does he look cool. And thanks to a crack band of unknown musicians from Illinois and a young American singer name Toby Hitchcock (gifted with a golden throat), "Eye of the Tiger" sounds much different than the 1982 original from Rocky III that you've already heard a gajillion times. In fact, in Pride of Lions, Peterik - a bespectacled man who must be nearing 60 and looks way better than he should - has created a feel-good melodic hard rock band with two studio albums to its name that sounds like a combination of Survivor, 38 Special and Sammy Hagar (all artists, incidentally, with whom the singer/songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist has been involved). This gig, captured on CD and DVD, culls material from the band's self-titled 2003 debut and its 2004 successor The Destiny Stone, as well as three Survivor songs and "Vehicle," from Peterik's Ides of March days. Hitchcock, whose voice falls somewhere between Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Dennis DeYoung (ex-Styx) and Bobby Kimball (Toto), proves himself as one of America's finest young vocalists. Too bad that this band has to spend most of its time promoting itself in Europe rather than its homeland, as evidenced by an Italian television show that appears as a DVD bonus feature.

A second bonus disc that comes with the CD version of Live in Belgium features seven studio tracks that alternate between rockers and ballads, including "So Deadly," arguably the most progressive song Peterik has ever written. It's a nice supplement to what stands as a powerful introduction to Pride of Lions. If you opt for one format over the other, though, choose the DVD. It's rare that a melodic-rock band like this has the opportunity to play in front of 20,000 fans, and watching the likeable Hitchcock gradually warm to the crowd and blush when a female fan kisses him on the cheek is too charming to miss. Plus, you get the full "Eye of the Tiger" intro treatment that's missing from the CD. One question, though: Does Peterik really need to a wear tiger-striped shirt that looks just like the album cover for … Eye of the Tiger?

Track Listings
1) It's Criminal
2) Gone
3) Sound of Home
4) Man Behind the Mask
5) The Search Is Over
6) Music and Me
8) The Courage to Love Somebody
9) Black Ribbons (Voices of the World)
10) Unbreakable
11) What Kind of Fool
12) I Can't Hold Back
13) The Gift of Song
14) Eye of the Tiger

CD 2:
1) Reckless Love
2) Stand By You
3) So Deadly
4) Surrender to the Night
5) Dark Angel
6) Black Ribbons (Voices of the World)
7) Feels Like Another Planet

Added: June 19th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Frontiers Records
Hits: 2732
Language: english

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