CD/DVD Review: Lillian Axe – One Night in the Temple

CD/DVD Review: Lillian Axe – One Night in the Temple
CME Records
All Access Rating: A-

Lillian Axe - One Night in the Temple 2014
A slight twist on the well-worn "Unplugged" and "Storytellers" formats, One Night in the Temple places Bayou hard-rock survivors Lillian Axe in a cozy little room in a Masonic Temple with about 100 of their most ardent supporters for a night of song, camaraderie and interrogation.

Interspersed with probing questions from the audience as Lillian Axe performs acoustic renderings of fan favorites and deep cuts from its rather extensive catalog, this being the band's 13th album, One Night in the Temple – filmed in high-definition with intrepid camera work – comes extravagantly packaged as a two-CD/DVD or two-CD/Blu-ray set via CME Records. Steve Blaze, the sole remaining original member, answers queries from the audience with grace and good humor, talking candidly about his Christian faith, delving deeply into the songwriting process and relating the inspiring and heartbreaking story of a boy felled by a horrible disease, right before launching into a profoundly affecting reading of "Bow Your Head."

Reeling off a series of tasteful, wonderfully executed guitar leads and solos, Blaze leads Lillian Axe through melodic, haunting readings of classics such as "Ghost of Winter," "See You Someday" and "True Believer" and "Waters Rising," while a stirring version of "Crucified" gets the blood pumping. Bonus footage on the DVD and Blu-ray editions includes a smattering of videos and sizzling performance footage of Lillian Axe from a 2013 engagement at the Paragon Casino, but what's truly remarkable is how durable and compelling these songs, often so moody and moving, come across when the volume is reduced and the instrumentation is stripped down to the bare bones in such an intimate environment.
– Peter Lindblad

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