Saturday, September 08, 2018

Mark Stanway - Friday 7th September - Fairkytes Live, Hornchurch

A new venue and an interesting format. Ex-Magnum keyboard maestro and all round nice bloke, Mark Stanway with "an evening with..." type event with a radio DJ prompting the questions and script. Lots of chat and stories with a few videos thrown in. There was also a Q&A and raffle(!), but the highlight was definitely a few snippets of highlights from his career so far played on the keyboard setup. And a couple of Magnum numbers with wife Mo on vocals. The hall itself was tiny - and with only 50-60 filling the seats it was the true definition of an "intimate venue".

Like his entertaining first book, it's fair to say this wasn't a highly polished affair, but that actually added to the charm.  A couple of exceptionally drunk characters at the front threatened to dominate the evening (until told to shut up by others). By the end, one was almost unconscious in his seat and was seen throwing up outside the venue later. What is the point!? But that thankfully didn't detract from Mark. He obviously has a treasured collection of audio tapes and recordings from his career with Magnum, Phil Lynott's Grand Slam, Robert Plant and Whitesnake M3 - let's hope some see the light of day officially sometime.

He was also kind enough to meet and greet afterwards, pose for photos and sign momentos. Looking forward to a full music show with his new band "Kingdom of Madness" next year.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Jeff Beck, Paul Rodgers & Ann Wilson - Saturday 25th August - Coral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach

Still in the states, a solo trip to see 3 musical icons. In fact I've previously paid to see all 4 of the acts on the bill, so I was confident it would be good and indeed it was. A strange amphitheatre, my expensive front block seats were under cover, with a cheap grass semi-circle at the rear providing good value.

Ann Wilson's powerful vocals were put to good use during a tribute to "many artists we've lost recently", although a couple of the songs were very much "interpretations" of the originals - not note for note covers. I particularly enjoyed the 2 Who songs, fairly predictably.

Paul Rodgers was excellent. His voice never ceases to impress and a good set of "greatest hits" was supported by a fabulous band ("borrowed" from Deborah Bonham). Deborah and Ann joined in for "Rock And Roll Fantasy". What was really interesting was that the American audience were very enthusiastic about the "Band Company" songs, but hardly seemed to know the "Free" stuff.

Jeff Beck was top of the bill. His playing was as fantastic as always, although I did not know much of the material at all. Compared to previous occasions when I have seen him, there was not much overlap!

Again, I avoided the beer - $17 a go!! But it was so hot, I had to buy a couple of £5 waters. I sneaked away during the encore to ensure I could escape the car-park madness. At least the parking was free!

Setlists

Jeff Beck
Pull It
Stratus
Nadia
You Know You Know 
Morning Dew (with Jimmy Hall)
I Have to Laugh (with Jimmy Hall)
Lonnie on the Move (with Jimmy Hall)
Mn√° na h-√Čireann 
Just For Fun
Little Wing (with Jimmy Hall)
Big Block
Cause We've Ended As Lovers
Brush With the Blues
Superstition (with Jimmy Hall)
A Day in the Life
+
Corpus Christi Carol
Going Down (with Jimmy Hall)

Paul Rodgers
Little Bit of Love
Can't Get Enough
Wishing Well
Feel Like Makin' Love
The Stealer
Ready for Love
Movin' On
Mr. Big
Woman
Fire and Water
Shooting Star
Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy (with Ann Wilson and Deborah Bonham)
+
All Right Now

Ann Wilson
The Real Me
Barracuda
Ain't No Way
I Am the Highway
Back to Black
You Don't Own Me
Life in the Fast Lane
Won't Get Fooled Again

Deborah Bonham
Fly
Hold On
The Old Hyde
No Angel

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Taylor Swift - Tuesday 14th August - Raymond James Stadium, Tampa


We took a family trip to see Ms Swift in Tampa as - by co-incidence - we were due in town at the same time as her (which caused great excitement a few months back when the tour dates were announced). Whilst I'm not too fussed about here current album - heavily featured here - there is no denying the quality of her performance and the theatrics involved. Even though it's not really my style of music, support from Camila Cabello was good too - with Camila choosing to wear the American Football shirt of the home team (Tampa Buccaneers) which was a nice touch.

We had a decent, uninterrupted view - albeit from towards the back. Only downside was the parking cost - $40 for "standard" parking! And I turned down the option of a $14 beer!

Also, it appears Tampa is a hotbed of Manchester United fans with my shirt for the evening attracting lots of positive comments.

Setlists

Taylor Swift
...Ready for It?
I Did Something Bad
Gorgeous
Style / Love Story / You Belong With Me
+
Look What You Made Me Do 
End Game 
King of My Heart
+
Delicate
Shake It Off (with Charli XCX and Camila Cabello)
Dancing With Our Hands Tied (Acoustic)
Invisible (Acoustic)
+
Blank Space
Dress
Bad Blood / Should've Said No
+
Don't Blame Me
Long Live / New Year's Day
+
Getaway Car
Call It What You Want
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together / This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things


Camila Cabello
Never Be the Same
She Loves Control
Inside Out 
Bad Things 
Can't Help Falling in Love
Consequences
In the Dark
Into It / Kiss
Havana


Charli XCX
Boom Clap
I Love It 
Break the Rules
Unlock It
Boys
5 in the Morning
Fancy 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sweet - Saturday 21st July - Master Park, Oxted Beer Festival

With their normal frontman otherwise engaged, duties were shared between bassist Tony O'Hora and guest "Cats In Space" vocalist Paul Manzi. The excellent Andy Scott on guitar and drummer Bruce Bisland completed the lineup, although another "Cat" - Greg Hart - joined in for "Fox on the Run".

I really enjoyed the show - one of the most fun this year. The beer festival was well organised too - without massive queues - and we were even able to watch a bit of cricket outside.

Afterwards we were made welcome at the members-only social club and played darts of varying standard! The journey home was entertaining with a lady we met on the platform with a wine glass keeping us company back to Croydon.

Setlist
Action
New York Groove
Teenage Rampage
The Six Teens
AC/DC
Hell Raiser
Wig-Wam Bam / Little Willy
Love Is Like Oxygen
Fox on the Run
+
Blockbuster
Ballroom Blitz

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Scouting For Girls - Saturday 7th July - Haslemere Fringe Festival

First ever visit to the Haslemere Fringe Festival and we made it a family trip. After the bonus of a bit of Bobby Davro in the comedy tent, we were there to see headliners "Scouting For Girls". A decent festival set went down well with the locals with lots of references to England's unexpectedly decent World Cup run. The now frequent covers of  "Live and Let Die " & "Livin' On A Prayer" were highlights alongside their familiar hits.


Thursday, July 05, 2018

Queen & Adam Lambert - Wednesday 4th July - O2 Arena

Having seen all the other incarnations of Queen, I had been slightly put of by the high price for this one. Some birthday money helped out (thanks to my parents!) and I'm really glad I took the gamble. Adam Lambert was excellent and the set covered the essentials (but noticeably not the much promised "rarities" and celebration of 40 years since the "News of the World" release)!

Setlist
Tear It Up
Seven Seas of Rhye
Tie Your Mother Down
Play the Game
Fat Bottomed Girls
Killer Queen
Don't Stop Me Now
Bicycle Race
I'm in Love With My Car
Another One Bites the Dust
Lucy
I Want It All
Love of My Life (Brian May solo acoustic, with live clip of Freddie Mercury)
Somebody to Love
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Drum Battle
Under Pressure
I Want to Break Free
Who Wants to Live Forever
Last Horizon / Guitar Solo
The Show Must Go On
Radio Ga Ga
Bohemian Rhapsody
+
We Will Rock You
We Are the Champions

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Jackie Lynton - Saturday 30th June - Scratchers, Farncombe

Hadn't seen Jackie for a while, so took took the train out to the country for a free pub show. Standard affair of rock, blues and Quo references, although Jack was feeling the heat a bit and was struggling to breath on occasions, meaning a shorter than normal set. Good to see "Tulsa Time" remains a staple on the set!

Seriously hot in the pub (who don't open the doors when there is live music on!), but well worth the notes put into the collection bucket at the end and the gamble of the last train home.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Billy Idol - Saturday 23rd June - Brixton Academy

Mr William Broad must be a creature of habit. If he plays a headline show in London, you know it is going to be at Brixton! Not my favourite venue, but far from the worst (as long as you are downstairs), so we saunter off to the Academy for an evening of punk and pop. It's sold out, so we don't leave it too late before going in - with a stop to collect the tickets on the door (despite paying for delivery!)

The venue is pretty full and the show good - with a fairly predictable set. No complaints here though - enjoyable as always.

Setlist
Shock to the System
Dancing With Myself
Pumping on Steel
Can't Break Me Down
Cradle of Love
Scream
Prodigal Blues
Eyes Without a Face
Guitar Solo
Don't Need a Gun
King Rocker
Blue Highway
Instrumental Jam
Rebel Yell
+
White Wedding
Mony Mony

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Billy Joel - Saturday 16th June - Old Trafford, Manchester

Billy Joel's only UK show for 2018 is at the home of Manchester United, Old Trafford. Heavy security, triple bag scans and long queues to get in didn't deter a sell out crowd from largely being in place for the start of the 2.5 hour show (although reports of viewing difficulties from the side of stage did materialise later).

We had no such issues being face on - albeit miles away from the stage. The volume was surprisingly loud and Billy seemed to be enjoying himself. Personally, I enjoyed the various snippets of songs paying homage to British Rock bands through the years, but I would expect some fans who maybe hadn't seen him so often would rue the omission of songs such as "Only The Good Die Young" due to time constraints. "Big Shot" was also on the original scheduled setlist, but is no loss in my book!

The Battle Hymn of the Republic (interpreted in these parts as "Glory Glory Man United") was a cheeky introduction and Billy's humour was evident throughout. He was also armed with a fly-swatter which was twirled like a drumstick throughout the show when one hand was enough on the piano.

"Half a Mile Away" got a European debut and the crowd seemed to enjoy the "fielder's choice" option of choosing the set on 3 songs. "Just The Way You Are", "An Innocent Man" and "And So It Goes" missed out on selection.

A quick mention must be made of Tommy Burns, who's guitar playing was fabulous and seemed to enhance the rockier elements of the set.

Overall, a really good evening - made even better by the fact that the hotel was a 2 minute walk away!

Setlist
My Life (With ‘Glory Glory Man United’ snippet)
Pressure
The Entertainer
Your Song (snippet)
Vienna (Preceded by 'Rule Britannia')
The Longest Time (Preceded by 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' snippet)
Half a Mile Away
Zanzibar
New York State of Mind
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) (Followed by snippet of 'Layla' instrumental)
Don't Ask Me Why
Sunshine of Your Love (snippet)
Ruby Tuesday (snippet)
Honky Tonk Women (snippet)
The House of the Rising Sun (snippet)
A Salty Dog (snippet)
Good Times Bad Times (snippet)
Glad All Over (snippet)
The Downeaster Alexa
Allentown
Fire (snippet)
Sometimes a Fantasy
Bohemian Rhapsody (snippet)
Sultans of Swing (snippet)
She's Always a Woman
The River of Dreams / A Hard Day's Night
A Day in the Life
Nessun Dorma 
Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
Piano Man
+
We Didn't Start the Fire
Uptown Girl
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
You May Be Right (with Rock And Roll snippet)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bryan Adams - Thursday 31st May - 02 Arena

Night 2 and we have shifted to East London and a view from the side. A much more elderly crowd on this side of the arena meant we stayed seated for 80% of the show. Show was good - only real change was the live debut of a song from Bryan's "Pretty Woman" Broadway musical (with singer Samantha Barks), but sitting at the side feels like you are observing the show as opposed to being part of it, which was how last night felt.

Still, it was easy to enjoy the skills of all the musicians - especially guitarist Keith Scott who excels with this type of material.

Only downsides again were venue related - painfully slow to get in via the (entirely valid) extended security checks and general incompetence of bar staff.

Setlist
Ultimate Love
Can't Stop This Thing We Started
Run to You
Go Down Rockin'
Heaven
This Time
It's Only Love
Please Stay
Cloud #9
You Belong to Me
Summer of '69
Here I Am
When You're Gone
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
Back to You
Somebody
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
Cuts Like a Knife
18 til I Die
I'm Ready
Brand New Day
+
I Could Get Used to This
I Fought the Law 
I Can't Go Back (with Samantha Barks)
Straight From the Heart
All for Love