Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thunder - Tuesday 20th December - Rock City, Nottingham

Thunder , for those that could see them!
So, Thunder are back. Or are they? Time will tell if this was a one-off return for the traditional Christmas shows in Nottingham, or the rebirth of a fantastic band. I for one, hope the latter.

The downside is that they continue to play at the dreadful Rock City. The venue holds 1900 people. It was full, very full. You can only see the whole stage if you are either a) directly in front of it or b) in the front row of the balcony. Everyone else can see either nothing or very little. This leads to pushing, arguing and general unpleasantness. It take ages to get in and an age to filter out. It's a real shame as the admin side of things (website, ticket sales, staff etc) are all excellent, but it makes for the worst gig experiences I have anywhere.

OK rant over - awful venue, great band. The usual mix of covers and Thunder Classics. The band played a bit safe with the selection of their own material and the covers were a bit hit and miss (blank stares all round at a couple of them), but it was still a good night. Indeed, the finale of "Merry Christmas Everybody" seemed slightly more authentic than Slade's a few nights earlier!!

With hotel booked and a lie in the next morning, we upped the average age by joining the students in the "Rescue Rooms" nightclub (after a fun go at the "Countdown" board game in the pub!). £1.90 a pint of San Miguel possibly contributed to the hangover the next day!

I have subsequntly found out the the 1st World Darts Final was played at the venue now known as Rock City! As Richard asked, how did they see a thing?

Setlist
Everybody Wants Her
Living for Today
We Can Work It Out
Everybody's Laughing
Breakdown
Come & Get It
The Thrill of It All
You Wear It Well
You're My Best Friend
Once in a Lifetime
Just Another Suicide (You Wanna Know)
+
Loser
The Devil Made Me Do It
Higher Ground
Castles In The Sand
Living For The City
Gimme Some Lovin'
Like A Satellite
You Can't Keep A Good Man Down
Live and Let Die
Love Walked In
I Love You More Than Rock 'N' Roll
+
A Better Man
Dirty Love
Merry Xmas Everybody

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Slade - Sunday 19th December - Koko, Camden

Dave Hill
A Koko debut this year for Slade. Well, that's the name they used, but it's not Slade for me without Noddy (Holder) and Jim (Lea).

So, let's say, an evening with Slade II. Original members Don Powell and Dave Hill were greated like returning hero's by a pleasingly large turnout. The whole event was for the Lord's Taverners charity, so let's hope they made some cash, DJ (and fan) Mike Read did the introductions and then followed a run through of basically "The Best of Slade".

Two things stood out for me. One, Dave Hill is an excellent guitarist. The riffs were spot on and he clearly enjoys playing to the crowds. Two, the vocals. Ouch! Now nobody can replace Noddy, so maybe they shouldn't try. The vocals for the first few songs were shouted and just a bit off-key. As the show warmed up and the songs were actually "sung" - it all started to sound a bit better and I especially enjoyed "Lock Up Your Daughters". All filmed for DVD release if you want to check it out for yourself.

The very early start meant the closing song (no prizes for guessing the obvious) was all done and dusted before 9pm. An early night all round!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Def Leppard - Wednesday 14th December - Wembley Arena

Off to North London to the "hangar" for a rock "double-header". Skipping support "Steel Panther", we arrived to find Motley Crue in full swing. Taking a safe view from miles away, we were "treated" to an expletive filled set of actually quite fun material.

Regular readers will know how much I detest drum solos, but even I will admit that Tommy Lee's rollercoaster "wheel" was entertaining. I enjoyed a snippet of the "Leader's" Rock And Roll Part 2 before "Smoking in The Boys Room" and of course, "Girls Girls Girls" was a masive singalong. Quite whether I wanted to be called a "MotherF****r" so often I'm not so sure. It didn't really add much and we stopped counting at around 100 profanities.

Excellent timing of Beer runs and Gents visits meant we moved forward about 80 yards for Def Leppard. They were solid and in good touch with the audience. As it was the last night of the tour, I'd expected a guest or 2 (Brian May, Ian Hunter?), but no such luck.

Richard was only half believing when I pointed out that the version of "Bringing On The Heartache" was not as heavy as the other rendition I'd heard in the same venue - by Mariah Carey !!

Setlist
Undefeated
Rocket
Action
Let It Go
C'mon C'mon
When Love and Hate Collide
Women
Two Steps Behind (Acoustic)
Bringin' on the Heartbreak
Switch 625
Hysteria
Animal
Armageddon It
Photograph
Pour Some Sugar on Me
+
Love Bites
Let's Get Rocked

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Status Quo - Sunday 11th December - O2 Arena, London

All on stage for the "grand" finale!
The Home - Brighton - Home - Greenwich O2 cycle continues with a return the the O2. Pretty much the same as Brighton except we skipped Kim Wilde's set. Some very drunk people around us made me think it was going to get unpleasant but as it turned out everyone behaved (even if the bloke in front was blatantly smoking weed whilst standing next to a steward!).

I actually quite enjoyed Francis completely messing up the last verse of Paper Plane with a random selection of words from other verses and it was nice to see the venue fairly packed (notwithstanding the top level was curtained off). Some of the people near us had not read up on the encore and their faces were a picture when Winter Wonderland started. A mixture of bemusement and horror!

See Brighton for the setlist - you didn't think it would change did you?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Status Quo - Friday 9th December - Brighton Centre

Back down to Brighton for the Quo. Or more precisely the "Quofestive" as it is billed. A mini "festival", which includes Kim Wilde and Roy Wood. Not an obvious bill I think you'd agree, but artists I certainly don't mind, although a different setting may work better.

Kim Wilde delivered her greatest hits, although the sound guy appeared reluctant to give her vocals any sort of amplification for much of the set. She appeared quite giggly - some of our party were suggesting a bit of over indulgance on Xmas cheer - but it might well have been nerves. All pleasant enough though and with her niece Scarlett helping out on backing vocals adding to the experience, it was an enjoyable set.

Roy Wood was OK - I really enjoyed seeing him a couple of years back (he was my muscial hero aged 5 !!), but there was something a bit lacking this time around. Maybe a couple of favourites missing from the set? I couldn't quite figure out what wasn't quite so good.

Quo were on last as you'd expect - with an unfortunately shorter set than previous years (well they are getting on a bit - maybe hence the multi-act lineup). They were good up until the encore, albeit without much imagination for setlist changes.

Then we got the changes. Let's just say I was glad I'd been forwarned - Kim and Roy came out to join in a Medley of "Winter Wonderland" & "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". No, No, No !!

Most seemed to have songsheets on stage and it was a little shambolic - save Francis's quite cool guitar solo on Winter Womderland. I'm reluctant to be too critical as I'd much rather they changed the set and sometimes get it wrong rather than keep playing the same old stuff, but I trust this will be a one off medley for this tour....... please!

Setlist
Caroline
Something 'bout You Baby I Like
The Wanderer
Rock 'n' Roll 'n' You
Rain
Mean Girl
Beginning Of The End
Proposin' Medley
Big Fat Mama
Two Way Traffic
The Oriental
Let's Rock
Paper Plane
Living On An Island
In The Army Now
Drum Solo / The Killer
Roll Over Lay Down
Down Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over The World
+
Burning Bridges
Walking In A Winter Wonderland / Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Bryan Adams - Thursday 8th December - O2 Arena, London

More BA - this time at the O2. And I was right, the screens work in an arena this size - and when you're miles away as we were (see picture) are very useful.

Shame Bryan no longer mixes up the setlist from night to night - we got the same show as Brighton, but I actually enjoyed tonight a little more than last. Billed as celebrating "20 Years since the release of Waking Up The Neighbours", there was a resonable amount of material from Bryan's 2nd best album after Reckless (argue amongst yourselves!).

See last night for setlist.

Bryan Adams - Wednesday 7th December - Brighton Centre

I remember seeing Bryan at the Brighton Centre in 1987 on the "Into The Fire" tour. After opening with a blistering "Only The Strong Survive" he seemed in a particularly bad mood - he told the audience that he'd had some negative comments about the bare stage set (it was drums, keyboards and speakers - no backdrops, flashy lights etc) before telling us that "If we'd come to see a lightshow, we'd come to the wrong ****** show!" and that they were just a no-nonsense rock band.

24 years later and a few things have changed. The band are still a great rock band. Bryan is trading licks with long term guitar partner, Keith Scott. (having thankfully abandoned a few years ago what Richard acurately describes as "the bass debacle"!). But I wasn't anticipating the massive LCD screen at the back of the screen which dominated proceedings. The mainly black and white graphics were stunning from a technology point of view, but from our view near the front were quite a distraction. I would imagine it will work better in larger venues.

The set was solid - slightly less reliant on ballads than some of his shows of recent years and the performance good. There was just a part of me harking back to 1987 when an angry younger man had delivered a pulsating 2 hrs plus of rock and roll in one of the best performances of what must be close to the 100 odd times I've seen him. Times have changed and we all get older...

Setlist
House Arrest
Somebody
Here I Am
All I Want Is You
Can't Stop This Thing We Started
I'm Ready
Thought I'd Died And Gone To Heaven
Hearts On Fire
Do I Have to Say the Words
18 'til I Die
Back to You
Summer of '69
If You Wanna Leave Me (Can I Come Too?) / Touch The Hand
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
Cuts Like a Knife
It's Only Love
Depend On Me
When You're Gone
Heaven
The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
Run to You
There Will Never Be Another Tonight
+
Cloud #9
+
The Way You Make Me Feel
Straight from the Heart
All for Love

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin - Friday 2nd December - Borderline

Dan and the boys at the Borderline - becoming a nice annual event. You know it'll be packed (it was!), you know it'll be loud (it was!) and you know it'll be good (it was!).

We managed to get our normal nice spot in front of the stage, which is great until you need the gents! That is not a trip for the faint hearted due to the density of the crowd and the blind steps you encounter. Previously unheard highlight for me was the exellent cover of Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough" - whether Dan's story about Mick Ralphs meaning to be there to play it was true, well who knows? "Proud Mary" in "Two For Tuesday" was pretty good too!

Only downside is that Dan does attract a couple of regular strange people to his shows and they get a little errr.. overexcited. Limb control people, limb control....

Good evening, followed off by a beverage or 2 in the "Intrepid Fox". I could swear those "Rock Chicks" are getting younger...

Magnum - Cambridge Junction - Thursday 1st December

Into December and the start of a run of gigs. New venue for me - The Junction in Cambridge meant a trip by train from Kings Cross - in my view London's worst railway terminus by some distance.Time for a couple of pubs in Cambridge - not great apart from the spot of a circular pool table. Unfortunately, I lost Richard and I's "Cambridgeshire Open" on a regular pool table - very poor indeed.

Venue itself was pretty good. Small to allow a decent view and with the bonus of Lowenbrau on draught... hapy days!

The start time meant that we would have to miss the encore in order to get the train home (and avoid 3 night buses), but what we saw was really good - including one new song from the new "Evolution" CD.

Our change for the final Tube at Severn Sisters was nearly scuppered by travelling very slowly through White Hart Lane (Unpleasant enough in daylight, let alone after midnight!) and a Usain Bolt type effort to run through the interchange and down the escalator. The train was there a minute later. Phew!

Setlist
Back to Earth
When We Were Younger
Wild Angels
Brand New Morning
How Far Jerusalem
Spin Like A Wheel
The Fall
Freedom Day
Les Morts Dansant
Black Skies
All My Bridges
All England's Eyes
Vigilante
+
Kingdom Of Madness
On A Storytellers Night

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mick Ralphs Blues Band - Saturday 26th November - Jazz Cafe, Camden

Having seen Mr Ralphs on numerous occassions in various guise, this is the first time I'd seen him as a headline act in his own right. The fact that he'd be playing no Bad Company or Mott The Hoople Material in his own set was offset by the choice of support band - "Free & Co" - guess what they played !!! -;)

I got my first "2 pointer" of the evening by recognising drummer Phil Martini in their lineup - last seen (by us) in The Quireboys and The Union.

Mick and his excellent blues band then played a competant set. In fact that's doing a dis-service. For a set where we basically knew nothing but 1 or 2 snippets of songs, it was actually really good. I was also surprised that no songs appeared to feature the words "I Woke Up This Monring" !!). Later, I gained further "spotting points" by seeing Photographer Ross Halfin (working), Tracy Hunter (at the bar), Kurt Brandon (also at the bar) and rumours of a sighting of Jimmy Page (upstairs). Well worth the trip.

Setlist
Rock Me Baby
Hi-Heel Sneakers
Just a Little Bit
Next Time You See Me
Blow Blues
Mr. Charlie
Hide Away
It Hurts Me Too
Help Me
Further On Up the Road
Got My Mojo Working
Mamma Talk To Your Daughter

Saturday, November 26, 2011

SAS Band - Friday 25th November - Clapham Grand

Brian May addresses the Clapham crowd
This was officially billed as the "Freedie Mercury Tribute", marking 20 years since the sad death of the legendary Queen frontman. That makes it 10 years since an excellent tribute show at the Hackney Ocean which featured Messrs May and Taylor plus guests like Bruce Dickinson with the SAS band.

Internet Forums were awash with comment that May and Taylor "couldn't be bothered" to turn up for this one, so it was a pleasant surprise when Brian May strolled onstage during Kerry Ellis's take on "No One But You (Only The Good Die Young)". This was followed by "Somebody To Love" and an impressive "Tie Your Mother Down" before he departed (turns out he was off to guest at The Darkness's show up the road in Hammersmith - where he also played "Tie Your Mother Down" amongst others!).

Still, as always, the band was held together by the SAS band  Spike Edney and Friends. A string of fairly low key guests - Madeline Bell, Chris Thompson, The Fabba Girls, Patti Russo & Tony Vincent - injected mch fun into the evening. In fairness, it didn't compete with the event 10 years ago, but that didn't prevent it from being a fun night out with the chance to hear sme great songs.

Setlist
No One But You (Only The Good Die Young) (Kerry Ellis and Brian May)
Somebody To Love (Kerry Ellis and Brian May)
Tie Your Mother Down (Kerry Ellis and Brian May)
Davy's On The Road Again (Chris Thompson)
Blinded By The Light (Chris Thompson)
We Got The Fire (Chris Thompson)
Don't Stop Me Now (Patti Russo)
Chain Of Fools (PattiI Russo)
Another One Bites The Dust (Patti Russo)
Mamma Mia (Fabba Girls)
Fat Bottomed Girls (Fabba Girls)
Dancing Queen (Fabba Girls)
+
Now I'm Here (Tony Vincent)
I Want It All (Tony Vincent and Chris Thompson)
Hammer To Fall (Tony Vincent)
I Want To Break Free (Madeline Bell)
Natural Woman (Madeline Bell)
Heard It Through the Grapevine (Madelin Bell)
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Chris Thompson)
These Are The Days Of Our Lives (Chris Thompson)
The Show Must Go On (Chris Thompson)
Under Pressure (Tony Vincent and Kerry Ellis)
+
We Will Rock You (All)
We Are The Champions (All)
+
You're The Voice (Chris Thompson and All)
With A Little Help From My Friends (Patti Russo and All)
All The Way (All, Acappella)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Who's Who - Friday 18th November - Half Moon, Putney

A nice Friday evening trip to Putney to see the UK's premier Who tribute band (alongside "The Mods" of course!). The Half Moon is being refurbished, so it looked a bit strange with the bar closed, but the venue open. A mid sized, enthusiastic crowd were treated to nearly a couple of hours of Who classics with the band returning for an unexpected encore after it looked like they were done and dusted. The Half Moon appears to be the only London venue they play these days which is a bit of a shame, but if you are a fan of the Who and get the chance to see these guys then I suggest you do.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Roxette - Tuesday 15th November - Wembley Arena

So, 17 years after their last Wembley appearance, the promoter books Swedish stars Roxette at Wembley Arena for the same evening as England v Sweden at Wembley Stadium. Genius! Thankfully, the smallish football crowd didn't hamper our journey to a pretty much sold-out gig too much.

Support was provided by Darren Hayes from Savage Garden - not my cup of tea, so after a cursory glance to acknowledge another "Chart Act", it was off to the bar!

Taking our seats about 18 rows back from the front, it was apparent that many people had travelled long distances to be at the show. If was also clear that Roxette attract a very diverse audience. At least everyone had grown up from the "teeny-bop" crowd from 2004 !!

The show itself was excellent - the set not wildly different from the Per Gessle solo shows also detailed on this blog. As expected, most of the backing band were the same as from that show, although  obviously Marie Fredrikson adds a great deal vocally and with a striking iconic image.

One of the highlights for me was a heavy electric version of the National Anthem as the guitarist was introduced  - last heard in this form by me at the same venue by a certain Mr P Townshend in 1989 !

Rumours are for another London show next year - venue and cost permitting, that would be fine by me.

Setlist
Dressed For Success
Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Wish I Could Fly
Only When I Dream
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
Perfect Day
Things Will Never Be The Same
It Must Have Been Love
Opportunity Nox
7twenty7
Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave)
Crash! Boom! Bang!
How Do You Do!
Dangerous
Band presentation + God Save The Queen
Joyride
+
Watercolours in the rain
Spending My Time
The Look
+
Listen To Your Heart
Church Of Your Heart

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Union - Friday 21st October - O2 Academy, Islington

The Union soundcheck to an empty O2 Academy
A rare treat indeed. As a result of a previous purchase, I was invited to the soundcheck and a meet & greet for the 3rd night of the Union's tour in support of their excellent new album "Siren's Song".

An early start (4.45pm!) and I was ushered with around 10 other lucky guests into the empty O2 Academy where the band had just gone on stage.

They then ripped through 3 new songs from the new album, at full volume - a private gig for the handful of us! I was surprised how "full on" the soundcheck was - no holding back vocally from Pete Shoulder for example.

Following that, the band came to the floor for a chat and were very friendly and hospitable. I had a chance of a few minutes with Pete and Luke (Morley) and then a few seconds with Chris (Childs) before the support band started sound-checking and it was time to go.

A brief solo pub-crawl of Islington followed and then it was time to pick up my ticket from the guest list - yay!

Although not quite full, the atmosphere was good and the band were on stunning form. Easily the best show I've seen from them and both music and especially voals were fantastic. It was all over quite quickly (the Academy has an early curfew on Fridays), so I'd be hoping for a longer set next time around.

On the way out I bumped into Dave Ling ("Ling alert!") and had a brief chat - he seemed to enjoy the show too. Hope it isn't too long until the next one!

Setlist
Watch The River Flow
Burning Daylight
Black Gold
Saviour
Easy Street
Blame It On Tupelo
Lillies
Obsession
The Remedy
Cut The Line
Black Monday
Siren's Song
+
Come Rain, Come Shine
Step Up To The Plate

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wheatus - Thursday 22nd September - Kingston Hippodrome

A late decision - based on a bargain price (£4), nearby location and the fact that I'd never been to the venue - even when I was appropriately young enough to mix with the crowd it attracted. As it was, I was expectedly in the top percentile - age and height wise! And it's not every show I go to where full airport-style metals detectors are in play - tapers eat your heart's out!
So I was only ever going to know 2 songs (the cover of "A Little Respect" and their chart-topper "Teenage Dirtbag"), but I was really impressed by the musicianship, audience interaction and quality of all the songs in their hour or so long set (it may have been longer - we missed the start). The place was packed and even allowing for the fact that people were necking shots by the half-dozen there was a friendly atmosphere.

Brendan B Brown / Karlie Bruce
On our way out, the band were helping pack their gear into a transit, so I took the oportunity to offer my congratulations on a good show. Richard wanted to know why I chose to have this short conversation with backing vocalist Karlie Bruce as opposed to main man Brendan B Brown. You decide!

Setlist (probable)
Leroy Lemonade
Hey, Mr. Brown
Fair Weather Friend
Truffles
Something Good
Hump 'em n' Dump 'em
My Name is Jonas
BMX Bandits
A Little Respect
Anyway
Whole Amoeba
Teenage Dirtbag

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ludacris - Saturday 6th August - Angels Stadium, Los Angeles

Ludacris and band in the middle of the "Angels Stadium".
Those keen enough could queue to get on the diamond.
Errr...an unexpected
"treat". Whilst on hols in the US, it transpires that some of the basball teams do what the racecourses in the UK do and put musical acts on after the sporting entertainment. So after seeing the Angels well and truely thrashed 5-1 we had the delight of seeing the "multi-award and multi-grammy winning hip-hop artist and actor". Now I must be honest and feared the worst - this isn't likely to be my cup of tea at all, but as my son was keen to stay - and within reason I'll try any music once - we decided to give it a go. Now I'm not wanting to offend anyone who likes this style of hip-hop or thinks that Ludacris is the best thing since sliced bread, but at the end of the first song, my son says "Can we go now please?" whilst covering his ears. So we did, as the 2nd and 3rd songs played whilst we made our way out of the stadium (with several thousand others!), I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the tracks. Lots of bass and shouting is a fair description.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Roger Daltrey - Wednesday 13th July - Southend Cliffs Pavillion

A trip to the "far east" to see the Who frontman. Following on from the performance at the RAH earlier this year, we basically got the full version of Tommy and selected other solo and Who highlights. With a largely American band plus Simon Townshend (who's limited edition EP I purchased from the merchandise stall), the band had obviously rehearsed a stack of material as the setlist appeared to change on each night of the tour. This meant we got treated to an impromptu "Bargain" when one of the musicians was having problems with his instrument. We also got a Taj Mahal blues number & Johnny Cash Medley as per the "Killing Cancer" charity show.

The only downside was having to put up with "Tattoo" - in my opinion up (or down) there with the few poor songs the Who ever recorded! Otherwise a great night out, even if it meant getting home in the early hours

Setlist
Overture
It's a Boy
1921
Amazing Journey
Sparks
Eyesight to the Blind
Christmas
Cousin Kevin
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It's Alright?
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
There's a Doctor
Go to the Mirror
Tommy, Can You Hear Me?
Smash the Mirror
Sensation
I'm Free
Miracle Cure
Sally Simpson
Welcome
Tommy's Holiday Camp
We're Not Gonna Take It
+
I Can See for Miles
Behind Blue Eyes
Days Of Light
Freedom Ride
Going Mobile
Real Good Looking Boy
Johnny Cash Medley
Going Mobile
The Kids Are Alright
Tattoo
Young Man Blues
Bargain
Baba O'Riley
Without Your Love
+
Red Blue And Gray

Friday, July 08, 2011

Scouting For Girls - Thursday 14th July - Epsom Racecourse

An evening of racing on Epsom Downs, followed by one of their music nights. Having won precisely nothing on the gee gee's it was good to be cheered up by some good time rock and pop. With family & friends in tow, we all had a good evening out as the band ripped through the best of their 2 albums. No covers of any James Bond themes this time around, but we did get "Michaela Strachan" and a really good version of Cee Lo Green's "Forget You".  Hope their third album is as good as the first 2.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Jimmy Barnes - Saturday 6th July - Shepherd's Bush Empire

After 6 weeks without a gig, I was looking forward to this one. Aussie legend Mr Barnes belting out his hits in front of lively - mainly Australian - crowd. Added bonus for us was the support being provided by "The Union" - hopefully warming up for some headline shows of their own later in the year. Luke, Peter and the boys played a solid 40 minutes or so and I'm hoping that those in the crowd who hadn't see them before were impressed. They wisely stuck to the heavier end of their material and it seemed popular.

After a short break, Jimmy and his band appeared. The normal selection of family members included (daughters on backing vocals, son on drums etc) and the band were on good form. Pleased to say he played pretty much everything I was hoping to here and a good time was had by all. I'm guessing the SBE's bar takings do well when the aussies are in!

Texted an Australian friend to find out which is the "Unofficial Aussie National Anthem" - "Working Class Man" or "Khe Sanh"? I am told it is the latter - just!

Tried to go and watch the David Haye fight afterwards, but not prepared to pay ten or 20 quid to get to a packed pub to watch the last few rounds. Ended up watching the final round through the window of the Larrick in Putney whilst an alternative brawl took place around us involving one bloke who was so drunk, he couldn't stand up. Sounds like we didn't miss much anyway.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Answer - Wednesday 18th May - Borderline

It's been a while since I saw the Answer, having given their last few London shows a miss after being a bit disapointed by recent performances. The lure of one of my favourite venues and a decent ticket price tempted me once again.

I'm delighted to report that it was well worth the effort. The band were on top form in a packed & loud venue, playing songs old and new. Indeed this show was nominally to support the release of their new DVD and was  meant to be a "Media Event". By the moshing at the front and singing elsewhere, it looked more like a fans show to me. The volume was particularly loud and I was pleased they included their recent Record Shop Day 7" "Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw" which went down very well.

Unfortunately I upset a member of the audience - by tapping his lower leg with my foot (to get past carrying beer). He seemed to think I was kicking him! Had to explain that I thought a light tap was better than spilling the beer all over him and offered appropriate apologies. Not sure he agreed, or indeed could hear due to the volume. That didn't spoil the evening though. Based on this performance, I won't be leaving it so long before seeing them again.

As a footnote we went for a "quick half" in Molly Mogg's afterwards. Were a bit suprised to find a bloke in drag hit the stage shortly after we arrived. Feared the worst, but a medley of East End classics (think "Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner", "Roll Out The Barrel" etc) was actually really good cheesey fun - so much so we even stayed for another. I'm guessing we were the only straight blokes in the place!

Monday, May 09, 2011

John Waite - Sunday 8th May - Borderline

A genuine "double bill" here with the excellent John Parr opening with a brilliant short acoustic set.

I don't know too much John Waite material, but so good was he that I bought his new CD (autographed!) from the merchandise stand. Great music in one of my favourite small venues!

Oh and a "Ling Alert" number 3!

John Parr Setlist
Coming To The Borderline
The Best A Man Can Get
Naughty Naughty
At The Cathedral
Oh Well
Guitar solo
St. Elmo's Fire

John Waite Setlist
Change
Back On My Feet Again
Evil
Mr. Wonderful
Better Off Gone
In Dreams
Best Of What I Got
Whenever You Come Around
Downtown
Suicide Life
If You Ever Get Lonely
Love's Goin' Out of Style
Drum solo
Missing You
Rough &Tumble
Sweet Rhode Island Red
+
Head First

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Magnum - Saturday 30th April - Shepherd’s Bush Empire

It's fair to say I wasn't sure about this in advance. In my opinion the latest Magnum album is their weakest for ages. Luckilly for me, the set featured only the best couple of songs, plus some old favourites and some newer "goodies". Good to see the floor fairly full and the band enjoying themselves. I still believe the future is bright for Magnum.. They are too good for it not to be!

PS "Ling Alert" number 2, as expected!

Setlist
Back to Earth
When We Were Younger
Wild Angels
Brand New Morning
How Far Jerusalem
Spin Like A Wheel
Les Morts Dansant
The Moonking
Freedom Day
Black Skies
All My Bridges
All England's Eyes
Kingdom Of Madness
+
Vigilante
On A Storyteller's Night

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Paul Rodgers - Monday 25th April - Southend Cliffs Pavilion

Richard and I spent the afternoon watching Sutton United claim the Ryman League trophy. Then it was a multi-train trip to Westcliff for a great night of music. First up were Joe Elliot's Down 'n' Outs playing their selection of Ian Hunter / Mott The Hoople related stuff. Despite Joe's sore throat, this was good.

The interval bought the first of an expected 3 "Ling Alerts" in succession (that's the spotting of journalist Dave Ling, who seems to be at nearly every gig I go to!)

Now Paul Rodgers solo shows can be a bit "hit and miss" depending on the setlist and how long he fancies playing. Here we were treated to a long set and great material. Oh, and it almost goes unsaying - the vocals were fabulous. A great show!


Setlist:
Walk In My Shadow
Wishing Well
Mr Big
Feel Like Makin' Love
Mr Midnight
Be My Friend
Fire And Water
Running with the Pack
Bad Company
The Stealer
Seagull
My Brother Jake
Little Wing / Angel
Shooting Star
Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy
Can't Get Enough
+
Ride On A Pony
All Right Now
The Hunter

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Scouting For Girls - Friday 8th April - Wembley Arena

A trip to North London for the "hometown gig" from Ray Stride and the boys. As predicted, we were amongst the oldest in the crowd, although to be fair they attract a very varied audience.

Playing highlights from both albums, this was a solid show and the confidence the band has gained since their debut was evident. Good pop fun! Off to see them again in the summer.

Setlist
Little Miss Naughty
It's Not About You
?
I Wish I Was James Bond
The Airplane Song
Silly Song
Heartbeat
It Only Rains In LA
Take a Chance On Us
Elvis Ain't Dead
The Mountains Of Navaho
Keep on Walking
+
1+1
Michaela Strachan
She's So Lovely

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Mods - Saturday 2nd April - All Saints Hall, Whetstone

Off to the All Saints Church Hall in Whetstone - a fair old trek, but it is for the Mods, one of our favorite local bands. Tonight they are doing a "full Who show" in a venue played by the Who in 1964.

Richard was right to query that last statement when we arrived as this was like so many Church Halls up and down the country and it's amazing to think that superstar bands of the past played venues like this when they were up and coming. It was quite a wierd setup, with tables and chairs at the fron and standing near the mixing desk at the back. The "bar" was even stranger - a counter in the cafe where the server had to rush out to a fridge in the back to get beer priced at a uniform £2 a bottle.

Still, the show was good although the audience were very unenthusiastic at the start. The band took a midway break - partly I suspect to the lack of reaction they were getting (through no fault of their own). The second half bought a livlier reaction from the crowd (alcohol induced?) and gradually people stood up and danced.

I enjoyed it, but whether the band will return to this neck of the woods I'm not sure. We had a lengthy trip home for the full length of the Northern Line and a I slept well afterwards!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Roger Daltrey - Thursday 24th March - Royal Albert Hall

So, Roger Daltrey plays Tommy in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Not quite as good as if The Who were playing, but a fair substitute.

Good performance - easy money on the "bet" front (Pete Townshend shows up for Acid Queen and Baba O'Riley) and a worthy cause.

Setlist
Overture
It's a Boy
1921
Amazing Journey
Sparks
Eyesight to the Blind
Christmas
Cousin Kevin
Acid Queen (with Pete Townshend)
Do You Think It's Allright
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
Doctor Jimmy
Go to The Mirror
Tommy Can You Hear Me
Smash The Mirror
It's a Boy
I'm Free
Miracle Cure
Sensation
Sally Simpson
Welcome
Tommy's Holiday Camp
We're Not Going to Take It
+
Days Of Light
Pictures of Lily
My Generation
I Can See for Miles
Young Man Blues
Baba O'Riley (with Pete Townshend)
Without Your Love

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Elton John & Ray Cooper - Friday 28th January - Royal Opera House

Elton has done a few of these "smaller" shows recently - Obviously the one I went to at the Roundhouse last year, but also the Union Chapel in Islington. This one at the Royal Opera House was a benefit for the Royal Society of Music (Elton is a patron) and featured percussionist Ray Cooper who I hadn't seen for years. Not being able to afford the 4 figure stalls seats (!) we were really "up in the gods". And - huge mistake - picked the wrong side of the venue, meaning we couldn't actually see Elton as he played the Piano!

I'm not going to go into too much depth, but it was pleasant enough, but some of the lesser known numbers weren't up-tempo enough for my liking. Ray Cooper was his normal excellent self (and from our distance still looked the same as 20 years ago) - and he provided the most amusing moment when he "forgot" to bang the massive gong which had taken hours to set up!).

Note quite enought to hold my full attention for the 2 hr show though. Mental note to self - "Go to see Elton when he has the full band"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Apart From Rod - Wednesday 26th January - Half Moon, Putney

Another trip to Putney and an enjoyable evening of Rod Stewart's early hits played by the original touring band from the era. Had a nice chat with Jim Cregan afterwards who seemed a very pleasant chap. Also spotted Queen backing vocalist Zoe Nicolas enjoying the show at the front, although she turned down Robert Hart's offer of a duet for "Stay With Me".

Friday, January 14, 2011

Killing Cancer Concert - Thursday 13th January - Hammersmith Apollo

When tickets went on sale for this, my immediate thoughts were:
  1. Got to go to that. 2 of my all-time favourite artists (The Who & Bryan Adams) plus 2 others I like (Debbie Harry and Jeff Beck).
  2. It's at the best venue in London - yippie
  3. It's on a Thursday night and I'm free
  4. It's for a good cause
  5. And .... it's how much !!!?
The last issue was likely to cause concern as Richard and I thought we couldn't justify £132 for a ticket. This was luckily resolved by Rich managing to acquire a pair of "bargain" £49.50 standing tickets (back of the stalls) the nano-second they went on sale.

So we got in quite early to nab a standing sopt and were quite please with the view, standing about 4 feet from people who had paid considerably more for the luxury of a seat. The early entry to the venue managed to confuse me enough that I knocked a substantial amount of beer out of the hand of a fellow punter as I swung 'round to talk to someone. Cue a trip to the bar to buy him a replacement!

Anyway - the show. Due to start at 7:30, it kicks off at 7:45 with an intro from Harvey Goldsmith. After that and a few videos it's time for some music. I've never been a fan of Richard Ashcroft and the 4 acoustic numbers he performed here were never likely to change my mind. Competent, but forgettable.

Roger Daltrey and band then appeared for a couple of obscure Blues numbers. Now I would happily watch Roger perform any stuff he wanted, but a full set of this style would be a bit challenging. Still, 2 songs worth was fine and a bit different.

We'd speculated on the acoustic numbers Bryan Adams would play on the back of his recent "Bare Bones" tour and he opted for a few old favourites like Cuts Like A Knife and Straight From The Heart as opposed to maybe more obvious hits. Still, after a quiet start, the audience seemed to like him. He also invited a beneficiary of the charity (who's name he mixed up with the Teenage Cancer Trust (!)) to come and duet on "When You're Gone" which was a nice touch.

Then an interval followed by Jeff Beck. Mr Beck was on fine form. Backed by the rest of the Who's band (ie no Daltry or Townshend), the highlight for me was an excellent "A Day In The Life". Then Debbie Harry pops up for Heart of Glass and Call Me which I bet Mr Beck has never played before. Still, this was excellent and Debbie was in good voice. After another Blondie number it was time for the main event - The Who.

This is who nearly everyone had come to see and a storming trio of numbers kicked things off - Townshend on great form and Daltrey's voice strong.

Sadly as Won't Get Fooled again ended, off went Townshend and we got some more blues from Daltrey and Beck.

The Ensemble all re-appeared (minus Ashcroft) for a lengthy "Join Together" with Daltrey and Adams swapping lead vocals. And then off they went. H'mm wait a minute - it's only 10:25 (ticket said 11pm curfew). As the crowd yelled for more, Harvey came back, said goodnight and the house lights came up. Now don't get me wrong, the show was really good, but if you are paying £130 as many did, is it not reasonable to expect more than 21 songs over 2.5 hrs? Or at least more than 4 from the Headliners?

If I'm being unfair there and Townshend's hearing problems were shortening things, then 1 or 2 more songs from each of Ashcroft, Adams, Harry & Beck would have spun things out to an acceptable degree. So, despite a feeling of being sold slightly short, the excellence of what we did see outweighed the negatives.

Let's hope for a full Who show sometime soon.

Setlist
Richard Ashcroft
Sonnet
Space And Time
Lucky Man
History

Roger Daltrey
Freedom Ride
Gimme A Stone

Bryan Adams
Run To You
Cuts Like A Knife
When You’re Gone (Duet)
Straight From The Heart

Jeff Beck
Beck's Bolero
Hammerhead
A Day In The Life

Jeff Beck & Debbie Harry
Heart of Glass
Call Me

Debbie Harry
One Way Or Another

Who
Baba O’Riley
Who Are You
Won’t Get Fooled Again

Roger Daltrey & Jeff Beck
I’m A Man (Mannish Boy)

Ensemble
Join Together

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Best & Worst 2010

Happy New Year to all.

Here's my annual look back over the year from a "best of" and "worst of" perspective of the 31 gigs seen during 2010 (ironically - exactly the same number as last year!)

Best Gigs 2010

1: Belinda Carlisle - Jazz Cafe
Forget the fact that this was "acoustic", this was Ms Carlisle at her most enchanting.

2: Francis Rossi - Her Majesty's Theatre
Unexpectedly good!

3=: Bachman & Turner - Relentless Garage
3=: Cheap Trick - Shepherd's Bush Empire
Always good when acts who you don't know that well put on a great show!

Most Disappointing Gigs 2010

1: Band of Skulls - Electric Ballroom
I wasn't expecting much and I didn't get it!

2: Leon Russell - Jazz Cafe
Sound problems on the vocals made this much anticipated show a bit of a let down.

3: Sheryl Crow - Borderline
Could have been so much better!

"honourable mention" to "Plan B" for the worst performance of this year (or pretty much any other) when guesting with Elton John. I still can't quite deascribe how painful it was!


Best Venue 2010

1: Forum, Kentish Town.
2: Borderline

No gigs at the Hammersmith Apollo robs it of its normal top spot!


Worst Venue 2010

1: Roundhouse
(I know it's iconic, but a few more toilets and a chance of getting to an outside bar surely isn't too much to ask!)

Interesting that I have managed to avoid the O2, Wembley and Hammersmith for the whole of 2010. Can't remember the last time that would have happened. Must be the cost of the shows there!


Good in 2010

1: Less and and less drunks at gigs. Mind you with the bar prices as they are that's no surprise.
2: Local Bands. Great shows (and good value) from the likes of "The Mods", "Apart from Rod" etc.


Bad In 2010

1: Prices. Surely there will be a point where more people say "no thanks".
2: Merchandise quality just isn't tempting enough still for most artists.

Have a great 2011!