Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cregan & Co - Tuesday 30th December - Boom Boom Club, Sutton

So, 2014 comes to an end with an enjoyable evening with Jim Cregan and his excellent band. A packed Boom Boom club the day before New Year's Eve witnessed 2 hours of mainly Road Stewart material (with Ben Mills on vocals) as well as a couple of other snippets from Jim's career with Family and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel.

As is often the case there were some amusing anecdotes from Jim and it's nice that he still plays the actual guitars that many of these classic songs were recorded on. Go and see them during 2015 if you can.

2014 has personally been a good year for gigs, this one being my 38th of the year (probably highest total for 10 years or so) and there have been very few (if any) duds amongst them. Highlights included the classic Quo lineup "final ever" shows at Hammersmith, Ian Hunter at Brighton and the Bryan Adams London shows.

Here's wishing all readers a very happy and prosperous 2015.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Status Quo - Saturday 20th December - Brighton Centre

The next blog entry should have been "The Who" last Wednesday, but that is postponed until March next year due to Roger Daltrey's throat condition.

So, instead it a "traditional" trip to Brighton for a bit of Quo. The afternoon was spend on a darts session (luckily of high enough standard to impress a group of lads on the "shared-space" pool table).

The evening was at the sold-out Brighton Centre for the last night of the 2014 tour. The evening started with a mixed set from Chas 'n' Dave. They bravely did some new material as well as many of their old favourites. All good fun, but for me they are at their best in a smaller venue with a lively crowd joining in. The arena setting just didn't feel right.

Quo came on around 8:45 and very good they were too, despite the fairly predictable setlist (I'm not going to bother moaning about the lack of change or "Blue Eyed Lady" being dropped from the start of the tour) and more surprisingly a new guitar for Francis Rossi. Turns out his classic green Telecaster has nearly given up the ghost and can barely be played due to it's condition. I'm not quite sure why he hasn't purchased / been given one that looks the same as he is so identified with it - surely Fender would make one for him!

Still, the new guitar sounded fine and the band were all on good form. Rick sounded better vocally than recently and after his latest health scares is hopefully off the fags and booze and fighting fit. Even the normally dodgy "Burning Bridges" sounded OK here with Rossi playing the lick alongside the keyboards.

Despite what the detractors may say, "current Quo" still pack a punch and give the audience what they want (missed the obvious "Whatever You Want" reference there!).

Setlist (Chas 'n' Dave)
Gertcha
I Wonder in Whose Arms
London Girls
Margate
That Old Piano
(Unknown)
The Shape I'm In
My Blue Heaven
(Unknown)
When Two Worlds Collide
Diddle Um Song (Diddle Umma Day)
Rabbit
+
Ain't No Pleasing You
The Sideboard Song (Got My Beer In The Sideboard Here)

Setlist (Status Quo)
Caroline
Something 'bout You Baby I Like
Rain
Paper Plane
Little Lady
Hold You Back
Beginning of the End
What You're Proposing / Down the Dustpipe / Wild Side of Life / Railroad
Big Fat Mama
The Oriental
Creepin' Up on You
Oh Baby
In the Army Now
Drum Solo
Roll Over Lay Down
Down Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over the World
+
Burning Bridges (On and Off and on Again)
Rock 'n' Roll Music / Bye Bye Johnny

Monday, December 08, 2014

Mick Ralphs Blues Band - Sunday 7th December - Dingwalls, Camden

A four band bill, a Sunday night and early finish on the tube. H'mmm - Monday booked off work as contingency. Apparently, not many others took that option and chose to stay away as Dingwalls was sparsely populated in the extreme. It being a Sunday night aside, I do not know why as, for once, all the bands looked to provide something to the bill if this is the style of music you like.

We caught the end of the openers and they sounded more than competent. The Western Sizzlers were next - this is the first time we'd seen Rick Richards outside of the Georgia Satellites and they produced a solid set based around their new album "For Ol' Times Sake..." (purchased on the night) which includes a nice cover of Quo's "Break The Rules" and a very Quo-esq "One More Beer" (think "Wild Side of Life"). As I found out later via a brief chat, singer and songwriter Kevin is a massive Quo fan (I jokingly pointed out that his 100+ times of seeing them was "lightweight", but I think he won the argument by saying that the vast majority of those were "proper Quo" with the pre '85 lineup!).

Warner E. Hodges was up next. Keen readers may work out that I'd seen him twice recently already via his involvement in Dan Baird & Homemade Sin, but I'd never seen him on his own before. I didn't know most of the songs, but he was really good as expected. A very heavy impromptu encore of "Country Roads" bought about a bit of a sing-a-long - excellent stuff. He was as gracious as always afterwards posing for photos and a chat.

Top of the Bill was Mick Ralphs with his Blues Band. They have changed their vocalist since we saw them last. I've no idea why, but there was something about the previous singer I didn't quite take to. Only a perception - but he gave off the impression he thought we were lucky to be able to hear him sing (he was good, but...!). As I say, only a perception from distance, he may well be a top bloke.

The new guy seemed much more personable, but as a result the material played was a bit different. To be fair, I didn't know much of it. Predictably "Can't Get Enough" was thrown in (can't really argue with that to be honest) and Mick's guitar playing was really good and the rest of the band too. Mick also was happy to have photo's afterwards - a true gent.

All in all, a long day (we'd had a long darts session in the afternoon), but a good one.

Setlists anyone please?


Sunday, December 07, 2014

SAS Band - Saturday 6th December - Guildford G-Live

At last years SAS Band Christmas show, Spike had hinted at a 20th anniversary tour  featuring "as many guests that have worked with us over the years that we can get". Possibly due to the 2014 Queen tour, that had been scaled back to a warm-up in Southampton and this show back at Guildford.

So it was with that expectation that we'd probably see loads of names with a high percentage chance of the remaining Queen members turning up for some pre-holiday fun.

Things started off with band stalwart Chris Thompson being joined by original bassist Neil Murray and the regulars Johnny Marter. Jamie Moses and, of course, Spike Edney. Other regulars followed - Mick Wilson (10cc), Patti Russo, Madeline Bell and Paul Young. The Fabba Girls did their standard bit in the middle too and there was the always fun "29 Riffs".

The 2 highlights for me where the 2 artists I'd not seen with the SAS Band before - Tom Robinson and Mel C. Tom included (in his words) "A medley of my greatest hit" - the classic "2 4 6 8 Motorway" and an entertaining story and sing-a-long- "Glad To be Gay". Mel C showed that she is the Spice Girl who can sing and her version of "River Deep, Mountain High" especially was excellent.

Errr.. and that was it, guest-wise. Which, unfortunately left it feeling a bit of a downer. Don't get me wrong, the band always deliver a solid (and fun) performance - and you should go if you've never seen them, but this was an expensive ticket and billed as a special anniversary rather than a regular show. Maybe we've just been spoiled before.

Setlist
Davy's On The Road Again (with Chris Thompson)
Blinded by the Light (with Chris Thompson)
Happy (with Mick Wilson)
Bring Me a Bible and a Beer (with Patti Russo)
Radar Love (with Patti Russo)
Come Back and Stay (with Paul Young)
Cold Sweat (with Paul Young)
The Power of Love (with Madeline Bell)
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted (with Madeline Bell)
Listen to the Radio (with Tom Robinson)
I Predict a Riot (with Tom Robinson)
2-4-6-8 Motorway (with Tom Robinson)
(Sing If You're) Glad to Be Gay (with Tom Robinson)
Mamma Mia (Fabba Girls)
Dancing Queen (Fabba Girls)
29 Riffs (SAS Band)
Don't Stop Me Now (with Me C)
I Wish (with Mel C)
I Turn to You (with Mel C)
River Deep, Mountain High (with Mel C)
Everyday Hurts 
Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) (with Chris Thompson)
+
[unknown]
Oh Happy Day (ensemble)
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (ensemble)
Do They Know It's Christmas? (ensemble)
You're the Voice (ensemble)


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin - Wednesday 3rd December - St Pancras Old Church

So, this is the year of the acoustic shows. I've seen Bryan Adams and Status Quo recently "unplugged", but there's probably none more surprising to see in this format than Dan Baird & Homemade Sin, playing their first ever acoustic concert.

The setting is the St Pancras Old Church - a real operating church with a seated capacity of 110!

We got there early before the doors opened and were able to grab a front row seat on surprisingly low church chairs. The evening was to be split into 2 sets (to allow an interval to use the outside portaloos!) and gather drinks from the "refreshment table".

The sound was good, although maybe the drums had a bit of an echo - it must be a nightmare being the sound guy somewhere like this. The material was obviously carefully chosen to match the instrumentation (guitars borrowed from Ian Hunter apparently), although there were a number where Warner E. Hodges swapped to an electric telecaster. His playing was exemplary as normal, as was the rest of the band, although they all fell about on the odd occasion there was a mistake. You got a true sense of the band enjoying playing together.

The second half got off to an emotional start as Dan had just received word that Faces musician and friend Ian McLagan had died in the US, one day after another friend, Bobby Keys. A solo version of "Another Chance" was a fitting tribute.

The rest of the set was really enjoyable. If you were ultra-picky, you could say that a couple of songs were a bit too long and others could have been added if they'd been shorter, but I didn't see any faces who didn't seem to have really enjoyed the evening. Dan and Warner were kind enough to sign CDs and setlists at the end too. Top guys one and all.

Setlist
Myth of Love
Little Darlin
Crooked Smile
Trivial As The Truth
Love And Rockets (Mauro on vocals, Dan on Drums!)
Knocked Up
Runnin' Outta Time
Younger Face
Thousand Little Pieces
Six Years Gone
+
Another Chance (Dan solo)
Golden Light
Two For Tuesday
Sweet Blue Midnight
Hell To Pay
Long Way Down
Hard Luck Boy
Lazy Monday
Julie & Lucky
Damn Thing To Be Done / Goin' Down The Road

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Graham Bonnet - Monday 1st December - O2 Academy 2, Islington

A return trip for me to Graham Bonnet and a new venue! The O2 Academy TWO! I'd only been in "one" previously.

So, I'm going to start with a moan. It's a Monday night. Why have 2 support acts on? Why have the headliner not come on until 10pm? Why only play for an hour? If you are playing for an hour, why include a cover and a ****ing drum solo? Why have to cut songs out of your set to accommodate the above?

Rant over. I'm probably just upset I didn't get to hear "Night Games". What we heard was good. We even got a 2nd Rainbow singer as Doogie White guested on "Since You Been Gone". It just could and should have been so much better (and longer).

Setlist
All Night Long 
Love's No Friend 
Makin' Love 
Bad Girl 
Always Be There 
Eight Days a Week 
The Witchwood 
Mirror Lies 
Seven Deadly Sins (Drum and guitar solos)
Since You Been Gone (With Doogie White)
+
Lost in Hollywood

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin - Friday 28th November - Bush Hall

Warner E Hodges, Dan Baird & Mauro Magellan
Dan and the boys return to the UK and play their first ever show at Bush Hall in Shepherds Bush. This comes in under the heading of "intimate", but as the band point out, it's nice to play London without being in a basement!

The show is as you've come to expect from Homemade Sin - excellent. Sound was good (and loud) - in fact I was a bit deaf the next morning and it was nice to hear "Mon Cheri" back in the set. I had been hoping to hear a bit of Baba O'Riley in "Two For Tuesday", but we got "Proud Mary" instead which was fine. Lots of tracks from the last album "Circus Life" which is growing on me after a slow start.

I purchased the signed vinyl version at the show - JCPL have produced a really nice item. Apparently limited to 200 copies - grab 'em while you can!

Unfortunately, I can't find a setlist anywhere, so please post if you know what was played and when!
[updated - thanks very much to Humbug66 for the setlist]

Looking forward to "the Church" next week for the acoustic show!

Setlist
Hard Luck Boy 
Fall Apart On Me
Crooked Smile
Mon Cheri 
Little Darlin'
Hell To Pay
Two For Tuesday (including Proud Mary)
Worse For The Wear And Tear 
I Dunno
Sweet Blue Midnight 
Damn Thing To Be Done
Julie & Lucky
I Love You Period 
Outlivin' 
Railroad Steel (including Route 66)
Lazy Monday
The Myth Of Love
Mess With My Cranium Girl [Warner vocals]
Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Sheila (including Do You Wanna Dance)
+
Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) 
Don't Pass Me By [Warner vocals]

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bryan Adams - Wednesday 26th November - Wembley Arena

So it turns out Wembley is now called the SSE arena. I'm not old enough to call it the "Wembley Empire Pool", so I'm sticking to "Wembley Arena" where Mr Adams was making his 27th appearance (or so he told the crowd). I'll need to work out how many of those I've been at - must be 20 odd I'd guess. We had pretty average seats (Block B, row 9) - and I was feeling decidedly less than 100%, but that didn't really matter as Bryan delivered another strong show. Very similar to Saturday, but a different "bonus", a first hearing (for me) of "The Boys Night Out" which did leave a large portion of the crowd slightly bewildered. The rest of the show followed the pattern of the other recent shows on the tour.

A charity donor had paid £10,000 to perform and did a great job on "When You're Gone".

Bryan encouraged those of us further back to move forward for the encore which we did (Wembley security weren't really keen on this idea in the middle of the arena though!)

All great stuff - roll on show 28 as soon as possible!

Setlist
Reckless
One Night Love Affair
She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'
Run to You
Heaven
The Boys Night Out
Kids Wanna Rock
It's Only Love
Long Gone
Somebody
Ain't Gonna Cry
Summer of '69
Let Me Down Easy 
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You
If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
Cuts Like a Knife
Can't Stop This Thing We Started
Please Forgive Me
When You're Gone [Acoustic with Lesley Kirkland]
18 til I Die
Cloud #9
The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
+
You've Been a Friend to Me
C'mon Everybody 
She Knows Me [Acoustic]
Straight from the Heart [Acoustic]
All for Love [Acoustic]

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bryan Adams - Saturday 22nd November - O2 Arena

More Bryan Adams. This time a full band show at the sold out O2, celebrating 30 years since the release of "Reckless" - the classic 1984 album, and probably my favourite record of all time.

So you won't be surprised to hear that this did not disappoint. We got 2 hours plus of classic rock, the first time I'd ever heard the songs  "Reckless" (not on the original album!), Ain't Gonna Cry and "Let Me Down Easy" played, plus a first (and so far, only) play of "Too Hot To Handle".

Bryan was amusing with his comments between songs and seemed to be having a ball. Looking forward to Wednesday for a repeat at Wembley.


Setlist
Reckless
One Night Love Affair
She's Only Happy When She's Dancin'
Run To You
Heaven [with Jim Vallance]
Kids Wanna Rock
It's Only Love
Long Gone
Somebody
Ain't Gonna Cry
Summer Of '69
Let Me Down Easy [Acoustic]
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You
If Ya Wanna Be Bad Ya Gotta Be Good
Cuts Like A Knife
Can't Stop This Thing We Started
Please Forgive Me
When You're Gone [Acoustic]
18 Til I Die
Cloud #9
The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
+
Too Hot To Handle
You've Been a Friend to Me
C'mon Everybody 
She Knows Me [Acoustic]
Straight From The Heart [Acoustic]
All For Love [Acoustic]


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Joanne Shaw Taylor - Wednesday 19th November - Shepherd's Bush Empire

I'd never actually heard of Joanne up until a few months ago and had booked to see this show on the strength of seeing Bernie Marsden. Throw in the fact that it was a good value ticket and we nabbed front row seats and it was looking like an enjoyable evening. I was also feeling relatively young in an audience of primarily middle aged gentlemen.

Bernie came on first and slightly surprisingly most of his set was acoustic. None the worse for it, both vocals and guitar were excellent. The finale "Here I Go Again" featured lines from both the 1987 remake and the original, which was nice.

Joanne was on shortly afterwards. And wow! What a great evening of blues rock. I was expecting at least one more guitarist in the band, but clearly this wasn't needed. Some of her solos (split between a Gibson Les Paul and Fender Telecaster) were fantastic and the songs very listenable to. Vocally, Joanne seems to sound a bit like Tina Turner in the "Steamy Windows" vein, and sometime the words weren't 100% clear, but that was a minor niggle. She's only in her mid twenties, so a long career seems likely. A highlight was when Bernie reappeared for "Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues".

The evening concluded with the title track from her new album "The Dirty Truth". I shall certainly be purchasing some CDs and looking out for tickets the next time Joanne tours.

Setlists

Bernie Marsden
Lie On The Track
Wedding Day
Till the Day I Die
Who Do We Think We Are?
Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City
Ain't Gonna Cry No More
Dragonfly
Here I Go Again

Joanne Shaw Taylor
Mud Honey
Just Another Word
Watch 'em Burn
Jealousy
Jump That Train
Diamonds In The Dirt
Wrecking Ball
Tried, Tested & True
Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues [with Bernie Marsden]
Let It Burn [with Bernie Marsden]
Tied & Bound
Going Home
+
The Dirty Truth


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Evening of Who Music - Tuesday 11th November - Shepherd's Bush Empire

This show, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, featured the Who's current touring band (including Zak Starkey, Pino Palladino, Simon Townshend & Billy Nicholls) and a host of guest vocalists. Hosted by Chris Evans, the event has been described as the a stars karaoke evening, but it turned out to be more than that with some excellent vocal performances, a moving charity film and some hilarious moments from Johnny Vegas and Rich Hall adding to some fine musicianship from one of the World's top bands. Oh, and Roger Daltrey sang at the end too!

Sadly there was no Pete Townshend. "I think Pete would rather do anything rather than have his songs played back to him by others" quipped Roger at the start of the evening. there then proceed to be a number of acts who I'd heard of, but not seen. Most surprisingly good were Rizzle Kicks, who's rap inspired version of "Who Are You" worked fantastically. I bet it was the most atypical audience they'd ever played to! Rich "I'm so far out of my depth here" Hall rasped his away through You Better You Bet, claiming it has the song "that had got be barred from karaoke bards across North America". Johnny Vegas sang some of Dr Jimmy and The Real Me acapella with the crowd, saying that the Quadrophenia album "saved his life".

Ricky Wilson was good, albeit with song sheets. Sheila Ferguson forgot the words to Acid Queen, which didn't really matter. Liam Gallagher snarled his way through a fine My Generation in a particularly dodgy looking mac and Eddie Vedder sounded better than I'd ever heard him before.

Roger Daltrey ended a fine evening with Substitute and an appropriate Young Man Blues. A very expensive evening, but a worthwhile one in every sense.

Setlist
I Can't Explain (with Andy Burrows)
The Kids Are Alright (with The Strypes)
Getting in Tune (with Tom Odell)
Behind Blue Eyes (with Amy Macdonald)
Who Are You (with Rizzle Kicks)
You Better You Bet (with Rich Hall)
5:15 (with Ricky Wilson)
Bell Boy (with Ricky Wilson)
Love, Reign O'er Me (with Joe Elliott)
The Acid Queen (with Sheila Ferguson)
The Seeker (with Geddy Lee)
Baba O'Riley (with Leslie Mendelson)
My Generation (with Liam Gallagher)
Naked Eye (with Eddie Vedder)
Won't Get Fooled Again (with Eddie Vedder)
See Me, Feel Me (with Eddie Vedder + ensemble)
+
Substitute (with Roger Daltrey)
Young Man Blues (with Roger Daltrey)

https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/




Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Paul Rodgers - Monday 3rd November - Royal Albert Hall

The sole UK appearance for Paul Rodgers this year is not in an industrial estate in Chichester, but the more impressive arena of the Royal Albert Hall. In aid of the same charity as last year, Paul has assembled the Memphis based backing band who played on this years "Royal Sessions" album - a collection of soul and blues songs from Paul's formative years.

Now, I would normally be very much in the "rock" camp when it comes to Paul's material, but to be fair, the guy can sing anything. Great vocals, excellent backing from the band and even "Can't Get Enough" & "The Hunter" thrown in for good measure.

A rule of thumb says never to leave a show until the house lights come up and the backing tapes start. Even if you followed that rule this time, you could well have missed the final song (a 2nd encore where at least 1/3 of the crowd had left!). this enabled us to get right down to the front amongst the others who had swapped the T shirt attire for a thick coat! If a DVD comes out, look for the crowd changes at the end!

I was touch and go whether to buy a ticket for this show due to the high cost and expected material, but I'm glad I did.

Setlist
Down Don't Bother Me 
Shake 
That's How Strong My Love Is 
Any Ole Way 
I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) 
I Can't Stand the Rain
It's Growing 
Champagne and Wine 
Walk In My Shadow 
I Thank You 
Born Under a Bad Sign 
The Hunter 
Can't Get Enough 
+
Walk On By 
Wonderful World 
I've Got Dreams to Remember 
+
Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Status Quo - Wednesday 22nd October - Roundhouse


So this is a bit different - Status Quo acoustic (or "Aquostic" if you go by their new album). A trip to the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm and he were not quite sure what to expect having not yet heard the album. Predictably, the "hardcore" on the Quo message boards had been ripping the concept to shreds without even hearing anything, but a full house turned up to watch a performance being beamed around the country on Radio 2 and the via BBC red button service.

The venue was pretty packed, so we settled for a spot under the moving camera arm - controversially on the right (but with no electric bass, this wasn't really going to be an issue!). And guess what? It was a really enjoyable evening. I think 99% of the people there seemed to enjoy it. Some songs worked really well - I particularly enjoyed "Na Na Na", "Reason for Living" & "Rolling Home" and to be fair some didn't - "Mystery Song/Little Lady" springs to mind!

As a one-off project I think it works. I can't see it being a sustainable change of direction - I can't see fans turning up show after show if Quo shy away from their high tempo electric shows (although an acoustic section in the main electric set could work). I would imagine sales of the album cover T-Shirts (with Francis and Rick semi-naked) would count as the lowest ever!

An 8 out of 10 for me as a unique event.

Setlist
And It's Better Now
Break the Rules
Again and Again
Paper Plane
Mystery Song / Little Lady
Rock 'n' Roll
Caroline
What You're Proposing
Softer Ride
Down Down
Pictures of Matchstick Men
Down The Dustpipe
All The Reasons
Reason For Living
Rollin' Home
Don't Drive My Car
Claudie
Rain
Marguerita Time
Na Na Na
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over the World
+
Rock 'til You Drop
Burning Bridges


Saturday, October 04, 2014

Ian Hunter - Friday 3rd October - Brighton Concorde 2

Every now and then something really special happens at a gig and you just can't put your finger on what. I've seen Ian Hunter a few times over the last decade and it's always been good. For a reason I can't pinpoint, this was extra special.

Was it the venue? (a first for me) and its intimacy? Was it the disregard for the other setlists from this tour? Was it the appreciative audience or the fine set of musicians on stage? Who knows, but this was a great show.
We had a decent spot towards the front on the left. Sound quality was excellent and this was really evident on fine versions of "Flowers", "Irene Wilde" and "23a Swan Hill". Ian told a brief story about Lynsey De Paul (who sadly died this week) and how she came up with the "Ariel Bender" name - originally applied to Mick Ralphs!

And for the first time in seemingly ages, I got to hear "All The Young Dudes" without Joe Elliot singing on it! All in all, a truly inspiring evening.

Setlist anyone please?


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bryan Adams - Wednesday 10th September - Brighton Centre

No shows in August means it's been a while since the last updates. This was the first of 3 anticipated trips to see Mr Adams this year - this one an acoustic outing as part of his long-standing "Bare Bones" tour. I'd found out earlier in the week that some friends of ours were going too, so we met in a pub in the Laines. Unbelievably, it turned out that they had 2 row G tickets right next to our 2. Bizarre coincidence!

The show was good. the only downside was the number of ballads played - but I guess that's always likely with an acoustic show. The up-tempo numbers were better received - Run To You, Summer of '69, When You're Gone etc together with the new song "She Knows Me". There were some amusing anecdotes between tunes too. It was a good evening, but I predict the full band shows coming up will be better!

Setlist

to follow...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Beach Boys - Thursday 17th July - Epsom Downs

Another day, another racecourse! And a band of comparable age to last night. The Beach Boys are of course one of the legendary US bands of all time. They do leave themselves open to the age old question of "how many original members do you need to still be called [whatever the name of the act is]". Well in this case they have vocalist Mike Love who at the age of 73 is still touring the World.

To be fair, there are at least a few family connections with other band members as well as a returning guitarist from a previous lineup. The essence of the group though is displayed throughout with the classic harmonies and the surf-style guitar sound that they so helped popularise.

With the left hand side of the stage blocked by what looked like a completely unnecessary fence, the crowd sometimes had to shuffle round to get a good view. The good news at this type of show though is you generally get a bit more standing room than if you were going to a multi-band festival. they are also child-friendly.

Also, when a band has had as many hits as The Beach Boys, you want to hear them. They didn't let us down here, with the shortness of the original songs lending itself to a 28 song set, peppered with classics. Fun, Fun, Fun all the way.

Setlist
Do It Again
Goin' to The Beach
Little Honda
Catch A Wave
Surfin' Safari
Surfer Girl
Why Do Fools Fall In Love 
When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)
Darlin'
Don't Worry Baby
Little Deuce Coupe
409
I Get Around
Sloop John B
Wouldn't It Be Nice
Then I Kissed Her
California Girls
Pisces Brother
God Only Knows
Good Vibrations
Cotton Fields 
Kokomo
Help Me, Rhonda
Do You Wanna Dance?
Barbara Ann
Surfin' U.S.A.
+
Wild Honey
Fun, Fun, Fun

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Status Quo - Wednesday 16th July - Sandown Park Racecourse

Many UK racecourses now do live music events, featuring and evening of Horse racing and a well known band. This one was quite close to home, but the first time I've seen any acts at Sandown Park.

As can be seen from the picture, the stage itself was quite large. What can't be seen is the huge sideways slope where the audience stands. In front of the left hand side of the stage must be several feet lower that the right hand side which makes standing a touch uncomfortable!

Still, after some success on the gee-gees (get in, "Needlessly Shouting"!), we took up a spot about 2/3 of the way back to the mixing desk. We had some Quo "first timers" with us who reported their enjoyment of the show later. For the Quo regulars amongst us, this was a decent performance, without being stunning. It's always a bit more difficult away from your own audience. Quo did their standard "festival set" (the same as at Download a month or two ago). It went down well, but it would have been nice if it was a bit louder! That seems to be the main issue with the race course shows - I think they have strict sound limits in place that aren't quite loud enough for an open air show.

From where we were standing the keyboards were far to high in the mix. This actually highlighted how good Andy Bown's playing is, but there is no disrespect in saying that when you come to see Quo, you want to hear guitars!

Setlist
Caroline
Paper Plane
Hold You Back
Rain
Rock 'n' Roll 'n' You
Beginning of The End
What You're Proposing / Down The Dustpipe / Wild Side of Life / Railroad / Again and Again
Big Fat Mama
The Oriental
Creepin' Up on You
In The Army Now
Roll Over Lay Down
Down Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over The World
+
Junior's Wailing
Rock and Roll Music / Bye Bye Johnny

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Snakecharmer - Friday 11th July - Islington Assembly Hall

Islington for the upteenth time this year and this time it is a break in the World Cup fixtures and Snakecharmer at the Assembly Hall. The band have moved on from playing a 90% Whitesnake set to more a half and half set combined with promoting their excellent debut CD. A sparce crowd of only a couple of hundred were here to see it. From what I remember seeing online and in the press, the promotion for the show was a bit lacking.

Those who stayed away missed a good night. Fantastic playing and excellent rock vocals. I particularly like "Accident Prone" (no, not the Quo single). There was even the predicted sing-a-long for "Here I Go Again" and "Fool For Your Loving".

I'd have loved to have bought the signed vinyl album, but £28 priced me just out of the market - especially as I have the CD. I suspect I wasn't alone as they weren't exactly selling like hot cakes.

Setlist
Guilty as Charged
A Little Rock & Roll
Ready an' Willing
Cover Me in You
Accident Prone
Falling Leaves
Walking in the Shadow of the Blues
My Angel
Moody's Blues
Slow an' Easy
Nothing to Lose
Here I Go Again
Take Me with You
+
Fool for Your Loving

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Woodedz - Tuesday 8th July - Grey Horse, Kingston

So after a gig-free June, a late announcement means it's 2 live shows on the bounce seeing Quo bassist John "Rhino" Edwards and Woodedz. On the night of the scarcely believable Brazil 1, Germany 7 World Cup Semi-Final, the band completed their 3 night "World Tour" with a headline show in Kingston.

The set turned out to be a bit longer than at Putney and as normal, the standard of musicianship was exceptionally high. Rhino, as I'm sure would be the first to admit, is not amongst the World's top vocalist and this was compounded tonight by what I assume was a severely sore throat. A new career as a 1930's bluesman beckons! Still, to be honest, that didn't really matter a jot as the smallish crowd of friends, family and fans lapped it up. Sounds like it may be the last show from the guys for a while - good luck to Max who is off to Germany to study. A new album is on the way though... allegedly!

Setlist
2 Way Traffic
Shame
Secretary
Dust to Gold
Don't Come Around Here
Republican
Obstruction Day
Belavista Man
Get Out of Denver
Jam Side Down
Bad News
Paper Plane
+
Jungle Love

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Woodedz - Tuesday 27th May - Half Moon, Putney

So, I’m spending quite a bit of time in Putney this year. Back to the Half Moon for a support slot from Quo’s bassman John “Rhino” Edwards and his family band – Woodedz. A small crowd witnessed a decent 40 minute set of Quo rarities and solo material. “The Republican” was dropped from the typed setlist – presumably due to time constraints. Not sure why they didn’t just come on earlier, especially as 90% of the crowd were here to see them. Indeed I felt slightly guilty walking out later on the main act “The Wild Things” (who weren’t bad, by any stretch) and leaving them with an audience numbering 7.

Highlights were surprisingly a heavyish version of “Jam Side Down” (yes, really!) – “for the hardcore” and a debut of “Dust To Gold”. Let’s hope we get a headline UK show from the Edwards clan soon.

Setlist
Two Way Traffic
Shame
Secretary
Dust To Gold
Bad News
Don’t Come Around Here
Jam Side Down
Belavista Man
Jungle Love

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Doro - Monday 19th May - Islington Academy

The Islington Academy is the venue for the return to London of “The Queen of Metal” Dorothee Pesch – aka Doro. Having enjoyed her previous outings over the last couple of years, Rich and I thought we’d pop along for a bit of German Metal. I still don’t know too many of the songs, but they are becoming more familiar. Ms Pesch’s “signature move” would appear to be bending forward, two arms outstretched , with a bit of headbanging to the crowd, some of whom respond in kind. It can look a little strange from the outside, but the breathless talks between songs shows Doro has a real affinity with her English audience. Tributes to Ronnie James Dio and a run through of Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law” mix in nicely, before the sing-along “All We Are”.

Glad to report that the merchandise was good value, including a nice “30 Year celebration” programme – all in German. Metaltastic!

Setlist
I Rule the Ruins
Earthshaker Rock
Burning the Witches
Fight for Rock
The Night of the Warlock
Raise Your Fist in the Air
Metal Racer
Without You
Metal Tango
Burn It Up
Egypt (The Chains Are On)
East Meets West
Für Immer
Out of Control
Drum Solo
Wacken Hymne (We are the Metalheads)
Revenge
Breaking the Law
All We Are
Love Me in Black
Unholy Love
Evil

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Belinda Carlisle - Saturday 17th May - IndigO2, London

Belinda Carlisle arrived in London as part of a small run of shows across the UK. Remarkably poor booking from me (not realising the downstairs stalls would be seated (most unusual for the IndigO2) meant we were up in the balcony. The view would have actually been fine in such an intimate venue, were it not for the handrails and glass walls which did impact the sightlines quite significantly. Still, comfortable seats with decent legroom and a near-private bar / lounge did ease our pain.

Ms Carlisle was on fine form. Her vocals were considerably better that the live set on her recent “Anthology” boxed set (which is otherwise excellent by the way). The band were also impressive. I don't know if they are Belinda’s regular touring band (does she play enough shows to have one?) or hired hands, but they certainly got to grips with the set, which from online reports had evolved over the week.

We even got a couple of fairly new songs – time will tell if they grow to stand alongside the more established singles from the 80’s and 90’s. An enthusiastic crowd lapped up every moment and it was nice to see so many younger faces in the crowd clearly enjoying the performance. Let’s hope she comes back soon as promised.

Setlist
Runaway Horses
(We Want) The Same Thing
Sun
I Get Weak
In Too Deep
California
Circle in the Sand
Valentine
Vision of You
La Luna
Summer Rain
Mad About You
(It's too Real) Big Scary Animal
Live Your Life Be Free
Leave a Light On
+
A Woman and a Man
Our Lips Are Sealed
Heaven Is a Place on Earth
+
Goodbye Just Go

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Johnny Warman's Magic Bus - Friday 16th May - Boom Boom Club, Sutton

Johnny Warman, back at the Boom Boom with his "Mods" replacement band - "Johnny Warman's Magic Bus". 2 hours of classic Mods v Rockers including a song from the 80's ! The Rolling Stones "Start Me Up". Good stuff, but not as much Who material as we'd expected.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Magnum - Sunday 4th May - Islington Assembly Hall

A new venue for Magnum - The Assembly Hall in Islington. As you know, I'm quite a fan of much of the band's recent output, but the new album - "Escape From the Shadow Garden" is a bit of a slow burner for me.

The fact the show featured quite a bit of new material made me a bit worried, but I shouldn't have. Bob's vocals were good, the band as excellent as ever and the crowd enthused. A minor criticism is that some songs were a bit over-extended, but you really can't go wrong with ta band of this quality.

Setlist
Live 'til You Die
Black Skies
Freedom Day
Dance of the Black Tattoo
Blood Red Laughter
Unwritten Sacrifice
How Far Jerusalem
Les Morts Dansants
Falling for the Big Plan
The Spirit
All My Bridges
All England's Eyes
Vigilante
Kingdom of Madness
+
Too Many Clowns
Sacred Hour



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quireboys - Wednesday 23rd April - Half Moon, Putney

Quireboys night 2. To be honest, I was hoping for a bit of a mix-up of the setlist. That said, it was good enough last night with few obvious omissions that maybe it was not surprising it followed the same pattern. Roses and Rings was excluded and I can't help thinking I missed something else from yesterday's list as this was 20 minutes shorter tonight. It was still good, but felt a bit rushed with little banter between songs. Perhaps the band wanted some time at the bar afterwards! Still if last night was a 9/10 event, this scored a solid 8.

If anyone can correct last night's set it would be appreciated!

Setlist
Black Mariah
Too Much of a Good Thing
Misled
There She Goes Again
Tramps and Thieves
Homewreckers and Heartbreakers
This Is Rock 'N' Roll
27 Years
I Don't Love You Anymore
Mona Lisa Smiled
Sweet Mary Ann
Beautiful Curse
Hey You
Mother Mary
Mayfair
7 O'Clock
+
I Love This Dirty Town
Sex Party

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quireboys - Tuesday 22nd April - Half Moon, Putney

So legend has it that 30 years ago this month, the Quireboys played their first official shows at the Half Moon in Putney. As Spike joked with the crowd, "I'd have been 12!". Not quite. The Quireboys though have been around a fair old while, dispensing top quality bar-room (and arena-filled) entertainment wince the mid 1980's (I first saw them in 1987 at the Reading Festival and was hooked thereafter). So, Putney was a great place to keep rock and roll alive with a couple of hundred fans over 2 nights. Back with a bassist and drummer (The Union's Dave McCluskey), this was the boys in full on electric mode. A full on set of nearly 2 hours compromised of the hits, the misses and the near things. In truth, there's barely a dud song amongst them, with the new material standing up well alongside the classics.

Spikes vocals were good and the twin guitars of Paul Guerin and Guy Griffin were superb. A great night had by all.

Setlist (Approx)
Black Mariah
Too Much of a Good Thing
Roses and Rings
Misled
There She Goes Again
Tramps and Thieves
Homewreckers and Heartbreakers
This Is Rock 'N' Roll
27 Years
I Don't Love You Anymore
Mona Lisa Smiled
Sweet Mary Ann
Beautiful Curse
Hey You
Mother Mary
Mayfair
7 O'Clock
Sex Party
+
I Love This Dirty Town

Monday, April 14, 2014

Foreigner - Sunday 13th April - Hammersmith Apollo

So, I just can't stay away from the Hammersmith Apollo at the moment (sorry Eventim, I'm not going to call it the Eventim Apollo - we all know it's really the Hammersmith Odeon [or Gaumont for the really pedantic out there!])

This time headlining are 2 bands I've not seen before - Foreigner and Europe.

First up are FM (who I have seen before). Having researched their setlist (and found nothing we knew!), we only turned up for the last few minutes of their brief set - but they sounded fine.

Taking our nice seats in row N (loads of legroom!), on came Europe. In a high tempo set, Joey Tempest made several references to the "Hammersmith Odeon", recounting seeing Thin Lizzy from the balcony when he was 16 years old.

The band were good and ended with a predictably rousing version of "The Final Countdown".

It wasn't long to wait for the headline act. Having treated myself to their "best of" CD a few weeks ago, I was prepared for a few more of the songs than I would have been. What my lack of knowledge of the band didn't give me was the fact there appeared to be no original members of Foreigner on stage for the first few songs!
We couldn't work out whether this was to allow Mick Jones an ovation when he appeared, or whether he's so sick of playing those first few numbers, he just wanted them out of the way before appearing!

Still, the show was good, whoever was playing. The band were a fair bit heavier and less MOR than I'd expected and the crowd reasonably enthusiastic. We could clearly have done without the keyboard and drum solos though.

The set appeared aimed at the casual fan with all the obvious hits, and for that it worked fine for me. There are probably hardcore Foreigner fans wanting them to "change the set".

So all in all a rarity - a multi act bill which worked well and provided decent value for money for what was on the face of it quite a high ticket price.

Oh, and the "Hammersmith O" is still London't best venue!

Setlists

FM
Tough Love
I Belong To The Night
Don't Stop
Closer To Heaven
That Girl
Crosstown Train
Burning My Heart Down

EUROPE
Riches To Rags
Firebox
Superstitious
Let The Good Times Rock
No Stone Unturned
Carrie
Scream of Anger
Sign of The Times
Cherokee
Rock The Night
+
The Final Countdown

FOREIGNER
Double Vision
Head Games
Cold As Ice
Waiting For A Girl Like You
Feels Like The First Time
That Was Yesterday
Dirty White Boy
Starrider
Urgent
Keyboard and Drum Solo
Juke Box Hero
+
Long, Long Way From Home
I Want To Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded