Friday, September 30, 2016

Simon Townshend - Friday 30th September - The Islington, Islington

Show 2 on this Friday night. Getting towards the front of the queue for autographs / photos earlier at the JST show meant we didn't have to rush too much to get across town to Islington and allowed time for a pint in the Camden Head. Quite bizarrely, there are now 2 pubs called "The Islington" within about 150 yards of each other and it turned out that the gig was in the second of those.

A nice, but small music room with easy access to the bar provided an excellent view, although was possibly undersized for the amplification from the band! Simon and the guys provided an excellent set with a fair bit of between song chatter. Phil Spalding was great on bass (I last saw him on guitar with Johnny Warman when I was deafened in Barnes!) and with Simon's son - Ben - on bass and Mike Wilton on lead guitar, this was a good quality outfit.

Probably because I've seen Simon a few times over the last year or 2, I recognised most of the songs (but didn't note the setlist). Perhaps the only disappointment was the lack of the classic "The Way It Is" and a sparser than deserved crowd, but otherwise an excellent second gig of the evening.

Back towards home in Ganley's (Morden), we finished the evening with a pint listening to a third act who may or may not have been called the DB5's playing some solid Mod & Rock hits of the 1960's.

Joanne Shaw Taylor - Friday 30th September - HMV Oxford St, London

JST @ HMV 363 *
The first of 2 shows tonight - this one a freebie upstairs at HMV's flagship store. Entry for around 300 people was secured by getting in early online for a ticket and purchasing Joanne's new CD/Vinyl "Wild" (which is rather good if you like bluesy rock).

A six song, 25 minute set was very enjoyable (although view not great due to low stage/ceiling and flat floor) and followed by a meet and greet where Jo signed the album and posed for photos. An excellent start to the evening's entertainment.

* credit: photo shown is from the official HMV Facebook Page.

Setlist
Dying To Know
Wicked Soul
No Reason To Stay
Wanna Be My Lover
Wild Is The Wind
Going Home

Monday, September 12, 2016

Elton John, Madness, Status Quo - Sunday 11th September - Hyde Park, London (Radio 2 Festival In a Day)

I'm sure I've mentioned in these pages before abut being "done" with Hyde Park and that I won't be going to any more shows there. Well, this turned out to be the show that broke that promise with the attraction of Status Quo (before they announced their warm-up last Friday) and the fact you don't really get to see Elton John for £45 these days anywhere!

And to be fair, with no "Golden Circle" and a reasonable capacity (55,000) we were able to turn up during Gregory Porter's set and get a good spot for Quo near the front. Madness were also quite good fun and we could even move forward further for Elton. I couldn't have coped with the full 11 hours, but it was a good afternoon.

After a tiring, but excellent, 3 gigs in 3 days, I think I'm due a rest.

Setlists

Gregory Porter (approximate)
Liquid Spirit
Take Me to the Alley
Don't Lose your Steam
Hey Laura
Musical Genocide
Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Status Quo (Acoustic)
Pictures of Matchstick Men
Paper Plane
Caroline
What You're Proposing
Claudie
That's a Fact
Hold You Back
Rollin' Home
Down Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over the World
Burning Bridges (On and Off and On Again)

Madness
One Step Beyond 
Embarrassment
The Prince
Life Has Just Begun
NW5
My Girl
Can't Touch Us Now
Wings of a Dove
Herbert
House of Fun
Baggy Trousers
Our House
Madness 
Night Boat to Cairo
Mr. Apples
It Must Be Love

Elton John
The Bitch Is Back
Bennie and the Jets
I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
Philadelphia Freedom
Looking Up
A Good Heart
Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
Tiny Dancer
Levon
Your Song
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
I'm Still Standing
Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
Crocodile Rock

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Billy Joel - Saturday 10th September - Wembley Stadium

My second Billy Joel show of the year and his only UK date. The vast Wembley Stadium is the venue and my first time on the pitch since it was reconstructed.

The hint of rain meant free ponchos were being given out - sadly plain and not event specific (!). Luckily though, a light drizzle for about one song was all we got. Billy had opted to have no support, so we timed our arrival just about perfectly.

I don't know who Billy's sound man is, but he or she somehow manages to get a fantastic mix whether in a smaller theatre like Hammersmith, a cavernous arena like MSG or a massive stadium like here. It helps to have a decent band to create that sound. And Billy certainly has that. His own voice is seemingly as good as ever and the between song chit-chat kept the crowd amused. I won by personal bet that we'd definitely get a Beatles song - in fact we got two. And we got his Roadie - Chainsaw - belting out AC/DCs "Highway To Hell" - with Billy on guitar.

All in all a long show - but a strict 10:30 curfew meant the encore was slightly rushed - "Big Shot" being a casualty (no problem with that in my book - not a favourite!). Probably my most expensive show of the year, but definitely one of the best.

Setlist
Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)
Prelude/Angry Young Man
Just the Way You Are 
The Entertainer
Zanzibar 
My Life [with "Rule Britannia" followed by "Ode to Joy"]
Vienna 
The Longest Time [with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"]
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
Leningrad 
Allentown
New York State of Mind
With a Little Help From My Friends 
Don't Ask Me Why
Sometimes a Fantasy
Highway to Hell [Sung by "Chainsaw", Billy Joel on guitar]
We Didn't Start the Fire
She's Always a Woman
Keeping the Faith
The River of Dreams / A Hard Day's Night
Nessun dorma [Mike DelGuidice on vocal, Billy Joel on piano]
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
Piano Man
+
Uptown Girl
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
Only the Good Die Young
You May Be Right [with "Rock and Roll"]

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Status Quo - Friday 9th September - Union Chapel

Acoustic Quo as a warm up for Sunday's Hyde Park show. Rick still not well enough to perform, so the "Aquostic" Quo are a man down. They've decided to stand for this one in the most intimate venue they've played for years. A good choice of up tempo numbers for a festival set seems a good choice and we get the bonus of hearing the "new" songs twice. It works - just.

Setlist
Pictures of Matchstick Men
Paper Plane
Caroline
What You're Proposing
Claudie
That's a Fact
Hold You Back
Rollin' Home
Down Down
Whatever You Want
Rockin' All Over the World
+
Burning Bridges
+
That's A Fact (repeat)
Hold Ya Back (repeat)