Thursday, December 29, 2016

End of Year Reflections

Rick Parfitt - Brighton 2015
Normally at this time, I compile a list of best shows, venues of the year etc, but I'm not going to this year. 2016 has been the start of what I fear will become a trend as the years go by of the musicians I grew up with steadily passing away. I appreciate that is life as we know it, and whilst it is sad, it does give us a chance to reflect on the enjoyment we have had from seeing these great musicians. In the past 12 months, these artists that I have seen perform live are no longer with us:-

David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, Andy "Thunderclap" Newman, Leon Russell, Leonard Cohen, Dale "Buffin" Griffin, Steve Byrd, Scotty Moore, Rick Parfitt & George Michael

Probably the one that hit me most (although not entirely unexpected) was Rick Parfitt on Christmas Eve. You do grow a certain attachment for a guy you've seen perform well over 100 times, met and have autographed photos on your wall.

Rest In Peace all.

Sadly, there will be more in 2017, so enjoy them while you can folks. I've been to 37 shows this year - one less than the last two years, but the vast majority have been really enjoyable - both the big arena shows and the small clubs. My bank balance may have taken a pounding, but there's no substitute for quality live music.

Here's wishing all readers of this blog a safe and enjoyable 2017.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Status Quo - Tuesday 14th December - Brighton Centre

More Quo - and more driving to Brighton due to another train strike. My last show of 2016 and support once again comes from REO Speedwagon (as on Sunday). They were OK again - they played their 3 hits - but boy, does the lead singer fancy himself! Everyone was made more than aware that he wrote the big hits! Still, as a support act, I'm glad I've seen them (twice!), but probably wouldn't choose to invest to see them as headliners.

A standing show meant a decent spot in the crowd for Quo, but a reasonable number of annoying people around (either barging to the front or in the case of one nearby - singing the entire setlist into the face of his mate whilst acting out the words in a sort of "I know the song, you don't" type of way. Watch the ****ing show and let your mate enjoy it!).

Show very similar to the O2 and very enjoyable again.

Setlist (REO Speedwagon)
Don't Let Him Go
Take It on the Run
Keep Pushin'
Can't Fight This Feeling
Son of a Poor Man
Time for Me to Fly
Back on the Road Again
Ridin' the Storm Out
Keep On Loving You
Roll With the Changes

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

Status Quo - Sunday 11th December - O2 Arena

Latest Quo entry takes Mrs B and I to the O2 Arena in Greenwich for the "Last Night of The Electrics". This was my first viewing of Richie Malone (standing in for Rick Parfitt following his most recent heart attack) and he acquitted himself well. Sadly, not many other changes had been made. Which doesn't mean it wasn't excellent (it normally is), it's just the age old complaint about the static set list - still, too late to change their ways now.

Francis Rossi was on good form - Rhino was better than expected on the vocal parts normally sung by Rick and it was all very enjoyable. The older man next to me had not taken my stance on refusing to pay £6.50 for a pint of Stella and was absolutely hammered. His attempts to video portions of the show on a phone he couldn't work meant accidentally calling many of the people in his contact list. By the end of the show he had 10 "missed" incoming calls and 12 text messages. The one I saw was asking if he was OK as he kept calling them. I was amazed he made it through the show - he certainly won't remember much of it.

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

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Magnum - Tuesday 6th December - Brighton Concorde 2

Thanks to the incompetence of Southern Rail and their inability to engage with their staff, we couldn't risk the train to Brighton on the basis we may not get home on a strike day (nice of Thameslink - same parent company - to cancel so many of their trains with no explanation too). That meant a drive to the south coast and a battle with the "pay online only" parking challenges around the Concorde 2 venue.

Magnum were on a second mini-leg to their recent tour (5 nights) and I enjoyed this more than the London show. Decent view and sound - with a small number of set changes to accommodate "Lonely Night" from the forthcoming ballads compilation. Despite slightly too much new material still, the band were on good form - Bob's vocals standing up well and Tony's guitar impressive as always. Harry, Mark and Al were provided the expected level of expertise behind them.

News in the car on the way home that our train had indeed been cancelled vindicated our decision to drive!

Setlist
Soldier of the Line
On a Storyteller's Night
Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies
Freedom Day
Dance of the Black Tattoo
Crazy Old Mothers
Blood Red Laughter
Your Dreams Won't Die
How Far Jerusalem
Unwritten Sacrifice
Twelve Men Wise and Just
Les Morts Dansant
All England's Eyes
Vigilante
Kingdom of Madness
+
Lonely Night
When the World Comes Down

[PS - 2 days later brings the shock news that keyboard maestro Mark Stanway has quit the band. Reasons not clear, although it appears that there must have been a massive falling out to leave after 36 years with 3 dates only to go. In which case that is a real shame]

Sunday, December 04, 2016

SAS Band - Saturday 3rd December - Guildford G Live

Spike Edney's SAS Band return for their annual Christmas knees up. With guests Tom Robinson, Midge Ure, Toyah Wilcox, Madeline Bell and Patti Russo, this fitted into the standard show - classic rock covers played by exceptional musicians. Only slight dispointment was - like  last time around - the "other special guests" didn't materialise. Still, those we had were good - the version of "2,4,6,8" was possibly the best I've heard. For me, Midge Ure stole the show with the trio of "Vienna", "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" and "The Boys Are Back In Town". Toyah and Jamie Moses did a decent version of Fairytale of New York and there were nice musical tributes to David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.

It was good, and I enjoyed it, but the amount of spare room in the standing area was possibly a reflection of the high ticket cost and the familiarity of the guests.

Setlist anyone?