Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Answer - Wednesday 29th July - Borderline

The Answer - what to make of them? If you look back at the entries I've made over the years of this blog, you'll get the impression I don't know if they are a great band who are on my essential "to see" list each tour or frustrating in that I can take or leave them. This show unfortunately veered towards the latter for me.

The band have "downsized" for this show to the intimate Borderline - usually one of my favourite venues, but unpleasantly crowded on the floor here. Predictably loud, this could have been a great show - with the ingredients of great vocalist, excellent lead guitar and fine musicianship all round. So why wasn't it? Setlist and songs.

I'm the first to admit I am a casual fan - owning most of their albums, but not all. I also don't know all the songs. However, I would have expected to know at least a few of these. In fact it wasn't until the very end that we got something even close to what would be on anything I'd call their "best of". And the reason for that is the songs. They are almost all forgettable to my ears. I probably have many on CD, but couldn't tell you without looking up the titles. I've said it before, it's a real shame for a band this talented.

Sadly an excellent "Under The Sky" and Cormacs's earlier efforts to rouse the crowd with a bit of wandering could not salvage the evening for me.

I Am What I Am
Demon Eyes
Gone Too Long
Long Live the Renegades
Last Days of Summer
Strange Kinda' Nothing
New Horizon
Raise a Little Hell
Nowhere Freeway
Under the Sky

Sunday, July 26, 2015

T'Pau - Saturday 25th July - Jazz Cafe

Carol Decker
A few weeks on from the acoustic show, here's the full T'Pau show - a rearranged affair at London's Jazz Cafe.

The band were in "rock" mode tonight and a lively (but brief) set appeared to be enjoyed by all present. I do think for £26, the crowd can expect to see a bit more than just over an hour of headline act though. Still, quality beats quantity and this was possible the best of the T'Pau shows I've seen over the last couple of years. Carol's vocals were spot on and the band seemed very up for it this evening.

Picking the best of the new "Pleasure and Pain" album alongside the classics from "Bridge of Spies" plus a view highlights from other albums presented a good mix and I'm very much looking forward to the 2016 tour.

Thank You For Goodbye
Secret Garden
Monkey House
I Will Be With You
Read My Mind
Say You Will
Running Away / Sex Talk
Bridge Of Spies
Heart & Soul
China In Your Hand

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Roxette - Monday 13th July - O2 Arena

A welcome return to the UK for Swedish hitmakers Roxette. The lower half of the O2 Arena was packed (good to see for a Monday night) and we had managed to nab half-decent seats in the 4th Row.

The show started with the slightly dis-concerning sight of Marie Fredriksson being led to her seat on stage, clearly walking with difficulty. Obviously, she has overcome a major illness over recent years and it is fair to say she was shown a lot of love from the crowd. Marie remained seated for the whole show, whilst partner-in-crime Per Gessle took on the more active roles in running around the stage, encouraging the crowd plus amusing band intros.

Vocally, Marie took a little while to hit top gear, but after a few songs the spine-tingling voice that gave us power ballads such as "It Must Have Been Love" & "Listen to Your Heart" was back to it's recognisable self. The musicians in the band were excellent too and some improvised AC/DC guitar licks plus a storming "God Save The Queen" added to the fun.

Per likes to throw plectrums into the crowd during most songs, although it was a shame that whoever was sitting centrally in row 10 must have got pretty much all of them - maybe we was aiming for someone specific!

It is listening to a set such as this you realise what great material Roxette have. I particularly enjoyed "Fading Like A Flower" and "Dangerous". The sing-a-long from the audience suggested I was not alone.

Sleeping in My Car
The Big L.
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush on You
She's Got Nothing On (But the Radio)
The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours in the Rain / Paint
Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed for Success / Dangerous
Joyride (with "God Save the Queen" intro)
Listen to Your Heart
The Look

Monday, July 06, 2015

Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia - Sunday 5th July - Royal Albert Hall

So, a bit more Who-related music, this time in the fine setting of the Royal Albert Hall and a box no less, courtesy of a kind colleague of Richard.

The classic Who rock piece has been given an orchestral makeover and score by Rachel Fuller, partner of composer Pete Townshend and was presented here in it's entirety with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Main vocals were supplied by Alfie Boe, ably assisted by Billy Idol, Phil Daniels and Mr Townshend himself, albeit only occasionally.

Now, I wasn't quite sure how this was going to be. On the album, Alfie Boe's vocals are quite a culture shock compared with the Roger Daltrey sound we know so well singing these songs and the mix seems to lack some of the music. Presented here though, it all sounded a better blend of sound and there is not doubt of Mr Boe's vocal talents.

An enthusiastic audience lapped it up - Billy Idol was in good voice and Pete Townshend looked very suave in his tux. We knew he only appeared for a handful of songs, but the crowd reaction when he did paid homage to the event and the material.

So a thumbs up from me - having played the album again at home, it's unlikely to get much of an airing compared to either the original or soundtrack versions, but a good night none the less.

I Am the Sea 
The Real Me
Cut My Hair 
The Punk and the Godfather 
I'm One 
The Dirty Jobs 
Helpless Dancer

Is It in My Head? 
I've Had Enough 
Sea and Sand 
Bell Boy 
Doctor Jimmy 
The Rock 
Love, Reign O'er Me 
The Real Me (with full cast)

Friday, July 03, 2015

T'Pau - Thursday 2nd July - Royal Vauxhall Tavern

T'Pau's first ever acoustic-only show. The venue was the Royal Vauxhall Tavern - one of London's premier gay venues. Maybe not unsurprisingly this was a venue I'd not been to previously - it's not your typical rock club. As 2 straight blokes, we were probably not the standard clientele, but staff were welcoming, bar was good and an excellent view of the stage obtained. Plus what can you say about a hall with 6 glitter balls! An enthusiastic audience lapped up Carol Decker's in between song chit chat - much of which seemed adapted for the venue!

Anyway, she was in good voice, the band on good form and the hour long set was great fun. A surprise cover of the Eagle's "Hotel California" was a highlight and the other songs worked well in a stripped down format.

Looking forward to the full electric show next month.

Secret Garden
Monkey House
Make Love To Me
I Will Be With You
Say You Will
Read My Mind
Demolition Man
Hotel California
Heart & Soul
China In Your Hand