Archive for the Concerts Category

Announcements and News

Posted in Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2017 by 80smetalman

Famous deaths in 2016 weren’t just limited to rock stars, (looks like 2017 is heading in the same direction). I was also saddened to learn last night that my childhood hero who wasn’t a rock star also passed away in 2016. Ice hockey legend, (if you’re a fanatical Philadelphia Flyers fan like myself), Rick MacLeish passed away on May 30 last year from multiple complications, he was 66. Born in Lindsay, Canada in 1950, Rick was the first Flyer to score 50 goals in a season and scored the winning goal in Philadelphia’s first Stanley Cup victory. Even hearing about it ten months on, I am saddened to hear of his passing.

R.I.P Rick MacLeish

On a much happier but surprising note, I have to announce that I won’t be attending the Bloodstock Festival this summer. Other commitments have gotten in the way plus this year, I think the Download Festival in June has a line up more to my liking. I understand that for hardcore metal fans that this is an act of treason but I will definitely share my experiences from the Festival on here.

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: U2- Under a Blood Red Sky

Posted in Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Maybe U2 were trying to follow in the lead of Blackfoot in the sense that after three albums, release a live album. The difference here is that the three Blackfoot albums are all considered classics while the same can’t be said for the three U2 albums. Now don’t get me wrong, I like all three of these albums, “Boy,” “October” and “War.” However, the first two didn’t propel them to stardom the way “War” did. “Boy” turned my head in their direction but when I mentioned U2 to others, I mostly got blank stares. “October,” on the other hand, is U2’s best kept secret. Not a lot of people seem to know too much about the album but I’ve always liked it. “War” goes without saying, it made the band a worldwide name. It is on the back of “War” that the live “Under a Blood Red Sky” album was released.

When most people think of this live album, they automatically assume it’s from the filmed concert “U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky,” it’s not. The songs are live but recorded separately from concerts in Colorado, Boston and Germany. Furthermore, the filmed concert is nearly and hour and a half long while the album consists of just eight songs and is just over thirty-five minutes.

Ironically, the album starts with the best known song from the “October” album, “Gloria.” Probably a good opener as any for U2 at this stage of their career. What’s more, the next two songs are off the “Boy” album but then, “I Will Follow” is my all time favourite U2 song and it’s played very well. The crowd really get into it and if I had been there, I would have too. The fourth song, “Party Girl,” doesn’t appear on any of the albums but it’s still okay. Remember, back in 1983, U2 were still hungry and making their mark on the music world and all of the songs reflect that on the album.

It’s not until song five we get anything from the “War” album and that is the phenomenal “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” My second favourite U2 song and the way it’s played here is pure magic. Next is another good song from the debut album in the form of “The Electric Co.” For me, it’s played just as well live as when I hear it on the “Boy” album. Were there studio fixes here?  I can’t say. The last two songs from “War” take the album out brilliantly. First is the fantastic “New Year’s Day” and there is no better song for them to close a concert with than “40.” When I saw them in 1985, they would close the show with that song and it was mind blowing. I have to say that “Under a Blood Red Sky” takes me back to another time and almost seemingly another U2 because they were actually good but it hadn’t gone to their heads yet.

Track Listing:

  1. Gloria
  2. 11 O’Clock Tick Tock
  3. I Will Follow
  4. Party Girl
  5. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  6. The Electric Co
  7. New Year’s Day
  8. 40

U2

Bono- lead vocals, guitar

The Edge- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, bass on “40”

Adam Clayton- bass, guitar on “40”

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

“Under a Blood Red Sky” may not go down as one of the greatest live albums in history but it’s still a good album. Especially if you like U2 when they were more hungry and less with the ego.

Next post: Julian Lennon- Valotte

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

1984: The Golden Year of the Golden Decade

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

The 1980s was the golden decade of heavy metal but if there was any one year that stood out above all others in that decade, it was 1984. Why did this particular year stand out? Well let me answer this by quoting Dee Snider when I saw Twisted Sister in concert in the August of this year. “They’re even playing heavy metal on the radio.” I’m not sure if Dee used an expletive when he said it. He was known for using them quite liberally when he was on stage but I don’t recall him using it when he said that. I digress but he was right. Heavy metal did get played on the radio quite a lot in 1984 and even more so on MTV. That alone makes 1984 the golden year of heavy metal.

Twisted Sister come out and play, taken at Bloodstock 2016

Obviously not every metal band got airplay on radio or MTV but you might be surprised at some of the ones who did. They didn’t play any Slayer. That didn’t stop these bands from unleashing some kick ass albums onto our delicate ears. This is also the reason why I begin “Rock And Roll Children” in this same year. Warning, I will make even more references to the book in future posts. However, one can’t avoid the fact that there was so much great metal and some cool rock as well and I hope that my journey through the golden year will do the albums justice.

Next post: Van Halen- 1984

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Savatage- Sirens

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-savatage_sirens_original_cover

UK Version

UK Version

“Sirens,” the debut album from one of my favourite bands of all time, is probably the only album released in 1983, which I actually own on CD. All the others, are either on vinyl or cassette. Plus, my copy is the 2011 remaster which has three really good bonus tracks. The reason for this is that they didn’t come to my attention until I saw them live in support of Ted Nugent in 1986. I was impressed with their music although I have to admit at the time, Jon Oliva’s vocals that evening didn’t totally bowl me over. However, that was enough to check out their album at the time, “The Power of the Rock” and I liked it. For some reason, I never inquired of any records before that and while I bought all the subsequent albums, I didn’t realize they had albums preexisting Power. Curse me for a fool but now I’ve fully rectified that.

Let’s pretend for a moment, I did things properly and bought “Sirens” when I should have. I would have still been totally impressed with this album and the band and would have loved them from that point. If I heard this and their other three albums before I had seen them live, I would have simply assumed that Jon was having a off night and enjoyed their show that much more. That is because “Sirens” has all the qualities which have made me a mad ‘Tage follower.

One problem I have discovered from listening to a CD in the car is that driving distracts you from properly listening to the album. I have always liked it when I listened while driving but I often missed the intricate little details that Savatage put in their songs and only now that I am listening it in the house, do I fully appreciate how good it is. Every song on the track radiates classic Savatage from the almost mysterious opener, “Sirens,” to the closer, “Out in the Streets.” Each song has it’s own identity while reminding you who’s singing and playing the song. If I have to pick favourites, it has to be “Scream Murder,” which barely beats out the closer.

For all my lack of impression of Jon’s vocals when I saw ‘Tage that evening in July, 1986, he sounds fine on “Sirens.” Even that shriek he is more famous for on “Hall of the Mountain King” is done very nicely on the title track here. He sound even more mental (in a good way) on “Rage.” Therefore, while even the hardest Savatage fan, if that’s not me, knows that Jon’s vocal ability is limited, he does very well with what he has here. As for brother Criss, his best guitar solos are on the last two tracks, probably why they’re my favourite, he does some really catchy hooks throughout the album. His solo on “I Believe” is quite good too. While the brothers Oliva show their stuff here, the rhythm section of Steve Wacholz on bass and Keith Collins on drums do their part in making this album so good. Hearing the album as I have the past few days, I think it knocks “Handful of Rain” off the number five spot on my list of favourite Savatage albums.

Track Listing:

  1. Sirens
  2. Holocaust
  3. I Believe
  4. Rage
  5. On the Run
  6. Twisted Little Sister
  7. Living for the Night
  8. Scream Murder
  9. Out on the Streets
Savatage I couldn't find a photo of this lineup online so I scanned the back cover of the CD

Savatage
I couldn’t find a photo of this lineup online so I scanned the back cover of the CD

Jon Oliva- shrieks of terror, vocals

Criss Oliva- metalaxe, guitars

Steve ‘Dr Kildrums’ Wacholz- barbaric canon, bass

Keith Collins- the bottom end, drums

Savatage’s debut album might have escaped my notice in 1983 but I did eventually get to listen to it. I slightly regret not getting “Sirens” then as it would have been the beginning of my loyal devotion to this band. However, no use fretting because even though it is such a great album, Savatage would go onto to bigger and better things. Still, what a great springboard to launch from.

Next post: Raven- All For One

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

Another Thought on George Michael

Posted in Concerts, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2017 by 80smetalman

When my last post went to Facebook, a good friend brought up something I had totally forgotten about. I realise now that I should have picked a better song for George Michael. Thing was that I don’t recall seeing his performance of the Queen classic, “Somebody to Love” at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert in 1992. On advice, I watched it on Youtube and I have to give George full marks here. His performance of that song was superb. It might have had something to do with the fact that the other members of Queen were playing with him. Brian May still does that guitar solo. So, I would have to put that song on the album.

George at Wembley in 1992

George at Wembley in 1992

I would also add Jefferson Starship’s “Girl with the Hungry Eyes, ” David Bowie- “Suffragette City” and possibly “Blue Jean” as well.

 

 

An Anvil Got Dropped on Gloucester

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

It’s been less than 24 hours since I went to Gloucester to see the metal delights of Anvil. To make a long story short, Anvil totally kicked ass at the Guildhall in Gloucester, UK. However, it wasn’t only a great night on account of Anvil, the two bands in support played their part in making metal history in Gloucester.

It was close, after fighting loads of traffic in my home town of Stroud and then trying to find a parking place in Gloucester, (Geography lesson: Stroud and Gloucester are about ten miles apart), then walking to the Guildhall, waiting in line only to be told that the tickets I ordered on line were waiting for me at the door, getting there and quickly buying my t-shirt, we got there just in time for the opening band.

Classic French metallers, Mystery Blue, opened things up very nicely. They are a five piece band front by lead singer Nathalie Geyer. While the sound sometimes made it difficult to tell, she does have a very good voice. But she is assisted by lead guitarist Frenzy Phillipon who knows a thing or two on how to smoke a fingerboard. Together with a sound rhythm section, Mystery Blue got the crowd in the mood for metal that night. While I can’t remember all their songs, the two that stood out were “Running With the Pack,” not a cover of the Bad Company classic and the title track from the latest album, “Claws of Steel,” which ended their half hour on stage exceedingly well. I’d definitely recommend this band and I was going to go out on a limb and say that Mystery Blue were the best thing to come out of France since Gojira but after a look on their website, I found they have been around longer than their mentioned countrymen.

Mystery Blue begin their dominance

Mystery Blue begin their dominance

Nathalie proving she has the voice

Nathalie proving she has the voice

Second up was German thrash metal band Rezet. While I can’t say that they were the best thing out of Germany since The Scorpions, Accept, Bonfire, Helloween, Kreator or Doro, they were a brilliant band nevertheless. The first thing I noticed about Rezet was there was a definite early Metallica influence here and I’m not just talking about their sound either. Their look was the same as Metallica from that era. I remember an article in Hit Parader, (Motley Crue Magazine), in 1985 which stated that Metallica looked like they belonged in the high school detention class. Rezet were just as youthful looking and like the band mentioned, they played like they were just as hungry as that band was in 1985.

Rezet compounded the assault on the audience with some really good thrash. The comments about detention hall kids definitely applied to both guitarists who traded off solos on some songs and played individual ones on others. Frontman Ricky Wagner proved to be both a good singer and guitarist but the rest of the band played their part too. The most memorable song was “Gargantua,” which as dig at modern politics and they closed with a tribute to Lemmy by playing the Motorhead classic, “No Class.” This is definitely another band worth checking out.

Ricky Wagner and Rezet get things going

Ricky Wagner and Rezet get things going

Thorben Schultz can also crank out the solos

Thorben Schultz can also crank out the solos

Rezet coming down the the finish

Rezet coming down the the finish

Everything I expected from Anvil went away as soon as they hit the stage. Things started with Lips going into the midst of the crowd to play and he got a very welcoming response as he jammed away for several minutes. When he got back to the stage, I thought, “Okay, now they’re going to play ‘Metal on Metal,’ they didn’t. The first official Anvil song of the night was “Sex” but it got the crowd going. Also my prediction that they would play many of the songs from their latest album proved to be wrong. They only played two, one was “Daggers and Rum,” a ditty about pirates and I can’t remember the other one but Robb Reiner played a really cool drum solo on it. “Winged Assassin” from the last album I posted about did get played and right after another song from the same album, “Free As the Wind” which Lips dedicated to Lemmy. He also mentioned that Lemmy once invited him to join Motorhead but Lips declined because he was in Anvil.

From the outset, Anvil were out to have a good time during the 90 minutes they were on stage. They didn’t care about the small venue because everyone inside was cheering them on. Lips especially was enjoying things and yes, he pulled out the sex toy and used it to play guitar to “Mothra.” Unlike the documentary however, this one was battery operated and that also produced some cool sounds from Lips’ guitar. Even without the toy, Lips surprised me by his ability to play. I knew he was good but I didn’t realize he was that good. He really jammed away. Plus, I got to mention new bassist Chris Robertson. When introduced, Lips stated that it was great to have finally found the right bass player after going through so many. I have to say, Robertson is the real deal.

We were treated to a good cross section of Anvil material. The title track from “This is Thirteen plus a couple of songs from “Juggernaut of Justice,” one of them being “On Fire.” While he didn’t open with “Metal on Metal,” it was the last song they did before leaving the stage. The audience wouldn’t have let them leave without playing that one. Then when they returned, a dude behind me and I both started yelling for “Forged in Fire.” Lips looked in our direction and said, “This guy wants us to play “Forged in Fire” so we will play “Forged in Fire.” That made my night totally complete. After that, they played one more song, a cover of the famous Steppenwolf song, “Born to be Wild.” I thought it was a great way to end the night.

Lips in the crowd

Lips in the crowd

Meanwhile Chris Robertson moves across the stage

Meanwhile Chris Robertson moves across the stage

Lips jamming on the guitar

Lips jamming on the guitar

Lips and Roberson going for it

Lips and Roberson going for it

Chris's bass solo

Chris’s bass solo

Singing to the crowd

Singing to the crowd

Out came the toy

Out came the toy

Here's a better picture of it

Here’s a better picture of it

Robb's drum solo

Robb’s drum solo

The End

The End

In their 39 year history, this was the first time Anvil toured the UK as a headliner. Hopefully after this night, they will be back again to tour even bigger venues because they were brilliant. When coming home from the gig, my step son couldn’t fathom why Anvil weren’t bigger. That is what’s strange.

Next post: A Non Musical Tragedy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Anvil- Forged in Fire

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-forgedinfire

It’s probably a psychological thing with me but whichever album I hear first from any given band tends to be my favourite one from that band. This is most likely the reason why my favourite Van Halen album is Van Halen II, my favourite Twisted Sister album is “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll” and my favourite Lynyrd Skynyrd album is “One More From the Road.” The same principle applies to Anvil. “Forged in Fire” was the first Anvil album I listened to and it is my favourite. However, I tend to believe that even if I didn’t hear this album first, it still would have been my favourite Anvil album.

Why is “Forged in Fire” my favourite Anvil album other than it being the first of theirs I listened to? The answer is quite simple, there are just so many great songs on it. The title track alone, which I first heard on a metal compilation album, was enough to capture my interest. I loved the pounding guitars on the song and after over thirty years, I’m not sure whether or not to take the lyrics to “Forged in Fire” seriously. Still, it doesn’t matter because I love the song so much. I mean who couldn’t be amused at these lyrics:

Power blasted streams engage the injection
The mechanism reacts with affection”

If I were to levy one criticism at the album, it would be the placing of the first two songs. I know Anvil albums open with the title track and even though I love the title track on this album so much, I can’t help thinking that the second track, “Shadow Zone” should have been the opener. That is definitely an ear catching speed metal tune that would wake up the dead. However, this is just me thinking too much.

The rest of the album carries on with one great song after another. All tracks are great metal tunes that can stand on their own. Back then, I took the lyrics of “Free as the Wind” to heart as that was how I felt after leaving the marines. Even the change in momentum when Dave Allison sings lead on “Never Deceive Me” only seems to make the album sound that much better. Many of the songs are might be considered speed metal like “Shadow Zone” as they are played very fast and ferociously. I find “Hard Times and Fast Ladies” a very interesting song and while I might mentally debate which song should be the opener, there is no question that Anvil made the right choice for the closer with “Winged Assassins.”

Another reason why I like this album so much is that Steve ‘Lips’ Kudrow really goes to town on the guitar on just about all of the songs on here. His most noted ones are on “Free as the Wind” and “Winged Assassins” but there are noble efforts throughout. Therefore, I will be expecting the same when I go to Gloucester this Tuesday evening as see Anvil in all their glory. That’s right, I’m finally getting to see these guys live and why I posted the album now. I wonder how many songs from “Forged in Fire” they’ll actually play.

Track Listing:

  1. Forged in Fire
  2. Shadow Zone
  3. Free as the Wind
  4. Never Deceive Me
  5. Butter-Bust Jerky
  6. Future Wars
  7. Hard Times, Fast Ladies
  8. Make It Up to You
  9. Motormount
  10. Winged Assassins
Anvil

Anvil

Steve ‘Lips’ Kudrow- vocals, lead guitar

Dave Allison- guitar, lead vocal on “Never Deceive Me”

Ian Dickson- bass, backing vocals

Rob Reiner- drums

Following “Forged in Fire” tragedy would strike for Anvil. For many, this would be considered their last album as they would descend into obscurity and wouldn’t be heard from again until the documentary would be released about them in 2008. As a result, I have made an executive decision and will visit the so-called obscure albums they made in the late 1980s. However, “Forged in Fire” is definitely a great album to go out in style to.

Next post: Anvil Live in Gloucester

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London