Status Quo – Live at the BIC (09.12.16)

So, to resurrect this blog, I’m going to review Status Quo’s performance at the BIC on their ‘Last Night of the Electrics’ tour. This was advertised as Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt’s swansong tour but, following Parfitt’s ill health, Rossi is now the sole face of Quo, leading the band into the acoustic age.

Having a fair journey from work to Bournemouth, we missed almost all of ‘The Lounge Kittens’ so I’ll let others comment on them. They were singing a Queen medley as we arrived. It didn’t sound bad but that’s about all I can say.

Following on were REO Speedwagon. I’m guessing they’re a band that appeared to match up well to a standard Quo fit. Plenty of classic rock poses and a loud rock sound seemed to go down well. I must admit I drew a blank for most of the set until ‘Keep On Loving You’ was played which I did know. All in all, not bad but I’m not sure that I’d rush back for round two.

Following on from Speedwagon, was of course the main event: The Quo.

First up was of course the main issue: Quo’s last tour sees them down to one ‘original’ member in Francis Rossi. Although what Andy Bown has to do to qualify, I’m not quite sure. So, was Rick missed? In a word: Yes. It wasn’t the same. I’m not old enough to remember the days of Lancaster et al and I wasn’t sure that I could understand all the feelings that went on. What I do know is that I did miss Rick. There was a point in the gig, during The Oriental, where it appeared that Rossi was talking to or dancing with an invisible Rick. And, many other Quo trademarks – the dancing in Rain and Whatever You Want, for example, was missing. The largest part, Rick’s rocking presence and pose – down on the edge of the stage, was also a huge gap.

This brings me nicely on to Richie. Am I anti then? No. Richie is clearly a talented guitarist and plays well. He’s sympathetic to the Quo sound and did his very best. It was clear that he gets on well with the band and got more of an intro than Matt Letley got a send-off from Francis. He wasn’t Rick – and couldn’t be – but he clearly did his best and has the talent. Rain was the one song I noticed that really didn’t have the Rick sound but generally a well done. Plenty of us would love to be invited to join the band on stage so enjoy!

Then, onto the set. I’ve never complained about the set before but this is the first time that I’ve been to see a set where I’d seen every song before. I enjoyed it and it’s only a minor gripe but I did spend the whole gig just hoping that there’d be one treat. Even something like ‘Break The Rules’ which hasn’t made the electric set for a few years would have made my night complete. As a note, Rhino and Andy shared out most of Rick’s vocals and did much better than I thought. Having heard Rhino on YouTube and Andy on the Hyde Park vid, I was unconvinced but, in the flesh, both rocked out well. Perhaps live is more forgiving than video.

Overall, the band seemed to be having fun and I enjoyed the gig. There were lots of laughs on stage – especially around the medley- and the band was as tight and professional as ever. It was sad that Rick wasn’t there and, if this does prove to be the last electric tour, than that’s a hole that will never be filled. Also, if the setlist is never to be changed than perhaps that’s the surest sign that the time for the end has come – let’s rock out and move on. Acoustic next year anyone?

Status Quo – Live at the BIC – 7/10

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 840 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Queen + Adam Lambert – Live in Kiev

On 30th June 2012 Queen played their first gig with American star, Adam Lambert, in Kiev, Ukraine. Ever since the British rock group performed with Lambert on American Idol in 2009 there has been talk of further work together. This year that promise came to fruition. The first gig the band played was in Kiev, Ukraine – where the band have previously worked to publicize an anti-aids message.

In many ways the setlist and shape of the evening did not stray far from the model that the band established with previous singer, Paul Rodgers. Lambert belted through a series of the expected hits – “I Want It All”, “Radio GaGa” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” whilst also giving space for Brian’s rendition of “Love Of My Life” and Roger’s “A Kind Of Magic”. The traditional drum solo (with added contribution from Rufus Taylor) and guitar solo also feature.

However, it would be wrong to say that there has been no change since 2008. Unlike Paul Rodgers, Lambert supplies none of his own material and this means that there is also more space for other Queen classics, including “Who Wants To Live Forever” and a medley of 70s classics “Seven Seas Of Rhye” and “Keep Yourself Alive”. Lambert also tackles “Somebody To Love” and “Don’t Stop Me Now” – tracks that would have fallen outside the scope of the former Free frontman. Similarly Lambert skips the heavy rocking “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Hammer To Fall” that were highlights of Q+PR performances.

Brian and Roger’s performances are as polished as ever throughout the show. Just like 2005 and 2008, the band give Lambert a perfect live karaoke backing for him to sing across – the pure Queen sound is there throughout. Spike Edney is once again on keys but there is no room for Jamie Moses and Danny Miranda is replaced on bass. The more than able Rufus Taylor is drafted in to give his dad a helping hand!

Now to comment on Lambert. Prior to doing so I will state my bias, I am obviously a fan of the original line-up but am also a big fan of Paul Rodgers work with the band. Prior to seeing this I wanted to dislike Lambert’s performance for being a television show star and American etc. But, I don’t mind it. Lambert has a voice which has a similar range and style to Mercury and is closer to him than Paul Rodgers was or tried to be. Lambert can touch material Paul couldn’t and gives generally enjoyable renditions – this is a gig that I could enjoy. However, for me I do still prefer Paul out of the two. I liked the fact that Rodgers’ voice is so different to Mercury’s; this helped him put his own stamp on the material. He was also able to bring his own songs to the mix which Lambert doesn’t.

Overall this performance was enjoyable enough and I certainly wouldn’t be adverse to seeing the band should they decide to tour again. Lambert gives decent performances but they are a bit close to Freddie’s to me – more like a musical-show interpretation rather than a new band singer. The setlist is pretty much as expected but it’s good to see that the band have managed to squeeze in some material not dusted off on the last two tours. To sum Q+AL up, I’d say not great, but definitely good.

Queen + Adam Lambert – Live in Kiev 6/10

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Paul McCartney – Run Devil Run

www.paulmccartney.com

Paul McCartney’s Run Devil Run album (1999), marked his first release following the death of his wife, Linda McMartney, a year before. This is the second 50s-focused album that McCartney has released, the other being Снова в СССР from 1988. However, unlike the 1988 album, Run Devil Run chooses not to focus on the great rock’n’roll standards, like “That’s All Right” or “Lucille”, but on more obscure cuts that McCartney, and the other Beatles, grew up with in the 1950s.

The sound on Run Devil Run varies noticeably from track to track. This may be a side-effect of the album being recorded in different sessions at different times. On the highlight tracks, and most of the numbers to be fair, the sound is pretty much spot on. The vocals are clear but well supported by the rhythm while, in the first track especially, the guitars kick in loud when they come to solo. However, there are a handful of tracks where, similar to Jerry Lee Lewis’ Youngblood, an artificial attempt at 50s echo is made. This leads to some tracks losing vocal clarity – most noticeable on “Honey Hush”.

Track List

Blue Jean Bop – This Gene Vincent classic kicks the album off at a rather steady pace. Paul starts off alone with just voice and bass before the drums kick in. This opener delivers two stinging guitar solos and overall the track starts the album with a faithful 50s sound.

She Said Yeah – One of the highlights on the album for me. Paul makes the most of his voice, kicking into ‘Little Richard’ mode to belt this one out. The speed is high, the vocals are loud and the whole thing rocks!

All Shook Up – The first track that Paul has some fun with. A catchy guitar riff kicks the track off before Paul starts to rip through. The vocals are a little OTT for me on this one, the lyrics better the suit the more suggestive tone taken by The King.

Run Devil Run – The first of Paul’s originals on the album. Named after a drug store in the US and written in a style aimed to pay tribute to Chuck Berry, this track rocks full out. The story concerns the ups and downs of a ‘holy roller’, including getting siblings out of jail and picking cotton!

No Other Baby – Paul claims that this is the ‘most obscure song on the album’ and that he ‘never had the record’. However, the song remains imprinted in his memory and Paul and the band produce a solid job on this slower, more bluesy number.

Lonesome Town – A Ricky Nelson song that, lyrically, doesn’t stray far from the “Heartbreak Hotel” territory. This is a classic early ballad and fits neatly into the “Who Will The Next Fool Be” line of piano led songs.

Try Not To Cry – The second of McCartney’s originals on the album. This is one of the least 50s sounding tracks on the album and, while its not my favorite track, it does inject some variety into the album.

Movie Magg – I prefer this cut of “Movie Magg” compared to the original by Carl Perkins. Paul keeps the general country feel of the track, but, with the less-American voice, the overall effect feels more subtle.

Brown Eyed Handsome Man – This track, like “All Shook Up”, makes a conscious effort to step away from the original – in this case the Buddy Holly version of the Chuck Berry classic. I wouldn’t say that this version is my favorite but it is quirky and different and that deserves recognition on a track this well known.

What It Is – Another stand-out track on the album and another McCartney original. This is almost early-Beatles sounding and retains that classic sound, belting vocals and is a happy, uplifting track that rocks along in its own relaxed way.

Coquette – McCartney rolls out his best Fats Domino impersonation for this bluesy number. At this stage in the album it seems important to note the overall impact on Paul these musicians had, including his singing voice. Paul’s singing stye owes a lot to Little Richard and the other 50s rockers.

I Got Stung – An obscure Elvis number. This song is really the archetypal rockabilly sound on nearly every instrument. Drum stops, key-bashing piano and faced paced chuggin’ guitars – all at max pace. The lyrics are a little forgettable and, for that reason, this track isn’t one that I race back to time and again.

Honey Hush – An pre-rock’n’roll Big Joe Turner song. I can’t say this track does much for me. The leveling is out, making lyrics hard to hear – therefore the song becomes Paul wailing over slightly overdriven guitars screeching 12-bar.

Shake A Hand – This echo-soaked slower number nudges the album towards the close. A Little Richard number that Paul picked up when in Germany with The Beatles. This song is ok but lacks the oomph or impact of some of the highlights of the album.

Party – Another obscure Elvis number, this time from the movie, Loving You. The song is upbeat, happy and paced to make you dance. This makes is ideal to close out this album – a celebration of the 50s and the great rock’n’roll music.

Overall, Run Devil Run is an enjoyable, rocking album. Most of Paul’s singing and performances sound fresh and the band is tight and rockin’. There are a few tracks that I’m largely indifferent about but the tracks that are absolutely top-notch more than make up for that. A final reflection on rock’n’roll albums: Part of the challenge I think is knowing when to stop – too short an album and the customer feels cheated, too long and album and sub-par tracks sneak in; aren’t we a tough lot to please!

Paul McCartney – Run Devil Run – 6/10

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Jerry Lee Lewis – Live At Third Man Records

www.jerryleelewis.com

Live At Third Man Records is the Killer’s first full concert release album in the 21st Century. Picked and produced by Jack White, of The White Stripes, the album is one of a series where the famous guitarist has worked with legends including rockabilly pioneer, Wanda Jackson. For this gig a specially selected band was put together. Jerry Lee’s producer Jim Keltner drummed and his long-time guitarist, Kenny Lovelace, led the band. The line-up is completed by Steve Cropper on guitar and Jack Lawrence on bass.

The album is representative of a regular Jerry Lee Lewis show from almost any point post-2005. I think this fact is a mixed bag. Firstly, I’m glad that there is a documented record of a ‘regular’ 21st century gig but it obviously misses the excitement of something new and rare. Perhaps there was space for a double-album, this record and something with some prepped songs in, like “Mean Old Man” or “A Couple More Years”. This however would rely on The Killer putting the prep work in, something he’s not famed for!

The sound of the album for me is mixed. The overall sound is very strong, clean and clear – something that is always a positive for a live record, this doesn’t sound like a posh bootleg. However, at times, unless Jerry was bashing the top notes, the piano got lost – especially in some of his more intricate playing in songs like “Before The Night Is Over”. The overall band sound is very tight; Jim Keltner supplies a great rhythm for Jerry to work over and this is well supplemented by the rest of the band.

Track List

Down The Line  – Following a short intro, this rock’n’roll classic kicks the gig off. The track is a moderately fast pace and the age of Jerry does show on the vocals without them being weak. The piano solos may not fall into the ‘inspired’ category but it neat and sharp none-the-less, no missed notes here. Both Steve Cropper and Kenny Lovelace supply solid guitar solos and fills. The band here is tight and sharp and Jerry’s performance outshines that of the Killer Piano DVD.

Georgia On My Mind – Barely space for a breath before Jerry kicks into this Ray Charles classic. Cropper fills in some classy licks throughout this track as Kenny sticks largely to chord strumming until his solo. In his singing Jerry seems to shape the longer notes better than I’ve heard on some other recent recordings, they’re neither cut dead short nor extended till he runs out of breath.

Drinking Wine, Spo-dee-O-dee – This song is ironically caught out by the neat little riff that Jerry brings it in with. The riff itself is classy but it sets the song off at a pedestrian pace that it never recovers from. Some of the piano is lost a little in the mid-range notes during the solo. This song is one of the weakest on the album with nothing really lifting it from its middle-of-the-road nature.

Before The Night Is Over – could have come from any gig from 2006 onwards. Nether-the-less, the Killer puts out a solid performance on this one. The more complex beat in this track shows Keltner off to his best; the only downside here is that Jerry’s tight, fast piano solo sounds a bit muddy in the mix.

Why You Been Gone So Long? – An undoubted highlight from the album and the subject of TMR’s promo video. The track kicks off at a fair pace with both the piano solos and guitar solo, supplied by Steve Cropper, being tight and sharp. Cropper’s contribution here, after Kenny nods him in, is a real highlight of the track.

I Wish I Was Eighteen Again – The second slow song on the album after “Georgia”. The melody of this track starkly reveals the age in Lewis’ voice but, given the lyrics of the song, this isn’t necessarily too much of a problem. Like “Georgia”, this track lacks any sort of a solo.

Sweet Little Sixteen – One of the stronger rockers on the album, Jerry kicks this track off at a good pace and keeps it going throughout. Already in the gig, his voice seems weaker than it did on the earlier tracks – perhaps part of the reason that his gigs now rarely tip over the 45 minute mark. Both the piano and guitar solos are the classic expected but both are played well.

You Belong To Me – This classic cut has been a regular throughout Jerry’s career and is one of the decreasing repertoire that the Killer stills keeps access to. As ever on this track, Kenny’s solo is a real highlight; other than little of note here – not because the track is badly played but because it is played very often.

She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye – One of only three ‘hits’ that features in the album. This rendering of the 1970 classic again could have come from any good gig from about 2005 onwards – a good rendering though and, once again, Jerry’s voice holds up well.

Mexicali Rose – This song has become one of the strongest in Jerry’s recent years repertoire and its another stand-out item on this album. I think pace is so vital to many of Jerry’s songs and the pace is not only good here but it doesn’t lead to any missed notes the piano solo. Overall a great rendering of this track which isn’t spoiled by a guitar duel which, when listening back to a gig, just leads to a messy overall sound.

Great Balls Of Fire – The sign that the end is nigh. This is the short, ‘Sun’, version of the track. performed well and loved by the crowd. The ‘whoop’ from the crowd shows that its the hits, naturally, that the crowd know and love.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On – ‘If you like that one, you’re gonna lurv this one!’ and so into “Whole Lotta Shakin” we go. The song is as you’d expect really, classic solos abound, both on piano and guitar, and the crowd love it. These two songs are the first where you really notice the crowd as part of the gig. Cue finger wiggling, smashed top keys, a cheer and all that’s left is time for Kenny’s thanks for ‘the guys on the sound and the lights’. Before you know it, it’s all over!

Overall I must return to how I kicked this review off. This could be almost any gig from 2005 onwards and this both the pro and con of the album. The performances are strong, Jerry comfortably outplays and outsings his live performances from “Killer Piano” but we know tracks off-by-heart, with the only nuances being the solos of Steve Cropper rather than Buck. This perhaps opens the debate on how well served Jerry would be by a stronger band and by varied setlists for tours. However this is being written in a time where its quite possible that Jerry will never again grace a stage. Be thankful for what you’ve got and enjoy this solid, if unspectacular rock’n’roll feast.

Jerry Lee Lewis -Live At Third Man Records- 7/10

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Jerry Lee Lewis cancels all concert dates

Jerry Lee Lewis has been forced to cancel all of his currently booked dates, stretching up to July 2012, due to injures suffered in a fall at his Natchez home. Some gigs have been cancelled with refunds made available and some have had a personnel change with fellow rockers Chuck Berry and Little Richard being drafted in.

If you have tickets for a forthcoming Jerry Lee Lewis concert contact the venue.

We wish The Killer all the best and look forward to news of him back rockin’, rollin’ and shakin’ soon!

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New John Fogerty Album Due

www.mojo4music.com/

In an exclusive interview with Mojo Magazine, John Fogerty has announced that he has a new album coming out in Autumn, 2012.

This is set to be a duet’s album, including re-workings of some of Fogerty’s self-penned classics with Creedence Clearwater Revival. Full details of the album are not yet clear but the article states that one of the duet partners is the rock band, Foo Fighters and one of the tracks to be featured is “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor”.

See Mojo Magazine for more details!

(Report courtesy of Mojo Magazine)

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