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Category Archives: Music

WHAT a weekend this has been.

England won their opening Six Nations match in Wales 26-19. Ireland needed a late score to beat Italy in Rome 13-11, and reigning champions France beat Scotland at home 34-21.

The Premier League saw a whopping 43 goals in the ten fixtures this weekend. Results included: Everton 5-3 Blackpool, Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (Arsenal were 4-0 up after 26 minutes), Wigan 4-3 Blackburn, Wolves 2-1 Man Utd (this ends Man Utd’s 29 match unbeaten run).

But the best result of all was Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool! Fernando Torres (JUDAS!) making his debut for €hel$ea couldn’t prevent Liverpool from doing the double over the defending league champions thanks to a second half strike from Raul Meireles. 😀

In Cricket, Australia completed a 6-1 O.D.I. series win over England by taking victory at the WACA Ground in Perth by 57 runs. This series has been to drawn out in my opinion. The two Twenty20 games should have been played on the same day and there should only have been three O.D.I. games. Now England have injures and tiredness to cope with before the World Cup in India/Sir Lanka/Bangladesh. A World Cup preview blog will appear on this site soon.

On the ugly side of the game now; three Pakistani cricketers have been handed down lengthy bans by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for last Augusts’ spot-fixing scandal at Lord’s. Former Captain Salman Butt has been banned for 10 years (five suspended) and bowlers Mohammads Asif and Amir have been banned for seven years (two suspended) and five years respectively for agreeing to bowl no-balls at a certain point in the match against England in exchange for money. All three have the right to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Formula 1’s Robert Kubica may well have ended his F1 career after crashing heavily in a Rally in Genoa, Italy. The Pole hit a church wall at high speed and suffered fractures to his right arm, leg and hand. It is almost certain that he will miss the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix on 13 March. This means that his seat at Renault will now be filled by either former HRT driver Bruno Senna or 2009 Renault driver Romain Grosjean. Get well soon Robert.

And finally, I have just heard of the extremely sad news that legendary rock guitarist Gary Moore has died at the age of 58. 😦 He was found dead in the early hours of Sunday (6 February) morning while on holiday in Spain. During his musical career he released a number of solo albums and was once a member of Thin Lizzy and played with Greg Lake on one of my all time favorite albums. He will be sorely missed.

RIP Gary.

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I READ the news today oh boy. Today (8 December 2010) marks the 30th anniversary of legendary singer-songwriter John Lennon’s murder.

The former Beatle and his wife Yoko Ono were returning to their apartment in The Dakota building in New York City at around 10:50pm when Mark David Chapman shot 40 year-old Lennon four times in the back. He was rushed to the nearby Roosevelt Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07pm. Remarkable, earlier that day Lennon had signed a copy of his most recent album, Double Fantasy for Chapman who to this day is still serving a 20 years to life prison sentence. He has been denied parole repeatedly.

Now I’ve never claimed to be a great Beatles fan, but I do have a huge respect for their impact on the world of music. John Lennon also has a special place in my own hall of fame. After all he did write one of my favourite songs.

MY family and I went so see the Anderson Wakeman 360 Project on 16 October at the Assembly Halls Theatre in Tunbridge Wells.For those of you aren’t too familiar with the world of classic rock, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were the respective lead vocalist and keyboard player in the group Yes.

Rick Wakeman (L) and Jon Anderson (R)

Last year Wakeman performed his album The Six Wives of Henry VIII live for the first time ever at Hampton Court Palace to high acclaim, having left Yes (again) in 2008. Anderson however has not had it easy over the last few years. He suffered a severe asthma attack in May 2008 and was subsequently diagnosed with acute respiratory failure. It looked like he would never sing again.

But Yes fans need to worry anymore. Jon Anderson can still sing, and he sounds as if he is still in the 1970s.

The whole show was brilliant. All there was on the stage was: Wakeman with his two keyboards and a microphone and Anderson with a guitar for the Yes songs and a microphone. The set itself was made up of songs from the duos new studio album The Living Tree and classic Yes songs.

The first song of the night just so happened to be my favourite Yes song, Starship Trooper. This along with Living Tree track 23/24/11 were my songs of the night.

But it wasn’t just all music. Wakeman is notorious for his story and gag telling, and Anderson is just as bad. The onstage banter between the two close friends was great to see, and really really funny to boot.

Here is the set list (The Living Tree unless noted):

  1. Starship Trooper (Yes – The Yes Album)
  2. Sweet Dreams (Yes – Time and a Word)
  3. Forever
  4. And You And I (Yes – Close to the Edge)
  5. The Living Tree
  6. Morning Star
  7. Your Move (A part of I’ve Seen All Good People (Yes – The Yes Album)
  8. Garden
  9. The Living Tree (Reprise)
  10. Time and a Word (Yes – Time and a Word)
  11. Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes – 90125)
  12. Long Distance Runaround (Yes – Fragile)
  13. Yours Is No Disgrace (Yes – The Yes Album)
  14. Just One Man
  15. Wonderous Stories (Yes – Going for the One)
  16. 23/24/11
  17. South Side of the Sky (Yes – Fragile)
  18. Turn of the Century (Yes – Going for the One)
  19. House of Freedom
  20. Roundabout (Yes – Fragile)
  21. Soon (Yes – Relayer)
  22. The Meeting (ABWH – Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe)

 

The Living Tree goes on general sale on 29 November.

On a different note, today this blog celebrates its 1st Birthday. YAY! 😀

TODAY (10 October), Pink Floyd’s fifth studio album Atom Heart Mother is 40 years old. It was recorded from between March and August 1970 at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, and reached #1 in the UK album chart – the first such achievement by a Floyd album.

The album cover is a simple picture of a Cow named Lulubelle III. The picture was taken by the album cover genius that is Storm Thorgerson. The band wanted to break away from the Psychedelic Space Rock image they had been given, so they asked Thorgerson to put “something plain” on the cover.

The album itself runs for 52 minutes and 44 seconds and features five songs. The entire first side of the album is taken up by Pink Floyd’s longest uninterrupted song, Atom Heart Mother (Suite). The six part instrumental piece comes in at 23:44, and was written by all four members of Pink Floyd: Roger Waters (bass), David Gilmour (guitar), Richard Wright (keys) and Nick Mason (drums), along with composer Ron Geesin. The six parts of the suite are: Father’s Shout (0:00 – 2:54), Breast Milky (2:55 – 5:26), Mother Fore (5:27 – 10:12), Funky Dung (10:13 – 15:29), Mind Your Throats, Please (15:30 – 19:13) and Remergence (19:14 – 23:44). Also in the studio with Pink Floyd when this song was recorded where the Abbey Road Session Pops Orchestra and the John Alldis Choir. I can’t write anything other than it will blow your mind every single time you here it.

The drum and bass parts were all recorded in one take, and the piece itself actually went through a number of different working titles including: Theme From an Imaginary Western, Epic and The Amazing Pudding. The latter became the name of the Pink Floyd magazine from 1983-93. The name Atom Heart Mother (Suite) was finally decided upon when Ron Geesin gave Roger Waters a copy of the 16 July 1970 Evening Standard newspaper and told him that the song title would be in there. Waters spied an article about a pregnant woman who had been fitted with a pacemaker. The articles’ headline was: “Atom Heart Mother Named”.

Film director Stanley Kubrick wanted to use the suite for his film A Clockwork Orange but the band turned him down (but this hasn’t stopped people from making ‘what if’ videos on the internet – see below). Years later Kubrick would deny Waters audio from 2001: A Space Odyssey for his solo album Amused to Death.

The second track on the album is the Roger Waters composition If. This gentle acoustic track (in my eyes) can be seen as the embryonic stages of Waters concocting the character ‘Pink’ who would be unleashed nine years later on The Wall.

We then have the song Summer ’68 which was written and sung by late keyboardist Richard Wright. It is about a one night stand and the return to habitual life. There are also lyrics that reference the down side of touring: “My friends are lying in the sun, I wish that I was there…

But the fourth track of the album is the one that takes the biscuit. I my opinion, Fat Old Sun is the best song that David Gilmour has ever written. It starts of so gentle and peacefully, before launching into an awesome but never overblown guitar solo. Gilmour also played bass and drums in the studio for this track.

Unfortunately the last track on the album is one of the very few Pink Floyd songs that I don’t like. Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast is more of a recorded jam session than a song. It is just plain weird. But Pink Floyd were experimenting at this time, and occasionally when you experiment you get turned an odd shade of green.

So summary, a fantastic but yet sadly overlooked album (no song off it made the ‘best of’ album sadly), with three excellent individual works and perhaps the most unique track in rock history.

TODAY marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Janis Joplin, who I believe was and still is the greatest female rock singer of all time.

Born on 19 January 1943 in Port Arthur (Texas), she joined the band Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1966, before joining the Kozmic Blues Band and the Full Tilt Boogie Band.

Unfortunately, Janis was in with the wrong crowd during her all too short career. She died of a Heroin overdose in the Landmark Motor Hotel (now the Highland Gardens Hotel) in Los Angeles (California). The Full Tilt Boogie manager, John Cooke, believed that the heroin she took that night 40 years ago was more potent than her norm, and several of her dealer’s other customers died of overdoses the same week. But this still doesn’t mean she was right.

Janis was just 27 years-old when she died, and joined Brian Jones (Rolling Stones) and Jimi Hendrix in the 27 Club. These three would soon be joined in the club by Jim Morrison (The Doors) and Kurt Cobain (Nirvana).

Rest in Peace Janis.

LAST Saturday (18 September) my family and I went up to London’s Shepherds Bush Empire to see legendary guitarist Robin Trower and his band. Trower was once a member of Procol Harum (but didn’t play on that song).

Robin Trower

The support act – Aynsley Lister and his band – weren’t bad. They were certainly better than some of the bands they play on the radio station I listen to though.

But Trower just totally blew my mind. I’d seen him with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce last year at the same venue and the effect was much the same.

How do I put what I felt like at the concert into words? It was as if somebody had attached jump leads to my brain and hit the ‘on’ button. It was like there was a party in my head and ears and it didn’t matter if your name was on the list or not, you were getting in. 😀

I implore you dear reader, if you like rock music, and if you ever get wind of Trower playing within easy-to-get-to distance from you, just go and see him. You will not regret it one bit.

My future gigs:

  • Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, 16 October 2010 @ Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells.
  • Peter Frampton, 5 March 2011 @ Shepherds Bush Empire, London.
  • Roger Waters The Wall Tour, 12 May @ The O2 Arena, London.
  • Eric Clapton, 24 May @ the Royal Albert Hall, London.

 

On a slightly sadder note now, it is 30 years to the day that John Bonham – the drummer from Led Zeppelin – died in the early hours of the morning of 25 September 1980.

The day before he had been rehearsing with Led Zeppelin in preparation for the band’s first U.S. tour in three years. He had also drunk 40 shots of vodka, which caused him to vomit in his sleep and ended up asphyxiating himself. Bonham’s body was found by Led Zeppelin’s new tour manager Benji LeFevre and bassist John Paul Jones. He was only 32 years old.

John Bonham is considered by many to be one of, if not the, best rock drummer of all time. He is still sorely missed.

John Bonham (1948 - 1980)

LAST Saturday (18 September) marked the 40th anniversary of the death of James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix, who is often universally acknowledged as the greatest rock guitarist ever to have lived.

He was found dead in one of the basement apartments in the Samarkand Hotel in Kensington, Greater London. He is officially said to have died of asphyxiation on his own vomit after combining sleeping pills with wine in the early hours of that morning.

He was just 27 years-old and joined The Rolling Stones Brian Jones in the now infamous 27 Club. The other ‘official’ members of the club are: Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.

As a Pink Floyd fan first and foremost, I rank David Gilmour as my #1 guitarist, but for millions of others, JMH will be top of their list forever.

LAST Friday (4 June) I went to see Mark Knopfler – ex-Dire Straits front man – at London’s Royal Albert Hall. This show was the last of his six night run at the famous venue, which formed just a small part of his ‘Get Lucky’ tour that is in support of the album of the same name.

I was treated to just a glimpse of just how good Dire Straits were in their ‘80s heyday. Even though he spent practically the entire gig sitting down due to back problems, Knopfler still played with the skill, energy and enthusiasm of his younger self.

Mark Knopfler: He’s still got it. (Picture taken in 2009)

The best song of the entire night was my personal favourite of his solo back catalogue, ‘Speedway at Nazareth’. It has been a personal favourite of mine for years and I knew that he would play it, but as the evening wore on I was starting to get worried as to if he would or not.

But I wasn’t to be disappointed, and neither were the rest of the crowd. During the solo in the second half of the song something in Knopfler clicked and he defied doctor’s orders by standing up, raising the tempo of the music and earning a massive cheer from me at the end of the number.

Mark’s band was fantastic on the night as well, and at £5 per musician on stage we all got great value for money.  The support act – Kate Walsh – was excellent also.

All in all it was a great night (and day) up in London. I just wish I could have seen Dire Straits in their prime.

My upcoming concerts:

  • Robin Trower, 18 September 2010, Sheppard’s Bush Empire, London
  • Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman, 16 October 2010, Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells
  • Roger Waters, 12 May, The O2 Arena, London (Yes I am going to see ‘The Wall’ live!) 😀

Mark Knopfler Setlist for 4 June 2010 at the R.A.H.

  1. Border River
  2. What It Is
  3. Sailing to Philadelphia
  4. Coyote
  5. Prairie Wedding
  6. Hill Farmer’s Blues
  7. Romeo & Juliet (Dire Straits)
  8. Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits)
  9. Done with Bonaparte
  10. Marbletown
  11. Monteleone
  12. Speedway at Nazareth
  13. Telegraph Road (Dire Straits)

Encore:

  1. Brothers in Arms (Dire Straits)
  2. So Far Away (Dire Straits)
  3. Piper to the End

THIS is what happened when AC/DC and Iron Man 2 came to my castle. I only found out about this today and am so gutted that I wasn’t there, but oh well.

This is perhaps the most complex light show ever, and you will love it.

PS: watch in HD!

ON Saturday night I tuned into my favourite radio station, ‘Planet Rock’ to listen to the results of an eagerly awaited listener’s poll they had been conducting over the past weeks. Just what is the greatest classic rock song intro of all time?

An hour later I had the answer, and I kind of knew what it would be after applying the good old process of elimination.

Deep Purple’s 1972 classic ‘Smoke on the Water’ took the top prize. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s opening riff is known the world over, and has been played countless times by all rock lovers on every variation of guitar.

The winning intro.

The same can probably be said for the intro which finished second, the 1988 US chart topper ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses.

Pink Floyd’s ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ came home in third. Surprisingly that was Floyd’s only entry in the whole top 40 (which you can see below).

Fourth to tenth was: ‘Hells Bells’ (AC/DC), ‘Layla’ (Derek & The Dominoes), ‘Thunderstruck’ (AC/DC), ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’ (The Jimi Hendrix Experience), ‘Baba O’Riley’ (The Who), ‘Stairway To Heaven’ (Led Zeppelin) and ‘Speed King’ (Deep Purple).

My vote as ever went to a Pink Floyd song, but it wasn’t ‘Shine On…’. I voted for ‘Echoes’. Whenever I hear the opening keyboards and then the guitar it feels as if somebody has filled my head with Helium and it wants to leave my shoulders.

http://www.planetrock.com/Article.asp?id=1781312&spid=16339