The Metal Files

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Archive for the ‘concerts’ Category

REO Speedwagon Concert Review, Austin, TX December 13, 2013

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REO is one of those bands that reminds of my middle school years,  They were everywhere…radio, MTV, etc.  Up until last night I had never seen them before.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan because I’m not, but they sure put on one great show last night and I’ve no regrets about going.

I had a spare ticket and asked my friend Rodney (Devastation singer) to come with me.  The Wyldz from Australia opened up.  We only caught the last song and they were ok.  Apparently they’re based here in Austin now.

REO came on and opened with Don’t Let Him Go, Music Man and Take It On The Run all in a row.  Kevin Cronin is 62 now and still sounds great.  As expected it was generally an older crowd and it looked close to being sold out.  As I always say, The Moody Theater is my favorite venue in town.  The sound was perfect.  I bought 6th row seats and they couldn’t have been much better.

Later in the show, everyone moved up to the stage and I stood right up front during the encore.  During Ridin’ The Storm Out, Cronin walks to the edge of the stage and hands me his guitar pick.  That was super cool.  As we were walking out, the sound guy gave me the setlist.  They added in Keep The Fire Burnin’ with just Kevin on acoustic guitar.

It was a great show altogether.  If you’re a fan, even just a little, go see this tour!

 

Megadeth Concert Review, Austin, TX December 11, 2013…and David Ellefson!

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This is a 2 part writeup as I got to meet David Ellefson, aka Jr., on December 10 at his book signing here in Austin.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Megadeth fan, and honestly I’m more into the first 3 albums than anything else seenusethey’ve done since.  Some of the albums in the 2000s have been pretty good but they last 2 have left me flat.  It is what it is.  Last night marked the 9th time I’ve seen them since 1987 on the Peace Sells Tour.  That show is still one of the best I have ever seen.

If you’ve been paying attention you’d know that I had just seen them with Iron Maiden in Raleigh and Austin back in September.

A couple of days ago I had seen an announcement that Ellefson was going to do an interview and book signing in town and I figured it was a perfect time to finally meet him and to get his book and mine signed.  I arrived a few minutes early, picked up my copy of his book and hung out with my good pal Victor that was there.  I had met Mustaine in 2006 and had him sign my book back then.  They had announced that we could get one piece of memorabilia signed along with Ellefson’s book.  Perfect.  Victor didn’t bring anything besides the Ellefson book and got my CD cover for Peace Sells signed for me.

Ellefson spoke for about 45 minutes during a chat with Raoul Hernandez from the Austin Chronicle.  It was a good chat and he spoke a lot about his faith and being clean and sober since 1990.  He wasn’t preachy about it at all.  During the Q&A I had asked him if if his and Mustaine’s religious beliefs keep them from playing some of the darker songs like The Conjuring.  He stated that Mustaine won’t play The Conjuring again because of the history he has with that song and some stuff that had apparently happened when he was toying with black magic back in the day.  Pity.  It’s a great song!  There were about 30 people there and he signed everyone’s book, a few guitars, CD covers and of course, my book.  He was very affable and kept answering questions while signing stuff.  That was that.

I originally wasn’t going to see last night’s show but decided that since I do love to watch Mustaine play it would be worth for the general admission ticket price.  Plus it was at the Moody Theater.  I love that place!  Day of the show my friend Rodney sends a message to ask if I wanted to meet up before the show for a drink and of course the answer is yes.  Rodney rules.  We both get to the venue around 6ish and both stated we didn’t care about the opening bands.  He told me that his friend was Megadeth’s merch manager and we met him by the buses.  This guy was the nicest.  He invited us on one of Megadeth’s buses and out friend Angela hopped on with us.  It was cool hearing the business side of the touring from Mical.  The lighting and sound guys were hanging out and were all fun to jibber jabber with.  We then go grab some food and a few margaritas then head back to the venue.  We get “worker” passes handed to us and walked in the the backstage area.  It was pretty cool back there.  Drover and Broderick passed through as we were sitting around waiting for Fear Factory to finish.  Right before Megadeth went on, we went to the merch booth and got hooked up on some shirts and stuff and then we were walked to the soundboard area and that was our spot next to ‘Deth’s soundguy for the whole show.

They played the same set that they had been doing for this leg of the tour which for me doesn’t include enough old stuff, but again, I love was Dave play guitar.  They scratched their cover of Thin Lizzy’s Cold Sweat due to venue curfews and that was fine with me.  I was really hoping that they were going to add Rattlehead for last night’s show as Ellefson said at the book signing that they’ve been working on it lately.  That would have been cool.

After the set, Brad the soundguy gives me his copy of the setlist with his notes on it.  Good addition to my collection.  We went backstage after socializing with some friends and got to speak to Broderick for a moment.  Mical got us a few guitar picks from the guitar techs.  One of the guys, Fred, is from Pittsburgh and we talked about the yinzers a little bit.  That guy was awesome and obviously would be fun to tour with.    Then Willie G, Mustaine’s tech, came up and commented on Rodney’s OZ shirt.  Willie is pretty legendary in guitar tech circles.  I met him years ago with Shadows Fall.  Mical told Willie that Rodney used to sing for Devastation and Willie says, “Texas Devastation?  IDOLATRYYYYYY!”  Rodney was floored.  As we were just wrapping up our night with Mical, Mustaine and his entourage walk by and I said, “Good show, Dave.  Find a house here yet?”  He turns to me and says, “Thanks, man!  Still looking!” and they walked out.

What a great night and am very appreciative of the impromptu VIP treatment that we got.

 

The Doobie Brothers Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 5, 2013

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The Doobie Brothers are yet another band that has been around in my family for as long as I can remember.  More than anyone, Mom was a fan.  The only album I remember us owning was The Captain and Me.  Not sure why the Michael McDonald era albums weren’t around, probably because buying and owning music wasn’t a priority in my family.  That could be why it became important to me, who knows?

I was able to catch them last night in Austin’s Paramount Theatre.  I bought tickets late and ended up near the top of the venue, but that was OK.  Not a show that I necessarily need to be close to the front for.

No cameras were allowed and I was able to get a quick shot right as they hit he stage.  The volunteers that work the venue were pretty hardcore about making people put their phones away.  It was nice not having those lit rectangles sticking up all over the place for the night.

I brought my best friend, Amelia, with me as I hadn’t seen her much lately.  She’s my “go to” for shows when I can’t find anyone else to go with me.  She said, “We see all of the old people shows together!”  There’s some truth to that.  She’s good kid.  Late 20s but loves the Doobies, Hall and Oates, Chicago etc.  Perfect show date as always.

We climb the stairs and got to our seats, the lights go down and they come out with Jesus is Just Alright, straight in to Rockin’ Down the Highway and then in to Take Me In Your Arms.  The Doobies are still fronted by Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McPhee, all original members and all in their mid-60s.  But let me tell you, those guys can still sing and harmonize.  They didn’t sound like most rockers in their 60s.  Simmons sounded the best of the 3 and his guitar playing was quite incredible to watch.  The guy is a damn fine guitarist.

They rolled through a string of hits and one or 2 off of their latest album.  I was quite pleased that they played Clear As The Driven Snow from The Captain and Me.  Easily one of my faves by them and was never a radio hit.

Something was missing, though.  Oh!  The lack of Michael McDonald songs!  Beyond Takin’ It To The Streets, there were no other songs from that era.  Looking back at setlist.fm, it seems they have been neglecting that era since about 2000.  That seems strange to me.  Apparently there must be a rift between them.  Too bad as I really wanted to hear What a Fool Believes, my favorite by them.

But no matter, it was another fun show and I’m really glad I got to see them.  If I had a real complaint, it’s the 2 drummer thing.  Other than wanting to try it once with some friends in the mid-80s, I’ve always found it silly.  It’s impressive as they 2 have to be spot on with each other, and both of the drummers last night were super tight, I just find it unnecessary.  Oh well.

Great show!  And I couldn’t help but think about the episode of What’s Happening the whole night.  Most of you readers under 40 or from outside the USA probably won’t remember or even know of that show and/or episode.

Elton John Concert Review, Austin, TX October 17, 2013

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I’ve gone on and on about how one of my brothers was such a huge influence on me in the ways of hard rock and metal, but he also influenced me in some non-heavy stuff, the main one being Elton John.  As a kid I can remember sitting with him listening to the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album as much as we did KISS and Jethro Tull or Sabbath.  The music has stayed a part of my life to this day and still listen to Elton quite regularly, sticking mostly to his late 60s/70s stuff.

Elton has been to Austin at least one other time since I have lived here and I am not sure why I missed that show.  Bummer.  When I saw this show announced, I knew I had to go…and I knew I’d pay a hefty price for it.  The show was part of a benefit for the Andy Roddick Foundation and they were only selling show seats for the upper balcony.  I logged in on sale day and couldn’t get a ticket anywhere in the theater.  It sold out so fast and I’m sure that most went to ticket brokers/scalpers.  Not once have I not been able to get a ticket to a show there through normal ticketing.  Then again, this was a big show.  I ended up getting a 2nd row balcony ticket through StubHub for almost double face value and I didn’t care.  This was a show I just had to see.

I got to the venue a little after 9 when they opened the doors for us little people, the ones not in suits and gowns who were there to bid on auction items to benefit the Foundation.  They had the balcony curtained off during the auction until the last few minutes of it.  People were throwing around 1000s of dollars on items like it was nothing.  Good for them.

Andy comes on stage and talks for a minute, plays a 3 minute video about his charity then intros Elton.  They hug, he leaves the stage, Elton bows, sits behind the piano and says, “Hello again, Austin!” and goes right into Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.  It was just him and a piano and it was perfect.  He followed it up with Your Song, another favorite of mine.

I’ll admit to getting choked up when Goodbye Yellow Brick Road started.  Lots of emotions and had me missing my brother once again.

With only having less than 90s minutes to play, his set wasn’t that long but it was a decent cross section of his career.  I would have been fine without Circle of Life and would love to have heard Madman Across the Water, Seen That Movie Too, The One, but oh well.

Elton’s voice sounded great.  A little deeper but still very powerful.  He certainly can’t hit those falsettos nowadays, but hell, he’s 66.  His piano playing was immaculate.  He’s a master.  he played a new song called Home Again from the latest album and it sounded great.  It was cool to hear I’m Still Standing.  I’ve always liked that one a lot.

Before the show I was sitting with some friends at a bar and we were discussing the biggest bands we had ever seen.  Elton would be #2 behind the Stones for me.  Metallica probably #3.

I hate that I waited so long to see him live, but will not hesitate to go again.

ZZ Top Concert Review, Austin, TX 10/9/2013

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ZZ Top is one of those bands that I can’t say I love or dislike.  They’ve always just been there.  If you were around in the 80s, you couldn’t get away from them because of MTV and radio play of megahits Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sharp Dressed Man and Legs.  Eliminator was a huge album for them.  HUGE.  Their 70s stuff was prominent as well but that MTV era blew them up and they changed with the times by writing straight forward bluesy rock and roll pop hits, quite different from he previous decade.  I’m not telling you anything new here.

I’d never seen them and when the show was announced for Austin’s ACL Live/Moody Theater, I decided to go and get them struck off the list of legendary bands that I hadn’t seen yet.  ZZ Top and Austin have a long history, especially with them being from Houston.  A guy sitting next to me last night was talking about seeing them in for the first time in 1971(?) at the now-defunct Armadillo.

As I generally do, I bought 2 tickets on the presale and got my favorite spot in the venue, which is front row, center balcony.  The show sold out quickly.  My friend Mariana quickly accepted the offer to join me when I asked a few weeks before the show. When we arrived at the show I liked the shirts that ZZ had and decided to buy one for myself and Mariana.  We ended up with the same styled shirt and I swear that it was brown and not black.  The vendor said it was black and compared to the black shirts on either side of it, it wasn’t…seriously.  I ended up trading it in for a truly black one as seen below.

I didn’t realize there was an opening act until we sat down.  When I saw a washtub and washboard, I wasn’t too excited.  It was Joppa, MO’s Ben Miller Band.  Americana/bluegrassish/hipsterish music.  In general they weren’t that bad.  I’d never heard a washboard played with a wah pedal and flange before, so that was interesting.  Everyone in the band was multi-instrumental and that was impressive.  That type of music, for me, is better heard and not seen.

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Jason K’s message to me before the show. haha

ZZ Top came on a little after 9PM opening with Got Me Under Pressure.  They smoothly ran through most of their hits and really threw out no surprises.  Like a lot of older bands are doing these days, the setlist is set and very coordinated and ZZ’s performance was no different.  They were obviously playing along to synched up tracks and that’s fine.  It made their show a well-oiled machine.

Billy Gibbons made the statement that these 3 guys have been playing together for 4 decades…and the “same 3 chords.”  Pretty funny.  He’s been a huge influence on a lot of guitarists and the guy still has it.  Get beyond the beards, hats, choreographed stage motions etc, and you’ve got one bad ass guitarist.  Minimalist style that is about as flawless as you could want.  Dusty’s solid bass lines provided the perfect bottom for the show.  Frank played his steady styled beats while it was pretty obvious that his drums were triggered.  He didn’t need to hit hard at all.  The sound went out on the drums for a few seconds in one song and while I could see him hitting drums, you couldn’t hear any of it.  He seemed to be the one most worn from the years of touring, but he played fine.

It was a fun show and while I wanted to heard Beer Drinkers and Heard It On The X, I’ve got no real complaints at all.

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