Posts Tagged ‘concert reviews’
I don’t think I’ve talked about Twisted Sister on this page much, most likely because I haven’t seen them live since 2004. That 2004 show in Richmond, VA was absolutely incredible. I never got to see them in the 80s which was unfortunate. I also saw Widowmaker and Dee’s SMFs. Both of those shows were great, too.
Twisted Sister and Vince Neil (opening) got booked for the 2013 Republic of Texas Biker Rally. Tickets were $60 ($67 after all fees) which included access to the rally for the whole weekend. While I’ve owned a couple of Harleys over the years, biker gatherings never appealed to me. It’s unfortunate that you couldn’t just buy a pass for the concerts that were happening over the weekend, but oh well. I decided to just suck it up the day before the show and buy it. Twisted Sister is great live and I knew they would deliver again.
We got into the Travis County Expo Center and parked seemingly on the other side of the place and walked through all of the biker madness where the campsites and RV parking were located and saw all sort of debauchery and silliness. By the time we got to the amphitheater, Vince Neil was already playing.
I’ll just say this: VINCE NEIL SUCKS. Period. I saw Crue on the Dr. Feelgood tour and he sucked. I also saw him solo in 2003. He sucked then, too. But the dude can still make a living playing the biker fests and letting the crowd sing half of the lyrics. And don’t get me wrong, I adore those first 2 Crue albums, but Vince sucks live and seemingly always has.
His backup band consisted of Dana Strum on bass who has some serious street cred, shitty Slaughter aside. The dude has been around and been a part of some big things behind the scenes over the years. Slaughter’s Jeff Blando handled guitar duties and was fine. He’s actually a pretty good singer, too. Drummer Zoltan Chaney handled the “drumming” duties. I put that in quotes for a reason. I hate this style of drumming. I consider this guy more of a circus clown than a drummer. But, I understand why Vince has him in the band because he needs a show backing him because he’s such a shitty singer. Zoltan is a very visual drummer that basically acts like a chimpanzee behind the kit. I can’t stand that. I’d much rather have seen Tommy Lee. Tommy’s flamboyant as well, but not to this degree. And Tommy is super solid. Vince played to his crowd with the awfulness of Girls, Girls, Girls and Wildside. I really don’t know what other Crue songs they played as I just couldn’t care enough to pay attention.
Halfway through the set, Vince disappeared from the stage and his band goes into some Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Their version of Heaven and Hell was actually pretty good and thankfully Vince was nowhere to be found. After doing a little research, this seems to be a regular part of Vince’s show. This article gives a little insight and I agree with the sentiments presented in it. I just couldn’t wait for them to finish so we could see Dee and the band.
The crowd thinned out quite a bit and we moved right to the center and just 4-5 back from the barricade. After a chopper giveaway, The Pledge of Allegiance and a salute to the military, Twisted Sister hit the stage.
They opened up with You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll and just crushed it. Dee’s voice was a little rough for the first 2 songs or so, then it was all dialed in. The rolled right in to Shoot ‘em Down and just killed it. Those guys have been playing together since the late 70s and it showed. They were incredibly tight and you can still get the feeling that they all hate each other. But it didn’t matter. They all played incredibly well and the show was awesome.
They rolled through Stay Hungry, Beast, The Price and a track that was a surprise to me, The First Still Burns from Come Out and Play. They also of course played We’re not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock as expected. You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll is my favorite album by them and also getting The Kids are Back and We’re Gonna Make It made me happy. The whole show made me happy. I could have done without I Believe in Rock and Roll but oh well. No Destroyer? At least they didn’t play Leader of the Pack! After closing with I Wanna Rock, they took a short break and came out for one more song. Dee mentioned that it was a song they don’t play often and it was fitting for a biker rally and I was getting excited because I thought they were going to play Ride to Live, Live to Ride. Seriously, I was almost in freak out mode until they went into Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild. *heavy sigh*. I get it. They were playing to that specific crowd. No worries. They were absolutely incredible as I expected them to be. And I just want to say that AJ Pero is such an incredible drummer. He sounded better last night than in the other 2 times I had seen him play in he past.
Along with Bruce Dickinson, Jason McMaster, and Ronnie James Dio, Dee Snider is in that class of ultimate frontmen. Dee even gave a speech on vaginal dryness and how they licensed We’re Not Gonna Take It to a PMS company for use in their commercials. It was pretty funny.
Jay Jay French spoke that in 1983 on their first US tour, the first show was in Austin, exactly 30 years to the day from last night’s show and that they hadn’t played here since. According to my friend Ben, he saw them in 1984 at City Coliseum a year later. But hey, memories get fuzzy after all those years, eh? The crowd never filled back in for Twisted Sister like the crown Vince had, which was unfortunate. But it also made it more comfortable as it was pretty warm and humid last night. Sister’s tour manager is Danny Stanton who I had met several times over the years as he managed Thin Lizzy and Loudness on their US tours in the late 90s to mid 2000s. He sang for the NY band Takashi. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say hello this time. Dee also took a couple of good potshots at Vince Neil. It was hilarious.
Dee Snider is 58 and can still rock out like nobody’s business. He’s a beast of a frontman and I really hope to see them again. It was another great concert filled with awesome music and good friends all around.
Hall & Oates came to town last night and played ACL Live at the Moody Theater. I can’t state enough how much I love this venue. I’ve been an H&O fan since I was a kid. Like Chicago, H&O reminds me of listening to the radio in mom’s ’73 Chevy Nova. AM Gold! AM 13 WGH to be exact.
H&O has played Austin a few times since I’ve lived here but for one reason or another I’ve missed them each time. Once I saw that they were playing ACL Live, I had to go. I originally bought tickets on the presale and only got 2nd row balcony because I was buying Iron Maiden tickets at the same time…I do have my metal priorities, you know! The next day during the actual ticket sale, I logged in just to see what I could get and ended up with 2nd rown down front, just off center. YOINK! I knew the show would sell out and selling my other tickets would be easy. Thanks eBay! I made a nice profit.
Before H&O came on, they had DJ Mel on stage. I have an aversion to DJs in general, especially ones who remix stuff. Sorry, don’t play Toto’s Africa or Michael McDonald’s I Keep Frgettin’ and put some scratching in it. ‘wikki wikki wikki’. Sorry. I hate that stuff. Just play the damned record. The mostly “older” crowd there seemed annoyed by it, too.
After just a few songs, his gear gets hauled off stage and the band comes on to a standing ovation. They opened with Out of Touch and went right into Method of Modern Love, which is one of my favorite tunes by them. They had been recently paying Family Man in the #2 slot and changed it up for the show. Otherwise their setlist remained pretty standard to other recent shows.
The band was solid and both Daryl and John’s vocals were great. It was a really fun show, albeit seemingly short even with the 2 encores. No bother, the crowd loved it and so did I. Glad I got to scratch that one off my list.
One really cool thing happened at the very end of the show. I was with my best friend Amelia and her husband Cody who was wearing a Frank Zappa shirt. Oates was waving goodbye to the crowd, looked down towards us, saw Cody’s shirt and gave him a nod and a thumbs up. I guess he didn’t like my Bob Seger shirt. haha
Even from the 2nd row, my iPhone camera and personal camera suck!
It was 1990 and The Black Crowes were all over the radio and rightfully so. Shake Your Money Maker went multi-platinum. I’m a big fan of their first 3 and like a handful of songs from 3 Snakes and a Charm and By Your Side, but they lost me throughout the 2000s. In 1990 and 1991 I was drumming for a country band because I couldn’t find a metal band that played what I wanted to play. The country band had She Talks to Angels in the setlist regularly and I think we did Hard To Handle a few times as well…of course with a country twang to it. It was an enjoyable gig and I was making decent money as we were the house band in a club for quite a while.
For whatever reason I had never seen them live. It always seemed like something came up that had me miss them. Finally last night I got to see them and it was worth the wait. The brothers Robinson were on their game last night for the sold out show at Stubb’s in Austin, TX. I had been watching the setlists from this current tour and they do like Cheap Trick where every night is a different list. That’s really cool and tough to do, but it keeps the band fresh and they were fresh last night.
About 4 songs into the set it started to rain a little and I looked at the radar on my phone and saw that a huge storm was coming through so I went and stood under an awning. Then the bottom fell out. some folks crowded under the awnings where they could, some just left soaking wet but the majority of the crowd just stood there in the rain. And it kept raining heavily. I couldn’t see the band from where I was but I could hear them perfectly and it was still great. When the lightning started, the band was apparently advised to cut it short. They did an encore of 2 songs and that was it, unfortunately 30 minutes short. Right after it ended, the rain stopped. I met up with some friends who were also there and carried on with our night. One friend I ran into said that they were surprised that I was a fan of the Crowes. For me the explanation is easy. While I’m not a big fan of the blues and bluesy rock, I am a Rolling Stones fanatic and The Black Crowes remind me of them so much. For me it just seems natural to like them.
Fun show. I look forward to their next trip to town.
Last night I saw Chicago. Yep. Another non-metal band being reviewed at The Metal Files. My history with this band goes as far back as my history with hard rock. Maybe even a little further back thanks to mom’s musical tastes. As a little kid riding in the back of our silver ’73 Chevy Nova 2dr, it was AM gold all the way when mom was at the wheel. At that time (mid-70s), Chicago was huge and always on the radio. Through my whole life, because of that background, that 70s smooth rock will always be near and dear to me and I’m proud of it. Into the late 70s and early 80s, Chicago’s popularity had waned a little and I was more into the metal. That wasn’t to say I didn’t like hearing Chicago, but they weren’t priority. I was discovering newer and heavier things. Then in 1982, Chicago 16 hit the streets…and the airwaves. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away and Love Me Tomorrow. They were all over MTV as well, but we didn’t have cable so I’d only see it occasionally at a friend’s house. Then just 2 years later they release Chicago 17 which went even bigger than the previous album. Stay the Night, Hard Habit to Break, Along Come a Woman, You’re the Inspiration. They were huge. Then Peter Cetera left to pursue a solo career. Chicago picked up Jason Scheff , whose dad was a touring bass for Elvis. The band had some more hits with Will You Still Love Me and Look Away. From that point on they lost popularity again as MTV and the radio completely switched gears. Cetera’s solo career did pretty well and I love his albums Solitude/Solitaire and One More Story. I’m a sucker for a good romantic ballad and Chicago had no shortage of them. Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away is my fave by them. Such a great tune and such a shame that when it’s played on the radio, Get Away is always left off.
When I started playing drums in 1984, I practiced to a lot of their music. Danny Seraphine was/is a great drummer. 25 or 6 to 4 was a great song to learn double bass to, even if there’s none in that song.
I first saw Chicago in 1991 at Chrysler Hall with my friend and her mom. They were great and I’m not sure why I never went to see them again before last night’s show. But that’s not important. What is important is that they were absolutely incredible last night. I brought my best friend Amelia along with me. It was her first wedding anniversary a few days prior so I thought this would make a nice gift. The hubby stayed home. He’s not a fan. Oh well.
This show was at the ACL Live at The Moody Theater. I’ve rambled on before about how much I love this place. I was dead center balcony in the front row again, only a few seats over from where I sat for Pat Benatar a few nights earlier. It’s my favorite spot in the house, although there really aren’t any bad seats there.
They opened up with an instrumental that I don’t recall the name. Hopefully someone can clear it up for me. Recent shows listed Ballet For a Girl in Buchannon but that was played later in the set. In their first they stayed primarily in the 60s and 70s with the exception of Look Away and Will You Still Love Me. Jason Sheff’s vocals were great. He was the perfect replacement for Peter Cetera. Everyone’s vocals sounded great, actually. These dudes, the original guys anyway, are not spring chickens. They’re in their mid to late 60s. Impressive musicianship, especially in blowing their horns. I was amazed by how energetic they all were, especially the over the top Jim Pankow. He was all over the place. He played a little percussion as well and obviously has the chops. During If You Leave Me Now they had a special guest singer who had one a charity auction bid to sing with the band. I had read about it online and thought it would be just like a backup singer sort of thing. But no, dude came out and NAILED it. Apparently he’d been on stage with them before. I’d like to know what his final bid was to do that. I would’ve asked to play drums for a song. But again, the guy sounded great. Good on ya, man! It was also great hearing Wake Up Sunshine from Chicago II! In between one of the songs, I believe it was Pankow who said, “Go ahead and take all of the pictures and videos you want. Post them everywhere. If we like any of them, we’ll use them too!”
They took a short 15-20 minute break and came on with a second set which started with Old Days. They kept rolling through their hits from the 70s and 80s and finally got to Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away. I really do love that song. It’s an incredibly sad song about breaking up and reminds me of some simple times in the early 80s when the only thing I had to worry about was homework, music and chores…and girls. This song also reminds me of the days at the Suffolk Swimming Pool. It’s a place where I met some friends that have remained close friends for life. That was a special place and really just ridiculous in a lot of ways. Those are stories for another time. But, they always had Z-104 playing over the PA at the pool and Hard To Say I’m Sorry seemed like it was played once an hour in that summer. Music certainly can take you to places in the past. It’s always done that for me. They also played Street Player from Chicago 13. A bit of an off cut but it was a great album. I have all of Chicago’s stuff up to an including 19. I love it all.
They closed the second set with Feeling Stronger Everyday. A quick minute off of the stage and they came right back for their encore of Free from Chicago III and 25 or 6 to 4.
The show wasn’t sold out but it was close. It was one of the best non-metal shows I have ever seen and it makes me regret not going more often in the last 22 years. I’m still flying high from last night. Good string of shows coming up, too. Bob Mould, Black Flag, Hall and Oates, Steely Dan and Iron Maiden. What a life!
Pat Benatar and her husband Neil Giraldo have been creating music together for 35 or so years. You Better Run was the 2nd song ever aired on MTV. While I’ve never owned any of her albums, I’ve always enjoyed her music. Neil’s riffs and solos always had good hooks and she has always had a great voice.
Tickets came available a couple of months ago and I decided to go having never seen her before. It made it even better that ACL Live at the Moody Theater was hosting it. I love this venue. Easily the best venue in Austin. Saw some friends in the lobby area while enjoying a beer before the show and then we went our separate ways. I’ve been pretty lucky to get front row balcony for almost every show I’ve seen there.
She opened with All Fired Up and played through her string of hits. It was a short set, only 13 songs, but quite enjoyable. Her voice still sounds amazing. Neil’s playing was spot on and I was surprised at his piano playing skills as well. It was a sold out show and the crowd sang along for the whole show. I was quite surprised that I knew the lyrics to all of her hit songs. All those years in the 80s of radio and MTV apparently had an impact. The bassist and drummer were solid and I got to meet the bassist outside just for a second as we were walking back to the car. The only thing that could have made the show better was if Myron Grombacher was still on drums. That guy was a killer drummer.
In her encore, she closed with Heartbreaker that went into a bit of Ring of Fire then into a snippet of Zeppelin’s Heartbreaker then back to her Heartbreaker.
All in all it was a fun show and I’m glad I went. I’m seeing Chicago Monday and I am all fired up about it (yes, I went there).