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Archive for the ‘acl live’ Category

Heart Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 16, 2014

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heart_dreambutt_fannie_front_coverHeart was great last night.  I’ve been a fan since the 70s and it started in Ellwood City, PA in my grandma’s basement.  My awesome aunts Dianne and Debbie were big fans and I have good memories of spinning Dreamboat Annie, Dog and Butterfly and Little Queen down there.  The limited time I spent up there yearly was filled with music in the basement with my cousins and aunts.

Oddly, I never went to see them until last night.  I especially love the 80s MTV-era stuff.

Heart opened with a slow-ish version of Barracuda and rolled right into Heartless and Magic Man.  Ann’s voice was stellar.  She’s 64.  She sounded so damned incredible and I was completely blown away by the power she still possesses in her voice.  Nancy is 60 and neither of them looked their ages at all.  They are still both beautiful.  I was amazed as to how tiny/short the sisters are.  I don’t know why I thought they’d be taller.  I would have hugged both of them if I had been given the chance.

The whole band was tight as expected.  The setlist was a decent cross section of the 70s and 80s hits.  I will admit to getting all choked up during Dreamboat Annie.  A few tears rolled down.  Not sure why.  I love that song and all, but it just moved me a bit last night.  We were 5th row center for the show.  Right after Dreamboat was played, the lights were turned on the crowd for a moment and I had the horns up in the air.  Standing at the edge of the stage, Ann caught my glance, gave me a wink and a thumbs up.  I was already smiling and that just made me smile even harder.

I will say that the show was damn near perfect except for one thing…the abundance of cover tunes.  I know they’ve been playing Zeppelin covers for years, but for the entire three song encore?  I’m not a Zep fan at all, but Heart does it well.  They also did a Wings cover.  I went to the bathroom on that one.  I’m no McCartney fan in the least.  They did, however, cover Robin Trower’s Day of the Eagle and that sounded cool.  But when you’re already playing what I thought was a short set, fill it with originals.

But overall, it was a great show and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to see them.

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of the Austin American Statesman

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courtesy of Heart’s soundwoman

Kat, Wendy, Monkey Boy, Alysha.  Photo courtesy of "The Austin 360 A List"

Kat, Wendy, Monkey Boy, Alysha. Photo courtesy of “The Austin 360 A List”

Devo Concert Review, Austin Tx, July 2, 2014

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Admittedly I’m not a big DEVO fan, but I’m not an un-fan.  I had Freedom of Choice and Are We Not Men on vinyl but they never got much play.  That being said, friends said that the last few shows here in Austin were great so I decided to get tickets and go.

After a few songs I realized some of the quirky genius behind what they were doing.  This tour was touted as the Hardcore DEVO Tour 74′-77′.  The early stuff they were playing was noisy but still very much controlled chaos.  The band was entertaining and everything was pretty scripted, but we had a blast.

The donned blue jumpsuits and hardhats early in the set and bounced and danced around a lot for guys in their early to mid 60s.  The lineup consists of original members Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale and drummer Josh Freese who has been in the band in 1996.  They were solid and a lot of fun and just what I needed this week.

One cool thing was seeing Mark jump off the stage into the photo/security pit during Jocko Homo and half jump into the crowd to have people sing “We are Devo!” with him.

All of my iPhone pictures look like crap, so nothing really to share.  Once of these days I’ll buy another decent small camera.

 

Alice In Chains Concert Review, Austin, TX 04/28/2014

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In 1990 the record store I used to frequent and ultimately worked in for a while gave me an advanced copy of  a cassette called Facelift by Alice In Chains.  The owner said something to the effect of, “Check out this new metal band and let me know what you think.”  I had never heard of them and my buddy and I got in the car and immediately popped it in on our way back home.  We heard that voice and just started laughing hysterically.  I think we may have gotten all the way through the album once,  It was wretched.  A week or so later I gave the cassette back to Dave (the owner of the store) and said, “This is awful.  These guys will never amount to anything!”

DERP.

Alrighty then.  I guess they did OK for themselves.  A year later in 1991 I had tickets to see Van Halen on the F.U.C.K. Tour and AIC was the opener.  The day of the show I went to the record store to pick up my paycheck and as I am about to leave, I see a tour bus pull up outside.  It was AIC.  They looked pretty rough…in that I mean like they hadn’t bathed for a while.  Layne Staley was on crutches.  I stopped them and asked if they were AIC and they were nice enough to speak to me for a few minutes.  They asked if I was coming to the show and I said I was.  “Do you have tickets already?”  “Yes, but a backstage pass would be cool.”  “Uh, no.  Good luck with that.”  Cantrell said that laughingly.

That night they came out and blew Van Halen away.  Even if I wasn’t a fan of that album in the least, the band was great live.  Shortly after Dirt came out, the band I was in covered Would? and I bought the cassette and enjoyed it.  It’s a good album but it’s the only one of theirs that I can stomach to this day.

Flash forward 20+ years and both Layne Stayley and Mike Starr are no longer part of this world.  RIP.   When the listing for AIC at The Moody Theater comes out, I buy 2 general admission floor tickets more out of curiosity than anything.  I almost sold my tickets a few days before the show to go see George Clinton.  Glad I kept them.

Last night’s show was sold out but it didn’t feel like it.  My friend and I we just off of the corner on stage right with some other friends that I ran into.  AIC hits the stage with Them Bones and that new singer pretty much owned the show.  He’s a likeable frontman and worked the crowd pretty good.  I guess it’s easier when you have a captive audience full of fans, eh?  But whatever.  The guy could sing (like Layne) and had a good range.  He played guitar quite a bit and even had one solo.  The harmonies provided by Cantrell are still spot on.  I’m sure he feels like the lucky one and/or a survivor since two of his bandmates had died of drugs.

Last night’s set was quite different than what I saw in 1991.  AIC is a well-oiled machine nowadays although there was one false start on Last of My Kind.  I am not sure who was at fault, the drummer or Cantrell.  Seemed that one of the two was confused about which song they were supposed to play.  It made for a funny moment as the band joked about it and moved on.  They were tight and while I still can’t call myself a fan, I enjoyed their set for the most part.  I only knew the “hits” that they played and whatever tracks were on Dirt.  A lot of their stuff sounds the same to me and drones on a little too much, but that’s their sound.

I wondered how many people were there that didn’t realize that Layne Stayley was gone.  I bet there was at least one!  It was also a good show for people watching.

 

Alice in Chains Setlist The Moody Theater, Austin, TX, USA, Spring Tour 2014

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I guess the sign worked.  There were no incidents to report!

I guess the sign worked. There were no incidents to report!

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What? That’s not Layne Stayley!

Gordon Lightfoot Concert Review, 2/11/2014 Austin, Tx

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If you’ve paid attention to this page over the years, you’d know I like more than just metal and last week’s concert here in Austin took me down a wonderful carefree highway (pun intended) from my youth.

My mom was a big fan of the easy listening 60s/70s rock and motown and because of that I’ve always had a soft spot for the stuff.  Gordon Lightfoot is certainly high on my list of those golden throated 70’s crooners.

He came to town a couple of years back and I couldn’t make it.  When I saw he was coming to the Moody Theater, I decided to pull the trigger and just go see him.  I’d watched some recent live footage and he still sounded decent.  Good enough to see anyhow.

He came one stage and said, “I’m Gordon Lightfoot from Toronto, Canada and I don’t smoke crack cocaine.”  Nice dig on the mayor of Toronto!  Now let’s just get it out there that Gordon is 75 years old.  That being said, his voice wasn’t what it once was.  He was an octave or so higher and was even a little shaky at times, but the dude stood up the whole time playing guitar and did over 25 songs.  And what’s more, NO TELEPROMPTER!  He wore black jeans a dark blue/blackish crushed velvet jacket in the first set and a red one in the second set.  Cool daddy.

He was energetic, comedic and entertaining giving a few stories here and there.  Before Edmund Fitzgerald, he said, “In 1975 I wrote a song for a folk album that became a rock hit.  Seriously.”

He mixed his hits in with some tracks that I didn’t recognize and even a newer one or two, but it was just a relaxing time.  The highlights for me were If You Could Read My Mind (which got me a little misty) and Don Quixote.  I love his phrasing and he’s a great storyteller with his lyrics.  Unfortunately I didn’t remember the whole setlist, but he split it into two sets with a 15 minute break in between.

Good times.

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.

 

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.