The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Posts Tagged ‘tx

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.

 

Iron Maiden Return to the USA

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Not much could make me happier today than reading the news that my all time favo(u)rite band in the world is playing the USA this year on an additional leg of their Maiden England Tour.  Even better is that they’re playing in Austin, TX!  Even more better that the show is 10 minutes from my new house.  For the short tour, they’ve signed Megadeth to come along which is a-ok with me.

See you there!

UP THE IRONS!

Written by The Metal Files

April 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Billy Cobham – Concert Review – Austin, TX – October 13, 2010

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I hate printable tickets!

 

 

Sometime in the mid-80s, I think, a friend of mine turned me on to some jazz stuff and the one band that stuck with me was Mahavishnu Orchestra.  Their album Birds of Fire remains the greatest jazz/fusion album I have ever heard.  Part of the reason, a big part really, was because of the drummer, Billy Cobham.  He was a very musical drummer and I loved his work on his first solo album, Spectrum and the Miles Davis albums Bitches Brew and Live-Evil.  He’s just a man-beast of a drummer in his chops, but he plays such a light fluid style.

That Mahavishnu album is very special to me.  When I was still drumming (84-2000), I used to practice along with Birds of Fire quite often.  No, I wasn’t able to play a lot of the stuff he was doing on there, but I tried my damnedest to play along and keep up.  It was good practice.

When I saw that he was playing at the One World Theatre here in Austin, I had to go.  I was able to score second row seats on the center aisle.  Doug Morrison came along.  I’d never been to this place but Doug mentioned several times how small and awesome it is.  He was right.  You almost feel like you’re in your own house watching a band with perfect acoustics.  The place is pretty awesome.  The sound was great.

Billy’s band consists of all foreigners, including Billy.  I never knew he was Panamanian.  The whole band was just great and one would expect no less.  But then there’s Billy.  I’ve never seen such a big drummer with such a soft style.  He proved all night that power drumming has absolutely nothing to do with how hard one hits.  He was so fluid and solid.  He did hit harder for accent in spots, but it wasn’t his main thing.  It was quite awesome to watch how he was conducting things from behind the kit.  Normally he’d play with his eyes closed, but when they were opened, it was usually to give someone a cue as to what was coming next.  In one spot he looked over to the bassist and guitar player and just said, “four” and they just nodded and smiled.  Some of the stuff they played really had that early 70s Mahavishnu feel to it.

He is so musical of a drummer and it really took me back to my playing days.  It made me miss it badly.  Not that I was even remotely a jazz/fusion style drummer, but I did try to be a little musical about it instead of just keeping the beat.  Both Doug and I sat there in awe.  For 64 years old, he is still incredibly awesome.

After the show Billy was doing an autograph signing and I didn’t bring anything as I didn’t expect him to come out and hang out.  I did have him sign my ticket and he was gracious enough to do a photo with me.  They didn’t allow cameras during the show so I have no photos of the band.  Pity.  But I do have the awesome shot below!

If this tour comes anywhere near you and you even remotely like jazz/fusion, you will not be disappointed.  Just go!  I’m even more excited about seeing John McLaughlin, Colin Hay and Al Dimeola there in the coming months.

 

Billy Cobham and yours truly. I'm obviously more excited than he is.

 

 

Asia – Concert Review – Austin, TX – August 21, 2010

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1982. I was in 6th grade at Southwestern Intermediate School in the middle of nowhere Virginia. Heat of the Moment was the number one song dominating the charts. Asia was huge already and everyone knew them. We were in some class and someone had a boom box with this song playing and one of my classmates, Kevin F., was playing along to the song on his desk. Kevin was a drummer. For as much as I was into music, I never really thought about playing an instrument until that day in class when I asked Kevin t show me what he was doing. Just as simple as that, he showed me what Carl Palmer was doing on the drums. I wanted to be a drummer. Right then. Boom. It took 2 more years before my parents actually bought me a drum set, but I finally got there. And thanks to Kevin taking 10 minutes to show me “how” to play something, a new chapter…a very important chapter of my life had begun.

For all of the following school years after that, I constantly heard, “Sean, stop banging on your desk!” “Sean, stop tapping your feet!” “Sean, stop tapping those pencils!” and so on. The drums became a way of life for me between 1984 and 2000 when I was forced to give them up due to permanent hand injuries due to drumming. I loved playing the drums and still miss it every day. Fortunately I was able to pick up the bass in 2000 and able to continue on as a musician (yes, drummers are musicians too!).

So basically it was because of Asia and Kevin that I ended up playing drums. Sure, something else probably would have happened to get me there, but that was, as I remember it, the catalyst. So…blame them!

It’s also a big reason why the debut Asia album sits so very near and dear to my tiny black heart. It’s one of those albums that I can never grow tired of, no matter how many times I hear it. Their follow-up album, Alpha, wasn’t too bad either, but the debut is the one.

Being that I was also a YES fan, thanks to my older brother, it gave me an interest in Asia. Steve Howe is a great guitarist.

When I found out a month or so ago that Asia was coming here on their Omega Tour with the original lineup, there was almost no way that I could or would miss this show. I bought tix the instant they went on sale and ended up 7th row on the left side. My friend John ended up scoring front row on the same side the day before the show. Curses! Haha. But whatever. I was there and that’s all that mattered. The guy I play bass for, Doug Morrison, also wanted to go so I ended up getting 2 tix.

The show was at the Paramount Theater here in Austin and I had only seen one other show there, Return to Forever, which was quite awesome in its own right. We get to the venue around 7ish and the band was slated to start at 7:45PM. We were both a little tired from playing a gig of our own the night before. I was checking out the merch and ended up buying the shirt for their current tour as it had the tour dates on the back. One thing I noticed after I bought it was that the band’s name was nowhere on the shirt. Odd. No biggie, I know what it is and that is all that matters.

So finally the lights go down and they open up with I Believe from the Omega album. Everyone stands up to applaud them coming on stage and then we all sat for pretty much the remainder of the show. Kind of odd sitting at a rock show, but oh well. The Paramount is an old theater and the seats aren’t very comfortable, but we suffered through it.

Asia plays songs from the debut, Astra, Phoenix and Omega. The overall sound mix wasn’t that great in my opinion. It may have been because we were 7 rows back from the mains on that one side, not sure. The drum mix got better though the night but his snare was still pretty quiet. Wetton’s bass was almost silent. I even put in earplugs to see if it would help but it didn’t.

The band looked good. I mean these guys are all in their 60s now, so you don’t expect too much. Steve Howe looked like he was about 104 years old, almost like a combination of The Cryptkeeper and Dr Jim from Taxi combined. His playing was great. Nice to see those old fingers still doing those fast runs. He was solid as a rock. He wasn’t very animated but then again he never was. He was playing a double cutaway Gibson semi-hollowbody through 2 Line 6 amps. It was cool that the band took a break and he sat down and did an acoustic solo which included Ram, a great little acoustic number of his.

John Wetton was playing an old black Gibson Victory bass through a 1×15 Ampeg combo amp. Like I said before, I never really heard much of what he was doing but saw some flashes of his talent in the runs that he was playing in a few tracks. I liked that he rarely looked at the bass, he knew what to do and where. He was, however, using a teleprompter and relied on it quite often. I’m not the biggest fan of those things in general, but hey, I guess he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. His voice was stellar. I don’t think they tuned down at all and he was hitting almost every high note with relative ease for a 60-something year old dude.

Geoff Downes really looks the same as he always has, just a little chubbier (I feel his pain!). He had the usual 3 stacks of keyboards surrounding him and his playing was fine. He also handled all of the backing vocals. Some were synthed but most were raw and he sounded great. He’s a fine keyboardist.

Finally…Carl Palmer. In general I’ve never really paid attention to him as a drummer other than what he did on the first album to inspire. It surely wasn’t because of his “badassedness”. My opinion of his playing changed a bit last night. Even as a drummer, I usually didn’t care much for drum solos. I never did them in bands I was in and most of the time would get bored seeing them by other bands. There were always a few exceptions. Carl Palmer became one of those exceptions. His solo was tasteful and entertaining. He did a lot of jazz stuff, which is what I prefer to see in drum solos. Super fast quads and triplets and blistering double bass is just so cliché. Carl played traditional grip on his left hand the whole night and during his solo he threw in some cool Buddy Rich licks, both aurally and visually. It was pretty cool. The dude has some chops. I just wish the drums were mixed a bit better. But…nice work, Carl.  By the way, Carl looks like Richard Mulligan from the TV show “Soap”.  Pretty funny.

One thing I noticed was the interaction (or lack thereof) of the band members. I’d see Wetton and Downes make eye contact a few times and I’d see Palmer and Downes smile at each other a bit. But there was no eye contact between Howe and Wetton, not even once. I sensed a little animosity. It may also be because Howe seems like he is blind nowadays. He was wearing some thick glasses.

We found out before the show that there was a no camera policy for this night. No biggie. People were still snapping shots with their camera phones (me included). By the last 2 songs, everyone seemed to be taking pictures and Howe seemed pretty annoyed by it. He made some funny faces to a few folks who got up and walked to the stage to take pictures and actually took one guy’s camera and acted like he was taking pics of the crowd. People were laughing but I don’t think Steve was doing it to be funny at all.  I was also surprised that the show didn’t sell out.  The venue isn’t that big and there were several empty seats.

Overall the show was better than I had expected. The band took a 15 minute break mid-set and the whole show was over at 9:45PM. I was very glad that I went and it was worth the ticket price for sure.  So…Thanks Kevin.  Thanks Asia.

Here’s the setlist:

  1. I Believe
  2. Only Time Will Tell
  3. Holy War
  4. Never Again
  5. Through My Veins
  6. Don’t Cry
  7. Steve Howe Guitar Solo
  8. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
  9. Open Your Eyes
  10. Go
  11. Time Again
  12. An Extraordinary Life
  13. End Of The World
  14. The Heat Goes On
  15. Carl Palmer Drum Solo
  16. Sole Survivor
  17. Days Like These (encore)
  18. Heat of the Moment (encore)

Asia 2010 @ The Paramount Theater, Austin, TX

Paul Dianno – Concert Review – 2/10/10

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So Paul Dianno played last night at the Red Eyed Fly in Austin, TX.  I had expectations but they weren’t set too high as I know of enough about Dianno these days to not expect miracles.  As noted before, I’ve been to 2 other Dianno shows but never saw either of them.  Last night was different.

A few weeks back I went to the Red Eyed Fly to get an advanced ticket.  When I asked the booking guy for the club about it, he said they weren’t on sale yet and he didn’t know the price.  So he created his ticket list and I just handed him $20 and said let me know if it’s more or less.  The guy knows me so he had no worries of me paying if it ended up being more than $20.  Ultimately it was $12.  $12!

There really wasn’t that much buzz around town about the show but I tried telling everyone as much as I could.  I’m moving in a block away from the venue so after taking a load of stuff to the new place, I decided to walk over to the venue and see if they were hanging out.  Icarus Witch was the opening act and they also served as Paul’s backup band.  Paul was back at the hotel.  Jason McMaster and I hung around for a bit and watched the soundcheck.  Jason and Paul’s tour manager are old pals so they got to catch up for a bit.  We left to grab a bite to eat and came back right before Icarus Witch was about to take the stage.

Now…I think the club had only sold about 15 pre-sale tickets and I didn’t think many more would show up.  i think they ended up with about 100 or so which was cool.

Icarus Witch hit the stage and while I am not a fan of theirs, they are competent players.  I think they would be better served with 2 guitar players but that’s just my opinion.  They were tight and did a good set.

About 30 minutes after the IW set, the lights dim a little and the music for the Godfather starts playing.  Paul is led through the crowd.  He was in pretty bad shape as apparently he fell on the ice a few times in the last few days, not to mention that he’s always been a bit stiff and gimpy.  To be honest he looked like hell.  He looked old and beaten.  It actually saddened me a bit.

The band opened with Wrathchild and Paul’s voice was obviously worn out from the rigorous touring schedule and from his still very apparent rock and roll  lifestyle.  Hey, good on ‘im if he can still do it!  I had seen the setlist a few days earlier so I knew what to expect.  I was happy that one Battlezone song was in there as I really loved the first 2 albums.  I was also surprised when he played Alex Harvey’s Faith Healer.  I forgot that he covered that on the Murder One album.  It was a cool version.  I didn’t know any of the other songs but Marshall Lockjaw was pretty damned good.

His voice improved a bit throughout the night but he was very open about his voice sounding “like bullocks”.  I didn’t think it was that bad in general.  He sounded better on his solo stuff than he did on the Maiden songs, all of which were played waaaaaay too fast.

After the show most of the crowd left and there were a few of us left who wanted to meet Paul.  They were letting people in 2 at a time to meet Paul and get stuff signed.  All of my CDs were still packed up and I didn’t feel like digging out the Maiden and Battlezone ones.  So I brought “the book”.  Paul signed it in the Battlezone section instead of maiden at my request.  Don’t get me wrong, those 2 Maiden records are some of the greatest records ever, but those 2 Battlezone albums are pretty special to me as well.  I mentioned seeing him with Obsession back in 87 in Norfolk, VA and his face lit up…”Oh wow, Vescera and I are still good pals and talk often.”  Then I mentioned seeing the Murder One tour in Va Beach, VA with Solitude Aeturnus and he remember the show well…”More people here tonight than showed up there at the beach, eh?”  I mentioned that we hung out and shot pool together for a few hours and how grateful I was for that experience.

Paul seemed pretty humble throughout the night.  It was a bit tough seeing one of the “originals” sketching by on a low-dough tour but I’m glad I got to see it.  Paul is still all about the party and I am sure he is doing his share of it on the road again.  He mentioned since he can get a visa with no problem now that he wanted to tour again next year.  I’d surely go.

Wrathchild
Prowler
Marshall Lockjaw
Murders In The Rue Morgue
The Beast Arises
Children Of Madness (Battlezone)
Faith Healer (Alex Harvey Band)
A Song For You
The Ides Of March
Killers
Phantom of the Opera
Running Free
Encore:
Transylvania
Iron Maiden

He had been closing with the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop…I’m so glad we didn’t get to see/hear that.

Here’s the vid for Wrathchild that I shot.  I’ll try and get Children of Madness and Faith Healer posted soon.   I’m using a new camera and am not figuring out how to get really good shots with it yet.

Written by The Metal Files

February 11, 2010 at 9:00 pm