Tag Archives: Albert Collins

Top Ten Gigs

Over the last week or so I have attempted to write down a list of artists I have seen perform live. My memory is not what it used to be, but I managed to recollect over 140 gigs by more than 80 different artists. No wonder I suffer from tinnitus!

I decided I would list ten of my favourite live gigs and then realised how hard it would be to narrow it down to ten! Regardless, here is my attempt, but I made it easier on myself by listing them in no particular order.

B.B. King

B.B. King performing live December 12, 1989 in Paris.

I was fortunate enough to see B.B. King perform live at the Canberra Theatre on 7th February 1989. I was 20 years old. A colleague in his early 60s was there as were many young women and men in their late teens/early 20s. This was an eye-opener for me in that a musician could appeal to such a diverse audience. His performance was sublime and he was generous in his distribution of guitar picks to the crowd.

hunnas june 86

A promotional photo of Hunters & Collectors, June 1986.

Hunters & Collectors performed live at the ANU Bar, a venue that no longer exists, on 25th May 1986. I was under-age at the time but the people on the door at this gig weren’t overly vigilant on checking ID so luckily I managed to sneak in. A fantastic live performance from a band I would go on to see live another 6 times. They were ably supported by Cattletruck, a band I really enjoyed as well and I have their one and only album on CD these days, after originally owning it on cassette.

u2

Zoo TV was recorded live in Sydney in 1993 and I was there!

I grew up listening to U2’s music, and I found it enjoyable despite Bono’s over-the-top personality and ego. For me, it was always about the music. Getting to be there on the night they broadcast their Zoo TV gig around the world via satellite, 27th November 1993, was a truly memorable experience.

Concert ad

I have been a Pink Floyd fan for decades and was grateful to have the chance to see him live on 10th February 2018 in Melbourne. It was a gig my brother-in-law quite rightly dubbed “an almost religious experience”, as we were treated to 4 or 5 from his latest solo album dispersed amongst classic Pink Floyd tracks.

springsteen

Bruce Springsteen, live in Sydney 2003.

I am grateful I got to see the classic lineup of the E Street band perform live on The Rising tour with Bruce Springsteen on 22nd March 2003. Particularly as saxophonist Clarence Clemons and organist Danny Federici have since died. The performance that night was electric, despite the power cutting out four times, and we got to see a show that ran for more than three and a half hours. Brilliant!

Kiss

KISS performing live on their reunion tour, 1997.

Getting to see the original lineup of KISS perform live on 6th February 1997 on the Reunion Tour was a life-long dream come true. I have seen them live a couple of times since, with varying lineups, but nothing compares to the original lineup, despite what Gene and Paul would have you believe.

Iron_Maiden

Iron Maiden live, 2011.

I have seen Iron Maiden live in concert three times. They were actually the first band I ever saw perform live! Their best performance, of the three, was at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on the Final Frontier Tour on 24th February, 2011. They were absolutely amazing and Eddie was in fine form too!

clapton

Eric Clapton live at the Royal Albert Hall in December 1990.

Another of my favourite artists of all time is Eric Clapton. I remember cueing up early to get tickets on the Saturday morning they went on sale, this was in the days before online booking. The line went back a block and a half and I got there two hours early! I had previously spent many hours sweet talking the sales person at the ticket outlet and had managed to reserve myself a concert poster. It still has pride of place in the hallway of my home. The gig date was 10 November 1990 at the Royal Theatre in Canberra and I didn’t get to see him live again for another 20+ years!

albert

The Master of the Telecaster, Albert Collins

I managed to see another blues legend live in concert at the Canberra Theatre on 7th September 1992. My hopes beforehand were very high in regard to the quality of his performance and needless to say, he exceeded my expectations. Infamous for his walks through the crowd with an exceedingly long guitar lead, Albert Collins did exactly that. I will never forget seeing the “Master of the Telecaster” live in concert. Phenomenal!

gabriel

Peter Gabriel performing live on the Secret World Tour

I was in Adelaide for the WOMADelaide festival of music and dance in 1993. On the Friday night, 19th February, I was witness to Peter Gabriel’s first ever live Australian performance. A rehearsal performance that went for over an hour, 24 hours ahead of the full performance on the Saturday night. It felt intimate, warm and just musically complete. The following night’s performance was equally as good. It was about 12 months later, 1st March 1994 to be precise, when I saw the same band perform at the Sydney Entertainment Centre with the full show as the multimedia experience it had become. Although still a great show, it was a completely different experience and I think I preferred the more intimate WOMADelaide gigs. The whole WOMADelaide expperience was wonderful and Peter Gabriel was one of many fantastic acts I saw perform during the festival.

Well that’s ten of my favourites, but I’m sure if you asked me another time I’d probably think of a different ten!

 

 

 

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Albums Of The Month Part 2

I’m pleased about deciding to continue my “Album of the Month” feature on my radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. It enables me to play tracks from some of my favourite albums whilst discussing some useless trivia about the album and/or artists. Hopefully it will introduce listeners to something new or let them hear something they haven’t heard for a while. This post covers the second year of the feature.

01 Highway To Hell

AC/DC’s seminal 1979 album – Highway To Hell

I’ve intentionally used the image of  the original Australian pressing of AC/DC’s album Highway To Hell. I think the flames make all the difference in the world to the cover art and find the one used overseas and everywhere today to be rather drab by comparison.

02 Showdown!

The Grammy Award winning album Showdown! featuring Collins, Cray & Copeland

I always advise newcomers to the blues that if they only end up owning one blues album from the 1980s then Showdown! has to be it. The interplay between Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland is just beautiful to hear.

03 Quadrophenia

The ultimate rock opera, the Who’s Quadrophenia

The Who’s album Tommy may be more famous and Who’s Next , comprising of tracks from their abandoned Lifehouse project, may contain some of their finest moments, but for me the quintessential rock opera is Quadrophenia. I love this album from start to finish (the only way to listen to it).

04 face to face

Face To Face, an essential album for fans of Aussie pub rock

Stalwarts of the Australian pub rock scene, the Angels, hit their straps fairly early on with their career-defining sophomore album, Face To Face, released in 1978.

05 mellon collie

The Smashing Pumpkins reached their peak with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Many pundits will tell you that Nirvana’s Nevermind was the album of the 90s decade. Personally, I always found it a toss-up between Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, OK Computer by Radiohead and this masterpiece from the Smashing Pumpkins. To release a double album of this length which remains “all killer no filler” is an amazing achievement.

06 magic box

1967’s Magic Box from The Loved Ones

I was introduced to this album in the late 1980s after hearing two cover versions of their hit, “The Loved One”, by INXS. It’s hard to imagine now how successful these guys really were in their day despite the brevity of their career. The album was also one of Australia’s earliest to be released in stereo.

07 speaking in tongues

Speaking In Tongues, a classic album from Talking Heads

I think I’m showing my age with the amount of 1980s albums creeping in to my album of the month feature. I loved Talking Heads around this time and enjoyed a midnight screening session of their live concert film, Stop Making Sense, only a few years after this album.

08 ok computer

Radiohead’s finest moment, OK Computer

I still listen to this album today despite it now being 20 years old!

09 endless forms most beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful from Finland’s Nightwish

My album of the year for 2015 was Nightwish’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. If you have a thing for symphonic metal then you need this in your collection.

10 at last

Etta James released At Last! in 1960

Etta James released one the finest debut albums you will ever hear in November 1960. Worth owning if you don’t already!

11 days of innocence

Days Of innocence featuring the mawkish “What About Me?”

I adore this album despite absolutely detesting their hugely successful single from it, “What About Me?”. Proof that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

12 number of the beast

Iron Maiden introduces Bruce Dickinson as their new lead singer on 1982’s Number Of The Beast

I still consider Number Of The Beast one of Iron Maiden’s finest moments.

 

I think anyone who decides to go out and buy these “albums of the month” listed here, and those in my previous post on this topic, will certainly end up with an interesting music collection (in my humble opinion).

In me-Moore-iam

gary-moore-04

Legendary Irish guitarist Gary Moore

Often, people are remembered on the anniversary of their death. In the case of musicians, I’m more likely to think of them when I hear their music. I was reminded of just how great a performer Gary Moore was, after playing a track on my radio show last weekend.

He started his career with a band called Skid Row where he first met a young Phil Lynott. He would go on to have an on again-off again relationship with Lynott’s band Thin Lizzy during the 1970s. However, he only appeared on one studio album as a fully-fledged member of the band, the magnificent Black Rose from 1979.

black rose

The classic Thin Lizzy album, 1979’s Black Rose

I can’t remember when I first heard Gary Moore solo but I remember obtaining his 1985 album, Run For Cover,on vinyl based on the strength of the single he performed with Phil Lynott, “Out In The Fields”. I wasn’t disappointed.

run for cover

Run For Cover released in 1985

He was a very technically gifted guitarist and during his early solo albums he concentrated on a hard rock sound. He had success in the UK, and to a lesser extent in Australia, but he was idolised in Japan. He released a live album recorded in Japan in 1983 and seven studio albums during the course of the eighties. The most successful of these was 1987’s Wild Frontier and featured a cover version of the Easybeats track, “Friday On My Mind”.

Wild Frontier

1987’s Wild Frontier

In the 1990s he reinvented himself as bluesman, by returning to the kind of music that inspired him in his youth. “Still Got The Blues”, released in 1990, turned out to be the most successful album of his career and featured two legendary bluesmen in Albert King and Albert Collins.

still got the blues

Still Got The Blues released in 1990

His next studio album, After Hours,  featured another blues legend in B.B. King before he formed a supergroup of sorts, with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker of Cream fame. They called themselves BBM (Bruce-Baker-Moore) and released one album, Around The Next Dream in 1994.

bbm

1994’s Around The Next Dream by BBM

Moore would return to the blues on his tribute album to Peter Green, Blues For Greeny, released in 1995. Peter Green, founding guitarist of Fleetwood Mac, was an idol of Moore’s and he had sold Moore his 1959 Gibson Les Paul after Moore got to play support for Green with his first band, Skid Row. Blues For Greeny was recorded using that very same guitar on material composed by Green and originally recorded during his tenures with Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers.

blues for greeny

Blues For Greeny released in 1995

Moore then chose to modernise his sound on his next studio album, the excellent Dark Days In Paradise, released in 1997.

dark days

1997’s Dark Days In Paradise

In the 21st century Moore once again focused on the blues, releasing another five studio blues albums between 2001 and 2008.

If you’ve never considered owning any of his albums there are plenty of compilations available for you to sample his wares, or you could dive right in with both feet and get hold of some of the albums featured in this blog post.

What better way to remember a musician then by playing their material?

The Albert curse

I was fortunate enough to see several of my favourite blues guitarists/performers live in concert. The first was B.B. King at a gig at the Canberra Theatre in 1989. It was the first gig I can remember going to where the age groups ranged from 18 to 60 plus and the man himself was 63 at the time. An excellent live performance.

The next was Albert King in 1992 at the same venue, with Canned Heat as support. Another excellent gig but sadly Albert was dead six months later. I was extremely pleased to have taken the opportunity to see him when I did.

One of the "Kings of the Blues", guitarist Albert King

One of the “Kings of the Blues”, guitarist Albert King

The next blues guitarist I got too see was Albert Collins with his band the Icebreakers in 1993. The man was the consummate professional and his performance that night could only be desrcibed as “blistering”. Six months after seeing him in concert he was dead too.

"Master of the Telecaster", blues guitarist Albert Collins

“Master of the Telecaster”, blues guitarist Albert Collins

It was at this time I started to believe in the “Albert” curse. Two magicians seen live in concert dead within 6 months of me seeing them. I am very worried about the next musician I see live called Albert.