Tag Archives: Bruce Springsteen

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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Fifties Guitar Masters

The 1950s was a time of upheaval in the music world with the development of electric blues leading to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, groundbreaking recording techniques, studio equipment and effects pedals and the like. This blog post aims to briefly examine just some of the guitarists whose work made a large impression on other musicians, and in turn, popular culture.

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

No examination of guitarists in the 1950s  can ignore the plethora of talented blues guitarists. Although Muddy Waters first began recording in the 1940s it is his work when joining the Chess record label in Chicago in 1950 for which he is most remembered. His use of amplification was also said to be hugely influential on other guitarists and was essential in the development of rock ‘n’ roll. His band members have included a variety of famous bluesmen particularly during his time with Chess.

Choice Pick: check out his “Rollin’ Stone” from February 1950

Les Paul

Les Paul

Les was a guitarist capable of playing jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll. He was also an inventor, songwriter and an innovator in studio techniques such as overdubbing, multitrack recording and the use of phasing effects.

Choice Pick: His work with Mary Ford is a career highlight particularly “How High The Moon” from January 1951.

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins is a key proponent of the fingerpicking guitar style and his work has influenced many, most notably Mark Knopfler. His music played an important part in developing a smoother country style that came to be known as the Nashville sound and helped bring country music to a wider pop audience.

Choice Pick:Galloping On The Guitar” released in January 1953 is a good place to start.

Scotty Moore

Scotty Moore (with some other chap called Elvis or something)

Scotty Moore made a name for himself as part of Elvis Presley’s band for many years was a key player in his sound. His pioneering rockabilly style was a key influence on musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards and Jimmy Page, to name just a few.

Choice Pick: It’s hard to go past their Sun debut together on the Presley version of “That’s All Right” released in July 1954.

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry chalked up numerous hit singles all of which feature his signature guitar style. However, upon closer examination you could almost credit pianist Johnnie Johnson for his sound, as Chuck’s licks appear to mimic Johnnie’s piano lines.

Choice Pick: The debut single “Maybellene“, originally released in July 1955, is a classic example of the style Chuck would use throughout his entire career.

bo diddley

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley not only created his first guitar himself out of an old cigar box, but he also designed numerous others throughout his career. He also developed a signature beat and used it often in his songs, which in turn has also been used often in other people’s songs.

Choice Pick: One of my favourite tracks from Bo, and a good one for any casual fan to start with, would have to be “Who Do You Love?” released in March 1956.

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert’s guitar prowess quickly earned him a place in Howlin’ Wolf’s band after Wolf convinced him to move from Memphis to Chicago in 1954. He remained in his band for the majority of his career from that time on.

Choice Pick: If you haven’t heard it before get hold of the definitive Howlin’ Wolf track “Smokestack Lightnin’” to demonstrate Sumlin’s skills.

b b king

B.B. King

Riley “Blues Boy” King was fortunate enough to have Bukka White as a second cousin, who no doubt taught King a thing or two and is alleged to have given him his first guitar. No one plays like B.B. and he never taught himself chords. Yet he still managed to have a career that spanned six decades.

Choice Pick: There are so many to choose from, but his treatment of “Sweet Little Angel” from August 1956 is well worth tracking down.

Link Wray

Link Wray

Link’s work was built around his distorted guitar sounds and he is credited with the popularisation of the power chord. He is often credited with paving the way for punk and hard rock due to the sounds he was able to wrangle out of his guitar and amp.

Choice Pick: His debut single with his Ray Men, “Rumble“, released in April 1958, changed the musical landscape forever!

Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy

Eddy developed a “twangy” sound by playing on his guitar’s bass strings to produce a low, reverberant sound. This became his signature sound and was used throughout his career. Check out his album discography and you will find the word “twang”, or its derivatives feature most prominently in many of the titles.

Choice Pick: His second single, and one of his biggest hits, “Rebel Rouser” from May 1958, is an excellent example of his “twangy” sound.

Albums of the Month

It’s now been just over 12 months since I commenced my feature “Albums of the Month” on my community radio program The Sunday Smorgasbord as heard on TYGA FM. The idea behind the feature was to provide listeners with several tracks from one of my favourite albums each month with the aim of giving a better indication of what an album is like. Hopefully those liking what they have heard would then obtain the album for themselves. It harks back to why I got involved in community radio in the first place. To share my music with others. I felt I had no choice but to begin with one of my favourite albums of all time, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos.

A personal favourite, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs released by Derek & The Dominos in 1970.

A personal favourite,
Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
released by Derek & The Dominos in 1970.

I’ve always been a big fan and supporter of Australian music so I’ve made certain to include some classic Australian albums as well, not just those from international artists.

INXS's Shabooh Shoobah, released in 1982.

INXS’s Shabooh Shoobah,
released in 1982.

Each of the albums I feature also have to have resonated with me on some level in the first place. In some cases I can even remember the circumstances of where and when I first heard them. There is only ever one first listen.

The 1971 album from the Stones, the seminal Sticky Fingers

The 1971 album from the Stones,
the seminal Sticky Fingers

Australia’s musical landscape has always heavily featured both US & UK artists, as well as our own, so it was inevitable that my “Albums of the Month” would too.

Cold Chisel's 1982 album, Circus Animals

Cold Chisel’s 1982 album,
Circus Animals

The classic Darkness On The Edge Of Town, released by The Boss in 1978

The classic Darkness On The Edge Of Town,
released by The Boss in 1978

I’ve always believed that most music-lovers like to hear a little bit of everything, the whole modus operandi of my radio program. I always advise listeners if they don’t like what’s playing, just wait five minutes, because the next one will be different. Hopefully, over time, the artists I’ve featured in my “Albums of the Month” will also illustrate the diversity of my taste.

Human Frailty, a classic Hunters & Collectors album, released in 1986.

Human Frailty, a classic
Hunters & Collectors album,
released in 1986.

Blood Sugar Sex Magick, the 1991 album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Blood Sugar Sex Magick,
the 1991 album from the
Red Hot Chili Peppers

I’ve also tried to feature albums from different eras and different genres. But ultimately we are limited by our own experiences. Some albums featured will be ones I grew up with, whilst others I will have discovered later in life due to either their release date or when I eventually became aware of them.

Daisies of the Galaxy, an album released in 2000 by Eels

Daisies of the Galaxy,
an album released in 2000 by Eels

When January rolls around my first show of the year always features my favourite music released in the previous 12 months. I call it my “Year In Review Special”. Consequently I decided to make the January album of the month my favourite one released the previous year. For 2014 that was the one released by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

World On Fire from Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. My pick of 2014.

World On Fire from Slash,
featuring Myles Kennedy
& The Conspirators.
My pick of 2014.

I can remember some Regurgitator fans being disappointed with their change in sound on their second album. The band embraced their reaction in advance kicking off the album with the hilarious I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff. Personally, I thought Unit was brilliant.

Regurgitator's second album, Unit, released in 1997.

Regurgitator’s second album, Unit,
released in 1997.

Some albums also indicate a change in direction for an artist or hint what is about to come. Hunky Dory did this brilliantly, bringing together the musicians that would become The Spiders From Mars as well as demonstrating that David Bowie’s songwriting had reached another level since The Man Who Sold The World album.

The album that culminated in the formation of The Spiders From Mars, David Bowie's Hunky Dory released in 1971.

The album that culminated
in the formation of
The Spiders From Mars,
David Bowie’s Hunky Dory
released in 1971.

This brings me to this month’s “Album of the Month” from Queen. Although they would release another two studio albums before his death, A Kind Of Magic would be the last studio album to be accompanied by a tour from the Freddie Mercury era of the band. The tour ended up leading to some of their finest live performances, none better than their performance at Knebworth, thankfully captured on film for posterity.

A Kind Of Magic by Queen, the unofficial Highlander soundtrack, released in 1986

A Kind Of Magic by Queen,
the unofficial Highlander soundtrack,
released in 1986

So there we have a baker’s dozen of albums I’ve featured on the program. So to quote Molly Meldrum, “Do yourself a favour”, add some of these to your music collection, you won’t regret it.

Don’t forget you can listen to my program 8pm Sunday nights on 98.9 TYGA FM here in the beautiful Derwent Valley, stream online at http://www.tygafm.org.au or listen with your mobile device via the TuneIn app.

I’m Back In The Ring To Take Another Swing

Yes I am back. I have decided to finally post something in my on-again off-again blog. Thanks to those that follow the blog for waiting so long. I’ve deliberately chosen a quote from AC/DC’s classic You Shook Me All Night Long as the title for this post as I believe it sums it up really well. As 2014 has just drawn closed it is timely to reflect on older artists releasing new recordings throughout the year.

I recently did a 2014 Year in Review Special on my community radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. The playlist for that program is available at this URL, 7tyg.radiopages.info/the-sunday-smorgasboard/2015-01-04. Although it featured new releases from a diversity of artists here are some of those released by older artists. Some making a return to recording after many years in the wilderness, so to speak.

In January Bruce Springsteen released High Hopes as he continues in one of the most prolific periods of his career. High Hopes is his eighth studio album this century. The real surprise in January was the release of Croz, by David Crosby, his first studio album in twenty years!

David Crosby's "Croz" released January 2014

David Crosby’s “Croz” released January 2014

February saw the release of Paul Rodgers’ studio album The Royal Sessions, a collection of Blues, R&B and Soul covers and his first studio album since 2000. Also returning to the music racks in February after an 18 year absence was none other than Neneh Cherry, with her fourth studio album, Blank Project.

Neneh Cherry's first studio album in eighteen years, Blank Project.

Neneh Cherry’s first studio album in eighteen years, Blank Project.

Mike Oldfield chalked up his twenty-fifth studio album in March with Man On The Rocks. It was his first entirely song-based album with no long instrumental passages since 1989’s Earth Moving.

Mike Oldfield's 25th album - Man On The Rocks

Mike Oldfield’s 25th album – Man On The Rocks

In April Australian singer-songwriter Russell Morris released his second album in as many years with Van Diemen’s Land. Blues journeyman Robert Cray also churned out yet another studio album in April with In My Soul, his seventh since 2001. He has also released two live albums in this period.

cray

Blondie released their second studio album in five years in May with Ghosts Of Download. It was made available with Blondie 4(0) Ever, a compilation of re-recordings of their biggest hits for their fortieth anniversary.

Blondie_-_Ghosts_of_Download

Scottish rockers Nazareth released their twenty-third studio album in June. It was the last with singer Dan McCafferty, who left before the album’s release. It was called Rock ‘N’ Roll Telephone.

Rock_'n'_Roll_Telephone

July saw the release of a new studio album from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with Hypnotic Eye. Judas Priest dropped Redeemer Of Souls in July, their first without founding guitarist K.K. Downing. July also saw Weird Al Yankovic release his first number one album, despite his long career, with Mandatory Fun. Choosing to not release a single, but eight music videos simultaneously instead, obviously helped.

Weird Al Yankovic's Mandatory Fun

Weird Al Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun

Ace Frehley left KISS with the intention of kicking off his solo career. He left the band in 1982 yet August 2014 saw the release of only his fifth studio album since his departure, with the suitably titled, Space Invader.

Ace Frehley's Space Invader released in August 2014

Ace Frehley’s Space Invader released in August 2014

September saw new releases from music industry stalwarts U2 (Songs Of innocence) and Robert Plant (Lullaby … And The Ceaseless Roar). September also saw the welcome return of Canada’s The Tea Party releasing their first studio album for a decade, The Ocean At The End.

Canadian rockers The Tea Party return with The Ocean At The End

Canadian rockers The Tea Party return with The Ocean At The End

Returning in October with his trademark sneer and legendary guitarist foil, Steve Stevens, was none other than Mr William Broad, better known as Billy Idol. His latest album is almost semi-autobiographical in places, particularly on the title track, Kings & Queens Of The Underground.

Kings_queens_cover

November was the month for the return of two industry giants. The first being the band mentioned at the start of this post, AC/DC. They released Rock Or Bust, the follow-up to Black Ice, sadly without founding brother Malcolm Young’s involvement due to illness. Somehow between recording and releasing the album they also seem to have left drummer Phil Rudd behind too, although I am sure that is for entirely different reasons. The one that pundits like me were most hanging out for was the new Pink Floyd album, The Endless River. Predominantly instrumental and recorded during sessions for 1994’s The Division Bell, it was a fitting swan song and a memorial to late keyboardist, Rick Wright.

The Endless River - released by Pink Floyd in November 2014

The Endless River – released by Pink Floyd in November 2014

In December legendary Australian musician Paul Kelly released his album, The Merri Soul Sessions. Some of the material was originally released on four double A-sided 7″ vinyl singles throughout 2014. The work is largely a collaboration with different vocalists chosen to suit the various tracks. Vocalists on the album include Vika & Linda Bull, Dan Sultan, Clairy Browne, Kira Piru and of course the man himself.

Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions

Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions

All in all a very productive year for older musicians with some still going strong, others returning to form and some just basking in their glory days. To quote Molly Meldrum, “do yourselves a favour” and get hold of some of these albums. Your ears will thank you.