Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2000 – Part 12

Wow, 12 posts on the Year 2000. And one more to come after this.

Sammy Hagar – Ten 13

I was just listening to his “Lockdown 2020” album released with “The Circle”. Cant say I’m a fan. It’s not the album I wanted to hear from him.

Then again, how can you not listen to a record featuring Sammy Hagar?

Check out “Let Sally Drive”. The riffs, the vocal melodies and that Acca Dacca vibe.

Then “Serious JuJu” kicks off with a Tool like vibe/feel in the riffs and the variety between the songs is intoxicating.

“All politicians speak in jive, they lie to keep the lie alive”

It’s not just the politicians these days. A lot of people are trying to get ahead by putting down others.

“The Message” is one of those slower type rockers. Think of “Right Now”. It still rocks as hard as it rolls.

“Little Bit More” has Sammy showing all those Alt Rockers how it’s really done.

“Protection” is “Humans Being”, with a bit more soul and boogie instead of the fast paced rocker that Van Halen delivered. And Sammy is singing about how we all need “protection from the system”.

Check it out.

U2 – All You Can’t Leave Behind

It was the perfect time for a comeback and they delivered.

“Beautiful Day” is classic U2. Musically, they had returned to the well of rock, after dabbling in electronica, techno and dance synths previously. It came out in Australia, just after the Olympics finished and it was a beautiful time.

I know a lot of us sang it as “it’s a beautiful day when you got bills to pay”, smiling and laughing while we sung it.

“Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” sounds like one of those soul blues rock tunes that hangs around for a while. It’s slower in tempo, almost ballad like, but it still rocks for me.

“Elevation” continues the knockouts and “Walk On” makes it four from four. “Kite” at track 5 and its melancholic mood captures me. Five from five.

And this album was a high peak for the band.

“All That You Can’t Leave Behind” went to number one in 32 countries and won seven Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Album.

Bono kept on saying in interviews how U2 was “re-applying for the job of ‘biggest band in the world'” with this album. And in my view they succeeded.

Oasis – Standing on the Shoulder of Giants

It still did good business in Australia, coming in at number 6 on the ARIA charts.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing for Noel Gallagher, who didn’t want to make the album as he was devoid of inspiration, and had no reason or desire to make music, but Liam kept pushing him to write as the band needed a new album to go on tour.

And for an album which Noel sees as uninspired, I think it’s pretty good.

“Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is” has this “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep” riff and a “Roadhouse Blues” vocal line, which connected with audiences. It’s one of my favourites from the album. “Go Let It Out” wouldn’t be out of place on earlier Oasis album.

“Gas Panic!” is an underrated gem, exotic and progressive in feel and atmospherics. At almost 7 minutes long, its anti-pop.

“Where Did It All Go Wrong?” could have crossed over onto the country rock charts. Hell, I will even call it Southern Rock. “I Can See A Liar” starts off with an AC/DC style riff before it moves into the psychedelic rock from The Beatles.

The album closes with the six minute and thirty seconds “Roll It Over”, another melancholic track which percolates slowly. Make sure you stick around for when the guitar solo starts and the gospel singers kick in. It’s worth it.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Machina/The Machines of God

All albums that came after “Siamese Dream” and “Mellon Collie” would be compared to those albums instead of standing on their own. Regardless, the album still did good business in Australia and most major music markets. But poor business when compared to the other albums.

“The Everlasting Gaze” is a bloody good song. Listen to that intro riff, which re-appears in the verses and don’t tell me it’s not metal.

“Stand Inside Your Love” is different, more Brit Pop like The Cure and “Heavy Metal Machine” has this massive blues rock groove, all fuzzed up and heavy as lead.

“Glass And The Ghost Children” feels like a Neil Young song, when he went electric and all fuzzed up and experimented. “This Time” is one of their signature ballads. “Blue Skies Bring Tears” percolates at a slow tempo.

Overall, “Machina” at that point in time was the second lowest-selling Pumpkins album. Their label made sure they told them the same. Maybe it was the reason why they broke up.

Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, who returned to the band for this album, said it was like watching your kid get straight A’s for ten years, and suddenly flunk out of school. Billy Corgan, said the album wasn’t heavy enough or alternative enough to compete with Korn and Limp Bizkit, plus it was a concept story which nobody understood.

But their viewpoints are based on sales, not art.

For “Machina”, Billy Corgan delivered a piece of musical theatre, that is still waiting for the massive double album reissue in the way it was always meant to be.

Queens Of The Stone Age – Rated R

As soon as the bass groove starts of for “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer”, I was hooked. Of course a certain Dave Grohl used that same pattern for the Foo Fighters.

“Better Living Through Chemistry” feels like a cut from “The Tea Party”. And I like it. Make sure you check out the riff in the middle of the song. “Tension Head” is another that has a riff that gets me to pick up the guitar. “I Think I Lost My Headache” is a lost cut from Black Sabbath.

Porcupine Tree – Voyage 34

Only four songs are on the album. Each one at least 10 minutes or more. Phase 1 kicks it off and Phase 4 ends it. You can guess the song titles of the other two songs.

And after the spoken intro which mentions participants eating sugar cubes laced with LSD, the Pink Floyd inspired single note echo riff kicks off. And the themes of experimenting on humans while they consume drugs continues. It’s not the album I wanted from em at this point in time, but I am a fan of the courage Steve Wilson had to experiment and push boundaries.

Catherine Wheel – Wishville

“Sparks Are Gonna Fly” has this wah wah tremolo riff to kick it off, before it explodes without any effects. Its blues rock and its foot stomping. “What We Want To Believe In” has a fuzz wah drenched intro lead to kick off the song, and I like.

“All Of That” is a favourite. So is “Idle Life”. They are both slower tempo, ballad like.

Spiritual Beggars – Ad Asra

The retro looking cover and band name graphic was good enough to get me interested. Like QOTSA and other acts that brought back the heavy rock from the 70’s, Spiritual Beggars did it Euro style.

And Michael Amott on guitars and founder of the band after he left Carcass, is a true guitar hero when it comes to riffs and leads.

If the name sounds familiar, he also founded Arch Enemy and if you read his interviews he talks very highly of his influences like Ritchie Blackmore, Glenn Tipton, Adrian Smith, Tony Iommi, Frank Marino, Michael Schenker, Kerry King, Dave Mustaine, and Uli Jon Roth.

Opener “Left Brain Ambassadors” is a heavy blues rock tune.

“Wonderful World” has a verse which drips Sabbath and a Chorus that comes from Swedish pop and a solo section which is brilliant.

The outro solo section in “Sedated” needs to be heard, if you haven’t heard it already.

“Angel Of Betrayal” is your typical 70’s Hard Rock tunes, more like Blue Oyster Cult.

And there isn’t a bad song on the album.

There are the fast riffs (“Save Your Soul” comes to mind as I type this), the melodic riffs (“Per Aspera Ad Astra”) and the slower heavier than lead riffs (“Until the Morning” comes to mind, which has an acoustic opening and then a big heavy riff that reminds me of Sabbath. The vocals are distorted and perfect.)

And for a closer, check out “Mantra” is it plods along acoustically with an eerie keyboard before it explodes like “Stairway To Heaven” explodes.

Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes – Live at the Greek

Chris Robinson said he “didn’t have fun doing it”, but regardless of what he thinks, the team up of Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes is brilliant. And Robinson actually does a wonderful job on the vocals. Even though he didn’t have fun doing it.

It’s a shame that contractual issues stopped a lot of The Black Crowes songs from being released officially, so what we get are a lot of Led Zep classics and some standard blues songs.

“Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is still a favourite for me.

Check it out.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2000 – Part 10

Kings X – Please Come Home Mr Bulbous

Creativity is all about experimenting and I like it when artists experiment. It alienates some and it might not even bring in anyone new, but as a fan of music, I enjoy it when artists try to grow out of the box that the record labels tried to fit them in.

I didn’t hear this album until 2012.

After feedback and noise, the opening track “Fish Bowl Man” finally kicks in with its groove orientated riff. It’s a product of its time, more alternative than the hard progressive groove rock the band is known for.

On the other hand, “Julia” could have come from a Bush album.

“She’s Gone Away” moves between clean tone arpeggios and syncopated palm muted riffs, with a Beatles vocal melody. That riff before the Chorus should have been repeated a lot more.

“When You’re Scared” has another Beatles like riff, from “She’s So Heavy” with another vocal melody inspired by the Liverpool legends. And it’s no surprise that a lot of artists during this time had Beatles like vocal melodies. I called it the “Oasis Phenomenon”.

Check out the lead break from Ty Tabor on this track. Emotive, bluesy and when he had to shred, he did.

“Charlie Sheen” has some great guitar moments in the opening arpeggio riff and the staccato clean tone verse riff.

Here is a review from Mike Ladano that I agree with (and if you are a Kings X fan, he has reviewed most of their stuff).

Babylon A.D – American Blitzkrieg

The first two Babylon A.D albums are great listens, especially the debut. Then the labels started dropping hard rock bands while they started chasing Alternative sounding bands and Babylon A.D was lost to me.

I saw that this album came out via the Metal Edge magazine, but I never really looked for it in Australian shops, nor did I have any interest at that point in time. It was about 2008 when I came across it via a torrent. I downloaded it and pressed play on my winamp player.

Musically, it sounded different, but it was still hard rock to me.

The title track kicks it off with a rap like vocal line which reminds me of the Beastie Boys and a certain song called “Fight For Your Right”.

Then it goes into the song “War”.

You know the one.

“War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing, say it again.”

That one.

“Magic Mary” has a voodoo power and a Charlie Manson smile. It’s hard rock but its sounding dirtier and grungier. It doesn’t matter what sound effects producers put on the guitars, a rock riff is a rock riff.

“I Wanna Live” has a Tool “Sober” like riff as inspiration for the Verses with a Cheap Trick inspired Chorus. A brilliant combination and one of my favourites on the album. “One Million Miles” from their newer album has a similar intro and verse which is like the Chorus.

“Sinking In The Sand” is one of their best tracks. Its heavy and melodic and the way the verses roll along with just the bass and the vocal line, it reminds me of “Lost Behind The Wall” from Dokken.

“The Sky Is Falling” is a slower tempo song and I like it. Other songs start to become interchangeable with previous songs and the album closers with “Superstar” a perfect hard rocker about seeking your fifteen minutes of fame. Its riffs remind me of songs like “Creepshow” and “Mudkicker” from Skid Row.

Cold – 13 Ways To Bleed on Stage

Released on Geffen Records.

“13 Ways To Bleed On Stage” is the album in which their spider logo made its first appearance.

It was a bargain bin purchase in Australia even though it was a Gold selling album in the U.S, as I always saw this album in discount bins. I picked it up in a 3 for $10 bin, so I paid $3.33 for it.

And I became a fan.

I really liked the Staind/Bush vibe of the album.

Scooter Ward on vocals sounded a lot like em but I didn’t care.

“No One”, “End Of The World” and “Confession” stood out right away. Modern rock songs.

“It’s All Good” has a vocal melody in the verses which is catchy.

“Bleed” has an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

As the album closer it is my favourite.

On a side note, guitarist Terry Balsamo would depart after the 2003 follow up “Year Of The Spider” to fill the vacant guitarist spot left by Ben Moody in Evanescence.

Mudvayne – L.D. 50

The singer from a band I was in, who introduced me to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit (mentioned in the 2000 – Part 9 post previously) also introduced me to Mudvayne.

I mentioned in the Kings X post that creativity is all about experimenting. Well, meet Mudvayne.

The press labelled em as “Slipknot Part 2” because they had painted faces. The press labelled em as Nu Metal as they released an album during the Nu Metal movement. But to compare Mudvayne to anything, you needed to listen to em.

They had progressive elements in their music and odd time signatures and because of these, another term came out of this debut which was “math rock”.

They had speed metal songs, jazz fusion breaks, and death metal vocals on some of the songs.

Pushing the boundaries of what is known as metal, that’s Mudvayne. To compare them to Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Creed, who became the faces of Nu Metal was wrong.

Bassist Ryan Martinie is unbelievable. His bass lines don’t just compliment, they add and enhance the song, as he mixes slap funk bass lines with metal, jazz, rock, chromatics and whatever other musical style he could find.

Guitarist Greg Tribbett is from the era of being influenced by Randy Rhoads.

Drummer Matt McDonough makes sense of all the chaos by keeping time, with tom rolls and a lot of double bass, and some excellent cymbal work.

Vocalist Chad Gray, who formed Hellyeah with Vinnie Paul and Tribbett, after is unique as well, moving between screaming, growling, gravel chainsaw like and melodic and leaving his $40K factory job to chase his dream of being a rock singer.

The album’s title is short for “Lethal Dosage 50”. It basically means the level of toxicity needed in a drug to kill half of the population.

“Dig” blasts out of the speakers with a funky bass riff, drums, power chords and gravel-throated vocals. Its telling the music business suits that they don’t care about their two cents input into their art. And it sets the trend of the album.

My favourite is “Death Blooms”. Musically its perfect and vocally the song moves between clean tone vocals and Gray’s talking vocal lines with a melodic Chorus which wouldn’t be out of place on a Tool or A Perfect Circle album.

Mob Rules – Temple of Two Suns

How could you not give a band a listen who carries a name from a pretty cool Black Sabbath album?

I pressed play, only to be confronted with sounds of Rainbow and Deep Purple on the opening track “Pilot Of Life”.

And I liked it.

It’s basically 80’s Hard Rock with some nice acoustic classical moments and in one song, some violin folk. It all sounds metal and for their second album, it’s a band still finding their feet.

There was enough here to get me interested to hear what would come next.

Tad Morose – Reflections

From Sweden, who play a sort of dark melodic progressive metal. Evergrey is a well-known band who plays this kind of dark prog.

“Reflections” is a compilation album from their first three albums, “Leaving The Past Behind” released in 1993, “Sender Of Thoughts” released in 1995 and “A Mended Rhyme” released in 1997.

The “Sender Of Thoughts” album is a favourite and I’ve been a fan since. So if you want to get a feel for the band, then this compilation is it.

See ya in 1985 for part 10.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Best Of May 2020

May had three posts on the new releases.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

So by May, the albums from Trivium, Red, Harem Scarem, Storm Force and The Night Flight Orchestra kept getting spins, along with some of the Jorn and H.E.A.T songs.

The single song releases from Machine Head – “Circle The Drain”, Royal Bliss – “Feeling Whitney”, Spoken – “Awaken Me” and Free Spirits Rising – “I Would Love To Rock The World” and “Moon Of Forever” kept getting some of my time.

“Prove Me Wrong” from Dee Snider got my attention. After 40 years in the business, Snider is still proving people wrong.

His recent releases are varied. “We Are The Ones” takes a stab at modern pop rock and he takes on modern groove metal with “For The Love Of Metal” which in turn returned him to the throne of the black sheep’s, the SMF’s, the “King Of The Fools”.

And “Prove Me Wrong” has a foot stomping metal riff that could make it on a Metallica album with Dee at his metal best.

“Atlas Falls” from Shinedown also hit the streaming services. This track is a left over from the “Amaryllis” album released in 2012 and I was hooked, because this is the Shinedown I like.

And the album that reigned supreme for me in May is “2020” from Vandenberg.

The whole album is stellar.

It gives me this feeling of when I listened to Bad Company, Rainbow (Dio fronted), Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, Deep Purple (Coverdale/Hughes version), Whitesnake and Black Sabbath (Dio fronted).

“Ride Like The Wind” reminds me of “Gates Of Babylon” from Rainbow.

“Hell and High Water” reminds me of Bad Company.

And “Light Up The Sky” sounds similar to a riff in “Bad Boys”.

“Shout” reminds me of “Slow And Easy” on steroids, with a driving beat. Especially that section after the solo, when it’s just drums, and Romero is singing, “Get Up And Shout”. “I Love It Loud” also comes to mind.

There is the “Fool For Your Loving” inspired “Shitstorm” with a David Coverdale like vocal that has been my go to track.

Or the Richie Blackmore inspired “Shadows Of The Night”.

“Let It Rain” reminds of Bonfire.

And my favourite track “Skyfall” closes the album.

Apart from the excellent riffage and song construction, the lead breaks are superb, song within song moments.

Check it out.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Best Of April 2020

April had four posts on the new releases.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Part 4 is here.

The albums from Harem Scarem, Storm Force and The Night Flight Orchestra kept getting spins, along with some of the Jorn and H.E.A.T songs.

The single song releases from Machine Head – Circle The Drain, Royal Bliss – Feeling Whitney and Free Spirits Rising – I Would Love To Rock The World kept getting some of my time.

“Moon Of Forever” from Free Spirits Rising was released and I was hooked by the opening lyrics of the song, which are “Castles are burning as mother earth cries, her message of love is etched forever in blue”.

Another single song release which was doing the rounds was “Awaken Me” from Spoken.

Vandenberg released “Freight Train” as its next pre-release single and its full of quality riffs and a killer lead break by Vandenberg, which is a lot longer than some of his 4 second teaser lead breaks he did with the “Moonkings”.

Did I mention the chorus vocal line is pretty cool as well?

Like a freight train
Burning down the tracks
Nothing can get in my way
Like a freight train
No looking back
Make no mistakes, I’m here to stay

Adrian Vandenberg is a freight train.

When he sets his mind to come back, he comes back. When he set his mind to pull back and go underground and focus on his art and painting, he did just that. As a fan of his 80’s stuff, I am happy to see that he’s here to stay.

Christian rock band “Red” released the album “Declaration”. Stand out songs are “The War We Made”, “Sever” and “From The Ashes”.

There is something about the voice tones and the vocal melodies of Michael Barnes which always hook me in. But the majority of the songs are written by guitarist Anthony Armstrong along with producer Rob Graves so it’s the interpretation that Barnes put on the vocal melody that makes it stand out.

I have been a fan of this band since 2008. Their first three albums are my favourites and the albums that came afterwards had some cool songs, but they also lost me a little bit with their direction.

“Ishtar’s Gate” and “False Prophet” stood out from Testament’s recent release “Titans Of Creation”.

“Souls Of Black” was my first introduction to Testament in a post “Metallica Black Album” landscape. So I got the earlier stuff taped, which was technical thrash with Alex Skolnick creating jazz fusion solos over the chromatic riffs from Eric Peterson. Then Skolnick left and I was like “why would he leave?”

And throughout the years I have been following Testament and their releases. I don’t own a lot of the bands stuff, but I did have a pretty cool mix tape from the era and I recently purchased their first five albums in a CD box set for $23AUD.

And Peterson just kept writing excellent riffs that covered power metal, thrash, groove metal, nu-metal and black/death metal. Chuck Billy would sing, growl and spit those vocal lines out. Then Skolnick returned and so did my interest in the band.

And the album that reigned supreme for me in April is “Catastrophist” from Trivium. I don’t think there is a better metal act than Trivium right now.

Robb Flynn on Twitter called it a masterpiece.

And I agree.

The Kerrang review said, “you can hear just how much they love heavy metal, injecting elements of thrash, melodic death metal and black metal throughout the 10 songs.”

And I agree.

The Metal Hammer review over at loudersound.com states “ The Sin And The Sentence got Trivium back on the horse. “What The Dead Men Say” has them winning again. One of metal’s most beloved bands are on the form of their lives right now. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

And I agree.

The excellent Sonic Perspectives website, said this; “There is something in this album for everyone, but one might not know what it is until the song has already hit them straight in the chest with its might. Wherever Trivium steps from here, be it down this same path or diverging elsewhere, it will be in the shadow of “What the Dead Men Say.”

And I agree.

Check it out.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Best Of February 2020

February had three parts on the new releases.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

A single song release from Machine Head called “Circle The Drain” got my attention.

That intro with the chorus vocal melody, gets me pumped every single time, especially when that riff kicks in after Robb Flynn sings, “bring that hammer down”. Its bone crunching mosh pit time.

Another single release that got me interested was “Feeling Whitney” from Royal Bliss, a cover of an acoustic song from Post Malone, which he released in 2016.

The chord progression reminds me of “Dust In The Wind”.

Jorn released “Heavy Rock Radio”.

Jorn Lande is one of the best singers to have come out in the last 30 years. His style is rooted within the classic signers of Coverdale, Dio, Dickinson and Gillan.

“Heavy Rock Radio” is a project which has Jorn Lande covering classic songs which inspired him. It’s another project funded by Frontiers, who are trying their hardest to get so many recordings under the label’s control.

One of my favourite Kiss songs is “Naked City” and it gets an updated rendition here. Which I certify as 100% excellent.

“Ride Like The Wind” from Saxon and “Lonely Nights” from Bryan Adams got taken out of the early 80’s and brought into the 2020’s as modern rock songs.

And there is no cover album from Jorn without a tribute to Ronnie James Dio material, in this case, “Die Young” and “Mystery”.

“The Final Frontier” actually sounds better than Maiden’s version and Jorn delivers on the vocal front.

“New York Minute” is a Don Henley cover and the intro highlights were “18 And Life” might have come from.

“Needles and Pins” is from the 60’s by The Searchers and the band Smokie made it a rock like ballad in the 70’s which sounds like the version that Jorn took and modernized even more into a melodic rock anthem.

“Love” is from Santana’s 1979 album, “Marathon” and this version is so good.  

I’ve include “Running Up That Hill”, a cover from Kate Bush, which appeared on Heavy Rock Radio Volume 1 from a few years before because Jorn has taken a really unique pop song and turned it into a beautiful rock track.

And a few albums got me interested like “Ordinary Man” from Ozzy Osbourne.

The people around Ozzy, like his family, the label, management and so forth, they know that Ozzy is marketable. If they surround him with creativity and good musicians/producers, it can’t really go that bad, could it.

“Under The Graveyard” has a clean tone intro which could end up on any pop song, that’s how much crossover appeal the riff has. The chorus is heavy, and that “Children Of The Grave” solo section fits.

“All My Life” is similar to songs that have appeared on previous Ozzy albums. The album “Scream” has a few songs with this major key vibe.

“Eat Me” came from the depths of Ozzy’s Delta Blues Sabbath past. “Straight To Hell” rocks out of the gate and “Goodbye” starts off like “Iron Man” but it sounds like a track from “Ozzmosis” which is an album I dig.

Ozzy should scrap touring and keep recording and releasing.

Another album that got me interested was
H.E.A.T II “ by H.E.A.T. It surprised me how good it is. I can’t even explain all the influences on the album that I hear.

Songs feel like they come from Harem Scarem, Skid Row, White Lion, Van Halen, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Whitesnake, DLR, Dokken, Queensryche, Europe, Scorpions, Nelson, Lynch Mob, Firehouse, Ozzy “Bark At The Moon” and “The Ultimate Sin” era, Malmsteen “Trilogy” and “Odyssey” era, Judas Priest, Poison and Motley Crue albums.

If you really like the 80’s, then this album is for you.  

“Dangerous Ground” kicks off with the sound of an high performance motor vehicle starting. It’s perfect for a Mad Max movie. “Come Clean” has a Chorus which remains with me long after the song is finished.

“Victory” kicks off with an instantly memorable guitar lick before morphing into a heavy riff. “We Are Gods” sounds like it came from the movie “Rockstar”. “Adrenaline” has this Journey vibe, but the more rockier Journey than the ballad Journey.

But the album that reigned supreme for me in February is Aeromantic from The Night Flight Orchestra.

The whole album is excellent.

Each song has enough of an influence from a previous song to connect with me and TNFO are excellent players, so the musicianship and song writing is excellent.

If you like your classic Deep Purple, then opening track “Servants Of The Air” will serve you well, kicking off the street opera about shattered dreams, broken illusions and glimmers of hope.

“Divinyls” is full of hooks, nice synths and pulsing bass riffs.

“If Tonight Is Our Only Chance” brings the disco rock melodies, handled masterly by the TNFO guys, with a dose of rock thrown in. And the lyric line of taking that last chance is inspiring and hopeful.

“This Boy’s Last Summer” has a pop punk feel merged with a melodic hard rock. “Curves” is a funk masterpiece in the vein of Steely Dan.

ABBA is all over “Transmissions” in the Chorus and the synth is just driving the song along, which makes me think of driving. The violin solo at the end is brilliant.

“Aeromantic” has a riff which came from their first album (the song “California Morning” comes to mind) which is basically a riff inspired by their love of Kiss, Free and Sweet.

The ballad ‘Golden Swansdown’ has two brilliant guitar solos. “Taurus” sounds like “Gemini” from their previous albums as it rolls along with its addictive chorus and melody. “Carmencita Seven”, “Sister Mercurial” and “Dead Of Winter” close the album, a triple punch combo knock out.  

Check out The Night Flight Orchestra.

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A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

11th May 1992 Australian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Charts Snapshot

Number 1
BloodSugerSexMagik
RHCP

I’m not an overall fan of RHCP albums but I am a fan of some of their songs and their resilience to keep at it, and to create a whole soundtrack of music for people.

On this album, the groove riff in “Suck My Kiss” and the Hendrix inspired intro in “Under The Bridge” got my attention.

Number 2
Adrenalize
Def Leppard

While it wasn’t as strong as the previous two albums, they still had enough goodwill with their fans.

Number 3
Ten
Pearl Jam

A slow burner, this album would be around for a few more years, on the backs of album cuts like “Black”.

Number 4
Vulgar Display Of Power
Pantera

I heard this album and totally avoided it for a very long time. I couldn’t believe that after “Cowboys For Hell”, the vocals turned into hard core screaming. But I gave it a shot, circa 2005, and although I hate Anselmo’s vocal delivery, Dimebag delivers musically.

Number 5
The End Complete
Obituary

My cousin is a Death Metal fan. I liked the cover, heard it and forgot it.

Number 6
Nevermind
Nirvana

Like it or not, there is some good riffage on this album. The psychedelic “Come As You Are” still gets me.

Number 7
Wasted In America
Love/Hate

I still haven’t heard it.

Number 8
The End Of Silence
Rollins Band

I still haven’t heard it.

Number 9
Badmotorfinger
Soundgarden

This was my first introduction to Chris Cornell and his voice. And I liked it.

Number 10
Baby Animals
Baby Animals

One of my favourite hard rock records. Suze DeMarchi and crew deliver on this debut.

Number 11
Metallica
Metallica

This album is still charting. In 2020.

Number 12
Bleach
Nirvana

No one cared for this album, until “Nevermind”. Sort of like the old Whitesnake and Metallica catalogues after “1987” and “Black” album. We all went back to listen.

Number 13
Body Count
Body Count

Ice T stirred the pot with “Cop Killer” but it’s the 70’s Classic Rock influenced “The Winner Loses” which grabs me. If you haven’t heard, you should get to it. The whole 6 minutes.

Number 14
User Your Illusion II
Guns N Roses

There was always the debate, which album is better. The first one or the second one. Based on sales in Australia, the second one.

Number 15
Hysteria
Def Leppard

Five years later, this was still selling in the land of Oz.

Number 16
Fire and Ice
Yngwie Malmsteen

Australia has a Power Metal fan base and Malmsteen at this point in time serviced it well. And you couldn’t tell the Elitist Power Metallers about any blues based players. They would change their views years later.

Number 17
Use Your Illusion 1
Guns N Roses

I like the first album better.

Number 18
Vae Solis
Scorn

I haven’t heard it nor do I know anything about the band.

Number 19
America Must Be Destroyed
GWAR

I just saw them as a fad, but they had a career that spanned over 20 plus years. And I still haven’t listened to em.

Number 20
Blind
Corrosion Of Conformity

There isn’t a stand out cut, but each cut has a groove that I can latch onto.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Sign Of The Times

It was a Metal Hammer magazine in 1989 which had a two page interview with a young German guitarist called Axel Rudi Pell.

I thought what a cool name. The interview was all about his debut album, “Wild Obsession” released in 1989

And I had this “buy list” that I kept in my wallet of records to buy, so I added it to the list. But I never found it available and I never ordered it. And he kept releasing albums and he kept appearing in the European magazines. The U.S and Aussie mags gave him no love and neither did any of the Guitar mags, but the Metal Hammers’ and Kerrangs’ did.

And I kept reading of the albums he kept making, like “Nasty Reputation” released in 91 with Rob Rock on vocals and the albums between 1992 and 1997 which had Jeff Scott Soto on vocals. And I kept adding his albums to the “buy list” and then I stopped.

In 1998, Johnny Gioeli joined on vocals and never left. Remember Hardline and its debut album with Neal Schon, Deen Castronovo and the Gioeli brothers. Yep that same dude. He has done 13 studio albums with Axel Rudi Pell, plus Hardline albums and Crush 40 albums for video games. If you want a hard worker in the music business, Johnny Gioeli is one.

Keeping a stable vocalist has made me a fan of ARP’s works, because he’s unlike other hot shot guitarists who just kept changing singers with each album. Actually only two come to mind at the moment, in Malmsteen and Lynch.

So I’m listening to the new album, “Sign Of The Times” and I don’t know if it’s the mood I am in, or the quarantine for the last 10 weeks, but this album is hitting all the spots for me. Every single song has something which connects.

Like in “Gunfire”, the song reminded me of Motorhead in the riffs, and you had Gioeli pulling out some cool metal vocals and then the guitar solo started and it just kept going and I kept banging that head and I was in love with the song.

“Bad Reputation” is all major key and it’s got that summertime love feel. This could have come from an ELO album, or an early Whitesnake, or Bad Company album, or even Sweet. Hell, Kiss covered this style on “Dynasty” and “Unmasked”.

The Choir voices and the violins kick off “Sign Of The Times” but when the distorted riff comes in on its own, it’s like “Heaven And Hell” and Gioeli is singing about “being on our way to better times”, and it’s got Dio all over it.

“Looking down on the ashes, we are moving on to a new world”

If you call this an unprecedented time, a time of ashes, then we hope to be moving to a new world. Time will tell how we navigate these uncharted waters.

And for all the heaviness of the song with its riffage, the guitar solo section is just drums, keyboards and bass. No rhythm guitar. It’s exactly how it will sound live and of course ARP doesn’t disappoint in the lead.

“The End Of The Line” just rolls along at about 140bpm and my foot is tapping and Gioeli is telling us that “we are running out of time”.

Any song with a title like “As Blind As A Fool Can Be” just screams epic. Before the song even started I was already thinking, “All The Fools Sailed Away”, “Blindman”, “Soldier Of Fortune”, “Sailing Ships” and “When A Blindman Cries”. And it rolls along like any ballad should.

On “Wings Of The Storm” (I know, it’s an overused title), the world gets weirder every day, so Gioeli is looking to fly far away on the wings of the storm. And the riffage by ARP is exactly how it should be. It’s got this bluesy feel in the verses, but it’s still metal. And when the Chorus kicks in, the riffs are excellent but Gioeli is the star with the vocal performance.

And no ARP song is complete without a minute and a half guitar solo. There’s actually two of em on this one. In the middle and in the outro.

“Waiting For Your Call” sounds like an awesome Scorpions song that Scorpions didn’t write.

“Into The Fire” (another overused title, I know) has this groove which reminds of “Kashmir” and “Egypt(The Chains Are On)”. And of course, the solo is worthy for a track which closes the album.

Listening to this album and hearing Gioeli on vocals has got me thinking that I really need to go back and listen to the Hardline albums I haven’t heard since the first album, which happens to be a lot albums.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Guitar World – August 1991

It’s November 1991 and the August 1991 “Guitar World” magazine hits the newsstands in Australia. It’s strange for people these days to understand because everything is available instantly today but once upon a time in the past, the US and European magazines came to Australia, three months after they got released.

So Scotti Hill and Dave Sabo from Skid Row are on the cover.

Skid Row were on top of the charts around the world with the release of “Slave To The Grind”. Even in Australia the album was in the Top 10, while the singles didn’t really make a dent.

They would eventually hit Australia with GNR in January 1993 for the “Use Your Illusion” tour, and play a set of 7 songs.

They kicked off with “Slave To The Grind” and went into “Monkey Business” which had a longer intro with a lead break. “Mudkicker” was up next, “Get The Fuck Out” and then “18 And Life” which also had a longer intro with a lead break and a longer outro with a lead break.

“I Remember You” came next and “Youth Gone Wild” closed the set, which had a crowd singalong after the solo, 20,000 plus people at an outdoor venue singing, “they call us problem child, we spend our lives on trial, we are the youth gone wild”.

Plus there was a lot of talking in between and passing around of glass beer bottles in the audience courtesy of Sebastian Bach, who was the source of the glass bottles, even when glass bottles were banned.

In the top right hand corner there is a picture of EVH with the title, “Exclusive Private Lesson, Hot Licks from The New Album”.

Van Halen dropped the excellent FUCK album in June 1991, a return to heavy guitar distortion for EVH and acoustic drums for AVH.

Nuno Bettencourt interviews Brian May and the magazine made sure it mentioned “Queen’s Brian May”. Because for a whole new generation of young guitarists, Queen was becoming irrelevant. The presumption was, that everyone knew Nuno Bettencourt because of “More Than Words” and no one knew that Brian May is the guitarist in Queen.

But a few things happened which brought Queen back into the public.

Freddie Mercury died in November, 1991.

Wayne’s World the movie came out in February 1992 and “Bohemian Rhapsody” re-entered the charts because of that car scene.

Then there was “The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert” in April 1992, which had Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard, U2 and Guns N Roses appearing. Then Queen hit the stage for a 21 song set featuring guest singers and musicians.

Fast forward to 2020 and there is no doubt about Queen.

Extreme (Nuno’s main band) just didn’t recover from some poor album sales and the loss of their lead singer to the VHIII album. And it took them years to get back together to write new music and people had just moved on. Plus their crossover hit got them sales, but it didn’t really get the band any lifelong fans. Further proof that a sale does not equal a fan.

And it’s no surprise that “More Than Words” has almost 272 million streams on Spotify, while the other songs in the Top 5 have less than 7.5 million streams.

There is a round table discussion of the Titans tour, with Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax talking. Then there is an exclusive lesson on “How To Play Thrash”. Lars Ulrich was really interested in this tour and a bit pssed that he didn’t think of it and do it first or that Metallica was invited. Eventually he did organise it and called it “The Big 4”. Now he can rest easily.

R.E.M’s Peter Buck is interviewed and so are the Kentucky Headhunters who I still haven’t listened to. And I didn’t even read those interviews because there was a lot of rock and metal in here for me to digest.

Kyle Kyle has a small section, talking about “Dancin On Coals”, Bang Tango’s new album.

Plus there are the usual reviews.

Billy Squier’s “Creatures of Habit” got 3 starts out of 5, with the reviewer mentioning how “most of Creatures Of Habit” suffers from “Spot The Riff” syndrome.

Aldo Nova’s “Blood On The Bricks” got 2 stars out of 5 for two good songs, the title track and a Joe Walsh inspired song called “This Ain’t Love”.

Contraband also got 2 starts out of 5, with the comment, “strangely, the band sounds more like a typical young rock group-average to the point of sounding average”.

The 4 songs transcribed are;
Megadeth – Hanger 18
This is one of my favourite Megadeth songs, and the way Dave Mustaine took his arpeggio riff from “The Call of Ktulu”, amped it up, double timed it and created a classic song in the process.

Warrant – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
This is one of Warrant’s best songs. The serious subject matter probably scared off the Cherry Piers but hey, no one said that music was pretty.

Queen – We Will Rock You
This is more known for its foot stomp and clap groove than for any music, but there is music in this song and the magazine dedicated one page to transcribing it.

Chris Issak – Wicked Game
Stone Sour covered this song recently, and my second child likes it. You couldn’t avoid Chris Issak during this period as he was a number one artist in Australia.

Of course the magazine is sealed shut in a plastic sleeve so the only thing I can do is either buy it based on the cover or move on to something cheaper and printed in Australian.

Designing a cover (magazine, newspaper, album, new product) is an art form.

And I open up the magazine and on page 1, is Mr Big bassist, Billy Sheehan, advertising his Yamaha “Attitude” bass. Attitude all the way from Sydney to Thunder Bay.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Machine Head Experience

By 9.24pm, on Wednesday, 24 June 2015 at the Metro Theatre, I had consumed my sixth beer in one hour waiting for Machine Head to hit the stage. A pretty awesome metal playlist was doing the rounds that had songs like “Sad But True” from Metallica and “In Due Time” from Killswitch Engage.

Then “Diary Of A Madman” started playing. It was ominous. The volume was initially low and the house lights were still on. Then the outro of “Diary” kicked in with the choir voices and the volume got cranked and the lights went out.

The chant went up, “Machine Fucking Head, Oh” (a point that Robb Flynn made later on in the show, that Australia is the only country to say Machine Fucking Head OH..) and the clean guitars started for “Imperium”. Everyone in the sold out venue knew that all hell was going to break loose. I was standing close to the mixer and I had a great view to the stage and to the circle pit. It was pandemonium.

Machine Head’s career was re-built upon “Imperium” and the 2003 album “Through The Ashes Of Empires” that it came from. The song is even more special based on Robb’s journals that covered the hardships in getting the album recorded.

“Through The Ashes of Empires” was released in December 2003 in Europe only. It took months to gain some traction and be discovered. In April, 2004, it got a U.S release and a subsequent world-wide release. Suddenly everybody knew it and everybody wanted to go see Machine Fucking Head live.

The knockouts kept on coming with “Beautiful Mourning” from “The Blackening” and “Now We Die” from “Bloodstone And Diamonds”.

“The Blackening” was another game changer for Machine Head. Released in 2007, it put them on the road for three years and in the process it cemented Machine Head’s reputation as a solid unit. That trend continued with “Unto The Locust” and “Bloodstone And Diamonds”.

I still think “Now We Die” should have been called “Now We Rise”. It would have been perfect in my eyes.

“Bite The Bullet” came next and then “Locust” sent everyone into a frenzy. It’s no coincidence that the first five songs all came from their last four albums.

I saw a person on crutches enter the circle pit and I said to myself that is not going to end well. Later on, I saw that dude on someone’s shoulders. He was okay, the Head Cases took care of him.

“From This Day” from 1999’s “The Burning Red”, “Ten Ton Hammer” from 1997’s “The More Things Change” and “Clenching The Fists Of Dissent” from “The Blackening” kept the knockout punches coming.

How good is that “fight” part in “Clenching”?

“Beneath The Silt” from “Bloodstone and Diamonds” was slow and groovy and “Crashing Around You” from 2001’s “Supercharger” album picked it all back up.

When I first heard “Crashing Around You”, I said to myself what an awesome rock song. It was better than anything that was mainstream back then. However, Roadrunner didn’t know what to do with the song, or how to market Machine Head and because of record label stupidity the song didn’t cross over. It’s one of my favourite cuts on “Supercharger”.

“The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears” from “The Burning Red” came next.

But it’s all about “Darkness Within” from “Unto The Locust”.

What a song, what a groove, what a melody and what a guitar solo by Phil. Along with “Bulldozer” from “Supercharger” and “Killers and Kings” from “Bloodstone And Diamonds” those three songs proved another killer trilogy in the set.

How good are the lyrics in “Bulldozer”? Another unheralded cut from “Supercharger”,

Somebody told me, I should do what they told me
But there’s a hole in their plan, and I’m tearing it down

You can almost picture the scene. Record label A&R douche telling Robb to wear an orange jumpsuit. Robb agrees for the greater good but…..

Trust our guts, follow our hearts, no one can break these nuts
These lips ain’t kissin’ asre
The path of most resistance tests all of our strength
The strength will not be denied

It’s like Robb foresaw the crap that would come their way post “Supercharger” and the mission involved to get “Through The Ashes Of Empires” recorded and then released.

Bulldozer goes against the odds
Bulldozer goes against the grain

You can interchange “Bulldozer” with “Machine Head” as both have three syllables. Machine Head goes against the odds. Machine Head goes against the grain. And thank god they did. It’s like their story before it even happened, getting dropped, then rejected. What makes the track rock is the groove.

“Sail In The Black” was excellent (although in some sections the backing synths overpowered the intro vocals) and “Davidian” from the 1994 debut “Burn My Eyes” followed.

You would think it would be over, but, NO it wasn’t.

“Now I Lay Thee Down” from “The Blackening”, “Aesthetics Of Hate” from “The Blackening” again, “Game Over” from “Bloodstone And Diamonds”, “Old” from “Burn My Eyes” and “Halo” from “The Blackening” again rounded out the night.

I didn’t see a phone or a camera recording the show. Everyone was there to experience it.

If they played “A Farewell To Arms” from “The Blackening” I would have completely lost it.

From the set list, you can see how important “The Blackening” is to Machine Head and to the Head Cases.

Yeah, Machine Head did have a catalogue before and after “The Blackening”, however their entire career will be attributed to this one album, showing the power of excellence.

A defining album, and in time it will be held in the same light as Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” or Pantera’s “A Vulgar Display Of Power”.
By the end of the night, I had consumed 13 beers and still had room for many more.

To Machine Head, thanks for another great night in Sydney.

The future looks good, as the band is constantly replenishing their audience base. The crowd was a mixture of teens, twenty something’s, thirty something’s and forty plus. It was also a mixture of dudes and chicks. Like the song “Truckin” from The Grateful Dead, Machine Head just keep on truckin’ along and winning new fans along the way.

Two days later my ears are still ringing and I am still talking about the experience. That is what live music is all about. The experience

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Thank You Richie Sambora – The King Of Swing at the Enmore Theatre

The Richie Sambora concert at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney last night renewed my faith in live music. The previous night, I watched Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold. While that was a great concert, the songs got played more or less “note for note” as per the album recordings. Last night, Richie Sambora was “communicating musically”. The sheriff was back in town. With three different hand motions he led the band into jams, out of jams and into sing a longs.

Sambora engraved himself into our hearts. He stopped and he talked. Sometimes it felt like for ages. I haven’t seen a lot of people do that a rock show. They are scared. You get the usual, “Are You Having A Good Time” comment, however that is it. Sambora is a true pro. He was endearing himself, creating a bond. And what a show he delivered.

Burn the Candle Down

It’s written by Sambora and producer Luke Ebbin, who was also part of the band last night. This was anti-mainstream. Each note was played with feeling and since the venue was tiny compared to say ANZ Stadium, every note resonated. We could hear it and we could feel it.

Whether it be Richie “communicating musically” or Aaron Sterling pounding the drums or Luke Ebbin singing backups or Mike Farrell making us go to church or Orianthi holding down the fort or shredding, or the solidness of Robbie Harrison’s bass. We felt every note.

There were no special effects and no auto tune. It was just a rock and roll band. Based on last night’s performance, I can easily say one of the best rock bands today in that free spirited Jimi Hendrix Experience sense.

Every Road Leads Home to You

This song is a dead set classic and better than the whole “What About Now” album combined. From when I first heard it, the song resonated with me, so when you hear a song that you like live, your put your hands up in the air and sing along until the voice breaks. Because this is what we love to do.

Putting aside the Kings Of Leon style vocal phrasing, this is classic Richie Sambora, selling the song and the new album (which is over 15 months old) to the audience. The keyboard synths kick it off, however when the whole band joins in, it’s a pleasure to be there, watching it unfold.

And Richie is on song. Hitting the notes, keeping the train rolling and getting us to sing along with him.

Taking a Chance on the Wind

It felt like Richie was asking us if we will stand by him. The audience answered with a resounding YES.

If times taught me a lesson, it’s don’t dwell on the past
‘Cause the bad things fade and the good things..
The good things are built to last

Ain’t that the truth. I spent a lot of time dwelling on how I could have done things differently in the past. It is time that I can never get back again. You see when you consume yourself on the bad things, you fail to see the good things. And then it will be “Seven Years Gone”.

Again the Sheriff leads the band in and out of improvised jam sessions.

I’ll Be There for You

Richie begins it with a snippet of “Bridge over Troubled Water” from Simon and Garfunkel.

If you are a fan, you know the song as soon as it begins. That intro is definitive.

“I’ll Be There For You” was an unexpected Number 1 hit for Bon Jovi at the time. All of the focus was on “Born To Be My Baby” and “Bad Medicine” however it was “I’ll Be There For You” that stole the limelight.

Nowadays

Also from the new album. This song was unexpected and it went down brilliantly live. It’s got that punk rock vibe, but with a Phil Lynott style swagger in the lyrics.

Nowadays, trying to figure out who you want to be
Trying to tell your friends from your enemies
That’s the way it plays nowadays
Nowadays, trying to make some sense about the state of things,
Hoping better times are what tomorrow brings,
We’re just all insane, nowadays

That is why the song connects. Every day we are trying to find ourselves. Go on line and google self help books on finding yourself. Thousands of pages will appear.

You Don’t Wanna Know (Orianthi cover)

Swampy blues got a sexy make over with the Orianthi tune, “You Don’t Wanna Know”.

Richie teased the audience on this one with the double neck acoustic guitar. When the audience first saw it, we all got the impression that “Wanted” was going to be played.

Orianthi is a great talent, however her biggest success also proved her greatest Achilles heel.

“According To You” showed her to the world as “Avril Part 11” with some show off guitar licks chucked in.

It didn’t really show the real Orianthi.

Her best is still ahead of her. She doesn’t need a label and she doesn’t need to sell millions. She needs to be true to herself and “You Don’t Wanna Know” is Orianthi showing her true colours. It will be interesting to see what kind of music she creates with Richie.

Wanted Dead or Alive

The classics cannot be denied. These are the songs that bring us together. The funny thing is, “Wanted” never went to Number 1 like “Prayer”, however it was a hit and at a time it was so popular, I couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing it.

We got the real deal here, real musicians, infected by the spirit of rock and roll. Musicians who followed the call of music, despite being broke and no college degree to fall back on. They followed their dream and it came true.

We need to press the reset switch on life. We need more dreamers and less accountants. We need more dreamers and less lawyers. The dreamers clear the path and lead, while the accountants scheme and the lawyers bend the rules. I know who I would want to follow.

I remember back to December, when the current Bon Jovi band played it. It was a good rendition, however Richie’s version had that swing element to it, especially when he cranked into the solo break. He felt it, we felt it and we carried the song home with him.

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)

I doubt Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, could do it any better. It’s all about musical roots, our ancestry. We all have roots. And as I read somewhere, the key is to never forget our roots. Listening to some of the music my favourites release today, it is easy to see how people can forget their roots when it comes to chasing dollars.

This is the song that had Richie saying afterwards “that the band are communicating musically on stage”. The band was playing the song like the audience wasn’t even there. Richie as the sheriff led the way as usual. It was like a jam session in a rehearsal studio. All of them looking at each other, waiting for cues from the Sheriff.

This is what makes a gig. When you hear the unexpected. It makes the night special.

Stranger in This Town

This the definition of a great song. When we sing the song by ourselves, with our own voice leading the way. Like the big Bon Jovi hits, “Stranger In This Town” is also in the same league. You don’t need no accompaniment.

On the album it sounds intimate. Last night, this song was like a freight train. It was powerful and mesmerizing. Sterling drove everybody forward with the shuffle. We all locked on, nodding our heads to the beat and in agreement.

Lay Your Hands on Me

Another number from Bon Jovi. The surprises. This song is one of my sons favourite Bon Jovi songs. They were disappointed when Bon Jovi didn’t play it live at ANZ Stadium in December.

However, Sambora didn’t disappoint. This is what the gig is all about. Hearing the unexpected. Even Richie didn’t know what song was coming up next as they have changed the set lists for each show.

The band was cruising on that crazy train, at a hundred kilometres per hour.

Seven Years Gone

The piano lines underpin the song, however it is the rock groove that comes after (which Richie made sure to tell the crowd that it was his favourite bit of the song) that propels it higher.

Being so close to the stage, I can hear every note. Every single instrument stands alone, breathing out and filling my senses.

When I watched Avenged Sevenfold the previous night, at the Big Top at Luna Park, some of the sections in the songs all bled into each other, creating a wall of noise. But last night, there was no noise. Just talented musicians, producing their own sounds and they all come together.

This song gave me goose bumps. It was intimate and magical.

Like the moth dances with the light
Sometimes a shadow that burns too bright
Shattered silence in the night
You wake up, move on

Livin’ on a Prayer

The funny thing about “Prayer” is that it means more to me now than it did back then. When you are in your teens you don’t appreciate the message, because the future was sold as clear skies and smooth sailing. In 2014, what a nice piece of propaganda that was. How wrong could our teachers be?

My Dad, he was a realist. He didn’t sugar coat anything. He told it how it was. I used to argue with him so much on these issues. When a stroke took his voice in January 2006, those arguments stopped. He is still alive today, but those wonderful days of communication from him are long gone.

In 2014, I have no savings. I live above my means. I have credit cards, a mortgage, a personal loan and no money in the bank. I am living on my pay, month by month. And I failed to follow my dad’s advice that he told me a few weeks before his stroke, “you can lose it all, your job, your house and your health.” It’s like he knew something was up.

This is the song that started it all. A great track that just couldn’t be denied. “Prayer” gave the Bon Jovi band traction in the charts and “Slippery When Wet” gave the band a career.

Don’t Change (INXS cover) (with Jon Farriss) and Richard Wilkins had a brief moment in the spotlight.

This was a historical moment. The start of the first encore and after “drumming tragic” Richard Wilkins had his shot, it was over to Tim Farriss to bring the song home. With INXS being in our headspace recently due to the mini-series and the recent interviews, it was a perfect match.

We all have influences. The greats always show their respect to someone else’s work and they make it their own. It’s all about roots. The lines on Sambora’s face are all about experience and life. It is that experience that molds and shapes us. It is that experience that influences us.

It’s My Life

When Bon Jovi played the song live at ANZ, it lacked the power. There was none of that tonight. Richie’s talk box is so definitive, it makes the song.

The best part of it was the extended jam in the middle that was just riff heavy, then the chorus was sung acapella before building up into the ending, with an improvised jam added in just for fun.

These Days

I rarely play this song. When the album came out in 1995, the lead single “This Aint A Love Song” just didn’t connect with me and it more or less turned me off the album, apart from “Hey God” and “These Days”.

Live, it was one of the highlights. The banter at the start with the piano playing the intro set the tone.

Purple Rain (Prince cover)

Hearing Purple Rain, I was reminded of Jon’s and Richie’s own attempt to write their own “Purple Rain”. In this case it is a demo called “Wedding Day”.

I’ve seen it done better. But Sambora still knocked it out of the park. I don’t think some of the youngsters in attendance knew this song. However the rest of us did. That’s the power of music and the power of a classic Prince tune, when music was his muse, instead of changing names and suing his fans for linking to bootlegs.

The song is basic, however that is why it works. Sambora is a professional, giving us not too much, just enough. With his hand signals to the rest of the band, he KNEW when it was enough.

The person behind me was screaming, “Rosie”. The person in front of me was screaming “Ballad Of Youth.” The person to the left of me was screaming for “You Can Only Get So Hight”. My boys started screaming for “You Give Love A Bad Name.” I guess that we all have to wait until the next time, because a great concert always leaves you wanting more.

My kids said they loved it, but they had to tell me that Richie Sambora was acting the way I act when I am drunk. I couldn’t stop laughing at their assessment. And what are the chances that he would play my kids favourite Bon Jovi song in “Lay Your Hands On Me”.

Coming out of the show, I just wished that every Bon Jovi fan that was at ANZ Stadium in December 2013 could have been at the Enmore last night to see and experience Richie Sambora live. Then people would finally understand, that music doesn’t need no backdrops, no dancing, no pyro. When it is done right, the sound, the emotion and the feel is enough.

Thank you to the KING OF SWING and the marvellous musicians he had in tow for renewing my faith in the live scene. Thank you for showing my kids what a live show should be. Not a perfect NOTE for NOTE forgery of the recording, but a real rock n roll show were the band communicates with each other musically and connects with the audience. It was the best $210 ($68 times 3) that I spent (compared to the $1000 ($250 times 4) that I spent on the Bon Jovi tickets).

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