Errols Weekly Music Update.

May 29, 2009

Weekly Update – 05/29/2009

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band at Giants Stadium on Wed. Sept. 30 and Fri. & Sat. Rocktober 2 & 3. Tickets on sale this Monday June 1 at 10:00 a.m. $33, $65 and $98. (eight ticket limit per person).

The Dead Weather at Terminal 5 on Fri. July 17. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30.  (Good luck trying to get these tickets, if you do- you are good!! Jack White’s new band).

Steely Dan at the Beacon Theater on Tues., Wed. Fri. & Sat. July 28, 29, 31 and Aug. 1. They will perform some of their greatest hits including the following albums in their entirety for each night specified: 28th-“Aja”; 29th– “Gaucho” and 31st -“The Royal Scam.” On Aug. 1, they will perform songs picked by ticket holders via an internet vote. (now that’s cool). Pre-sale tickets for American Express Cardholders only go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. until Fri. June 5 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale Sat. June 6 at 10:00 a.m. $74 – $240.

Pete Yorn at Webster Hall (125 East 11th street off of 3rd Avenue) on Tues. & Wed. July 28 & 29. Tickets on sale today at noon. $27.50 ($32.50 day of show)

Coldplay at Jones Beach on Mon. July 27. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. 

The Killers at Jones Beach and PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. & Wed. Sept. 1 and 2. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Jones- $35, $50, $60 and $75;  PNC-$29.25 and $59.25.

Incubus at the Mohegan Sun on Sun. Aug. 2. Tickets on sale next Fri. June 5 at 10:00 a.m. $45. (If you are part of the Incubus fan club you should have received your pass-word to purchase “pre-sale” tickets).

Asher Roth and Kid Cudi at Nokia Theater on Wed. July 15. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders only until noon today. General public on sale begins at noon. $27.50.

CKY at the Gramercy Theater on Thurs. Aug. 13. Tickets on sale today at noon. (Live Nation Event)

Counting Crowes at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Thurs. Sept. 3. Pre-sale for Citicard holders on now. General public on sale is next Fri. June 5 at 10:00 a.m.  (Live Nation)

Hall & Oates at The Mohegan Sun on Sat. Aug. 8. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Staind with Shinedown & Chevelle at the Chevrolet Theater on Thurs. July 16. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.

Blink 182 with Weezer, Taking Back Sunday and Chester French at Comcast Theater (formerly “The Meadows”) in Hartford, CT on Sat. Aug. 29. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.(Pre-sale available now for Citi card holders only) $26, $31, $55 and $69.

The Cult at Terminal 5 on Fri. Sept. 11. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $29.50 ($35 day of show). They will be performing their classic “Love” album in it’s entirety plus other hits.

Dream Theater with Zappa Plays Zappa, Pain of Salvation and Beardfish at Brookhaven Amphitheater (Farmingdale NY) on Sat. Aug. 8. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25, $65 and $95.

Kina Grannis at the Hiro Ballroom (in the Maritime Hotel located at 371 West 16th street, near 9th Avenue) on Fri. June 5. Tickets on sale today at noon. $13 ($15 day of show). This woman has some voice. Guaranteed good time. Take a listen to some of her songs: “Walking Away” and “Ours to Keep.”

Our Lady Peace at the New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Tues. July 21. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.  (Live Nation Event)

Other items:

If you have no plans tonight and you are a “Metal” fan you may want to head on over to the Mercury Lounge (217 East Houston Street #A) and watch all women bands pay tribute to King Diamond (“Queen Diamond”), Metallica (“Misstallica”) and Motley Crue (“Girls, Girls, Girls”). $13 at the door tonight.

My aunt and uncle took a flight to Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago and guess who was sitting next to my aunt for the five-hour trip? That’s right-Mr. Troy Luccketta– the drummer for one of my favorite bands-Tesla. They were probably headed home to California before their international part of the tour starts up in June. How cool is that? Man I wish I could have been on that flight. If you remember (I can’t forget) my review of their show last fall at the Blender Theater ended up on the front page of their website for two weeks straight!! Check out their first “concept” video for the song “Falling Apart” which is off of their solid new effort- “Forever More” here at http://teslastaging.com/index.php

New York Kiss fans Unite!! The boys have decided to start up the tour again beginning in September. Now the catch is they have hooked up with a social networking site, Eventful, which is holding a “fan-routed” vote tour. Apparently the top 10 cities so far are in Canada? What no New York, L.A. or Chicago? C’mon are you kidding me? Where is the New York Kiss Army? I’ve already cast my vote for New York City, now it’s time to do your part- go to http://eventful.com/performers/kiss-/P0-001-000062428-9/competitions and VOTE NOW!!! Oh and by the way, Buckcherry has been tapped as the opener.

Lots of buzz being created by the Brooklyn band, Grizzly Bear, who have released their third studio album- “Veckatimest”- and I have seen positive reviews all over the place. I-Tune listeners have given it a five star rating and the song “Two Weeks” seems to be the most popular. I have to say that just by listening to the 30 second samples (and then searching the net for the whole tune) it’s pretty good. Supposedly this is their best work to date.

Zakk Wylde will perform the National Anthem tonight before the Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers game. He’s already done it for the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MP8Gl_nqqc

Deep Purple fans get ready for a DVD release this coming Tuesday June 2 as “History, Hits & Highlights 1968- 1976” gives the fan the line-up changes during that time plus a revealing look at the band. If you are a fan, supposedly this is a “must-buy.”

I don’t know if you know that the sports channel “MSG” shows concerts almost every week and this week they have been running the Meatloaf concert. I have to tell you I was so turned off by the Loaf-man with his behavior-his arrogance and the way he treats the people around him was a big turn-off. By the time they were going to go to the concert footage, I had already turned the channel. The part that really had me disgusted is when I believe his “voice” coach asked him to get rid of his gum and the Meat proceeded to spit the gum from his mouth right on to the man. Is he kidding me? I guess my image of him is now ruined. Mr. Loaf- it’s 2009, not 1979-you’re really not that relevant these days to be “getting away” with acts like that.

My favorite “old school” song of the week (well not that old) is “Hold Me Now” by the Thompson Twins. I heard this song the other day for the first time in I don’t know how long and it just clicked. I love the background vocals… “Hold Me Now…”

Fans of Cheap Trick listen up, go to their website www.cheaptrick.com and pre-order their new album “The Latest.” It is a 13 track album recorded over the past year with producer Julian Raymond. They are marketing to the consumer and will sell it over time as opposed to releasing it to the general public. If you have ordered any Cheap Trick merchandise in the past you should receive a notice to purchase the new album, slated for release on June 23.

Album(s) Review: “Lynyrd Skynyrd-Pronounced Leh-Nerd-Skin-Nerd” and “Second Helping” by Lynyrd Skynyrd released on Aug. 13, 1973 and April 15, 1974.

OK as you can probably tell I had a heavy dosage of Lynyrd Skynyrd this past week because I heard my favorite all time Skynyrd song –“Don’t Ask Me No Questions”- on my I-Pod shuffle and was going to list my top ten all time favorite songs from them but then decided that I could not ignore their albums. Then I ran into another problem- picking their best album. Now my focus here is only with the original band which included the incredible singer and songwriter Mr. Ronnie Van Zant. Now when I say “original” I mean that loosely as Skynyrd always had a revolving door for its band members but you get the picture. Lynyrd recorded five albums with Ronnie, so that is the bunch that I am picking from. Now don’t get me wrong, the three other albums-“Nuthin’ Fancy”, “Gimme Back My Bullets” and “Street Survivors” are all solid albums but the first two are American classics which everyone should own. So instead of doing one review, I couldn’t choose between the debut self titled album or their second-appropriately named “Second Helping” so here is a look at both of them. Now folks these two albums combined spawned some of the greatest songs in rock & roll history. There can not be any denial of this fact-you may not like them (which I find impossible) but you have to respect their impact –in a real short time, I must say- on the history of music. Songs like “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird,” and “Gimme Three Steps” will remain timeless classics for every generation to love and behold. Unfortunately as most everyone knows, on October 20, 1977 there was a plane crash which took the lives of Mr. Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines and injured the other members of the band. The cause was due to the plane running out of fuel. It’s one of the saddest stories in rock and roll history and only leaves you with the question- “What might have been” but on the bright side we do have the first five albums and then Ronnie’s younger brother, Johnny, took over the reigns for the re-united Skynyrd-who are still going strong and touring this summer!!!

Lynyrd Skynyrd– This powerful-rock-southern rock-country rock- whatever you want to call it-album kicks off with “I Ain’t the One” which has a funky slick blues guitar lick that will have you groovin’ in no time. It sounds as raw, crisp and passionate as it did back in 1973. (Love that little whistle in the beginning).There was going to be nothing that got in the way of Mr. Van Zant and his band-mates from becoming the superstars that they set out to be. They had the music in them and that is all they needed. Talk about just good ole time rock and roll- this song just flat out makes you move your body!! “Tuesday’s Gone” is freakin’ phenomenal. What else can one say? Listen to the beauty of this song and tell me you don’t float away? The piano and guitar work is flawless. There could be an argument made that this is the best song they ever recorded. “Tuesday, you see, she had to be free…But somehow I’ve got to carry on.” Really, does it get any better? “Gimme Three Steps” ranks up real high in my all time favorite songs by this band-yes no matter how many times I hear it (or have heard it). The infamous guitar introduction gets me every time. Listen to how tight this song is. Ronnie’s vocals and the lyrics are classic- this is a “first” album folks-they sounded like they were seasoned veterans already-classic from the very beginning. “I said exxxcuuuussse me” …“Show me the back door..” Side one ends with the landmark recording “Simple Man.” Think about it- the last three songs on the first side are immortal masterpieces. I’m sorry there is no other way to describe it. “Boy, don’t you worry.. you’ll find yourself.. follow your heart and nothing else..”

Side two starts off with “Things Goin’ On” which is too cool. The keyboards by Mr. Billy Powell shines brightly. This song reminds me of being at a Country Fair with rides, cotton candy, and farm animals on a hot summer day with this song blasting from the old time speakers high up on a pole. As you walk around with your family or friends you find yourself bopping your head up & down wondering who sings this song. Yes it’s the boys from Southern Florida. “Mississippi Kid” is the sleeper on this album. It is pure blues but it makes you feel good. How can that be you ask? Well put it on and tell me you don’t feel it. C’mon you know you are smiling from ear to ear when you hear this song. Pure fun. “Poison Whiskey” gets back to the heavy guitar riffs with that southern twang from Ronnie. Now do I dare say that his vocals remind me of Mr. Gregg Allman? I know the battles that raged on when I was in school-who did you like-The Allman’s or Skynyrd? I like(d) both- I know, that’s not the answer the die-hard Skynyrd fan wants to hear. But he does remind me of Gregg. They also perfect the “Zeppelin” thing whereby Mr. Van Zant sings along with the guitar, especially towards the end of the song. Now we all know the final song on side 2 is the legendary “Free Bird.” Most people prefer the “live” version (similar to Kiss with “Rock and Roll All Night”) but I also enjoy the studio version of this song. What else can be said about this song?

Second Helping– This album was the first album where they introduced the “triple guitar” sound. Now I recognize that I probably have heard “Sweet Home Alabama” more than any other song in my entire life but I have to admit that when I don’t hear it for a while and then it comes on the radio, I will listen to it with fervor. As I mentioned this song is etched in the halls of rock and roll and will last forever. The song was written in response to Neil Young’s “Southern Man” and “Alabama” whose lyrics indicated racism in the South. Trying to stick up for the southern man, even their own lyrics were taken out of context as Governor Wallace was in favor of segregation. Ronnie said that the words “boo boo boo” after mentioning the Governor are often over looked and “Now we did all we could” was meant to say that the residents of Alabama did all they could to get rid of him. If you listen closely –with a set of headphones- you can hear the producer-Al Kooper- singing lightly the words “Southern Man” after Ronnie says “well I hope Neil Young will remember..” (about 55 seconds into the song). “I Need You” is along the lines of “Tuesday’s Gone” and “Simple Man” and is a slow heartfelt song about love. Track # 3- “Don’t Ask Me No Questions” in my opinion the best song Lynyrd has ever recorded. The mix of the guitars, horns and piano creates such a perfect blend of rock and roll. This song was obviously directed to the press as Skynyrd was growing in popularity and wanted to keep them off of their back. The boys had a tendency to talk their mind freely and were often attacked as arrogant and cocky- which is probably exactly what they were. And they also took on their own record company with “Working for MCA” which is a very sarcastic rant on the executives of the music company who they accuse of stealing their money. You can really hear the “triple guitar” on this song.

Side two starts off with the impressive “The Ballad of Curtis Loew.” Listen to this song carefully and you’ll be blown away by the quality of the playing of the guitars, piano and drums. This song moves along very nicely and tells the story of people that lived in Mr. Van Zant’s neighborhood in Jacksonville, FL. (Little bit of history- this song was performed only once live before the fatal plane crash and was not performed again until the Tribute Tour with Johnny Van Zant). “Swamp Music” starts off like something Johnny Cash would perform if he plugged in his acoustic guitar into the electric socket and jammed away. This song rocks and the piano adds the spice. “The Needle and the Spoon” is a rocking song that depicts the struggle of an addict trying to save his life by quitting drugs. The sound coming off this track is crystal clear and makes you feel like you are in the studio when they recorded it. (again-headphones people). The last track on side two is Skynyrd’s cover of the J.J.Cale classic “Call Me the Breeze” which is a hand clapping, foot stomping blazing version of the original and seems perfectly suited for this band. I can’t get enough of this song. The piano solo by Billy Powell may be the best work at the piano for a rock and roll song in the history of musical recordings.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the best rock and roll bands to ever hit the music scene (I won’t limit it to “Southern Rock”) and everyone has to have at least one song or one album that they like or own. If you want to have a good time at your next house party or BBQ you have more than a few songs to pick from to “get the party started.” Next question- What are you waiting for? Go out and get you some Skynyrd, baby!!

This week I also was listening to a heavy dosage of John Lennon and have decided to put down my favorite top ten songs from the legend that was taken from us way too soon.

10.     How Do You Sleep– OK I know it’s an attack on Paul but again, it’s the music for me in most cases. His lyric “jump when your mama tell you anything” is not fair though, doesn’t everyone do that, especially for your mom?

9.     Oh My Love– The “dark horse” on the album “Imagine.” This song is so pleasing to the ear, the man was a gift to us all.

8.     Mother– Gut wrenching song which immediately stops me in my tracks, drop everything and listen so attentively, it is scary. Pure perfection in my opinion.

7.     Power to the People– Love the groove in this song and of course Billy Preston is involved on piano.

6.     Give Peace a Chance– Keeping with the same theme, I love this song in so many ways and wish the whole world could heed this advice… forever.

5.     Woman– I wanted this to be my wedding song because “I am forever in your (my wife’s) debt.” This song is superb.

4.     Imagine– Can this song not be in anyone’s top 10 songs for Mr. Lennon? I think not. Spectacular, ageless and unforgettable.

3.     Beautiful Boy– This song gets me all the time, I automatically think about Sean and how he lost his dad at a young age. And then when my son’s were born, I associated this song for them. This is the perfect song from a father to a son.

2.     Stand By Me– Even though he did not write this song, I believe his version is the best ever made. I love the guitar work, so simple but yet so extraordinary. Listen to his voice, does it get any better?

1.     Happy Christmas (War is Over)- This song, for me, has to be in my top ten songs of all time, even though it’s seasonal. I wish the war was over. The melody is so magnificent and it puts a smile on my face every time.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Tommy Thayer (Guitar) and Eric Singer (Drummer)

2.     The Commodores

3.     False. The bassist, John Deacon, retired from music business in 1997.

4.     The Ray Davies Quartet- who later on became The Kinks.

This week’s trivia (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

1.     Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother, Donnie, is a co-founder of what band?

2.     How did the group get their name?

3.     True or False. Leslie West auditioned to become a guitarist for Lynyrd Skynryd.

4.     True or False. Neil Young was a rival of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Sadly back on this day in 1989, John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service passed away at the young age of 45 from chronic emphysema.

Sadly back on this day in 1997, Jeff Buckley passed away at the young age of 30 as he drowned in Mud Island in Memphis TN.

Sadly back on this day in 1999, the remains of Iron Butterfly’s Phillip Taylor Kramer are found at the bottom of Decker Canyon near Malibu, CA four years after his disappearance. His death was ruled a suicide.

Back on this day in 1971, the Rolling Stones had the number one hit with “Brown Sugar.”

Back on this day in 1979, Donna Summer had the number one hit with “Hot Stuff.”

Back on this day in 1995, Bryan Adams had the number one hit with “Have You Really Ever Loved a Woman.”

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Gary Brooker (Procol Harum), Melissa Etheridge, Noel Gallagher, Chand Kinchla (Blues Traveler) and Dave Buckner (Papa Roach).

May 22, 2009

Weekly Update – 05/22/2009

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band at Giants Stadium on Wed. Sept. 30 and Fri. & Sat. Rocktober 2 & 3. Tickets on sale Mon. June 1 at 10:00 a.m. $33 – $98

Motorhead at Roseland Ballroom on Wed. Sept. 9. Now this is a good one: Ticketmaster has it listed and when you click on it, you are directed to LiveNation- but the page can not be found. So it looks like they are playing on Sept. 9. I will try and follow up on ticket info.

The Killers at Jones Beach and PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. & Wed. Sept. 1 and 2. Tickets on sale next Sat. May 30 at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Blink 182 and Weezer at PNC Bank Arts Center and Jones Beach on Tues. Aug. 25 and Mon. Aug. 31. Tickets on sale Sat. June 6 at 10:00 a.m. (pre-sale tickets for Citi card members on sale June 4. More ticket info to follow). (Live Nation Event). (Weezer should be the headliner).

Kenny Rogers at McNeice Theater in Sparta N.J. on Thurs. Aug. 20. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $68 – $98.

The Borgota Event Center will have the following acts and tickets for these shows go on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Events).

     Stone Temple Pilots on Sat. July 18.

     Jackson Browne on Sat. July 25.

     Hall & Oates on Fri. July 31.

     Crosby, Stills & Nash on Fri. Aug. 7.

     Steely Dan on Sat. Aug. 8.

     Moody Blues on Fri. Aug. 21.

Mick Taylor at BB Kings on Wed. July 29. Tickets on sale now. $26.

Journey at the Chevrolet Theater on Sun. Sept. 13. Ticket info to follow.

Other items:

Congratulations to Kris Allen on winning this year’s “American Idol.” I believe his “sweet spot” will be the same type of song-“Kiss a Girl” that he performed with Keith Urban. I thought he and Adam did a phenomenal job singing with Queen on the classic “We Are The Champions.” I like to see him when he’s “upbeat” because sometimes I think he’s way too laid back when he performs those soft songs. Hats off to Adam Lambert as well, and I have to admit it was somewhat of a surprise that he lost because in my opinion Kris didn’t do that much on Tuesday night to take the crown from him. But like I said last week, I think Adam lost it as opposed to Kris beating him. He became so obsessed with trying to be that “rock” star that it clouded his vision and he was screaming way too much, especially in the last three or four weeks. It’s ironic- I believe that the soft songs are Adam’s strength and the more upbeat songs are better suited for Kris-although I do admit that Adam can be a “rockstar.”

You really have to hand it to the producers of American Idol. The season finale show has “to me” (using Randy’s words) become the “Super Bowl” of American TV viewing. They continually raise the bar with each season ending episode and Wednesday night’s show may have been the best one yet. (Ok you guessed it –yes because of KISS!!!) No but seriously, the final show was so entertaining that I did not want it to end-even Kris’s mother said that she forgot why she was there because they were having such a good time- so was I and my whole family-we LOVED it. My oldest son said Queen and Jason Mraz were the highlights but we will ignore that because we all know that KISS was the highlight-period end of story. You had to see how excited my 11 year old son was when Kiss hit the stage. Now I have to hope that Kiss extends their never ending tour again, so I can take him to see the spectacle called KISS. “YOU WANTED THE BEST, YOU GOT THE BEST, THE HOTTEST BAND IN THE WORLD…. KIIIISSSSS!!!” Ok I digressed.. I’m back..

The surprises that kept coming were so much fun and even the “skits” were good, especially when Kara DioGuardi took revenge on the bikini girl-that was the best!! I didn’t know she could sing like that- Wow!! The Black Eyed Peas were “hot baby.” And how about Lionel Richie? This man is unbelievable, his “staying power” is something to behold-this guy was a star in the 1970’s, are you kidding me? Yes I know… the same can be said for Rod Stewart and he goes back to the 1960’s. Both men sound the same after all these years. What about Cyndi Lauper with Allison? I loved it, I know my younger son couldn’t wait for it to end-the only thing he thought was worse was when Steve Martin came out with Michael Sarver and Joy Megan. (Was that “Hee-Haw?” Her tattoo is still very disturbing). Kris’s performance with Keith Urban was fantastic. Jason Mraz is too cool, he’s got it. (Anoop-lose the ‘stache).

But now the highlight: when Adam came out with those “boots” and started singing “Beth” we all knew it. Then when the explosions started happening, we all jumped out of our seats (except my oldest- well what can I say) and started singing “I feel up tight on a Saturday night.” I have to admit Adam was rock solid. How much fun did we have watching that? I don’t what it is- maybe it’s the fact that Kiss is now “accepted” and gets a lot of air time-that was not the case back in the late 1970’s. (are you kidding me it took the press so many years to get a picture of them without their make-up on, remember that? It would be front page news if they thought they had a picture of one of the four without their make-up on). Every time I get to see them on TV or perform live, they just put the word “excite” into excitement!!! And I don’t even care how many times you have heard “Rock and Roll All Night”- it was like there was a whole new audience that probably heard the song for the first time Wednesday night and that’s what gets me pumped!!! Seeing Adam singing along with Gene and Paul was freaking phenomenal. I tell you what I can’t wait until next year’s final to see what is up the producers’ sleeve.

Staying with the Idol theme, Ruben Studdard has put out a new album “Love Is” which is getting some real positive reviews. It is a mixture of new songs along with some covers. His version of “More Than Words” by Extreme may be better than the original.

Linkin’ Park has released a new single –“New Divide” for the second and upcoming movie “Transformers”-which my youngest son has already informed me that we will be seeing it the first day it is out-June 24. The song has a similar feel to “What I’ve Done” which was released on the first “Transformers” soundtrack.

Rob Thomas has released a new single “Her Diamonds” and I have to say this guy also “has it.” Does he make any bad songs? He is super solid.

My favorite new song of the week is “Note to God” by Charice. She appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show performing this song and I was blown away. (My wife tapes Oprah-take it easy). This song is stunning. Buy it now!!!

If you didn’t get a chance to see Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood last year at Madison Square Garden, you can now purchase a CD that recorded the shows. It just came out this past Tuesday.

Aerosmith is reportedly considering playing one of their albums in its entirety. Joe Perry in an recent interview stated that they have picked an album and will play it “front to back.” I’d be up for “Draw the Line,” “Toys in the Attic” or “Pump.” Speculation is that it might be the new album which they did not get out in time for their upcoming tour with ZZ Top. For everyone going to see Motley Crue this summer, they are going to play “Dr. Feelgood” from start to finish.

Album Review: “21st Century Breakdown”- Green Day released on May 15, 2009

OK I did not try and rush to get a review out for this album after its release last Friday. I wanted to give it a few turns to let it settle in and I have to tell you, I’m glad I did. Now I have seen very positive reviews- the N.Y. Times called it a “masterpiece” and as I mentioned last week Rolling Stone magazine editor Rob Sheffield said “American Idiot” was a “warm-up” compared to 21st Century. On the flip side I have also witnessed some criticism that focuses on the “storyline” of the album, which I kind of agree that it’s hard to follow. It is a “concept” album that has been made famous by David Bowie, The Who and Queen. This story line is of a young couple, Christian and Gloria, (the class of 2013-which by the way is my oldest son’s graduating class) who experiences the trials and tribulations of life in the U.S. after the George Bush era. Now if you have been following along, Green Day started the “Bush-bashing” on “American Idiot” and I guess this is Act II. (Personally I hope this is the end of all their frustration with Mr. Bush.. but I still love the concept album.. hopefully Act III will be a different topic).

Anyway, back to the album- I will state this: Musically this album IS a masterpiece. My only hesitation to call it a total masterpiece is due to some of the “damaging” lyrics-particularly the cursing that appears on almost every song of “Act 3”-which begins with “Horseshoes and Handgrenades.” Now I get the whole “punk” thing associated with Rock and Roll and the need to “curse the system.” But Green Day has surpassed all expectations with “American Idiot.” And now with “21st Century” they have grown so much that you can feel all the hard work, with every drop of sweat and tears that went into the production of this album. Who expected Green Day to become the band that every other band aspires to be like? These last two albums have put them into the upper echelon of the Rock Gods. And my assumption would be as you grow, there would not be a need to have a “parental advisory explicit content” sticker on your CD because of the numerous “F” bombs that occur (really only towards the end of the album). But… I’m sorry I just don’t get it. Call me a prude, call me a square, call me whatever you want- but it takes away from the brilliant arrangements and musicianship that is evident in every song on the album. At this stage since they are “growing” I just don’t think there is no need for the offensive language. (I want to be able to play all their songs around my boys). Now that all said-obviously I purchased the CD with that tag on it and listen to every song and love it. So it is an automatic “BUY and HOLD” album that in years to come will be viewed in the same eye as “Ziggy Stardust,” “Night at The Opera” or “Quadrophenia.”

The album starts off with “Song of the Century” which takes you back to the old days of the antique radio where you search for a station that comes in and the production sounds like the song was actually made in the early 1900’s. So my guess is the message starts with the “old” and then breaks in with the “new” (Act I- Heroes and Cons) as “21st Century” begins with piano chords while the buildup of the drums creeps up on you and then BAM- it’s on!!! This song will become one of their “classics” in no time. It’s so melodic, so well arranged that you’d say that there is no way you thought Green Day would still be pushing the envelope like they are, then just like that- it takes a turn and becomes that heavy punk sound that we all are familiar with. There is one part of the song where the drums sound like “pistons” on a car and I can just visualize all the pistons going up and down in perfect unison. The song then takes another turn and slows down to a majestic feel (think “Bohemian Rhapsody”) where you will be singing from the pit of your stomach to try to match Billie Joe Armstrong’s passion. What a way to start off the album!!! Tre Cool then pounds his way into to your ears with his clean crisp skills on the skins for the “already classic” tune- “Know Your Enemy.” The one thing that is so clear about this band is that they are always “tight” and you can feel the “energy” bursting through the speakers and I believe this song demonstrates this perfectly. This song is so good, there is no way you can listen to it just once. I’ve already played it three times as I sit here and try to describe how perfect this song is. Put this song on and tell me you don’t “bounce?” Track #4 ‘Viva La Gloria” again starts off with the piano and images of Billie sitting behind the piano like Elton come into your head as he “heart-fully” sings “Hey Gloria Are you standing close to the edge?” Is this really Green Day? Again the sharp twists and turns (a la Metallica) come into the picture as the “headbanging” begins a little over a minute into the song. I believe the picture on the back of the CD cover depicts this song very well. The two teenagers kiss and embrace on top of a car while it appears the city is on fire. “Before the Lobotomy” is one of the highlights of this CD and one of my favorites. The slow guitar chords kind of reminds me of the beginning of the Kiss song “I Want You.” After a few listens of this song you will realize how addicting this song can be and before long you will be singing “Dreaming.. I was only dreaming.” Again the song starts off quietly and swiftly kicks into gear with the big heavy guitar riffs as well as the pounding drums. As the song transitions towards its epic ending, the vocals of “I was only dreaming” meshes with the slow driving drums along with this dramatic wall of sound created by the guitar is something that will blow your mind. “Christians Inferno” starts off like a “NIN” song and this is the traditional sound of Green Day that we all have loved from the very beginning. I’m not sure I get the “I am the Atom Bomb.. I am the Chosen One ..Toxin Your Reservoir” reference but maybe I’m getting old. The very cool ending of the song leads into their most beautiful songs they have ever done-“Last Night on Earth”- this song will rival their smash ballad “Good Riddance.” This song has a “Beatle-ish” flavor to it. I really could picture George doing the vocals on this song without a doubt. If this song isn’t one of their biggest hits over the next year or so, then I will need to stop doing this blog. So ends Act I.

Act II- Charlatans & Saints- The second act gets better, if you can believe that. “East Jesus Nowhere” could arguably be the best track on the album but again the lyrics for me are a bit strong. No cursing but attacks religion and the sarcasm drips all over the place. But musically-phenomenal. “Peacemaker” is an upbeat song that will have you bopping your head up and down trying to keep up with the pace of Mike Dirnt on Bass and Tre Cool on drums. In my opinion , this is one of the most unique songs that Green Day has ever done, it has this “Mediterranean” feeling to it. “Last of the American Girls” flat out grooves, it’s so good I can’t even explain it. It has a simple but effective arrangement that grabs you by the hands and makes you “air-drum” throughout the entire song. Track # 11- “Murder City” is a blazing song with an excellent bass line that keeps the drive going strong. You will be singing “desperate but not hopeless” in no time. This is also one of the best tracks on the album. “Viva La Gloria Little Girl” is an excellent song with a European twist mixed in with American rock. The last song of Act II – “Restless Heart Syndrome” is my favorite track on the entire album and could be my all-time favorite from these guys. When I first listen to an album I don’t read song titles or lyrics- I just listen and then listen again. Track # 13 kept standing out and then when I read the lyrics and sang along to the song, it just solidified my position. Billie Joe’s vocals are top notch and the string arrangement backing the song really adds a nice touch. The guitar solo sounds like he’s being electrocuted and as usual the drumming is dazzling.

Act III- Horseshoes and Handgrenades- The title for the act kicks off Act III and like I said I really could do without the cursing but musically the song rocks!! It kind of reminds me of something Pearl Jam would perform; I could definitely see Eddie Vedder ripping through this song. This song will be a fan favorite at their live shows. “The Static Age” is another fast moving song that creeps up on you and just might turn out to be your favorite song. This is a definite “car song”- meaning: windows or top down with blasting stereo system during the summer as you drive past the beach (or on it). “21 Guns” is another one of my favorites and will definitely be on the radio or a video on MTV or VH1. “Do you know what’s worth fighting for when it’s not worth dying for?” Billie asks. I can’t put my finger on it but I feel like I have heard this song before (but by someone else). I predict this will be one of their biggest hits as well, a guaranteed “live” show favorite. You will not be able to get the chorus out of your head. The mix between the softness and the “gruff” is fused together so well in this tune. Act III ends with two songs, with the first being broken out into and “A” and “B” parts-as they did in “American Idiot.” “American Eulogy XIII” goes back to the “old time” sound that you hear when you first put the album on, signifying that the message that they want to get out is nearing its end. Part “A”-“Mass Hysteria” definitely brings me back to “American idiot” as it sounds similar to one of the songs on that album, although I can’t seem to identify it. This song reads like the title, there doesn’t seem to be too much hope but then again maybe I don’t “get it.” The song morphs into “B”-“Modern World” and the chant is loud and clear- Billie doesn’t want to “live in the modern world.” Parents: take cover for the “F” bomb and another nice clear curse. After all the negativity, the last song on the disc seems to indicate that hope may be on the horizon or at least they just want to “See The Light.” “But it’s gone forever but never too late.. where the ever after is in the hands of fate”…nicely stated.

This album is meant to be heard in its entirety and there is truly not one song that you will want to skip over. The more you listen to it, the more you realize how much hard work and passion went into it. You can feel Billie’s enthusiasm as he takes you into his world; he lifts you up off the ground and takes you into this amazing journey where he commands your attention. No, there is no way off of this ride-so don’t ask the man to stop the ride, so you can get off. Sit back and enjoy the passage. Let Billie take you to that place where he intended all of us to go. I have read recently that they have performed “21st Century” in its entirety in concert and it takes a toll on Billie every night. I can definitely see why- I’m exhausted just trying to sing, “headbang,” “air-guitar” and “air-drum” along to every song for more than an hour. I absolutely love “American Idiot” but I believe that I will come to love this album more and that is no small feat for them to accomplish. Green Day are now in a zone where the classic rock bands like The Stones and The Who were back in their day, where they blazed the path of making incredible albums either “back to back” or “three out of four” in a 5 – 10 year period. There’s no telling what Green Day has in store for us in the coming years and I for one, can not wait for their next body of work but in the meantime I have one of the best, if not the best album of 2009 to enjoy for the rest of my life. Green Day has grabbed the mantle away from U2 or Bruce and they are now the “Icons”, yes I said Icons. They have taken over the 9:00 p.m. slot on Thursday night on the NBC line-up- remember “Cheers”, then “Seinfeld”, “Friends” and now “The Office.” Now it is Green Day’s turn to sit all alone at the top of the music world, in the most coveted spot and in my opinion will be there for a really long time. Think about it, do you think we’d be saying that before “American Idiot” came out? They are now a “first ballot” entrant into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (By the way they are playing in Central Park this morning as part of “Good Morning America’s” Summer Concert series).

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Billy Preston

2.     Kris Kristofferson

3.     The Beverly Hills Hotel (sometimes referred as the “Pink Hotel.”)

4.     Credenece Clearwater Revival

This week’s trivia (Guests on the American Idol Finale)

1.     Who are now the lead guitarist and drummer for Kiss, now that Ace and Peter have been replaced?

2.     What band was Lionel Richie from?

3.     True or False. The remaining original three members of Queen performed on Wednesday night with Adam and Kris.

4.     Rod Stewart joined what quartet in 1962 as the lead singer? This band went on (without him as lead singer) to be very successful.

Back on this day in 1954, Bob Dylan had his bar mitzvah in Hibbing, Minnesota.

Back on this day in 1966, Percy Sledge had the number one hit with “When a Man Loves a Woman.” How great is that song?

Back on this day in 1971, the Rolling Stones had the number one album with “Sticky Fingers.”

Back on this day in 1972, the Chi-Lites had the number one hit with “Oh Girl.” This song brings me back to the days when I worked with my uncle in the butcher shop, whenever this song would come on all the butchers would use their knives as fake microphones, form a circle and belt out this classic tune.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Morrissey (Steven Patrick), and Bernie Taupin.

May 15, 2009

Weekly Update – 05/15/2009

Filed under: CD Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ea0217 @ 5:53 am

Jay-Z and Ciara at the Mohegan Sun on Fri. July 10. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.  $70 – $110.

Green Day at Madison Square Garden on Mon. July 27. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.   $29.50 – $49.50.

Pink with special guest The Ting Tings at Madison Square Garden on Mon. Rocktober 5. Pre-sale tickets on sale this morning beginning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public on sale tomorrow at noon.  $49.50 – $75.

Jason Mraz at Mohegan Sun on Fri. July 31. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.$45. Also appearing at Jones Beach & PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. & Sat. Aug. 7 & Aug. 8 Pre-sale tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. General public on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Aerosmith with ZZ Top at Madison Square Garden on Mon. Sept. 14. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders only on now until 10:00 p.m. Sun May 17. Also pre-sale tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m. to Sun. May 17 at 10:00 p.m. and the pass word is: HEAERO. General public on sale Mon. May 18 at 10:00 a.m.  $59.50 – $200.

Keith Urban with Sugarland at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. Rocktober 8. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $20 – $84.50.

Moe at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park NJ on Fri. & Sat. July 3 & 4. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon.  (Live Nation Event).

Kenny Wayne Shepherd at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park NJ on Thurs. July 9. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $32.50 ($35 day of show).

The Pretenders and Cat Power at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park NJ on Sun. Aug. 9. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon.  $44. ($45 day of show)

Peter Frampton at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park NJ on Sun. Aug. 30. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon.  $42.  ($45 day of show).

Staind with Shinedown, Chevelle and Halestorm at the Asbury Park Convention Hall on Fri. July 17. Pre-sale tickets on until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: Live. General public on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.$45 ($48 day of show). Also appearing at the Chevrolet Theater in Wallingford CT on Thurs. July 16. Ticket info to follow on that show. (You know I feel that Shinedown should be the headliner instead of Staind).

Dream Theater at Chevrolet Theater on Wed. Aug. 5. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Also at the Asbury Park Convention Hall on Fri. Aug. 7. Tickets for this show on sale tomorrow at noon. $49.50 – $75.

Sugar Ray at The New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Fri. Aug. 7. Tickets on sale today at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Kylie Minogue at Hammerstein Ballroom on Sun. –Tues. Rocktober 11-13. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.  $85 – $125.

Ani DiFranco at Town Hall on Sat. Nov. 21. Tickets on sale Fri. June 5 at 10:00 a.m.  $48

Regina Spektor at The Beacon Theater on Wed. June 17. Tickets on sale today at noon. $37.50 – $44.50

Frankie Beverly & Maze at The Beacon Theater on Fri. July 10. Tickets on sale today at noon. $50 – $80.

The Fab Faux at The Beacon Theater on Sat. Sept. 12. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45 – $125. Set 1 will be “Revolver” in its entirety; Set 2 will consist of fan favorites.  Anyone buying the $125 will get a chance to “meet & greet” the band.

Kenny Chesney with Miranda Lambert & Lady Antebellum at Comcast Theater on Thurs. Aug. 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.50 and $80 ($44.50 and $85 day of show).

Stone Temple Pilots at Mohegan Sun on Fri. July 17. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Donavon Frankenreiter at the Mercury Lounge, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Bowery Ballroom on Mon., Tues. & Thurs. July 20, 21 & 23. Pre-sale for American Express Cardholders only until 11:00 a.m. this morning. General public on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.  $25.

The New York Dolls at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 North 6th Street 11211) on Mon. June 22. Pre-sale for American Express cardholders on until 11:00 a.m. this morning. General public on sale today at noon.  $32.50

The Hold Steady at the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, N.J. on Fri. July 24. Tickets on sale today at noon.  $17.50

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family & friends of Mr. Ean Evans, the bassist for Lynyrd Skynyrd since 2001, who passed away at the young age of 48 from cancer. Prior to joining Skynyrd he played for The Outlaws and Cupid’s Arrow.

My apologies to everyone out there who reads this page faithfully but I had misrepresented that the new Green Day album “21st Century Breakdown” was to come out on the 21st of May. That is incorrect. IT’S OUT TODAY!!!! It’s a good mistake right? (or surprise). I have seen a video of four songs from the new album and I friggin’ love it. Pepsi along with Yahoo have the four new songs on video-“21st Century Breakdown” “East Jesus Nowhere” “Know Your Enemy” and “Before the Lobotomy”. Check it out at http://music.yahoo.com/promo-42778155-54-20090508-autoplay. My gut is telling me this is going to be the best album of 2009. This has the Who, David Bowie and Queen influence all over it as the “concept” album is back in full force.

This coming September will mark the 20th anniversary of Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood.” To celebrate the boys have released an anniversary CD with a couple of “live” songs added to it. Personally I think their first album (“Too Fast for Love”) is the best (they were real hungry at the time they made their first) but I love this album as well. From top to bottom on Feelgood there really is not a “filler” song- well OK maybe “Time for a Change.” (I know Monica- I should throw “Without You” in there as a filler but sometimes you need those ballads). Did you know that Skid Row sang background vocals on “Time for a Change?” There are lots of songs on the album that deal with….well you know and I try to keep this a “family” page, so the fans will know the song titles by the initials.. so here we go: “S.S.” had both Bryan Adams and Steven Tyler as background vocalists. (The boys met Adams at a Strip Club in Canada and asked him to come down to their studio to help them out on the album) “S.G.D.” has both Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander help out on vocals. Jack Blades helped out on “Same Old Situation.” It’s a tough call but “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” has slowly over the years become my favorite track on the album. For a long time it was “Kick Start My Heart” and of course I love the title track. If you do not have anything from the Crue in your library you would not go wrong by picking up “Dr. Feelgood” but definitely get their first album.“Feelgood” was produced by Mr. Bob Rock and the story goes that Metallica loved the production on this album and hired him for the “Black” album. Mr. Rock probably stayed on way too long with Metallica as they finally “released” themselves from him after “St. Anger.”

Paul Rodgers and Queen have parted ways. Paul says there is no animosity with each other and states that they could potentially work again in the future for a charity event.

Not for nothing but just based on the performances this past Tuesday night on American Idol Danny Gokey did not deserve to go home on Wednesday night. I have to be honest and say that Adam Lambert was the one that should have been voted off. In my opinion, the last few weeks I think all the “fame and celebrity” has gone to his head and he’s trying to hard to be perfect which has led to him “screaming and screeching” throughout some of his performances. And to make it worse it seems like the judges know it but have been giving him a pass- yes even Simon has been giving him a lot of slack. He’s seems to be always trying to hit that high note and it’s not working. He needs to go “back to the basics” if he wants to beat out Kris Allen next week.

Van Halen has been confirmed for “Guitar Hero” but no mention of what songs and what band members will be represented. My money is on the Diamond Dave era.

Did you catch the clip of the 9-year old guitar prodigy from Japan, Yuto Miyasawa, on the Ellen show this past Monday? He was asked who is idol was and he stated that it was Ozzy. So he and two other guys play “Crazy Train” and afterwards Ellen says that she has a surprise for him and has Ozzy come out from backstage to meet this kid. The priceless expression on his face as he realized that Ozzy was walking towards him is something that I will not forget for a while. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pksFOU_ZT8

Album Review: “Duets: An American Classic”- Tony Bennett released on Sept. 26, 2006

This week’s I-Tunes shuffle landed on “If I Ruled The World” by Mr. Tony Bennett along with Celine Dion and I was immediately struck on how beautiful the song is and I had to go back and listen to his entire “Duets” album which was released in Sept. 2006. Now there is one friend of mine, Jim, who would be shocked that I am writing a review of Mr. Bennett. As I have mentioned plenty of times before, being young sometimes clouds your vision on what greatness is all about. More specifically I was out of my mind when Tony won the “1995 album of the year” on the MTV Awards show and even though it was in his genre, I was still out of my mind. I could not accept that he won in 1995 but I was wrong. Mr. Bennett- please accept my humble apology as I was clearly a 30-year old Mr. “Know it All” and should have known better. Jim- I now know better and have an appreciation for his music.

Now if you are having a “dinner party” or friends over for a gathering, there is no better album to play in the background than “Duets.” I love this album from top to bottom and it’s a must have for everyone. I will go through each song and give my comments, so here goes:

“Lullaby of Broadway” with the Dixie Chicks-Even though thoughts of Joe Piscopo performing his Frank Sinatra impersonation that he made famous on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980’s will emerge in your head, when you listen to the whole song you will see the talent that the Dixie Chicks have and they hold their own with the world famous crooner. Of course it’s about Tony but the combination of his voice with the sweet vocals of the Dixie’s work so well that you immediately have a “holiday” feeling inside. Perfect.

“Smile” with Barbara Streisand- This song is bone chilling and I usually am frozen when I hear two of the greatest voices in the history of music working together in pure perfection. This is like watching the syrup slowly cover a stack of pancakes and drip down the sides of the cakes as you prepare to take your first bite. Streisand is stunning and Tony is just too cool.

“Put On a Happy Face” with James Taylor- I saw the video (or the making of this song) and you can not help but smile. This is two legends performing an American classic with such an appreciation for each other’s talent that it shines bright in this lively version. Their vocals together are priceless.

“The Very Thought of You” with Paul McCartney- I was so curious when I saw Paul’s name on this CD and wondered if he could pull off this genre of music and of course he can, he’s Paul McCartney- why would I have any doubts? Paul’s voice is crystal clear and he makes it seem like he’s been doing this kind of work his whole life. This is why I love collaborations between artists because of songs like this. Tony’s voice is pure perfection on this track.

“The Shadow of Your Smile” with Juanes- Every arrangement on this album is spotless and includes this one as well. I was unfamiliar with Juanes but after hearing his voice on this song I was convinced that he deserved a spot on this duet CD. You can hear the passion in both men in this soft classic, it works!!

“Rags To Riches” with Elton John- The beginning of the song when Tony sings I’m taken back to Carmine on the Laverne & Shirley series who would always sing this song to Shirley. Tony really shines in this song with no offense to Elton-who does an admiral job. They sound great when they sing together.

“The Good Life” with Billy Joel- Now when I saw Billy’s name I thought there was no way he could pull it off-but again I was wrong. Wow I didn’t know Billy had it in him. You can feel Billy’s graciousness towards Tony and I believe he was in complete awe of Tony but that did not affect his performance, he is stupendous. This is one of the best tracks on the album.

“Cold, Cold Heart” with Tim McGraw- I wasn’t too familiar with Mr. McGraw’s vocals or body of work for that matter but again I’d have to say that it sounds like most of these guests were born to sing this genre. (Of course it has to be because of Mr. Bennett- he makes everyone around him sound that much better and I’ll go with my theory of “good competition”- when there is someone that is so good at what they do- they make you “step it up a notch” because you don’t want to seem far behind when you know Tony is just Tony). Tim blends in beautifully and at points you have to catch yourself and ask was that Tony or Tim?

“If I Ruled The World” with Celine Dion- By far my favorite track on the album. Wow this song really gets me; I stop whatever I’m doing and have to listen in awe. I don’t want to get too crazy but this could be one of the best duets ever recorded. This song is “out of this world.”

“The Best is Yet to Come” with Diana Krall- Following up the best track on the album is tough but for me Tony keeps me up there as I didn’t fall too far. Miss Krall also does an admiral job but for me Tony keeps this one afloat as well as the band playing behind them.

“For Once in My Life” with Stevie Wonder- This is another song performed by two living legends which will leave you in astonishment on how great these singers are. The arrangement of the song is phenomenal- totally different from the original. This song won the best pop collaboration with vocals in 2007. I saw them perform this live at Madison Square Garden and Tony brought down the house!!

“Are You Havin’ Any Fun” with Elvis Costello- Mr. Costello was born to do this genre- I can’t believe it. This is the “sleeper” song on this album- you will not believe that this is Elvis “Alison” Costello. They both sound great and it is a very enjoyable song.

“Because of You” with K.D. Lang- I can picture a smoky room back in the day where K.D. is up on top of the piano while Tony plays and they go back and forth in complete flawlessness. This is one of the key tracks of the album. The trumpet solo hits the spot.

“Just in Time” with Michael Buble- Until recently I had never heard of Mr. Buble and I have to say he was born too late in the sense that he would have easily fit in with Tony & Frank back in the day. He was born to do this kind of music and it really shows with Tony on this tune. If you look up the word “excellence” you might just see this song listed as the definition.

“The Boulevard of Broken Dreams” with Sting- Wow I didn’t think that the person who sings “Roxanne” could ever do this genre but again, Sting pulls it off and the song works. He kind of reminds me of Rod Stewart with his vocals.

“I Wanna Be Around” with Bono- This is the second best track on this album as Bono works this with such precision, you’d think that he’d been doing this his whole life. I was completely blown away when I first heard this. The blending of their voices is like peanut butter and jelly- meant for each other.

“Sing, You Sinners” with John Legend- You all know how I feel about Mr. Legend- he is all class and is a perfect match for this genre. Anything this guy does is so good and he will no doubt be around for a long, long time, like Mr. Bennett. What a match!!

“I Left My Heart in San Francisco”- This is the only solo song and if you need any convincing of the man’s talent- just press play on this song and listen. ‘nuff said.

“How Do You Keep The Music Playing” with George Michael- Very subdued type of song but their voices are so powerful but yet soft at the same time. Mr. Michael is also flawless, again I was stunned on how good they sound together. This is a perfect ending to a phenomenal album.

This week I decided to do something that would be hard for most Beatle fans. Pick your favorite top songs from the number one band of all time. Can you do it? Have you ever thought about it? Do you know what they are? Well this was really hard for me but after careful consideration these are my favorites. (Are some of them yours?):

(If I to pick my top 11, then number 11 would be “Tomorrow Never Knows”- talk about a psychedelic song? Well this song was so far ahead of their time that I’m usually speechless when I listen to it). But OK I said the top ten, so here they are:

10.      Hey Jude– Do you know that saying “You had me at hello?” well… Paul had me on the first two words that he sings on this song. No matter how many times I hear this song, I have to listen to the whole thing including all the “Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah Nah Nah’s…”

9.      Helter Skelter– this song is the song that I point to when people say the Beatles were a “pop” band. Put that in your hat and eat it. This friggin’ song gets me so pumped that I feel like I can do anything when I hear it. The guitar solo is so great and Paul’s screeching is something to behold. C’mon when Motley Crue and countless others try to cover this song- you know that this is where it all started.

8.      Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey– This song now has a new special meaning for me as this was the song that finally got through to my younger son and he is now full throttle into the Beatles. (I’m still working on my oldest son). I love the screaming in the background- it gets me so psyched.

7.     The Ballad of John & Yoko– Paul’s bass work on this song is phenomenal and the upbeat tempo to this song makes me get out of my seat all the time and dance around the room (well try to dance). “Saving up your money for a rainy day.. THINK!!!” It’s so good, it’s unreal.

6.      All You Need Is Love To me, this song was the number one song of the 1960’s. How perfect are the words and meaning for those times? And the version that appears on the “Love” album is now my new favorite version, especially at the end when you hear John and George speaking.. “this is Johnny Rhythm just saying good night to you all and God Bless You.” I get chills every time I hear that.

5.      I’m So Tired– This song puts me in a trance every time I hear it. You want to talk about passion? Listen to John’s vocals and tell me it’s not masterful?

4.      Something– This song is astonishing. If I was asked the following question: What ONE song do you wish that you could have written?-This would have to be it. The arrangement of this song is overwhelming and I can’t get enough of Ringo drumming down the sides throughout the song.

3.      I Will– Short and simple song by Paul and for me this is the best song he’s ever written. It’s impossible to not sing along to this song.

2.     Julia– My second favorite song ever by John. The raw beauty of this song is staggering. I immediately stop what I’m doing if I hear this song and listen so attentively even after all these years. Pure perfection.

1.      I’m Only Sleeping– For me this is the best song that John has ever done. No matter how many times I hear it, I just love it. The groove is so infectious that I really feel like I’m floating up stream.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     The Paris Sisters

2.     Bernie Taupin

3.     The Moonglows

4.     My Way

This week’s trivia (random)

1.     Who wrote the song that Joe Cocker made famous-“You Are So Beautiful?”

2.     Who wrote “Me and Bobby McGee” which was made famous by Janis Joplin?

3.     Name the Hotel and where it resides that appears on the cover of the classic Eagles album “Hotel California.” (Where in California?)

4.     What band holds the record for the most #2 records without ever recording a #1 hit?

Back on this day in 1963, Tony Bennett won a grammy for “record of the year” with “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

Sadly back on this day in 2003, June Carter Cash died from complications following heart valve replacement surgery in Nashville, she was 73.

Back on this day in 1982, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder had the number one hit with “Ebony & Ivory.”

Back on this day in 1977, Stevie Wonder had the number one hit with “Sir Duke.”

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Brian Eno, Graeham Goble (Little River Band) and the late great Country star Eddie Arnold. (he passed away last year on May 8).

May 8, 2009

Weekly Update – 05/08/2009

Filed under: CD Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ea0217 @ 5:56 am

Aerosmith at Madison Square Garden on Mon. Sept. 14. Pre-sale for American Express cardholders only go on sale this Mon. May 11 at 10:00 a.m. until Sun. May 17 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale Mon. May 18 at 10:00 a.m. More info to follow but ticket price range looks to be from $60 – $200.

Green Day at Webster Hall (125 East 11street) on Tues. May 19. Limited tickets go on sale today at 4:00 p.m.  $49.50.   (Supposedly at Bowery Ballroom on Mon. May 18-No ticket info just yet)

TV on the Radio at the bandshell in Prospect Park Brooklyn on Tues. Aug. 11. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders only on now until 11:00 a.m. this morning.General public on sale today at noon. $30.

Pink at Madison Square Garden on Mon. Rocktober 5.  Ticket information to follow.

Marc Anthony at the Trump Taj Mahal on Sat. Aug. 8. Pre-sale tickets on now until next Thurs. May 14 at 10:00 p.m. The password is: Spanish. General public on-sale is Fri. May 15 at noon. $88 – $108.

Heaven and Hell and Coheed & Cambria at WAMU Theater in Madsion Square Garden on Tues. Aug. 25. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m.$54.50 – $79.50.  Also at Chevrolet Theater in Wallingford CT on Thurs. Aug. 27.  Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.50, $49.50 and $65.

American Idols Tour 2009 at Prudential Center, Nassau Coliseum, XL Center (Hartford CT) and Arena at Harbor Yard (Bridgeport, CT) on Sat. Aug. 8, Tues. Aug. 11, Sun. Aug. 16 and Thurs. Sept. 10, respectively. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Prudential: $43.50 – $69.50; Nassau: $40 – $66;  XL: $37.50 – $66.50; Harbor: $40.50 – $69.50.

No Doubt and Paramore at PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. June 26. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $19 and $84

Rise Against and Rancid at Roseland Ballroom on Sun. July 26. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons at The Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Fri. & Sat. Rocktober 9 & 10. Tickets on sale tomorrow afternoon at 12:30. (Live Nation Event)

Live at The Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Sun. July 19. Tickets on sale tomorrow afternoon at 12:30. $48 – $60. (Live Nation Event)

Melissa Etheridge at The Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Sat. Aug. 22. Tickets on sale tomorrow afternoon at 12:30.  (Live Nation Event).

Third Eye Blind at the Roseland Ballroom on Tues. July 28. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.$37 ($42 day of show) (Live Nation Event)

Katy Perry at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. July 7. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card members begins next Wed. May 13 at 10:00 a.m. until Fri. May 15 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale Sat. May 16 at 10:00 a.m. $29.50

Jefferson Airplane, Ten Years After and Canned Heat at Nokia Theater on Wed. Aug. 12. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders until noon today. General public on-sale today at noon. $40.

Hippie Fest 2009 featuring Chuck Negron, The Turtles, Felix Cavaliere and Badfinger at the Mohegan Sun on Wed. Aug. 12. Tickets on sale next Fri. May 15 at 10:00 a.m. $40. (pre-sale though hippie fest)

Hot Tuna at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Dec. 5. Pre-sale begins today at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight and password is: HETUNA. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. $44.50 – $54.50.

Eagles of Death Metal at Webster Theater on Thurs. Aug. 6 Tickets on sale now. $25.

Paolo Nutini at Webster Theater on Tues. July 21. Tickets on sale now. $25.

The Lemonheads at Bowery Ballroom on Thurs. June 25. Tickets on sale now. $25.

Duff McKagan at Gramercy Theater on Tues. May 19. Tickets on sale now. $17

The Lovin’ Spoonful at BB Kings on Tues. Aug. 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $25 ($30 day of show)

Green Day at Madison Square Garden on Mon. July 27. Tickets on sale next Fri. May 15.  More info to follow.

The Moody Blues at the Mohegan Sun on Sun. Aug. 16. Tickets on sale this Mon. May 18 at 10:00 a.m.  $40.

Tinted Windows at Highline Ballroom on Wed. June 17. Tickets on sale now. $25.

Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal at Chevrolet Theater on Sun. Aug. 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $55 – $75.

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Doobie Brothers at Comcast Theater on Sat. Aug. 22. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $24, $34 and $58.50

The Judds at Mohegan Sun on Thurs. July 2. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Creed at Jones Beach and PNC Bank Arts Center on Sat. & Sun. Aug. 15 & 16. Pre-sale tickets on now for Citi card holders. General public on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Jones: $29, $61, $76 and $91; PNC: $26.25, $55.25 and $85.25.

Kylie Minogue at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Sun. Rocktober 11. Pre-sale for American Express cardholders on now through next Thurs. May 14 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale next Fri. at 10:00 a.m. $85 – $125.

Anthony Hamilton, Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele at WAMU Theater in Madison Square Garden on Thurs. June 18. Pre-sale begins this morning at 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: HECOOL. General public on sale tomorrow at noon. $49.50 – $79.50

Other items:

Jimmy Buffet has released a new single “Summerzcool” and according to I-Tune listeners it is a total thumbs up as the average rating is 4.5 stars. It sounds like a slower version of “cheeseburger in paradise” to me but I could be wrong. If you are a fan-you should love it.

Pete Yorn has released a new single called “Don’t Wanna Cry” from his upcoming June 23rd album called “Back and Forth.” It is a beautiful song and if you listen carefully you would think that you are listening to Steve Miller. Yorn left his usual recording spot in L.A. and spent two months in Nebraska while writing songs for this album. If this is any indication of what’s on the rest of the album, then I’m in.

Daughtry’s debut single “No Surprise” premiered on American Idol this past Wednesday night. I have to admit that I like it. He co-wrote the song with Chad Kroeger of Nickelback.

Sorry but America got it wrong this week by voting off Allison Iraheta . This is just like when Daughtry was shockingly voted off in season 5, but I am convinced we will be hearing from Miss Iraheta in the near future. Her version of “Cry Baby” was super solid, I don’t care what anyone says. She’s far better than Danny Gokey and Kris Allen.

My favorite “old” school (but not too old) is “Black Cat” by Janet Jackson. Of course the big guitar sound is what caught me as well as the blazing solo. I forgot how good this song is, yes I said it’s good- don’t make any faces. BTW-I-Tunes is running a “Mother’s Day” special and her greatest hits from 1986-1996 can be had for $7.99. (you can’t go wrong with that price, it has 16 songs).

Meg White (White Stripes) is getting married tomorrow to Patti Smith’s son- Jackson Smith.

My other favorite old school song this week is “I’m Gonna Get Married” by Mr. Lloyd Price. Do yourself a favor- get acquainted with his body of work. The man has so many great songs, it really is an eye-opener. (“Personality” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” “Just Because” and of course “Stagger Lee”) His music should be passed on to every generation, so do your part and play it around your kids or whoever is around you.

As I mentioned last week about Chrisette Michele, she now has the number one album on I-Tunes, Epiphany. It can be purchased for $8.99 and there are 12 songs plus a video. This woman has some voice and this album is only going to pick up steam as the summer comes closer, mark my words.

Chris Cornell has released a “rock” version of “Long Gone” from his latest release-“Scream” (which has made his fan base scream). I guess putting some guitars behind the song has worked because it’s already one of his most popular solo songs. The often criticized Timbaland produced album isn’t all that bad, I could use less of the electronic dance buzz but again he took a chance on doing something different- his voice is still the same and isn’t that what attracted you to him in the first place?

Green Day’s long awaited follow-up to “American Idiot”- “21st Century Breakdown” has received a 4.5 star rating from Rolling Stone magazine’s music critic Rob Sheffield. (almost an “instant classic” as far as the rating goes). To quote him- “21st Century Breakdown is even better, so masterful and confident it makes Idiot seem like a warm-up.” Wow that is some statement. To me this is the most anticipated album in a long, long time that has me jumping out of my seat as I can’t wait until May 21.

Album Review: “White Lies for Dark Times”- Ben Harper and the Relentless7 released on May 5, 2009

The first thing I have to say is that this album is an instant classic already- you know how ESPN will show a game the very next day on their “ESPN Classic” channel because it’s that good? (See the 2009 Bulls vs. Celtics first round playoff series). Now this is my first piece of work that I own from Mr. Ben Harper– I know many of his fans are out there right now banging their heads on their PC’s right now- but at least I’m in, right? Relentless7 is now his new band after many years with the Innocent Criminals and the story of how these guys joined forces was Harper was being shuttled by a van driven by Jason Mozersky and he asked Ben if he would listen to a sample of his band. Completely blown away, Mr. Harper proceeded to get Jason and his band mates a recording contract but that only lasted one album. Harper’s friendship with Jason strengthened and the rest as they say is history. Folks I’m telling you right now-there is songs on this album that I can only imagine them being performed live in a small club-it will blow the roof off of the place. (no offense meant to the people affected by the roof “cave-in” at the Dallas Cowboy complex- I’m using a metaphor). Run out and buy the album right now!!!

The first track “Number with No Name” has a bluesy rocking twist that will have you grooving in no time. Wow-this is the way you hook people in right off the bat. It has an “old school” sound but with an edge that is very contemporary. Then when the “scratchy” guitar solo blasts in, you shake your head in disbelief and ask yourself- can it be this good? Well… yes it can. “The very thing that drives you…drives you insane.” First batter up and it’s a homerun. “Up To You Now” is a well constructed song and you’ll think that you have heard this song before-that was my first reaction. You can feel Ben’s passion in his voice and the music playing behind him is so good. There is a build-up about half way through the song that switches gears which highlights Ben’s vocals as the band then plays softly behind him. Again the arrangement is top notch. The third track “Shimmer & Shine” is the first single off of the album. This is one of the aforementioned songs that will blow the roof off of the house. If this doesn’t get you out of your seat, nothing will. The weird thing is that in the video Ben is sitting there calmly playing the slide guitar, meanwhile there is a “storm” of music being played alongside him that will take you back to the “garage” days of rock and roll. (I just experienced that a few weeks back at a high school battle of the bands in Bronxville NY). The drummer, Jordan Richardson, does his best to get you moving and the driving guitar work between Jason & Ben is what rock and roll is supposed to sound like. You will also clearly hear the fantastic bass work of Jesse Ingalls on this tune as well. “Lay There and Hate Me” has an “R&B” and “disco” beat that will have you clapping your hands and dancing all over the lighted floor as Travolta did many years ago. I know I always say this but please find a good set of headphones and put this song on and you’ll float away. There is a cool piano part as well as a mellow slide guitar solo by Ben. This is the best song on the disc and my favorite but it is a tough decision. Then it’s back to that raw sound with “Why Must You Always Dress in Black.” Talk about a rockin’ blues song? People let me tell you, they rip the cover off the ball on this track and I really can’t get enough of it. The guitar solo will have you squinting your eyes as you imagine yourself up on stage playing it to a smoky bar, (well not smoky now but you know what I mean), jamming away-friggin’ phenomenal.

“Skin Thin” takes it down as you try as you try to catch your breath and quickly you are struck on how good they sound with a ballad type song. On one hand you were just in a smoky bar with lots of beer bottles surrounding you and now you are walking down a country road with an acoustic guitar hanging around your neck as you stroll by the cornfields on a beautiful summer day. I love the opening lyrics “Now that we’ve grown up, you can finally learn to be a child.” That has hit you somewhere, it did for me. This song has a “Cat Stevens” feel to it. “Fly One Time” reminds me of something that U2 would perform. It has that very calm beginning and then dramatically builds in to a grandiose sound that features Ben’s vocals as well as the guitar in the background- a la The Edge. Listen for yourself and tell me you disagree? “Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart)” blazes back through your speakers with the heavy guitar vibe. Now I know this is completely out of left field but I could picture Marvin Gaye doing this song-yes even with the rock guitars. Again there is something about this song that reminds you of “days gone by” but with a new fresh sound that is exhilarating.The guitar work throughout the song is so overwhelming and stays in the forefront – sort of like an “infrared” light that is shone on a wall which moves in all different directions. Track #9- “Boots Like These” has a “psychedelic” feel to it, picture something recorded back in the late 1960’s by –dare I say- Mr. Jimi Hendrix? I’m telling you these guys must have been listening to a heavy dose of Jimi when they recorded this song, I love it!!! The percussion section really shines bright and the whole song just grooves. “The Word Suicide” is a ballad that sort of sounds like something “Traffic” would have recorded back in the day. “Love is a lonely room” will be fixated in your head in no time. This song sets up the last track on the album-“Faithfully Remain”- a beautiful song that again will remind you of Cat Stevens, especially his vocals. I tried to stay away from the Lenny Kravitz comparison but with this song it is really hard not to compare Ben with Len. This doesn’t mean it’s bad-quite the contrary- its spectacular- just like something Lenny would write or perform. This is a perfect song to end this classic album- yes I am sticking to this word-classic.

“White Lies for Dark Times” should definitely land in my top ten albums of 2009 and it’s only May-that’s how confident I am that this will be an unforgettable release by Mr. Ben Harper and the Relentless7. I’m officially on the “band-wagon.”

This week I had a heavy dose of Three Dog Night and I am a big fan of these guys but instead of focusing on an album I will use my oldest son’s suggestion of naming my favorite ten songs. They are still going strong but for me without Chuck Negron it’s like Foreigner continuing without Lou Gramm-doesn’t make sense. So here they are:

10.      Joy to the World– Song brings me back to my childhood days growing up on 46th street in Brooklyn, reminds me of Mr. Principe.

9.      An Old Fashion Love Song– song written by Paul Williams and made famous by TDN. Remember the “Odd Couple” episode where Felix’s daughter ran off to see Mr. Williams and he performed this song on the show. Love the background vocals towards the end “Love song..”

8.      Midnight Runaway– This song rocks man!! Love the gritty vocals and the jam is pure. “They’re messing with my head.. I need a little time to think..” This song really spotlights their ability to play guitar and keyboards.

7.     Easy to be Hard-This song was featured in the musical “Hair.” The passion delivered by Negron knocks you out. Period end of story.

6.      Celebrate– I was hooked by the beginning of the song “Slippin’ away, sittin’ on a pillow…” and then when it turns into a jam fest with “Celebrate-[hand clap]-celebrate-[hand clap] dance to the music..” well does it get any better?

5.      Sure As I’m Sitting Here– song written by John Hiatt but again made famous by TDN. This song is simple but addictive, I love it. “C’mon sit down.. git down..”

4.      One– How can anyone not like this song? It really is impossible.This was their first gold record and was written by Harry Nilsson. This could be Negron’s best recording ever.

3.      Black and White– One of their three number one hits that they had. Another cover but again made famous by them. The song was originally written by in 1954 by Earl Robinson and David Arkin. Their spin on it is infectious, especially when the chorus of children come in near the end.

2.     Shambala– This song brings me back to Otisville NY when I would spend my summers with my grandparents & my uncle. I can picture a hot summer day by the beach. This is such a great remake of B.W. Stevenson’s song. This song symbolizes the 1970’s for me and especially the summer, what about you?

1.      The Show Must Go On– Originally written by Leo Sayer and David Courtney, this song was one of my mother’s all time favorite’s and that is the reason why it sits here at number one for me, I also love the song as well. Negron’s passionate vocals get me every time. I love the “circus” instrumental through-out the song and can just picture my mother’s face as she lip-synced “Baby I wish you’d help me escape..” and the smashing of the cymbals is the best.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     “Everything Zen” by Bush

2.     Nirvana

3.     John Lennon AND Carlos Alomar

This week’s trivia (random)

1.     The song “I Love How You Love Me” was originally recorded by whom? Bobby Vinton and years later The Baby’s covered it but nothing like the original.

2.     This popular songwriter enjoyed incredible success with a singer during the 1970’s and then co-wrote number one hits for Jefferson Starship and Heart. Who is he?

3.     After playing with Bo Diddley early in his career, Marvin Gaye joined what “doo-wop” group in the 1950’s?

4.     What was the last song that Elvis recorded before his death on Aug. 16, 1977?

Back on this day in 1972, Billy Preston was the first “rock” act to headline a show at Radio City Music Hall.

Back on this day in 1977, Leo Sayer had the number one hit with “When I Need You.”

Back on this day in 1993, Aerosmith’s “Get a Grip” debuted at # 1. It went on to sell 7 million in the U.S. alone and more than 10 million worldwide.

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with: Alex Van Halen, Enrique Iglesias, Phillip Bailey, Toni Tennille and the late Rick Nelson and the late Robert Johnson.

May 1, 2009

Weekly Update – 05/01/2009

Bob Dylan with John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson at First Energy Park in Lakewood, N.J. on Thurs. July 23 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon. $67.50.

John Legend at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. Aug. 13. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders only on now thru next Thurs. May 7 at 5:00 p.m. General public tickets on sale next Fri. at 9:00 a.m.$46.00 – $90.50.

Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall on Thurs. Sept. 18. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on now until 8:00 a.m. this morning. General public on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$54.50 – $94.50.

Green Day at Madison Square Garden on Mon. July 27. Ticket info to follow.

The Moody Blues at the Mohegan Sun on Sun. Aug. 16. Tickets on sale this Mon. May 4 at 10:00 a.m.$40.

Fleetwood Mac at the Mohegan Sun on Wed. June 17. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.$95 – $125. Also at Madison Square Garden on Tues. June 11. Pre-sale tickets on sale this morning from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and the password is HEMSGFM. General public on sale this Mon. May 4 at 10:00 a.m.

The following shows will be at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel N.J. and go on sale tomorrow May 2 at 9:30 a.m. (Live Nation Events):

Artist

Date

Pre-Sale

General Public On sale

REO Speedwagon/Styx/.38 Special

Wed. June 24

Citi card 4/29

$20.25, $49.25, $59.25, $75.25

Rascal Flatts/ Darius Rucker

Thurs. June 25

Citi card 4/29

$31.25, $70

Kid Rock / Lynyrd Skynyrd

Wed. July 8

Citi card 4/29

$26.25, $60.25, $80.25

Judas Priest/Whitesnake

Sat. July 11

Citi card 4/29

$25.25, $50.25, $75.25, $125.25

Snoop Dogg/Slighty Stoopid

Thur. Aug. 8

Citi card 4/29

$15.05, $31.15

Crosby, Stills & Nash

Tues. Aug. 11

Artist VIP

$20.25, $50.25, $74.25, $119

Beat Stock

Sat. Aug. 15

No info

No Info

Creed (original members)

Sun. Aug. 16

Citi card 5/5

May 9

Loggins & Messina/Poco

Sat. Aug. 22

Citi card 4/29

$29.25, $34.25, $69.25 $89.25

The following shows will be at the Jones Beach in Wantagh NY and go on sale tomorrow May 2 at 9:00 a.m. (Live Nation Events): A limited number of “wristbands” will be handed out today starting at noon until 6:00 p.m. outside the Nikon Theater on Jones Beach.

Artist

Date

General Public On sale

Judas Priest/Whitesnake

Sun. July 12

$25, $50, $75, $125

“Rock the Bells”-Nas/Roots/Common

Sun. July 19

$40.50, $70.50, $80.50, $130.50

Kid Rock /Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sun. Aug. 2

$26, $60, $80, $160

Crosby, Stills & Nash

Sat. Aug. 8

$26, $60.50, $80.50, $125

Creed (original members)

Sat. Aug. 15

May 9

Beat Stock

Sun. Aug. 16

$19, $26, $55, $79

Loggins & Messina/Poco

Sun. Aug. 23

$20, $50, $75, $95

Handsome Furs at the Bowery Ballroom on Tues. July 7.Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders only until 11:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon.$15.

Janes Addiction at the Chevrolet Theater on Sun. June 14. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Judas Priest at the Chevrolet Theater on Sun. July 5. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Paul Potts at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. July 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $63.50 – $75.

Sonic Youth at United Palace Theater on Fri. July 3. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders only this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $38 – $45.

Other items:

Alice in Chains have completed their first album with new lead singer, William Duvall, and it should be released this September. Lead guitarist, Jerry Cantrell, calls it some of their best work ever.

Can you believe it’s been 20 years since the release of Lenny Kravitz’s debut album “Let Love Rule” and to celebrate Lenny has remixed the title track and is offering a free MP3 download from his website. The deluxe edition of the album will be available on Tues. May 19.

John Mayer is a huge fan of “30 Rock” and supposedly looking for a way to get on the show. That is my new favorite show.

Yusuf– the artist known as Cat Stevens- will release a new album next Tuesday and it’s called “Roadsinger.” The single “Thinking ‘Bout You” sounds like something he would have done back in the 1970’s.

My favorite song of the week is “ King of the Rodeo”- by the Bamboos featuring Megan Washington on vocals. This is a fantastic song, check it out. Also check out the video.

My favorite “new” song of the week is “Blame it on Me” by Chrisette Michele. All I can say is “wow” listen to her voice and you’ll be blown away just as I was.

My favorite “old” school song of the week is “In Memory of Elizabeth Reid” by the Allman Brothers. The song was written by Dickey Betts and features him and the legendary Duane Allman on lead guitar. If you have been to one of their shows you know that this song can go on for more than a half hour sometimes. The version from live at Fillmore East is impeccable-puts you in a trance.

Tim “The Ripper” Owens is putting out his first solo album –“Play My Game”- which will be released on May 19. If you don’t know the story, Mr. Owens, was in a tribute band for Judas Priest called “British Steel” and after Rob Halford left in 1991- The Ripper went from tribute band to the lead singer for Priest and is the inspiration behind the movie “Rock Star” starring Mark Walhberg. His new single “Starting Over” sounds real good. He has received a bunch of help from some notable rockers such as Bob and Bruce Kulick, Billy Sheenan, Vinny Apice, Dave Ellefson and Simon Wright. If you are a metal fan you’ll want to check it out.

Album Review: “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”- David Bowie released on June 6, 1972

This week’s I-POD shuffle landed on “Lady Stardust” by David Bowie from arguably his most popular album- “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” His library is so extensive and it’s hard to pick his best work but in my opinion, this is his masterpiece. Believe me I know some of you are screaming for “Aladdin Sane” or “Hunky Dory” or another one of my favorites “The Man Who Sold the World.” These all are solid releases and you won’t go wrong with purchasing any of the aforementioned albums. (Again I do not want to limit it to these albums because the man has so much material it really is incredible). So as you can see I have had a heavy dose of Bowie this week. This man is one of the foundations of rock and roll, punk, alternative- whatever you want to call it- he has done it. So staggering is his influence on what we all listen to today that he could be the music version of the game “the six degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Pick one of your favorite band’s out there today and I bet if you look back on their history you will find David Bowie’s imprint somewhere. He’s done it all- even sung a duet with Mr. Bing Crosby back in Sept. 1977 (Crosby passed away the next month and never saw the televised event which debuted around Christmas time of 1977).

OK back to the album- “Five Years” starts off this concept album that depicts a man from Mars who has come to save the earth with a message of peace and love. This beautiful song begins with the piano & drums at the forefront, a slow melancholy beat that creeps up and surrounds you and before long you become completely engulfed by the passion. The chorus is perfect if one is at a pub with a bunch of people, swinging your arm back and forth with the beer mug gripped tightly in your hand as everyone sings “We’ve Got Five Years, stuck on my eyes, five years, what a surprise…” The second track- “Soul Love” is an “R&B” groovy-like mix that includes a saxophone that adds the flavor to this perfect “hot bowl of soup” on a cold day. If you listen closely I think “AOL” stole some of their web site sounds from this song. (the sound before the voice says “You’ve Got Mail”). The arrangement to this song is so spectacular; it can’t be put into words. Don’t you just love the part where Bowie says “Inspirations Have I none-just to touch the flaming dove, All I have is my love of love-and love is not loving?” “Moonage Daydream” is one of my favorites on this album. It rocks hard at points and then softens up with that classic acoustic sound along with the piano that Bowie perfected. The best part of the song comes about two minutes into the jam where the piano, saxophone and I believe the harpsichord all play in unison. When the string arrangements kick in it makes the song that much better and this was handled by the legendary Mick Ronson- who was not only a fantastic guitar player but a top notch keyboardist as well. I believe “Starman” is my favorite track on the album, it’s a tough decision but I’ll stick with it. I’m telling you right now put on the best pair of headphones you can find, (“Bose”, whatever you have), make sure they are secure on your ears before you start the song. Are you ready? Press play and listen to this exquisite song, total excellence, isn’t it? Let the bass guitar (Trevor Bolder) take you away and then the ultimate sing along chorus “There’s a starman waiting in the sky, he’d like to come meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds, There’s a starman waiting in the sky, he’s told us not to blow it, cause he knows it’s all worthwhile.. He told me: Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie.” There’s no way in the world that anyone can dislike this song, it’s not allowed. “It Ain’t Easy” reminds me of something the Beatles would do and Mr. Bowie (real name is David Robert Jones) actually sounds like John on this song. Again the arrangement of the song is so good and then it rolls into the aforementioned “Lady Stardust.” This has an Elton John feel to it as the piano is prominent throughout and it has the Elton flair-dramatic vocals with the grandiose background. Queen definitely had to listen to this song before they started to record their library because this is right up their alley. Phenomenal song, period end of story!!

“Star” picks it up as the rocking begins again as Mick Woodsmaney will get you out of your seat with his upbeat drumming and Mick’s guitar work is flawless. Before you know it, the song is over and you have to listen to it again. “Hang on to Yourself” is such a fun song that keeps the jamming full speed ahead. You can use this song for your next Spin or boot camp class. The bass work shines bright and Mick’s guitar solo is really good. I think Lenny Kravitz must have been listening to this as he was growing up because it has a similar sound to his “California.” And then of course next is the incomparable “Ziggy Stardust.” I don’t care how many times you have heard this song, you can not deny its place in music history (like “Tommy” from the Who). “Ziggy played Guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly, and the Spiders from Mars, He played it left hand.” Ok so you know this song is about Jimi Hendrix-contrary to the denials by Bowie himself. You know there has been a point in your life where you have unexpectedly just started to sing “So where were the spiders while the fly…” Right now at this point you are overcome with the greatness to this album but wait.. here it is” “Suffragette City.” Can it get any better? I clearly remember being a young lad when my uncle Gary introduced me to this song and I immediately loved it ever since. You sensed my hesitation up top on my favorite song on the album because I knew what was waiting for me.. Suffragette City is so good that it even is on “Rock Band.” (Funny thing is now my kids like the song because of “Rock Band” but as long as they like it). This tune grabs you by the waist, gets you up out of your seat and sends impulses throughout your body to move. And you know that you have just said “hey man” or “hit me” in your lifetime, don’t even try to tell me you haven’t. I know that I have “air-pianoed” the ending of the song and who can forget about “wham bam thank you ma’am?” The last song on this historic masterpiece is “Rock and Roll Suicide.” Now on this tune, I’m reminded of Bob Dylan as Bowie sounds eerily similar to the harmonica man as the acoustic guitar strums along as he slowly builds to a passionate plea as he exclaims “Oh no love you’re not alone.” This would be a perfect song to suggest to those acoustic performers at your local pub (you know what I’m talking about-instead of yelling “Free Bird” yell this song). Listen to his fervor, can it get any better- I think not!! “You’re too old to lose it, too old to chose it and the clocks waits so patiently on your song..” This is pure perfection folks.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was, is and shall remain one of the greatest statements made in music history. I beg the older generation to never let this die, play it around your kids, play it around your grandkids- do whatever it takes to embed this into the next generation and future generations to come, after all it is a story about a “Martian” right? And Martians will forever remain with us, whether here on earth or looking down on us. If you are reading this and you have not heard of this album please do yourself a favor- run, don’t walk, to your nearest source of obtaining music and get it. If you don’t like it, I’ll refund your money.

“And 5, now this is most important, Rat…comes down to making out… whenever possible.. put on side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV

Side 1 of “The B-52’s” by The B-52’s which was released on July 6, 1979.

OK I remember when my uncle Gary first introduced me to this band (along with the Talking Heads) I was so struck by their “weirdness” that I never thought I would like anything that they would record just based on the way they looked on the album cover. But as the old saying goes- “never judge a book by its cover”- and I was wrong, with my apologies to the band. Side 1 of their debut album is one of the finest recordings in modern history. I absolutely love the beginning of “Planet Claire” (as well as the whole song) because it really was something that I had never heard before (at the “old” age of 14) and I do admit that it did take me a few “turns” to finally recognize the uniqueness and the simple greatness to it. For the first two and a half minutes, the instrumental music reminds me of walking into a fun house or some weird science fair. Or maybe a “futuristic” version of what the theme song for “The Munsters” would have been in 1979. And when Fred Schneider burst in with his “monotone” vocal style, I was just blown away. Again very simple but so addicting and I love it when he screams “Well She Isn’t??!!” The unusual guitar sounds were generated by the late Ricky Wilson (passed away in 1985 at the young age of 35) and his younger sister, Cindy, shared the vocals with Fred and Kate Pierson, who also played organ. The drumming was handled by Keith Strickland who later on pulled a Dave Grohl (or should I say Grohl pulled a Strickland) and came out from behind the skins to play guitar for the band. “Planet Claire” is one of the most original songs I have ever heard and I can easily listen to this over and over. “52 Girls” is a rocking upbeat song driven by the jamming beats of the drums and the strumming of the guitar. “These are the girls of the USA.. the principal girls of the USA….” This song is phenomenal- “new wave” head banging at its best. C’mon admit it- you know you like this- even with all the bizarre noises.

“Dance This Mess Around” has always been one of the “cult” B-52 songs that its fans can not get enough. If you ask most fans what is the best song on this album- a majority of them will point to this song. It still sounds as fresh as when it was released in 1979 and if listen to the whole arrangement you’ll discover that the atypical notes from the guitar really does work. I freely admit that Kate Pierson’s screeching vocals could get on your nerves but it doesn’t last for the whole song and I actually like when she screams “Why don’t you dance with me.. I’m not no limburger.” Ok the lyrics are kind of silly but this tune is also addicting and my recommendation for your next long car ride is to put this song in your rotation at some point and I guarantee the whole family will love the part where they all sing “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.” (Wasn’t there a “Flinstones” episode where Fred sang like this?) And then of course side 1 ends with the infamous “Rock Lobster.” Now I know this song polarizes people- you either love it or you hate it- there really is no in-between, right? Of course you know what my vote is-call it silly, call it dumb, call it annoying but you know what- it is one of the best arranged songs ever put together. How can you not like the girls background vocals going “Ooh Waa, Ooh Waa?” Or the part where it’s going “down, down” and one really gets the feeling that you are spinning in a circle-like getting flushed down a toilet. How many twists and turns are in this tune? I love all the sounds the girls make while Fred describes each kind of fish. Or how about the “high pitch” shadow vocals that end the song? Doesn’t get any better. Listen to the detail in this song, every part is specifically plotted and planned with the end result being one of the most recognized songs in the history of music. (That’s right I said it). Buyer beware: the version of this song on their greatest hits-“Time Capsule” is a well shortened version from the debut album- listen to the original only. We used this song many times for boot camp class at MBIA, though I think it works better for Spin.

The B-52’s debut album actually ranks #152 out of 500 from a 2003 Rolling Stone issue that listed the greatest albums of all time, so for all you “non-believers” out there, you have to give credit where credit is due. In addition, this album made the number nine entry out of the top ten for the best alternative albums ever made by Alan Cross. This band is still going strong and last year’s release of “Funplex” had some solid tunes including “Hot Corner” and some others. If you are looking to have some fun at your next party then side 1 is a perfect album side, period end of story.

Trivia Questions

Some folks have suggested that I put in some trivia questions (where I will provide the answers the following week), and since it’s been an “everything Bowie” week I might as well continue with questions related to him:

1.     What band and what song paid homage to the lyrics “Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow..” from David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?”

2.    What band covered Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” where people mistakenly think their version is better than David’s?

3.     Who co-wrote “Fame” with David Bowie?

Back on this day in 1967, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu.

Back on this day in 1970, Diana Ross announced her decision to pursue a solo career, ending her association with the Supremes.

Back on this day in 1979, Elton John became the first “pop” star to perform in Israel.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the late Kate Smith, Jerry Weiss (Blood, Sweat & Tears), Rita Coolidge, Ray Parker Jr., and Judy Collins.

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