Errols Weekly Music Update.

November 25, 2009

Weekly Update – 11/25/2009

Chuck Berry –The Immortal-The Legend-The “Father” of Rock and Roll-at BB Kings on New Year’s Eve. Tickets on sale tis morning at 10:00 a.m.$98.

Aretha Franklin at Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood NJ on Sat. May 22, 2010. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $35 – $125.

eTown Live Radio Show featuring Tori Amos and Jesse Winchester at the Grand Ballroom (7th floor of the Manhattan Center). Tickets on sale now. $42.

Dinosaur Jr. at Bowery Ballroom on Sat. Jan. 16, 2010. And at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sun. Jan. 17. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show).

Alice In Chains at Terminal 5 on Mon. Mar. 8, 2010 and at the Borgota in Atlantic City on Sat. Mar. 12, 2010. Ticket info to follow. (Second half of their tour kicks off in Vancouver in Feb.)

Other items:

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, may you have a warm holiday season.

Congratulations to Taylor Swift on winning what seemed like every award this past Sunday night on the American Music Awards show. This is her year without a doubt. She is a breath of fresh air. I don’t know about you but maybe I’m a prude but it drives me crazy that artists are allowed to curse during their songs on national TV. I guess we now live in a world where the “7 second delay” will be with us forever. Jay-Z’s performance with Alicia Keys for the song-“Empire State of Mind”- was very good but then here it comes- there were words coming out of his mouth-oh wait he’s cursing… bums me out. And then forget about Eminem’s performance-turned the channel, it’s ridiculous- is this all for “street cred?” I’ll take Susan Boyle any day of the week over that. It may be me but I don’t get Lady Gaga, do you? I’m at a loss for words to describe her performance.

As usual Mary J. Blige was the coolest female performer and is by far one of the coolest people on the planet. And what about Adam Lambert? I don’t even know what to say- his performance was terrible, I’m sorry I usually keep it positive on this page and if I have nothing good to say, I usually just don’t say anything but he has lost me as a fan. I can no longer take his screaming which seems to be done on every one of his performances, the last notes that he was screeching took out more than a few windows across the U.S. Adam- what has happened? I think all the “fame” has taken away your talent. And why all the stupid body gyrations and kisses, etc? Weren’t you just on American Idol? A place where a family can enjoy a show together and less than 6 months later, this is what you do? For shock value? And then to just blow it off like it is no big deal is an insult to all the kids out there who voted for you. It’s so obvious you have a lot of growing up to do. I will not put any money in his pockets by buying his album, his performance was not only a disgrace but he doesn’t sing anymore, he just screams and screeches. I’m done. His scheduled appearance on “Good Morning America” today deserved to be pulled from their programming.

I absolutely love Susan Boyle’s new album- “I Dreamed a Dream”-this is a perfect album for a dinner party or a holiday party. The first song, a remake of the Rolling Stone’s-“Wild Horses”- is in my opinion stunning beautiful. Then the song that made her who she is today-“I Dreamed a Dream” still gives me the chills as I can picture her up on stage that first time while Simon’s reaction was priceless. Now obviously this is a “sit-down” listening album in front of the fireplace, etc. as this could almost be considered a “classical” album. “Cry Me a River” is still absolutely phenomenal no matter how many times you hear it or view it on You Tube. Her version of “How Great That Art” is a chilling monumental feat that will blow you away. Where has this woman been all of our lives? She puts a very different spin on the Monkees classic “Day Dream Believer.” The rest of the album again is fantastic and could be considered in my top ten albums of the year. That’s how good this is folks, she probably could retire after this as I’m assuming this will break many, many records. Congrats Ms. Boyle, well deserved.

The “Very Special Christmas” has added another to its series- “7”- and it features songs from Carrie Underwood, Colbie Caillat, Miley Cyrus, Sean Kingston and Charice. I have to say that this one sounds good overall- there are a few songs that I’d pass over- but overall this is worth the purchase.

I purchased the song –“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”- from David Archuleta’s “Christmas From the Heart” album as it features Charice Pempengco and if you remember she had, in my opinion, a massive hit with “Note to God”- which will definitely be in my top ten songs for the year 2009. Listen to this track, Archuleta actually hangs in there with her which is hard to do.

Lite FM 106.7 the radio station in New York has been playing 24 hours of Christmas music since last weekend and it will continue until Dec. 26. I love it!!

Q-104.3– NY’s Classic Rock Radio station- will be playing their top 1,043 songs of all time, voted by you- the listener. The countdown begins today and ends up on this Sunday.

Album Review: “Battle Studies” by John Mayer; released on November 17, 2009.

Well folks like I told you last week, I knew my son was going to get Mayer’s new album. I’m not sure there is a bigger fan out there today than my oldest son and with no further adieu here is his review:

It’s been three years since singer/guitarist John Mayer has put out a studio album. Due to this I have been waiting for “Battle Studies” for a long, long time and with much anticipation. When I went to the store to buy the CD mixed feelings overcame me. I was so happy that I could finally listen to some new songs from my favorite artist, but I was also a little scared because the album had gotten “average” reviews. I played the album and then I played it again, and again and finally had an opinion about it. This is an album of details, every listen you can find something more interesting about it.

When “Heartbreak Warfare”, the first song on the album, started playing I immediately had a good feeling about it. The song is so calm and very peaceful although the lyrics are the opposite and speak of what most of the album revolves around: love and heartbreak. You can tell just from this song that John wasn’t lying when he said that he had changed his writing style, most of the songs use battles or wars as metaphors to explain how he feels. It’s an interesting change in style.“Heartbreak Warfare” is a great way to start the album and gives a hint toward the sound of the rest of the album. The second song is called “All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye” and once again some of the lyrics are really good! For some reason I think Mayer’s vocals stand more on this album than past records, it’s one of the notable aspects of the album. I love at the end of the song when Mayer sings the high and low verses at the same time, it just sounds amazing. Next a guitar rings out and “Half of My Heart” begins. Now I was a little skeptical because Taylor Swift is singing along with John and I’m not a big fan of Swift, but I have to give credit to her because she sings the song very well with Mayer. They had very good chemistry. This is one of the most enjoyable songs on the album.

Track four is the first single from the album “Who Says” and is not my favorite John Mayer song. First I disagree with this being released as the first single; the song is ok but not single material. I really don’t understand the lyrics but I’m not going to dwell on it. You really have to be in the mood for this song, it’s perfect for driving late at night. After this a great upbeat song comes on called “Perfectly Lonely.” It’s very refreshing after hearing “Who Says” and is one of the best songs on the album. Everything on this song sounds good the guitar, vocals, lyrics, and rhythms. It’s so cool when John goes from singing to a guitar solo, it just sounds right. “Assassin” is the next track and is another stand out song on “Battle Studies.” Again it shows John’s change in writing and is a really cool song. The chorus is addicting and the guitar solo is flashy and lively. Next Mayer returns to his blues roots and covers Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” with skill. I had this song playing in the car and my mom turned it up and said “Wow this is good!”The guitar work in the song is great (not that I expected anything different).

Track 8, “War of My Life”, is a personal favorite of mine. It is such a peaceful song where Mayer’s vocals are flawless. The part at the end of the song where Mayer sings “So fight on…fight on everyone” is magical. Battle Studies continues with “Edge of Desire.” This song gets better as it progresses, it is really good from the guitar solo on, and once again I feel that the vocals shine in this song.“Do You Know Me”, the 10th song, is the worst song on the album. There’s just nothing special about the song. My favorite song on the album happens to be the last one, “Friends, Lovers, or Nothing.” The lyrics speak such truth in this song; a person is either a friend, a lover, or nothing. There is no in between.I saw this song live when John performed at the Beacon Theater and that performance made me realize how great it is. The vocals and guitar sound great together. The guitar solo is spectacular, when John plays guitar it sends me to another world.It’s amazing how music can affect a person. The harmonies at the end of the song with the combination of vocals, background vocals, and guitar sound amazing. A great way to end an album that has impressed me even though it’s not the kind of music I had expected. This album will always be special to me; there is just something about it that really appeals to me.I feel like I can almost relate to the album and I think that John Mayer has made an excellent record once again.

Overall Opinion: It’s not a perfect album but it is pretty close! I give it about 4 stars. This is a very personal album from Mayer and I think he had to make it for himself. I find it very strange as to why this album is getting a lot of bad reviews and grief. We all knew that this record wasn’t going to top “Continuum” or resemble its sound at all. Mr. Mayer made the right choice by not trying to duplicate Continuum and instead create an album with a brand new sound and writing style. This is not a new thing for Mayer, he has changed his style and sound on every album he has made. None of them sound alike, “Room For Squares” was a great light acoustic album with pop hooks, “Heavier Things” started introducing more electric guitars and more mature lyrics, and “Continuum” was Mayer’s perfect record and had a blues feel to it. John Mayer knew he couldn’t recreate Continuum so he just introduced a new sound with “Battle Studies”. So for the people hating on the album just because it’s not like Continuum stop complaining, accept Mayer’s decision to try something new, and enjoy this record because it is a piece of work.

TOP TEN” :

As you know I go through kicks where I obsessively listen to a band for a period of a couple of weeks and of course consider that band one of the best bands either out today or “ever,” right? Well for the past few weeks on my rides into the city I have been listening a lot to the country band-Little Big Town– and you know what’s coming right? They are “hands down” (with no competition that I see) the best vocal band that is out today. (Forget that Rascal Flatts won that award- that was “fixed” because if you listen with your ears-and not by popularity- you will agree that this two man and two women band are the best singers since the Mamas and Papas). So here are my favorite ten songs from this band which formed in Tennessee in 1998:

10.     Fury– Love the groove in this song. This is not your mother or father’s Country band, they have expanded the meaning of Country (sort of like how the “Alt-A” mortgage market became watered down and turned into the “Alt B” market). But in this case, Little Big Town is expanding but in a great way. There harmonization is something to behold, my jaw just hits the floor. I can’t wait to see this band for the first time, it’s only a matter of time.

9.     Stay– This song is a “beaut.” The combination of the acoustic guitar and the girl’s voices is something that gives me the chills. It’s a heartfelt plea that will melt your heart. Whenever I hear this song, I have to stop what I’m doing and completely devote my attention to this exquisite song.

8.     Don’t Waste My Time– This is “music to my ears” and I love to lip-sync to this song as I try to match the passion of their phenomenal voices. The lyrics are perfect is you are trying to get someone to move in your direction. I like the way the woman sings a verse then the guys sing a verse. I can picture that someone dancing around by themselves at a concert (c’mon you all know that you have see that person) because they feel that particular song in them, this is that song.

7.     Everything Changes– Love the video for this song and have to admit it’s one of the reasons it lands on my top ten list. Obviously their harmonizing vocals are the main reason and I wish I could hold a tune like them. This is the perfect sing-along song where the chorus will stick in your head all day long.

6.     A Place to Land– This song had me on the opening lines-“I dip my toe in water before I know it I’m over my head.” This is a finger snapping, hand clapping song that will have you swaying your hands and arms back and forth above your head. I have a funny feeling that my mother-if she were still alive today- would absolutely love this band and especially this song, this is right up her alley-as well as mine. Pure perfection.

5.     Good As Gone– As soon as I hear this song, I can picture the video with one of the girls walking in on her boyfriend and seeing him with another woman. Ooops…and thus the title of this song. This song moves and the guitar playing is so much fun. Have I mentioned that this band is very talented? Listen to the guitar solo and tell me “they ain’t good?” I defy you. With that said, I’m as good as gone.

4.     Vapor– This is almost a head banging song.. maybe a “Country head-banging” tune? The reason I say that is cause every time I hear this song my head goes up and down while I air-guitar my way to the top. They rock out pretty good on this track but then slow it down and then take it back up with a fury that is unmatched. “Life is a Vapor… Fire and Paper..” Sort of like a Mellencamp tune, I could see him doing this song with them.

3.     Boondocks-This song makes me wish I was born in the boondocks because I would be so proud of the way that Little Big Town has represented my world to the rest of the world with this great tune. Again if this doesn’t move you, you may want to check for a pulse. “It’s where I learned about living.. It’s where I learned about love….This is who I am.” That’s what I’m talking ‘bout!!!

2.     Bring It On Home– This was my first introduction to this band. As soon as I heard this song I had to run out and buy it. I was completely blown away by the calmness and beauty of this song. My kids will always have a funny story to tell their children- I love to listen to music when I’m cleaning around the house and this one particular day I had my headphones on and this song came on the I-Tunes shuffle and I had to sing along. My kids stopped playing the Wii and laughed as they listened to me try to match their vocals- they said the dogs in the neighborhood were howlin’. What can I say? I love this song!!!

1.     Novocaine– If you remember I had this song in my top ten songs of 2007. I friggin’ love this song!!! It’s blasting so loud in my house-and no one is home except my oldest son-so you know I’m having a party. If this song doesn’t move you, then I give up. This is a perfect party song- hey maybe you can impress everyone at your New Year’s Eve house party by memorizing the words (you have time) and dance around your living room floor while everyone will ask- Who is this?- You can then tell them it is the best harmonizing band in the world today- Little Big Town!!!

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Erin Everly- daughter of Don Everly

2.     Courtney Love

3.     Heather Locklear

4.     Angie Bowie

This week’s trivia (Before I went solo)

1.     One of my first gigs, I use to play the drums for Smokey Robinson’s band. Who am I?

2.     I played for Little Richard’s band and also the Isley Brother’s before I exploded onto the music scene? Who am I?

3.     I was part of the “girl band” movement in the 1960’s, then went off on my own, had many hits in the 1970’s through the 1990’s and am still going strong today? Who am I?

4.     I use to sing lead for “The Baby’s” before I went and had a huge single on my own called “Missing You.” Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “If I Only Had a Heart ”- Jack Haley (from the “Wizard of Oz”)

2.     “If I Could Turn Back Time”-Cher

3.      “If”-Bread

4.     “If I Had a Hammer”- Peter, Paul & Mary

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “Why should I care? Why should I care?…………. Girls of Fifteen…”

2.     “I want somebody to speed it up for me.. then take it down slow.. there’s enough room for both…”

3.     “Waiting for the break of day.. searching for something to say…flashing lights…”

4.     “I was dreaming when I wrote this.. forgive me if it goes astray..but when I woke up….”

Back on this day in 1976, The Band filmed “The Last Waltz,” which was their last concert with the original line-up. Other guests included Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters.

Back on this day in 1984, Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Sting and U2 were among some of the artists that recorded the song-“Do They Know It’s Christmas”-produced by Bob Geldoff.

Back on this day in 1988, Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach completed their stay at a rehab for alcoholism.

Back on this day in 2000, a burglar broke into Alice Cooper’s house in CA and stole $6,000 worth of clothes and jewelry from his daughter and four of his gold records.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Percy Sledge.

November 20, 2009

Weekly Update – 11/20/2009

Jay Z at the Izod Center on Sat. Mar. 6, 2010. The opener will be Young Jeezy. Pre-sale tickets on this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight. The password is: Access. General public on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $36.50, $66.50, $96.50 and $136.50. Also appearing at the Nassau Coliseum on Fri. Mar. 12. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $36, $66, $96, $126 and $247.

Shinedown at Nokia Theater on Sat. Jan. 23, 2010. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $33.

Alicia Keys at Nokia Theater on Tues. Dec. 1. American Express cardholders on sale now. $25. (2 ticket per person limit).

Megadeth and Slayer at the Izod Center on Thurs. Feb. 11. They have toured together since 1991 and know the tough economic times out there today so they have gone back to 1991 ticket prices. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $10, $39, $49 and $59. Also appearing in Wallingford CT at the Oakdale Theater on Tues. Feb. 9. Tickets also on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $10, $39.50 and $59.50.

Lady Gaga has added two additional shows (the first two are completely sold out) at Radio City Music Hall on Sat. & Sun. Jan. 23 and 24, 2010. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 – $69.50.

John Mayer with Michael Franti & Spearhead at Mohegan Sun on Fri. Feb. 19. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Jethro Tull at Jones Beach and PNC Arts Center on Fri. June 11 and Sun. June 13, 2010. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Cheap Trick at the New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Mon. Jan. 25. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 ($55 day of show).

Tony Bennett at the St. George Theater in Staten Island N.Y. on Sat. Jan. 23. Tickets on sale next Tues. Nov. 24 at 9:30 a.m. $59 – $239.

Rascal Flatts at the Mohegan Sun on Fri. Jan. 15.(another date) Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $85 – $115. (Darius Rucker is the opener).

Rufus Wainwright at Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie NY on Fri. Feb. 12. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35, $45 and $55.

Levon Helm at the Wellmont Theater on Fri. Feb. 26. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35, $50 and $75.

Dropkick Murphys at the Wellmont Theater on Wed. Feb. 24. Tickets on sale today at noon. $29.50.

Blue Oyster Cult at BB Kings on Sat. Mar. 13, 2010. Tickets on sale Mon. morning Mar. 23 at 10:00 a.m. $27.50 ($32 day of show).

Jerry Lee Lewis at BB Kings on Sat. Feb. 27. Tickets on sale next Tues. Nov. 24 at 10:00 a.m. $125 ($130 day of show).

Jay & The Americans at BB Kings on Fri. Mar. 5, 2010. Tickets on sale next Sat. Nov. 28 at 10:00 a.m. $30 ($35 day of show).

Other items:

I purchased the debut album by “Them Crooked Vultures” featuring the legendary John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme. I really have to give it a chance so I will refrain from giving an opinion either way. Suffice to say if I’m telling you I am withholding judgment, my initial reaction is not that favorable. But please keep in mind that I detested “The Super Unknown” by Soundgarden when it was first released and it honestly took me over a year later to realize the beauty of that album and I still say that is the best album of the 1990’s, so you never know with Them Crooked Vultures. I was never a huge fan of the vocals of Mr. Homme.

This year’s American Idol winner-Kris Allen– released his debut album this past Tuesday and I have to admit that the album sounds pretty good-albeit from the 30 second samples from I-Tunes. His fans absolutely love it as it received a 4.5 star rating from I-Tune listeners (out of 5). The songs, which he wrote or co-wrote, sound mellow but upbeat seems to be perfect for a long road trip in your car. One of the songs that I think will be big is “Can’t Stay Away.”

John Mayer’s new album-“Battle Studies”- was released this week and initial reviews I have read have it “mediocre” at best. Although I will trust my oldest sons view as he has picked it up and he is saying that it is right up there in 2009 as one of the best, if not the best, albums of the year. I’m assuming a review from him will be coming soon. I will keep you posted.

One Republic’s “Waking Up” was also released this week and according to I-Tune listeners this album is just as good or better than their first album. Again listening to the 30 second samples on I-Tunes, I have to say I like the sound. (They kind of remind me of the newer version of “Tears for Fears.”)

Janet Jackson has released “Number Ones” and I have to say the best deal has to be on I-Tunes as you can get 35 songs for $14.99. That is a nice price and if you are a casual fan-this album is for you-if you are a die-hard fan you probably have most. She looks beautiful on the cover.

I purchased the “Country for Christmas” EP which features six songs from Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Little Big Town, Rodney Carington, Trace Adkins and Luke Bryan. I tell you this country genre fits Mr. Rucker like a glove, I love his version of “Winter Wonderland.” In addition, he has released a new Christmas single (not on this EP) called “Candy Cane Christmas” and it is “old school” Christmas music, this will get you in the holiday spirit in no time. And by now you should know that I love anything that Little Big Town does and there song “Go Tell It on the Mountain” is not really new-I-Tunes seems to have taken some of their stuff off of their catalog and releasing it again. This band has the best vocalizing harmonies out today by far-freakin’ awesome.

Album Review: “Bat Out of Hell” by Meatloaf; released on Rocktober 21, 1977.

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on the title track of Mr. Loaf’s Masterpiece, so I listened to the entire album over and over. Folks, I’m not even going to ask if this album is in your music library, you need this album like you need food or water to survive-it’s that essential. So do yourself a favor- if you don’t have this album- stop reading this now and log on to Amazon or wherever you get your music (I-Tunes) and order this album- then come back to continue reading. OK I’m back. Now this album conjures up so many memories of my childhood growing up on 46th street in Sunset Park Brooklyn. I was 12 years old when this album was released and is definitely part of my foundation of learning to love rock and roll. If one is building a house, this is the concrete that is poured into the ground. If I go from the bottom up, the “concrete” from this album is in my feet and toes and then the rest kept getting poured into my body over the years. Now I have to give credit where credit is due and the person responsible for introducing this album to me was and still is, my good friend Cathy. Boy do I remember how much she loved this album (as well as “Loves Life Bleeding” by Elton John), she played it endlessly when we were in junior high school. I bought the album and over the years I may have caught up to how many times she has played it in her lifetime. I can remember sleeping over my Great Aunt’s –Sarah- (who by the way is a young 96 years old today) apartment on “Senator” street in Brooklyn (also known as 69th street to the Brooklyn-nites) one weekend in 1977 and playing this album the whole time on her old time record player. (remember those? They were like an entire furniture piece). The one thing I find very interesting today is that Todd Rundgren was the producer of this album and I have to say at that time I didn’t connect the dots but this man has created some great music in his time and this album, in my opinion, cemented his place in music history (Of course Meatloaf as well but you know what I’m saying). He also played lead guitar in most of the songs.

Side 1 starts off with the title track and all I have to say is-“Has there ever been a more passionate song sung by anyone in any genre of music?” If it is not the most passionate piece ever done- it definitely has to land in the top 10. And the intro with the piano also ranks up there as one of the best piano pieces ever done- how freaking psyched am I already? The song just really begins and I’m already in third gear. As the blazing guitar work creeps in, I start to kick into 4th gear but then just like that, Mr. Loaf drops it down to 1st gear with the slow piano work but don’t worry you’re going to heat up again. This song is like a roller coaster, there are so many dips and then explosions back to the top with break-neck twists & turns. “Oh baby you’re the only thing in this whole world that’s pure and good and right..” I love the way Mr. Loaf’s voice can screech at such high octane levels then drop down to that baritone level-not too many singers can achieve this. What hooked me into this song-as the rest of the album- is the frantic passionate vocals that pour out of every orifice of his being. “Well I can see myself.. tearing up the road.. faster.. than any other boy…” Love the crashing part where he is at the bottom of the pit in the blazing sun, where he is torn and twisted. I try to match his fervor by placing my left hand on my heart and make believe I have a microphone in my right hand, crunching low then explode into the air and come down while lip synching “Like a bat out of heeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllllll…..” Phew, I am sweating big time. Track # 2- “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night”- has that 1960’s feel to it. One of Rundgren’s idols was Phil Spector and this arrangement reeks of everything that Spector would have put into a song. The female background singers remind me of the Ronettes- next time you listen to this song-try to focus just on their part and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I remember the first time I played this song for my boys and they were wondering why the introduction had these two people talking about wolves. This is a classic “catchy” pop song that you can not get out of your head as the chorus is so addictive and of course you know I love the hand claps at the end of the song. “Heaven Can Wait” is a beautiful ballad that was featured in the movie. Mr. Loaf’s voice basically stays at the same place the entire song and really shines a light on his singing ability. This is a perfect dinner song for you and that someone special. The last track on side 1 is my favorite song on the album-“All Revved Up, with No Place to Go”-one of the reasons for that was due to the saxophone part in the song. During my early years I use to play the alto sax and loved it, I use to try and play the sax part for this tune and yes for a short time I had it, but never could nail the “really high” part of the song. Love the quick bluesy part where they cruise up and down the main track. “Ooh I got to draw first blood…sax solo.. and then after the chorus-bam-the best part of the song as the tempo kicks into 5th gear-love the drums, piano, sax and guitars as Mr. Loaf screams out what sometimes many of us go through- “All revved up with no place to go!!!”

Side two begins with arguably his most popular song- “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”- every time I hear this song I have to stop what I’m doing and I am immediately polarized. This song gets me every time as I can imagine the pain that both he and the woman he is letting know that he doesn’t love, are experiencing. His voice is righteous in this song as he pours his heart out. This song moves me, I feel it and again that is the connection. Another thing is these songs are pretty long but they seem to fly by. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” is the epic masterpiece of his career. In my opinion, this song ranks up in the top ten songs ever created in the history of music. This track is pure fun-can you think of a better “party” song where everyone-from your grandparents-down to the grand kids- have an absolute blast singing and dancing along with taking the female and male parts. Oh and the best part is if you are a baseball song- this is your tune. It took me many years but I have completely nailed down Phil Rizzuto’s part although I may be a little rusty. Then the best part of the song comes –“STOP RIGHT THERE..” I can picture the women on one side of the dance floor as they plead to the guys –“do you love and will you love me forever.” And par for the course, you know the guy is going to hedge by asking to “sleep on it.” But she ain’t having none of that- she wants to know right now-she’s not going any further. He still hems and haws as they both plead with each as the harmonization is out of this stratosphere. Well he just explodes-“I couldn’t take it any longer… I’ll love you till the end of time!!!” But just like a guy he then prays for the end of time-go figure? I can clearly recall one time in our MBIA spin class I put this song on one of the CD’s that our instructor-Chris- was nice enough to play. Obviously it is a long song and Chris felt like the class was “dogging it” so after the song ended he jumped off the bike and hit the replay button. The whole class objected and I went along with it but I was happy that I was going to hear it again. We all were “dying” as he implored us to give it our all and work harder. It was great!!! Thanks Chris. The last track “For Crying Out Loud” is another beautiful song that really takes it down but again you hear that passion from him and this song kind of reminds me of an Opera as the symphony creates this majestic feel to it.

Bat Out of Hell is the pinnacle of Meatloaf’s career and he hit a grand slam right out of the gate with this album. I believe it still sells like 200,000 copies every year and remains third on the all time list of albums sold ever in the world and the ticker is over 43 million. (The only two above this is AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and of course MJ’s “Thriller”). And not for anything, the cover of this album has to rank in the top ten of the best album covers ever, right? Again you should consider this album like water- vital to your existence.

“TOP TEN” :

Ever since the Metallica show last weekend I have been looking to rock out this week, so I decided to think of a band that has been rockin’ for the past 25 years or so and that band is Van Halen. Now keep in mind I was a fan of both lead singers (we really can’t count Gary Cherone, can we?) but as you all know by now, my preference are the years spent with Diamond Dave and hopefully some new material with Roth is going to follow in 2010. Obviously it was much harder to come up with my top ten songs with DLR than it was with Sammy Hagar. So hard in fact that I like to throw out the fact that Van Halen’s first five albums are all “desert island” discs for me. (Yes I know “1984” had all the “hits,” but remember when I was younger I stayed away from the “hits.”)Now with Hagar my favorite album was the one whose initials spelled out a bad word. (C’mon you know it??!!) Anyways here are my favorite ten songs by Van Halen-first with Diamond Dave and then my ten favorite with Sammy Hagar:

With Diamond David Lee Roth:

10.     Atomic Punk– Hunger. That is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear this song, this is when Van Halen was hungry and ready to show the world that they were a force to be reckoned with. This song is a 98 mile Nolan Ryan fastball under your chin. This is a young Mike Tyson knock out punch delivered in the first round. You get the point? Do you need a song to get you pumped up for your next work-out (whatever it is) look no further than this track.

9.     Loss of Control– Every time I went to take this song out my top ten songs I couldn’t do it. (Believe me I started out with 20 songs and I had to be honest with myself on what 10 songs I would want on a desert island). I can’t get enough of this 2:39 song. I run around in circles like a mad man. This song also reminds me of my good friend Slats.

8.     Could This Be Magic– I absolutely love this song, I love the way Diamond Dave sings so many cool parts- “but you don’t got to hurry take your tie-mmm…” “but you got womens on your mind..” “Better safe women and children first… Edward… Thank ya…” This song brings me back to my days growing up on 46th street and my friend Mr. Graham loved this track. He would mimic Diamond Dave to a “T.”

7.     In a Simple Rhyme– As you can tell from this list, I have a lot of favorites from “Women & Children First” and get totally pissed when I see it on sale for like $4.99 in Sears or something like that. This track is one of the best songs that Van Halen has ever recorded, the arrangement of this track is so phenomenal it’s hard to put into words. Alex’s drumming is spectacular and what else can you say about Eddie. And by the way, Michael Anthony’s bass line will rip your chest open. This is an “ultimate” Van Halen song.

6.     Hear About It Later– You know how when you hear a certain song it brings you back to a particular place & time? I can remember when “Fair Warning” was released and I wanted everyone in the entire universe to own it. Anyway one day I walked out of Brooklyn Tech and was heading home when I heard this song blasting from a parked car across the street from Tech near the park. I immediately stopped dead in my tracks and had to listen to the end and was trying to get everyone else to hear the greatness of the band called Van Halen. Spectacular song.

5.     The Full Bug– There’s a reason I picked this song for the “Rocktober Jukebox” featuring the greatest American Bands. Listen to Eddie play the guitar in this song and you’ll immediately want to pick up the guitar and take some lessons. (But another ingredient you’ll need is to FEEL IT). If you feel it maybe you’ll play like Eddie-Ok we all know that is not true but you can always fall back on air-guitaring like I do.

4.     Mean Street– Could be the best opening guitar lick in the history of rock. Eddie’s playing is so not from this planet. I have to put this song on so LOUD every time I hear it. My wife is screaming for me to turn it down but I can’t help it. This is rock the way it was intended to be. Every part of this song-drums, vocals, bass and of course the spectacular guitar playing by Mr. Van Halen- it top notch in my book. Remember this past summer I grabbed my little guy when I heard this song being played at a “Fair” and we ran over to the speaker and I jammed like I was at a Van Halen show. I’m in when they come back, have I mentioned that?

3.     Romeo Delight– Could be one of the greatest rock songs ever written, recorded or performed. Alex’s drumming is simply stellar. I get so psyched, so amped whenever I hear this song that I have to run around or shadow box or air-guitar around the whole house. “Feel my heart beat… Feel my heart beat.. SAVE IT PLEASE I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!” Blast this in your car, your ears or in your house- you will not be disappointed.

2.     I’m the One– I perform the “Waynes World Bow” every time I hear this track. How blistering is Eddie’s guitar work? In my opinion this is his best work ever on guitar. I remember putting this song on a track list for the boot camp days at MBIA back in 2003-2005 and just totally flipping out in the class whenever it came on. This is my blast of cappuccino, or expresso or whatever gets you ready. Love Diamond Dave’s howl towards the end of the song. Simply amazing.

1.     Feel Your Love Tonight– From the opening lyrics “We’re getting funny in the back of my car..” I was hooked. Van Halen always had great background vocals and they shine brightly on this track. Eddie’s guitar solo just floors me while Alex is so solid behind the skins on every song, he is a top notch drummer. Diamond Dave has got it going on for this track.

With Sammy “The Red Rocker” Hagar:

10.     Cabo Wabo– This song brings me back to Texas with my second family- Ron, Robert, Richie, Tommy and Jimmy. The first year we went down to the Fort Worth area this album- “OU812” had just come out- and I drove their mother nuts by constantly playing this song. She would just shake her head and say “anything but Errol’s music!!” Music is supposed to “take you back”- music is the connection to so many things including the soul. This song does it for me in so many memorable ways. ‘Nuff said.

9.     Love Walks InLesser known classic from 5150. Hagar’s vocals shine brightly here and could be the best out of any song he did with Van Halen. “Sleep & dream, that’s all I pray.. I travel far across the milky way..” Very good ballad.

8.     Black and Blue– The first time I saw Van Hagar in concert I clearly remember this song being the highlight of the show. I can recall how Michael, Sammy and Eddie all walked in unison behind each other- stepping out to the right, then the left and then repeat for the whole length of the stage-very cool. These guys made some rockin’ tunes, there’s no denying that.

7.     Dreams– My friend Johnny Boy loves this song and when we were in our early 20’s we’d ride around in his car with this song blasting out of his speakers. Back in those days he really wouldn’t play rock songs in his car, except when I was traveling with him and even then it was only a certain selection of rock songs. I’m glad this one made the cut, how could it not?

6.     Finish What Ya Started– I remember reading an article once when Van Halen was touring with the Scorpions back in the day. Sammy said they sampled this song for the Scorpion boys and their faces scrunched and they kind of said “Oh yeah this is good.. is this really you?” It doesn’t always have to be heavy to be good in my book- as you should already know that by now. Love the groove in this song, can’t get enough of it.

5.     The Dream is Over– Love the beginning where Sammy whispers “Pssst” and Eddie’s electrifying guitar work surrounds you and gets you in a head-lock with no intention of letting go. In my opinion, this is Eddie’s best guitar song in his time with Hagar. “Cause it’s a rip-off…. Dream another dream, this dream is over…”

4.     When It’s Love– This could be the best song that Sammy wrote with Eddie, Alex and Michael. This song can match up to Diamond Dave’s catalog. The chorus is so addicting and this song is so much fun to sing along to. “You look at every face in the crowd…”

3.     Why Can’t This Be Love– Could be the pinnacle song for their time together. I wore out the inside album sleeve from this album-“5150”- and thinking about it now I should have added this song to my “summer song” list back in July as I can clearly remember this song being the song of the summer in 1986. The whole arrangement of this song is perfect-the beginning, the bridge and of course the chorus. You know you have sung this song to yourself many times.

2.     Right Now– Have to admit the video definitely aided my decision for this song to be in my top ten list for the Hagar-era. Actually love the piano work by Eddie as well as the driving guitar sound that is the right combination which sets this Van Halen song apart from anything they ever recorded. Love the “signs” that are displayed throughout the video that really depict the everyday life of everyone. There was something in that video that had to affect you in some way, no? Love the bridge to the guitar solo which gets a push from Alex’s drumming. “Right Now..it’s what’s happening” What’s happening with you?

1.     Poundcake-Again love the beginning of the tune with the drill sound with the brothers taking over between the great drumming and the incredible riffs which send sparks out of Eddie’s guitar. I use to bring down my house downstairs in Ringwood N.J. with this song. I imagined being Sammy up on stage and know every nook and cranny of this song, I think I would win a karaoke contest. This song pumps me up like none other. (I know I say that about every song, right?)

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Jacob Dylan –The Wallflowers

2.     Butch Trucks-The Allman Brothers

3.     Gerry Lewis & The Pace Makers

4.     Michele Phillips

This week’s trivia (Rock Star Couples)

1.     I was married to Axl Rose for a brief time and my dad was a forefather of rock and roll, Who am I?

2.     She was a lead singer for her own rock band in the 1990’s and was married to a pioneer of grunge music Who is she?

3.     She was married to someone in Motley Crue and someone in Bon Jovi?

4.     She worked as an actress and model, married one of the most famous rock stars on the planet when she was 19 and was married to him from 1970 until 1980. Who is she?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Candy Man ”- Sammy Davis Jr.

2.     “Casey Jones”-Grateful Dead

3.     “Locomotion”-Little Eva or Grand Funk

4.     “Rhinestone Cowboy”- Glen Campbell

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “When a man’s an empty kettle..He should be on his mettle.. and yet I’m torn apart…”

2.     “I don’t know why I did the things I did..I don’t why I said the things that I said…”

3.     “And when my love for life is running dry.. You come and pour yourself on me…”

4.     “I’d sing out danger.. I’d sing out a warning.. I’d sing out love….”

Back on this day in 1955, Bo Diddley played his one and only performance on the Ed Sullivan show. Sullivan wanted Bo to play the song-“Sixteen Tons”- but Diddley played “Bo Diddley.” Sullivan had him black-balled in the industry and he never again appeared on his show.

Back on this day in 1973 during a concert in San Francisco a young man by the name of Scott Halpin replaced The Who’s legendary drummer, Keith Moon, on stage after Moon collapsed on stage after someone put a horse tranquilizer in his drink. Halpin played the last three songs.

Back on this day in 1976, George Harrison performed on Saturday Night Live and was joined by Paul Simon for Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.”

Back on this day in 1994, David Crosby received a liver transplant. The operation took 7 hours.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Norman Greenbaum, the late Duane Allman, Joe Walsh and Frank Marino (Mahogany Rush).

November 15, 2009

Concert Review: Metallica at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Nov. 14, 2009

Concert Review: METALLICA at Madison Square Garden on Saturday November 14, 2009.

“It’s METALLICA…. Then everyone else.”

It’s Metallica weekend here in New York and they owned the greatest stage in the entire world last night at the legendary Madison Square Garden. It seems like it’s been an awfully long time since they have been at the Garden, at least ten years (obviously not counting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts a couple of weeks ago that they participated in). A lot has happened over that time and sometimes you can start to think that there are other bands out there that put on the best live performances. Well Metallica is back to remind everyone that it is them first, then everyone after that. Folks I’m telling you that last night’s performance was the best I have EVER seen them (and I have been to at least twelve of their shows dating back to 1986). They were so tight, so phenomenally talented and I know everyone who was at the show last night will agree-there were times when it felt like the Garden was shaking. There were two songs performed last night that will forever go down in the history of the Garden as moments one can never forget- “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman” was two of the most unbelievable highlights that I have ever witnessed on that stage. The total frenzy created by James, Lars, Kirk and Rob was a sight to behold. There is nothing like a Metallica show and if you have never seen them live, you are totally missing out on a once in a lifetime moment every time that they take the stage, it can happen at any moment.

Let me take you through the day, my wife had to work and I had the house to myself as me and the boys were cleaning up. Forget the I-Pod today, the stereo went on and the volume was on extra high as I head-banged myself into a dizzy state as “Death Magnetic” was bringing down the walls. On the car ride in to meet my brother Rich and his wife, Joann, along with my cousin Jennifer with her husband Mike (all three except my brother were seeing them for the first time) I kept rotating between “And Justice..” “The Black Album,” “Kill ‘Em All” and “Master” with heavy volume all the way. I past a stretch limo and they must have seen me head banging because they rolled down the window and gave me the “\m/ \m/” sign. We met at the usual spot-Harrington’s-which was also blasting “Death Magnetic.” After eating there we walked into the Land of Oz, but not before we had to stop and get some T-Shirts/posters. Again with no offense to the opening bands- Volbeat and Lamb of God- but we were there to see the Masters.There was a long pre-game set-up after Lamb of God exited the stage and right about 9:00 p.m. I was getting a little antsy. The stage was set up right in the middle of Madison Square Garden, so no one really had a bad seat. It was an elevated stage, say about 5-6 steps high. The stage was in the shape of a rectangle with four microphone stands in each corner as well as two additional stands for the “long” part of the rectangle. Lars’ drum set was dead smack in the middle as it rested on a circular moving floor below it as he turned to all four sides of the Garden throughout the night, giving each section 25% of him facing them. The floor was gray, sliced up into squares and rectangles but also included these black blotches, which I explain a little later on. Attached to each side of Lars drum set were these black squares with circles in them (think a cannon inside a block) that ran the length of the stage. Overhead were four replica “funeral caskets” in each corner (which is portrayed on the album cover of “Death Magnetic”) that would creep down closer to them as they played. There were lights all along the floor of the stage as well as above them. The stage was surrounded by the metal guardrails used by the NYC Police department when there are parades and they were slanted at an angle so as to keep the fans at bay. Also included for the first time since I have been attending shows were members of a security team which were positioned inside these gates, standing approximately 3-4 feet apart from each other. Can you imagine? They were closer to Metallica than when the boys would add a “pit” on the stage back in the day and allow fans on the stage with them. (All you saw were arms reaching up to them back then, last night these guys were standing inside the fence and they reminded me of the London guards who are not allowed to smile as patrons take all kinds of photos of them). Anyway back to the action, right around 9:15 or so there was a prelude of “Ecstacy of Gold” as the anticipation was about to be over. Metallica was finally back where they belong- their home away from home- New York- on a Saturday night with a rabid bunch that was foaming at the mouth. As the “symphony” atmosphere ended then the lights went out and there is the heartbeat as you know “That Was Just Your Life” is ready to explode. As Lars smashed his drums in the beginning as Kirk, James and Rob were waiting in the wings and then BAM!!!! -Fast heavy guitars with the pounding of the drums and everyone’s heads. As James starts to sing there is this incredible laser light show that is going on all around him. The lights were “sprayed on” like those crazy cans that shoot out that stuff for Halloween. It seemed like the laser lights formed snakes surrounding James feet as he feverously played guitar while keeping on top of the vocals. From my vantage point, all I could see was James as the others appeared to be roaming the stage but they were in darkness as the spotlight seemed to be on James. There were so many different colors it really was spectacular as I thought to myself, man this is really high tech stuff for Metallica but then again nothing these guys can do surprises me anymore. Is there a better song to kick off the show than this one? Then like the album- the “one-two punch” continued with the knock down drag out “The End of the Line”- the lights now illuminated the rest of the band as the stop and go breakneck speed of this song got me so psyched I didn’t know what to do with myself. “You Reached the end of the line” growls James as the Garden faithful are already in 5th gear as Kirk, Rob and James continue to just hit every side of the stage and roam freely. Rob Trujillo is a beast; he was like a human spider. Think about most bass players you know-they appear to be so stiff and just stand there up right- not Rob- he gets down so low that I guarantee that he can win any limbo contest out there. He is in phenomenal shape to be able to do what he does and that goes for the rest of the band. No one plays like Metallica- like I said- “It’s Metallica.. then everyone else..”

James welcomes everyone to the show and thanks the crowd for supporting them as the familiar guitar licks for “Whom the Bells Toll” begins and the energy was at a fever pitch- I swear the upper section- the “400” section seats- were moving, it felt like an earthquake. I couldn’t believe it, could it get any better?!!! As I looked around the Garden and then at the boys I immediately knew right then and there that they were at the top of their game and this was going to be a night to remember. Towards the end of the song Lars stood up while he was playing and my jaw hit the floor, this guy is so awesome, so unbelievably fast but yet so technical that it is eye opening. The breakneck speed was actually turned up another notch as “Holier than Thou” had so many people snapping their necks that I wouldn’t be surprised if some chiropractors have an increase in patients on Monday morning. Kirk Hammett is so freaking out of this world good but he plays it very cool as he strolls around and it appears that he does it so effortlessly. Remember those “black” spots I told you about on the floor, well before “One” begins we all find out that it is the place where all the flames shoot out from, talk about your pyrotechnics, the stage actually looked like it was on fire. And again this is their “staple” which has to be played at all their shows and no matter how many times you hear it- it still has to move you. As the crowd prepares for the fast part I am doing the “Wayne’s World” bow- “we are not worthy”- as the blistering guitar riffs pierce every one’s ears, those box like figures lined up in front and behind Lars starts to spit out the highest controlled flame and the color wasn’t even red- again I’m speechless. As the 18,000 fans sang in unison “darkness imprisoning me.. all that I see.. absolute horror.. I cannot live..” I am in complete and udder amazement- by this song I knew it was the best concert of 2009. (Forget it don’t even try to tell me about anyone else). James then takes some time to talk to the crowd and asks the people to raise their hands if it was the first time that they were seeing Metallica live. Many people raised their hands and that put a smile on my face as one of my goals in life is to get everyone in the world to see them live, so now that number is down a bit. Anyways there were a smattering of “boos” and James quickly told them not to boo as he said we should all welcome them into the “family of Metallica.” I say the more the merrier and welcome ‘Tallica brethren. After a few new songs which again included that phenomenal laser light show for “Cyanide” James thanked the two opening bands for carrying the torch of bringing heavy music to the world. Then he dedicated a “heavy” song to them- “Sad but True”- and its amazing what time can do because now that song is being treated the way it was intended to- as a classic metal song that holds up to their earlier catalog of songs. At the end of this song, Rob has a small bass solo and at this point he is totally saturated- as the rest of us were. They take things down a bit with a Bob Seger classic-“Turn the Page” which everyone seemed to know.

Then it was on to one of the highlights of the show, the performance of “All Nightmare Long.” I’m telling you folks –“Death Magnetic” is a phenomenal album and this track is definitely one of the standouts. Part of the song belonged to both Rob and Lars as Trujillo jumped up almost on the drum set and was jamming with Lars. At this point I wanted to leave my seat and head down stairs for the many different mash pits that were forming down below. (If I wasn’t so small I’d head in but I want to live). Kirk’s solo was righteous. After playing “The Day that Never Comes” the Garden blasted off to the moon as the opening licks to “Master of Puppets” (Mike knew he was in for a long song as he asked “Is there any song that is less than 8 minutes?”) and again I could swear that the Garden was shaking. I’m telling you right now when the house lights illuminated the crowd as everyone were out of their minds; I thought I was on another planet. This is what music is supposed to do to you- “Master!!! Master!!!!” At one point all three members surrounded Lars and it really reminded me of the small stage that the 1968 Elvis had with his band members in his comeback special on NBC TV. Metallica is the “Elvis” of their genre. Folks, the crowd was actually singing/hummingKirk’s guitar solo-again something I have never heard. Then if that wasn’t enough to knock out the Garden fans, the blistering “Fight Fire With Fire” really seemed to bring in the walls. As I looked over the stage it appeared to me that the band was under a microscope with all the equipment above and when the caskets moved down it was like a mad scientist was looking through the microscope and saw all these people basically breaking out of their skin to the ear shattering “Fight.” At this point I wondered how these guys do these shows, this is not your father’s band-these guys beat themselves up physically to deliver the goods every time- it is simply amazing the energy they have. Whew, at this point I am out of breath and luckily they take it down with the splendid “Nothing Else Matters.” At first Kirk played a guitar entry but then James came out sat down at the edge of the stage and did the song with just the guitar. I could feel the sweat dripping off the back of my hair on to my neck and I was glad that they took it down. But you know it wasn’t going to last, right? As I previously mentioned they performed “Enter Sandman” at a level that I have never seen them reach. And believe me; this song is always on their set list. I don’t know what it was but it was the best rendition I have ever heard them play. Again when the house lights hit and showed everyone thrusting their fists above their heads, it was a sight I will never forget. As they exited, we all knew they were coming back I again had to do the “Wayne’s World” bow as I was completely blown away by their performance.

They didn’t let the crowd wait too long as the beginning of the “Frayed Ends of Sanity” began even the fans who don’t know Metallica recognize the opening because it was featured in the “Wizard of Oz.” “Ooh Wee Ooh, Ooh Ooh.. Ooh Wee Ooh, Ooh Ooh..” as Lars was playing the drum part with just his feet and egging the crowd to sing louder. They paid homage to “Diamond Head” as they performed a cover of “Helpless” and this song really moves, the bass line felt like my chest was going to crack it was so loud. Lars was also a beast and he really shined on this track. James asked the crowd if they wanted anything from “Kill ‘Em All” and they laced into “Whiplash.” At this point it was like Metallica in 1984 all over again as the “mash pits” again broke out all over the Garden. From our vantage point we could see the crew bringing out these huge boxes and I could see the huge “beach balls” ready to go. As James thanked the crowd, he asked if everyone could give it their all as he wanted the house lights turned on as they were going to play their last song-“Seek and Destroy.” As they released the balls, they looked like over sized black bowling balls and they completely engulfed the stage and surrounded Lars as he was trying to play. Rob, James and Kirk each kicked the huge balls into the crowd. The lower level did all they could to send the balls higher but could not because they appeared too heavy. As I looked around the Garden, a smile came across my face as I knew I just witnessed another fantastic night in the history of the palace of 34th street. The crowd was having a blast with the music as well as the over-sized beach balls. As the show ended, the boys soaked up the adoration from the loyal fans of Metallica as they all walked around the stage taking bows and waving to the crowd. Lars then took the mike and said a few words and thanked everyone for coming out. No Lars, Thank you, Thank you James, Kirk and Rob. You guys tore it up and proved to everyone out there that “It’s Metallica… then everyone else…”

Set List:

Prelude: (Ecstacy of Gold)

1.          That Was Just Your Life

2.          The End of the Line

3.          For Whom the Bell Tolls

4.          Holier than Thou

5.          One

6.          Broken, Beat and Scarred

7.          Cyanide

8.          Sad But True

Short Trujillo Solo

9.           Turn The Page (Bob Seger)

10.        All Nightmare Long

Short Hammett Solo

11.        The Day that Never Comes

12.        Master of Puppets

13.        Fight Fire With Fire

Hammett short solo again

14.        Nothing Else Matters

15.        Enter Sandman

Encores

Opening verse of “Frayed Ends of Sanity”

16.        Helpless (Diamond Head)

17.        Whiplash

18.        Seek & Destroy

November 13, 2009

Weekly Update – 11/13/2009

Mariah Carey at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. Dec. 31. Pre-sale tickets available now for Citi card holders until 10:00 p.m. tonight. (6 ticket limit). Also pre-sale password beginning at 10:00 this morning until 10:00 p.m. tonight: HENYE. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. $20.10 – $175.75. (8 ticket limit).

John Mayer with Michael Franti & Spearhead at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. Feb. 25. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders go on sale this coming Mon. Nov. 16 at 10:00 a.m. until Sat. Nov. 21 at 8:00 a.m. General public tickets on sale at 9:00 a.m. $50 – $80.

Pete Yorn and David Gray at Hammerstein Ballroom on Sun. Dec. 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.50.

Lady Gaga at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. & Thurs. Jan. 20 and 21, 2010. Tickets on sale today at noon. $49.50 – $69.50. Also appearing at the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City on Sat. Jan. 16. Tickets for this show on tsale this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

The Dead Weather at the Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn (66 North 6th Street 11211) on Tues. Nov. 17. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30. No tickets will be mailed. You will pick up at “Will Call” window with a Government Issued Photo ID.

Rascal Flatts at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. Jan. 16. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $85 – $115.

Citizen Cope at Bowery Ballroom on Fri. –Sun. Feb. 12-14. Tickets on sale today at noon. $28.50.

Flogging Molly at Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. Mar. 2, 2010. Pre-sale tickets available now for Citi card holders until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $32 and $45.

Raekwon at New York Fillmore on Wed. Dec. 16. Tickets on sale today at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Aaron Lewis at the Music Box at the Borgota in Atlantic City on Fri. & Sat. Feb. 12 & 13. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Zebra at Theater in Westbury NY on Sat. Apr. 3, 2010. Tickets on sale Sun. Nov. 15 at 12:30 p.m. $27.50 and $32.50.

The Doobie Brothers at the Wellmont Theater on Fri. April 30, 2010. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40, $65 and $85.

Johnny Winter at BB Kings on Mon. Jan. 4, 11 and 18. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $30 ($35 day of show).

Chrisette Michele at BB Kings on Wed. Feb. 24. Tickets on sale now. $35 ($39 day of show).

Other items:

Metallica this weekend in New York at Madison Square Garden. Are you going to either the Saturday or Sunday night show? I will be there Saturday night!!! Can’t wait. I already know it’s going to be great………\m/ \m/

Congrats to Darius Rucker on winning the “Best New Artist” at the Country Music Awards show the other night. I told you folks last year about his album-“Learn to Live”- and like I said last year- I think this genre suits him better than what he does with Hootie & the Blowfish.

James Taylor and Carole King will embark on a world tour –“The Troubadour Reunion Tour”- which will begin in Australia and end in the U.S. As of right now there are no Tri-state area dates but I will keep you posted.

Steven Tyler showed up Tuesday night at Joe Perry’s solo gig concert at the New York Fillmore (he bought his own ticket) and dispelled all the rumors that Aerosmith are no longer a band. Tyler sang “Walk This Way” with Perry’s band while Perry stated that “all the rumors you have been hearing are bulls**t.” Really Joe?? Haven’t you been the one talking all this nonsense for like two weeks and now all of a sudden, it’s all a bunch of lies? Seems like you are the one that has been spreading the gossip. Meanwhile the review on Joe’s new singer (for his Perry Project) that was discovered on You Tube was pretty bad, one writer wrote “there was a reason he wasn’t discovered.”

AC/DC’s box set –“Backtracks”- was released this past Tuesday and it includes 3 CD’s, 2 DVD’s and one LP with a 164 page collector’s book.

Remember I told you that Rob Halford was going to release a holiday album, well “Winter Songs” is now out and I actually picked up one of the songs from this album-“Oh Holy Night” and I have to tell you folks, this is really good. Normally with Christmas music I am a “traditionalist” and don’t like “crazy” versions of holiday standards. Now there will be some out there who think that I’m crazy to say that I would like this version. But this is not “metal-metal” (if you know what I mean)- this is very impressive, see for yourself. Some of the other songs are good as well and yes for you headbangers the first track is “metal” which I shy away from when it comes to Christmas tunes.

My favorite “old school” song of the week goes to the Lemon Pipers with their most excellent “Green Tambourine.” This is 1960’s music at its best and was definitely part of the “flower power” movement. Boy do I wish I could have witnessed that period of music as an adult. My dad drives me crazy, he was right in the thick of all the great music to come out in the late 1960’s and 1970’s but stuck with the 1950’s “doo-wop” era. Not that I don’t like the “doo-wop” era, I do but I definitely would have branched out. Oh well, get this song!!!

Rodney Carrington has actually made a grown up Christmas album-“Make It Christmas”- (probably due to his kids now being teenagers) and I’d have to say that so far this pre-holiday season, his is the best Christmas album to come out. He nails the traditional songs with crystal clear vocals that will really impress you. [I know I was waiting for the “crazy” stuff that he has always done but it is not here-maybe except for “The Presents Under the Tree (Better Be for Me)” which has some funny lyrics but it sounds so “Sinatra” era like that you don’t realize some of the lyrics].Stand outs: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “White Christmas.”

Album Review: “Us and Them” by Shinedown; released on Rocktober 4, 2005.

One of the many I-POD shuffles this week landed on “Fake” by Shinedown and after listening to this phenomenal song I had to go back and review their sophomore effort- “Us and Them”- and yes the players have changed but the intensity, along with the passion that defines this band is so evident from this release that it will make you stand up and take notice. Now I have been touting this band for some time now, especially their 2008 release-“The Sound of Madness,” but I am now going to give you an additional opportunity to purchase another great album of theirs. (I know the die hard fans have all three releases, like myself). As I mentioned in my last concert review on these guys, they are slowly growing and you have time to jump on the band-wagon to feel what I am talking about. In the words of Kid Rock- “If you feel it, then it’s real”- and Shinedown are for real. So what are you waiting for?

The album starts off with a young girl reciting a poem and sounds like a bed time story as “you are listening to a dream.” As the word “dream” keeps getting repeated it dissolves and the blistering “Heroes” kicks off the aspirations of this band to produce a record that you keep coming back for more-I know I do. The opening guitar riffs pump me up like no other and Brent’s wail into the microphone like he’s trying to get something off his back is a perfect way to deliver a knock out punch. Brent steals the show with his passionate vocals, can this guy deliver the goods or what? This is pure enthusiasm and has me banging my head so many times back and forth that my neck hurts. Then it’s on to the exhilarating “Save Me” which I’m assuming depicts some personal struggles that Brent went through as the lyrics really describe a dire situation. “How did I get here and what went wrong?” You can feel the hurt and desperate “cry for help.” (song from Madness) The video behind this song is also fantastic. This is some “1-2 punch” to start off this album and I’m sorry but this is some of the best music put out in the 21st Century so far. I’m still confused on why they don’t have a mass following. (It’s coming though). Track # 4-“I Dare You” was their most popular song before “Second Chance” and as I listen to it now, I am completely blown away- I’ll put up the first three songs on this album with any album you want to throw out there. If you are an “Idol” fan you should remember that Daughtry performed this song the season that he came in second place. (I knew there was a reason I liked Chris). I have to hit the rewind button again as well as listen to the acoustic version of this song-that’s how good this song is.

“Yer Majesty” is a track that I put on a CD that I made for my good buddy Ron and his son, Joey, as I knew they weren’t too familiar with this band. Ron appreciates “knock down, drag out rock and roll” and this is exactly what this song is. If you are starting a band and are looking for some songs to cover while you do your own thing- look no further than “Yer Majesty”- you will blow away your friends and family. Whew as I am sweating, Brent & the boys take it down a notch with the poignant “Beyond the Sun” but don’t get too comfortable because even though the pace is down a bit, the heaviness doesn’t dissipate-no, quite the opposite, you will feel the heavy bass line along with the stirring guitar riffs. As usual Brent delivers the goods with his unrelenting fervor, is there a more passionate singer out there today? I think not!!! “Trade Yourself In” gets back to the crushing beat that has to get you out of your seat as you bang your head up, down, left to right and all around in a circle. How is this band not in your life?There is no other way to listen to this song but very LOUDLY!!! This could be one of Brent’s best vocals ever for any song that they have recorded. This will knock you out!!! Track # 8-“Lady Devine” is their “epic” song that lasts over 7 minutes long and the more you listen to this track, you realize how talented these guys are. This is a perfect song if you are hill climbing in your next Spin class. The middle part of the song with the long guitar solo will get you pumped and then the pace picks up again when Brent breaks back in with his vocals. The chance every band takes with playing songs over 6 minutes or so is “filler” and this has all protein with no fat on the edges, so enjoy. “Shed Some Light” is a beautiful track which I could picture Brent and the boys playing this song in front of a fireplace at some ski resort while the snow is quickly falling and it looks like no one can leave as the roads are too treacherous, so the only thing left to do is enjoy more Shinedown. The next time I am at my local pub and some artist is playing the acoustic guitar and taking requests, this is what I am going to shout out. (instead of “Freebird”). If we are still in that ski resort you’ll have to run over to the windows and tape them up because the next song just might burst them wide open and then we’ll really have a problem with the snow. “Begin Again” starts off slowly but just like those crazy spin rides (think the “Cups” ride where you sit and spin) it begins to creep up on you and before you know it, you feel like the Incredible Hulk and want to rip your shirt off and scream as passionately as Brent. Can it get any better? Whew do you feel it?

Track # 11-“Atmosphere”- begins another incredible “three-fer” and just as the beginning of this album has three great songs, the last three will also make you clinch your fist and say “Yeah Baby!!!” Atmosphere has a heavy riff which just grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go. The guitar solo towards the end of the song is virtuous. Then it’s on to the aforementioned “Fake”- the more I listen to this song, the more I am convinced that this could be the best song that they ever recorded (I can see my top ten Shinedown songs coming soon). Folks- I beg of you- please listen to this song and squeeze your hands into your ears as tight as you can while turning up the volume to the point where it might hurt just a little and tell me you don’t love this band? Listen as the guitar starts out in your left ear as Brent’s vocals close in on your right ear and let them take you away. Another thing, please close your eyes and chase anyone near you away so that you can soak this song in. Are you there yet? Do you feel it? Don’t tell me you don’t because it’s not allowed. As I listen to Brent scream I have to say that I may have been mistaken to not add him to the top ten screamers of all time. Brent Smith is by far the best front-man out today, period end of story!! This incredible album ends (it’s over already?!!!) with the majestic “Someday.”Folks I’m telling you this track is brilliant, tremendous, fantastic—whew—Ok you get the picture, right? This music moves me like no other, like I said last summer- I feel like it’s in my blood stream. I really can’t put it any other way.

Shinedown is such a phenomenal band that doesn’t seem to get the accolades they deserve but hopefully that will be changing soon. “Us and Them” is an excellent album and in my opinion is a “classic” that deserves a five star rating (based on the Rolling Stone magazine way of ranking an album). And for some odd reason, Rolling Stone magazine ignores them but that’s OK because we all know how much they avoided bands like AC/DC and Rush for the past 30 years, so I guess it’s cool, they acknowledge their blasphemy 20 years from now.

Ok I went crazy for “The Sound of Madness” and now I am imploring the people that I recently turned on to Shinedown (you know who you are) to run out and buy this incredible album. You will then be part of “Us” as we try to turn “Them” into “Us.”

“TOP TEN” :

Continuing on the I-Pod shuffle theme, you know how sometimes within the first 25 songs of a shuffle, your I-Pod plays one artist more than a few times? Well this time around it was Cher and I looked at my collection of songs from her (including her days with Sonny) and actually was very impressed with the body of work this woman has done over the years. Now I definitely lean more to the early days of her career but readily admit that she has remained more than relevant and redefines herself every decade without aging. She has just revived her Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace which will begin next week and continue until mid December, then start up again next April. (On another note- one of my favorite all time movies is “The Mask” and her performance was brilliant). So here are my top ten songs by Cher:

10.     I Found Someone– Yes I know I’ll take some abuse for this song (as well as for picking Cher-next week is Barry Manilow). But you know what, if a song is good there’s no denying it and in this case I really like this track. Yes it’s pop but I am well diversified as you can tell if you have been following along in class. No one lasts this long with out having true talent- in her case she not only can sing but act as well. (It actually has that heavy guitar riff at the end, so it rocks!!).

9.     The Beat Goes On– Talk about your “Beat-nik” song, right? I can picture Bob Denver before he was “Gilligan” in that early role he had on “The Many Loves of Doby Gillis.” I can just picture Sonny with all those different color shirts with that “straw like” vest, that was the ‘60’s look, right? This song puts a smile on my face every time I hear it because I want to say I don’t like it because of Sonny’s vocals but you know what? It is the exact opposite, that’s why I like the song. (as well as Cher’s part of course).

8.     The Way of Love– This song also takes me back to the good old days in the 1970’s as a pre-teen growing up in Brooklyn. I can remember watching the Sonny & Cher show on TV (yes I know this song was when she went solo). This song is short and sweet but her vocals shine bright, this is one of her best vocal performances.

7.     The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in his Kiss)– OK normally I don’t like to include “covers” as part of an artist best songs but there are exceptions to my crazy rules, right? And this is definitely an exception as I think her version is better than the original (sorry Betty Everett). The arrangement of the song is top notch and her vocals make it that much better.

6.     Dark Lady– There is a certain “eeriness” to this song, especially when Cher sings “next thing I knew they were dead on the floor… dark lady would never…” I can picture gypsies doing belly dancing and clapping their hands twice to the beat. I can also picture a fortune teller looking into a crystal ball (like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz). How many different images are in this song? (The strange perfume in her room?). Great song, period end of story.

5.     “Half Breed– This is a great song with a lot of meaning behind it. It tells a story of racial injustice and I’m assuming this song touched many people in a lot of ways. If you have ever felt like an outsider at some point in your life, this song has to resonate with you. I love the melody as well.

4.     All I Really Want to Do– Sonny and Cher had it going on in their heyday and there is no denying that fact. They made songs that will stand the test of time. This is one of those songs and as I listen to it in 2009 it still sounds fresh. The chorus is addicting and I know I’ll be singing it all day.

3.     Baby Don’t Go– Every time I hear this song it really takes me back to my days of growing up on 46th street in Sunset Park Brooklyn. I can remember playing stoop ball, “triangle”- heading down to “Eggebows” to get those wacky planes with all the crazy designs. Cher’s voice in this song is absolutely mesmerizing. Don’t kid yourself- Sonny was no dummy and he also had a real ear for talent. A few years back Dwight Yoakem and Sheryl Crow covered this classic.

2.     I Got You Babe– I can remember being very angry with Cher for re-making this song with “Beavis & Butthead.” I couldn’t understand why she would make a mockery of this song. I know my oldest son shakes his head when he hears this song and he doesn’t understand why I love it but I can’t get enough of this song. I always have to hit the “replay” button, so go ahead and laugh if you will but I don’t care, this is right up there as one of my all time favorite songs.

1.     Gypsies, Tramps and Thiefs– This is my absolute favorite Cher song. I will always remember the reaction that people would have after hearing this song at some of the Spin classes at MBIA. I would throw CD’s together for some of the instructor’s and there would be songs from Linkin’ Park, Metallica and then this song. People would look up at the instructor and say “Errol had to make this list, right?” Perfect sing-a-long song.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     John and Tom Fogerty

2.     Gregg and Duane (deceased since 1971)

3.     Chris and Rich Robinson

4.     Ann and Nancy Wilson

This week’s trivia (Relatives)

1.     What is the name of Bob Dylan’s son and what band is he a part of?

2.     Who is Derek Truck’s uncle and what band does he play for?

3.     What was the name of the band whose lead singer’s dad is Jerry Lewis?

4.     Who is Chynna Phillips (from Wilson Phillps) mom?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Paradise by the Dashboard Light ”- Meatloaf

2.     “I Honestly Love You”-Olivia Newton John

3.     “Fighter”-Christina Aguilera

4.     “Bad Moon Rising”- Creedence Clearwater Revival

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “Who can take the sunlight, sprinkle it with dew…” (if you don’t know this I give up)

2.     “Trouble ahead, trouble behind and you know that notion just crossed my mind…”

3.      “ Do it nice and easy now and don’t lose control.. a little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul…”

4.     “Getting cards and letters from people I don’t even know.. and offers coming over the phone..”

“On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence, that request came from his wife. Deep down he knew she was right but he also knew that someday he would return to her. With no where else to go, he appeared at the home of his childhood friend, Oscar Madison. Sometime earlier, Madison’s wife had thrown him out-requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?”(Sorry folks I couldn’t resist since today is Nov. 13).

Sadly back on this day in 1992, Ronnie Bond, the original drummer for The Troggs passed away at the very young age of 49.

Back on this day in 1971, Bonnie Raitt released her self titled debut.

Back on this day in 2005, Paul McCartney woke up the space shuttle astronauts with The Beatles “Good Day Sunshine” at his concert in Anaheim CA.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Bill Gibson (drummer for Huey Lewis).

November 6, 2009

Weekly Update – 11/06/09

98.7 Kiss FM presents The Super ’70’s Soul Jam featuring The Stylistics, The Emotions, The Delfonics, Heatwave, Carl Carlton, The Blue Notes and Main Ingredient at the WAMU Theater on Fri. Feb. 26. Pre-sale tickets this Mon. Nov. 9 at 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Wed. Nov. 11. The Password is HEKISS. General public tickets on sale next Thurs. Nov. 12 at 10:00 a.m. $39.50 – $79.50.

U2 will be at the “new” Meadowlands Stadium (future home of the NY Jets and NY Giants) on Mon. July 17, 2010. Tickets on sale this Mon. Nov. 9 at 10:00 a.m.$33, $58, $98 and $253

BB King and Buddy Guy at The United Palace Theater on Fri. Feb. 12, 2010. Pre-sale tickets available now for Citi card holders. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $49, $69, $89, $99 and $139. (If you have not seen the both of them, here is your chance. This will be an unbelievable night that you don’t want to miss. Everyone needs to see BB and Buddy at least once in their lifetime).

101.9 WRXP Presents Matt Pinfields Holiday Show at Hammerstein Ballroom on Wed. Dec. 2 featuring Phoenix, Passion Pit, Jack’s Mannequin and Manchester Orchestra. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $40.50

Devendra Banhart at the Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn on Mon. Nov. 23. Tickets on sale today at noon. $28 ($30 day of show).

Levon Helm at Terminal 5 on Thurs. Jan. 7, 2010. Tickets on sale today at noon. $31 ($35 day of show).

John Legend at Borgota Event Center on Fri. Jan. 1, 2010. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Fabolous at New York Fillmore on Sat. Dec. 12. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30 ($35 day of show).

Pat Metheny at the Town Hall (Acoustic only) on Fri. May 21, 2010. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale next Wed. Nov. 11 at 10:00 a.m until 10:00 p.m. the following Tues. Nov. 17. General public tickets on sale Sat. Dec 5 at noon. $50 – $85.

Brandi Carlile at the Wellmont Theater on Sat. Feb. 6, 2010. Tickets on sale today at noon. $27.50

Other items:

Susan Boyle’s new album-“I Dreamed a Dream”- will be released on November 23 and I for one am purchasing it. Just listening to the 30 second samples and I already know that this is going to be an instant grand slam home run. I actually can’t wait to buy it. This amazing story will continue as these songs will leave you breathless. (The songs are all “covers” and included is a Christmas song-“Silent Night”).

Carrie Underwood’s new album-“Play On”- was released this past Tuesday and according to I-Tune listeners she has yet nailed another great piece of artistry. As I have said many times on this page, I am a huge fan of this woman and she is really growing into something special and one day will be an Icon. Key tracks: “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” “What Can I Say” and “Change.”

My favorite metal song of the week goes to Metallica with the pounding “Fuel.” Yes I know according to all the Metallica Haters this is pop music but I thumb my nose to you. Even though it’s from “ReLoad” this song rocks the cover off the ball. Listen to it again and tell me this is not heavy? Check your head. I played this song for my youngest son as he had never heard this (I started him off the right way with the earlier Metallica) and his eyes grew wide. (That’s my signal that he likes a song).

Jack White was willing to contribute on Slash’s new album but only as a guitarist. Jack did not want to lend his vocals and apparently he will not be included as a guest on the new stuff.

Ratt will release their first album in ten years. “Infestation” will be out next March and will include original members such as Steven Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Bobby Blotzer. Former Quiet Riot guitarist-Carlos Cavazo- is in along with Robbie Crane on bass.

The Foo Fighter’s Greatest Hits album is out with two new songs-“Wheels” and “Word Forward”- (which has the “F” bomb loud and clear and I’m surprised that the album is not labeled as “explicit.” Last time I checked- the “F” bomb was explicit).

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “It’s My Party” by Miss Lesley Gore. What a great song, she has some really good tunes. My parents played this song all the time in our house and it brings back so many memories. That’s what music does to you, it takes you away-especially if you feel it.

Joe has released a holiday album called-“Home is the Essence of Christmas.” I like many of the songs and have purchased his rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “The Christmas Song.”

Rihanna will release her new album-“Rated R”- on Nov. 23 and the first single-“Russian Roulette” is now available. Slash helps her out on the track-“Rock Star 101.” This woman is another sky rocketing superstar headed for “Icon” land.

My favorite “new song” of the week belongs to “Meet Me on the Equinox” by Death Cab for Cutie from the movie The Twilight Saga. This band is really growing on me. And this current song actually reminds me of Rush, I could picture Geddy Lee performing this song without a doubt and at certain parts if you close your eyes, you’d think it was him.

Andrea Bocelli has released a holiday album-“My Christmas”- which has a few duets that include Reba McIntire, The Muppets and Mary J. Blige. I immediately purchased the song he did with Mary J. Blige-“What Child Is This”- because she is the coolest female artist out there today. Don’t even try to compare anyone with this woman- she is just too cool and always looks like a knock-out. (And she was the good luck charm for the NY Yankees as she sung a spectacular version of the Star Spangle Banner before Game 6 was won by the Yanks).

Album Review: “Led Zeppelin” by Led Zeppelin; recorded in Rocktober 1968 and released on January 12, 1969.

Ok sometimes my displeasure gets going when I hear comments like “What’s so great about Led Zeppelin?” or “They were over-rated.” Or my personal best “How can you tell if John Bonham was the greatest drummer, aren’t all drummers the same?” (Both of my sons said to listen to Meg White, then listen to Bonham and see if there is a difference, no offense intended Meg, just trying to make a point). And these comments were not said purposely stated to get me going, they were true honest questions, so now I feel the need to reinforce what all fans of Led Zeppelin already know- they are one of the best, if not the best, bands in the history of music. Some of you may not like them- I don’t understand that but I respect that approach. But there is no denying their impact on rock music, so don’t even go there. By the way, if you lived in my house there is a test you would need to pass to be able to stay (yes my kids have to pass it… no not my wife, I’m not that crazy) and that test is to name the four members of Led Zeppelin. If you don’t know it, pack your bags.

Anyways back to the greatness called Led Zeppelin or should I say the “Mighty” Led Zeppelin. Their debut album was made over 40 years ago and 4 million years from now it will still stand the test of time. There are nine songs in total. This album has to rank up there as the best debut albums ever created. “And on this day.. God created Led Zeppelin…” The album blasts off with the oft heard “Good Times Bad Times” and the reason why you have heard it so many times is because it is freaking phenomenal. This was the first song that members of Zep decided to put out there and let’s assume that this was the only song they ever released, you would hear all the talents of each and every individual. Listen to Bonham’s drumming-this was the beginning of what was to come-unmatched fervor and furiousness that rock music has never seen since and maybe will never see again. (There are drummers who come close, I will admit that but I did say “close”). The pulsating bass line by John Paul Jones (he’s the one my youngest son struggles with when he is forced to recite the members to me.. so he doesn’t forget- I ask many times) feels like he’s plucking one of your veins as a guitar string. Jimmy Page’s phenomenal guitar playing and of course Mr. Robert Plant’s singing ability as he could be considered the greatest frontman in rock history. My friend Ron and his band- Nasty Habits- just recently performed this song at a club in Brooklyn and they lit up the audience with their blistering cover. These guys know great rock and roll when they hear it and that’s why they play songs like this. Even Godsmack recently put out a cover of this song, so my point is-it still stands the test of time. Track # 2-“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”- is so righteous, almost a form of religion. Can you imagine putting out your first album and making a song like this? It seems impossible to think that these guys were in the twenties- this tune sounds like something that a veteran would create. Again listen to Bonham on the drums and tell me you’re not blown away? This is the fastest 6 minute plus song that you can ever listen to. “You Shook Me” is so amazing, words can not even begin to describe how I feel about this song. This is rock and roll with a massive twist of blues and probably the origin of that “Plant & Page thing” that they did that has never been replicated. Plant sings with his voice and Page sings with his guitar. (I even love the harmonica solo in the middle of the song). Folks take a second and think about this- this song was recorded in 1968, it was their first album and they make a song (and album) like this? This is natural talent and you have to feel it- this is real. This is the Babe, Mantle, DiMaggio and Mays all playing on the same team. Whew, I’m scared on how great this is… “Dazed and Confused”- What can be said about this song that hasn’t been said millions of times before? Most people picture Page basically blasting off into another stratosphere, being all alone and performing like he was possessed. He can’t be human, can he? And who is right there along side of him? Yes- Mr. Bonham-when he explodes in with the cymbals three times as Jimmy detonates, you have to ask yourself- Has this ever been matched? This could be their best song.

Ok flip over to side 2 now-“Your Time is Gonna Come”- starts off like you were strolling to church on Sunday morning. And just like that, the chaos of “Dazed” is over and the beauty of this song strikes you as you are flabbergasted that this band can change on a dime and create so many different sounds with so many various moods. Not many bands can do this. “Black Side Mountain” really takes it down as it is an acoustic instrumental song that last only two minutes. It was the ‘60’s man you had to have that “sitar” sound (originated by George Harrison-thanks Chris) and if you listen carefully you can hear how talented Mr. Page is. So the first two songs are pretty somber but don’t get sleepy because just like when you are headed up the Cyclone roller-coaster in Coney Island you know the excitement is just over that first hill. (no I have never done it but I can imagine). As you head down- the electrifying “Communication Breakdown” attacks your ears but you don’t shy away and you actually head to turn that volume knob higher. Has there been a better beginning to a song? I remember using this song at an MBIA spin class and my good friend Rosie was so psyched when she heard it- it actually does make you pedal faster. Then it’s back to the blues with the fantastic “I Can’t Quit You Baby.” How cool is the bass line from Mr. Jones? I can just picture a smoky bar room late at night and this song coming on. All I have to say is “Wow…” Page’s guitar playing actually lifts me off the ground as I levitate (take that Criss Angel!!) and at this point I am not coming down. Mr. Plant’s vocal adds to my delusion as I float high in the air and have an “out of body” experience. I remain in this state as this phenomenal album ends with the majestic “How Many More Times.” To all the people out there who don’t know the massive talents of John Bonham-please I beg of you- put this song on to the highest volume you can stand and listen to the magnificence of this man; I am speechless. This is a brilliant song and again these guys were just in their twenties.

OK I will get off my “Led Zeppelin soap box” for now but every now and then when I hear these misguided comments, I have to take the wheel, steer back to the center of the road and guide you back to the right path. So for now folks, you should also know the four members of this band and you too should force the people that live in your house to recite whenever you decide to have a pop quiz, kids and even babies have to be included, and name the legends that make up the band called Led Zeppelin. Oh excuse me, “The Mighty Led Zeppelin.”

TOP TEN” :

In honor of Lenny Kravitz’s recent small club shows here in New York City during the month of Rocktober, I decided to list my favorite ten songs by the son of Roxie Roker (also known as “Helen Willis” on the popular sitcom –“The Jeffersons”). I feel a special kinship to Lenny as he loved his mother dearly and lost her at a very young age. (As did I). Mr. Kravitz can flat out rock with the best of them and then turn it around and make some of the most beautiful songs this world has ever heard. (That’s right- The World). As I went through his catalog, I could not believe how hard this was to do (I know I say that about every artist I do but really, his library is filled with great songs). Mr. Kravitz is all about peace and love and if he were running for office, I know I’d vote for him. For those of you who do not know when Lenny records his albums he performs on all the instruments. (Obviously he has his own band when he goes out on the road). He has been one of the best artists around for the past 20 years, he is a fan of rock and roll, he respects the bands that came before him and I really can’t think of an artist that I would rather be than Lenny Kravitz. This gentleman is tops in my book. So grudgingly, here are my top ten songs:

10.     It Ain’t Over ’Til It’s Over– Go ahead and make fun but you know you love this song but you just won’t admit it. I don’t have that problem, I admit that I love this song and it deserves a spot in my top ten. This is old school R&B made contemporary by the man called Lenny. You know you wish that you could sing the song like Mr. Kravitz, I know I do.

9.     A New Door– Sort of reminds me of something that the late Michael Jackson would sing. It’s another beautiful song in a long list of tunes that Lenny pours his heart out in. This man is so talented and songs like this solidify my opinion.

8.     Stand By My Woman Now– When I first heard this song I immediately thought of my wife and how much I love her and the words are spectacular. Guys, prepare a nice dinner (or order it and make believe you made it), candles, fireplace going and then put this song on as you serve her your delicious meal. It doesn’t get any better. This is a powerful song that will bring tears to her eyes as you try to match Lenny’s passion while singing it to the woman in your life.

7.     Will You Marry Me– This funkadelic new age James Brown sounding song has to get you out of your seat and dance with that someone special. Every time I listen to this song, I squeeze my headphones as tight as I can to my ears. Please do this and tell me this is not one of the best songs that he has ever recorded. The guitar solo is righteous, the background vocals are phenomenal, and the infectious groove is something to behold.

6.     Rock and Roll Is Dead– Love the opening guitar riff and the way the drums smash in. I’ll put this song up against any rock song ever made and believe me, this will stand toe-to-toe with the best of them. And contrary to the title, Rock and Roll will always be alive and kicking as long as Lenny makes songs like this. Pure perfection.

5.     Are You Gonna Go My Way– I can remember when I went to see him in Wallingford CT with my wife, Sal and his wife a few years back and my wife was “air-guitaring” and “headbanging”-believe me that is a rare sight. Now every time I hear this track I think of my wife and how much she loves this song. Also the image of the woman drummer in the video is something that always comes to mind when I hear this track. This is rock and roll at its finest and there is no way that you can’t have fun when this song comes on, it’s impossible not to move.

4.     Stop Draggin’ Around– Love the way how Lenny just calmly and smoothly starts off the song by saying “More on Guitar, need more track… bass… more guitar..” I can listen to this song all day long. The groove on this song is so freaking phenomenal I just wish I could have wrote this song. The guitar solo smokes and is there any one cooler than Kravitz?

3.     Destiny– I freeze every time I hear this song and get the chills running down my back. Folks if you don’t know this song you are really missing out. This song is so raw, so special that words can’t do it justice. It really is a masterpiece, ‘nuff said.

2.     Calling All Angels– Now as I have mentioned many times on this page, Lenny wrote this song for his mother who passed away at a very young age. My mom passed away right around the time Lenny released the album “Baptized” which contains this song. Obviously this is a very sad song to listen to but yet also exquisite at the same time. This is a paralyzing song.

1.     Let Love Rule– This is definitely in my top ten songs of all time. The arrangement of this song is so magnificent, so pleasing to the ear but yet the message is even more powerful. This has been, always will be a staple at his shows- witnessing him perform this live is something that you need to strive for. Lenny thank you for this song and Thank you for being you, I tip my cap to you.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Stevie Ray Vaughn

2.     Robert Zimmerman

3.     True

4.     Named after a 1963 horror movie starring Boris Karloff

This week’s trivia (Siblings)

1.     Name the two brothers from Creedence Clearwater Revival

2.     Name the two brothers from The Allman Brothers (one has been deceased since the 1970’s)

3.     Name the two brothers from The Black Crowes

4.     Name the two sisters from Heart

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “I’m Your Captain ”- Grand Funk Railroad

2.     “Bad Girls”-Donna Summer

3.     “Mellow Yellow”-Donovan

4.     “Black Water”- The Doobie Brothers

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “And I never had a girl looking any better than you did.. and all the kids at school they were wishing they were me that night..”.. ”

2.     “Maybe I hang around you a little more than I should.. we both know I’ve got somewhere else to go…”

3.     “Well I thought I knew you.. that you were true…(yes I) I couldn’t trust …”

4.     “I hear hurricanes a blowing…I know the end is coming soon… I feel rivers overflowin’..”

Back on this day in 1965, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane performed at the opening of the Fillmore West in San Francisco.

Back on this day in 1980, Led Zeppelin met with their manager, Peter Grant, to discuss their future in the wake of John Bonham’s death. They would publicly announce that they were finished on Dec. 4, 1980.

Back on this day in 1984, Marvin Gay, Sr. was sentenced to five years probation for the killing of his son Marvin Gaye.

Back on this day in 1993, Pearl Jam entered the Billboard 200 album chart at number one with their sophomoric effort- “Vs.”

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Corey Glover (lead singer for Living Colour) and Glenn Frey

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