strumzilla

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Filtering by Tag: Progressive Rock

Hell Bent for the Cliff (lyric video)

This turned out alright. I ended up starting over on the mix because I hadn't gain staged appropriately in the beginning. This version is where I quit working on it, not necessarily the definitive version but I'm okay with where it's at for now. 

Hell Bent for the Cliff

Verse
The sea is rising we're casting seeds in fallow fields
Demagogues delude then doublecross in backroom deals
Arbiters of virtue claiming false dominion
Sycophants spinning vacuous validation

Chorus
Can you feel it slipping away?
Fragile fibers start to fray
Hell bent for the cliff
Constitution in decay

Verse
Millions starving, they're making bombs from baby food jars
Exalting the grotesque, ignoring the stars
Fear, lies and hatred have stolen the narrative
Waging war on the weak instead of live and let live

Chorus
So you chose to live and let die?
Universal truths you deny
Deadly decorum
Matrimony moribund

Verse
Gatekeeper Gladys adorned in apparatus so fine
Bankers stealing our gold businessmen drinking our wine
Orange orangutan squats on the ivory throne
The beds are burning and we’re staring at our phones

Chorus
Can you feel it slipping away?
Brittle bonds twist and break
Hell bent for the cliff
Constitution in decay

Verse
Mother, Mother I think they're going to build a wall
Nations rise and one day nations fall
Bent backs unbroken will stand again
A final reckoning comes to us all

Chorus
Can’t you feel it slipping away?
Karma gets the final say
Hell bent for the cliff
Constitution in decay

Crimson musings

I finally got to see the legendary King Crimson led by the steady hand of the venerable Robert Fripp in Dallas this past Saturday. I waxed a bit poetic on el facebook:

A theater unto itself, a King Crimson concert is a humbling display of power, precision, and passion. At times subtle and delicate, but unfailingly relentless and implacable all the while. I sat in bewilderment, my attention passing quickly from musician to instrument and back again, barely able to keep up with their performances.

Moving from joy to sadness, from confusion to clarity, from gobsmacked to gleeful, I was blown away by this night. These world class musicians were a sight to behold and brought a wondrous spiritual rhapsody, of a kind I've never quite witnessed before. Thank you, gentlemen, thank you indeed.

Set 1:
Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One
Pictures of a City
Cirkus
Neurotica
Fallen Angel
Epitaph
Discipline
Red
Islands
Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two

Set 2:
Drumson Outbreak of Wonderment, Joy & Bliss Arising
Easy Money
Indiscipline
The ConstruKction of Light (Part I)
Lizard
Moonchild
The Court of the Crimson King
Meltdown
Radical Action II
Level Five
Starless

Encore:
21st Century Schizoid Man

It was truly one of the most powerful shows I've ever attended, and judging from the audience response (a standing ovation after nearly every song) they felt the same way. I managed to sneak my way into Tony Levin's blog post about the show as seen in these photos. 

 

 

New Rush Day!!!

Well, technically the real New Rush Day is in June, but they released the first new single (since Caravan/BU2B last year) for their new album, "Clockwork Angels". 

 

If the three songs released so far are any indication, this album is going to be one of the all time Rush classics. Yes, I'm biased, but even taking that into consideration, this thing is sounding epic. Listen for yourself. 

A long drive to Colorado, Rush, and back

We returned home Friday after driving 16 hours both ways to see Rush in Colorado. We spread the drives out over two days each time, staying over at the posh Amarillo La Quinta, home of musty air conditioning and pet droppings in the grassy patches. The long drives and seedy motel stays were worth it since we got to see Rush in what's probably one of the best venues in North America, Red Rocks in Colorado.  Built out of a natural amphitheatre in the mountains outside of Denver, Red Rocks is a mixture of natural beauty with a man made venue overlaying it in seamless fashion. The staggered stadium style seating means that everyone in the place has an unobstructed view of the stage, a rarity for most concert venues. 

The weather was mild and beautiful, and the crowd were fully energized for a night of classic progressive rock from its pre-eminent power trio. The set list didn't disappoint with their typical mixture of old and new (including two songs from their forthcoming album) with the classic "Moving Pictures" being the feature of their second set. "The Camera Eye" is a song I never expected to see Rush perform, and it was a truly moving experience to hear it live for the first time.  The show featured all the requisite Rush lights, video, sound, pyrotechnics, with a set list to satisfy everyone who came to the show.  They played all the expected hits but threw in enough deep cuts to satisify their stalwart loyal.  In addition to TCE, they played La Villa Strangiato, Leave That Thing Alone, Stick It Out, Presto, Faithless, and several other deep cuts. Their two new songs "Caravan" and "BU2B" were ideally suited to live performance since both are pretty hard rocking tunes.  A fantastic show as always and we're looking forward to seeing them again in Houston next month.

Recent developments

Time is slowly chugging along here at FOB Blessing. Nothing of great import has transpired since last update with the exception of my removal from ADVON which means I will be coming home in late June or early July as opposed to late May. That change has its pros and cons with the main negative being more time away from home but almost everything else is positive. The ADVON providers have to setup the medical footprint and get everyone at home ready for the return of the brigade so it’s a lot of coordination that can be somewhat of a pain. The other positive is that it will be one or two more months of the extra combat pays so that will come in handy.

Of most significant import on the musical front is that yesterday we got tickets to see Yes with Asia (Steve Howe will be pulling double duty) July 15th at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. Of all the concerts and musicians I have been able to see over the years, there are still a couple of my all time favorites that I have never seen live and Steve Howe is at the top of the list.  I was able to catch Yes on the 90125 tour with Trevor Rabin (a fantastic show and I was very happy to see that lineup) but I have always felt I missed a great opportunity to see Steve Howe with the classic lineup, playing the more classic era song list. Unfortunately (depending on your viewpoint) Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman have both had some medical issues that have kept them from performing so Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White have enlisted the duties of Oliver Wakeman (Rick’s son) on keyboards and Benoit David (a Yes tribute band member) on vocals. According to reviews from a short tour last winter, David sounds like the Jon Anderson of the 70’s and does an incredible job on the old tunes. Another benefit of this lineup is that they can perform tunes from Drama which Jon Anderson always refused to do. So it’s possible this set list will be about the most varied and interesting they have performed in a long time. I’m fairly sure they will perform Close to the Edge in entirety and that’s worth the price of admission alone. I’m really looking forward to Machine Messiah or pretty much anything from Drama.

But if that wasn’t enough, they are being joined by Asia with the original lineup and they should be able to draw tunes from the first two albums as well as the most recent studio album “Phoenix” which was released a couple of years ago. Asia comes from a unique genre in that it’s the closest thing to Progressive Pop, definitely the most successful next to the 90125 Yes of that era. The nice thing is that the “Phoenix” is actually a great album in their catalog and it seems like the album they should have released after the first two. Asia had many forgettable lineups and albums in the intervening years between “Alpha” and “Phoenix” but this tour is shaping up to very promising.

Robert holds the bone…

but declines to throw it.  Reports were widespread that an ultimatum from Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones had resulted in Robert Plant relenting and agreeing to tour with Led Zeppelin next year. I bought it enough to tell my wife to plan for a trip or two and a new bank loan to pay for the tickets next year.  Today I wake up to see a report that Robert Plant posted an announcement on his web page that he will not be touring, but wishes the other members well in their future endeavors. The rumors were that the band was auditioning another, younger singer to take Plant's place and that this is what motivated him to relent.  Apparently, it isn't to be.  If Zeppelin does tour with a different singer, I'll probably still go see them. After all, it will still be Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones with John Bonham's son and they will play a pretty solid setlist if they repeat what they performed at the O2 show. 

I have to wonder if Plant or other parties will sue the band if they try to tour under the Zeppelin name. Whatever they call it, I'll still be motivated to see them. I last saw Jimmy Page when he was with the Firm in 84-85. I saw them before they had a name at the British Invasion tour show in Dallas, and then again a year later as the Firm. It was a decent show, but not Zeppelin. Jimmy did play a very drunken instrumental version of Stairway at the first show and I was close enough to jump up and touch his doubleneck (his guitar, you pervs) although I also declined. Paul Rodgers is good with Bad Company, and I really like what he has done with Queen but he didn't really gel with Jimmy Page back then.  I'll be very happy if they can get someone with Robert's old vocal range and play the songs like they were played back in Zeppelin's heyday.

R.I.P, Richard Wright

I just saw on the news that Richard Wright, keyboardist of Pink Floyd has passed away from cancer at the age of 65. Richard Wright was often overlooked but a critical member of the band whose input was important on all the landmark Pink Floyd albums. Lately he had been a prominent member of David Gilmour's band and touring group and was featured prominently on the video for the "On an Island" tour. The chance for a real Pink Floyd reunion is now permanently gone, although it was very unlikely with Gilmour's motivation to reunite.  Richard Wright will be missed.

Belated Rush Reviews…

It's been nearly a month since I saw Rush in Houston and Austin on a Saturday and the following Wednesday (Apr 19/23rd).  The delay is more work/life related on my part than a lack of desire to post a review.  Both shows were great, and I won't post as detailed a review as from last August as the show was mostly the same with the exception of a few set list changes and a new video before the second set.  I am probably in the minority of people who aren't as happy with the set list changes because I really was happy to hear Entre Nous and Circumstances as I had never heard them live before (and they are both great tunes).  They decided to go back to a few classic staples since this second leg was hitting several cities that hadn't been on the tour itinerary in several years.  The other deletions are Secret Touch and Distant Early Warning. I'm a big fan of Vapor Trails (and Snakes & Ladders) so I was also disappointed for them to remove Secret Touch. 

 I recently read Neil Peart's book "Ghost Rider" which took place in the interval between the death of his daughter & wife (both occurring within a year's span) and details how he rode his motorcycle for thousands of miles over the next few years as part of his recovery process. In the text of the book are many literary references, but the main focus of the book is sort of an autobiographical travelogue with intermittent flashes of his grieving process in the form of narrative as well as reprints of many letters he wrote during that time. Dispersed throughout the tome are several slices of what would eventually turn into the lyrics of the next album (VT). After reading it I gained a new appreciation for many of these songs (as well as his lyrics in general).  Gives me a new level of disgust at the blogger who ranked him (Neil) as the second worst Rock lyricist of all time. 

Here's the new setlist:

 

Setlist:

Video Intro (features all 3 band members)
Limelight
Digital Man
Ghost of a Chance
Mission
Freewill
The Main Monkey Business
The Larger Bowl (with McKenzie Brothers intro)
Red Barchetta
The Trees
Between The Wheels
Dreamline

Intermission

Video Intro (What's That Smell? features all 3 members, Jerry Stiller)
Far Cry
Workin' Them Angels
Armor And Sword
Spindrift
The Way The Wind Blows
Subdivisions
Natural Science
Witch Hunt
Malignant Narcissism
Drum Solo
Hope
The Spirit of Radio
2112: Overture / The Temples of Syrinx
Tom Sawyer (with South Park intro)

Encore:

One Little Victory
A Passage to Bangkok
YYZ
Video Outro (Alex, Neil, Jerry Stiller)

It was great to see them, especially in Austin. They played the Frank Erwin Center in the theatre setup which seats about 8000 total. The acoustics and the intimacy of the indoor environment allowed for a perfect live setting.  I think it will be better to space the shows apart because the novelty did wear a little bit since it had only been 5 days between shows. I think the perfect schedule would be to see them about three times per tour with at least a month between shows. I would also try and see them in as different an environment as possible. I think for the next tour (I feel like they have at least another album/tour in them) I will try to see them somewhere like Red Rocks or The Gorge in Washington, Vegas, and somewhere in Texas. 

New Music Appreciation Post

So I've been on somewhat of a new music surge (at least compared to the normal for me) as of late.  I think it started when I downloaded several songs on Neil Peart's house music set list (the one they play before the shows) from Itunes.  Among the groups I was newly exposed or gained a new appreciation for were:  Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta,  The Tragically Hip, Jeff Buckley, King Crimson and early Genesis.  Porcupine Tree especially hit a nerve with me and I subsequently have bought four albums by them. I especially like "Fear of a Blank Planet", "In Absentia" and "Deadwing".  For reasons I'm not quite sure of, I also finally bought "Hunky Dory" by Bowie. I always liked the tunes from that album (Mick Ronson was a key player/producer) and I'm not sure why it took this long.  I had been listening to "Life on Mars" repeatedly after hearing it a recent movie ("Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou?"), and decided to get the album.  

I also recently bought albums by Amy Winehouse (Back to Black), Sheryl Crow (Detours) and Robert Plant/Alison Krauss (Raising Sand) but have only really got into the RP/AK effort.  In my explorations I also got to checking out Itunes mixes by other users. These are basically just mix tape made by other Itunes users, but the nice thing is you can search them by keyword.  So, in my typical music preference vein I searched for sad or melancholy mixes and actually found a really good one that has several tunes that I have grown quite fond of. Some of the artists on the mix were: "The Weepies", "State Radio", "City and Colour", "Jason Reeves", "Gregory and the Hawk", and "Cocunut Records".  It's a really great mix tape and I'll be checking out the other stuff from these guys in the near future. 

Thank you sir, may I have another?

Unfortunately for many Rush fans in Houston and New Orleans, the shows got swapped to make way for the NBA playoffs which means Rush is playing Houston on Saturday the 19th instead of Sunday the 20th and there a lot of people trying to get rid of tickets they can't use now. On that note, I saw a deal on some Houston tickets for about half what they were going for before the date change. This is still a markup from box office, but it's so much cheaper than it would have been, and now with the show on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, the opportunity was too good to pass up.  So we're now going to see Rush in Houston in two days (11th row on Geddy's side) followed by the Austin show on Wednesday night. Fan-frickin-tabulous if you ask me. And you did, you did.

Deja Vu all over again…

For months I have been saying that I would be cutting back on my concerts with an extended vacation coming up and some inflationary belt tightening. However, the day is drawing close when Rush will be playing Austin on the 2nd leg of their Snakes & Arrows tour. A few days ago I was sitting in my office thinking about the upcoming concert and realizing I would be one hour's drive away from a Rush concert and I was missing it to sit at home and watch TV or something else extremely worthwhile. I knew that wouldn't work, especially since I'll have no chance at seeing shows for 12 months (e.g. Yes in August).

Rumors abound about set list and overall show presentation changes and upgrades for this leg. Foremost (at least in my mind) is the rumor that perhaps an entire album will be played and the leading candidates include Hemispheres, A Farewell to Kings, and Moving Pictures.  While I have serious doubts as to the veracity of these predictions, I am still entertaining the idea of hearing an entire album from the vault. Oh yeah, for those who recall the dancing of the gloat, here comes the 2nd verse (same as the first):

 

We're not quite as close as the last show, but this time we're in the middle front floor section and being on the 11th row will probably mean a better sound mix.

Geez Robert, throw us a fricking bone…

Continuing the theme of the last quarter century, Robert Plant has nixed the idea of a Zeppelin reunion tour despite a rumored offer of $200 million dollars (American) per member. This story has been out for a couple of weeks now and it seems that continuing to move forward as an artist is more important to him than revisiting Zeppelin or giving a parting gift to the millions of Zeppelin fans worldwide.  Here's one report from the many:

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/a90640/plant-snubs-gbp100-million-led-zep-offer.html

And a two part interview from Jan 2008 which further demonstrates the unlikeliness of a tour:


 

It just seems like he isn't ever going to change his mind. Hopefully a DVD will be released of the show.

Concert Review - Rush in Dallas, 8/11/07

Rush returned to Smirnoff Music Centre in Dallas after a 3 year hiatus following the 2004 30th Anniversary tour.  They performed in support of their most recent studio album Snakes and Arrows, their 18th studio album (I don't count Feedback) and first new release since 2002's Vapor Trails. They brought the monstrosity that is a Rush tour in it's full glory to the stage for over 3 hours of proggy splendiferousness. (feel free to quote me there). 

Featuring the standard Rush show of lights, video, ear crushing decibel levels, rotisserie chicken (wah?) and fricking laser beams, there was something for everyone. (don't forget you can't get something for nothing, though) (sorry, couldn't help it).  They opened the show with the perennial favorite Limelight (bookending with the last tour as this was the previous closer) and brought back some deeper album cuts including Digital Man and Entre Nous, followed by Mission and Freewill before introducing some new material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first new cut was the instrumental The Main Monkey Business which featured videos of monkeys and various other primates performing chucklelicous tasks like talking on the phone and driving a car (looking like the old film reels you've probably seen before) whilst a couple of the crew chefs came out and basted the rotisserie chickens. Yes, chickens. This year Geddy decided to escalate the superfluous gear arms race by replacing the dryers and rotating vending machine with three separate full size rotisserie chicken ovens like you would see at a restaurant. And yes, they were miced. Apparently he's no longer satisfied with the warm/dry tone and wanted a little more gristle and grease in his signal path. (lest we forget, talking about tone is akin to swimming about politics)

This was followed by The Larger Bowl from Snakes & Arrows and then Secret Touch from Vapor Trails. That led to a very deep cut in Circumstances from Hemispheres which I know hasn't been played in a long time, if ever. Next was my favorite Grace Under Pressure tune, Between the Wheels and then the set was closed out by Dreamline, which is one of the standouts off Roll the Bones.

Another amusing moment from the first set was about halfway into Limelight when Alex got a chance to see the little board babes (barbie dolls placed down by his pedals holding up post it notes like they were signs). The generally describe acts that are illegal in most countries or make salient observations you would expect from a groupie. I think the crew members make new batches up every night.  As is typical, he was laughing until he had to focus on the solo. I hope someone is keeping a track of these messages as the ones I have seen are pretty funny. Examples are listed below.

After the intermission, they returned with a mini-set of all new material including Far Cry, Working them Angels, Armor & Sword, Spindrift, and The Way the Wind Blows.  The pictures in Angels were especially moving, featuring people from various walks of life like construction workers, janitors, waitresses, nurses, and soldiers all with pairs of angel wings on their backs. All of the new material sounded even better live and got a really positive response from the crowd.  After the new material they dipped back into the vault with Subdivisions, Natural Science, and Witch Hunt before returning to the new album with an instrumental section including Malignant Narcissim, the drum solo, and Hope.  PGA tour Rocco Mediate (who had been checking out the stage pre-show, and gave me a very puzzled look when I shouted his name) came out to perform the chefly duties wearing a Rush baseball shirt and the chef's hat, of course.

They closed out the second set with Distant Early Warning, Spirit of Radio and Tom Sawyer Tom Sawyer included an intro by the South Park kids with Cartman portraying Geddy Lee on the keyboards totally screwing up the lyrics. It was hilarious. There's a clip of that below as well. They came out for one encore, starting with One Little Victory (including that darn dragon and his flamethrowers), A Passage to Bangkok, and closing the show with YYZ.

From a technical standpoint the show went very well. There were no major equipment or performance problems and the sound was good to my ears which were admittedly overloaded in the second row. I'm sure the best sound was in the second tier of seats near the middle. It's always a trade off between a good view and a good sound mix. All three players performed superbly as expected and they still seem to be enjoying themselves putting on these shows. We had an excellent view of the whole stage from the second row on Alex's side and I was able to feast on the fretboard as much as I desired. The front row center got all the picks though. Bastards.

My overall impression of this show is much the same as the R30 show in that Rush is putting on the most complete show of their career and easily one of the best concert experiences anywhere in the world. They manage to combine overpowering sound, lights, video, lazers, smoke, snakes, dragons, humor, a deep set list, and just the force of their wills upon the audience of twenty thousand. I feel truly lucky that these guys still love to write, record and perform music and share it with their fans. Their love of music is what keeps them in the business more than thirty years since they started. I highly doubt there are any financial considerations at all, except perhaps to continue funding their ability to make music in the future.

Geddy closed the show out by saying "I hope we can see you guys again sometime", which I am hoping means they still feel like they have something to offer by returning to the studio and subsequently the stage in the future. No one could fault them for retiring after all they have accomplished in their careers, and we can at least live with the knowledge that we have their very large selection of DVDs and albums to relive the live experience as many times as we want in the future. Something tells me they're not done yet, though. Here's hoping.

 

Gear:

Alex: He played a variety of Les Pauls, the Gibson Howard Roberts, his iconic White Gibson ES-355 (rumor says a Gibson signature model is in works), various Garrison Acoustics including 6 and 12 strings, and a Mandola. His Les Pauls were outfitted in some cases with tremolos and piezo pickups. His Howard Roberts also had a piezo in it as well. His amps were all Hughes & Kettners with two Alex Lifeson Triamp MKII double stacks in the middle, flanked on either side by Switchblade double stacks. His rack mount was turned away from the stage front and his pedals on the floor weren't visible but I have it on good authority (i.e., guitar player) that he was using a Dunlop DCR-ISR Crybaby Rack wah, TC Electronic 1210 Spatial Expander & Stereo Chorus/Flanger, TC Electronic G-Force multi-effects processors (3) with 1 spare, and Voodoo Lab GCX switchers. He may have added a Loft chorus (the actual one used on Limelight). At his feet were the Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, Dunlop DCR-1FC foot controller, an Axess Electronics FX1 MIDI Foot controller, Korg MPK 180 Bass pedals, and a Boss TU-12H Tuner. 

Geddy: Used mainly his black Jazz Bass (which may have been the original '72 or one of his signatures), a red Fender Jazz, the Jaco Pastorius signature (fretted and fretless, respectively) and the Rickenbacker. His onstage amplification was courtesy of the henhouse rotisserie ovens (3). 

His official list from the tour book:

Guitars
1972 Fender Jazz bass
Fender Jazz Geddy Lee model
Fender Jazz Custom Shop bass
Fender Jaco Pastorius Tribute fretless bass
Fender Jaco Pastorius Tribute Custom Shop fretted version
Garrison acoustic guitars

Amplification
Avalon direct boxes, model U5
SansAmp RPM pre-amps
Palmer speaker simulator, model PDI-05
Trace Elliot Quatra valve amps
Sampson UR-5D wireless system

Keyboards and Samplers
Roland XV-5080 sampler/ synthesizers
Roland Fantom-X7 synthesizer
Moog Little Fatty digital synthesizer
Korg MIDI pedals

Neal: He played his "Snakes & Arrows" custom kit made by the Drum Workshop and described in detail in the tour book. It was the typical Neal monstrosity setup of acoustic drums, percussion, cymbals and electronic drums/pads. 

 

The detailed set list/equipment blow by blow: (equipment listed as it changes. if nothing is listed they played the same gear from the previous song)

1. Limelight: Alex - Gibson LP Standard Honey Burst with tremolo, Geddy - Fender Jazz Bass Black

2. Digital Man: same

3. Entre Nous: Alex - Gibson LP Goldtop, 12 String Garrison acoustic

4. Mission: Alex - Gibson LP Tobacco Sunburst

5. Freewill: same

6. The Main Monkey Business: Alex - Gibson LP Goldtop

7. The Larger Bowl: Alex - Gibson LP Tobacco Sunburst (with piezo)

8. Secret Touch: Alex - Gibson LP Black Beauty with tremolo, Geddy - Red Jazz Bass

9. Circumstances: same

10. Between the Wheels: Geddy - Jaco Pastorius Fretted Jazz Bass

11. Dreamline: Alex - LP Honey Burst with tremolo, Geddy - Black Jazz Bass

Intermission 

12. Far Cry: Alex - LP Cherry Sunburst

13. Working Them Angels: Alex - LP Cherry SB with Piezo, Mandolin with shubb capo

14. Armor & Sword: same

15. Spindrift: same

16. The Way the Wind Blows: Alex - Gibson Howard Roberts with piezo

17. Subdivisions: Alex - LP Cherry Sunburst

18. Natural Science: Alex - LP Honey Burst with tremolo

19. Witch Hunt: same

20. Malignant Narcissim: Geddy - Jaco Pastorious Fretless Jazz Bass

21. Drum Solo

22. Hope: Alex - Garrison 12 String

23. Distant Early Warning: Alex - LP Honey Burst with tremolo, Geddy - Black Jazz Bass

24. The Spirit of Radio: same

25. Tom Sawyer: same

Encore

26. One Little Victory: Alex - Gibson ES-355 White

27. A Passage to Bangkok: Geddy - Black Rickenbacker

28. YYZ: Geddy - Black Jazz Bass

 

Here are some additional show notes taken from 2112.net that further explain some show features better than I did:

 

  • The opening video begins with a dream sequence of Snakes and Arrows images, then Alex sits up in bed, saying, "Snakes? Who would dream about snakes, that's so creepy. Honey? Honey - wake up. I had this weirdest dream, it was a snake…" then the person lying next to him sits up and its Neil. They look at each other and yell in surpise and yell 'AHHHHHHHHHHH!", then after another sequence, Geddy wakes up in a chair and says "What did they do to my food?" and then in walks an old man in a Scottish kilt who speaks with a Scottish accent who tells Geddy he doesn't care how he is feeling, to "…wipe that chicken off your face and get out there!" after which they which they all ran out. The guy in the Scottish costume is actually Geddy, dressed in make up and wig. At the end of the show, another video of Scottish Geddy plays, where he tells people to go home because he wants to get back to eating his chicken.
  • The video intro for the second set is all Alex in rare, comical form, playing several characters on the Snakes and Arrows Leela board. The board shifts around the screen and highlights certain lines to which Alex pops up and executes typical Alex rants.
  • There is a video of Bob & Doug McKenzie to introduce "The Larger Bowl"; "The Larger Bowl" has video snippets showing alternating images between the rich and the poor, etc. Towards the end you see iron gates on 2 screens, but as they focus in on the buildings behind them you see that one is a mansion and the other is a prison.
  • Alex plays a mandola mounted on an Omega stand during "Workin' Them Angels"; "Workin' Them Angels" had a video accompaniment similar to the album art of various types of workers and soldiers with angel wings.
  • There is a South Park video intro to Tom Sawyer; during the video, the South Park characters begin playing Tom Sawyer but Cartman sings the wrong lyrics, "…floated down the river on a raft with a black guy", which leads to an argument with Cartman saying he's read the book and that's how the story goes, but the other quickly corrects him saying "that's Huckleberry Finn, stupid!". Cartman then says "I am Geddy Lee! And I will sing whatever lyrics I want!". They then start again to count off the beginning where Rush takes over and plays.
  • During "A Passage To Bangkok", a video plays showing footage of far east trains, poppy fields, marijuana plants and many other scenes related to the lyrics. (including reefer madness clips of stoned teens during the 50s)
  • "Digital Man" has a new arrangement, missing the first "He's got a force field" lyric.
  • The drum solo has been completely revamped. Neil has a slew of new marimba samples, which give the middle section including the "Momo's Dance Party" part an Oriental percussion feel (the "Scars" and "Pieces of Eight" sections have been dropped). Instead of "One O'clock Jump", the solo now includes a complete big band triggered sample of "Cotton Tail", which Neil performed with the Buddy Rich Band on Burning for Buddy Vol. I.
  • Geddy Lee is playing his 4001 Rickenbacker bass on stage for the first time in 25 years (last seen on the Signals tour).
  • Geddy Lee is using a minature Snakes & Arrows drum as a cup holder!
  • There are multiple "Barbie Doll" groupies standing on stage in front of Alex Lifeson, holding "Post-It" signs with various sayings on them, apparently created by the roadies. Sayings have included: "I Like The Drummer", "My Grampa Says Your Cool", "Can I Roll Your Bones?", "I'm A Dino-Whore AKA Suckasaurass", "I Was Conceived While My Dad Was At A Rush Concert", "I'm Not Wearing Any Panties", "My Mom Thinks Your Hot!", "I'm Only Doing This To Pay For College", "Freebird!", "I Thought ZZ Top Had Beards", "Bass Player's Cute! Is That His Real Nose?", "I Golf Naked", "Nice Dinosaurs-You Must Be A Caveman", "If It's Too Loud You're Too Old"

Finally, a few links to fan vids taken during the show:

 

 

                                                          Intro sequence and Limelight

 

                                                          South Park Intro to Tom Sawyer

 

                                                          Bob & Doug's Intro to The Larger Bowl

 

                                                          A small excerpt from Malignant Narcissism

 

                                                            A Passage to Bangkok

 

 



Metheny, Hedges, Punk-o-rama, (Collage de Stubs-86)…

Highlights for this year were seeing Metheny again (I had seen him in 84 with the group and on New Years Eve 85 with Ornette Coleman but have since lost the stubs), seeing Michael Hedges twice, and seeing Rush in a better concert environment (Reunion Arena vrs the Cotton Bowl) for their Power Windows tour.  PIL and Big Audio Dynamite were a blast, and I enjoyed all the Bronco Bowl shows. REM was a bit of a snoozer and Michael Stipe was in full prick mode.  He was unhappy about some fans getting a little rowdy in the front and said something like "you guys are going to calm down or I'm stopping this show right now".  A bit full of himself to say the least.  

 

Stub-Collage-86

Jimmy Page, Rush, Police, Yes, et al(83-85)…

After posting the tokalicious (that's a medical term, don't trouble yourself…) Rush stubs, I realized I had kept most of my concert stubs over the years and they were just languishing in a dark box for none to grow envious of see. I decided to give them a little photoshopin' (worthy of the arts & crafts club if I do say so) so here is the first collection of stubs from the 1983-85 tour seasons. I must add that I have unfortunately lost a few of my ticket stubs over the years (most notably from this time frame would be Van Halen on the Diver Down tour with Dave instead of the Samster).  Nevertheless, most of the most notable shows I saw in those years are on display here. Please share your concert photos, ticket stubs and hemp clouded memories from back then if you care to.

 Stub-Collage-83-85


Rush is Back

The new album is out (well, technically it's out on May 1st) and I have been listening to it over and over and over again.  So far this album is exactly where I hoped the band would go in all aspects. The songs are all medium length, medium tempo, but that doesn't indicate the variety of sounds and textures. The acoustic guitar is very prominent, possibly due to the satisfaction they had from playing the acoustic sets during the last few tours. The influence of "Feedback" seems to have bled into this album somewhat as they have looked back towards their influences in the instrumentation and production. 

One great change from their last album "Vapor Trails" is the production. This album, in a word, is sonically HUGE.  The mixes are pristine and the separation of the instruments is perfect. I find myself torn between just rocking out to the songs as opposed to listening to the mix. Having experimented with recording, I know enough to realize that just taking different instruments and maybe adjusting volume and pan won't get you anything near a good mix. There's an art to taking a certain instrument tone and laying it into the mix so that is distinct, yet doesn't overpower the other instruments and vocalist. The producer,  Nick Raskulinecz, who has also produced Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver and other great bands just did a fantastic job on this album. He has a short interview, where he discusses the new album.

 

We have to wait to get concert tickets since I'm not sure where we will be this summer. Suffice to say, we will go, oh yes, we will.



Book Review - Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven by Richard Cole - this is basically the diary (or at least a very subjective retelling) of life on the road with Led Zeppelin by their primary tour manager, Richard Cole. It is mostly filled with stories of life on tour, including all the crazy stories that surround the band. Yes, the shark story is there in full detail. It's a interesting read in that it does reveal some character traits of the band members that may not be as readily obvious through their music and interviews. Since he was their tour manager, there isn't much about their studio time and the development of the songs and albums, which is what I would consider the most important aspect of their legacy as a band, although their touring is probably what made them most famous. This is mostly for the real fans of the band, but it is told by someone who was truly on the inside so it gives details you won't find anywhere else. I also recently re-read "Hammer of the Gods" which treads much the same ground as Stairway to Heaven