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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Late Update for Thursday October 20th, 2011

 *** Firefest Festival 2011 ***

 

Focus on: Firefest 2011

Location: Rock City - Nottingham, England.

When: Fri. 21st - Sun. 23rd October (This weekend)

 
Sorry folks, I'm holding off on the news today - To be honest, there's not that much to share that's really that exciting ... - as I also wanted to share a little something with you all about a special event happening this weekend, that has become an annual pilgrimage if you will, for melodic rock fans the world over.

Yes indeed, this coming weekend is Firefest 2011, a melodic rock event that is annually put together BY rock fans, FOR rock fans and each subsequent year, I see and hear that more and more rock fans want to be a part of it.


So, why is it so special?
Put simply, two rock fans that know a few people in the industry - Obviously! - decided to try and put something unique together that has clearly succeeded, as the event is now in it's eigth year.
The likes of melodic rock, AOR, call it what you will has often been criticized, picked on for either being just too slick or just not hard rocking enough, sometimes, too wimpy even for some.

The special and magical thing about Firefest, is that every year these two guys usually manage to persuade a band or artist, into reforming sometimes for a one off occasion, but often these acts decide to stick it out together and make new music, both Kieran Dargan and Bruce Mee deserve huge praise for what they do, they really do. Take a bow gents!

They also often manage to line up acts that are generally known as 'studio projects' for labels such as Frontiers, Escape Music, AOR Heaven, etc, to play out live sometimes for the very first time, so once again, you can see the draw of the Firefest event.

This year's event sees a reformed - in 2010 - Coney Hatch playing a rare European date in the special guest spot on Sunday.
The Canadian band that features frontman / guitarist / vocalist Carl Dixon who was almost killed in 2008 in a terrible car accident in Australia.
Coney Hatch released three very good albums indeed, especially the excellent second and third albums 'Outa Hand' and 'Friction.' The self titled first one, never really grabbed me like the other two, but there's still good material there nonetheless.
Anyway, I'm sure these Canadian rockers will impress the Firefest audience, I personally think that they always deserved more.
On Sunday night Unruly Child will be the headline act ...

US rockers Warrant were due to headline on Saturday night, but controversially pulled out a mere five weeks before the event, so former Journey - For ten years! - and Tall Stories frontman Steve Augeri and his band have stepped up to the mark, from being special guest they've moved up to headline spot on Saturday night.
Augeri recorded three studio albums or maybe that should be two and a half, when you reconsider the 'Red 13' EP, 'Arrival' and 'Generations' as well as an excellent live DVD.
Steve Augeri has already promised that fans will not be disappointed by the show they will perform on Saturday night. Journey fans, be prepared!

Former Survivor lead vocalist Jimi Jamison, has just released the special album, 'Kimball / Jamison' along with former Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball. Last year at Firefest on the Sunday night, Jimi Jamison apparently turned in an excellent performance in the special guest spot to headliners Nelson, many said he stole the day. Well, that perfomance earned the man a return to Firefest as Friday night headliner. Have fun Jimi!

As well as Jimi Jamison last year, many AOR fans were extremely impressed by the performance of the reunited - Yes, originally just for 2010's Firefest. - UK AOR dream machine, Strangeways.
Well, they also got asked to come back again this year and will play as special guests to Steve Augeri on Saturday.
A new Strangeways album was hoped to be released at Firefest ... Have your wallets / purses ready lads and lasses!

With Warrant pulling out on the Saturday, Firefest need another act to be brought in for the Saturday and Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, Journey), Robert Sall (Work of Art) and Eric Martenson (Eclipse), who are known jointly as W.E.T. agreed to step in to bail the Firefest team out.
W.E.T. will play just before Strangeways.
Good job guys!

Fans of AOR guitar hero's will no doubt be well pleased to see Jeff Paris and Mitch Malloy on the bill this year too, Jeff Paris has been away from AOR for far too long, how about a new album eh mate?!
Jeff has recently been touring with Keb' Mo' (Kevin Moore), not to mention being part of Ringo Starr's 'Liverpool 8' touring band. Don't worry rock fans, I'm sure you'll hear some Jeff of old on Saturday night!
'Mitch Malloy 2' is released this month, so expect some newies from Mitch.


Another act that sadly had to step out from Firefest this year were Sunday's planned opening act, US rockers Farcry, who this year released the much praised 'Optimism,' album through Kivel Records.
Guitarist and founder member Pete Fry, was absolutely gutted to not have his band play this year, but when it was announced that Newman would step in for them, Pete and leading 'New'man (LOL!) guy, Steve Newman - Good friends - it was agreed that since Pete had already booked his own plane ticket for England (To just attend Firefest as a fan) - I believe - before he even knew Farcry were going to be asked to play, that Newman with Pete, would include a Farcry number in their set.
Can't be bad, eh?!
Newman seem to go from strength to strength in recent years, having got on the festival circuit a few years back now, in 2009 they went down a storm at Z Rock festival, that John Waite headlined, played at Firefest last year too, that was so well received a live album 'Another Step Closer - Live at Firefest 2010' will be available at the event. Newman earlier this year also released their excellent studio album, 'Under Southern Skies.'


Firefest will also feature, the excellent Terry Brock - Yes, double dipping! - playing a solo set on Friday before hooking up with his bandmates Strangeways on Saturday, not to mention the slick Vega currently working on album number two, playing on Saturday as well as U.S. rockers Silent Rage and Talon to complete Saturdays bill.

Newer acts, the quite recently popular Houston and Serpentine wrap up the Friday night bill, with Kane Roberts, Alien and the much recently praised White Widdow, who hail from Australia being the other acts completing Sundays bill.

Firefest is an event, that I frequently hear from so many people, is such a fun event and it seems to pull in around at least 500 or 600 returning fans each year, so that speaks volumes for the festival.
I one day sincerely hope I can make it to the show, as it certainly seems to be THE melodic rock / AOR event of every year.

If you're going, I'm sure you'll have fun, if you hadn't already planned on going and you love AOR / Melodic rock and you're not that far away from Nottingham, get yourself along there, you're sure to enjoy it!

Rock on Firefest, long may you continue!

Official event website:
 http://www.thefirefest.com

  
  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Work of Art – In Progress album review

Work of Art – 'In Progress' album review
Released on: Frontiers records. Release date: Available now.

Work of Art have released an absolute gem here with 'In Progress,' no question! There I’ve said it and to be honest I could leave it there but since so many people don’t even know who this band are – Shame on you! – I’d better get on with the review!

I almost want to say it’s like the best album Toto never made!
Opening track ‘(Here Comes) The Rain’ is seriously a monster slice of melodic rock bliss capturing almost every best rock hook there’s ever been, heavily influenced with say a perfect Toto meets Journey sound. It’s fantastic, racy stuff and this whole album is one I cannot stop playing. Nice clean crisp vocals from Lars Safsund, loads of melodies all over, courtesy of the genius that is Robert Sall on Keyboards and guitars. Herman Furin on drums completes the lineup.  Great stuff indeed.


The Toto influence, with all the commercialism – Sorry but it’s true and sounds just great! - is all too present again on ‘Nature of the Game,’ which simply oozes class. It’s a tasteful up tempo number.
‘Once Again’ next is a big power ballad with some edge still present, but it’s really not like the softly, softly ballad as the power chords are still present, just restrained but lush multilayered keyboards all over and a synth solo too, nice one guys.

In ‘Never Love Again,’ the band manages to captures a great blend of Journey meets Toto, it’s killer hook laden mid  to up paced AOR gem, from the intro and it really just get gets better and better.
Tasty Neal Schon like guitar solo too!
‘Eye of the Storm’ leads you to believe it’s a much darker number from its intro, but before too long the melodies simply just ooze throughout.
The pure magical blend of guitars and keyboards really blows me away, how do they do it, especially with such perfect vocal lines? Excellent and just simply smooth and there’s another of those classy synth lead breaks again.

Oh boy … Hold on a minute, is this Journey .., oh no there’s the smooth, non-Steve Perry voice of Lars Safsund again!
‘Until You Believe’ is just once more, pure magical AOR and now it’s guitar solo bliss. Nice one!

‘The Great Fall’ starts with some huge, eerie like keyboards, dark guitars and then here comes the familiar synth and harmonic guitar wail, before another smoothly written melodic gem, that contains a very slick guitar solo once again. This album really just repeats and echoes class
Seriously, these guys can do no wrong and the pop rocker like ‘Call On Me’ just continues the river of melody.

The intro groove to ‘Emelie’ really throws me, as it comes in a little offbeat and then ‘bingo!’ Yes, pure AOR magic!
The guitar work at times throughout often nods at Toto’s Steve Lukather and ‘Emelie’ really does just that, nice!

‘Fall Down’ is led by piano from the start which switches things around some, but once more the echoes of Toto inspiration are very clear here.
If you think of all the very best melodic hooks and killers vocals that Toto have provided over the years, post Bobby Kimball - I do still love Bobby Kimballs work though, so don't take that the wrong way! - then you’ll be somewhere close.
I love all of Toto’s work and this album from Work of Art really captures everything that Toto do best. How I wish I could see these guys live, it would be killer I’m certain!
Changing things up again is ‘Castaway’ which is an acoustic driven track, backed with a little Hammond organ faintly in the background and then, wham! Into the big old AOR groove and then there’s a little dirty edge about a third of the way in, that dare I say has an almost Van Halen feel about it and then it back to the pre-chorus and chorus that is pure AOR. Then the song gets into a heavier riff and bridge, before getting back to the melody.
Album closer – No! Don’t let this end, it’s sooo good! – is ‘One Step Away,’ which has an almost jazzy vibe initially to it. Something that …, yes, Toto would most certainly love to throw in. Oh boy, here comes the big old chorus that takes the AOR hook line direction. It’s just smooth, what else can I tell you?!
AOR at its absolute best, that’s what this album is all about without doubt. If you love the big hook lines that both Toto and Journey constantly provide, as well as the completely perfect blend of keyboards and guitars and an incredibly smooth vocal performance, then look no further. This album has it all!
Don’t be expecting a hard rocking album here although the guitar solos have some great moments, this is quite simply AOR, melodic rock bliss!
 Rating: 5 out of 5

 Official band site:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saxon live at Blondies, Detroit – Gig review

Saxon live at Blondies, Detroit – Gig review
'Call to Arms Tour' – Show date: Oct. 9th, 2011
Blondies Nightclub, Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Alun Williams 

So here we go as we venture into deepest Detroit, to find a venue I’ve never been to before that a few people have said to me, ‘I wouldn’t go there if I were you!’
Well, I do go there with an old mate who’s a fellow Brit who also remembers seeing Saxon back in those glorious 1980’s years, for some really great shows and then it seems like me, after the band started going through some serious internal bust ups, they were not the same and seemed to - if you will – take a heavier even darker at times, direction. Shame …

To be honest, I feel really guity tonight as I cannot remember the last time I had even played a Saxon album, but I had missed seeing them live, for so many years that I just had to go ..., then I heard the new album 'Call To Arms' and I was pumped!
The new album, I've got to say is really special and I'm so glad I've given them another chance.
Album review on the way, but for now ..., Saxon is in town, we have a rock show! 

I always thought when Saxon were being touted alongside both Def Leppard and Iron Maiden as leaders in the then, ‘New Wave Of British Heavy Metal’ (N.W.O.B.H.M.), that they certainly deserved to be given the right backing that others were and they were doing the roadwork - a hell of a lot more than many others - but then something happened that prevented them going to the next level ... 
Call it what you will, wrong label, lack of belief, commitment by those outside the band themselves or whatever. For me though, they did deserve better and that’s possibly what led to more stress internally for the band. Again, huge shame …
I will say though, that it seems that after numerous line-up changes – Almost like UFO! – frontman and always present main man, Biff Byford and Paul Quinn (Guitars), the other original player have pulled back in long time favorite drummer, Nigel Glockler, to join longtime bassist (Bass pedals / keyboardist) Nibs Carter and lead player since 1996, Doug Scarratt. The band in more recent times are getting stronger and stronger across Europe and look now towards trying to crack the US market, once more.

So here we are at Blondies, Detroit … It’s not a big venue, it’s a far cry from the thousands the band has played to at Donington Monsters of Rock, Download, Sweden Rock Festival and many other big European gigs they’re used to and it probably holds like 300 – 400 people tops. Tonight it’s around half full, but the fans that are here tonight are clearly well versed in their Saxon history and for Dave and myself it’s good to see the response for our fellow Brit’s performing here tonight!

The band kick off – After what seems like a five minute intro track - with ‘Hammer of the Gods,’ the killer opener from their latest excellent new album ‘Call To Arms,’ which is clearly a winner with this lot here tonight!
‘Heavy Metal Thunder’ next raises a big smile on both my face and Dave’s, great memories come flooding back!
It’s ‘Never Surrender’ next and they are not stopping for any breather at all, as one song rolls into the next pretty much and this is so good to hear live again after so many years. Top drawer lads!
Initially it seemed the vocal mix hadn’t been quite there, but now it is and the band is on top form too.
This looks like it’s going to be an excellent gig tonight … With the exception of no AC in the building … Phew! Sweat box city indeed, reminds me of the old Marquee club on Wardour Street, back in the day!

 Doug Scarratt and Biff Byford (Saxon). Photo: Alun Williams

Another new one in ‘Chasing the Bullet’ next which sounds a little like ‘Wheels of Steel’s’ younger brother. Good stuff indeed, as the crowd here clearly agrees by their response and the feeling is likewise for classic Saxon in the shape of ‘Motorcycle Man,’ next.
What a great evening this has turned out to be, these guys are most certainly on their game!

Biff Byford, Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn. Photo: Alun Williams

 Side stage view, focus on Nibs Carter. Photo: Alun Williams

A new song is introduced next, in ‘Back in ‘79’ and Biff has the crowd all clapping along with this one and the audience is eating out of his hands. It’s certainly more like the ‘Biff Byford show’ if I were honest, even with the strong guitar work and poses by other band members, Biff is in total control tonight.
The band have also got the set list well organized, one old one then a new one and so on, with the title track of new album ‘Call To Arms’ performed next which once again is another chance for the audience to clap along from the start and the balance of old and new material is working well. I’ve got to say, the new album’s material is certainly their strongest – IMO – in years.

Saxon's crowd at Blondies, Detroit ... Passionate or what?! Photo: Alun Williams

Biff tells us next that, “I wanna go back to 1986 and sing a song about some girls we knew. It’s called ‘Rock and Roll Gypsy!’
Yes, you guessed it, it goes down a storm too as they all have been doing for the whole evening so far.
Back to the new album again for ‘Mists of Avalon’ and this one – That I heard for the first time driving to the show – is an instant new favorite, certainly in my books. It’s a very classy, slick number and once the crowd roars with approval!.
The old songbook is revisited with ‘This Town Rocks’ and I have to say, for his years in the game, Biff voice has held up very well and is still sounding good tonight and the new songs fit in so well with the older tracks, as it seems the band must feel with the amount they are including tonight. ‘When Doomsday Comes’ is a more than perfect fit in the set list, no question.
Saxon just seem to be racing through the set to get as many songs to us as is possible and more classic Saxon is next with ‘Denim and Leather.’ I can’t believe that I first heard this song thirty years ago! A great trip down memory lane tonight!
 Saxon live on stage at Blondies, Detroit. Photo: Alun Williams

‘Survival Against The Odds’ precedes classic and a personal favorite ‘Princess of the Night,’ which closes the set in killer fashion.
The band leave the stage very briefly before coming back with ‘Crusader,' then ‘747 (Strangers in the Night)’ and ‘Power and the Glory,’ and depart again.
The crowd could not be happier right now and seriously as I mentioned before, the band is well on their game.
It’s a small venue, it’s not a packed house but it’s like Saxon are on a mission to prove to all comers, big crowds or smaller ones, that they are not phased, never deterred and always playing for the fans and themselves.
The evening is not done though and Saxon return once again to finally wrap things up with possibly their two best known songs – Certainly to my knowledge of UK performances. – in ‘Strong Arm of the Law’ and ‘Wheels of Steel.’
I for one have been totally impressed, Dave too and by the reaction of tonight's audience, I'd say around 150 other folks in Blondies tonight! It’s been over twenty five years since I’ve seen Saxon and I must say, they are sounding better than ever!
Buy the new album and most certainly, check the band out live you’ll enjoy it!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Official band website:



 

Brief News Update for Tuesday October 18th, 2011

Chuck Ruff RIP
1951 - 2011

Sad news has hit the rock world again, as it's been revealed that another classic rocker, drummer Chuck Ruff having passed away at the age of 60, after being in a coma, following a long illness.

Chuck Ruff had played alongside legendary players such as Ronnie Montrose and Bill Church in the early band Sawbuck. Montrose and Church went on to form the Montrose band along with Sammy Hagar and drummer Denny Carmassi.
Ruff had also played in the Edgar Winter Band along with Dan Hartman (RIP) and Ronnie Montrose was there too in 1972, it was that line up that produced the much loved Edgar Winter track 'Frankenstein.'

Ruff hooked up with Sammy Hagar's band in 1977 and played on 'Street Machine' and the live album 'All Night Long' re-issued in the UK as 'Live, Loud and Clear' and 'Danger Zone.'
I saw the band in 1980 at Portsmouth Guildhall (England) and had the pleasure of meeting the then band that featured Chuck Ruff, alongside ex-Montrose band men, Bill Church (Bass) and Hagar, as well as Gary Pihl (Guitars). Ruff was actually kind enough to pass over a pair of drumsticks at the end of the bands soundcheck. I chatted with the band at the time briefly and also missed the opportunity of going to play some American Football with the guys at a local field. They invited a handful of us to go with them and we were all clueless ... I was only seventeen ..., fool! What a missed moment now?!
He was an extremely talented drummer indeed and seemed a really good guy too.

Sammy Hagar issued this statement through his site last Friday, "I lost one of my old bandmates, Chuck Ruff today. Chuck was my drummer on Danger Zone and Street Machine and many many live tours together. I have only memories of great times and great music with Chuck.
My condolences to his family, friends and loved ones."

Chuck Ruff (Far left), Sammy Hagar, Bill Church and Gary Pihl - Sammy Hagar band circa 1979.
Photo credit: Alan M. Poulin


After the Sammy Hagar years, Chuck seemed play in more low key acts, a couple of those being the Michael Furlong album 'Use it or Lose It' as well as Adam Bomb's 'Fatal Attraction' album, alongside AC/DC's bassist Cliff Williams too.

Sad news again for the world of rock. My prayers and sympathies go out to Chuck's family and friends.

RIP
Chuck Ruff - May 25th, 1951 - October 14th, 2011



Indiscreet 25Live goes out on the road...
This posted over at UK rocker's FM's MySpace page:

Speculation has been rife... "Why does it say '25Live' everywhere?" we've heard you ask over the last few weeks. Well...
Hold on to your hats!!! We are excited to announce that we will be taking INDISCREET out on the road in 2012 as part of our year-long celebrations for the 25thAnniversary of its release.
Confirmed dates are:-

March 08 2012 - Glasgow Cathouse
March 09 2012 - Manchester Academy 3
March 10 2012 - London O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
Tickets are on general sale from Friday October 21st 2011. Please see our Live page for the booking info for these dates.
Yes, for the first time ever we will be performing our d├ębut album Indiscreet live on stage in its entirety as part of a full concert.

We really do intend for these shows to be very special indeed. Come and be transported back to a time when shoulder pads and mobile phones were enormous and hair was even bigger! ....
 
Details here:


 
ANOTHER STEP CLOSER - LIVE 2010
In association with Kieran Dargan and Firefest Newman will release their first live album on 21st October (the Firefest weekend)


Recorded at Firefest 2010, Another Step Closer captures Steve Newman and his band of merry men on 'one of those nights' when the planets align, there is a full moon, a full house and a band kicking 1000 plus asses amassed in Rock City. The South coast's favourite son, delivers big style on his step up to the big stage.
More than ably assisted by Dave Bartlett (Bass), Nic Lipscombe (Drums), Paul Boyle (Keyboards) and new guitarist Shaun Bessant who rips out solo after solo and pose after pose, Newman have finally come of age as a bona fide live outfit rather than the studio project that some were beginning to label them.

Just listen to the crowd reaction to long time Newman faves 'One Step Closer' 'Heaven Knows' , it's no wonder Paul Jerome Smith from Fireworks magazine  said "this was the gig that Newman the band and Newman the musician came of age" Check it out for yourself.

NEWMAN: Another Step Closer -Live at Firefest is LIMITED TO 500 COPIES WORLDWIDE.
Pre Orders accepted from Thursday October 6th at

The album will also be available at Firefest, and Steve and the guys will be more than happy to sign a copy or two for you , assuming there is still stock available and does not sell out on pre order, which given Newman's popularity and the amazing performance last year is a distinct possibility!!
Tracklist: Hero To Zero, Endless, Every Moment, Primitive Soul, Stay With Me, Tumble Down, If It's Love, Coming Home Tonight, Heaven Knows, One Step Closer, plus the ARfm acoustic sessions Endless, Acoustic Medley, and On Any Other Sunday.
You can pre-order the album here:


SGT. PEPPER GETS A MAKEOVER
ANDY TIMMONS BAND PLAYS SGT. PEPPER TO BE RELEASED OCTOBER 24


New York, NY (October 17, 2011)—One of the most beloved cultural milestones of the ‘60s generation and every generation since, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles gets creatively interpreted and re-imagined in this all-instrumental rendition by a guitarist whose lifelong love of this material has resulted in an album that transcends all musical boundaries and genres.

Two years in the making, guitar fans, Beatle fans and everyone in-between will come together when Favored Nations Entertainment releases Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper on October 24.
“I must hip you to new music I just heard that floored me! It is, without a doubt, one of the coolest things I have ever heard…originality, as well as virtuosity, will make this the best guitar instrumental record in decades, if not ever.” — Guitarist Steve Lukather

Every song on Sgt. Pepper, including “Strawberry Fields Forever,” a tune that was originally intended to be on that album, comes stunningly and vibrantly alive. One Guitar. Bass. Drums. That’s it. Lead guitarist Andy Timmons arranged it all from memory, never once referencing the original album.

This allowed him to take artistic license to travel down some of the complex paths set forth by these masterworks’ original creators. It all culminates in an extraordinary lovefest of psychedelic proportions filled with improvisation and surprise. (The new coda at the end of “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite” is absolutely jaw-dropping.) Hint: It’s so heavy.

“Wow, what a beautiful record! Andy is such a great player! It’s done very respectfully. I think his fans and many Beatles fans will love it.” — Guitarist Steve Vai

“This is an extension of what I started on my Resolution album in 2006,” explains Timmons. “I had been playing some of these songs live and they were always received very well. The concept of trying to do it with only my guitar plus bass/drums was scary but with the help of two world-class musicians in bassist Mike Daane and drummer Mitch Marine, I was able to reconstruct this music. I’m so proud of it and can’t wait for people to hear it. I feel like I’ve come full-circle. It was natural to put this out – it was fun and it feels right.”

“I love it! Brother Andy, you’ve really raised the Barre, man! It’s so great in every detail. The tones are awesome, the arrangements true, the playing is stellar… truly unique. I think it will knock people’s heads off.” — Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel

Andy Timmons has recorded nine solo CD's of intricate guitar work; has served as Olivia Newton-John’s Musical Director for several U.S. tours and has been an in-demand studio six-stringer for the likes of Paula Abdul and Paul Stanley of KISS. He’s shared stages with Joe Satriani, Steve Morse, Ace Frehley, Ted Nugent, The Beach Boys, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, and Leslie Gore.
In the early ‘90s, he sold over a million records as lead guitarist with Danger Danger.
Truly, Andy Timmons is a renaissance man whose guitar work can fit any genre.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!




Monday, October 17, 2011

Gary Moore – Live at Montreux 2010 DVD and CD review

Gary Moore – Live at Montreux 2010 DVD and CD review
Released through: Eagle Rock. Release date: Available now.


Gary Moore is one of those artists who sadly passed away, long before his time was due … Well, I guess his time was due, but I’m sure you all know what I mean and where I’m coming from.
Another waste of truly great talent, certainly in my books …

His show in Montreux in 2010 was the last show he ever did, so this really was it and we should be thankful it was captured here.
Eagle Rock has got hold of recordings, both the audio and video files and put these out together here, so there is a live CD, DVD and Blu-Ray out there for everyone.

I had seen reviews and heard comments on Gary’s show at the London High Voltage festival in 2010 and they had pointed out then, that he was not looking exactly in the best shape.
Sadly, that is reflected here too in the DVD footage, but that’s not to say that he doesn’t play well, because here captured in his final live band performance, he was really playing well.

It’s also understood and don’t get me wrong here, as I love so much of Gary Moore’s work, that he was never the greatest rock singer/vocalist, but he did have great songs and always killer musicians backing him up, so he was always worth seeing live for sure.
Unfortunately for me, I only got to see his show live twice, as well as seeing him with Thin Lizzy on 1979’s Black Rose tour.

Those of you that did catch him live or even those that didn’t, here’s that final live show for you, as sadly Gary passed away as we know, on February 6th, 2011.
The DVD starts with a long, kind of drawn out intro piece - thankfully missing on the CD - before the band launch into ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’ from Moore’s ‘Wild Frontier’ album, from which there are three tracks present in this set list, as well as from the ‘After the War(1)’ and ‘Run For Cover(2)' albums and a splattering of others too, so a treat for fans of Moore’s rock material. There are also three new tracks present here, that were planned for a new rock album from Moore, so that makes this release quite special too.

‘Thunder Rising’ also from ‘Wild Frontier’ is up next and rocks as good as anything, but what is clear from these first two songs is that Moore looks like he’s laboring some and is spitting most of the vocals out, when he’s not dependant on keyboards man Neil Carter bailing him out, who at times struggles in some areas too.
Then it’s ‘Military Man’ one of three tracks here that Moore worked with Lizzy’s Phil Lynott (RIP) on, before he sadly passed away which is another great rockin’ number, before Moore introduces the first of the three new songs, ‘Days of Heroes,’ very like Lizzy’s ‘Emerald’ meets ‘Black Rose,’ very impressive and catchy.

Second new number here is ‘Where Are You Now?’ It’s a number written with a big power ballad feel, that the crowd clearly enjoy that perhaps could’ve provided him with a big hit once again.
The instrumental piece, ‘So Far Away’ leads into the power ballad ‘Empty Rooms’ which was a hit single in both Ireland and the UK for Moore in ’85, the second time of its release. It still shows its class here, even slowed down even a little more, although Moore does struggle on a few notes.

It’s the third new song next ‘Oh Wild One’ and it kind of hints a little at ‘Whiskey In the Jar’ and the aforementioned ‘Black Rose.’ Here Neil Carter grabs a Les Paul to get out and enjoy himself – Clearly! – onstage alongside Moore, Jon Noyce (Bass) and Darrin Mooney on drums.
‘Blood of Emeralds,’ a co-written track with Neil Carter is next and it starts slow and emotive before kicking into a song that was again akin to the classic Lizzy rocking Celtic sound. Some of Moore vocals seem to get lost here, there’s also some pre-recorded vocals for the chants ‘Blood of Emeralds’ here, as it’s clear no one in the band is singing. 

The killer ‘Out In The Fields’ is next and I pause for a moment to realize that we’ll never hear this song live again, since now both Lynott and Moore are gone and no one else has any right to perform this or sadly so many of the great songs on show here. Incredibly sad …
Next up it’s the younger brother of ‘Parisienne Walkways,’ in ‘Still Got The Blues’ before the fun Jimmy Rogers cover number ‘Walking By Myself,’ which Moore gets the crowd to participate in, loads of smiles all round, as the number closes the set.

Gary Moore returns and is now carrying an acoustic, and is joined by just Neil Carter joins him for an emotional ‘Johnny Boy.’
Final track of the night is ‘Parisienne Walkways,’ and Mooney and Noyce re-enter the arena to join Moore and Carter, for the seriously extended – Over twelve and a half minutes! – version of the song, which closes the ninety plus minute set.

The live CD does NOT include 'Thunder Rising' or believe it or not, 'Still Got The Blues,' the latter being a surprise to me for sure.
No, Gary Moore didn’t look in great shape at the end, but boy he could still play a mean Les Paul and ripped it up good.
You will be much missed Gary, your music touched and inspired so many talents out there today.

The DVD also features four bonus songs from Moore’s 1997 performance at Montreux, those being from the man’s blues period and this shows Gary Moore looking considerably thinner and healthier. You get the classy ‘One Good Reason,’ then ‘Oh Pretty Woman,’ ‘Still Got The Blues’ and ‘Walking By Myself’ performed by Gary and Magnus Fienes (Keyboards), Guy Pratt (Bass/Vocals) and Gary Husband on drums.
It’s all good stuff and I for one am thankful to have this memoir from the man with the magical fingers. RIP Gary, I'm certain the memories for so many of us will live on for years to come yet.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Official weblinks:

Quick note update for Monday October 17th, 2011

Yes, I'm Back!!!

Hi folks, it's great to be back home and good that now I can FINALLY access 'Chambers of Rock!'
The Chinese authorities see fit to ban access to any blog sites in China, so 'Chambers of Rock' had to take some unplanned downtime, but I am back now!
Albeit a little jetlagged, as my fourteen hour flight only got in this afternoon, so give me a little longer to get up to speed, say 'Hi' to my family that I've missed for the passed week and 'Chambers of Rock' will be up to date again very soon. Sound good?
Facebook and MySpace are likewise blocked and restricted accordingly too, so I couldn't even post anything there to let folks know.

Cheers folks and thanks for your continued support, updates coming soon.
Al :)