Monday, February 01, 2010

Rock of Ages - RULES!

"Rock of Ages", like... totally ROCKS. That didn't come as a surprise, but what did was that it was so much fun. The 80's LA metal scene inspired hit musical is a hilarious, raunchy, sexy, silly, karaoke-fest full of arena rock and strippers. I did not expect the R-rated comedy routine that this play is. It was especially delightful because some foolish parents had their 6 and 4 year-olds sitting in the second row, just inches from many lap dances over the course of the play. Fun stuff.
Constantine Maroulis of American Idol fame is the lead and does a fantastic job - as does every single performer in this metallic tour de force. Just some of the music featured includes Journey, Whitesnake, Poison, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, Quiet Riot, Styx, Night Ranger, Pat Benatar plus the original track Beaver Hunt and more.
I knew I was going to eat it up from the moment I was inside the theater and was handed a fake lighter to illuminate for the ballads. The set design that replicated the Sunset Strip was amazing, and the opening taped VO featuring David Coverdale of Whitesnake (shit, I just saw Whitensake this summer!) giving the audience warnings about not being douche bags with their cell phones told me this was home.
I would see this again in a heartbeat and I'm thrilled by the rumors of it being turned into a movie. My favorite quote comes from The New Yorker, "Is there a Tony Award for Bad-assery?"

Woo hoo!! Less than 24 hours to LOST!!!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Back to the 80's

Hopped in the time machine last night and flash backed to the late 1980's as I caught Whitesnake and Judas Priest at the "New Name Every Year" Center in Mansfield Mass. Went with a buddy, Brian, I hadn't seen in about 20 years. He's the guy I went to dozens of shows with in high school and we recently reconnected thanks to Facebook.

This is definitely a rough year for concerts as the place looked to be maybe 1/3 full. I've never seen an emptier amphitheater for a show. But the bands didn't seem to notice. David Coverdale looked and sounded amazing and I had a total blast. They had every arena rock cliche going and I ate it all up and wanted more. This was my 6th time seeing Whitesnake and they were the main attraction for me, while Judas Priest is one of those rare bands I somehow never ended up seeing live before.

Judas Priest are playing their album, "British Steel", in its entirety this tour for its 30th anniversary. Never having owned it, I didn't really care - so my expectations were pretty low. But they rocked hard and put on a hellavu show. Even songs I didn't know sounded great. As they were all classic metal riffs, the head banging just kicked into autopilot. Plus I'm a total sucker for synchronized guitar moves, so it all worked for me. Certainly, a highlight in any metal fan's concert career is seeing Priest live for "Breaking The Law", "Living After Midnight" and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" -- those are just some all time great songs.

Funniest moment of the night - Priest's most recent album is all about Nostradamus and there was a chorus in "Prophecy" that goes "I am Nostradamus"; Brian thought Rob Halford was singing "I am not a thermos" -- could be a Spinal Tap hit.

Bad Boys
Fool For Your Lovin'
Love Ain't No Stranger
Slow An' Easy
Lay Down Your Love (Guitar duel with Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich trading solos)
Cryin' In The Rain (with Drum solo)
Is This Love
Give Me All Your Love
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night

Rapid Fire
Metal Gods
Breaking The Law
You Don't Have to Be Old to Be Wise
Living After Midnight
The Rage
The Ripper
Rock Hard, Ride Free
Victim Of Changes
Freewheel Burning
Diamonds And Rust
You've Got Another Thing Comin'

The day after, my ears are ringing and my voice is shot. Proof of an excellent time. Next up show-wise, AC/DC at the end of the month and CrueFest in August. That's it for my shows this summer. But Fall/Winter will have KISS and as always... more METALLICA!!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Metallica Kicks German Ass

May 9 2009 JamesRandom observations from Metallica show in Stuttgart Germany. Crowd was 90% male and I didn't spot a single family. Metallica's never been a big show with the ladies, but this is ridiculous and US shows are just full of families for the last few tours. The beers sold in the arena are HUGE - they would be pitchers in most US bars. The arena was very small. Not much more than a glorified hockey rink, no upper levels of seating - just the floor and one level of seats. I bet some high school gyms are bigger. It was stiffling hot and it seemed like everybody was smoking.
Very strange being in middle of crowd waiting for Metallica with everyone speaking German. I was wearing a Metallica shirt from the US tour that wasn't being sold here. Lots of people tried asking me about it - at least that's what I think they were doing. But once the show started I was jumping up and down with plenty of German youth screaming all the lyrics at the top of my lungs - good times. Matt and I were on the floor and it was general admission. We just hung back during Machine Head then moved into position - about 10 people away from the stage. I figured I'd last as long as I could then bail out for the some breathing room, but I kept riding the crowd closer and closer. I was just 4 or 5 people away for most of the show -- closest to the band since I saw them at The Filmore in San Fran a few years ago.
Each band member, except Lars, was right over us many times during the show. Lots of cool eye contact, close enough to read all of Jame's tattoos and enjoy Robert's many goofy faces. Being on the floor, this was more a show of survival than beging able to sit back and enjoy every song. Had to pay a lot of attention to your own safety with many mosh pits and crowd surfers - but it was all a blast. Was close enough to get my hands on a pick from Kirk and give a few smacks to the giant Metallica beach balls that dropped in the finale. Personal highlights were my first time hearing "The Wait" and "The Judas Kiss", plus it's been a long time since I heard "Wherever I May Roam" and that is just perfect to hear while traveling in Europe.Robert May 9 2009
This winter I'll be seeing Metallica again back in Boston. WooHooo!!

Set List:
That Was Just Your Life
The End Of The Line
Creeping Death
Wherever I May Roam
Broken, Beat And Scarred
Sad But True
No Leaf Clover
The Judas Kiss
The Day That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Damage, Inc.
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
- - - - - - - -
The Wait
Phantom Lord
Seek and Destroy

I was right around the guys holding this sign all night. You can see half of Matt's mug to the left. Think I'm behind the banner.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Metallica Rocks Newark

Ooohh, lasersWe made the 4 hour drive down to Newark to see Metallica last night. This was my 25th show and 7th state for seeing the mighty Metallica. They only played one show in New England on this tour, that was just unacceptable. I am so glad we made the trip. Even though I was very pleased with the Boston show, this one blew it away. The energy level, the interplay and fun in the band, our seats and view... all just made for an amazing show. In my Boston review I remarked on the fact of much less pyro than prior years, well that was true just for that show. For some reason Boston didn't allow all the flames that were flying high, often and in one case a little longer than they were supposed to in Newark. Also unlike Boston, the floor was general admission last night and having some pits break out makes such a difference in the overall energy level of the building. Got a couple songs different from two weeks ago; Ride The Lightening, the very rare cover Bliztgreig plus a tease of the instrumental Suicide and Redemption.

James Hetfield 31Jan09Our seats were about the same distance from the stage as in Boston, but we weren't on the floor so could actually see the whole band and stage show this time; all the lasers, pryo and lights. What a difference. Just a great show, great crowd... I was just going off so much... sweat was flying from bald head from the first song and splattering on the girl in front of me. Deal with it baby! My neck and voice are way more shot today than after the Boston gig. Some of the new songs sounded just fantastic last night, with the whole crowd screaming out every word - especially on All Nightmare Long and Cyanide. One lucky 10 year old got plucked out of the crowd and joined Lars on drums to start of Seek and Destroy. It is in that final song that dozens of black Metallica beach balls get dumped from the rafters, and last night while James was running along kicking a bunch of balls into the crowd he fell down. He bounced up quick, laughing at himself. Then he and Robert did some seal tricks bouncing balls off each others' heads.
Before Metallica started we were talking with everyone around us. People were trading stories about how many times they'd seen the band. There were a ton of Metalli-virgins. I just said "I saw them with Cliff" and that conversation ended with a hush of admiration. Newark was the last stop on the US tour and band heads off to Europe after a short break. I'm hoping to score tickets to see them in Germany this May.

Set List
That Was Just Your LifeMetallica
The End Of The Line
Ride The Lightning
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Broken, Beat And Scarred
Sad But True
...And Justice For All
All Nightmare Long
The Day That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
- - - - - - - -
partial jam of Suicide and Redemption
Hit The Lights
Seek and Destroy

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Monday, January 19, 2009

METALLICA - Jan 18, 2009 - Boston

The Mighty Hetfield, Jan 18, 2009Big surprise - Metallica kicked ass last night. This was my 24th time seeing them and I'm definitely spoiled because our 11th row seats were a slight disapointment. I'd never been on the floor and been that far from Metallica and the Garden security kept people in their seats and the aisles open. The floor was general admission on this tour everywhere but Boston.

Due to a fresh 8 inches of snow Sunday and the forecast for more overnight we decided to take the commuter rail into Boston. There is a stop on my street but I'd never even thought of using it for concerts before. That was Lori's great idea. The schedule fit perfect, we'd drive a quarter mile and take the train which would have us at the Garden for 7pm and the last train out left at 11:30pm and had us home at 12:30am, all for the cost of just parking in Boston.

The weather slowed things down a little bit and we didn't see the first opening band, The Sword. I don't know them enough to care, maybe I'll check them out at the Newark show on the 31st. The t-shirt booths were in total disarray, I'd never seen such a mess at any show. Every booth we different, most shirts weren't on display at all and some vendors didn't know the prices yet so refused to sell anything. Big mess. It was about this time another first happened...

I lost my ticket. In between showing it to an usher to see how we get to the floor and a scrum around a t-shirt booth, I realized I no longer had it. After a few seconds of high anxiety... I see a ticket on the ground a few feet away. I go pick it up and it was mine. Whew... It wasn't like I was gonna get thrown out as we were already in the building, but there was no way I'd be able to get to my floor seat without that ticket.

We joined the crowds gathered around TVs showing the Steelers - Ravens game and just listened to Machine Head while we watched the NFL playoffs. Half time came, Machine Head ended and we headed to the floor.

Metallica burst on stage in a flurry of lasers. This tour is their first extensive use of lasers and the show had much less pyro than previous years. They ripped into the two lead tracks off Death Magnetic. It took the first song to really settle into place and realize that security wasn't going to let me move closer. I moved Lori to the aisle so she could see something. As cool as the center stage is, it is tough to see anything for the shorter folks. By time End of the Line kicked in, the band and me were totally in the zone and never let up. Some of my favorite new songs sounded awesome live and even the couple songs I didn't love were better live. I was so surprised to hear Justice for All (Don't think I've heard that live in its entirety since the Damaged Justice tour back in 1989) that I didn't even recognize its intro. We were in great position for a few songs with James right in front of us for Day That Never Comes, Sandman and more. It was about halfway through the show that I realized James wasn't swearing to the extent he always had for years, in fact he hadn't sworn at all. Not sure if this started on the last tour or not, but I finally noticed.

Then came another first for me. Metallica was supposed to hit the stage at 8:55 and be done for 11pm. But they didn't go on until 9:15 -- I knew this might put our train ride home in jeopardy so told Lori we'd leave at 11:15 no matter what.
Jan 18, 2009
Well at 11:15 it was just encore time... Thanks to I knew the set lists of every show this tour and knew the first of the three encore songs was always a short one. We got Stone Cold Crazy, the Queen cover - so I knew we were safe to hear that. I also knew every show finished with Seek and Destroy. It was now 11:17 - and they started Hit The Lights, a rare song I think I'd only heard back at the Filmore show in 2003. I couldn't leave now! So at ll:20 with Lori tugging on my sleeve I start the walk of shame and for the first time EVER - and I swear NEVER AGAIN! - I left with Metallica still playing. As we exited the building I heard Hit The Lights stop and knew Seek was next. I tried to console myself with the fact that I'd be seeing them again in 13 days, and I was too far away to end up with a pick or anything at the end of the show. And we made our train with 5 minutes to spare. 5 minutes I could've spent with Metallica!!! Still an awesome show, fantastic night and my neck and throat are sore as shit... all is well.

That Was Just Your Life
The End Of The Line
Harvester Of Sorrow
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Broken, Beat And Scarred
Sad But True
...And Justice For All
All Nightmare LongThe Day
That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
- - - - - - - -
Stone Cold Crazy
Hit The Lights
Seek and Destroy

Jan 18, 2009 Jan 18, 2009
Photos courtesy
Boston Herald: Full metal Metallica

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Crue Fest Report

Motley Crue Aug 22 2008Well I'd say the inaugural Crue Fest was a roaring success. Got there plenty early to see every band starting with Trapt. They were entertaining enough to pass the 25 minutes they had. Their radio hit "Headstrong" is easily their best song. Next up was Sixx:AM and they sounded great and had a strong crowd presence considering they went on around 5:45pm. My seats were 20 rows straight back from Nikki's side of the stage. He looked distracted and upset most of the set, looking at the side of the stage not liking his monitor mix. James Michael's voice is phenomenal and really holds up live - I don't know where this guy's been hiding but I'm sure glad Nikki found him. They played "Pray for Me", "Heart Failure", "Accidents Can Happen","Intermission" "Dead Man's Ballet", "Tomorrow" and ended with their biggest hit "Life is Beautiful". On this final song Nikki was finally smiling and the whole band seemed genuinely impressed and moved by how loud the crowd was singing along to the song. And for the me the emotion of the song still held up - that song blew me away the first time I heard it and I was thrilled that it did so live as well.
Next came Papa Roach whom I've seen before as part of OzzFest at some point and always forget how many of their songs I know from radio. They were much more high energy and punk than I recalled and ended up being a lot of fun. Lead singer Jacoby Shaddix jumped into the crowd and kept moving and singing making his way through the crowd (including stepping right over my seat) to really wake up the masses. They played (I'm missing a couple): "Change or Die" (new track from upcoming album) "...To Be Loved" "Forever" "Getting Away with Murder", "Scars" ,"Broken Home", "I Almost Told You That I Loved You" (new track) and "Last Resort".
The penultimate act was Buckcherry who I saw a few years ago opening for AC/DC and they've been riding a string of radio hits in recent years. They are very old school 70's rock - sex, drugs and rock n' roll act. Really remind me of early Aerosmith - in fact I spotted Aerosmith's Joey Kramer on the side of the stage checking them out. Lead singer Josh Todd looks just like freaky actor Krispin Glover to me. They tore through "Lit Up", "Next 2 You," "Everything", track from upcoming new album "Too Drunk", "Sorry" and ended with a 10 minute version of "Crazy Bitch".
Finally with the sun long gone and the whole place packed - Motley Crue; and they lived up to their own hype as the Loudest Band on Earth. The Crue ripped through a hit-packed 90 minute set featuring more pyro than Desert Storm. There was a lot of playfulness between all the members and they seemed to really be enjoying the night. Set List: "Kickstart My Heart", "Wild Side", "Shout at the Devil", "Saints of Los Angeles", "Live Wire", "Motherfucker of the Year", "Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)", "Same Ol’ Situation", "Primal Scream", "Looks that Kill", "Girls Girls Girls", "Dr. Feelgood", and encored with "Home Sweet Home" with the whole band gathered around the piano as old photos were displayed showing the history of the band. Vince did his normal live routine of not even trying to sing all the lyrics on faster songs, but at a Crue show the audience usually sings louder than he does anyway so it was all good.
Off for another dose on Sunday.
Check out some fan photos of the show.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Boss Rocks Foxboro

Wow, I'm still exhausted from seeing Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band kick ass for 3+ hours last night at Gillette Stadium at a show that went well past midnight. All I did was watch, I don't know how the Boss keeps going like that. I have to admit I was never a big fan, just know the Springsteen songs played on the radio over the years. In fact, when I first saw him back in 1999 I thought the show was just alright. Maybe it was too many years of hype about his amazing live performance or he just had an off night (or maybe I did). So I went last night only because friends were in town who were big fans. But damn, I'm glad we went. Last night was the sort of legendary, high-energy, manic, rock star/preacher show that Bruce is all about. After a 90 minute delay due to pounding thunder storms and the most intense lightning I've ever seen around Gillette, the band took the stage and tore through a cover of "Summertime Blues." Springsteen played way more songs that I knew than the first time I saw him and had two segments where he pulled signs requesting songs from fans to decide the next few songs. One song (Little Latin Lupe Lu) was so rare the sign had the lyrics on the back. Springsteen thanked the fan saying that was the only way he'd be able to sing it.
The night culminated with a seven song encore set including "Born To Run". Singing that at the top of my lungs in a packed stadium is a highlight of my many years of concerts and it was topped a few songs later with my all-time Springsteen favorite "Rosalita". The sound was perfect all night and the fans loved every moment. Just a flat-out phenomenal show.

Bruce Springsteen
August 2, 2008
Foxborough, Massachusetts - Gilette Stadium

Summertime Blues
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Radio Nowhere
Lonesome Day
The Promised Land
Spirit In The Night
Tunnel Of Love
Light Of Day
Little Latin Lupe Lu [first time with E Street Band since 1977!] -- Chosen by fans
Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street? -- Chosen by fans
Hungry Heart -- Chosen by fans
Who'll Stop The Rain [Tour Premiere]
Murder Incorporated
She's The One
Livin' In The Future
Mary's Place
The Rising
Last To Die
Long Walk Home
-- encore --
I'm Going Down -- Chosen by fans
Jungleland -- Chosen by fans
Born To Run
Glory Days
Dancing In The Dark
American Land


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tesla: Live and Kicking

Lori and I saw Tesla last night at Avalon in Boston, with about only 500 other people. Tesla is one of those bands who never got as big as they should have. They are fantastic song writers and killer performers - but they have no shtick, no act - and they were wrongly lumped in with 80's hair bands. They are so much better than that. They are currently supporting "Real to Reel", a two-disc collection of their favorite songs, so the show was a very cool and eclectic mix of covers (ranging from Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin to Joe Walsh and Sly and Family Stone) and their own songs. So while there were many Tesla songs I missed hearing, and I forget they even exist until I pull out their first few releases and realize there are no songs I skip over, it was an excellent night. They played for over two hours - a very fun and energetic show that really showed off their top-notch musicianship and the down to earth attitude of the whole band. It also didn't hit me till last night just how upbeat and optimistic so many of their songs are ("Love Song," "Changes," "What You Give," "Way It Is"). Certainly not stereotypical metal heads, though they did give a shout out to Headbangers Ball - which gave them their first attention back in 1986. It was in fact after seeing the video for "Modern Day Cowboy" on the Ball that I bought their debut release - Mechanical Resonance and became hooked for life. The guys seemed to genuinely be enjoying themselves on stage and making up the set as they went along at times. Probably the best review they could get is that Lori, who said she didn't know a single Tesla song and got dragged to the show because I have no friends - loved them.
And my new found success with opening bands continues - the openers were Poets and Pornstars and I really liked their straight-ahead, balls-out rock and roll. Even bought their CD, hell for $10 you can't go wrong.
Tesla Set List:
Walk Away
The Way It Is
Modern Day Cowboy
Hang Tough
Got No Glory
Thank You
I Wanna Take You Higher
Heaven 9/11
Love Song
What You Give
Into The Now
Comin Atcha Live
Seasons of Wither
Gov't Personnel
Freedom Slaves
Heaven's Trail
Rock Bottom
Song and Emotion
Edison's Medicine


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Smack This!

Last night we saw Godsmack, for I think the seventh time now (they opened on Metallica's last tour, so that pushed their number up for me), and I forgot how much I like these guys. It felt so good to be back at a good, solid, head banging show again. There are so few bands I bother seeing live anymore and the last concert we went to was Roger Waters in July - quite a different vibe. This was Godsmack's last night of the tour, playing the hometown crowd of Boston and celebrating their 10th anniversary - so all the pieces were in place to make it a special night.

To make it even more unique, the show was at The Opera House. I didn't even know this building existed, let alone ever set foot in it. I've never seen a rock show in such a beautiful setting - huge chandeliers, intricate wood and stone work, gold inlays all around... I wonder if the scent of marijuana sifted through many operas like it did last night?

One of the biggest surprises was the opening act. They were just some local unsigned band, Till We Die, that I expected would be politely ignored at best. But they were rather enjoyable and actually had the whole place up on their feet for the last two songs. A pretty impressive thing to witness. I even bought their CD.

And the boys of Godsmack didn't disappoint. A very energetic, fast-paced show with lots of crowd interaction. We had great seats, just right of center in 20th row. It featured all the Godsmack staples - dueling drum interlude between Sully (lead singer who really wants to be a drummer) and Shannon (the full-time drummer) and lots of NY Yankee bashing. I've never been to a Godsmack show without multiple "Yankees Suck" chants and last night Sully even grabbed someone's Yankees hat to shove down his pants and let simmer for awhile. I love bands that show they are fans as well, 'Smack played bits of "We Will Rock You", "Walk", "Back in Black" "War Pigs" (with a follow the bouncing ball, audience sing along), plus some Jethro Tull and Led Zep. I'm looking forward to another solid 10 years from these guys.

Set List:
The Enemy
Livin' In Sin
Moon Baby
Straight Out Of Line
Keep Away
Battala De Los Tambores
I Stand Alone

Next up for us: Tesla in Boston on September 4th. That will officially end the summer fun.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Roger Waters - Live

We saw Roger Waters last night at the Garden in Boston. He's touring doing all Pink Floyd tunes, something he refused to do in his earlier solo years. Our seats were just three rows from the top - seats I normally wouldn't bother with, but for this show I thought they just might work - and they did. The show featured a 12 piece band, the largest and sharpest video screen I've ever seen, floating space men, pigs, lots of Bush bashing, lasers, an insane light show and lots of pot smokers.

I don't get high - but during the second set of the show which featured "Dark Side of The Moon" in its entirety, I sure felt like I should and the spectacle of the show, the lasers, lights, video, smoke... all combined to make me think I was high. Waters looked like Richard Gere from our seats, but I can't imagine his voice was ever better. I never saw Pink Floyd, but its hard to imagine they ever sounded better. Though Waters relies on a lot of extra guitarists and singers to try and replace David Gilmour.

I love how the Boston Herald summed up the show; " Waters’ runthrough of "Dark Side of the Moon," complete with near-seizure-inducing light show and extended arrangement, was as mind-bending as stadium rock gets. The trippy freak-out of "On the Run" bled into a perfectly embellished tom-tom solo to kick off "Time." The wailing vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky" brought chills. And "Money," a song killed and buried by classic rock radio, was resurrected gloriously." My other favorite moments were the rip roaring opener of "In The Flesh", everyone singing along to "Mother", "Wish You Were Here", and the final song of the night, "Comfortably Numb". Plus extra bonus points for no opening act or extended solos!

Set One
In the Flesh
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Shine on You Crazy Diamond
Have a Cigar
Wish You Were Here
Southampton Dock
The Fletcher Memorial Home
Perfect Sense 1 & 2
Leaving Beirut -- this was the lone new song and a huge ripping of G.W. Bush
Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety:

Speak to Me/Breathe
On the Run
The Great Gig in the Sky
Us and Them
Any Colour You Like
Brain Damage

The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)
Bring the Boys Back Home
Comfortably Numb