Rush October 2007

The Band:                   Rush
Venue:                         MEN
Location:                     Manchester
Date :                          14/10/2007

For what seems like the first time in Ages me and the bean Counter went to Manchester and stayed overnight. “The occasion?” I hear you ask, A concert by Rush to celebrate 30 years together and what a concert it was. The best light show I have ever seen in an indoor arena. As for the music well it was everything that rock n roll stands for. Self indulgent solo’s, long complicated tracks and deafening noise and a blistering 3 hour set. The tour was to publicise Rush’s new album “Snakes and Arrows”. While the new material is excellent the loudest applause was of course for the old stuff such as “Passage to Bangkok”, “Spirit of Radio”, “Tom Sawyer” etc. To be fair it was not about sex, drugs and rock n roll. If you want that kind of stuff go and see ACDC or The Who.

The only downside to the evening was the venue. Thrombosis inducing seats, no room to stretch or carry out any of the exercises the airlines advise on long haul flights. You can no longer stand at seated arenas for fear of the wrath of the Nazi Elf n Safety marshals threatening you with ejection if you don’t sit down again and then there is the design of the building. The main corridor is a circular affair with the toilets and food stalls and merchandising stands spread out along its length. This means that if there are queues at any of the stands you can’t get past to walk around with any ease. Added to this the marshals will not let anyone leave the building even to obtain fresh air and it was stiflingly hot in there. If you do you will not be allowed back in again. It was my third time at the MEN and it will be my last.

Peter Frampton November 2011

The Band             Peter Frampton
Venue                  Bridgewater Hall
Location               Manchester
Date                      11/11/2011

For those too young to remember, Peter Frampton was one of the biggest selling rock artists of the 70’s. A member of the Herd for 3 years before forming Humble Pie with Steve Marriot and after 5 albums he left the Herd to became a solo artist. His most successful album, probably his greatest and the one he is usually remembered for is “Frampton Comes Alive” released in 1976. It was this album that first brought him to my attention.

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the double album “Frampton Comes Alive” Pete took to the road to perform all of the tracks from the ground breaking album live. The Celebration tour kicked off in Manchester and I was lucky enough to get tickets to see him. The hair may have gone and the waist may have thickened ever so slightly and but the talent is still there and so is the voice. The dexterity in his fingers shows no sign of slowing down or loss. The whole of the double album was played in one sitting and was as faithful to the original recording as it was possible to be. “Do you feel like we do” still had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up even after 35 years. 35 years? Where does the time go? Sadly Bob Mayo is with us no more but this was excellent vintage stuff.

After the “live” album set list was finished there was an interval and then our hero strode onto the stage and performed: Asleep At The Wheel, Restraint, Float, Boot It Up, Double Nickels, Vaudeville Nanna And The Banjolele, Road To The Sun, Black Hole Sun, Four Day Creep, Off The Hook and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. All in all a blistering set performed with craft that rolled back the years and belied his age. I may never get the chance to see him again but I won’t forget this concert in a hurry.

For more information check out Pete’s website.

Mothership February 2012

The band:            Mothership
The venue:         Pacific Road Arts Centre
Location:             Birkenhead Wirral
Date:                     03/02/2012

When you go to see a tribute band you know roughly what you are going to get. In some cases it is the nearest you may come to seeing your real life heroes. I never saw Led Zeppelin live and it is now impossible to see ever see the original line up even if those who are left were to play again. So when the opportunity came to see a Zeppelin tribute band I thought why not. I have been to see a lot of tribute bands in the past including the Australian Pink Floyd and Limehouse Lizzy. Some of the bands have been great and some have been decidedly so so.  Sadly this fantastic venue is under threat of closure so it was possibly a last opportunity to see anyone perform here.

The last Zeppelin tribute band I saw here were Awholelottaled and they were OK if not surprisingly the “real deal”. I had high hopes for Mothership and the band came straight on with no support to warm the crowd up for them and launched into their set which included classics such as Rock’n’Roll , Black Dog, Whole lotta Love and of course Stairway to heaven, never my favourite track at the best of times. A storming set of 2 hours was only marred by technical problems with the sound. At times all I could hear was the ringing of Hi Hats and at others the speakers in the PA sounded as though the cones had been ripped out. The acoustic section of the performance was held up while they found a new battery for the pick up on the jumbo acoustic.

Some excellent guitar work accompanied vocals that were at times the nearest thing I had heard to the original so far. When they were good they were very good and when they were not so good they were still OK. Kashmir and the Lemon Song were for me at least the highlights of this performance and yes I would go and see them again

Busy Busy

January has finally gone. As far as I am concerned it is without equal, the worst month in the northern hemisphere. I can’t think of a single redeeming feature this month has. It is long, dark, cold, damp, miserable and it brings in all the bills from the excesses of the festivities. Would it not be a good idea if they chopped 3 days off the month and added them onto other months in the summer? It is not as if this has not been done before. Julius Caesar and Augustas had months named after them and added days onto them to make them longer.

So here we are in February and the temperatures have dropped. There is talk of snow although it has not happened in this neck of the woods yet. So what has been happening? Well personally not a lot although I am still not smoking and I have still not touched an alcoholic drink since New Year’s Day. I think a lot of people were expecting me to have fallen off the wagon by now but I am happy to report that I have not wavered although my mood swings mean some people are staying out of my way. I can live with that!
One of the side effects of not smoking is that the weight has already started to pile on and so I am starting a keep fit campaign in a week or so. The NHS has given me a 3 month free pass to any of the council run gymnasiums in the borough. I hope to go swimming at least a couple of times a week for the 3 months duration. Who knows I may even start pumping iron and pressing weights in the gym. I really can’t see it myself but stranger things have happened.

The economy of Europe looks shakier by the day with Investors in Greece accepting losses of up to 75% on loans they made to the Greek government in the form of bonds they bought. Normally a situation in which a few “rich” people lost a few bob would not be a cause for concern but in this case the “rich” people are the ones entrusted to look after our pension pots. Savings, pensions and investments of ordinary folk will all suffer because the Greeks will not pay their debts. The old saying of “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” might as well now read “never trust any Greek ever at all under any circumstance”. The least the Greek government could do is flog a couple of their islands and pay off the debts with the funds received; it is not as if they don’t have a few spare. Rant over!

To cheer myself up I blitzed my credit card and bought another barbeque. It is a small sunncamp portable and I bought it to take camping on the bike with me I also bought a few bits for Rhonda. I always said I would never go down the Touratwat sorry Touratech route of buying overpriced non essential bits for my bike. However I wanted some folding mirrors and although a few sites out there sell them none of them had a decent review. The ones at Touratwat not only had a review but photographs and fitting instructions so in the end I was left with no other option. Lo and behold they arrived within 48 hours of ordering. I guess you get what you pay for and Touratwat are expensive but their service is rather good, I expect the mirrors to be as good. I also bought tickets to go and see the Answer in April. They were the support band to ACDC in Paris in 2009 and I was well impressed with them, impressed enough to buy a couple of CD’s. I am also going to see a Led Zeppelin tribute band called Mothership in a few days. Reports from both gigs will appear in the new section of this blog along with reviews from other concerts, festivals and gigs I have been to. Expect to see a report about Peter Frampton shortly.

Unlike January February is going to be busy busy