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Metal Monday 2-7-2022

Archived Concert Review

AC/DC

Times Union Center

Albany NY

August 2, 2009

My dad was 63 years old in 2009 and claimed AC/DC to be his favorite band in the world.  This is a statement I didn’t deny, given how his attention would be swayed whenever one of the band’s songs was on the radio.  As he had never been to a concert of such magnitude, when I heard that AC/DC was going to be bringing its Black Ice tour to my region, I got the idea to surprise him with tickets.

Dad had no idea where we were going when I picked him up that afternoon.  Waiting until we were parked in a garage two blocks from the venue to show him the tickets, his eyes lit up when he realized the end result of the surprise.  He was downright giddy as we waited for the doors to open, openly chatting up folks who were around his age about the band.

Our seats were on the right-hand side as we faced the stage, right behind the barrier leading to the floor, and in the first row.  This placed us approximately 75 feet from the stage, with a ramp extending right in front of us.  Australia’s The Answer opened the show with a set of unknown, but solid, rock and roll, complete with modest production.  Dad’s reaction to the meager stage and light show was that of a wide-eyed kid going to his first rock show.  I giggled to myself, knowing he would be blown away once the headliners took the stage.

AC/DC opened its show with a 2-minute video featuring an animated train rollicking down the tracks, getting more and more out of control, before culminating with a high-speed crash, transitioning into the band taking the stage amidst a large train as the main stage prop, real time flames set off to complete the trick.  Not coincidentally, the band launched into the lead single off its latest Black Ice album, Rock and Roll Train.  It was at that moment, my dad realized he was seeing a real rock and roll show.

The train as its lone prop (until the cannons at the end), AC/DC entertained as it had for more than 30 years.  Lead guitarist Angus Young, in his trademark schoolboy outfit, raced, bopped, and gyrated over every inch of the stage, clearly the evening’s main attraction.  Lead vocalist, Brian Johnson, a more than competent and willing second banana was the next most mobile member of the quintet, trading spaces with Angus on the main stage, as well as the ramp, sounding in fine form with his scratchy and deep throated vocals.

The band mixed a setlist of new songs from Black Ice with classic tunes throughout the evening.  Big Jack, the title cut, War Machine, and Anything Goes made up the former, while Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be, Back in Black, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Thunderstruck, Shoot to Thrill, You Shook Me All Night Lone, TNT, and Whole Lotta Rosie highlightedthe latter.  Angus’ brother, rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, and bassist Cliff Williams remained glued to their posts, each taking up a spot just to the left or right of the drum riser, only moving simultaneously to their respective microphones to sign back-up vocals.  Meanwhile, drummer Phil Rudd, who could be called a human metronome, manned the drum kit, at times further solidifying his coolness by displaying a lit cigarette in his mouth while playing.

The group had some surprises left in store.  The black AC/DC bell that lowered to the point that Johnson could hang from it before crooning Hells Bells especially impressed my dad.  Main set closer Let There Be Rock was turned into a marathon affair, with Angus going berserk while assaulting his guitar.  Encore number Highway to Hell featured an impressive series of flames and fireworks, while the final song of the night, For Those About to Rock (We Salute You), gave the audience its trademark firing of the cannons, a finale that left my dad with his mouth wide open.

This was not my first AC/DC show, and I knew well beforehand how special their performances usually were.  However, for a first-time concert goer, going to see the group is mostly a blessing, given how amazing they are live, but could be considered a curse, as there is no way another band could live up to what we saw in Albany that night.  Just ask my dad.  He’s been to one other concert since:  AC/DC in 2015.

AC/DC Setlist:

Rock and Roll Train

Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be

Back in Black

Big Jack

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Shot Down in Flames

Thunderstruck

Black Ice

The Jack

Hells Bells

Shoot to Thrill

War Machine

Dog Eat Dog

Anything Goes

You Shook Me All Night Long

TNT

Whole Lotta Rosie

Let There Be Rock

Encore:

Highway to Hell

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

Concert Review

Van Halen

Verizon Wireless Arena

Manchester NH

May 28, 2008

My adult years have been filled with the classic bands of my youth reuniting.  There was Kiss and the Eagles in the 90’s, and no shortage of groups from the 2000’s, including Motley Crue, The Police, even Simon and Garfunkel.  In 2007, Van Halen joined the “get back together” fray by mending fences with original singer David Lee Roth.

It was with great excitement when I first heard the news of the reunion.  Van Halen had been one of the few bands I had yet to see live.  My enthusiasm was tempered some with the fact that original bassist Michael Anthony was being replaced with guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang, however, this revelation did not prevent me from purchasing tickets for the Manchester NH show.

In this day of YouTube and other Internet avenues, one’s ability to gather information is at his or her fingertips.  Never one to be patient, I logged on the morning after the first show on the tour to see the setlist.  And what an amazing selection it was!  All the hits and plenty of deep cuts from the Roth era made the cut.  YouTube provided the video for us to see the stage and hear the band’s performance.  I did notice after a few shows that people in chat groups were complaining about the sound quality, but I attributed it to the acoustics in the respective venues.

The original date of the Manchester show was in the winter but was pushed back to May 28.  Upon entering the arena, I recognized the strange S-shape walkways on the stage itself that I had seen on YouTube, however, they were partially obstructed by black drapery, not to be revealed until the band took the stage.  Classic rock was playing on the public address system and the band’s crew released a few gigantic black beach balls with the VH logo for the crowd to bop around.

The lights went down and after a brief build-up, Van Halen appeared!  Eddie was on the right and I was immediately struck by his simple t-shirt and jeans attire, accompanied with short, grayish hair, complete with a goatee, more akin to a car mechanic than a rock star.  This would be a workmanlike performance, indeed.  Wolfgang was on the left, while his Uncle Alex (Eddie’s brother) was entrenched behind his colorful and always impressive drum kit.  Meanwhile, Diamond Dave, ever the showman, appeared at the top of the stage, donning a sparkling outfit, similar to what a circus ringleader might wear.

The band opened with their cover of the Kinks classic, You Really Got Me.  Other classic hits and deep cuts followed, including, I’m the One, Runnin’ with the Devil, Beautiful Girls, and Dance the Night Away.  I couldn’t help but notice the muffled sound and thought back to those chatroom reviews.  It really was a jumbled mess.  I wondered if it were due to my seat location, which was in the first row of the upper level, immediate stage right, behind the frontline of stage monitors.  Perhaps I was hearing the sound the band was hearing through the monitors and not out of the main PA?

I observed Roth was experiencing difficulties with the stage sound.  On five or six occasions, he wandered over to my side of the stage and offered us with a clear view of him berating a poor sound guy, undoubtably in charge of stage sound.  I also noticed Roth didn’t provide us with his between-song stage banter, save for the obligatory, “Good Evening Manchester,” and a quick one-liner here and there.  Rather, the band kept segueing from song to song, its momentum not stalled, even with Alex’s drum solo, and certainly not Eddie’s guitar solo, a staple that is a treat for a VH concertgoer, instead of a mere excuse to visit to john.

The hits kept on coming, including, Unchained, I’ll Wait, And the Cradle Will Rock, Hot for Teacher, and Panama.  Meanwhile, fans were treated to numbers that the band had not played in nearly a quarter century, such as Atomic Punk, Everybody Wants Some, Mean Street, Little Dreamer, and a cover of John Brim’s, Ice Cream ManAin’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love closed out the main set, while the encore consisted of 1984 and the classic, Jump.

I am happy I got to see Van Halen with Roth.  Although I am a big fan of Sammy Hagar and the music he made with the band, it’s the Roth era tunes I will always gravitate to.  The fact that I got to see the band play so much of the soundtrack of my youth is something I will always be grateful for, especially since it is not possible to see them again. 

My only complaint is a big one.  Frankly, the sound was bad.  At times, I could not understand what Roth was singing, or could even tell what song was being played until an undeniable chorus or hook came along.  In the elevator to the parking garage after the show, I came across a couple of guys who mentioned the same thing, and when I asked them where their seats were, they told me they were in the stands behind the sound board, directly center of the stage.  My theory of the stage monitors flew out the window.  I find that an act of this caliber, on a highly anticipated reunion tour, should not sound like this.  It was a damper on what should have been a magical evening.

Van Halen Setlist:

You really Got Me

I’m the One

Runnin’ with the Devil

Romeo Delight

Somebody Get Me a Doctor

Beautiful Girls

Dance the Night Away

Atomic Punk

Everybody Wants Some!!

So This is Love?

Mean Street

On, Pretty Woman

Drum Solo

Unchained

I’ll Wait

And the Cradle Will Rock

Hot for Teacher

Little Dreamer

Jamie’s Cryin’

Ice Cream Man

Panama

Guitar Solo (featuring Eruption, Cathedral, Spanish Fly, Mean Street intro, and Women in Love intro)

Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love

Encore:

1984

Jump

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/eddie-van-halen-van-halen.html

Metal Monday 1-24-2022

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

On February 20, 2003, an eighties hard rock band, more than a decade past its commercial prime, soldiered into a small dive with only two of its original members to play for a crowd of about 400 people.  For reasons unknown, due to the resulting finger pointing, said band set off a pyrotechnic blast to kick off their performance.  100 people died.  My thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends off all victims, including those who survived, but are forever affected by the events.

That band was Great White.  Although the group on that tour and at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island was basically lead singer Jack Russell’s solo band (original guitarist Mark Kendall joined the band on the tour), the marquee promoted Great White.  Therefore, the legacy of Great White will forever that tragic evening.  While nowhere near as calamitous as a hundred people losing their lives, it is a little sad that this incredible bluesy rock and roll band will never be remembered for its lengthy and impressive musical catalog.

In its prime, Great White consisted of two incredibly talented musicians:  lead singer Jack Russell and lead guitarist mark Kendall.  Keyboardist/guitarist Michael Lardie, bassist Tony Montana, and drummer Audie Desbrow more than competently completed the line-up.  Unleashed during the era of the hair band, Great White brought a little something different to the table by combining the undeniable hooks and hard riffing of the day with a bluesy swagger.  In this aspect, Russell and Kendall worked brilliantly together.  The band released 80’s classic singles such as Once Bitten Twice Shy, Rock Me, Lady Red Light, Save Your Love among others.  However, the group put out innumerable deep cuts and proved their chops were more worthy than the fluff and cheese that was hitting the airwaves at the time, as is apparent with my number one choice in this ranking (see below).   

#13: 

Sail Away-1994

This one is a little too mellow for my liking, featuring a plethora of acoustic guitar, as well as the E Street Band’s Clarence Clemons on the saxophone.  While I cannot condemn the band for trying to expand their musical horizons, I just find this to be the least likely album I would put on to listen to Great White.

Best Song:  Momma Don’t Stop

Best Deep Cut:  Momma Don’t Stop

#12: 

Rising-2009

There’s a point in the middle of this album that I ask myself if I’m listening to a Foreigner record.  I have nothing against Foreigner or any band of that mold, however, this Great White release doesn’t contain enough of the hard driving blues that I come to enjoy from the band.  Couple that with the fact it is long-time singer Jack Russell’s swan song with the group, Rising comes off as disappointing.  That said, Substitute, All or Nothin,’ and Danger Zone are good songs.

Best Song:  Substitute

Best Deep Cut:  Substitute

#11: 

Full Circle-2017

The most recent Great White album is also the second and final release with lead singer Terry Ilous.  In my opinion, this record contains far less bite (see what I did there?) than the first Ilous offering, which is much further up in the countdown.  That said, I’m Alright, Movin’ On, and Never Let You Down are the highlights.

Best Song:  Never Let You Down

Best Deep Cut:  Never Let You Down

#10: 

Great White-1984

This first full-length release from the band showed the rawness and hunger of young musicians who had yet to find their classic sound.  This one is much heavier than one would anticipate from a Great White release.  That said, there is some good material here.  The diehards tend to defend this album and I cannot argue with them.

Best Song:  Stick It

Best Deep Cut:  Stick It

#9: 

Let It Rock-1996

By now, Great White had punched in its formula of leading off the record with a blazer, following up with something up-tempo, and throwing in a ballad at track three.  A healthy combination of the three would follow.  This is an underrated release, with the highlights including, My World, Lil Mama, Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady, and Miles Away.

Best Song:  Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady

Best Deep Cut:   Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady

#8: 

Back to the Rhythm-2007

See the explanation above.  Tracks to pay attention to include the title cut, Here Goes My Head Again, and Just Yesterday.  Meanwhile, close your eyes and listen to, Still Hungry and Standin’ on the Edge, and see if it doesn’t seem like it’s 1986 all over again.

Best Song:  Back to the Rhythm

Best Deep Cut:  Back to the Rhythm

#7: 

Can’t Get There From Here

Again, see the explanation above.  This is one of my go-to Great White albums, combining even stronger material in the mold of the formula as previously outlined.  Lead-off track and single, Rollin’ Stoned is your typical bluesy GW album starter, while Ain’t No Shame, Wooden Jesus, and the amazing Hey Mister are highlights.

Best Song:  Rollin’ Stoned

Best Deep Cut:  Hey Mister

#6: 

Elation-2012

There is quite a bit to digest with this album, mainly the fact that Great White had a new singer in Terry Ilous from XYZ fame in the early nineties.  Containing a much raspier voice than Jack Russell, Ilous offered something a little bit different to the band’s barroom hard rock blues.  Once you get past the different singer, the album works.  Featuring more of the harder stuff and less ballads, Elation is a hit with me.  (I’ve Got) Something for You, Feelin’ So Much Better, Love Train, and Heart of a Man gets the record off to a rollicking start before Hard to Say Goodbye slows things down, and in a good way.  Shotgun Willie’s and Love is Enough highlight the second half. 

Best Song:  (I’ve Got) Something for You

Best Deep Cut:   (I’ve Got) Something for You

#5: 

Shot in the Dark-1986

More polished than its predecessor, Shot in the Dark is another old classic that the diehards will defend to the death.  This is the album that the band begins to capitalize on what will become its winning formula.  The title cut, She Shakes Me, as well as covers, Face the Day (the Angels)and Gimme Some Lovin’ (Spencer Davis Group) are all worthy of a listen or two.

Best Song:  Shot in the Dark

Bet Deep Cut:  Shot in the Dark

#4: 

Twice Shy-1989

Now we are getting to the big time.  This is the record that contains the band’s biggest hit, a cover of Ian Hunter’s, Once Bitten Twice Shy, but there is so much more to unfold.  The Angel Song and Mista Bone were solid radio hits, while single, House of Broken Love is the album’s finest moment.  But wait!  There’s more!  Move It, Heart the Hunter, Hiway Nights, and Wasted Rock Ranger are all worthy deep cuts.

Best Song:  House of Broken Love

Best Deep Cut:  Hiway Nights

#3: 

Once Bitten-1987

This wonderful collection kicks off with the amazing Lady Red Light, setting the tone for the band’s first taste of mainstream success.  While singles, Rock Me and Save Your Love are great tracks and turned legions of fans onto the group, deep cuts such as Gonna Getcha, All Over Now, and Fast Road more than hold up on this release.

Best Song:  Rock Me

Best Deep Cut:  Lady Red Light (I know it’s played on classic rock radio, but it was not released as a single.  Plus, it kills!).

#2: 

Hooked-1991

There is not a Once Bitten Twice Shy or Rock Me in terms of an undeniable hit single but Hooked is an all-around better album than its predecessors, and that’s saying something!  Call It Rock and Roll, The Original Queen of Sheba, and Cold Hearted Lovin’ gets the record off to a fine start, and things never really let up.  Listen to, Lovin’ Kind, Heartbreaker, Congo Square, and Desert Moon, the latter containing the unfortunate stigma as being the song the band started with the night of The Station fire.  Finally, the group’s covers of Can’t Shake It (The Angels) and Afterglow (Small Faces) are to be dealt with, as well.

Best Song:  Call It Rock and Roll

Best Deep Cut:  Can’t Shake It

#1: 

Psycho City-1992

This is Great White at its absolute creative peak, although it is pushing past its commercial peak.  It doesn’t matter.  This album features the band at its finest, combining hard rock dripped with a strong side of blues, regardless of the dearth of a hit single or arena tour.  The entire collection is masterful.  That said, if asked to list the highlights, I would say the title cut, Step on You, Old Rose Motel, Maybe Someday, and Big Goodbye, which comprise of a brilliant first half of the record.  Meanwhile, the second half is nothing to sneeze at.  If you haven’t listed to this release, do so now!

Best Song:  Old Rose Motel

Best Deep Cut:  Maybe Someday

ANDY SNEAP “Disappointed,” Reveals He Didn’t Choose To Leave JUDAS PRIEST — Metal Injection

“Rob called me last Monday and said they wanted to move on as a four-piece.” The post ANDY SNEAP “Disappointed,” Reveals He Didn’t Choose To Leave JUDAS PRIEST appeared first on Metal Injection.

ANDY SNEAP “Disappointed,” Reveals He Didn’t Choose To Leave JUDAS PRIEST — Metal Injection

Metal Monday 1-10-2022:

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

Today, we focus on the lengthy and successful career of the Scorpions.  This German quintet has been around for more than 50 years!  Starting out with a late-60’s hippie, psychedelic sound, the Scorps have progressed into a hard-driving hard rock outfit, and even had a few missteps along the way, including a misguided foray into regular pop.

Make no mistake about it, the Scorpions made their dough on the backs of the twin guitar attack of Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs, with assists from legendary axemen Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth, both of whom preceded Jabs.  Original vocalist Klaus Meine is easily recognizable for his long wails and shrieks, traits that have not slowed down with age.  As this ranking will display, for my money, the period with the classic lineup of Meine, Rudolf Schenker, Jabs, along with bassist Francis Buchholz and drummer Herman Rarebell, churned out the best Scorpions records, although a few of the later releases work their way into the upper half of the catalogue. 

#18:

Eye II Eye 1999

It seems like every band has an album that alienates its fanbase (see Metallica’s St. Anger and Megadeth’s Trust).  Eye II Eye is the Scorpions’ bugaboo.  And this comes with plenty of merit.  The record displayed the furthest abandonment from its classic sound in its entire collection.

Best Song:  10 Light Years Away

Best Deep Cut:  10 Light Years Away

#17:

Lonesome Crow-1972

The very first release from the band found a band trying to find its collective way.  A melodic, yet dark effort that ventured into the psychedelic sound of the late sixties, it is also the only album with Michael Schenker until 1979’s Lovedrive

Best Song:  I’m Goin’ Mad

Best Deep Cut:  I’m Goin’ Mad

#16: 

Pure Instict-1996

Here is an album that I find it difficult to write anything for.  It’s not a terrible record, however, there really isn’t anything memorable here, either.

Best Song:  Wild Child

Best Deep Cut:  Wild Child

#15:

Face the Heat-1993

The wheels were starting to fall off some, here.  Longtime bassist Francis Buccholz was replaced by Ralph Rieckermann, while drummer Herman Rarebell would depart after the tour for this record.  In addition, grunge was spelling doom for just about any band that had achieved success in the 80’s.  Alien Nation and Under the Same Sun were the singles, but I really like the ballad, Lonely Nights.

Best Song:  Alien Nation

Best Deep Cut:  Lonely Nights

#14:

In Trance-1975

The longer psychedelic songs of the first two records were replaced with harder and more concise material.  The title cut, Dark Lady, and Robot Man are the highlights.

Best Song:  Robot Man

Best Deep Cut:  Robot Man

#13:

Return to Forever-2015

This is the latest Scorpions release, although a new record (Rock Believer) is due next month.  All in all, this is a fun collection of songs that is impressive for a group this long in the tooth.

Best Song:  Gypsy Life

Best Deep Cut:  Gypsy Life

#12:

Savage Amusement-1988

Sandwiched between classics, Love at First Sting and Crazy World, Savage Amusement is the lone outlier in a string of magnificent albums, which also include Taken by Force, Lovedrive, Animal Magnetism, and BlackoutRhythm of Love is the big single, and although it is more poppy and less crunchy than previous hits, I must admit my admiration for it.  Overall, the record is more synth-driven than I would like, and frankly, many of the songs are filler.

Best Song:  Rhythm of Love

Best Deep Cut:  We Let It Rock…You Let It Roll

#11:

Virgin Killer-1976

This record got most of its publicity from the controversial original cover.  It was another step toward the hard rock sound that the Scorpions would later perfect.  Perhaps no classic rock band’s progression has been as deliberate this one, but perhaps good things come to those who wait.  Check out the title track, Pictured Life, Backstage Queen, and Yellow Raven

Best Song:  Backstage Queen

Best Deep Cut:  Backstage Queen

#10: 

Humanity Hour I-2007

A concept album, this one is based on a storyline by Desmond Child and Liam Carl that deals with humans and robots engaging in a horrific civil war.  The record gets off to a solid start with Hour I, The Game of Life, and We Were Born to Fly321 is the album’s finest track, while Humanity closes the collection in fine order.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of skippable numbers in this offering, as well. 

Best Song:  321

Best Deep Cut:  321

#9:

Fly to the Rainbow-1974

The first Scorps release with Uli Jon Roth on guitar, Fly to the Rainbow represents an example of the slow, but apparent progression toward the sound it would come to be known for.  That said, the band had not yet dropped its trippy sound, altogether.  Speedy’s Coming and the title track bookend a very underrated album.

Best Song:  Speedy’s Coming

Best Deep Cut:  Speedy’s Coming

#8:

Unbreakable-2004

This record represents a return to rock and roll form for the band, following its disastrous venture into pop.  New Generation, Love ‘em or Leave ‘em, Blood Too Hot, and Someday is Now are the standouts.

Best Song:  Love ‘em or Leave ‘em

Best Deep Cut:   Love ‘em or Leave ‘em

#7:

Sting in the Tail-2010

By 2010, the Scorpions understood their identity, and it resulted in Sting in the Tail, its latest in a string of solid albums, following Unbreakable and Humanity Hour IRaised on Rock, The Good Die Young, Let’s Rock, and the title track are meat on the bone.

Best Song:  Sting in the Tail

Best Deep Cut:  The Good Die Young

#6:

Animal Magnetism-1980

This one often gets overlooked and a little disrespected, most likely because of the records that follow it.  However, do not sleep on Animal Magnetism, which feature two of my favorite Scorpions tunes, Make it Real and The Zoo.  Meanwhile, Lady Starlight and the title cut are worthy of listens, as well.

Best Song:  The Zoo

Best Deep Cut:  Lady Starlight

#5:

Taken by Force-1977

The final album featuring Uli Jon Roth, and the one that introduces drummer Herman Rarebell, Taken by Force is the final record released before the band started to get noticed in America, and is a fine album, indeed.  Steamrock Fever, We’ll Burn the Sky, The Sails of Charon, and He’s a Woman-She’s a Man are the standouts.

Best Song:  Steamrock Fever

Best Deep Cut:  Steamrock Fever

#4:

Lovedrive-1979

The fact that this is only the fourth ranked Scorpions album speaks volumes for the strength of what is ahead of it.  Lovedrive is the first release to feature guitarist Matthias Jab and solidified the lineup that would take the band through its glory days.  The highlights are many, from opener Loving You Sunday Morning, to Another Piece of Meat, Holiday, and the title track.  Meanwhile, the record’s finest hour is the instrumental, Coast to Coast.

Best Song:  Coast to Coast

Best Deep Cut:  Loving You Sunday Morning (although released as a single, I still believe it is overlooked)

#3: 

Crazy World-1990

This will always be the album known for the band’s biggest hit, Wind of Change, and for good reason.  Although overplayed by classic rock radio, it is a brilliant track.  Singles Tease Me Please Me, Don’t Believe Her, and Send Me an Angel further solidify the record, while deep cuts Lust or Love, To Be with You in Heaven, Restless Nights, and Hit Between the Eyes round out a fantastic release.

Best Song:  Wind of Change

Best Deep Cut:  Lust or Love

#2:

Blackout-1982

The band was gaining serious traction by this point.  Blackout starts with the rambunctious title track and is hardly finished.  Can’t Live Without You and No One Like You round out a powerful opening trifecta, while Dynamite, China White, and When the Smoke is Going Down highlight a strong, but overlooked second half.

Best Song:  Blackout

Best Deep Cut:  Dynamite

#1:

Love at First Sting-1984

The soundtrack to my junior high school years.  I still listen to this record fondly, as it brings me back to the days of denim jackets and high-top sneakers.  Megahits Rock You Like a Hurricane, Big City Nights, and the amazing ballad, Still Loving You highlight the album.  That said, the smash singles hardly make up the strength of the release.  Bad Boys Running Wild, I’m Leaving You, and Coming Home could easily have been career defining hits for lesser bands.  In addition, being a drummer, I remember the dirty looks I used to get from teachers for pounding the beat to Crossfire on my desk.  In reality, there is no chance Love at First Sting isn’t the number one album on this list.

Best Song:  Still Loving You

Best Deep Cut:  I’m Leaving You

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Def Leppard- Hysteria

Here is 80’s Metalman bringing me back to the glory days again. Gods of War is a great tune and I consider Excitable to be a hidden gem, as well. Cheers!

80smetalman's Blog

The challenge for me writing about Def Leppard’s 1987 “Hysteria” album is what I can I say or write about it which hasn’t been said before? I mean this album spawned seven singles, went platinum in many countries and gold in a few more as well as going to number one in the charts. Furthermore, the album was finally recorded four years after their previous sensational album, “Pyromania,” in which the band had to overcome the tragic accident which cost drummer Rick Allen his arm and Steve Clark’s battle with alcohol. There was also the problem with producers. Mutt Lange started producing but walked out and Jim Steinman didn’t last. The band tried to produce it themselves but Mutt came back and helped the band make history. So, in many ways, this album was a remarkable triumph for the band.

As soon as I heard the opening riffs to “Women,”…

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VIDEO: Christmas 2021 Village Tour – Judas Priest – 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music Unboxing

Priest!

mikeladano.com

Enjoy a tour of the best Christmas Village I’ve seen yet — complete with carnage and baby Yoda. Or, skip ahead to watch the unboxing at 3:43!

Yes — it has arrived. Judas Priest’s 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music. 42 CDs of music. Limited to 3000 copies. And in 2022 we will be reviewing this monstrosity front to back.


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Metal Monday 1-3-2022

Archived Concert Review

Kiss Alive Worldwide Tour

Worcester Centrum

Worcester Massachusetts

December 28, 1996

I remember 1996 very well.  The depressing grunge scene (although my older self can appreciate some of the artistry) was winding down.  While a return to my beloved 1980’s would never completely come back, the overall musical direction was at least heading toward something resembling a little fun again.  And then the unbelievable happened.  Kiss, the band that singlehandedly led me to become a hard rock and heavy metal fanboy, was reuniting with its original members, complete with its trademark make-up! 

The idea of seeing Kiss in the way seventies rock fans were able, was nothing short of a miracle.  I recalled all the stories regarding their legendary, and almost mythical characters.  The bombastic stage shows, the blood spitting, the breathing of fire.  I remembered the inside of my Alive II album, first seen as a seven-year-old.  I had to score tickets.  There was no way I could miss this show.

The Centrum was packed that night.  I managed to get tickets in the upper level, stage right.  Way to the right.  As in the side of the stage, looking down on raised platform.  Getting into my spot after the opening set of regional band, The 4th Floor (which had to be an amazing experience for them), I had to wait, almost painfully, for my heroes to emerge, knowing our section would get a glimpse long before most in the arena.  A large black curtain with the band logo dropped from the ceiling at a strategic point in The Who classic, Won’t Get Fooled Again, which was playing over the P.A.  The crowd was getting restless.

Finally, the lights went down.  A loud humming noise filled our ears.  Spotlights rotated around the stage.  The roar of the audience was deafening.  Then they came out!  Again, our section at side stage could see them first, in all their costumed glory.  They took their places, vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley bucking like a raging bull about to be released into the ring.  The announcer shouted those words all to familiar to us longtime Kiss fans from the glory days.  “All right, Worcester!  You wanted the best; you got the best!  The hottest band in the world……. Kiss!”

The curtain dropped and the band launched into, Duece, the first song that lead guitarist Ace Frehley played when he auditioned for the group more than 20 years prior.  A gigantic pyrotechnic blast accompanied the song, and the band was off to the races!  This tour was featuring mostly seventies classics recorded by the original members; therefore, it was not a surprise, but still amazing to witness, Kiss segueing into C’mon and Love Me, Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Firehouse in rapid succession. 

The conclusion of Firehouse brought about Gene Simmons’ fire breathing stunt, much cooler in person than inside a wrinkled Circus magazine.  I couldn’t believe what I was watching!  A couple of songs later, the Frehley-sung, Shock Me, culminated with his blistering solo, complete with his smoking guitar being raised to the rafters.  Calling Dr. Love, Shout it Out Loud, I Stole Your Love, and Cold Gin highlighted the midsection of the show, with an overabundance of lights, lasers, and fire to accompany them.

Paul Stanley, never one to shy away from lauding his own band and absorbing all the accolades he can muster, hadn’t yet tired fans with his sometimes meandering between-song raps, never straying far from the arena rock cliches that mostly worked to supplement Kiss’ many over-the top-gimmicks.  This included the trademark blood spitting trick that Simmons perfected back in the day, complemented by the Dragon being raised to the top of a lighting truss to sing, God of Thunder.  Drummer Peter Criss, not wanting to be left out of the spotlight, performed a steady, if unspectacular solo mid-song, displaying just enough chops to satisfy us drummers in the crowd.

100,000 Years and Detroit Rock City closed out the main set, each with enough pyro blasts to surely make the local fire warden a little nervous, before returning with classics, Black Diamond, Beth, and the fiery Rock and Roll All Nite.  The night was complete.  There was no more that could be done.  Paul Stanley had asked the audience, “Was it all that you expected?”  I had to agree with the overwhelming consensus.  Yes!

Kiss Set List:

Duece

C’mon and Love Me

Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll

Do You Love Me

Firehouse (Gene breathes fire)

Watchin’ You

Shock Me

Ace Frehley Guitar Solo

Calling Dr. Love

Shout It Out Loud

I Stole Your Love

Cold Gin

King of the Night Time World

New York Groove (Russ Ballard Cover)

Love Gun

Gene Simmons Bass Solo (spits blood)

God of Thunder (Peter Criss Drum Solo)

100,000 Years

Detroit Rock City

Encore:

Black Diamond

Beth

Rock and Roll All Nite

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Scorpions Share Part Two Of Documentary Series On Their New Album “Rock Believer”

Have I mentioned I’ve been on a huge Scorpions kick?

Metal Anarchy

Scorpions have shared part two of a new documentary series focusing on the making of their new album “Rock Believer” (out February 25). You can check that out below:

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Metal Monday 12-27-2021

Archived Concert Review

An Evening With Metallica

Cumberland County Civic Center

Portland Maine

February 27, 1992

Metallica was the baddest and scariest band in the world (save maybe for Slayer) to an impressionable 19-year-old in February 1992 when I took my then-girlfriend to their Wherever I May Roam tour in Portland, Maine.  Fresh off the release of their self-titled fifth record (aka: The Black Album) the previous August, the band was taking advantage of the serious buzz the record generated by selling out arenas worldwide.  The Cumberland County Civic Center was about to have its roof blown off and I was about to witness the greatest concert I will ever see.

The stage was revolutionary for 1992, a diamond-shaped platform, allowing for 360-degree viewing for both the band and audience.  Microphone stands littered the stage, assisting band members to remain within arms reach of a mic whenever needed.  Large lighting trusses were also mobile, lifting from the stage to reveal the band at the show’s beginning, while rotating and angling to provide special effects throughout the concert.  Drummer Lars Ulrich came with two drum kits that raised through the floor of the stage and pivoted to allow him to play to different sections of the crowd.  Meanwhile, the stages’ centerpiece was a chiseled-out section in the middle, called the Snake Pit, reserved for radio contest winners and hand-picked overly enthusiastic fans, giving them the opportunity to witness the show from Ground Zero.

There was no opening act on this tour.  Given Metallica’s status as the emerging biggest rock act in the world, there was no support band that would fit the bill.  This would be a self-serving three-hour victory lap(s) around the stage.  In lieu of a band to throw stuff at, fans were treated to a 25-minute documentary about the band and its history.  The highlights of the movie were when the live cameras took over from the dressing room and we were greeted by the band members themselves, complete with enough bravado and vulgarity fit for a group of 20-something year-old-musicians.  Us teenagers ate it up.

The familiar Metallica intro song, Ennio Morricone’s The Ecstasy of Gold came on, accompanied by Tuco (Eli Wallach) running through the cemetery from the movie, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly on the video screens.  It was time!  The lighting trusses lifted, and the band launched into their huge (and then current) single, Enter Sandman.  It was clear that this was going to be a special night.

Creeping Death, Harvester of Sorrow, and Welcome Home (Sanitarium) brought things to an early fever pitch, before we were given a dose of newer material, including, Sad but True, Wherever I May Roam, Through the Never, and The Unforgiven.  It was obvious by the fans singing along that most in the crowd were plenty familiar with the new stuff.  Rhythm guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield’s sarcastic introduction to Sad but True (“It contains three simple words”) left no doubt that even the uninitiated would be able to participate.

As was the concert norm back in the day, the band provided the obligatory solo sections, including a Jason Newsted bass solo and a Kirk Hammet guitar showcase.  Meanwhile, Ulrich performed a short drum solo, before engaging in a duel with Hetfield, who, on the spare drum kit, more than held his own.  Personally, I think these solo sections slow momentum, although with a show as long and sweaty as Metallica’s, I can give the band a pass.

The show rose to an entirely new level once the solos were complete.  I’ll give Metallica credit.  While a 10-minute guitar solo can indeed kill momentum, all it takes is a few classics to rev things up again.  For Whom the Bell Tolls, Fade to Black, and Whiplash more than did the trick, the latter ending with a climatic pyrotechnic blast from the back of the stage.

Metallica could be forgiven if they walked off the stage for good at that point, its faithful exhausted and satisfied.  However, they were merely getting started.  Master of Puppets and Seek and Destroy came next, with the Kill ‘Em All classic coming as an 18-minute singalong, as Hetfield took a microphone around the stage and encouraged (bullied?) the audience into shouting out, again, “Three simple words!”  As if that wasn’t enough, he climbed into the crowd and elicited lucky random fans to shout the words with him.

The band exited the stage again, but only temporarily, as they returned following a two-minute series of intense pyrotechnics and fireworks, a display that would make most town’s Independence Day celebration proud.  It was almost a given at that point that One would be next.  Strobe lights and a final pyro blast in sync with the phrase, “Landmine, has taken my site…….” brought the band’s (up to that point) biggest hit to a mesmerizing crescendo. 

But they still were not done!  A rapid-fire trifecta of Last Caress, Am I Evil, and Battery brought the house down, before the band delivered their final number, a cover of Queen’s, Stone Cold Crazy.  That was it.  We had nothing left.  Not the band.  Not the audience.  I recall looking around the arena and seeing everyone in a universal stupor.

My girl and I drove home.  She was a true metalhead and Metallica was her favorite band.  Yes, she was also the same girl who made me take her to see the Scorpions (see the review I wrote about this show) just so she could see Trixter.  Perhaps this is proof positive that I will never figure women out, but I digress.  On this night, we couldn’t stop talking about how amazing this show was, an impression that has remained to this day.  This show is available on YouTube, and whenever I watch it, I am transformed back to the night I saw the greatest concert of my life.

Metallica Setlist:

Enter Sandman

Creeping Death

Harvester of Sorrow

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

Sad But True

Wherever I May Roam

Bass Solo

Through the Never

The Unforgiven

Justice Medley (snippets of Eye of the Beholder, Blackened, Frayed Ends of Sanity, And Justice for All)

Drum Solo

Guitar Solo

For Who the Bell Tolls

Fade to Black

Whiplash

Encore #1:

Master of Puppets

Seek and Destroy

Encore #2:

One

Last Caress

Am I Evil

Battery

Encore #3:

Stone Cold Crazy    

Metallica-Portland Maine 1992