Album Review:Metallica-LIBERTE EGALITE FRATERNITE METALLICA! (RSD 2016)

One of 20,000. I have number 03787. Limited. Well sort of. Overall, however the numbers in Canada would be very low as this is a USA RSD release. Some stores in Canada had the pull however to be able to get this nice little cd in. Yes cd, on RSD. Metallica had the number one seller on RSD 2015, with a cassette. This year the number 5 seller is this cd. I wonder if Lars is the mastermind behind this somehow. I can only assume he wants next years RSD release on 8 track or reel-to-reel tape. 8TSD and R-T-RSD to follow.

The concert was recorded on June 11, 2003 at Le Bataclan, Paris, France to promote the St. Anger release. There were 3 separate club shows on that day in Paris. The reason this particular concert was chosen was to honour the victims of the 2015 shooting at the theatre. All band proceeds from the sale of this cd go to Fondation de France’s Give For France charity. Of note is the fact that bassist Robert Trujillo had only been with the band for 4 months prior to the recording of this show, and ST. ANGER had only been out for 6 days (Bob Rock played the bass on that album).

The Four Horsemen – The crowd screams and off we go. Pounding drums, wailing guitars and a slightly overpowered bass let us know this is old school metal. James adds in the obligatory ‘yeah, yeah yeahs’ and some “die, die, die’ for good measure. The middle of the song has some sweet guitar solos.

Leper Messiah – Cymbals crash and guitar strings are abused. Again with the wicked guitar solos. This is becoming a thing. About 5 minutes into the song, James does his own version of beatbox. James says after “Merci Beaucoup. It’s good to see you my friends.”

No Remorse – Sweet metal guitar riff flood our ears to begin this song off. James asks the crowd ” Are you out there?”. He calls out Mr. Ulrich, and the drums and guitar continue on towards the abyss. A wicked laugh from James and a “Thank You. Merci.” end the song off. The crowd chants “Metallica! Metallica!…..” in a cute French accent.

Fade to Black – As good as the 3 songs previous were, this is the beginning of the show for me. The energy level is so high, and I am sure the crowd intensity just rose as this song began. It is such an amazing song. You know it is live because it doesn’t have that mechanical perfection of the studio version, but this might be the best live version I can recall hearing. As someone who has seen Metallica a few times, I can attest to the fact that this song is absolutely wicked live. James addresses the crowd “Hello friends. Are you doing ok?” and “Oooh yeah.”

Frantic – James asks the crowd “Who has St. Anger?” The crowd cheers. “Do you like it?” They cheer again. “Right. We’re gonna do some stuff off of it.” “What song do you wanna hear?” I guess that was rhetorical as they start into Frantic, and James exclaims “This here is the French version entitled Frenetique.” I know this album takes a ton of flak from Metallica fans, but as a fan, I like it a ton, and this song is one of the best. It sounds at least as good, if not better live. There was criticism for the drum sound and the lack of guitar solos on the studio album, but the drums and guitars sound great here. This is a fairly rare recording as Metallica left all of the songs from St. Anger off their setlists for a long time. This song has only been performed a handful of times since 2004. I can only assume fan backlash to the album is the reason why. Too bad. It’s a great song.

Ride The Lightning – James asks the crowd “What’s new pussycat?” then gets into a back and forth of “WOOO” and “YEAH” with the crowd. I can only assume to get in the mandatory number of yeahs in during a performance. Something in the fine print of his contract I bet. James introduces all of the band members, including some “Love and respect for Robert.” and he let’s the crowd know “We haven’t played this song in a while. Love it baby.” That is quite an understatement since the band last played it in 1987. 16 years between playing it live was too long. It’s an awesome song. I have no idea why it was off the list for so long. Perhaps it took Kirk’s fingers that long to heal from the wicked guitar solos.

Blackened – Pounding drums and thrashing guitar begin the first minute of this song off on a wicked frenzy. They never really let up, but James jumps right into the deep end and doesn’t sink. Half way through the song when they get to the word Blackened, the drums pound, and the crowd yells “HEY, HEY, HEY…….” over and over. James yells back “YES SIR.” and Kirk sucks us in with some amazingly hypnotic guitar work. I believe Robert is doing the background back and forth chants with James in the middle of this song. Nice to see you joined the show Robert. Were you out getting croissants or something? I think I actually heard a little bit of bass in this song that stands out too. James thanks the crowd after this song. I wonder if this was the end of the first part of the show and the 2 remaining songs were an encore. Clapping and crowd cheers of “Whoah Ohh Ohh Ohh Ohh Ohh….” and “Metallica, Metallica…..” ensue. My guess is the band was backstage for a bit and the crowd was trying to entice them back.

Seek & Destroy – This song starts off with a back and forth between Kirk and the crowd. Kirk strums his guitar ‘wah wah wah wah wah’ and the crowd yells back something. I can’t tell what it was, perhaps it is in French. It kind of reminded me of the crowd yelling ‘Angus’ during live performances of Whole Lotta Rosie. About a minute in James says “You ready for some more? What do you want?” Another rhetorical question. “Woooo. Here we go.” as Seek & Destroy begins and the crowd screams in pleasure. “We’re scanning the scene in Paris tonight” Lars sounds better here than he perhaps ever has. Kirk sounds awesome as usual, James’ voice is in prime form. The background vocals sound great. Again, Robert is the only one kind of lost in the mix. However, this is an amazing live version of this song. James tries to entice the crowd to do a back and forth and sing the lyrics ‘Seek and Destroy’ after he says the ‘Searching’ but we can’t hear them. Probably the only time during this show the crowd wasn’t as engaged. The ending features Kirk holding one sustained note, and Lars smashing the cymbals, then finally for a brief few moments the intensity level for both musicians rise and suddenly stop. Kirk almost has a little Dimebag sound to this little riff. Great ending.

Damage, Inc. – The crowd is still cheering from the end of the last song, and yelling something at the band( I again can not understand them). James exclaims to Kirk”That’s what you’re trying to tell me.” and “Now I’m better. Now I’m much better.”(I did not understand this until I saw video of this, and he exchanged his guitar. There must have been a sound issue) Kirk and Lars smash out the beginning of Damage, Inc. The guitar and drum work here is stupendous, fast and loud. I prefer the chorus portion of the lyrics on this song, as the rest are sung quite fast, but this song overall kicks ass.

“Merci Beaucoup. Thank You Paris. Metallica loves you. Thank You.”

Paris (and the rest of the world) love you too Metallica.

James asks “How can you have goosebumps man, when you’re this hot?” I can only imagine how electric the crowd must have been to cause the lead singer of the biggest metal band in the world to get goosebumps. The crowd yells “METALLICA, METALLICA……………” over and over. James again says “Thank You” and adds “Tres Fuckin’ Bien.” Then just like that it’s over. 63 minutes and 11 seconds of awesome.

The sound and recording of this album are amazing. The banter, and the back and forth between the band and the fans really take this recording over the top for me. I would have preferred a different setlist, but I can only assume since they were doing 3 shows in one day, that perhaps the other 2 shows got different songs. It seems strange to me that this 3 show, one day stop in Paris does not feature more songs from St. Anger, since that is the album they were trying to promote at the time. Also, Robert Trujillo’s bass gets lost in the mix. I assume since he was new to the band, and really still learning it may have been on purpose. He is not bad, he just isn’t noticed much, if at all. I would have preferred an earlier recording with Jason or Cliff, or a later recording with Robert when he was settled in, but for all I know this was the last (possibly the only) time Metallica performed at Le Bataclan. It is much smaller than the stadiums they usually perform at. These are very minor drawbacks to an amazing album. Also, the fact that it is for a good cause to help fellow music fans that were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

9.25/10

 

 

Advertisements

Album Review:Prince-The Hits 2(1993)

This is the only Prince compilation album I have, and may arguably the best. In 1993 Prince had released 14 albums in 15 years, and he had enough hits for 3 full compilation albums The Hits 1 and 2, and The Hits B Sides(all released in 1993). After the early 90’s Prince would never see the popularity that he had previously, so the material here is a good place to focus on. If you are looking for some good compilation albums I suggest to get the above albums, or Ultimate Prince from 2006. However if you just want to find 1 cd with the best bang for your buck, I suggest this album, Prince The Hits 2.

Controversy – Wicked funk song off the album of the same title. Subtle but great guitar work, solid drumming, cool keyboards and synth work round out this song. It was great that artists were still releasing funk after the 70’s. The song had a fitting title as Prince stirred the pot by including parts of the Lords prayer in the song. Also at the time there were questions about his race and sexual orientation. ” Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? Controversy.” Prince was always one to cause an uproar.

Dirty Mind – The keyboard work has kind of a Fool’s Overture meets My Life, then Prince starts to sing and you know it’s definitely not Roger Hodgson or Billy Joel. This song, as part of his third album was moving away from the R & B into more dance/funk/party territory. It also was the beginning of a sexual theme that would be a large focus on many Prince songs.

I Wanna Be Your Lover – If I didn’t know this was Prince, I could easily mistake it for a Jackson 5 song. It had that late 70’s disco-pop thing going on, and was a hit back in the day.

Head – Another post-disco funky new wave number with lyrics that would have fit in with a Richard Pryor performance.

Do Me, Baby – An almost 8 minute long ballad. The best part of the song for me is the string plucking on the bass. Just give it a listen, and it will stand out like an awesome thumb. The high pitch moaning and screams are pretty cool too.

Delirious – The band most have watched the movie 9 to 5 before writing this song because there are elements from the theme song. This song also has elements of Let’s Go Crazy in there too.

Little Red Corvette – I have a thing for cars, so this was my first introduction to Prince. I was a full on metalhead back then, and in no way could I tell anyone that I liked Prince. Over the years I still enjoy metal, and I still enjoy Prince. I learned you sometimes can have it all.

I Would Die For You – The lyrics really emphasize that a person in love will do anything for the one they love. My least favourite song on this compilation, but still pretty good.

Raspberry Beret – One of his most recognizable and catchy songs. It would easily be in my top 10 Prince songs. Of note for me are the background singers, and their musical pedigree. Wendy & Susannah Melvoin(daughters of jazz pianist Mike Melvoin, and sisters to Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboardist Jonathon Melvoin), and Lisa Coleman(daughter of Gary L Coleman, who was a famed studio musician and part of the Wrecking Crew). Prince does a great job and the musicianship is top notch.I suggest you put some weight on your feet if you don’t want your toes to start tapping.

If I Was Your Girlfriend – I had featured a post of “bad” spots in music. This song was not featured there, but there is a bad spot in which some words are distorted, however Prince liked how it sounded, so it was left as is. The song is about how Prince would like to have a close relationship to his girlfriend, the way her female friend does. The music has a bit of a sad tone to it, since it was a real life extension of the relationship he was in at the time.

Kiss – Prince originally gave the song to the band Mazarati to be included on their debut album. They re-worked the song extensively and when Prince heard it, he took it back, added vocals and guitar and released it himself. The song went to #1, and is included on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. The best part of the song for me is the funky, chunky guitar work, and the scream near the end.

Peach – A previously unreleased song. It has a harder edge than any Prince song before. His voice has a deeper tone, and the guitar has a bluesy rock flavour I can really get into. It kind of has a INXS meets David Wilcox tone that I enjoy. Also the solos are wicked. I would challenge any rock fans that say they do not like Prince to listen to this song before they say that.

U Got The Look – A duet with Sheena Easton, recorded in 1987. This song was a huge worldwide hit, and helped both singers solo efforts. I love the contrast between a drum machine and Sheila E’s amazing percussion, and the distorted, screechy guitar. As well, the vocals are crisp and beautiful at one point, sped up, computerized and helium affected at others. A really great song.

Sexy M.F. – The song has elements of the rap by Freedom Williams in Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)-C & C Music Factory. Then the funk kicks in. To have a song be current(for the time) with a dance rap, a 70’s funk style and with controversial lyrics is awesome. Then add in horns, a sax solo, a wicked keyboard that could have been from Muscle Shoals, and a plinky guitar solo. This song goes over the top.

Gett Off – Elements of rap, hip hop and some Jethro Tull flutes. “Lay your pretty body against a parkin’ meter. Strip your dress down like I was strippin’ a Peter…….Paul’s Almond Joy. Lemme show u baby I’m a talented boy.” and “Tonight your a star, and I’m the Big Dipper.”

Cream – His last single to reach number 1. The funky, subtle wah pedal infused guitar are the star of this song for me. Any song from the 1990’s that has keyboards and guitar that sound like they belong in the 70’s is ok in my books.

Pope – Another previously unreleased song. An audio clip of the late Bernie Mac begins this song off. Today it reminds me of how much I miss both of them. The scratch effects and the booming bass fit right in with many of the top rap songs of 1992, and still sound good today. Co-lead vocals are handled by Mayte Garcia, who would later become his wife, and after their divorce have a relationship with Tommy Lee of Motley Crue.

Purple Rain – An amazing song. After listening to it for the umpteenth time today, I picked out the orchestral string section, and the piano. I had always focused in the amazing guitar work, so I guess I missed it before. It is quite possibly the best mixture of orchestral, pop, rock, gospel and wicked guitar ever. After recording the song, Prince phoned Jonathon Cain as he felt it was too similar to the journey song Faithfully. Cain assured him it only had the same four chords.

1999/2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prince Top 10 Tribute

Here is my list of the Top Ten Prince Moments

All of these guys are awesome guitar players, but Prince was chosen for the solo. Oh, and he owned it.

A Super Performance. Possibly the best Super Bowl half time show ever.

He was no creep

Wicked dance moves

Always in my hair

He sometimes went crazy

Not just doves are crying today

Nikki my darling

Arsenio Hall

RIP Prince.

Concert Review-The Sword (London Music Hall-London, Canada 2016)

I was running late for this show, so I called the venue from the road. Show time on the ticket was 7pm, and it was almost 7. I was told there was a delay, and that the opening band(Traumahawk, a local London band) would not go on until 8-830. Great. I had time to get there before the bands start, park the car, buy earplugs (you know you’re old when), buy some merch, and get settled in. When I parked I took a few pictures of a goose sitting on the roof of a car. Only in Canada, eh. When I got inside, I stopped by the merch booth and spoke to Gabriel. This guy has been around the block in the punk and metal scene, working with The Dropkick Murphy’s and many other bands, usually as tour manager or merch guy. He told me that he loves working with The Sword. They never fight, they treat people well, and they love what they do. He told me the reason for the delay. Both The Sword and another band on the bill, Royal Thunder, were pulled over by the police on the way to the venue. The 2 bands both left Ottawa earlier in the day. They left at different times but both ran into trouble. Royal Thunder had no rear seatbelts in the van they were in. The police told them they could not continue on in this vehicle. The Sword was pulled over for an overloaded trailer. Then the police searched the vehicle and found something leafy and green they found a little suspicious. 3 hours later the charge was mysteriously lowered to a open bottle fine, and the tour could continue. Gabriel let me know the band usually arrives 3 hours before a show to prepare. He figured the first 3 songs from the bands would be a warm up, then they would be dialed in.

Traumahawk finally hit the stage and we were blasted with some straight ahead rock and roll. They were good. The band had wanted to have some music for sale at the show but it was not ready in time. Too bad, I would have bought some. One thing I found unique and funny was the bassist let some dude from the audience climb up on stage and take a selfie with him, while the song was being played. The other thing I found cool was the lead singer was a cross between Clark Kent, and Chris Murphy from Sloan. As a dude that wears glasses, I love when musicians wear them. The crowd got into Traumahawk, and so they did a good job of warming the audience up, which is all you can ask for in an opener. I had asked Gabriel if he could recall any good openers he had witnessed on the tour, and he mentioned that Traumahawk were right up there as one of the best, so good on them.

Royal Thunder were on next. The crowd was treated to a soundcheck as the band hit the stage. With all the police issues, the band had no time do this beforehand, so we all got to see what usually goes on before the crowds arrive. I was kind of expecting the crowd to get antsy, especially since very few knew the real story, but everyone took it in stride. We were warmed up by Traumahawk, and everyone seemed in good spirits. Gabriel was pretty accurate in his first 3 song guess. Once they had it dialed in though, they tore it up pretty good. One thing I found cool was having a female lead singer. I have a soft spot in my heart for female musicians, especially in hard rock and metal bands. Mlny Parsonz is also the bassist, and she does a great job at both. She did something I had never seen before. She sometimes kneels down in front of her bass amps, and runs the bass strings along the cabinet as she is playing. It sounds really cool. She also left the bass on with full distortion cranked when the band briefly left the stage before the mini encore, and we got to hear the feedback while they were gone. That was also cool. I don’t want to neglect the others in the band, so suffice it to say they are really good. I encourage you to check this band out, and can only assume they will not be openers for long.

The Sword take the stage and again we get to witness the soundcheck. The crowd again took it in stride and the show began. Gabriel had guessed 3 songs, and maybe for him he noticed them being rusty at the start, but not for me. They sounded awesome right away. Gabriel also told me The Sword never do the same setlist. Ever. Every show is a different mix. This to me is just awesome. When they started to play, I got visions of all the great dual guitar threat metal bands out there. The Sword doesn’t do the usual 1 lead and 1 rhythm player. There is rhythm involved, but it is heavy and loud. This band has evolved from a stoner rock band, but has branched out to include other elements in the music. I got elements of 80’s metal, NWOBHM, 70’s hard rock, psychedelia, stoner rock, and since they are from Austin Texas, a little bit of ZZ Top thrown in for good measure. Basically something for everyone. Some of their early fans may have wanted them to only play stoner rock, but I for one love the mixture. I am not in a band, but I feel that not only would I be doing the music for my fans, but I would want to be true to myself. If I felt the stoner rock category was flooded with bands all trying to copy Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality album, I may want to branch off and try something new as well. The Sword have done this, and I love it. The Sword blasted through their 19 song setlist, and I enjoyed every damn one of them. I would have loved to see them play 19 more. It was hard enough to get up for work the next day as it was, but I could have watched them all night. The fans in the front of the stage loved the band so much they decided to do an impromptu slam dance fest. This was the first time I had witnessed a slam dance at a band usually known for stoner rock. Stoner rock fans are usually too mellowed out to even think about slamming. This was a good slam dance too. I witnessed a particularly bloody slam fest at a Metallica concert where I saw a few get carted off for medical care. This looked liked good natured slam dancing, rather than juice monkeys aiming to hurt others. Of note for me, as a Canadian I was mesmerized by guitarist Kyle Shutt. Not just because he is an amazing axe slinger, but because he is a dead ringer for Jeff Healey. If Jeff Healey could be reincarnated with blond hair of Johnny Winter length, and tune his guitar to a louder decibel level, he would be back in the form of Kyle Shutt.

One other thing I made note of was the guitar tech for The Sword. Dave (whose band From Beyond will be opening for The Sword in the 2nd half of the tour) was probably the busiest guy I have ever seen during a concert. John and Kyle probably changed guitars every other song, and there were 15 songs, so tons of guitar changes for Dave, plus he had to make sure they were in tune and ready to slay. He did an awesome job as my face was partially melted off from the molten metal. I can’t imagine doing all of that work behind the scenes, plus performing before hand. He is going to be one busy dude. Also, I was quite jealous to say the least at the quality of the guitars the 2 guys own. One particular beauty was a thick body guitar that John brought out. I was right at the front, so hopefully my drool did not damage any guitars. The 2 guys could easily supply the axes for 10 bands.

I apologize as I did not have any video of the concert I attended, nor could I find any floating around the internet, so I plucked a few from other venues to give you an idea of how these bands sound (I could not find any of Traumahawk). We all got to see some awesome music. I want to thank all of the band members as they were nice enough to sign all of my stuff, to Gabriel for chatting with me, and giving me info, and to Dave for finding me a rare setlist that he had made up for himself, since the band never uses one.

As for the concert, I give it a 9.9/10.

Album Review : The Lazys – The Younger Years 2007-2011 (2015)

Until The Lazys self titled album was released in 2014, the world outside of Australia was not aware this band had already released 4 EP`s and one album in their native Australia. They won the Jack Daniels competition for best live act in Australia in 2008, so they obviously had a following back home. This album is the ‘best of’ from those years.

Brothers In Arms – Sorry, Mark Knopfler fans, this is not a Dire Straits cover. This is more 70`s era Aerosmith or Alice Cooper meets very early AC/DC. If Joe Perry and Dick Wagner had gone through Australia in 1974, and joined Bon Scott and crew in the studio, this may have been the out take. Really cool bass and guitar rule this song.

Fight For The People – A good mix of building guitar momentum, infectious booming bass, rhythmic drumming and howling vocals.

Oh Girl – The wailing sounds to me like “Oh Gail”. The bass lays down a funky, chunky groove on this song, which isn`t necessarily a bad thing.

Union Of The Underdogs – A really catchy song, with some neat background chants that are reminiscent of AC/DC, and some great guitar and bass.

Hey Man – Great guitar riffs. Leon Harrison almost has an early Rod Stewart sound to his voice here. Again, the background vocals add to the song.

Sunshine City – A really good song. It starts off like a hard rock, sports team theme song(it was adopted by Fox Sports), morphs into a softer Britpop style ballad, and back again.

Authority – Gritty, ballsy blue collar song with screams and Les Paul riffs.

Hey Mr Mr – Not a shout out to the cheesy 80s band. A hard driving, antagonistic number with growling, yelling, and solid musicianship.

Kiss Your Life Away – Starts off fast, and hard driving. Then morphs into a 80s New Wave area that actually works. I prefer the harder edged section, but the mixture blends nicely.

Friend Like You – A nice song. It reminds me of a slower, Green Day song. More acoustic than the rest of the album, it shows that the band isn’t a one trick pony.

Second Hand Smoke – Sort of like Oasis meets folksy, alternative band. With better guitar work than any of the above.

Society’s Whores – Sweet guitar licks and crashing cymbals start this off. Then the growling vocals take over. I also notice a bit of a megaphone into microphone here. Perhaps an unknown, but welcome tribute to Scott Weiland.

Angels Sun – Acoustic guitar and piercing vocals start this song off. The electric guitar has kind of a moaning tone, and I believe I hear some orchestral strings mixed in. The orchestral touch is nice in a harder song. It is a weird mix of heavy grunge, Oasis and an orchestra that really pull it off.

Temptation Never Liked You – Heavy droning begin this song off. Has a bit of an Alice In Chains meets Stoner Metal theme going on that I really like. The wailing guitar riffs are pretty awesome too.

My Mumma – Cymbals ticking, drums crashing and fast pulsing guitar riffs rule this song. “I was born to break the fucking rules. My Mumma always told me ‘Don’t bite off more than you can chew'” Luckily you have not done that with this song, or this album.

A really good mix of 70’s hard rock, stoner, Brit pop and grunge make up this album. We get a glimpse of the band that will eventually morph into a great party band. Some teething issues as they still were a young, growing band, but the listener is rewarded with finding out where this great band came from.

8.5/10

 

 

 

Concert Review – David Gilmour – Toronto 2016

I often complain that California, specifically in the Los Angeles area always seems to get the best concerts. I really shouldn’t complain however because I live about an hour away from Toronto. Toronto seems to get it’s fair share of concerts as well. It truly is a wonderful city, and the music fans in and around the area support both local and international artists. Often big acts announce multiple night shows in this city. I remember when U2 had a 5 night run of shows in Toronto. They announced a Monday show, it sold out in less than a minute, then tickets went on sale for the remaining 4 shows, and in minutes the entire weeknight was full, with around 15,000 per show.

David Gilmour released an album last year ( review here ), his first in 9 years, and he recently announced “North American” tour dates. Apparently, by North American he means 4 cities. L.A. of course, New York, Chicago and Toronto. I have vowed that I will do what I can to see aging rock stars, because you never know when their time performing, or on this earth will be up. I have regretted not seeing my heroes before. My biggest regret was being asked to go see Ronnie James Dio. I said “next time.”, and he died shortly after.  I’ve seen Roger Waters live, but never David Gilmour, and this might be my last chance, so I had to go. The below video shows the other members performing with David. Of note for me was Phil Manzanera from Roxy Music fame.

We hopped on the subway and my wife chatted with a couple from Goderich that were also going to the show. They mentioned that their seats were not very good. I asked where they were sitting. “On the floor, 30 rows back” was his response. I felt like asking if he wanted to trade for my upper level tickets. She told us to follow her. We got off the subway and within 1 minute she didn’t know where she was. I said let’s go outside, and when I saw the CN Tower we headed that way. It must seem funny to a Toronto person, but when you come out of the ground and are surrounded by huge buildings on all sides, it is easy for the rest of us to lose our sense of direction. I saw a familiar overpass and we headed into the ACC. I already have all the music, and have too many t shirts so we got a drink and headed to our seats. We were just sitting down when David hit the stage.

5 A.M. – Some may feel it is risky to start off with an instrumental off a new album. Some would not have heard David’s amazing guitar work though.

Rattle That Lock – The leadoff single from the new album is a really good song, and from what I gathered many fans knew it, which is a good thing.

Faces Of Stone – Another song off the new album adds the brilliance of multiple stringed instruments and fine organ playing to amazing guitar.

Wish You Were Here – I felt a chill, and was covered in goosebumps when this song started, and the feeling of elation lasted for the entire song. I last felt like this seeing Rush perform 2112 in it’s entirety. There is no way to describe the feeling I felt. But I will try. WOW. JUST WOW.

What Do You Want From Me – I’ve seen footage of when this song was first played in 1994, and I actually prefer the 2016 version. It seems that just like fine wine, David’s voice has actually gotten better with age.

A Boat Lies Waiting – This song was inspired by Rick Wright(RIP), who lived on a boat. This song brings us back to the new album. As with the entire setlist, David plays a few solo songs, then a few Pink Floyd songs to keep everyone happy.

The Blue – Mellow song that sets a nice tone until David’s amazing guitar has us all playing air guitar hero.

Money – All we need to hear is the bass and the cash registers and over 14,000 people all scream in unison just like young kids getting their first puppy. Props to Joao Mello for his wonderful work on the sax.

Us And Them – Wonderfully soothing keyboards begin this song off, and the saxophone keeps it classy. Then David, and most of the audience members combine for an epic sing-along.

In Any Tongue – The video speaks volumes about this song. Cartoon characters aside, this song takes over where John Lennon left off in terms of an anti-war protest.

High Hopes – A large bell chiming and piano keys begin this song off. David’s voice most often stays in a low, deep tone. When his voice raises a few octaves however, we all sit up and take notice. Then his steel guitar work then reels us in like a fish on a hook.

Astronomy Domine – After a 20 minute break David comes storming back with the Syd Barrett era song. This is an epic, psychedelic journey that will surely keep the oldest Pink Floyd fans happy. Of note is the Fender Esquire David uses to try and get that Syd sound .

Shine On You Crazy Diamond ( Parts I-V) – One of my favourite tunes. Written about Syd Barrett. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Syd’s passing. I can only assume he would be happy with this performance, even though David did slightly mess up the chords twice.

Fat Old Sun – The first half is a mellow acoustic affair, the second an electric onslaught. Just like chocolate and peanut butter, they go well together.

Coming Back To Life – Amazing guitar work and string bending galore set the tone for this song.

The Girl In The Yellow Dress – I was very shocked when I heard this song starting. I told my wife it was a beautiful jazz song, but did not feel it was like any other Gilmour song. I’m glad he included it though.

Today – Great guitar effects and the background singers put this song over the top.

Sorrow – The guitar takes centre stage here, and even when the other instruments and vocals join in, the riffs are all we remember.

Run Like Hell – Mere milliseconds into the song, the audience screams in approval. A perfect song to try and beat thousands of other concert goers to the subway.

Time – After pretending he is done for the night, David roars back with this song to start the encore performance. The alarm clocks tell us we better not fritter away the hours in an offhand way.

Breathe (Reprise) – We all sang along to the softly spoken magic spells.

Comfortably Numb – There was a lot of commotion near me as fellow concert goers and then paramedics were attempting to revive someone who actually was a little too comfortably numb. Perhaps they gave him a little pin prick, as he regained consciousness and was escorted off. I was still able to focus on the brilliance that was happening on stage. I was glad he was ok, and was glad I got to see David Gilmour and company.

 

David did not do any songs off of his early solo works, which is a shame, and I would prefer a different setlist from night to night on the tour. However we were treated to 22 wonderful songs, and all David, no opening act. His voice is in peak form even though the man is 70 years old. I watched clips of him singing in the 80’s and he actually sounds better now.  Many of my other musical legends do not sound like they did back in the day. David does. Even though he messed up a couple of chords on guitar, I would prefer this when I see a band live. This tells me they are actually playing the notes. Props to the camera and sound guys. It looked and sounded beautiful. I especially liked the camera focused right in on David’s guitar, where we could watch all the hand movements and string bending riffs. I suggest if you get a chance to see him play live, you go for it. It might be your last.

9.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Album Review: David Gilmour-Rattle That Lock (2015)

Before I begin the review, I will comment on the cd packaging. This album, and the album previous (On An Island from 2006), are encased in a beautiful enclosure that resemble a small, hard cover book with a cloth spine. As you open the book, and flip the pages, you can only marvel at either brilliant photography or stunning, hand drawn images. The song lyrics fill up most of the pages, so you can read along. On the rear, inside cover of each of the booklets is a unique foam pad that fits the middle of the cd perfectly. There are no plastic tabs like most other cd cases that tend to break. These 2 albums have what I might consider the best cd packaging I have ever owned. There is also a deluxe package which I regretfully did not purchase, and a vinyl edition. Now onto the review.

This album took a few listens for me to truly get it. So did his last effort, On An Island though. That last album was played once, then put on a shelf. Years later I played it again, and again. “A ha. Now I know what you were trying to accomplish David.” I thought after hearing it for the umpteenth time. This album only took 2 or three listens, but it stuck. This album may go on a shelf, but it will be a shelf close to the stereo.

5 A.M. – Sit down. Make sure you are not going to be disturbed. If you have anything that may distract you, or your thoughts make sure they clear the room and your mind. Pop on your favourite set of headphones, or use the best speakers possible. You will need to be focused to completely soak in this song. It is 3:05 of sheer, brilliance. Starting off with birds chirping, a dog barking, and some orchestral niceties. It morphs into an instrumental number that eventually focuses on Gilmour’s amazing guitar work. I was having a crap day, and I popped this in the car stereo on the way home and was instantly feeling better. I love when a song has that effect.

Rattle That Lock – The album single starts off with some wind instruments, and then the bass and drums kick in. David starts to sing and one thing is completely clear. This man has not lost a thing in the vocal department, at least in the studio. His throaty vocal style is so unique. It almost sounds as if he is expelling a gulp of air on every note. Once you hear it, you will know what I mean. At the 1:30 part of the song the Gilmour fans will get what they came for though. His guitar work is so awesome. I can pick out his playing on any song. Of note, the background vocals also add a nice touch to this song.

Faces Of Stone – Piano keys sound off in a lonely corner of the room. There is almost a feeling of loneliness. An acoustic guitar and David’s voice chime in, and one would think this was going to be a folk song. Accordion and calliope keyboard adds kind of a fair, or carnival theme to the song. However, it is not a light hearted, carnival ride. The song lyrics suggest the subject is an older person remembering lost loves and youth. Of course David’s guitar work is brilliant. That goes without saying. His guitar transforms this from a folk song back to rock. However, the addition of Hammond organ, and French Horn, along with the aforementioned instruments really add up to make a great song, in a sad, forlorn kind of way.

A Boat Lies Waiting – More lonely piano mix, seagull squawks and a mumbled spoken word segment that brings back memories of the song The Great Gig In The Sky. Also quiet, but brilliant guitar. Quiet and subtle with a big punch. Walk softly and carry a big guitar David. The piano keys get pounded with more intense finger notes, and David exhales the notes in that way he does. David Crosby and Graham Nash contribute to this song with background vocals that really bring this song to another level artistically in a CSNY way. In the lyrics David Gilmour calls this song a ‘Sad Barcarolle’. If I ever make it to Venice, I want David Gilmour to sing Barcarolle’s to my wife and I while paddling down the Grand Canal. If he gets tired paddling, David Crosby and Graham Nash can fill in. I’m buying my lottery tickets today. (This song was inspired by Rick Wright R.I.P., who lived on a boat, and co-written by David’s wife, author Polly Samson, who also contributed to 4 others on the album)

Dancing Right In Front Of Me – Subtle, quiet guitar start this song off. However 20 seconds in and the guitar amp gets turned up. This is a sign this song may be louder. It actually is a mix between quiet orchestral and heavier guitar. It is almost like an angel on one side, competing with the devil on the other.

In Any Tongue – Whistling begins this song, then some keyboard effects give an illusion of a thunderstorm out in space. The song morphs into an enigma. It can be interpreted in a few ways. I think it is either about a father that is trying to deal with a son coming back from war, while dealing with his own feelings against killing. It may also be all about a video game depicting war, and how one may have conflicted feelings after playing. It definitely is a song that gets you thinking either way.

Beauty – Again, clear the room and your mind. Get the headphones out, sit back and let the instrumental awesomeness envelope you like a thick, warm blanket. Of note the guitar work here has elements of 60’s James Bond, mixed with effects and modern styles. All of which are awesome in my book.

The Girl In The Yellow Dress – Slinky double bass, and finely tuned piano begin this song off. It has kind of a smoky jazz club feel to it. Even David tones it down to a lounge lizard level. The cornet and sax really complement this song. Any famous jazz artist would be ecstatic to have this number in their repertoire.

Today – Two female background singers begin this song off. The beginning has a kind of Auld Lang Syne feel to it. The bass and keyboards kick in and pound the woofers enough to shake the floorboards. Then the pace picks up, along with David’s vocals and guitar. This song makes your toes tap, and the funky 70’s wah pedal effects get your air guitar arms in motion. David’s vocals reach a higher range during parts of this album, and to no surprise the guitar work is brilliant.

And Then… – Ok. Comfy chair, no distractions, headphones. You know the routine. Instrumental guitar brilliance is the order of the day, and David Gilmour will be your server. Of course the electric guitar shines, but I really enjoyed the flamenco styled acoustic guitar at the end. What a wonderful way to end the album. Just like it began. The three dots at the end of this song title lead me to think David wants us to know he may be done with this album, but not done. I am completely fine with that.

For Pink Floyd fans, it has enough of classic 70’s Floyd right up to Endless River to keep you happy. For those of you that dislike Floyd there are enough elements of jazz, 70’s funk, orchestral bits and amazing guitar work to turn you into a David Gilmour fan. There truly is enough to go around here.

9.5/10

For those interested, here is an interview of Polly Samson ( David Gilmour’s wife) in which she speaks about this album, previous albums, and interesting Pink Floyd tidbits.