New York City or Newark? That was the question we had to answer when the Rush R40 Tour dates were announced. It's always cool seeing a show at Madison Square Garden, but it was a Monday night which means hauling ass to the train station right after work, granted pre-gaming on the train ride down is always nice, but then the fight for a taxi back to Grand Central afterward and the almost two hour ride home which always seems so much longer after a show. Newark on the other hand was a Saturday and not a bad drive, so most of the gang opted for Newark this past Saturday night.
So all together we had 11 of us coming in 3 different cars from different locations and a train from the city all looking to meet at around 6pm for a bit of a hang before heading into the Prudential Center. The ticket said 7:30 and we knew there was no opening band on this tour...we didn't know how punctual Rush would be, but didn't want to chance missing anything.
It looked like the rain would put a bit of a damper on things (yes, bad pun intended) in regards to our pre-concert hang...but the real bummer was the fact that the usual lot we park in right outside the Prudential center raised the parking rate to $50!!! Yes, fifty friggin bucks! Our friends got rooked into that, but we found the indoor deck about two blocks away for half that. Got all good and parked about 6:30 after weaving our way through the army of bootleg shirt salesmen out in force like I haven't seen in a long time!
We played "Signals" and drank some beer. I had picked up Dos Equis and realized my faux pas...it should have been Molson's in honor of the Canadian Rock Gods we were going to see. We compared tales of the first, best etc times we saw the boys (First for me was 1990, the "Presto" tour at the Brendan Byrne Arena when it was called that in NJ...Mr. Big opened...best would by far be this night.) Oddly enough, "Presto" was one of the band's few studio albums (hell they got 20 and did stuff from 14 of them) they would not visit on our journey back in time tonight.
I guess anytime a band tours without a new album, it is in essence a trip through time, but Rush did it in a very linear fashion, playing the songs they chose for the setlist in order by album release starting with the newest and ending the night with a pair off their debut.
We headed in at 7:20 and were just outside our section in the mezzanine on Geddy's side of the stage when the lights went down and their intro video started at about 7:45. Perfect timing.
The first set of the night was 10 songs which covered the most recent 30 years of Rush's career opening with "The Anarchist" from their last album Clockwork Angels and ending the set about an hour later with the ever popular "Subdivision" off of Signals.
It's a bold move few bands, even those of legendary stature, could pull off. Imagine the Rolling Stones opening their show with four songs off their two newest albums? The beer lines would be tremendous, but Rush fans are all in so following the opening numbers was "Headlong Flight" also off of Clockwork which featured a mini drum solo from Neil Peart.
Next was a pair from 2007's "Snakes & Arrows" with "Far Cry" and the killer "The Main Monkey Business."
At this point let me talk about what was going on on stage. As the band took us back in time, there was a constant group of "roadies" who were changing out the set on stage to somewhat match the tour for the album the songs were coming off of. The set started with the steam punkishness of late and was converted into the washing machine/time travel motif as the set went on.
The first album Rush skipped over was their cover album "Feedback" and went right into "How It Is" off 2002's Vapor Trails.
As we entered the 1990's, they touched on two of their 3 releases from that decade with "Animate" off Counterparts followed by the title track to "Roll The Bones."
This would also mark the first Dinklage appearance of the night.
I certainly remember when "Roll The Bones" was released and all the talk about Rush rapping. Well overtime it appears fans love the rap and Rush got a bunch of their high profile fans to lip sync along with the rap section on the screens when it hit that part. There was Tom Morello, Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, The Trailer Park Boys and others including Peter Dinklage (currently of "Game of Thrones").
But as I said...it would not be the only Dinklage sighting of the night.
We were flying back in time at a furious pace at this point and jumped over both Hold Your Fire and Power Windows to 1984's Grace Under Pressure for "Between The Wheels."
After finishing, Geddy said they were going to go a bit "off script" tonight and wanted to welcome a guest to the stage to help on the next song. It would be our second Dinklage of the night, this time it was violinist Jonathan (Peter's brother), brought out to play "Losing It" off of Signals for just the second time on this tour.
Then the set ended on a huge note with the "hit" off Signals - "Subdivisions"
Again that is a hell of a setlist that is not meant for the casual fan. No "Big Money", "Distant Early Warning", "Time Stand Still", but the audience was all there fully engaged the whole time.
The audience knew this also meant the rest of the night would be spent with the classic first 8 albums!
A screen dropped in front of the stage and there was about a 20 minute intermission at this point. We went out to hit the bathroom and grab another tasty beverage and met up with two of our crew who we missed in the parking lot earlier for a few minutes, but soon it was time to head back to the seats where another humorous video titled "No Country for Old Hens" played which ended with the South Park kids introing "Tom Sawyer" off 1981's Moving Pictures.
At this point the stage had been reset as Moving Pictures is basically Rush at the peak of their Hard Rock glory and there was a huge wall of Marshall amps behind Alex and a huge wall of amps behind Geddy as well. Alex's drum head was now the 2112 classic image. As before, during this set and the encore, as Rush went back in time, more and more amps were removed and by the time they got to their debut album at the end of the set, both Alex and Geddy simply had a single amp behind them actually sitting each sitting on a school chair which is how it must have looked at their earliest gigs.
We knew we'd get another of Moving Pictures and Rush have been rotating "YYZ", "Red Barchetta" and "The Camera Eye" which is what we got. I was really surprised. I was sure they would save that for MSG on Monday with it's lyrics mentioning New Yorkers and the streets of Manhattan (MSG got "Red Barchetta").
We stepped back another year to 1980 for "The Spirit of Radio" off Permanent Waves and then a real deep cut with "Jacob's Ladder" off the same album which hadn't been played in decades before this current tour.
At last we moved into the 70's with "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres Part I: Prelude" from Hemispheres and continued with "Cygnus X-1" (The Voyage Part 1 and 3) from A Farewell To Kings.
Neil did his amazing drum solo between part 1 and part 3.
A Farewell to Kings got major love with "Closer to the Heart" next up. This was the only technical glitch of the night with some major distortion on the acoustic guitar for the first 10 or 15 seconds before it became recognizable.
Stayed with Farewell for a triple shot. Next up was an absolutely amazing version of "Xanadu"
2112 would end the second set with:
Part I: Overture
Part II: The Temples of Syrinx
Part IV: Presentation
Part VII: Grand Finale
Yes the audience was pretty much going ape shit at this time (although not really in our section 112 for some odd reason. We were and the dudes in front of us were and the dude next to me was...but everyone was really mellow)
Another video during the encore break, this one starring Eugene Levy called "Mel's Rock Pile" and then the boys came out for the final four opening with "Lakeside Park" from Caress of Steel. They only played about the first half before morphing into "Anthem" from Fly By Night. I think there must have been an 11:00pm curfew as they normally seem to play all of Lakeside Park and it was getting damn close to 11pm.
The night would end with "What You're Doing" and "Working Man" off the self titled 1974 debut.
WOW is all I can say. I stated earlier how before the show we discussed our first and best Rush shows...everyone of us agreed this was the best Rush show we'd ever seen. Really amazing and the way the show builds with this trip through time is incredible.
My buddy and I decided then and there we were going to go see them again at Madison Square Garden tonight (I'm writing this on 6/29) but we found it was all sold out and cheapest scalped tix were running about two bills, so a tad too expensive, but man, so glad I got to see this tour. Doesn't sound like it will come back around, but if it does I'm there. (Just took a peak at the MSG setlist...same as ours except Distant Early Warning instead of Between The Wheels and Red Barchetta instead of Camera Eye...they even got the double Dinklage and Losing it. I had a bunch of friends going so glad to see their show appears to have been killer as well!)
Click on any of the photos to supersize view them. If you dug this review, please go to the Most People Are Blank Facebook page by clicking here and click follow to join. Also follow on twitter at @MostPeopleBlank As always - Rock on and Enjoy - Paul
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
The Prophets of Addiction are more Rock n Roll than you could ever hope to be. I don't want you to take that as a challenge, it's just pretty much a fact.
In the next few months they are probably going to travel to your town on their current tour. They're gonna find a venue (in Kingston, NY they found the best live venue around - The Anchor on Broadway). They're gonna come on late. You're probably gonna have to work the next day and they're gonna rock your ass with more than a baker's dozen worth of songs they wrote.
They're gonna do this many times in front of few people because you never heard of them. They'll hopefully get enough gas money to get to the next gig. You should buy merch when you see a band like this. They are living off of rider drinks, maybe a burger, the cheers you throw in the air, and one would hope many groupies.
I'll end it here. They kicked Kingston's ass tonight. Next time they come around join me and if you see them playing your town, go and rock.
Go to our facebook page and click like and follow. Rock on - Paul
Thursday, May 21, 2015
"Super Group" is thrown around so often these days, it's a hard term to trust, but when you have a group made up of three current inductees in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and four members who long ago should have been inducted...well dammit, that friends is a super group called Kings of Chaos.
Kings of Chaos was brought together by Matt Sorum (of Guns n Roses - Rock Hall inductee) and includes his GnR bandmates Duff McKagan (also Rock Hall inductee) and Gilby Clarke (okay...why wasn't Gilby inducted into the Rock Hall with the rest of the band?! Everyone else was including Dizzy Reed! I call some serious bullshit here but I digress) to form the core rhythm section of the group. He then brought on Steve Stevens (Billy Idol's guitarist and collaborator - who should be in the Rock Hall) for lead guitar. He just needed to fill out the band with some killer vocalists.
Kings of Chaos has a triple threat in that department. ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons (yep, already in the Rock Hall) plus Robin Zander of Cheap Trick and Glenn Hughes, most notably of Deep Purple. Don't even get me started on the fact that Trick and Purple are not in the Rock Hall!
So shit. That's a group kids.
These true rock super groups tend to tour every continent outside of North America pretty regularly during the last few years, but it's rare they make an appearance on these shores. This was no different. Kings of Chaos only did two North American shows. One in Florida the night before this and this one.
This was another of those shows I didn't expect to go to. I was selling incredibly cool stuff at the Rock n Roll Flea Market in Kingston that Saturday and thought I would be tied up until at least 5pm and even with a heavy foot on the gas pedal and no traffic, Foxwoods is still about a three hour drive, so I was going to pass.
Then about 2 days before the show, out of the blue Foxwoods emails me and says I can RSVP for a comp ticket. So I did that, but knew I would still have to play it by ear.
The concert gods once again looked over me on Saturday and I was able to hit the road right at five and hauled ass to Foxwoods. Got super lucky traffic wise and pulled into the parking garage at 7:55 (ticket said show was to start at 8).
I'm pretty sure Foxwoods is the largest casino in the United States (maybe the world) and it always seems the only parking I can find is in the lot lot where I have to literally walk through the whole casino to get to the newer section where the Grand Theater is located. I honestly think it was about a mile walk through the busy Saturday night crowd. I get there and have to get a new copy of my rewards card as I had lost my old one and you need it to pick up the ticket. Then I go to the box office and they said I never RSVP'd (I did) and eventually they print me out what ended up being an awesome seat - front row in the mezzanine. It's probably about 8:20 at this point.
As I had my ticket scanned and was walking in I could hear they were in the middle of Cheap Trick's standard concert opener "Hello There"
Not bad, I only missed half a song (although one I love).
It became immediately apparent this was going to be a hits filled night when they went right into "Surrender" followed by "I Want You to Want Me". Damn...the boys weren't playing around!
As I stated above, for most of the night, the core group on stage was Steve Stevens on lead guitar and Duff McKagan on bass.
Gilby Clarke on rhythm guitar and Matt Sorum on drums.
Overall the band was great but not really tight. It was obvious at times they did not have much rehearsal. So sure, there were some missed lyrics here, some wrong notes there, but overall it was fantastic. I think these two small shows in the US (I think the Grand Theater only holds about 2500 - and it was very close to full with a very energetic totally into it crowd) were basically their rehearsals before they head out on the real tour where they will be playing to very large audiences. I'll take the warts and all show to get to see this lineup!
After the opening salvo of Cheap Trick songs, Robin introduced the mighty Glenn Hughes before leaving the stage. It was time for a double shot of Deep Purple starting with "Highway Star" and then going into a massive crowd singalong for "Smoke on The Water."
Leaving the stage with the crowd on their feet, Glenn introduced Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Now ZZ Top easily have at least 10 HUGE radio hits and it seems like that was what this show was all about, so it cooled the crowd down quite a bit when the first two songs Billy played were the two slow blues openers of ZZ Top's third album "Tres Hombres" - first "Waitin' for the Bus" and then "Jesus Just Left Chicago"
The general consensus was Cheap Sunglasses, Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers, Sleeping Bag, Gimme All Your Lovin or any of the other hit songs would have been perhaps been a better choice, but hell, I'm no Billy Gibbons and it's a minor observation not even complaint.
I will say Billy never lost the crowd though, I think one more deep cut might have done it, but instead Billy said they were going to go back, way back for the next one and he started playing the instantly recognizable opening riff to Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady"
The Hendrix cover went right into ZZ Top's "La Grange." Yep, now Billy had the crowd in the palm of his hand!
When the crowd calmed down after "La Grange" Billy said he was going to bring out Glenn to help with a tribute to B.B. King who had passed away the previous day. Glenn's vocals on King's "The Thrill Is Gone" were outstanding.
Glenn and Billy then left the stage and Gilby took on lead vocals. He said this song was also for B.B. and asked the crowd to sing along which they did quite loudly on the Guns n Roses version of Bob Dylan's "Knockin on Heaven's Door"
Robin Zander then came back out to join the band for GnR's "Mr. Brownstone"
Robin stayed on stage to do vocals on the Billy Idol classic "Rebel Yell"
and then another Cheap Trick classic "Dream Police"
Robin then left bringing Glenn back out for an amazing take on Deep Purple's "Burn"
Glenn then tagged Billy back in to end the main set with ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" followed by "Tush" (with Robin on lead vocals on the latter)
After a very short encore break, everyone came back out on stage and Matt Sorum introduced the band members
They then did a killer version of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and ended the night with Guns n Roses' "Paradise City."
It was a solid two hour rock fest and I hope the crowd reaction to this show lets them know there is an audience for this in America.
Click on any of the photos to super size view them. If you dug this please go click like on the Most People Are Blank Facebook page to follow, comment and be kept up to date on any contests. As always Rock on and Enjoy! - Paul