Showing posts with label Live. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Live. Show all posts

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cold Chisel - Ringside (2003)

Cold Chisel, the definitive Australian pub-rock band are best enjoyed in the context of a live setting. While their studio albums are enjoyable, they lack the spitfire energy of Chisel’s live releases. There’s a chemistry between Ian Moss (guitar/vocals), Don Walker (piano/keyboard), Jimmy Barnes (vocals), Steven Prestwich (drums & percussion), Phil Small (bass), and guest musicians Andy Bickers (saxaphone), David Blight (harmonica) that is at its fullest when the band is performing live.

In 2003 Cold Chisel embarked on a reunion tour. Ringside, captures the enthusiasm and energy of that tour to full effect, making this one of the best live albums released by ANY rock band from ANY country… ever.

The performances on this album from the piss and vinegar misogyny of Goodbye Astrid to the somber melancholy of When the War Is Over are all powderkegs of energy and emotion.

With 32 songs on 2 CDs clocking in at over two and a quarter hours, this release captures an excellent sample of the best music this band has given to Australia over the entire tenure of their careers. From their self-titled debut in 1978 to their 1998 reunion album, The Last Wave of Summer this live release covers an excellent mix of up-tempo (Home and Brokenhearted, Khe Sanh, Hound Dog, The Things I Love In You), mid-tempo (Cheap Wine, Rosaline, Saturday Night, Shipping Steel, Forever Now), and slower material (Flame Trees, Lovelight, Four Walls, Water Into Wine).

The vocals are shared between the gravelly growl of Jimmy Barnes, the Warren Zevon-eque rasp of drummer Steven Prestwich, and the smooth tenor of guitarist Ian Moss giving the concert as a whole a very vocally balanced feel. Perhaps the greatest illustrations of the vocal diversity of Chisel are the 2 versions of All I Wanna Do that close out both CDs 1 and 2. Steve Prestwich’s vocals on the song at the end of disc 1 bear a stark contrast to Jimmy Barnes more gravelly delivery of the same song at the end of disc 2.

Don Walker’s keyboard and piano playing is also highlighted on this release—whether it’s the somber tones he adds to When the War Is Over or the roadhouse boogie feel he adds to songs like Goodbye Astrid and The Things I Love In You his talent continues to shine.

Whether you’re familiar with or new to Cold Chisel, Ringside is a must have.

Related Links
Cold Chisel - Khe Sanh (Live 2003)

Cold Chisel - Bow River (Live 2003)

Cold Chisel - Goodbye Astrid (Live 2003)

Cold Chisel - HoundDog (Live 2003)

Cold Chisel - Flame Trees (Live 2003)

Cold Chisel - When the War Is Over (Live 2003)

Cold Chisel (Wikipedia entry)
Cold Chisel - The Best of Cold Chisel (1998) review
Various Artists - Standing On the Outside: The Songs of Cold Chisel (2007)review
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dream Theater - Score (2006)

Accusations of "been there, done that" would not be out of place when talking about Dream Theater's latest release. Being their 5th live album (although in all fairness, their Live at the Marquee album from the early nineties was an import-only release for stateside fans, so maybe that one doesn't really count).

The frequency of their live albums can be forgiven in this instance... The setlist on this exceptional release is considerably different than that of their Live at Budokan live set from 2004, and on two of the three discs they are backed by a full orchestra.

It's the orchestral arrangements on discs 2 and 3 that give this exceptional release a certain extra chutzpah to set it apart from their other live albums.

Both Octavarium and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence benefit tremendously from the orchestral treatment. There are orchestral nuances and embellishments that really add tremendously to the performances of those songs in particular.

But it's not just those tracks that make this a must-have live set: the band dug into their archives for Another Won which is from their 1986 demo when they were still known as Majesty and fronted by the emminently unlistenable lead vocalist, Chris Collins. James LaBrie's vocals take a song that was previously unlistenable and make it an absolute treat to listen to. They also play Raise the Knife which had been recorded for 1997's Falling Into Infinity but had not made it onto the album itself. It's these extra tracks in addition to the orchestral arrangements which make this live set one that is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

Related links
Dream Theater Images and Words (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Awake (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Home (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Live in Cleveland 9-3-02 (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Octavarium (Review Revue)
Dream Theater Score ( link)
Dream Theater Official Site

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Howland-Imboden Project - Live at the Baked Potato (2003)

Keith Howland has been Chicago's guitarist since 1995, Tris Imboden has been their drummer since 1990. Not content to merely exist within the confines of the touring nostalgia act they're now a part of, Howland and Imboden opted to release an album of instrumental jazz/rock fusion in 2002 and followed up that release with this live album in 2003.

Showing themselves as far more than the mere "hired guns" they are for Chicago, Howland and Imboden really stretch out and show what they're capable of. The chemistry between the two of them is unmistakable (after the seven tours they'd performed together on with Chicago, one would certainly hope they'd found some level of chemistry).

While the music is relaxed and generally unoffensive, it also shows a much different side to both musicians than the musical karaoke they've been doing for their "day jobs" for the past several years. Where Chicago is their pay-check, this album shows a labour of love and it also demonstrates that these guys are more than just Terry Kath and Danny Seraphine "substitutes."

Much of the material on this CD, all original compositions by Howland and Imboden, would not sound out of place on a Larry Carlton or Lee Ritenour album, at the same time it has enough individuality and spunk to be very much the product of Keith and Tris.

Stand-out tracks include the hauntingly emotive Philly Blue (the most frequent victim of my repeat button), the upbeat Cement Mixer, and the laidback Fallin' in a Hole but the album as a whole is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Asia Web Release

Geoffrey Downes, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, John Wetton

The Four Original Members of ASIA

are delighted to announce the following dates have been confirmed for their September 2006 US tour.

1 - JIM THORPE, PA - Penns PeakSat
2 - ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Trump Marina CasinoSun
3 - MASHATUCKET, CT - Foxwood �Casino
7 - BOSTON, MA - Avalon Ballroom
8 - NEW YORK, NY - Nokia Theater
9 - NEW YORK, NY - Nokia Theater
10 - NORWALK, CT - Oyster Festival
12 - RED BANK, NJ - Count Basie Theater
13 - PHILADELPHIA, PA - Keswick Theater
15 - CLEVELAND, OH - House of Blues
16 - CHICAGO, IL - Park West
17 - MILWAUKEE, WI - Pabst Theater
20 - LONG BEACH, CA - The Vault
21 - LAS VEGAS, NV - House of Blues
22 - FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ - Radisson Casino
23 - AGOURA HILLS, CA - Canyon Club
24 - PALM DESERT, CA - McCallum Theater

This makes me doubleplushappy!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hunters & Collectors - Living in Large Rooms and Lounges (1995)

If this double live set is any indication, I was born in the wrong country. Easily one of the best live albums I've ever heard, Hunters & Collectors exude a chameleon-like live energy that adapts to the size of the venue they're playing.

Disc 1 features H&C playing a rather intimate and more acoustic gig at the Continental Cafe. Among the highlights are their Aussie hit Throw Your Arms Around Me, their cover of John Hiatt's The Most Unoriginal Sin, The Slab, their anthemic Holy Grail, and the infectious Easy.

Lead vocalist Mark Seymour doesn't sing, he bleeds the emotion out of every song, every lyric. Even on The Most Unoriginal Sin, Seymour manages to make the song all his own.

Disc 2 features a selection of live performances from some of the larger pubs H&C played. There's a decidedly more electric feel to the material and there's something positively electric to hearing the audience singing "You don't make me feel like I'm a woman any more" on H&C's live staple Say Goodbye.

While there is some overlap of songs (Easy, Say Goodbye, and Holy Grail appear on both discs) the performances of the songs on the 2 discs are different enough to keep the album consistently interesting.

In addition to Seymour's empassioned vocals, the rhythm section is tight-- and much as it should be, the electric bass tends to be higher or at least equal in the mix with the guitar and the tight horn arrangements round out and give their songs that extra brass punch which sets Hunters & Collectors apart from so many other groups.

For those who are unfamiliar, the best way to describe Hunters & Collectors:

Bono + Michael Hutchence + a killer rhythm section + The Tower of Power horn section = Hunters & Collectors

Unfortunately, in 1998 Hunters & Collectors released their final album, Juggernaut, and proceded to go their seperate ways. Luckily, Living in Large Rooms & Lounges encapsulates the live performances which made this great band such a fixture of the eighties and nineties Aussie pub rock scene.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Robert Lamm - Live at the Knitting Factory 4-23-05

In his 39 years with Chicago Robert Lamm has proven himself to be an accomplished songwriter with such classics as Beginnings, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, 25 or 6 to 4, and Saturday In the Park to name just a handful of his more recognizable songs.

Those outside Chicago's cadre of die-hard fans may not be aware that Lamm has also released a handful of solo albums including 1973's Skinny Boy, 1993's Life Is Good In My Neighbourhood, 1997's In My Head, and 2003's Subtlety and Passion not to mention a trio project he recorded with Gerry Beckley (of America) and the late Carl Wilson (of the Beach Boys) in the years leading up to Carl Wilson's death in 1997 (the trio album, Like a Brother, was released posthumously in the summer of 2000).

Despite his outside efforts, Lamm's live performances as a solo artist can be counted on a single hand, his performances on US soil can be counted with a single index finger. And this live bootleg is that index finger (or, if you prefer, middle finger).

This small and intimate live performance was given to celebrate the release of Lamm's Leap of Faith: Live in New Zealand CD. Opening for Lamm and the small band he put together was the Howland-Imboden Project a small jazz side-project of Chicago guitarist Keith Howland and drummer Tris Imboden (with special guest bassist, Jason Scheff).

To lend a certain air of familiarity to the Chicago material, Lamm's performance was augmented by a 3 piece horn section led by Chicago trumpeter, Lee Loughnane. Jason Scheff lent his voice and bass chops to Lamm for some excellent background vocals (particularly on Watching the Time Go By-- while Scheff is no Carl Wilson, he did handle the Wilson b/g vocal parts respectably).

The set focused heavily on a mix of material from Lamm's most recent solo album, Subtlety and Passion and some of Lamm's better known Chicago material (including Beginnings, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is, Saturday In the Park, and 25 or 6 to 4) with a small smattering of tracks from his Life Is Good In My Neighbourhood and In My Head albums.

Perhaps the biggest treats were 25 or 6 to 4 which Lamm sang lead on, possibly for the first time since he recorded the demo back in 1969. In addition to Lamm's vocals there's some fiery guitar work shared by Hank Lindenman and Chicago's own Keith Howland. The other "treat" is All the Years which not only appeared on Lamm's Life Is Good In My Neighbourhood album but also would have been the opening track on Chicago's ill-fated unreleased Stone of Sisyphus album.

The bootleg also includes what I believe were the songs Lamm performed during his sound check, another take of All the Years as well as When Will the World Be Like Lovers which was initially recorded by Chicago for Chicago 18 but ended up not making it onto the album. It did however later appear on Lamm's Life Is Good In My Neighbourhood album.

Perhaps what makes this live set so enjoyable is that it hearkens back to Chicago's much more creative period in the seventies and shows that Lamm still has the songwriting chops which made him the premier songwriter for Chicago in their seventies heyday.

(see also Michael Fortes review on the Rasputin Manifesto)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dream Theater - Live in Cleveland 9/03/02

*Note: This post originally appeared in my other blog on 9/4/02, just a few hours after I returned from the concert.

I lost my live Dream Theater virginity at this show... and the boys weren't at all gentle... THANK GOD! I loved every minute of it! I've never been that pumped or full of energy at ANY other concert I've ever been to... WOW, that's all I can say... 1/3 of the concert was okay (King's X), 1/3 was AMAZING (Satriani), and 1/3 was und*mnf*ckingpardonmewhileIgochangemyundiesbelieveable (Dream Theater). I mean they blew me away.

They played Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence in its entirety... (and held the audience in the palms of their hands for all 40+ minutes of the song). They also played 6:00, Home, New Millennium and their encore was Pull Me Under in which the audience sang along to... I was standing for most of Satriani's and Dream Theater's sets singing along to Pull Me Under with the rest of the crowd. James LaBrie has fantastic stage presence, he's a huge ball of energy (that looks like Fabio meets the Pilsbury Dough Boy up close) and the audience just feeds off that energy. I think the coolest part was they kept the Siamese Monster under cover until JUST before Dream Theater took the stage... Then one of the roadies pulled the cover away and there was the biggest (pardon my french here..) f*cking drum kit I have EVER seen... I mean, pardon me while I go back to Cleveland to pick my jaw up off the ground. The drum kit is so huge that the only time you see Mike Portnoy is when he stands up to play... from time to time you see sticks being tossed in the air mid-beat and caught (without missing a beat), and arms that are moving faster than the speed of light. When Portnoy left the stage before the encore a roadie put a prizefighter's robe on him (black w/ white trim), on the back of the robe it read: "Iron Mike Portnoy" (very tongue in cheek, Portnoy isn't that pretentious). As he came back for the encore, the robe was removed again and he went apesh*t on the drums for Pull Me Under. After the encore he threw his sticks and the tambourine out in the audience.

John Petrucci was ON... and John Myung started out by playing a Chapman stick... and Jordan Rudess was WOWing me with his keyboard wizardry (and since he's grown a beard and moustache... he also wowed me with his uncanny resemblance to Jesus. I mean, I was expecting him to start throwing loaves of bread and fish into the audience).

By the end of the night my hands were sore from clapping and my throat was sore from singing along to Pull Me Under at the top of my lungs... Queen once did a song called Pain is So Close to Pleasure now I know what they meant... No sweeter ache than that of sore hands and sore throat after a concert like that. At any rate... I still hear the concert CLEARLY in my head and I'm still riding the vibe from it... what a rush!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Chicago - Live @ Park West 8-6-1982

After Terry Kath’s death in January 1978, Chicago had a bit of trouble finding themselves. While the 1978 tour with former Steve Stills side-man, Donnie “Hot Licks” Dacus on guitar and vocals was full of the fire and energy of a band embarking on a new beginning with a new producer and guitarist. The 1979 disco follow-up XIII saw a significant drop in sales and the departure of Dacus.

After departing longtime label, Columbia Records. Chicago found resurgence with their new guitarist, Chris Pinnick, keyboardist/vocalist Bill Champlin, and svengali producer David Foster.

This bootleg captures the energy of that new beginning. For the first time since Terry’s death, the band had someone to cover Terry’s soulful vocals on songs like Make Me Smile in Bill Champlin.

While this soundboard recording is exceptional, the performances seem to be sped up, as if the band had gotten caught in the cocaine infused blur of the late seventies and early eighties. Kicking it up from 33 to 45 RPMs—even their prom-fodder; If You Leave Me Now and Hard to Say I’m Sorry sounded a bit more frenetic than on their studio releases.

There are some interesting flourishes like the organ intro replacing the normally instantly recognizable piano intro to Saturday In the Park and Chris Pinnick’s hard driving guitar solo on Follow Me—one of Chicago’s most underrated songs. The drum solo which in recent years has been performed by Tris Imboden on the tail end of Beginnings is found instead being performed by original drummer, Danny Seraphine, at the end of the Spencer Davis Group classic I’m a Man. Another interesting addition to the set is Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’. While I’ve always enjoyed the song, it doesn’t quite sound right with Peter Cetera’s tenor vocals. Bill Champlin’s more soulful baritone would have done much more justice to this classic.

One of my disappointments of this set is the lack of vocal interplay between Peter Cetera and Bill Champlin. Part of what made Chicago 16 and later Chicago 17 so appealing was the combination of Champlin’s soulful baritone and Cetera’s soaring tenor. Their vocal styles complimented each other in a way Chicago had not experienced before and has not really experienced since. It’s to Chicago’s detriment that they did not take advantage of the vocal chemistry the two vocalists shared.

Despite the shortcomings this is an excellent set from an all-too-brief period in this band's long history.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Asia - Enso Kai (Live in Tokyo) (2001)

I'm a HUGE fan of John Wetton, but I really must commend Greg Lake on his performances on this CD. His vocals are so close to Wetton's that it's hard to believe that it's not Wetton.

There's a good reason that Wetton "replaced" Greg Lake in King Crimson and it's with much similar reason that Lake briefly "replaced" Wetton in Asia... their voices are so eerily similar it's amazing. Lake's British accent shows a little bit more in his singing voice but only if you're really listening for it.

Carl Palmer's drumming is fantastic as always, Downes keyboard playing is exceptional and Steve Howe... well it's Steve Howe... what more needs to be said?

The sound quality on this disc is supposedly superior to the Live In Hallowed Halls CD with Wetton on vocals, but I don't have that CD so I have no room for comparison.

Good song selection but I miss Daylight and where's Don't Cry? I have an mp3 of Lake singing Daylight that's absolutely fantastic... Why it didn't make this CD release is beyond me. This disc would get 5 stars if not for the omission of those 2 tracks. Still a solid performance.