Triptykon

            For readers not familiar with Triptykon or Tom Gabriel “Warrior” Fischer’s (“TF’s,” vocalist, guitarist) previous bands Celtic Frost and Hellhammer, it can be difficult to convey their power and darkness.  It is the auditory equivalent of having one’s head (1) run over by a steam roller (steam engine?powered industrial construction machinery used to level roadways with a large drum fitted in place of wheels) or (2) rammed by a wrecking ball (heavy, steel ball hung from a crane used to demolish large buildings).  On Saturday, October 23, 2010, Triptykon played at San Francisco’s 400?seat capacity Slim’s nightclub that was half full (approximations presumed throughout).  Triptykon played a seven?song, 67-minute set from 11:23 to 12:30.  

 

            –Crucifixus (tape intro) (Shatter record, 2010).  The show began with a pre?recorded tape track of Crucifixus, a 4:10 instrumental essentially comprised of Vanja Slajh (“VS,” bassist) striking a very downtuned, distorted bass note every 10 seconds.  The band members walked on stage.  VS wore a black camisole covered by an off?black spandex shirt with elbow?length sleeves, black cotton skirt, black spandex pants, black sweatband on her right forearm, and black calf?length combat boots.  VS’s forehead featured a faint black greasepaint mark of an upside down cross.  VS played a black five?string bass with standard Fender Stratocaster body shape and used one Ampeg amplifier (“amp”).

 

           1. Procreation (of the Wicked) (Celtic Frost cover: Morbid Tales, 1984) began with TF’s grunt of “Ugh” immediately followed by 10 bars of the mid tempo, hook?laden guitar riffs during the 35?second musical introduction preceding the first verse accompanied by Norman Lonhard’s (“NL’s,” drummer) mid tempo drum beats and VS’s bass lines.  TF wore a black beanie, long?sleeve button?down off?black cotton shirt (collar buttoned and untucked with short even hemline), black denim pants, and black combat boots.  TF’s outfit was accented with (1) black greasepaint makeup around his eyes and five streaks of varying lengths around each eye that trailed down his face and (2) cross necklace with four onyx stones around a diamond.  TF played an Ibanez Iceman model guitar with the entire face featuring artwork by Hans Rudolf Giger (Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor, and set designer who won an Academy Award for Best Achievement for Visual Effects for his design work on the horror film “Alien” (1979)) and used two 100?watt Marshall amps.  TF then sang the first verse in an ominous tone accompanied by alternating mid tempo, chugging guitar riffs and chord progressions, with the latter particularly effective in creating a fluid, syncopated feel.  During the three?second musical interlude between the first verse and chorus and first chorus itself TF and Viktor Bullok (a.k.a. V. Santura) (“VB,” guitarist) continued to play the same chugging guitar riffs and chord progressions.  The chorus was comprised of TF twice chanting, “Procreation of the wicked.”  

            TF and VB then played six bars of the mid tempo, hook?laden riffs from the song’s introduction.  TF then transitioned without pause to the second verse and repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  TF and VB then played eight bars of the mid tempo, hook?laden riffs from the song’s introduction, the difference being the addition of short, droning notes accented with vibrato.  TF then repeated the pattern from the first and second verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus, the difference being TF added the phrase “. . . of the wicked.”  The third verse contains interesting lyrics, “Cain and Abel’s love and death.  Love and hate is what we are.  Dagger and grail are . . . fallen off the altar.”  After the third chorus TF and VB played six bars of the mid tempo, hook?laden guitar riffs from the introduction.  TF then sang the fourth verse.  During the 30?second musical interlude between the fourth verse and chorus TF and VB added four bars of a new guitar riff followed by six bars of the mid tempo, hook?laden riffs from the song’s introduction during which TF sang the following lyrics in a pain?filled tone, “I’ve killed this old man because he limped.  I’ve done it because he shouldn’t have to do it.”  [TF’s lyrics give new meaning to the saying, “Putting someone out of his misery.”  I wonder what TF would have done if the old man had a more dire condition than a simple limp?!]  TF then sang the fourth chorus.

            2. Goetia (Eparistera Daimones, 2010) is an 11?minute opus the first 40 seconds of which featured two bars of TF and VB’s slow tempo, brooding guitar chord progressions.  The next 65 seconds featured even more slow tempo, brooding guitar chord progressions augmented with ample feedback from TF and VB’s Marshall amps.  During the next 25 seconds NL played a slow tempo drum beat with ample use of his cymbals while TF and VB played recurring distorted guitar notes.  With a few hits of NL’s snare drum the song’s tempo suddenly shifted to a frenetic thrash pace for 25 seconds during which NL played thundering double bass drums and VS a heavy bass line while TF and VB continued to play recurring, distorted guitar notes.  NL wore a black tank top and played a black?to?orange fade Mapex drum kit, double bass drums, Sabian cymbals, and the drum heads featured the white Mapex logo against a black background.  NL’s drum set was on a 10?inch high off?black felt pad riser.  TF sang the first verse in a hybrid thrash?death tone augmented by NL’s thundering double bass drums, VS’s galloping, heavy bass lines, and TF and VB’s mid tempo, ominous guitar riffs reminiscent of early Black Sabbath.  The lyrics set the mood for the song, “Satan, savior, father.  Lord, constructor of my world.  Master, destroyer, redeemer.  Guide me, I am the open wound.”  [Candid, haunting lyrics, particularly for an impressionable young fan, including me when I first heard this song in 1985.  Dr. Seuss (pen name for American children’s books writer, cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel) writes about green eggs and ham while TF writes about subjects so dark I felt as if I would observe the stage rumble, smoke billow out from beneath an ever?widening fissure (i.e., crack), and Lucifer’s wretched hand extend out to grasp TF around his hips.]

            TF transitioned without pause to the first chorus, which he sang in a death metal tone augmented by his and VB’s mid tempo ominous guitar chord progressions and NL’s up tempo snare drum beats.  The tempo then momentarily reduced to a slow tempo pace as TF sang the second verse during which he and VB played the ominous, guitar riffs from the first verse, albeit at a slow tempo.  During the 25?second musical interlude between the second and third verses the tempo resumed the frenetic thrash pace preceding the first verse with NL playing thundering double bass drums and VS playing a heavy bass line while TF and VB continued to play recurring, distorted guitar notes.  TF then repeated the pattern from the second verse and first chorus when he sang the third verse and second chorus (repeat of first chorus), the difference being that the third verse also featured NL playing his tom?toms.  The tempo then once again momentarily reduced to a slow tempo pace as TF sang the fourth verse (repeat of second verse).  During the 30?second musical interlude between the fourth and fifth verses TF and VB played slow tempo guitar riffs.

            The tempo then resumed a mid tempo pace as TF chanted the fifth verse in a hybrid thrash?death metal tone, “Bearer of light, thou haveth fallen from heaven.  Evoke thy servants and release their eternal spell.  My heart is black, my heart is dead.  Spirits enter into me, let me ascend.”  During the 90?second musical interlude between the fifth verse and third chorus (repeat of first chorus) TF and VB played a combination of mid tempo ominous and chugging guitar riffs with the latter reminiscent of Reign in Blood era (1986) Slayer.  TF then sang the third chorus (repeat of first chorus) still at a mid tempo pace.  The tempo then once again momentarily reduced to a slow tempo pace as TF sang the sixth verse (repeat of second verse) followed by VB’s 40?second guitar solo augmented by TF’s mid tempo guitar riffs.  TF then four times repeated the bridge in an ominous tone, “Lie upon lie mankind shall die.”  The song ended amidst a sea of guitar feedback.  [At the end of the song I felt as if someone had taken a ball peen hammer and steadily whacked my brittle skull like a semi?hard?boiled egg.]

            3. Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost cover: To Mega Therion, 1986).  Before Circle of the Tyrants TF said, “Thank you for making us feel at home even before we got on stage.  Enough sentimental words.”  [Given the lyrical content and ferocity of Triptykon’s songs, sentimentality is not the noun that comes to my mind, but rather death, destruction, despair, doom, desecration and a host of other words beginning with the letter “D.”]  During the 20?second musical introduction to Circle of Tyrants TF and VB played four bars of two different sets of up tempo, complicated guitar riffs augmented by NL’s tom?toms.  TF then sang the first verse while he and VB played up tempo, chugging guitar riffs.  During the five?second musical interlude between the first verse and chorus TF and VB played four bars of another series of up tempo, complicated guitar riffs.  TF shouted the chorus, “Circle of the tyrants!” and then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus, the difference being the second verse was preceded only by the second of the two sets of up tempo, complicated guitar riffs from the introduction.

            TF and VB then played four bars of the second set of up tempo, complicated guitar riffs from the introduction after which the tempo abruptly reduced to a mid tempo pace immediately before TF sang the third and fourth verses with no pause between the two verses.  TF and VB then played four bars of droning guitar riffs after which TF sang the fifth verse and then transitioned without pause and repeated the fourth verse.  TF and VB then repeated the four bars of droning guitar riffs that preceded the fifth verse after which the tempo abruptly escalated to an up tempo pace.  The band then engaged in a 40?second jam that included the up tempo, complicated guitar riffs preceding the first chorus and a 25?second VB guitar solo.  VB wore a long?sleeve button?down black cotton shirt (collar unbuttoned and untucked with short even hemline), black denim pants, and black tennis shoes.  VB played an Ibanez Iceman model black guitar and used two 100?watt Marshall amps.  The tempo abruptly again reduced to a mid tempo pace immediately before TF and VB played four bars of the droning guitar riffs preceding the fifth verse.  TF then sang the seventh and eight verses. 

            4. Abyss Within My Soul (Eparistera Daimones, 2010) is a 9:25?second opus that began with five bars of TF and VB’s slow tempo ominous, descending guitar riffs augmented by NL’s cymbal crashes that they continued to play once TF began to sing the first verse in an ominous tone.  Given the lyrics TF’s tone was fitting, “The dead are never gone.  I can feel them all around me.  I am drowning in an ocean.  How I wish that you would join them.”  [I expected actor Haley Joel Osment to appear uttering his famous line, “I see dead people,” from director M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller, “The Sixth Sense” (1999).]  TF transitioned without pause to the first pre?chorus that he sang in a tone neither thrash nor death metal, but more hellish and augmented by his and VB’s droning, downtuned guitar chords.  [The music reminded me of the soundtrack and noise effects for Clive Barker’s British horror film, “Hellraiser” (1987).]  TF then sang the first chorus in the same tone four times repeating the phrase, “Rise, abyss within my soul” augmented by his and VB’s chugging mid tempo guitar riffs.  During the 20?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse TF and VB played two bars of descending, mid tempo guitar riffs and a recurring, drawn out guitar note. 

            TF then repeated the pattern from the first verse, pre?chorus, and chorus when he sang the second verse, pre?chorus, and chorus.  During the 50?second musical interlude between the second chorus and third verse TF and VB once again played two bars of descending, mid tempo guitar riffs and a recurring, drawn out guitar note followed by two bars of heavily distorted guitar notes.  TF then sang the third verse in an ominous tone augmented by his and VB’s slow tempo descending guitar riffs from the first two verses.  During the 30?second musical interlude between the third and fourth verses TF and VB once again played two bars of heavily distorted guitar notes.  TF then repeated the pattern from the first two verses, pre?choruses, and choruses when he sang the fourth verse, third pre?chorus, and third chorus.  After the third chorus TF and VB played four bars of the heavily distorted guitar notes from the two preceding musical interludes followed by four bars of a slow tempo guitar chord progression.

            5. The Usurper (Celtic Frost cover: To Mega Therion, 1986) began with a 35?second musical introduction featuring three sets of varying up tempo guitar riffs by TF and VB (four, two, and four bars, respectively).  TF and VB continued to play the third set of guitar riffs while TF sang the first verse.  TF then transitioned without pause to the first chorus that featured a different series of up tempo guitar riffs.  During the 20?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse TF and VB played the third set of guitar riffs from the introduction. TF repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus with the second chorus a repetition of the first.

            TF then sang the bridge that featured a different series of up tempo, churning guitar riffs that transitioned without pause to a 65?second jam during which VB played a 30?second guitar solo.  TF repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus.  At the end of the song TF simply said, “Thank you.”  [I echoed the same sentiment to Triptykon.  Thank you TF and VB for pummeling my brain with a battery of guitar riffs that converted my brain to a consistency akin to mashed potato.  Thank you NL for subjecting my ears to a flurry of bass drums that made me feel as if I was within earshot of the rotors of an Apache fighter helicopter.  Thank you VS for playing bass lines so heavy and deep?seeded I realized I possess a small intestine.]

            6. Synagoga Satanae (Celtic Frost cover: Monotheist, 2006) is a 14:20?second opus epitomizing metal.  The first 1:45 minutes were comprised of TF and VB’s guitar feedback through their dual Marshall amp stacks augmented by NL’s tribal beating of his tom?toms at a slow tempo pace while TF, VB, and VS stood with their backs to the audience.  TF and VB then played five bars of a crushingly heavy, slow tempo, two?chord guitar chord progressions with ample feedback augmented by NL’s drum beats, which they continued to play when TF sang the first verse with anger and valiance.  [The feedback would have brought pride to Jimi Hendrix (late Black American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter) and Ritchie Blackmore (English rock guitarist formerly with Rainbow and Deep Purple).]  The lyrics provide a chilling insight into TF’s psyche, “Internalized conflict externalized as war.  Hymning thy rebellion Lucifer morning star.  Bringer of light, forever shrouded by night.  I am hell, a sulphurous lake of fire and suffering.”  [Demented, poetic, insightful, alarming and a whole host of other conflicting adjectives describe TF’s outlook, perfect for TF to itemize in his on?line dating biography.  If Ted Bundy (American serial killer) managed to get a slew of marriage proposals while incarcerated, TF must be the jewel in the eyes of many admiring female fans.]

            As TF uttered the final word of the first verse (i.e., “suffering”) the tempo escalated to a mid tempo pace and he and VB transitioned to playing four bars of churning guitar riffs they continued to play when TF began to sing the first pre?chorus with equally chilling lyrics, “My blackened heart is a writhing mass of poisonous snakes.  Grotesquely slithering as I slowly shed my dying skin.”  As TF uttered the final word of the first pre?chorus (i.e., “skin”) the tempo reduced to a slow tempo pace and he and VB began playing chugging guitar riffs they continued to play when TF began to sing the first chorus augmented by two?chord guitar chord progressions and NL’s frequent hitting of his cymbals, “In darkness . . . thou shalt come unto me.  In darkness . . . thou shalt worship me.  In darkness . . . thou art mine eternally.”  [TF’s lyrics are fitting for a Valentine’s day card . . . that is . . . for the macabre.]  TF then repeated the pattern from the first verse, pre?chorus, and chorus when he sang the second verse, pre?chorus and chorus.  The second verse also contains noteworthy lyrics, “Thy curse . . . all of my lies . . . be blessed . . . lord of the flies . . . scapegoat . . . shunned and despised.  My church is my sacrifice.  Follow after me into the halls of my damnation.  I wield death like a scythe, reaping my annihilation.  A monarch enthroned upon my throne of guilt.  I am hell, a barren shrine to decay and neglect.”  [The image conjured in my mind is of TF’s armor?plated frame sitting atop a throne in a dark castle with gothic ceilings with a single light shining on the wall behind TF’s head causing the upside down cross adorning the brick?laden wall to shimmer.]

            As TF uttered the final word of the second verse (i.e., “neglect”) he and VB transitioned to playing four bars of mid tempo, churning guitar riffs they continued to play as TF began to sing the second pre?chorus, “Uninhabitable . . . the darkened depths of cold empty space.  My necropolis . . . the catacombs and tombs of disease.  Monumental . . . the fallen temple of dead deities.  My necrolog . . .an eternal curse lost in the abyss.”  TF then repeated the first chorus during which the band stopped playing for three seconds when TF uttered the phrase, “worship me!” and turned his back to the audience.  The 70?second musical interlude between the second chorus and first bridge was comprised of a combination of exceedingly heavy slow tempo guitar riffs accented by a series of five recurring, ominous guitar notes by TF and VB that they continued to play (sans the guitar notes) accented by a flurry of cymbal crashes by NL.  [The quantity and power of NL’s cymbal crashes felt like brittle wine glasses repeatedly being smashed against my ear canal.]  VB sang the first bridge in German in an anguish?filled tone.  TF then sang the second bridge that continued to feature the same guitar riffs, the difference being TF sang the second bridge in Latin and a chilling tone.

            As TF sang the final word of the second bridge (i.e., “blasphemiae”) TF and VB struck one simple heavy chord after which TF whispered the 17 lines of the third bridge in German solely accompanied by guitar feedback.  [My brain transcended to a near comatose state.]  As TF whispered the final word of the second bridge (i.e., “Amen”) he and VB began playing a wicked guitar chord progression they continued to play when TF began to sing the third pre?chorus, which contains the most chilling lyrics, “Bow down before thy lord below.  I shall rise.  I shall rule in blasphemy . . .  and in the end when thou art mine thou will be like me.  In saecula saeclorum.  In stagnum ignis et sulphuris.”  As TF uttered the final word of the third pre?chorus TF and VB began playing chugging guitar riffs they continued to play when TF repeated the first chorus for the third time while VB headbanged.  The final 120 seconds of the song featured the band pummeling the audience’s senses with the wicked guitar chord progression from the third pre?chorus and a flurry of NL’s tom?toms.  [At the end of the song the carnage and brutality of what had taken place left the audience in silence, an understandable reaction after being subjected to a song so heavy I would not have been surprised to observe fans emitting foam from their mouths with their eyes rolled toward the back of their heads.]

            7. The Prolonging (Eparistera Daimones, 2010) is a 19:20?second epic that began with six bars of VB’s slow tempo, distorted guitar notes augmented with NL’s sporadic cymbal hits that they played while TF and VS had their backs to the audience.  TF and VB then played eight bars of the same slow tempo, distorted guitar notes at a lower octave augmented by NL’s simple drum beat and missing the five?second pause between each bar present during the first six bars. With TF’s chant of “Ugh” he and VB switched to playing four bars of downtuned guitar riffs.  [TF and VB’s guitars were so downtuned I thought the tuning peg on their Ibanez Iceman guitars would warp and melt, emitting a foul acidic odor from the depth of the underworld.]  TF then sang the first verse in a hellish tone augmented by his and VB’s trudging two?chord guitar chord progressions with heavy distortion and NL’s simple drum beat.  The lyrics are particularly poignant, “As you descend, I shall rise.  Your demise shall be my conception.  Your failure shall be my triumph.  I shall feed from your decay.”  [Self serving, perhaps.  But TF is not one to mince words.  During our pre?show conversation the subject turned to Exodus (American thrash metal formed in 1980 in Richmond, California).  TF opined by simply stating, “I hate Exodus, except for the first record.”  (“Bonded by Blood” (1980).]  During the 60?second musical interlude between the first and second verses TF and VB played eight bars of an ascending guitar riff followed by eight bars of chugging guitar riffs. 

            TF then repeated the pattern from the first verse when he sang the second verse with the addition of four recurring, ominous guitar notes.  TF sang, “Your despair shall give me strength.  As you degenerate, I shall prosper.  Your misfortune shall make me jubilant.  As you suffocate, I shall breathe.”  [TF’s lyrics epitomize extremes fitting for the yin yang concept by describing how seemingly contrary forces are not only interconnected and interdependent, but also give rise to each other.”]  During the 80?second musical interlude between the second and third verses TF and VB once again played eight bars of an ascending guitar riff, the difference being that, with the introduction of NL’s snare drums, the tempo escalated to an up tempo pace and TF and VB played eight bars of catchy guitar riffs accented by NL’s thundering bass drums.  TF then sang the third verse while he and VB continued to play the up tempo, catchy guitar riffs from the musical interlude.  The song’s tempo then suddenly and dramatically slowed down during the 25?second musical interlude between the third and fourth verses during which TF and VB played trudging, chugging guitar riffs. 

            TF then sang the fourth verse in an ominous tone augmented by his and VB’s heavily distorted, trudging four?chord guitar chord progressions.  TF sang, “I shall tie your mortal limbs.  I shall invade your thoughts.  I shall belittle your aspiration.  I shall obliterate your hope.  I shall break your will.  I shall devour your flesh.”  [I shall make a note to plead with John Carpenter and Wes Craven (American horror?film directors) to cast TF as the lead psychopath character in their upcoming films.]  During the 70?second musical interlude between the fourth verse and first chorus TF and VB played four bars of a slow tempo guitar riff followed by four bars of the spaced out, slow tempo, distorted guitar notes from the introduction.  TF then sang the first chorus during that he repeated eight times, “As you perish, I shall live.  You shall drown in my contempt.”  TF switched between hellish and ominous tones for each of the two lines and also switched the sequence of the two lines each of the eight times he sang the chorus.  TF and VB played a series of ominous guitar riffs during the 30?second break between the first and final four times TF sang the chorus.  During the 20?second musical interlude between the first chorus and fifth verse the tempo escalated to a mid tempo pace and TF and VB played four bars of an ascending guitar riff.  TF then sang the fifth verse in a hellish tone augmented by his and VB’s mid tempo guitar riffs and NL’s rollicking tom?toms.  TF ended the fifth verse by screaming, “Liar!”  TF then repeated the pattern from the fifth verse when he sang the sixth verse.

            The tempo dramatically slowed down as TF began to sing the seventh verse, “As you deteriorate … I shall create my kingdom.  As you sink into waves of darkness … I shall find my brightest light.”  During the 90?second musical interlude between the seventh verse and second chorus the first 60 seconds featured guitar feedback and NL’s slow tempo tom?toms after which the band stopped playing for one second and TF and VB then resumed with four bars of the downtuned guitar riffs from the introduction.  TF then sang the second chorus over an 180?second period and during which he 12 times repeated the phrase, “As you perish, I shall live.”  TF’s singing was augmented by NL’s cymbal crashes and VB’s recurring, drawn out, high guitar note.  VS and NL left the stage while TF and VB turned their back to the audience and stood within one foot of, and held their guitars up to, their respective dual Marshall amp stacks as they played indecipherable riffs dominated by feedback during the final 100 seconds of the song.  At the end of the song TF said, Thank you.  Triptykon bows to you.”  TF and VB then left the stage.  [I would have bowed to Triptykon, but the show’s brutality left me, in the immortal words of Pink Floyd (British progressive, psychedelic rock band), comfortably numb.]    

            –Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale) (tape outro) (Celtic Frost cover: Monotheist, 2006).  After the band walked off stage the show ended with a pre?recorded tape track of Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale), a 4:35 instrumental that initially featured soothing cello notes followed by atmospheric keyboard chords.

            Venue: Slim’s is a 400?seat San Francisco club that rhythm and blues artist Boz Scaggs opened in 1988.  Slim’s is located within three miles of San Francisco’s financial district.  The club decor is simple and includes chandeliers, brick walls, and a bar inspired by the facades of New Orleans manors.  Within five feet of walking through the entrance are six steps that lead immediately up and into the general admission floor approximately 20 feet from the stage.  At one end of the main floor is the stage that measures 29 feet wide by 16 feet deep.  The stage is three feet and three inches from the club floor and features a moveable drum riser eight feet by six feet and a very narrow photo pit.  At the other end of the main floor is a small balcony with 14 tables and seating for 70 people.  The sound console is located in the rear by the steps leading up to the balcony.  The L?shaped bar runs the length of the floor stage left.  The general admission floor also includes six pillars.  Located downstairs are three dressing rooms, coat check, and additional restrooms.

            Opening Bands (first to last): Yakuza and 1349.

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney

arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu

www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian

All photos taken by Arash Moussavian.  This article and all photos are protected by copyright.  Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins. 

 

Set List

 

Song                                                                          Album Title                 Release Year

 

– Crucifixus (tape intro)                                                 Shatter                         2010               
1. Procreation (of the Wicked) (Celtic Frost cover)               Morbid Tales                1984
2. Goetia                                                                                  Eparistera Daimones     2010
3. Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost cover)                               To Mega Therion          1986
4. Abyss Within My Soul                                                          Eparistera Daimones     2010
5. The Usurper (Celtic Frost cover)                                          To Mega Therion          1986
6. Synagoga Satanae (Celtic Frost cover)                                  Monotheist                   2006
7. The Prolonging                                                                     Eparistera Daimones     2010
– Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale) (tape outro)             Monotheist                   2006 (Celtic Frost cover)

Posted in Concert Reviews | Tagged | 18,626 Comments

Rod Stewart

Concert Review: Rod Stewart, Oakland Arena, Oakland, CA, 04-20-11 (Wednesday)
 
Before discussing the show specifics I should state, without a shred of doubt, Rod Stewart (“RS”) dispelled any doubts pessimistic naysayers held as to his ability, physical or mental, to perform. RS not only performed, he owned Oakland Arena (“OA”) and the throng of loyal fans in the nearly sold out venue. RS was clearly enjoying himself and his positive state of mind was infectious, the audience feeding off his energy and aura. RS’s dance moves were as fluid as maple syrup, distinctive voice as raspy as sandpaper, stage presence as graceful and natural as Chinese bark silk, and wardrobe as fashionable as a Fabergé egg. RS’s aging portrait is tucked away in his attic far away from public contact. Now on to the show. On April 20, 2011 RS played at Oakland’s 19,600?seat capacity OA (approximations presumed throughout). RS played a 20?song, 93?minute set from 9:15 to 10:48. An enormous curtain covered the entire length of the stage left to right, reached OA’s ceiling, and featured the “Rod Stewart” logo in fluorescent green atop a caricature of a train with RS as engineer engulfed in swirling, violet, purple, and fuchsia smoke clouds.

 

1. Love Train (The O’Jays cover: Back Stabbers record, 1972). As Love Train began the curtain raised revealing a large expansive, streamlined stage devoid of clutter (e.g., amplifiers). A large part of the stage rear was occupied by a three?step platform with the step covers comprised of plexiglass that illuminated various colors. Flanking each side of David Palmer’s drum set were four pillars atop which were mechanically?controlled strobe lights with 360?degree rotating abilities. The pillars extended to the outer portions of the stage, stage left and right. One color video screen stretched to the ends of the stage and displayed varying images during songs with crisp clarity. The video screen featured picture within picture, the smaller vertical?shaped video screen was half the size of the drum riser and displayed close?up images, primarily of RS. Love Train got the show off to an energetic start. After a 65?second musical introduction during which the video screen displayed a cartoon of RS’s train billowing from stage left to right RS came on stage. The video screen then displayed swirling neon?colored images while the drum riser and pillars flashed varying colors throughout the song.

RS’s band was comprised of 13 accomplished musicians: J’Anna Jacoby (“Jacoby,” mandolinist/fiddler), Charles Kentis (“Kentis,” keyboardist), Anne King (“King,” trumpeter), Donald Kirkpatrick (“Kirkpatrick,” guitarist), Conrad Korsch (“Korsch,” bassist), Matt O’Connor (“O’Connor,” percussionist), David Palmer (“Palmer,” drummer), Katja Rieckermann (“Rieckermann,” saxophonist), Jimmy Roberts (“Roberts,” saxophonist), Paul Warren (“Warren,” guitarist), as well as three back up singers, Kimberly Johnson, Di Reed, and Bridget Mohammed (“back up singers” collectively). The horn section and Jacoby primarily stood stage right and the back up singers stage left. The string instrument players, excluding Jacoby, stood atop the second platform step during most of the show while Kentis, Palmer, and O’Connor had their instruments positioned atop the third platform step. O’Connor played a pearl white percussion set that included two conga drums, two bongos, a tambourine, and cymbal. Palmer played a pearl white drum kit, single bass drum, and drum head that featured the green logo of “The Celtic Football Club 1888” against a white background. Palmer’s drum kit was housed within a clear plexiglass cage to minimize sound distribution. The plexiglass was not the traditional flat piece set at a 90 degree angle against the drum riser but rather six concave?shaped vertical panels connected by metal slots.

RS wore a gold satin blazer, long?sleeve button?down white cotton shirt (collar unbuttoned and untucked with short even hemline), thin black tie, black wool slacks, and shiny black leather half?boots. The male members of RS’s band initially wore black wool blazers, long?sleeve button?down white cotton shirts (collars buttoned), thin black ties, black wool slacks, and black leather shoes. The female members initially wore one?piece, thigh?length, tiered, ruffled red dresses and eventually switched to one?piece thigh?length, tiered, ruffled black dresses with thigh?level fringes.

At the start of Love Train King, Rieckermann, and Roberts stood stage right and the back up singers stage left. Kentis, Palmer, O’Connor, and Jacoby were positioned atop the third platform step. Jacoby was dancing in lieu of playing her violin or fiddle. Kirkpatrick, Warren, and Korsch were positioned on the second platform step.

Love Train is a mid tempo song that began with RS and the back up singers singing the first chorus with Palmer’s steady and catchy drum beat motivating the audience members to clap their hands and tap their feet, “People all over the world join hands. Start a love train, love train. People all over the world join hands. Start a love train, love train.” RS transitioned without pause to the first verse. RS then repeated the pattern from the first chorus and verse when he sang the second chorus and verse and transitioned without pause to the third chorus. A five?second musical interlude separated the third chorus and first bridge after which RS sang the bridge by twice shouting, “Let it ride!” Roberts then performed a 15?second saxophone (“sax”) solo immediately followed by Warren’s 15?second guitar solo. RS and the back up singers then sang the third chorus.

2. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) (A Night on the Town, 1976) is a beautiful slow tempo ballad that began with RS singing the first two verses separated by a five?second musical interlude, “Stay away from my window. Stay away from my back door too. Disconnect the telephone line. Relax baby and draw that blind. (verse transition) Kick off your shoes and sit right down. Loosen off that pretty French gown. Let me pour you a good long drink. Ooh baby don’t you hesitate ‘cause . . .” [RS’s lyrics are interesting, painting the picture of someone who is a cross between a romantic and jealous lover who falsely imprisons his girlfriend.] The verses prominently featured Kentis’ keyboards. Roberts and Jacoby played sax and violin, respectively, stage right. The video screen displayed a large image of a blue moon accented with the platform and pillars illuminated light blue.

RS transitioned without pause from the second verse to the first chorus while the platform and pillars changed to violet illumination, “Tonight’s the night. It’s gonna be alright. ‘Cause I love you girl. Ain’t nobody gonna stop us now.” The audience was very audible during the chorus. After a five?second musical interlude that followed the first chorus RS sang the third verse after which he transitioned without pause to the second chorus. Rieckermann then came center stage up front and played a 25?second sax solo during which the platform and pillars switched back to light blue illumination. RS then repeated the pattern from the third verse and second chorus when he sang the fourth verse and third chorus.

3. Havin’ A Party (Sam Cooke cover: single release, 1962) is an up tempo song that began with RS shouting, “Yeah, clap your hands!” after which he sang the first verse that reflected the song’s positive party vibe, “We’re having a party. Dancing to the music … played by the D.J. … on the radio. The Cokes are in the ice box. Popcorn’s on the table. Me and my baby, yeah … we’re out here on the floor, oh yeah!” RS transitioned without pause to the first chorus. Rieckermann, Roberts, and King played sax and trumpet, respectively, stage right. The video screen displayed multiple rows of vertically scrolling black, white, red, and green graphics (i.e., circle within a circle within a square within a square). The graphics were reminiscent of the 1960’s. The platform and pillars were illuminated gold.

 

RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus. Rieckermann played a 20?second sax solo during which the platform and pillars switched between violet and light blue illumination. Rieckermann’s solo was immediately followed by King’s 30?second trumpet solo. King’s solo transitioned without pause into the third chorus followed immediately by the third and final verse with light-hearted lyrics, “Having a party. Everybody’s swinging. Dancing to the music … on the radio … yeah … we’re having a party. Everybody’s swinging. Dancing to the music … yeah … on the radio.” [The lyrics are a testament to how simple yet catchy lyrics can be enjoyable. It is analogous to eating Jello?O, a fun, simple desert.]

4. Young Turks (with Stevie Nicks) (Tonight I’m Yours, 1981). Before Young Turks RS said, “Once again my friend and your friend will come out. Steve Nicks!” Stevie Nicks (“SN”) came on stage in a one?piece black thigh?length dress with forearm?length, oversized, semi?ruffled sleeves, black pantyhose, and black lace gloves. Young Turks is an up tempo song that featured the back up singers stage left. RS sang the first verse of this biographical tale of two young lovers, “Billy left his home with a dollar in his pocket and a head full of dreams. He said somehow, some way, it’s gotta get better than this. Patty packed her bags, left a note for her momma. She was just seventeen, there were tears in her eyes when she kissed her little sister goodbye.”

After a brief two?second musical interlude SN sang the second verse, “They held each other tight as they drove on through the night. They were so excited. We got just one shot of life, let’s take it while we’re still not afraid. Because life is so brief and time is a thief when you’re undecided. And like a fistful of sand, it can slip right through your hands.” The tempo slightly slowed down but maintained an up tempo pace after which RS and SN co?sang the first chorus that prominently featured Kentis’ atmospheric keyboard chords. The tempo then resumed its initial pace and after a 10?second musical interlude following the first chorus, RS sang the third verse. RS and SN then co?sang the second chorus.

A 10?second musical interlude separated the second chorus from Warren’s 20?second guitar solo on his burgundy Fender Stratocaster with silver speckles during which the back up singers moved stage front center and flanked SN. SN and the back up singers co?sang an instrumental verse comprised of “woohs” that replicated the verse melody. SN and RS then split up the fourth verse with SN and RS singing the first and final two lines, respectively. SN and RS then co?sang the third and final chorus. The video screen displayed flames while the platform and pillars were illuminated yellow.

5. Leather and Lace (with Stevie Nicks) (Bella Donna, 1981). Before Leather and Lace SN’s lead guitarist, Waddy Wachtel (“Wachtel”), came on stage, which prompted RS to say, “This man has played on some of my albums in the 70’s. (audience cheered) This is Stevie’s song.” Leather and Lace is a ballad that prominently featured Wachtel’s acoustic guitars and Kentis’ keyboards. [Kentis’ keyboard notes sounded like the type one hears when opening a music box or when listening to Richard Wright’s (late Pink Floyd keyboardist) innovative keyboard playing while tripping on acid.] Wachtel played a maple acoustic guitar stage left next to the back up singers. After a 15?second musical introduction SN sang the first verse standing next to RS. SN transitioned without pause to the first chorus, which RS co-sang.

SN and RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus, the differences being (1) RS sang the second verse in lieu of SN and (2) RS and SN twice repeated the second chorus. The song did not feature a guitar solo. The video screen displayed a black background depicting a night sky sprinkled with bright shimmering stars adorned with undulating flower stems that gradually changed from blue to white. [The stars reminded me of those I saw at a Black Sabbath concert after I bonked my headbanging head on a blunt object.] The platform and pillars were illuminated light blue.

6. Forever Young (Bob Dylan cover: Planet Waves, 1974, Out of Order, 1988). Before Forever Young the video screen displayed three identical photographs (“photos”) of RS’s adorable, youngest son, Aiden Stewart, wearing a green and white horizontal striped jumpsuit. RS took his blazer off, and while rolling his shirt sleeves up to his elbows, said, “This is my baby, eight weeks old today.” Forever Young is a mid tempo song featuring Korsch’s pulsating bass lines. The audience clapped in unison to the song’s catchy beat. After a 15?second musical introduction RS sang the first verse containing touching lyrics and emphasized the first word of odd verse lines, “May the good Lord be with you … down every road you roam … and may sunshine and happiness surround you … when you’re far from home … and may you grow to be proud … dignified and true … and do onto others as you’d have done to you.” A three?second musical interlude preceded the first chorus after which RS sang the first chorus with strong audience participation, particularly with the final two words, “Be courageous and be brave … and in my heart you’ll always stay forever young … forever young.” RS then sang second verse after which he transitioned without pause to the second chorus four times repeating the phrase, “Forever young.” RS quickly sang the phrase the first two times and slower the last two times emphasizing each syllable.

Kirkpatrick played a 15-second guitar solo on his natural wood Fender Telecaster center stage up front, and Jacoby played a tobacco sunburst acoustic guitar stage right. RS then repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus, the difference being he six times repeated the phrase “Forever young” during the third chorus. During the third chorus RS turned his back to the audience and shook his buttocks, causing the female contingent to swoon. [Fortunately it was not my jiggling derriere, which would have registered on the Richter scale (manner of assigning a number to quantify the energy created during an earthquake).] Kirkpatrick and Warren then quickly scuttled down the riser and up front stage right and left, respectively where they played 10?second guitar solos with Warren playing his burgundy Fender Stratocaster after which the song’s tempo slowed down shortly before the song ended. The video screen displayed images of a cloudy blue sky accented with the platform and pillars illuminated white.

 

7. You Wear It Well (Never a Dull Moment, 1972). After a 30?second musical introduction that prominently featured Kentis’ flowing keyboard notes and Jacoby’s violin RS sang the four lines that comprise the first verse in quick succession and quickly transitioned to the first chorus, “You wear it well … a little old fashioned … but that’s all right.” RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus, the difference being the lyrics to the second chorus, “That you wear it well. There ain’t a lady in the land so fine.” RS then repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus, the difference being the lyrics to the third chorus, “You wear it well. A little out of time, but I don’t mind.” [Being out of time in terms of coordination skills is the story of my life. I ran face first into a ceiling to floor mirror positioned stage left while moshing during Kiss’ unpublicized warm-up show at the now defunct The Stone club in San Francisco on April 23, 1992. Ace Frehley (“Frehley,” former Kiss lead guitarist) has the same dubious distinction. Frehley was so inebriated at his show at the now defunct Omni club in Oakland on April 7, 1990 he fell on me while I was photographing him in the pit. That night Frehley did not consume the magic elixir he customarily uses to counteract the effects of alcohol, a Filet?O?Fish McDonald’s sandwich. True story from Frehley himself!]

RS then sang the bridge after which Jacoby, who stood stage right, played a 20?second violin solo replicating the chorus melody during which RS tossed his white microphone (“mike”) stand up over his head. Warren played his burgundy Stratocaster and Kirkpatrick a natural wood acoustic guitar atop the platform’s second step. RS then repeated the pattern from the third verse and chorus when he sang the fourth verse, fourth chorus, and the bridge. Warren then played a 20?second guitar solo after which RS sang the final line, “‘Cos I ain’t forgetting that you were once mine.” Up through the bridge the video screen displayed a gold background accented with sporadic psychedelic, dark brown streaks. After the bridge the video screen, platform and pillars were illuminated red.

 

8. The First Cut is the Deepest (Cat Stevens cover: single release by P. P. Arnold, 1967, A Night on the Town, 1976). The first 30 seconds of The First Cut is the Deepest featured Kirkpatrick’s acoustic guitar chords accompanied by Kentis’ keyboard notes while the video screen displayed three identical caricatures of RS’s head. A straight razor then appeared on the video screen and cut a small gash on RS’s face, causing a drop of blood to fall into the underlying red heart that split in two and developed wings while the platform and pillars were illuminated red. [The last time I recall such vivid imagery depicting two of my favorite objects, blood and a sharp instrument, certainly not my brain, was the video screen imagery at Slayer’s concert at the San Jose Event Center during the God Hates Us All tour (08-03-02).] RS then sang the first verse of this ballad while the two hearts on the video screen were replaced by one larger winged heart positioned behind but extending beyond the picture within picture.

RS then sang the first chorus with strong audience participation, “The first cut is the deepest. Baby I know the first cut is the deepest. But when it comes to being lucky she’s cursed. When it comes to loving me she’s the worst.” During the 10?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse Kirkpatrick and Warren played descending arpeggio notes. RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus. Jacoby then played a 20?second violin solo immediately followed by Warren’s fiery 60?second guitar solo on his tobacco sunburst guitar. The platform and pillars were illuminated violet during the solos. RS then repeated the second verse and chorus.

9. Twistin’ the Night Away (Sam Cooke cover: single release, 1962, Never a Dull Moment, 1962). Before Twistin’ the Night Away RS asked, “Is it a good show so far?!” (audience applause) After a 10?second musical introduction that prominently featured Kentis’ up beat keyboard notes and King’s trumpet playing RS sang the first verse after which he transitioned without pause to the second verse followed by the first chorus. The first chorus prominently featured Rieckermann and Roberts’ sax playing while RS twice sang, “Twistin’, twistin’, twistin’ the night away.” Twistin’ the Night Away is a fun, up tempo song. RS then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and first chorus when he sang the third and fourth verses followed by the second chorus. Rieckermann, Roberts, and King played sax and trumpet, respectively, stage right while the back up singers were stage left.

Roberts then played a 40?second sax solo followed by Kentis’ 30?second keyboard solo on his white keyboard. RS then repeated the first verse after which he transitioned without pause to the first chorus. Kirkpatrick and Warren then came center stage up front where they engaged in a 60?second jam session that prominently featured Kentis’ keyboard prowess while RS shimmied (i.e., shook his shoulders and chest). [This daring feat would not have been safe for me to attempt without a man bra due to fear of striking those standing nearby with my man boobs.] RS then repeated the chorus a third and final time. The video screen displayed smaller and larger recurring caricatures of a dancing RS next to one another with a violet body and hot pink head and hands. [The color scheme screamed 1980’s. I reminisced about my Gumby green and plum parachute pants.] The platform and pillars switched between purple and fuchsia illumination.

10. This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You) (Isley Brothers cover: single release, 1966, Atlantic Crossing, 1975). During the 20-second musical introduction to this up temp song the back up singers replicated the melody with “aahs.” RS then sang the first verse, “This old heart of mine been broke a thousand times. Each time you break away, feel you’re gone to stay. Lonely nights that come, memories that go, bringing you back again, hurting me more and more.” RS then transitioned without pause to the first chorus during which the back up singers provided accompaniment with “woohs” and that ended with RS twice singing the phrase, “I love you. This old heart weeps for you.” RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.

Rieckermann, Roberts and King played sax and trumpet stage right while Jacoby stood atop the platform’s third step and played a tambourine and the back up singers were stage left. Roberts then played a 25?second sax solo during which the platform and pillars illuminated red and an audience member handed RS a beautiful bouquet of red roses. RS then repeated the second verse and chorus, the difference being that during the second chorus he four times repeated the phrase, “I love you. This old heart weeps for you.” The video screen displayed graphics of fuchsia and tan hearts and circles in chain link fashion while the platform and pillars illuminated purple.

11. Downtown Train (Tom Waits cover: Rain Dogs, 1985). Before Downtown Train RS said, “Just recently Tom Waits, a good friend of mine, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is one of his songs.” Downtown Train began with a 15?second musical introduction featuring Kentis’ ethereal keyboard notes and Jacoby’s violin. RS then sang the first verse of this slow tempo ballad while sitting atop a white stool stage front center stage. Immediately after RS sang the last line of the first verse the song’s tempo momentarily escalated to a mid tempo pace, and RS then sang the first chorus. The tempo then resumed a slow tempo pace and RS repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus. Rieckermann, Roberts, King, and Jacoby played sax, trumpet, and violin, respectively, stage right. Roberts was now wearing a red and black crosshatch pattern blazer.

After the second chorus RS and most of his band, except for Roberts, Palmer and O’Conner, left the stage. Roberts and Palmer engaged in a 45?second jam session followed by a 120?second jam session between Palmer and O’Connor with the latter taking position behind a three?piece drum set comprised of a bass drum, tom?tom, and snare drum on the platform’s third step. The video screen displayed lifelike images of the Brooklyn Bridge and a mid?rise apartment building stage right and left, respectively, that appeared three?dimensional. At the end of Downtown Train RS came on stage wearing a light metallic blue blazer and tie.

12. Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin cover: single release, 1965, Every Picture Tells A Story, 1971). Before Reason to Believe RS asked, “What is next? This song was recorded in 1969 as the B?side of Maggie May [single].” Reason to Believe began as a slow tempo ballad accented during the first verse by Jacoby’s violin playing and Kentis’ keyboards as RS sang, “If I listened long enough to you, I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true.” The slow tempo continued halfway through the first chorus. As RS began to sing the third line of the first chorus, the song’s tempo momentarily escalated to a mid tempo pace accented by Palmer’s drum beats and Korsch’s bass notes that he played on his standup (i.e., upright) bass. RS then sang the second verse and chorus still at a mid tempo pace with the second chorus containing sentimental lyrics, “Knowing that you lied, straight-faced, while I cried. Still I’d look to find a reason to believe. Someone like you makes it easy to live without somebody else. Someone like you makes it hard to give, never think about myself.”

Jacoby played a 15?second violin solo between the second and third lines of the second chorus. RS then repeated the second verse and chorus, the difference being that the tempo resumed a slow tempo pace when RS began to sing the chorus, “Still I look to find a reason to believe.” RS thrice repeated this phrase with the last time solely being accompanied by Kentis’ keyboards. Jacoby played violin stage right while Korsch, Kirkpatrick, and Warren played their instruments atop the platform’s second step. Palmer, Kentis, and O’Connor were now wearing red and black crosshatch pattern blazers. The video screen displayed images of flowers, initially blue and fuchsia and then purple and fuchsia while the platform and pillars switched between blue and purple illumination.

 

13. You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim) (Foot Loose & Fancy Free, 1977). Before You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim) RS said, “You will like this one!” and held a mixed floral bouquet at the start of the song. RS sang the first two verses accompanied by Kentis’ keyboards, Jacoby’s violin, and “woohs” of the back up singers who were now wearing one?piece black dresses stage right. RS transitioned without pause to the first chorus at which point the song’s tempo momentarily escalated to a mid tempo pace with Korsch’s bass lines particularly prominent. The catchy chorus prompted strong audience participation, “You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul. You’ll be my breath should I grow old. You are my lover, you’re my best friend. You’re in my soul.” The song’s tempo then resumed a slow tempo pace and RS sang the third verse only to then escalate to a mid tempo pace when RS began to sing the second chorus.

RS then repeated the pattern from the third verse and second chorus when he sang the fourth verse and third chorus. Kirkpatrick and Warren played acoustic guitars, natural wood and tobacco sunburst, respectively, and stood atop the platform’s second step. The video screen displayed a night sky with white and yellow stars while the platform and pillars were not illuminated until the end of the song when the video screen displayed three identical images of the green and white logo of “The Celtic Football Club 1888” while the platform and pillars were illuminated emerald green.

 

14. Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller (Chuck Berry cover: single release, 1958, Smiler, 1974). Before Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller RS, who had taken his blazer off, asked, “Is it hot in here? This is a simple song with three chords, and we are going to play all three chords.” Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller is an up tempo song with a very catchy chord progression. RS sang the first verse during which Korsch’s bass lines and Kentis’ keyboards were particularly prominent, with the latter being reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis’ (American rock and roll singer, pianist) playing style, “She’s nine years old and sweet as she can be. All dressed up like a downtown Christmas tree. Dancin’ and hummin’ a rock-roll melody. She’s the daughter of a well-respected man. Who taught her how to judge and understand. Since she became a rock-roll music fan.” The lyrics typify Chuck Berry’s simplistic yet effective writing style. [Aspiring artists who feel compelled to emulate Emerson, Lake & Palmer (English progressive rock band) to demonstrate their songwriting prowess should instead listen to Chuck Berry.] RS transitioned without pause from the first verse to the first chorus. RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.

Roberts, Rieckermann, and King played trumpet and sax, respectively, stage right with the latter two now wearing one?piece black dresses. Kirkpatrick, Warren, and Kosch played their instruments stage front with Kosch stage right and Warren and Kirkpatrick stage left. Warren then played a fiery 40?second guitar solo on his gold Les Paul while Kirkpatrick played rhythm guitar on his maple Gretsch and Kosch provided a solid foundation on his tobacco sunburst bass. Roberts then played a 40?second sax solo center stage up front while RS, Kirkpatrick, Warren, and Kosch stood next one another behind Roberts. The song’s tempo then momentarily slowed to a mid tempo pace. Kirkpatrick, Warren, and Kosch stood stage left where they were joined by the back up singers while RS thrice repeated the phrase, “I said dance, dance little sister, dance.” The song’s tempo then resumed an up tempo pace and RS sang the third and final chorus. The video screen displayed red and black crosshatch patterns atop which appeared recurring silhouettes of a guitarist with a white border. Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller and four others songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

15. Rhythm of My Heart (Vagabond Heart, 1991). Before Rhythm of My Heart RS introduced his band members. [Given the quantity of band members, I thought RS was going to pull out a Bible?sized notebook to refresh his memory while we undergo a seasonal change in the process.] RS then said, “I want to dedicate this to the servicemen.” The first 15 seconds of this ballad featured Jacoby and Kentis playing the melody with violin and keyboards at a slow tempo pace. Warren and Kirkpatrick’s powerful guitar chords and Palmer’s solid drum beats then momentarily converted the song to a power ballad for 15 seconds. The song then resumed a slow tempo pace while RS sang the first verse. RS transitioned without pause to the first chorus at which point the song momentarily converted to a power ballad. The chorus’ lyrics are heartfelt, “Oh, rhythm of my heart … is beating like a drum … with the words, ‘I Love you’ … rolling off my tongue. No never will I roam … for I know my place is home. Where the ocean meets the sky … I’ll be sailing.” RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.

Jacoby, who was now wearing a one?piece black dress, played violin stage right while the back up singers sang stage left. Kirkpatrick, Kosch, and Warren stood atop the platform’s second step and played a red Fender Stratocaster guitar, tobacco sunburst bass, and tobacco sunburst Fender Stratocaster guitar, respectively. Kirkpatrick then played a 10?second guitar solo after which RS repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus. The back up singers then joined RS up front center stage for the fourth and final chorus, which they sang solely accompanied by Kentis’ keyboards. RS sang the first two chorus lines after which Bridget Mohammed (“Mohammed”) repeated the chorus phrase, “Beats like a drum.” RS then sang the third and fourth chorus lines after which Kimberly Johnson (“Johnson”) repeated the two lines. RS then sang the fifth and sixth chorus lines after which Di Reed (“Reed”) sang, “He said it so beautiful. He knows his place is home.” RS then sang the final two chorus lines while the video screen displayed smoke against a black background. At the end of the song the video screen displayed an image of the American flag.

16. Knock on Wood (Eddie Floyd cover: single release, 1966). Before Knock on Wood RS said, “This is a great night so far … fantastic. I plan to turn back time. This is a big hit from the early 1980’s.” [I also have a tendency to turn back time; each time I pull something out of my outdated wardrobe.] RS left the stage and Reed sang Knock on Wood while Mohammed, Johnson, and Jacoby provided back up vocals. The first 15 seconds of this up beat song featured Palmer’s mid tempo drum beat while Mohammed, Johnson, and Jacoby clapped. During the next 15 seconds Rieckermann and Roberts played ascending sax chord progressions. Reed then sang the first verse and transitioned without pause to the first chorus that featured the signature sax chord progression accented by Mohammed, Johnson, and Jacoby chanting “woohs” that replicated the chorus melody. Reed then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when she sang the second verse and chorus, the difference being that Mohammed, Johnson, and Jacoby four times repeated the chorus, “You better knock, knock on wood, baby!” [I was surprised no one tried to tap my hollow head.]

Kentis then played a 10?second keyboard solo. Rieckermann, Roberts, and King played sax and trumpet, respectively, stage right while Kirkpatrick and Warren played their natural wood Fender Telecaster and gold Les Paul guitars, respectively, on the platform’s second step. Reed then repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when she sang the third verse and chorus, the difference being that Mohammed, Johnson, and Jacoby eight times repeated the chorus. The video screen displayed varying colorful images, including swirling pastel?colored graphics and golden beams of light that emanated from the region behind the picture within picture. Knock on Wood, Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller, and three others songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

17. Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison cover: Avalon Sunset, 1989, Vagabond Heart, 1991). Before Have I Told You Lately RS said, “What do you think of my suit?!” RS was referring to his elegant purple suit (i.e., blazer and slacks) along with a button?down light violet cotton shirt (collar unbuttoned, sans tie). [Rock star was the only phrase that came to my mind. Note to self: retire my Members Only tan jacket and aqua blue Esprit sweater circa 1981.] After a 10?second musical introduction to this sentimental ballad that featured Kentis’ touching keyboard notes RS sang the first chorus with great emotion while clutching his white mike mounted in a white stand, “Have I told you lately that I love you. Have I told you there’s no one else above you. Fill my heart with gladness. Take away all my sadness. Ease my troubles that’s what you do.” RS transitioned without pause to the first verse.

Jacoby, who was positioned stage right, then played a 30?second violin solo followed by a 30?second Kirkpatrick guitar solo on his natural wood sunburst acoustic guitar. The back up singers were positioned stage left. RS then sang the second verse and chorus. RS ended the song by seven times repeating the phrase, “You ease my troubles” with a guitar chord accent provided by Kirkpatrick and Warren after each recitation of the phrase reminiscent of James Brown (Black American singer known as the “Godfather of Soul”). The video screen displayed a black background depicting a night sky sprinkled with faint stars while the platform and pillars were illuminated light blue.

After the song ended RS directed the audience’s attention to the video screen that displayed a 15?second video clip of a tan dog sleeping on his side startled awake, likely due to a loud sound. The video screen then displayed two humorous RS photos dressed in drag outfits. The first photo featured RS in a skimpy, white nurse uniform complete with black biker’s cap. The second photo featured RS in black pantyhose, black lingerie slip, black feather boa, pearl necklace, and blonde wig.

18. Hot Legs (Foot Loose & Fancy Free, 1977) is a catchy mid tempo song that began with a 40?second musical introduction that featured Palmer’s solid drum beat during which Kirkpatrick and Warren were stage front center stage playing bluesy guitar notes. After this introduction RS sang the racy lyrics to the first verse, “Who’s that knocking on my door. It’s gotta be a quarter to four. Is it you again coming ‘round for more? Well you can love me tonight if you want. But in the morning make sure you’re gone. I’m talkin’ to you!” [The lyrics are reflective more of Mr. Carnal than Mr. Romance.] The house lights were on during the entire song while RS kicked and tossed multiple black and white soccer balls into the audience. Stagehands positioned in the pit stage left and right tossed the balls to RS. RS then sang the first chorus with plenty of audience participation and emphasized the first two words of each line, “Hot legs, wearing me out. Hot legs, you can scream and shout. Hot legs, are you still in school. I love you honey!” RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang second verse and chorus.

 

Rieckermann and Roberts played sax stage right, the back up singers sang stage left, Korsch played bass on the platform’s second step in front of Palmer’s drum kit while O’Connor played the second drum kit and Jacoby stood next to O’Connor playing maracas. The band then engaged in a 40?second jam session that included Korsch’s thumping bass lines and Kirkpatrick and Warren’s bluesy guitar notes. RS then sang the third through sixth choruses after which he four times screamed the final chorus line, “I love you honey!” I have no recollection what the video screen displayed. [My infinitesimal brain was busily distracted following the pretty, bouncing balls.] Hot Legs, along with Knock on Wood, Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller, and two others songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction with Hot Legs the strongest.

19. Maggie May (Every Picture Tells a Story, 1971). Before Maggie May RS said, “I’ve got one more to do.” The first 10 seconds of Maggie May featured Jacoby playing mandolin while Kirkpatrick and Warren played their natural wood acoustic and burgundy Fender Stratocaster guitars, respectively, stage front center stage next to RS. At the 0:10 mark Korsch, who was also standing next to RS, began playing low bass lines on his tobacco sunburst bass and was joined at the 0:15 mark by Palmer who began playing a simple drum beat. At the 0:20 mark the audience, with little need for motivation from RS, loudly sang the first verse, “Wake up Maggie, I think I got something to say to you. It’s late September and I really should be back at school. I know I keep you amused but I feel I’m being used.” RS, who stopped singing early in the verse, resumed singing during the final verse line and then transitioned without pause to the first chorus accented by Kentis’ soft keyboard notes, “Oh Maggie, I couldn’t have tried any more. You led me away from home just to save you from being alone. You stole my heart and that’s what really hurt.” RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by the third verse and chorus.

Warren then played a 15?second guitar solo immediately followed by RS singing the fourth verse. RS then sang the fourth chorus acapella with strong audience participation, “Oh Maggie, I wish that I’d never seen your face. You made a first-class fool out of me. But I’m as blind as a fool can be. You stole my heart but I love you anyway.” The band then stopped playing for one second and then resumed with the band engaging in a 25?second jam session. The platforms and pillars switched between yellow and blue illumination and the spot lights went off while the band continued to jam with the emphasis on Jacoby and Korsch’s mandolin and bass playing, respectively. RS then twice sang the final two lines, “Maggie, I wish I’d never seen your face. I’ll get on back home one of these days.” The band then engaged in a 10?second jam session during which the enormous curtain that initially covered the stage came back down before Palmer’s final drum beats. Maggie May, along with Hot Legs, Knock on Wood , Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller, and another song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction. RS and his band left the stage at 10:43 and returned in one minute to play one additional song.

20. Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? (Blondes Have More Fun, 1978). Before Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? RS said, “Thank you for coming out tonight and spending your hard?earned dollars.” [Thank you to RS’s management for generously providing complimentary tickets.] Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? is one of RS’s biggest hits with an up tempo, funky beat. The first 20 seconds featured Kirkpatrick’s punchy bass lines and Palmer’s up tempo drum beats. At the 0:35 mark RS and the back up singers who were positioned stage left began to replicate the song’s catchy melody for 15 seconds with “woohs.” RS then sang the first verse in a particularly sultry voice, “She sits alone waiting for suggestions. He’s so nervous avoiding all the questions. His lips are dry, her heart is gently pounding. Don’t you just know exactly what they’re thinking.” RS then transitioned without pause to the first chorus that featured a very catchy melody, “If you want my body and you think I’m sexy … come on sugar let me know. If you really need me just reach out and touch me … come on honey tell me so. Tell me so baby.”

During the 25?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse the back up singers once again replicated the song’s catchy melody with “woohs” while RS danced wearing a red and black crosshatched pattern biker’s cap. RS then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus. Rieckermann, Roberts, King and Jacoby played sax, trumpet, and violin, respectively, stage right. The back up singers then once again replicated the catchy melody with “woohs” after which RS sang the bridge, “His heart’s beating like a drum … ‘cos at last he’s got this girl home. Relax baby now we are alone.” Rieckermann then played a 30?second sax solo. The video screen displayed images of two disco balls and the platform and pillars illuminated red. RS then repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus, which was followed by the fourth and final chorus after which the curtain came back down. Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?, along with Maggie May, Hot Legs, Knock on Wood and Sweet Little Rock ‘N’ Roller received the strongest audience reaction.

Venue: OA is an indoor arena constructed in 1966. OA is located in Oakland’s industrial district. In 1996 OA underwent a $121,000,000 renovation that lasted one year during which much of the interior was torn down, including seating. Artists such as AC/DC, Kiss, Judas Priest, The Grateful Dead, Slayer, Slipknot, Sepultura, Madonna, and Creedence Clearwater Revival have performed at OA.

Opening Band: Stevie Nicks.

 

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian. This article and all photos are protected by copyright. Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins.

Posted in Concert Reviews | Tagged | 13,138 Comments

Testament

Concert Review: Testament, Cow Palace, Daly City, CA, 08-31-10 (Tuesday)      
   
 
             On Tuesday, August 31, 2010 Testament played Daly City’s 10,300?seat capacity Cow Palace with 8,000 tickets sold.  Testament, who opened for co?headliners Megadeth and Slayer, played a 10?song, 52-minute set from 6:55 to 7:47.

            -For the Glory Of … (The Formation of Damnation, 2008).  The show began with a pre?recorded tape track of For the Glory Of …, the instrumental first song from the band’s latest record.  The band members walked on stage and took position on a gothic?themed stage that included a (1) tarp backdrop depicting a castle featuring the band’s demon mascot featured on The Legacy record cover (1987) and (2) stonework facade for Paul Bostaph’s (“PB,” drummer) 48?inch high drum riser and 48?inch high platform positioned 36 inches further back from PB’s drum riser that stretched to the ends of the large stage.  Two banners bearing the band name in yellow lettering against a maroon background were hung on the far ends of stage left and right.  Six metal steps on each side of PB’s riser led up to his riser.  For the Glory Of … led straight into More than Meets the Eye.

 

            1. More than Meets the Eye (The Formation of Damnation, 2008) began with two bars of Alex Skolnick (“AS,” lead guitarist) and Eric Peterson (“EP,” lead and rhythm guitarist) catchy, mid tempo guitar riffs augmented by PB’s heavy?handed drumming.  Chuck Billy (“CB,” vocalist) joined in for the remaining two bars by replicating the catchy melody with “whoas” while PB bashed away on his tom?toms and bass drums.  CB wore black sneakers, black denim slacks, black short?sleeve button?down cotton shirt with a red “Sadus” logo on the left chest, and wide black sweatbands on his forearms.  The tempo then escalated to an up tempo pace when AS and EP began playing chugging, palm?muted guitar riffs with sporadic trills that they continued to play when CB sang the first verse in a thrash tone.  AS and EP once again played two bars of the catchy guitar riffs from the introduction during the 10?second musical interlude between the first and second verses.  

 

            CB then sang the second verse followed by the first chorus during which AS and EP played frenetic guitar chord progressions replete with trills.  AS and EP once again played two bars of the catchy guitar riffs from the introduction during the 10?second musical interlude between the second verse and guitar solo.  AS’s 45?second guitar solo comprised of searing and melodic guitar notes during which EP played chugging riffs and PB pummeled his tom?toms and bass drums.  CB then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and second chorus.  The song concluded with six bars of AS and EP’s guitar riffs from the introduction while CB replicated the catchy melody with “whoas” and then sang, “More than … more than … more than … more than meets the eye.” 

            2. Dog Faced Gods (Low, 1994).  The first 10 seconds of Dog Faced Gods featured AS and EP’s frenetic guitar riffs augmented by PB’s drum fills.  AS and EP then played up tempo, chugging guitar riffs for 15 seconds that PB played in tandem on his snare drums followed by dual melodic guitar notes for five seconds.  CB then sang the first verse in a death metal tone while AS and EP resumed playing chugging guitar riffs.  AS and EP played melodic guitar notes during the seven?second musical interlude between the first and second verses.  CB then sang the second verse followed by the first chorus during which he switched from a death metal tone to a fairly high?pitched octave and twice sang, “Confirm who I am.  Contort all I can.  Conceive sorcery.  Corrodes disbelief.”  AS and EP’s guitar riffs and PB’s drumming during the first chorus replicated the melody that was a bit too stilted and inconsistent with the first verse’s driving tempo. 

            AS and EP resumed playing the up tempo chugging guitar riffs from the introduction during the 10?second musical interlude between the first chorus and guitar solo.  The tempo then slightly decreased for 45 seconds during which AS and EP played heavy guitar riffs with flanger effect for 20 seconds followed by AS’s 25?second scalding guitar solo augmented by EP’s heavy guitar riffs.  AS wore off?black denim slacks, black muscle shirt, black cotton jacket, and black studded leather bracelet on his right wrist.  AS played a vintage (maple) burst Heritage signature model guitar, except during 3 Days in Darkness when he played a tobacco sunburst Heritage or Gibson Les Paul guitar.  The tempo then resumed an up tempo pace and the band repeated the first 10 seconds of the song.  CB then repeated the pattern from the second verse and first chorus when he sang the third verse and second chorus.

            3. The New Order (The New Order, 1988) began with AS’s recurring series of mid tempo high notes while EP played heavy guitar riffs that PB played in tandem on his cymbals and bass drums.  The tempo then escalated to an up tempo pace as AS and EP played chugging, frenetic guitar riffs for 10 seconds.  AS and EP then switched to playing groove?oriented guitar riffs at a slightly slower tempo but still in the thrash vein that they continued to play when CB began to sang the first verse in a thrash tone.  Greg Christian’s (“GC,” bassist) heavy bass line that he played on a black Carvin five?string bass provided a good foundation for the song.  GC wore black leather slacks, all-print black and grey Affliction t?shirt, and black leather bracelets on his wrists.  CB then sang the first chorus at which point the tempo slightly escalated and AS and EP resumed playing the chugging, frenetic guitar riffs from the introduction.

            CB then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  The tempo then momentarily slowed down and the band jammed for 70 seconds during which AS played a 50?second guitar solo, EP heavy guitar riffs, GC a solid, groovy bass line, and PB thundering drums.  The tempo then resumed an up tempo pace as AS and EP played the chugging, frenetic guitar riffs from the introduction for 10 seconds.  AS and EP then played the groove?oriented guitar riffs at a slightly slower tempo that they continued to play when CB sang the third verse.  CB repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus. 

            4. Practice What You Preach (Practice What You Preach, 1989).  Before Practice What You Preach BI said, “All right!  Show us that you Practice What You Preach!”  The first five seconds of Practice What You Preach featured one bar of AS and EP’s simple, mid tempo guitar chord progression and PB’s simple drum beat.  The tempo then slightly escalated and AS and EP played chugging guitar riffs for 10 seconds.  AS and EP then repeated the pattern of playing the simple guitar chord progression followed by chugging guitar riffs, albeit for twice as long and at a slightly escalated tempo.  CB then sang the first two verses that featured a catchy melody in a slightly melodic yet thrash tone while AS and EP continued playing chugging guitar riffs.  CB then sang the first chorus while AS and EP played descending guitar chord progressions.  The tempo slightly decreased for 10 seconds when CB sang the final line of the first chorus (i.e., “practice what you preach”). 

            After the song resumed its initial pace AS played a 70?second guitar solo mainly comprised of melodic guitar notes while CB played air guitar using his inverted microphone (“mike”) stand and EP and GC stood in front of PB on his drum riser.  AS and EP then resumed playing the chugging guitar riffs from the introduction for 20 seconds after which CB repeated the pattern from the first two verses and first chorus when he sang the third verse and second chorus.  The third verse and second chorus were separated by a pre?chorus that contained AS and EP’s catchy guitar riffs while CB sang, “Pay the burnt bridge toll, then you lose control.  Pay the burnt bridge toll, so practice what you preach.”

            5. The Persecuted Won’t Forget (The Formation of Damnation, 2008).  Before The Persecuted Won’t Forget CB said, “Yeah!  It’s good to be home.  I see a lot of familiar faces.  Let’s make some noise.  This is off the new record, The Persecuted Won’t Forget.”  The first 10 seconds of The Persecuted Won’t Forget featured a flurry of EP guitar riffs he played at a dizzying speed after which AS and GC played up tempo, chugging riffs and PB thundering drums with syncopated flashing white stage lights.  The tempo momentarily reduced to a mid tempo pace while CB sang the first verse in a thrash tone and AS and EP played chugging guitar riffs.  During the 10?second musical interlude between the first and second verses the tempo resumed a frenetic pace while AS, EP, and GC played the riffs from the introduction.  The tempo momentarily reduced to a mid tempo pace as CB sang the second verse and first chorus with the latter featuring AS and EP playing EP’s guitar riffs from the introduction, albeit more spaced?out.

            CB then sang the bridge, which he initially sang in a thrash tone, but that morphed into a death metal tone when he sang the final words of the second line (i.e., “suffocating meeeeeeee!”).  The bridge included a 40?second musical interlude during which AS and EP played a combination of the guitar riffs from the first chorus and descending arpeggio notes while standing near the front edge of stage left facing each other.  CB, who was standing in front of PB on his drum riser, then sang the remainder of the bridge in a death metal tone and still at a mid tempo pace.  AS then played a 40?second guitar solo after which the tempo momentarily resumed its initial frenetic pace and CB repeated the pattern from the second verse and first chorus when he sang the third verse and second chorus while still atop PB’s drum riser.  The song ended as it began, with EP’s dizzying guitar riffs and PB’s thundering drumming with syncopated flashing white stage lights.  

            6. Into the Pit (The New Order, 1988).  Before Into the Pit CB said, “F**k yeah!  I see a great job in the [mosh] pit.  Let’s see if we can get it bigger.  This song is called Into the Pit.”  The first 20 seconds of Into the Pit featured four bars of AS and EP’s mid tempo guitar riffs.  PB’s frenetic bashing of his snare drums then escalated the tempo to an up tempo thrash pace while AS and EP played two additional bars of the same guitar riffs, albeit at a faster pace.  CB then sang the first verse in a thrash tone while AS and EP played frenetic guitar riffs.  GC’s bass line and PB’s snare drums were particularly prominent during the first verse.  During the 10?second musical interlude between the first and second verses AS and EP continued to play the frenetic guitar riffs from the first verse that GC and PB played in tandem on the bass and drums.  PB’s drumming was reminiscent of Dave Lombardo’s (Slayer’s drummer) drumming on Slayer’s Reign in Blood record (1986).  PB wore knee?length black cotton shorts and black muscle shirt, and he played a massive silver Yamaha drum kit featuring double bass drums and Paiste cymbals.

            CB then sang the first chorus that was unique because the tempo slightly slowed down for brief periods when AS, EP, and GC chanted, “Into the Pit.”  The other chorus lines featured a frenetic pace on the cusp of disarray.  [The chorus sounded like a cassette improperly placed in a tape deck causing it to erratically slow down and speed up.  But the band’s tight musicianship kept the song together sounding like an angry hornet’s nest that may falsely appear discombobulated but actually guided by a specific goal, to attack those within striking distance.]  AS then played a 25?second guitar solo while EP, GC, and PB continued to play at a frenetic pace.  The tempo slowed down to a mid tempo pace for 25 seconds during which AS and EP played six bars of the guitar riffs from the introduction prompting the audience to bob their heads in unison to the mesmerizing melody.  The tempo then resumed an up tempo pace and CB repeated the pattern from the second verse and first chorus when he sang the third verse and second chorus amidst red stage lights.

            7. D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate) (The Gathering, 1999) is an all out thrasher that began with a 25?second pre?recorded tape track of keyboard chords amidst blue stage lights.  CB, who stood in front of PB on his drum riser, then screamed, “Yeahhhhhhhh,” which served as the cue for AS, EP, and GC to play four bars of a dizzying set of riffs followed by four bars of fast?paced ominous chord progressions during which PB played his tom?toms and double bass drums without mercy.  [The band created a wall of sound that felt like I had stuck my head in front of a jet fuselage.]  CB, who was still atop PB’s drum riser, then sang the first verse in a combined thrash and death metal tone while AS, EP, and GC resumed playing the riffs from the introduction.  CB then sang the first chorus while AS, EP, and GC played the fast?paced ominous chord progressions from the introduction.  CB, who had walked down from PB’s drum riser and joined AS, EP, and GC stage front, then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus, the difference being that the second verse was half the length of the first.  After a 15?second musical interlude highlighted by PB’s double bass drumming CB sang the bridge and then repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus.  D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate) was arguably the most brutal song the band performed.  [This is a potent song heavy enough to diminish my speaking skills to mere grunts while the high volume exposure seasoned with simultaneous headbanging made my miniscule brain feel like a clanging marble encased in a whiffle ball.]

            8. 3 Days in Darkness (The Gathering, 1999) began with two bars of AS and EP’s groove?laden, mid tempo guitar riffs with trills that they continued to play when CB sang the first verse in a thrash tone.  CB then sang the first chorus while PB played a battery of drum fills on his tom?toms.  AS and EP played one bar of the guitar riffs from the introduction during the seven?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse.  The band then stopped playing for one second and then resumed with CB repeating the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  PB then motivated the audience to clap along to his drumming by clapping over his head.  CB said, “All right San Francisco make some noise for this motherfu**er!” 

            The band jammed for five seconds after which CB sang the bridge in a death metal tone that included an impressive display of drumming by PB and CB’s catchy chant of “whoa oh oh.” CB then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus while on his knees on the front edge of center stage.  The tempo then dramatically slowed down for 35 seconds while AS and EP played four bars of guitar riffs reminiscent of early era Slayer.  CB’s growl of “yeahhhhhhhh” marked the resumption of a mid tempo pace and EP resumed playing the guitar riffs from the introduction while AS played a 30?second guitar solo.

            9. The Formation of Damnation (The Formation of Damnation, 2008).  Before The Formation of Damnation CB said, “What’s up San Francisco?!  Are you having a good time?  Are you feeling good?  I have my money on the Bay Area.  So don’t let us down.  This song is called The Formation of Damnation.”  The Formation of Damnation began with two bars of AS and EP’s combined up tempo, frenetic guitar riffs and chord progressions they played while standing atop PB’s drum riser.  The band then stopped playing for one second after which AS and EP resumed playing up tempo guitar riffs that they continued to play when CB sang the first verse in a death metal tone while kneeling on his left knee at the front edge of stage right.  CB then sang the first chorus while AS and EP played guitar riffs peppered with trills.  CB then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus (twice) followed by EP’s 10?second guitar solo on his black Dean flying V guitar with pearl trim and demon logo on the body from The Legacy record cover (1987).  EP wore black Converse sneakers, black denim slacks partially covered with black nylon, black short?sleeve button?down cotton shirt, and wide black sweatband on his right forearm. 

            The most brutal part of the song followed when the tempo slowed to a mid tempo pace and an exchange of PB’s heavy, tribal tom?tom beats and AS, EP and GC’s chugging riffs.  CB said, “All right now.  Let’s open it [mosh pit] up right down the middle.  Spread it right down the middle.  Open it up.  (the pit audience separated into two clusters)  Don’t let me down San Francisco.  The rules are simple.  I want you [stage right] to kill these motherfu**ers [stage left], and I want you [stage left] to kill those sons of bitches over there [stage right].  The fans in the two pit clusters rushed toward each other and violently collided while the band engaged in a 25?second jam.  CB then sang the first bridge still at a mid tempo pace and in a death metal tone emphasizing the first word of each line, “I will fight relentlessly.  I stand tall defiantly.  I see what you cannot see.  I invoke the beast in me.”  CB’s singing was augmented by AS, EP, and GC’s chugging riffs and PB’s heavy?handed tom?toms.  A 10?second musical interlude separate the two bridge sections during which AS and EP played ominous guitar riffs.  CB then sang the second bridge part still emphasizing the first word of each line and kneeling on his left knee at the front edge of stage right, “I fear not the agony.  I breathe hope inside of thee.  I will kill the enemy.  I fulfill my destiny.”  AS then played a 30?second guitar solo after which the tempo resumed an up tempo pace and CB repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus while kneeling on his left knee at the front edge of stage left.  After the song concluded CB said, “I am Chuck Billy of Testament.  It’s good to be home.”

 

            Venue: Cow Palace (“CP”) is an arena located in the San Francisco suburb of Daly City (10 miles south of San Francisco).  CP was opened in 1941.  It’s name is attributed to the structure’s use to house animal livestock expositions.  Depending on seating configuration, CP’s seating capacity varies from 10,300 to 16,500.  Artists such as The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, The Grateful Dead, The Who, The Doors, Rod Stewart, Santana, ZZ Top, Yes, The Beatles, Neil Diamond, Liberace, Elton John, U2, and Prince have performed at CP.  Other notable appearances at CP include those by John F. Kennedy, Evel Knievel, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Billy Graham Crusade.

            Opening Band (first to last): Testament itself followed by Megadeth and Slayer (co?headliners) on American Carnage tour.

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian.  This article and all photos are protected by copyright.  Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins. 

Posted in Concert Reviews | Tagged | 27,198 Comments

Billy Idol

Concert Review: Billy Idol, The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA, 08-17-10 (Tuesday)      
 
          On August 17, 2010 Billy Idol played a sold out show at San Francisco’s 1,200?seat capacity Fillmore.  Billy Idol (“BI,” vocals) played a 15?song, 115-minute set from 9:00 to 10:55.

             1. Ready Steady Go (Generation X cover: Generation X, 1978) is an up tempo song from Generation X (British punk rock band 1976?1981 for which BI handled vocals) that began with Steve Stevens (“SS,” lead guitar) and Billy Morrison’s (“BM,” rhythm guitar) chugging guitar riffs and Jeremy Colson’s (“JC,” drums) tom?toms that they continued to play when BI four times sang, “Ready, steady, go.”  BI wore black combat boots, black denim slacks with a zipper on each the outer side from ankle to cuff and chains extending from belt loop to his back right pocket, black leather belt, black suspenders dangling below his hips, black cotton tank top shirt, black denim jacket with a zipper on each outer side from forearm to cuff, and leather wristbands.  BI then sang the first verse during which SS and BM played fast?paced guitar chord progressions followed by the first chorus during which SS and BM played the chugging guitar riffs from the introduction.  BM played a black and white stripe Gibson Les Paul guitar.  

            BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus, the difference being that SS and BM only played single guitar chords after the first four sentences of the chorus before they resumed playing chugging guitar riffs.  SS then played a 15?second (approximations presumed throughout) guitar solo on his black Gibson Les Paul guitar.  BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus.  The band then engaged in a jam during the last 40 seconds during which BI thrice shouted, “Ready steady go!  Go, go, go, go!” and SS played a second 15?second guitar solo during which he quickly flipped his guitar’s toggle switch.

 

            2. Dancing With Myself (Don’t Stop, 1981) began with JC’s up beat snare drum pattern augmented shortly thereafter by Stephen McGrath’s (“SM,” bass) tandem bass line and SS’s catchy series of high guitar notes that they continued to play while BI sang the first two verses in quick succession and at an up tempo pace.  BI then sang the first chorus during which SS and BM played power chords while SM and JC continued to play an up tempo bass line and drum beat.  BM and SM aided BI by four times chanting, “oh … oh … oh.”  BI then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and first chorus when he sang the third and fourth verses and second chorus.  The band then engaged in a jam that began with JC playing his snare drum at an up tempo pace for 10 seconds after which SM joined in with a punchy bass line and BI four times chanted, “oh … oh … oh” followed by, “oh … oh … oh … dancing with myself.”

            SS then played a 20?second guitar solo comprised of seven bars of an ascending note scale.  SS played part of his solo with his guitar propped on the back of his neck while he continued to play.  SS wore shiny silver boots, rust denim slacks with embossed skull and crossbones icons on each rear pant pocket cover, black leather belt with multiple hollow silver hoops of varying sizes, and long?sleeve button?down pink silk shirt with subtle vertical ruffled texture.  BI then repeated the third and fourth verses and second chorus.  SS and BM stood center stage facing each other and engaged in a mini jam during the chorus.  Dancing with Myself and four other songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

 

            3. Love is Strange (unreleased) is an up tempo song that began with a quick burst of JC’s snare drum followed by two bars of SS and BM’s groovy riff augmented by SM and JC’s up tempo bass line and drum beat.  BI then sang the first verse followed by the even catchier first chorus, “Hey, hey hey.  Love is strange.  She feels me comin’ through the highway haze.  Hey, hey, hey.  Love is strange.  I saw you dancing in the dance hall days.”  BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus during which audience members bobbed their heads to the catchy melody.  SS and BM then played a 30?second (combined) guitar solo a la Adrian Smith and Dave Murray (Iron Maiden guitarists).  BM played a cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul guitar.  BI then repeated the chorus.

            4. Flesh for Fantasy (Rebel Yell, 1983) is a sultry, mid tempo song that began with JC’s mid tempo bass drum and SM’s punchy bass line reminiscent of the discothèque era that they continued to play when BI sang the first verse introduced with SS and BM’s strumming of a melodic guitar chord.  DS’s keyboard notes and SS and BM’s guitar riffs and notes accentuated the song’s sultry vibe.  BI then sang the first chorus during which SS and BM continued to play the sultry guitar riffs and notes, “Face to face … and back to back.  You see and feel … my sex attack.  Sing it … flesh, flesh for fantasy.  We want … flesh, flesh for fantasy.”  BI emphasized the phrase, “flesh, flesh for fantasy,” which he sang in a lower than usual octave.  BI thoroughly enjoyed performing and interacting with the audience to the point that he autographed records for fans stage left and right.  BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus while standing atop a three by three feet platform extending into the crowd center stage.  [The female audience members who outnumbered the male three to one stroked BI’s well?chiseled thighs and taut abdomen as if admiring the statue of a Greed god.] 

            The tempo slightly escalated during the 25?second musical interlude between the second chorus and first pre?chorus during which BI played a tambourine, SM a punchy bass line, JC an up beat drum beat bordering on techno rock, and SS and SM a sinful guitar riff.  The tempo then resumed its initial mid tempo pace as BI sang the pre?chorus augmented by DS’s atmospheric keyboards, SM’s bass line, and JC’s drum beat.  BI then sang the third chorus after which the band engaged in a 55?second jam during which SS played the sultry guitar riffs and BM the melodic guitar notes.  BM then modified the record version of the song by singing a third verse that contained parts of select lines from the first and second verses.  BI then four times chanted, “Flesh” in quick succession and encouraged audience participation, an act he thrice repeated. 

[Photo Insert Scream]

            5. Scream (Devil’s Playground, 2005).  Before Scream BI said, “Cheers.  How are you doing today?  I want to introduce you to the band.  Steve Stevens on guitar.  From San Francisco, Jeremy Colson on drums.  From Santa Cruz, Derek Sherinian on keyboards.  I have a slow one. But I have a feeling you still want to rock.  Steve, what should we do?”  SS shouted, “Scream.”  Scream began with amplifier (“amp”) feedback from SS’s guitar followed by two and one?half bars of a wicked guitar riff he played while the stage was immersed in darkness.  SS, BM, and SM then played chugging riffs after which BI sang the first verse in a deep, relaxed tone mainly augmented by SM’s rollicking, prominent bass line and SS and BM’s recurring, subtle guitar riffs.  The first verse includes sexually oriented lyrics, “You are the lock.  I am the key.  Climb up my lemon tree.  You are the one.  You’re on your knees.  You are my little queen.  You know just what I mean.  Climb up my lemon tree.”  [I do not think BI was encouraging the youth contingent in the audience to set up lemonade stands.] 

             BI screamed the final line of the first verse (i.e., “climb up my lemon tree”) and then transitioned to the first chorus, which he continued to scream and during which the tempo escalated and SS and BM played a recurring series of high guitar runs.  The band stopped playing for one second at the end of the first chorus.  BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  BI then shouted, “suck it,” serving as the cue for SS to play a 25?second guitar solo on his black Gibson Les Paul.  SS and BM then played the wicked guitar riffs from the introduction, which BM played on his black and white stripe Gibson Les Paul guitar.  BI repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus.  BI then screamed, “One more time now” and repeated the chorus.

            6. Sweet Sixteen (Whiplash Smile, 1986).  Before Sweet Sixteen BI said, “This next song certainly has a story.”  BI told a story about visiting the Coral Castle (stone structure created by eccentric Latvian American Edward Leedskalnin north of the city of Homestead, Florida.  The castle includes numerous megalithic stones, mainly limestone formed from coral, each weighing several tons).  BI said, “I asked, ‘What the f**k did you build this place for?’  He looked me in the eye and said, ‘It is for my sweet sixteen.’”   Sweet Sixteen is a sentimental ballad with a country tinge reminiscent of Johnny Cash (American country singer, guitarist dubbed “The Man in Black”).  The song began with BI, SS, and BM playing melodic acoustic guitar notes, SM prominently playing a punchy bass line, and JC playing a basic beat on his snare drum and cymbal using drum brushes. 

            BI sang the first verse, pre?chorus, and chorus in a particularly emotional and raspy tone.  The melody remained consistent during the verse, pre?chorus, and chorus except that Derek Sherinian (“DS,” keyboards) played a cascading series of keyboard notes during the chorus.  BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse, pre?chorus, and chorus when he sang the second verse, pre?chorus, and chorus followed by the third verse, pre?chorus, and chorus with the accompaniment during the chorus being provided by acoustic guitars and snare drum until the final line (i.e., “rock her far from here”).  The song ended with a 40?second jam during which BI, SS, BM, and SM stood stage front center stage and included a 20?second SS guitar solo he played on a maple acoustic-electric guitar.  BI played a natural wood acoustic guitar while BM played a black acoustic guitar.   

            7. Scarred for Life (unreleased).  BM played the introductory guitar notes and handled lead vocals to this mid tempo song during the first verse, which he sang with both hands on the microphone stand.  The lyrics are poignant, “I gotta believe.  If I’m for real, this whole fu**ing life can’t be in vain.  I can’t be insane … am I?  The damage I’ve done, with a needle and spoon.  I was entombed in a lonely dark room.  I can’t be insane.”  BM wore bright red loafer shoes, blue denim slacks, long?sleeve button?down black cotton shirt with a red left and white right sleeve rolled up to his elbows.  BM and BI then co?sang the first chorus that featured a fluid, catchy guitar chord progression and melody a la Green Day (American punk rock band).  [It is the type of melody I hum off?key while wearing my Aquaman shower cap and playing with my rubber duckies in my bath tub.]  BI and BM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when they sang the second verse and chorus.  SS then played a guitar solo on his black Gibson Les Paul followed by BI and BM repeating the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when they sang the third verse and chorus.

            8. Eyes Without A Face (Rebel Yell, 1983) began with DS’s atmospheric keyboard chords that he played for 35 seconds amidst blue stage lights at which point SS came on stage and played a 60?second melodic piece on his natural wood acoustic-electric guitar augmented by DS’s keyboard chords.  DS wore black denim slacks, long?sleeve black cotton shirt with a gray chest?level cross logo.  DS played three keyboards, including a Korg and Roland, positioned at the rear of stage right behind finely spaced vertical metal grills with mini lights of varying colors four feet high and 10 feet wide.  [DS’s set up gave the false impression he was quarantined to a limited, designated region as if suffering from a contagious ailment like the bubonic plague.  BI does deserve credit for the wherewithal to have DS play keyboards on stage.  When DS played keyboards with Kiss on the Revenge tour (1992) Gene Simmons (Kiss bassist, vocalist) and Paul Stanley (Kiss rhythm guitarist, vocalist) relegated DS to a location out of audience view as they have done with keyboardists on other tours (e.g., Gary Corbett).]  DS then played two bars of descending keyboard chords augmented by SM and JC’s mid tempo bass line and drum beat at which point SS sat on the stage monitor positioned at the front edge of stage right.  BI came on stage and sang the first verse and chorus at a slow tempo and in an emotional tone while SS and BM played melodic guitar notes and SM and JC played the mid tempo bass line and drum beat from the introduction.  BI wore a thigh?length black wool blazer with nothing underneath.

            BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus, the only difference being that SS and BM played more colorful and intricate melodic guitar notes.  BM played a maroon Gibson Les Paul guitar.  During the second chorus BI stood atop the platform center stage, once again prompting female audience members to caress and grope his thigh.  [The slew of hands reaching for BI looked like a scene from George Romero’s zombie film, “Night of the Living Dead” (1968).]  SS then got up from the monitor and went to the rear of the stage where he switched to his black Gibson Les Paul electric guitar.  SS’s quick guitar chord unexpectedly and momentarily escalated the song to an up tempo pace.  SS and BM played wicked guitar riffs supported by SM and JC’s solid rhythm section that they continued to play when BI sang the third verse.  SS then played a searing, sultry guitar solo reminiscent of Vinnie Vincent’s (Kiss’s lead guitarist 1982?84) on Kiss’s Creatures of the Night record (1982) and during which he incorporated Pete Townshend’s (The Who guitarist) signature windmill move (twice) followed by the thumbs up sign to the audience.  The tempo then abruptly shifted back to its initial slow tempo pace as BI repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when he sang the fourth verse and third chorus.  Eyes Without A Face, Dancing with Myself, and three other songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

            9. Kings and Queens of the Underground (unreleased).  The first 20 seconds of this ballad featured DS’s atmospheric keyboards augmented by a pre?recorded tape track of an echoing male voice uttering something indecipherable.  [Somewhat like what I mutter after chugging a 40?ounce bottle of malt liquor.]  SS then played melodic guitar notes on his natural wood acoustic-electric guitar that he continued to play when BI sang the first verse.  BI’s sang in a soft tone augmented by SS’s melodic guitar notes, DS’s keyboard notes, and JC’s occasional cymbals, which they continued to play when BI transitioned without pause to the first chorus.  Four large, vertically?aligned green stage lights positioned in the rear of stage left and right (eight total) shined on the audience.  SS and DS continued to play melodic guitar and keyboard notes during the 10?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse.

            BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus, the difference being that SM and JC played a slow tempo bass line and drum beat during the second verse and chorus while SS and BM switched to playing guitar chord progressions during the second chorus.  BI then four times repeated the bridge, “oh, golden years” during which JC delivered a healthy dose of cymbal crashes.  SS then played a 20?second guitar solo.  BI then repeated the pattern from the second verse and chorus when he sang the third and fourth verse/chorus combinations.  The third verse contains particularly candid lyrics, “Sold all my vinyl.  It went up my arm.  And I thought rock and roll wouldn’t do me no harm.  Now I’m rolling a joint.  Yes I’m dressed in black.  If we lose the music baby we can never go back.”  Kings and Queens of the Underground is an autobiographical song because BI references various releases in his storied career, Kiss Me Deadly (1981 Generation X record), Hot in the City (1982 song on BI’s self?tiled debut solo record), Rebel Yell (1984 song and record), and Eyes Without A Face (1984 song on BI’s Rebel Yell record).

            10. L.A. Woman (The Doors cover: L.A. Woman, 1971).  Before performing L.A. Woman BI, who wore a long?sleeve button?down black satin shirt (unbuttoned) came on stage and tossed four white Frisbees followed by some JC drumsticks into the audience.  L.A. Woman began with two bars of DS’s shuffling, up tempo keyboard notes reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis (American rock and roll and country singer, pianist) followed by two bars of SS and BM’s fiery guitar runs.  SS played his black Gibson Les Paul guitar while BM played a maple sunburst Gibson Les Paul guitar.  BI then sang the first verse augmented by SS and BM’s chugging guitar riffs, DS’s up tempo keyboard notes, SM’s up tempo bass line, and JC’s solid drum beat.  BI then sang the first pre?chorus during which SS and BM played mid tempo guitar chord progressions followed by SS’s fiery guitar run during the 10?second musical interlude between the first pre?chorus and chorus.  BI then sang the first chorus during which SS and BM resumed playing chugging guitar riffs, DS up tempo keyboard notes, SM up tempo bass line, and JC solid drum beat.  SS and BM switched to playing mid tempo guitar chord progressions toward the chorus’s end when BI sang the line, “Into your blues.”  BI modified the chorus line from “L.A. Woman” to “S.F. Woman.” 

            The tempo then reduced to a slow tempo pace as BI sang the first four lines of the second verse augmented by SS and BM’s melodic guitar notes and SM and JC’s subtle bass line and drum beat.  The vertical metal grills with mini lights mounted on the wall behind and flanking the two sides of JC’s drum set (see set up discussion below during JC’s drum solo) featured neon blue and green lights.  DS played a 90?second keyboard solo during which BI played a cowbell and SM and JC a bass line and drum beat that provided a solid rhythm section.  SM stood in front of DS’s keyboards.  The tempo resumed a mid tempo pace when BI sang the fifth line of the second verse (i.e., “drivin’ down your freeways”) augmented by DS’s shuffling, up tempo keyboard notes while SS and BM switched to playing chugging guitar riffs.  SS played a series of vibrato?laced low guitar notes during the 10?second musical interlude between the second verse and chorus.  After singing the second chorus BI repeated the first verse and chorus.  The song concluded with BI, SS, BM, and SM standing stage front center stage where they engaged in a jam during which the tempo slightly escalated.  The song ended with JC bashing his tom?toms five times.

            -Steve Stevens Guitar Solo.  SS’s four?minute guitar solo commenced with DS’s dark, atmospheric keyboard chords while the eight vertically?aligned stage lights shined on the audience.  These lights were initially electric blue but eventually turned red and then white.  SS played flamenco style guitar notes traditionally played on an acoustic guitar on his black Gibson Les Paul while he smoked a cigarette.  SS progressively played faster until he reached a frenetic pace.  SS then reduced the tempo of his playing and incorporated some of Jimmy Page’s (Led Zeppelin guitarist) guitar notes from Led Zeppelin’s Over the Hills and Far Away (Houses of the Holy, 1973).  SS then played fiery notes during which he demonstrated his dexterity by playing part of his solo with left?hand vibrato.

            11. King Rocker (Generation X cover: Valley of the Dolls, 1979).  Before King Rocker BI said, “Steve Stevens thank you.  That was fu**in’ great.  We are going to do a song that we wrote almost 40 years ago.”  King Rocker is an up tempo rockabilly song that began with JC’s rollicking tom?toms.  BI then sang the first verse at a fast tempo augmented by SS and BM’s shuffling guitar riffs, SM’s punchy bass line, and JC’s up tempo tom?toms followed by the first chorus during which SS and BM played chugging guitar riffs and JC the rollicking tom?toms from the introduction.  BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by the pre-chorus, which he sang in pseudo?rap fashion solely augmented by SM and JC’s rollicking bass line and tom?tom.  BM then played a guitar solo on his black and white stripe Gibson Les Paul guitar while standing center stage next to SS.  BI, who wore his black denim jacket atop a long?sleeve button?down white cotton shirt with black vertical pin stripes (unbuttoned), then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus.  SS played a beautiful Gibson Les Paul guitar with a cracked pearl surface resembling a smashed mirror.  King Rocker is reminiscent of a mix of Elvis Presley (American rock and roll singer) and Stray Cats (American rockabilly band).

            12. Running with the Boss Sound (Generation X cover: Valley of the Dolls, 1979) was preceded by a 60?second SS guitar riff showcase reminiscent of Eddie Van Halen’s (Van Halen guitarist) guitar work on Eruption off Van Halen’s self?titled debut record (1978).  SS’s guitar riffs, which he played on his electric burgundy standard Fender Stratocaster body shape guitar while smoking a cigarette amidst flashing blue stage lights, led straight into the song’s 15?second introductory mid tempo guitar run augmented by SM’s bass line and JC’s drum beat.  SM’s punchy bass line and JC’s driving snare drum and cymbals escalated the song to an up tempo pace.  BI then sang the first verse during which SS and BM played up tempo, chugging guitar riffs while SM continued to play a punchy bass line.  BI transitioned without pause to the first chorus during which SS and BM played shuffling guitar riffs.  BI sang in a punk tone that did not entirely mesh with the rhythm section.  [The vocals and rhythm section were not diametrically opposed but rather operated on different wavelengths toward a common goal, somewhat like a virgin’s testosterone?laced, goal?oriented brain and overexcited jittery hands as he clumsily unbuttons a willing girl’s bra.]

            BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus after which the band engaged in a 20?second jam during which BM played a brief two?second guitar solo on his gold Gibson Les Paul guitar.  BI then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third and fourth verse/chorus combinations.  SS then played an extended four?minute blues?based guitar solo during which the tempo momentarily reduced to a mid tempo pace and that was augmented by BI’s tambourine and JC’s simple hi?hat and bass drum.  During SS’s guitar solo the song’s tempo progressively increased and resumed an up tempo pace at which point BM and SM joined in with their bass line and drum beat.  SS concluded his solo by picking notes using his teeth a la Jimi Hendrix (iconic black American guitarist, vocalist).  BI, who was still wearing his long?sleeve button?down white cotton shirt with black vertical pin stripes (unbuttoned chest and sleeves) but without the denim jacket, then repeated the pattern from the first four verses and choruses when he sang the fifth verse and chorus.  During the first few lines of the fifth verse SS, BM, and SM stopped playing and JC’s bass drum was BI’s sole rhythm section prompting the audience to clap along.

            13. Rebel Yell (Rebel Yell, 1983).  Before Rebel Yell BI, who was bare?chested, once again introduced his band, “Steve Stevens, Jeremy Colson, Derek Sherinian.  Last night I forgot his [DS’s] name.  Next week I am going to put you [DS] up here [center stage].  Let’s do Rebel Yell!”  Rebel Yell is a timeless up tempo anthem that began with DS’s recognizable keyboard chords and SS and BM’s short, sputtering guitar riffs during which BI and SS crisscrossed one another as they ran from the front edge of stage right to stage left.  A powerful series of triple chords by SS and BM served as the cue for BI to sing the first verse augmented by DS’s keyboard chords, JC’s solid drum beat and SS and BM’s short, sputtering guitar riffs from the introduction.  BI sang in a tone reminiscent of Elvis Presley until he reached the last line when he screamed the final phrase (i.e., “pray help from above”).  BI’s scream served as the cue for SS and BM to play heavy, drawn?own guitar riffs while BI sang the first chorus with ample audience participation, “In the midnight hour she cried, ‘more, more, more.’  With a rebel yell she cried, ‘more, more, more.’  In the midnight hour babe, ‘more, more, more.’  With a rebel yell, ‘more, more, more.’  More, more, more!”  [SS and BM played powerful, grinding riffs of the type that compelled me to rip off my shirt and beat my chest like a silver back gorilla.]  SS played a short, fiery guitar run as BI sang the final phrase (i.e., “more, more, more”).  [SS’s guitar run was so smoldering it would singe my Andy Rooneyesque eyebrows if I stood too close to his deadly axe.]

            BI then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by the third verse with the latter particularly reminiscent of Elvis’s singing style.  SS then played a 25?second guitar solo, part of which he used a toy laser gun in lieu of a pick to strum his guitar strings.  [SS’s solo was fitting for a heavy metal song.]  The tempo then momentarily reduced to a mid tempo pace.  During the 60?second musical interlude between the third and fourth verses JC played a heavy, recurring series of tribal beats on his tom?toms while BI chanted, “Do you feel alright?” prompting the audience to repeat the phrase.  BI then sang the fourth and fifth verses still at a mid tempo pace augmented by DS’s keyboard chords and JC’s snare drum.  BI sang in a tone reminiscent of Elvis Presley until he reached the final two lines of the fifth verse, which he screamed (i.e., “I’d give you all, and have none babe.  Just, just, justa, justa to have you here by me.  Because ….”)  The tempo then resumed an up tempo pace and SS and BM played heavy drawn?own guitar riffs that they continued to play when BI sang the third chorus atop the platform center stage while the eight vertically?aligned stage lights shined neon red.  BI then twice sang, “Oh yeah little angel … she want more … more, more, more, more” and ended the song with his right fist pointing forward standing atop a stage monitor.  Rebel Yell, Eyes Without A Face, Dancing with Myself, and two other songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction with Rebel Yell receiving the strongest reaction.  The band left the stage at 10:33 and returned in one minute to play two additional songs.

            14. White Wedding (Billy Idol, 1982).  Before White Wedding BI said, “You guys are great … very loud.  Thank you for making my life so fu**in’ great, and Steve [Stevens], thank you for making my life so great.”  White Wedding began in acoustic form with just BI and SS on stage with the sole spotlight shining on SS as he played a short ascending guitar riff and two bars of melodic guitar notes on his natural wood acoustic-electric guitar.  BI then sang the first verse and chorus in a soft tone while SS played a melodic guitar chord progression.  BI, who wore a black cotton jacket and black and white muscle shirt bearing the phrase, “No on Prop. 8” [California ballot proposition restricting the definition of marriage to opposite?sex couples],   then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the third verse and chorus with his foot on the stage monitor (skipped second verse and chorus).  BI screamed the last line of the third chorus (i.e., “it’s a nice day to start again”) extending the final word at least seven seconds and then motioned with each hand for the audience to “raise the roof” (i.e., make more noise).

            BM, SM, and JC then joined BI and SS stage front to perform an electric version of the song.  BI shouted, “Take me back home yeah!,” SM prominently played an up tempo, groovy bass chord progression, and SS and BM played six bars of the melodic guitar notes from the introduction accentuated after each bar by BM’s short guitar riff and JC’s bass drum.  BI then sang the fourth verse during which SM played a punchy bass line, JC an up tempo drum beat, and SS and BM sporadic, brief droning guitar chords on their black and maroon Gibson Les Pauls, respectively.  BI then sang the fourth chorus during which SS and BM played an ominous series of solid guitar chord progressions while SM and JC played the same rhythm section as the fourth verse.  SM’s bass line carried the song.  SM wore black denim slacks, black Harley Davidson muscle shirt with the “Harley Davidson” logo in red and white letters on his chest along with the phrase in white letters, “Put Your Ass in Some Class.”  SM switched during the show between playing a natural wood and a tobacco sunburst Fender Precision bass.  SS then did a duck walk across stage made famous by Chuck Berry (black American rock and blues guitarist, singer) after which the band engaged in a 30?second jam.  White Wedding, Rebel Yell, Eyes Without A Face, Dancing with Myself, and one other song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

            -Jeremy Colson Drum Solo.  JC played a solid three?minute drum solo during which he shouted, “San Francisco make some fu**in’ noise!”  As JC bashed away he thrice shouted, “Hay, hay, hay, hay!” prompting the audience to repeat the phrase.  JC wore black and white knee?length cotton shorts, no shirt, and played a matte black drum kit with single bass drum and a drum head featuring the black and red Billy Idol logo against a black background.  JC’s drum set was positioned atop an 18?inch high, black?colored wooden drum riser.  Mounted on the wall behind and flanking the two sides of JC’s drum set were finely spaced vertical metal grills with mini lights of varying colors.  The grill behind JC’s drum set measured six feet high by 30 feet wide while those on each side of his drum set were four feet high and 10 feet wide. 

            15. Mony Mony (Tommy James & The Shondells cover: 1968) is a catchy song that began with SM and JC’s up beat bass line and drum beat that they continued to play when BI sang the first verse.  DS played three short keyboard notes after each of the first three verse lines while SS and BM played lingering power chords beginning with the fourth verse line.  BI then sang the catchy first chorus during which SS and BM played groovy riffs, “’Cause you make me feel.  Mony mony.  So good.  Mony mony.  So good.  Mony mony.  So good.  Mony mony.  So fine.  Mony mony.  So fine.  Mony mony.  It’s all mine.  Mony mony. Well I feel all right.  Mony mony.  I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.”  SM and BM sang the “mony mony” parts of the chorus while BI sang the remainder.”  BI then did some jumping jacks and then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  BI slapped hands with front row fans while he sang the second verse.  The tempo then slowed to a mid tempo pace during the pre?chorus and BI did more jumping jacks.  [BI looked like he was in boot camp commanded by an ornery drill sergeant.]  SS and BM played catchy mid tempo guitar chord progressions, SM and JC played a mid tempo bass line and drum beat, while BI and SM eight times repeated the phrase, “I love you Mony mo-mo-mony sure I do” and then five times repeated the phrase, “come on come on.”  BI did more jumping jacks and then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus.

 

            A stage hand came on stage and poured some talcum powder on BI’s right palm that BI rubbed into his left palm.  [BI looked like an Olympic gymnast preparing for the men’s rings competition.]  The stage hand handed BI a light blue standard Fender Stratocaster body shape guitar.  The band then engaged in a 210?second blues?based jam during the first 90 seconds of which BI stood atop the platform center stage and played a simple guitar solo replete with snarls.  SS, BM, and JC joined BI stage front center stage for the remaining 120 seconds of the jam.  However, BI spent the last 60 seconds of the jam back on the platform center stage with his guitar slung on his back and headstock pointing at the stage floor where he used hand gestures (e.g., fists in the air) to encourage his band mates to continue jamming.  Mony Mony, White Wedding, Rebel Yell, Eyes Without A Face, and Dancing with Myself received the strongest audience reaction.  After the song ended the band waved and clapped in appreciation of the audience’s enthusiasm.  BI introduced his band for one final time, “From San Francisco … Jeremy Colson.  From England, Billy Morrison.  On keyboards, from Santa Cruz, Derek Sherinian.  And from New York City, on lead guitar, fu**in’ Steve Stevens!  And I am on guitar and my name is Billy fu**in’ Idol!”

            Venue: The Fillmore (“TF”) is a historic San Francisco theater that, in the mid?1960s, under the direction of legendary late Bay Area rock promoter Bill Graham, was the site of psychedelic and rock music and counterculture.  TF’s early days featured acts such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Cream, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and The Doors.  TF is a 1,200?seat capacity venue with a standing room floor similar to an oversized dance hall.  Positioned above the floor are 10 chandeliers.  The second floor contains a bar and box seats, specifically, six box seats stage right and another two, along with the mixing room, across the stage.

            Opening Band (first to last): none

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian.  This article and all photos are protected by copyright.  Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins.

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Scorpions

Concert Review: Scorpions, Concord Pavilion, Concord, CA, 08-01-10 (Sunday)      
 
            On Sunday, August 1, 2010 the Scorpions played Concord’s 12,500?seat capacity Concord Pavilion (CP) that was three?fourths full (approximations presumed throughout).  The Scorpions played a 16?song, 95-minute set from 8:35 to 10:10.

            1. Sting in the Tail (Sting in the Tail, 2010).  Before Sting in the Tail James Kottak’s (“JK,” drummer) drum set positioned on a 48?inch high riser covered with two metal grills that met at a 90 degree angle pointed at the crowd center stage elevated 30 feet, revealing a base covered with silver horizontal blinds.  [JK’s drum set rose so high I nearly got a nose bleed, and JK likely donned an oxygen mask.]  Flanked on each side of JK’s drum set were three metal steps and, further out, two ascending metal grill platforms, 30 and 80 inches high.  Four amplifiers were beneath each of the four platforms.

 

            Sting in the Tail began with Rudolf Schenker’s (“RS,” guitarist) recurring high guitar note with flanger effect he played on his half black and half white Dommenget flying V guitar that, after two bars, was augmented by Matthias Jabs’s (“MJ,” guitarist) up tempo guitar riffs and JK’s snare drums.  JK’s drum riser slowly descended to the point where it was 15 feet above stage.  Klaus Meine (“KM,” vocalist) then sang the first two verses during which RS and MJ continued to play the up tempo guitar riffs reminiscent of Angus Young’s (AC/DC guitarist) riffing on early AC/DC records.  RS and MJ played mid tempo chugging guitar riffs during the five?second musical interlude between the two verses.  KM then twice sang the chorus, “Hail, hail a sting in the tail” prompting audience participation followed by MJ’s 10?second guitar solo he played on his natural wood Dommenget explorer EX Corinna guitar.  MJ wore black sneakers, black leather slacks with two vertical red stripes on the outer sides, semi long?sleeve button?down black cotton shirt with studs and two thin chains on the right shoulder, large silver cross on a black rope necklace, and black cotton baseball cap.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and first chorus when he sang the third verse and second chorus, the latter which he repeated six times.  I admire the Scorpions for starting the show with a new song, which they counter?balanced by shifting straight to a 30 year?old song.    

 

            2. Make It Real (Animal Magnetism, 1980) began with RS’s slow tempo guitar riffs he played that, after two bars, was augmented by MJ’s guitar run, JK’s drum beats, and Pawe? M?ciwoda’s (“PM,” bassist) up tempo bass lines.  RS wore black Converse sneakers, black leather slacks (with one chain extending from his belt loop to his back left pocket), black cotton vest with studded (mini, dull) lapels, black wrap?around sunglasses.  KM then sang the first verse during which RS and MJ played subtle, mid tempo chugging guitar riffs and PM continued to play up tempo bass lines.  KM then sang the first chorus augmented by RS’s slow tempo guitar riffs and MJ’s guitar run from the introduction.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  The tempo momentarily escalated to an up tempo pace for a 30?second jam session during which RS played frenetic guitar riffs, MJ a 15?second guitar solo, and JK his tom?toms and snare drums.  The tempo then resumed its initial pace and KM repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus, the difference being that MJ began the verse by playing a lingering, recurring high guitar note before playing chugging guitar riffs. 

            3. Bad Boys Running Wild (Love at First Sting, 1984) began with a 10?second cascade of MJ’s quick guitar notes after which RS and MJ played mid tempo guitar riffs augmented by PM’s bass lines and JK’s drum beats that they continued to play when KM sang the first verse.  At the end of the first verse the band stopped playing for one second after which RS and MJ resumed playing mid tempo guitar riffs (two bars) during the seven?second musical interlude preceding the second verse.  KM then sang the first chorus during which JK added cymbals and RS and MJ played slightly more up tempo guitar riffs, including a short series of palm muted guitar riffs right after KM sang the last line.  KM then sang the third verse and second chorus.  As KM sang the last line of the second chorus (i.e., “and you better get out of their way”) he extended and four times repeated the final word, the last time being augmented by JK’s tom?toms.  MJ then played a 20?second guitar solo on his black Dommenget explorer Corinna guitar after which KM sang the third chorus.  KM wore black Converse sneakers with velcro straps, off?black silk slacks with interwoven white spiral patterns on the outer sides, long?sleeve button?down black shirt with vertical satin stripes with the sleeves rolled up to his forearm and atop a short?sleeve button?down black shirt, fairly thin black tie (loosely?tied) with white line patterns set at a 45 degree angle, sleeveless black leather jacket, leather bracelet on his left wrist, and black sunglasses.

            4. The Zoo (Animal Magnetism, 1980) began with two bars of RS and MJ’s ominous guitar riffs followed by RS’s chugging, slow tempo guitar riffs on his gray Dommenget flying V guitar and MJ’s ominous guitar chord progression on his black Dommenget Corinna guitar augmented by PM and JK’s solid bass lines and snare drums.  KM then sang the first two verses during which RS and MJ continued to play the same guitar riffs and chord progression.  The first two verses were separated by a 20?second musical interlude during which RS and MJ continued to play the same guitar riffs and chord progression.  JK’s snare drums served as the cue for KM to twice sing the chorus during which the tempo escalated to a mid tempo pace.  RS and MJ then played a series of heavy guitar riffs for 10 seconds after which they resumed playing the guitar riffs and chord progression from the introduction. 

            The band then engaged in a 70?second jam during which RS played the chugging guitar riffs while MJ added vocal effects using a Digitech GNX4 Talker effect.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and chorus when he sang the third verse and twice repeated the second chorus.  The band engaged in a second jam near the end of the song during which RS and MJ used flanger guitar effect.  After the song concluded JK arose behind his drum set.  JK wore knee?length off?black denim slacks that were falling off his waist.  [Since JK was shirtless, his rotund belly was exposed raising doubt in my mind that we may be Siamese twins separated at birth.  A sumo wrestling match between us would have been a spectacle of cataclysmic proportion.]  JK played ddrum drums, double bass drums, Zildjian cymbals, and each drum head featured the “Kottak” logo with swords in place of “Ts” against a black background.

            5. Coast to Coast (Lovedrive, 1979) is an instrumental song that began with RS and MJ’s mid tempo guitar notes augmented by JK’s snare drums and PM’s groovy, heavy bass lines he played on his cream bass with standard Fender Stratocaster body shape and brown pearl?colored pick guard.  PM wore white loafers, black silk/polyester blend slacks, mocha?colored vest with cream?colored laces and Native American motifs on the shoulders and outer sides.  RS and MJ then began to play mid tempo, trudging guitar riffs.  70 seconds into the song RS momentarily played a series of guitar runs atop MJ’s guitar riffs, which he repeated at the 2:00 mark.  At the 2:15 mark RS and MJ stopped playing for 35 seconds permitting PM’s groovy bass lines and JK’s solid snare drums to come to the forefront.  RS then resumed playing the mid tempo, trudging guitar riffs on his gray Dommenget flying V guitar while MJ played a guitar solo on his on gray guitar with standard Fender Stratocaster body shape that extended to the end of the song.  KM joined RS and MJ by playing a black guitar with standard Fender Stratocaster body.  KM, RS, MJ, and PM all jammed standing next to one another center stage.  As KM, RS, MJ, and PM strummed the final chords JK left his drum set, came stage front next to KM, raised the devil horns, rubbed his hair like a lunatic, and returned to his drum set.  [KM stared at JK as if observing his Ritalin?deprived (psychostimulant drug that treats attention-deficit hyperactivity) son or insane asylum escapee missing his straight jacket.]  

            6. Loving You Sunday Morning (Lovedrive, 1979) began with two bars of RS and MJ’s melodic guitar notes followed by their mid tempo chugging guitar riffs and JK’s solid drum beat that they continued to play while KM sang the first verse.  KM, accompanied by JK, then sang the first chorus, “Loving you Sunday morning.  You were on my mind love everyday.  Loving you Sunday morning.  Your love makes me fly so far away.”  RS and MJ played drawn out guitar chord progressions they momentarily replaced with mid tempo chugging guitar riffs when KM sang the final word of even?numbered chorus lines (i.e., “everyday,” “away”).  Black and white images of the band’s live performance appeared on each of the three video screens that stretched to the ends of the large stage.  The images were mirrored on each video screen and each screen was comprised of a rectangular?shaped panel mounted at the rear of the stage with the center screen positioned behind JK’s drum set and each of the two adjoining screens positioned behind the dual metal platforms.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by MJ’s 35?second guitar solo during which RS played a mid tempo guitar chord progression.  KM then repeated the second verse (in partial form) and chorus.  The song concluded with JK’s drum fills.    

            7. The Best is Yet to Come (Sting in the Tail, 2010).  Before The Best is Yet to Come KM said, “Thank you.  Good to see you.  Good to be back in the Bay Area.  We would like to sing a new song for you.  This is The Best is Yet to Come.”  The Best is Yet to Come is a sentimental ballad that began with RS and MJ’s melodic guitar notes, the introductory ones reminiscent of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray’s (Iron Maiden guitarists) guitar work on Iron Maiden’s Somewhere in Time record (1986).  KM then sang the first verse and chorus that, until near the end, was solely accompanied by RS and MJ’s melodic guitar notes.  The second time KM sang the phrase, “And the best is yet to come” JK and PM added drum beats and bass lines while MJ played guitar chord progressions atop RS’s guitar notes.  Black on fluorescent green images of the band’s live performance appeared not only on each of the three video screens but also the metal grills of the four platforms flanking JK’s drum set.

            KM then sang the second verse during which RS and MJ played melodic guitar notes augmented by JK and PM’s drum beats and bass lines followed by the second chorus during which RS and MJ played guitar chord progressions.  KM then sang the bridge during which the song momentarily converted to a power ballad augmented by MJ’s fiery guitar runs he played on his gold standard Fender Stratocaster body shape guitar.  The song then resumed its initial slow tempo pace and KM sang the third verse and chorus.  At the end of the song the band encouraged audience participation while KM twice sang, “Take my hand, the best is yet to come” augmented by JK’s bass drums.  Interestingly, an unidentified guitarist who stood stage left assisted by playing melodic guitar notes throughout the entire song.  [If I had known the stage was a free?for­?all, I would have jumped on stage next to the mystery guitarist and played my kazoo.]  After the song concluded KM said, “Arizona (error, KM meant California) thank you.  [I hope 62 year?old KM’s error was a careless oversight and not attributed to Alzheimer’s disease (degenerative disease with progressive patterns of cognitive and functional impairments, including memory loss.]”  

            8. Winds of Change (Crazy World, 1990).  Before Winds of Change KM said, “Here we go.  This is Winds of Change.”  Winds of Change is a slow tempo, sentimental ballad that began with KM whistling the song’s catchy melody after which RS and MJ played melodic guitar notes.  RS played a black acoustic 12?string guitar mounted on a stand.  KM then sang the first two verses solely augmented by RS and MJ’s melodic guitar notes and separated by a 20?second musical interlude.  Black and white images of the band’s live performance interspersed with audience shots appeared on the center video screen while the two side screens showed scenes of the Berlin wall’s demolition that began on November 9, 1989.  JK and PM did not play their instruments during the first two verses.  KM then sang the first chorus during which JK and PM began playing simple drum beats and bass lines.  PM played a coffee-colored Gibson Thunderbird bass.  RS switched from the acoustic guitar to his half black and half white Dommenget flying V guitar.  KM then sang the third verse, second chorus, and fourth verse at the start of which the song converted to a power ballad.  RS then played a 25?second guitar solo followed by the third and final chorus.  The song softly concluded as it began, with KM whistling the melody.

            9. Holiday (Lovedrive, 1979).  Before Holiday KM said, “Thank you.  I guess this is the next one for you to sing.  This is Holiday.  Are you ready?!”  Holiday is a slow tempo, sentimental ballad that began with RS and MJ’s melodic acoustic guitar notes they continued to play as KM sang the first two verses in an emotional tone, including the 10?second musical interlude between the first two verses.  RS played a natural wood Dommenget flying V Abalony acoustic guitar and MJ a natural spruce wood top Dommenget explorer acoustic guitar.  JK and PM did not play their instruments during the first two verses.  RS and MJ went off stage and returned with electric guitars.  [RS and MJ walked on stage like warriors armed with battle axes intent on wreaking havoc on the audience’s auditory sense.]  KM then sang the third and final verse at which point the song converted to a mid tempo power ballad for the remaining 150 seconds accompanied by RS and MJ’s guitar riffs, PM’s bass lines, and JK’s snare drums.  MJ played a guitar solo during the third verse atop RS’s guitar chord progression.  After the song concluded JK put on a muscle shirt with the Superman logo.  Holiday and two other songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction with Holiday receiving the strongest reaction.

            10. Raised on Rock (Sting in the Tail, 2010).  Before Raised on Rock KM said, “I don’t know about you but I was Raised on Rock.”  Raised on Rock began with RS and MJ’s thin?sounding guitar riff and JK’s basic drum beat.  KM then sang the first verse, “I was born in a hurricane.  Nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Ran before I walked.  Reaching for the top.  Out of control just like a runaway train.”  The bravado lyrics did not mesh with the song’s pedestrian, mid tempo pace.  [It was akin to a dude with a thimble?sized penis stuffing an eggplant in his trousers to appear more manly.]  KM then sang the first chorus during which RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction while JK took his shirt off, pounded his bass drums, and clapped his hands over his head, prompting the audience to sing along.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus during which RS played guitar riffs incorporating Pete Townshend’s (The Who guitarist) signature windmill move.

            Black and white images of the band’s live performance appeared on the center video screen while the two side screens showed vintage images of the band’s past live performances.  Multi?color, marquee?like images shined on the metal grills of the four platforms that flanked JK’s drum set.  KM then sang the pre?chorus during which RS played mid tempo guitar riffs on his half black and half white Dommenget flying V guitar and MJ played melodic guitar notes on his white Dommenget explorer guitar with four black stripes.  JK played his tom?toms while RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction during the 15?second musical interlude between the pre?chorus and third chorus.  KM then sang the third and final chorus during which KM, RS, MJ, and PM stood at the front of stage right and engaged in a jam session that included a 25?second MJ guitar solo and KM playing a tambourine.

            11. Tease Me Please Me (Crazy World, 1990) began with four bars of RS and MJ’s brooding, slow tempo guitar riffs reminiscent of Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing’s (Judas Priest guitarists) riffing on Judas Priest’s Defenders of the Faith record (1984).  JK’s heavy snare and bass drums then escalated the song to a mid tempo pace and RS and MJ began playing recurring, groovy guitar riffs that they continued to play when KM sang the first verse.  KM then sang the first pre?chorus during which RS and MJ played chugging, mid tempo guitar riffs.  RS and MJ then switched to playing pedestrian guitar chord progressions when KM began to sing the first chorus in an overly pop?tinged tone at odds with the verse, “Tease me please me. … no one needs to know.  Tease me please me … before I have to go.”

            During the 15?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse RS resumed playing the recurring, groovy guitar riffs from the introduction on his red Dommenget flying V Ferrari guitar, MJ played a catchy guitar run, and PM played groovy up tempo bass lines.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse, pre?chorus, and chorus when he sang the second verse, pre?chorus, and chorus after which MJ played a 15?second guitar solo on his black Dommenget explorer guitar.  KM then repeated the pre?chorus and chorus.  Black on red images of the band’s live performance appeared on each of the three video screens while images of woofers that pulsed in beat with JK’s bass drums appeared on the metal grills of the platforms.

            12. Dynamite (Blackout, 1982) began with RS and MJ’s chugging, up tempo guitar riffs and JK’s tom?toms.  During the fifth through eighth bars of RS’s guitar riffs MJ played searing guitar runs on his white Dommenget explorer guitar with four black stripes.  KM then sang the first verse mainly accompanied by JK’s loud snare drums and RS and MJ’s twice repeated two?chord progression.  KM then sang the first chorus while RS, MJ, and PM played the up tempo riffs from the introduction.  PM stood on the lower platform stage right and played a natural wood bass with standard Fender Stratocaster body shape and brown pearl?colored pick guard.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus after which MJ played a 40?second guitar solo atop RS’s shuffling guitar riffs. The band then jammed for 20 seconds during which RS and MJ played the chugging, up tempo guitar riffs from the introduction.  KM then sang the third verse and chorus.  Images of fireworks appeared on the two side video screens.

            -Kottak Attack (JK drum solo).  JK played an extended nine-minute drum solo during which he successfully maintained the audience’s attention because the two side video screens showed a short film of JM acting out various scenes in which the theme tied in with the Fly to the Rainbow, Love at First Sting, Lovedrive, Crazy World, Animal Magnetism, and Blackout album covers.  For example, one scene showed JK in a gas station using a tattoo gun to tattoo a scorpion on a female’s thigh similar to the Love at First Sting record cover while another scene showed him using a key similar to the one on the Crazy World record cover to open up a free?standing door situated in the middle of a desert.  JK’s drum riser elevated twice, rising a total of 30 feet.  JK said, “Oh my god.  I wish you could see what it looks like from up here!  It is great to be back in San Francisco, California.  Three words, you … kick … ass!  Let’s do it!”  JK then continued with thundering drumming on his bass and tom?toms.  JK then arose, stood with his legs spread apart on his two bass drums, turned his back to the crowd and revealed the slogan on the back of his muscle shirt, “Rock & Roll Forever.”  JK took his shirt off and revealed the same message tattooed across his entire back.

            13. Blackout (Blackout, 1982) is a classic rocker that began with RS and MJ’s up tempo, chugging guitar riffs augmented by JK’s snare drums and PM’s bass lines that they continued to play when KM sang the first and second verses.  PM wore a black cowboy hat while RS donned a prosthetic face mask that covered his head (mouth excluded) modeled after the Gottfried Helnwein (Austrian-Irish painter) self?portrait on the Blackout record cover.  RS played an orange and yellow swirl Dommenget flying V guitar.  KM, who had switched to a sleeveless black denim Levi’s jacket with studded shoulders, then sang the first chorus during which RS and MJ played arpeggio guitar notes.  RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction during the 15?second musical interlude between the first chorus and third verse.  KM then sang the third verse and second chorus followed by MJ’s 20?second guitar solo and the third chorus.  Blackout, Holiday, and another song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

            -Six String Sting (MJ guitar solo).  MJ played a three-minute guitar solo on his black Dommenget explorer guitar.  Black and white images of the band’s past live performances appeared on the three video screens.  MJ ended his solo with the catchy guitar riff from the introduction of Big City Nights, serving as the cue for his band mates to come on stage.

            14. Big City Nights (Love at First Sting, 1984) began with RS and MJ’s catchy, up tempo guitar riffs augmented during the second bar by PM’s punchy bass lines and JK’s solid snare drums.  MJ played a fiery series of guitar notes during the third and fourth bars of RS’s guitar riffs.  KM then sang the first verse in a melodic tone augmented by PM’s prominent, upbeat bass lines and RS and MJ’s guitar chord progressions.  PM had switched to a plain cotton black vest.  KM then sang the first chorus during which RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction while standing at the front edge of stage right.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  KM, RS, MJ, and PM stood at the front edge of stage left during the second verse.

            KM then sang the first pre?chorus during which the tempo momentarily slowed to a mid tempo pace and then resumed an up tempo pace at which point RS, who was wearing a black cowboy hat with skull and crossbones emblem as the crown centerpiece, played a 45?second guitar solo on his gray Dommenget flying V guitar.  KM then sang the third chorus during which JK played bass drums, RS stood in front of JK on his drum riser, and PM stood on the lower platform stage right.  Color images of a city street immersed in neon lights appeared on the video screens.  Near the song’s conclusion the word “Concord” scrolled atop the city street landscape in red letters while KM stood on the lower platform stage left, PM on the lower platform stage right, and RS center stage.  After the song concluded KM said, “Thank you California.  I love you all.”  The band left the stage at 9:58 and returned in two minutes to play two additional songs.

            15. No One Like You (Blackout, 1982).  Before No One Like You KM said, “California there is No One Like You.”  No One Like You is a powerful rocker that began with MJ’s searing guitar run he played atop two bars of RS’s heavy, mid tempo guitar riffs and JK’s drum beats.  [MJ’s guitar run was powerful enough to puncture a hole in my ear drum at high volume.  No matter how stoned or inebriated, MJ’s guitar run woke you’re a** up.  The auditory onslaught was tantamount to pouring sulfuric acid on an open wound.]  KM then sang the first verse during which the tempo momentarily reduced to a slow tempo pace and MJ played melodic guitar notes atop RS’s brooding, mid tempo guitar riffs.  KM then sang the first chorus during which the tempo resumed a mid tempo pace and RS and MJ played the heavy guitar riffs from the introduction.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by MJ’s 30?second guitar solo during which RS played guitar riffs positioned stage right and KM struck a cowbell using JK drum sticks that he individually tossed into the audience after a few hits.  KM then repeated the chorus.  Black on red images of the band’s live performance appeared on each of the two side video screens while the center screen showed a kaleidoscope image (i.e., optical instrument in which bits of glass held loosely at the end of a rotating tube are shown in continually changing symmetrical forms by reflection in two or more mirrors set at angles to each other).

 

            16. Rock You Like A Hurricane (Love at First Sting, 1984).  Before Rock You Like A Hurricane KM said, “Time to Rock You Like A Hurricane!”   Rock You Like A Hurricane is the band’s biggest commercial hit that began with RS and MJ’s instantaneously recognizable mid tempo guitar riff augmented by PM’s heavy bass lines and JK’s snare drums.  MJ played a fiery guitar run during the fifth through eighth bars of RS’s guitar riffs.  KM then sang the first and second verses after which the tempo slightly slowed down and RS and MJ played chugging guitar riffs while JK played a basic drum beat.  KM then sang the first chorus during which the song resumed its initial mid tempo pace and RS and MJ played the guitar riffs from the introduction.  KM then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and first chorus when he sang the third and fourth verses and second chorus followed by MJ’s 30?second guitar solo during which RS played the guitar riffs from the introduction on his gold Dommenget flying V guitar.  KM then repeated the first verse, fourth verse, and chorus.  Black and white images of the band’s live performance stretched across all three video screens.  Rock You Like A Hurricane, Blackout, and Holiday received the strongest audience reaction.

 

            Venue: Concord Pavilion (“CP”) is an outdoor ampitheater built in 1975 and designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry and landscape architect Peter Walker.  Gehry also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California.  CP was built in response to the East Bay community’s desire to have a venue for the annual Concord Summer Festival.  CP is set in a natural bowl below Mt. Diablo.  CP was remodeled in 1996 to increase seating and make additional improvements.  CP has a 12,500?seat capacity comprised of three?tiered seated sections and perimeter lawn section.  For a period of time Concord Pavilion was called the Chronicle Pavilion, and it is currently called the Sleep Train Pavilion, both corporate entities that purchased naming rights.

            Opening Band: Cinderella

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian.  This article and all photos are protected by copyright.  Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins. 

Posted in Concert Reviews | Tagged | 25,764 Comments

Queensryche

Concert Review: Queensrÿche, Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA, 07-25-10 (Saturday)      
  
             On July 25, 2010 Queensrÿche played San Francisco’s 1,050?seat capacity Regency Ballroom (RB) that was two?thirds full (approximations presumed throughout).  Queensrÿche played a 17?song, 120 minute set from 8:10 to 10:10.  The show was dubbed Queensrÿche Cabaret because it featured the band performing accompanied by go?go dancers, burlesque dancer, dominatrix, drag queen, juggler, ballerina/contortionist/aerial trapeze artist, psychiatrist and Native American Indian. 

            – Life is A Cabaret (Intro).  The show began with a pre?recorded, four?minute tape track of a Louis Armstrong (American jazz trumpeter, singer) song followed by background cabaret music. 

            1. Hit the Black (Hear in the Now Frontier record, 1997) began with rapidly flashing white lights atop the stage.  Geoff Tate (“GT,” vocalist), who was lumbering, was helped onto a red leather sofa shaped like female lips positioned center stage by two attractive female stagehands who wore very short black one?piece strapless outfits.  [GT’s lumbering reminded me of my inebriated state in high school after chugging homemade beer out of a gigantic peanut butter jar.  Fortunately, that pungent concoction did not cause blindness.]  GT wore black knee?high leather boots, tight black denim slacks, black blazer, black pin?stripe vest, and black sunglasses.  The stage floor near the sofa was littered with six empty liquor bottles.  GT lied in the middle of the sofa between the stagehands and rested his shaved head on the thigh of the stagehand to his right.  GT sang lyrics for 100 seconds in a monotone somber tone and at a slow tempo pace accompanied by Michael Wilton (“MW,” guitarist) and Parker Lundgren’s (“PL,” guitarist) melodic subtle guitar notes.  The lyrics are not part of the record version of Hit the Black.  One of the stagehands handed GT a mirror he used to admire his handsome facial features.  [Fortunately the stagehand did not hand a mirror to me as a similar act would have caused the mirror to crack and subsequently turn to dust.]  GT then five times repeated the phrase, “When you are going down.”   The stagehands got up and left the stage while a juggler walked in front of GT and handed him a black top hat and a microphone (“mike”) on a stand.  GT put the top hat on his shiny dome and grasped the mike stand as he got up, serving as the cue for Scott Rockenfield (“SR,” drummer) to strike his snare drums to ignite Hit the Black.

 

            Hit the Black is an up tempo rocker that began with PL’s up tempo guitar chord progression atop which MW played a fiery guitar run.  GT then sang the first verse in a pseudo?rap fashion augmented by MW and PL’s guitar riffs.  The juggler returned and juggled three balls.  GT then sang the first chorus in a more melodic fashion but still at an up tempo pace.  MW once again played a fiery guitar run supported by PL’s up tempo guitar chord progression on his white ESP Eclipse guitar during the 10?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  The tempo slowed to a mid tempo pace for 15 seconds during which MW played melodic guitar notes on his black ESP signature guitar with 12 white skull and crossbones prints atop PL’s guitar chord progression.  GT then sang the third verse and chorus after which he thrice repeated the phrase, “I’m going down” while SR bashed his tom?toms.  At the end of the song a drag queen with a platinum blonde wig who wore black high heels and a short white one?piece see?through mesh dress brought GT a glass of red wine on a silver platter.  Hit the Black and two songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

            2. Desert Dance (Tribe, 2003) began with Eddie Jackson’s (“EJ,” bassist) atmospheric bass chords augmented by MW’s short guitar run.  EJ wore black boots, black denim slacks, and long?sleeve button?down black cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his forearms.  PL then played a fairly up tempo, heavy guitar chord progression on his maroon ESP 335 guitar augmented by MW’s fiery guitar run and SR’s bombastic drumming.  GT danced with a female stagehand who wore black high heels, black thigh-high pantyhose, black skirt, and burgundy on black top.  GT wore a burgundy on black knee?length suede coat atop his vest.  A crop?wielding busty brunette dominatrix dressed in black stiletto heels, thigh?length black spandex shorts, black latex girdle, biker’s cap then brought out two scantily clad go?go dancers in silver shorts and bras.  The go?go dancers took position adjacent to SR’s drum set stage left and right where they danced.  GT then sang the first verse while MW and PL played fairly up tempo staccato guitar riffs and SR solid drum beats.  GT then sang the first chorus in a more melodic tone and at a slightly slower tempo than the verse while MW and PL played nice guitar chord accompaniments.  A female stagehand wearing a short silver one?piece strapless outfit walked across the rear of the stage holding a sign that read, “True Love.”   

            GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus, the difference being that after the second chorus GT invited audience participation when he four times chanted at an up tempo pace, “We’re never coming down.  Keep reaching.  Come on, come on!  Keep reaching.”  The tempo then reduced to a slow tempo pace for 30 seconds during which MW played a melodic guitar run.  SR’s up tempo tom?toms escalated the song back to an up tempo pace, and GT sang the third verse and chorus at the end of which GT once again invited audience participation by four times chanting the same phrase he did after the second chorus.  At the end of the song the dominatrix came out holding a cardboard cutout of a red heart covered in glitter.  The dominatrix threw the heart on the floor and trampled it with her stiletto heels.  She then shoved GT off stage.  [The dominatrix’s busty frame permitted her to handle GT with ease as if he was made of paper mache.]

            3. I Am I (Promised Land, 1994) began with sitar?like guitar notes followed by MW and PL’s fairly driving, mid tempo guitar riffs that they continued to play while GT sang the first two verses.  During the entire song GT scurried around on stage wearing a black wool blazer and sunglasses chased by four female stagehands impersonating paparazzi (photojournalists specializing in candid photography of celebrities) who wore fishnets, black skirts, black wool blazers, and black sunglasses (three stagehands) and shoved cameras and tape recorders in GT’s face.  GT then sang the first chorus (i.e., “Care to look inside?  I am I!  I am I!”) during which MW and PL played atmospheric guitar notes.  A female stagehand who wore a short cheetah print one?piece strapless outfit twice walked across the rear of the stage holding signs that read, “Fame” and “Fortune.” 

            The tempo then momentarily slowed down a bit while GT sang the pre?chorus followed by MW’s 10?second guitar solo.  MW wore black combat boots, black denim slacks (with two chains extending from his belt loop to his back left pocket), long?sleeve button?down black satin shirt, black cotton hooded jacket atop which he wore a black wool blazer with vertical satin stripes, and black sunglasses.  [MW’s outfit confused me because he was dressed like a cross between a Jawa (hooded character in George Lucas’s science fiction film, “Star Wars” (1977) and Don Vito Corleone, aging patriarch of organized crime dynasty played by Marlon Brando in Francis Ford Coppola’s American gangster-drama film, “The Godfather: Part II” (1974).]  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  At the end of the song the female stagehands stripped GT of his blazer, revealing his bare chest.  After the song concluded a stagehand placed a black knee?length silk coat with circular white patterns and a silver disco?ball sparkle derby hat on GT.  GT continued to wear sunglasses.

            4. Sacred Ground (Q2K, 1999) began with SR’s tom?toms and tambourine and MW and PL’s chugging mid tempo guitar riffs with echoplex effect that they continued to play when GT sang the first verse.  PL wore black boots with side buckles, black denim slacks, long?sleeve button?down black cotton shirt with vertical satin stripes with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, black leather belt with silver skull and crossbones buckle, and black pilot sunglasses (that he eventually took off).  GT then sang the first chorus during which MW and PL continued to play chugging mid tempo guitar riffs followed by a 10?second musical interlude during which SR stopped playing while MW and PL played subtle guitar notes.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second and third verse/chorus combinations followed by MW’s 10?second guitar solo.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first three verses and choruses when he sang the fourth verse and chorus.

            5. Promised Land (Promised Land, 1994).  Before Promised Land six winged female dancers walked into the crowd and danced with audience members for two minutes.  Promised Land is an eight?minute brooding opus that began amidst GT’s saxophone (“sax”) notes, SR’s heavy drum beats, and EJ’s solid bass lines.  GT sang the first verse at a slow tempo pace augmented by his sax notes, SR’s drum beats, and EJ’s bass lines.  GT wore his black wool blazer and a black derby.  A bright red scarf hung on GT’s mike stand.  A female aerial trapeze artist climbed a violet mini?drape dangling from the ceiling stage left adjacent to SR’s drum set and performed impressive tricks (e.g., spinning, hanging upside down, stretching her legs apart at a 180 degree angle, climbing up and down the drape).  [If I attempted to climb the drape, my fried food?based figure would bring down the ceiling, converting the ballroom to an amphitheater.]  MS and PL played a series of heavy guitar chord progressions and brooding guitar notes during the 35?second musical interlude between the first and second verses.  GT then sang the second and third verses followed by MW’s 40?second guitar solo on his black ESP signature guitar augmented by SR’s subtle drum beat and GT’s sax notes.  GT then sang the fourth and fifth verses.

            6. Dis Con Nec Ted (Promised Land, 1994) was preceded by 30 seconds of random sound effects (e.g., creaking door, thunder, rustling rodents) and rapidly flashing white lights atop the stage.  Disconnected began with EJ’s groovy, mid tempo bass lines he played on his black Fender Jazz five?string bass augmented by MW and PL’s guitar chords of the same manner.  A curvaceous burlesque dancer wearing a hot pink cape and wig danced provocatively in front of SR’s drum set.  [If I was in SR’s place, the dancer’s presence would have distracted me to the point where I would have either fallen off the drum stool or accidentally poked myself in the eye with a drum stick.]  GT then sang the first verse and chorus in a soft tone and at a fairly slow tempo pace while MW, PL, and EJ continued to play the guitar chords and bass lines from the introduction.  GT then played his sax for a few seconds after which he sang the second verse and chorus.  The band then stopped playing for one second at which point GT softly stated, “Down,” serving as the trigger for MW and PL to repeatedly play a lingering, haunting note for 25 seconds augmented by GT’s sax notes and SR’s heavy drum beats.  GT then sang the third verse and chorus.  Disconnected is reminiscent of songs on Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason record (1987).

            7. Lady Jane (Promised Land, 1994) is a sentimental ballad that began with the sole spotlight on GT as he sang the first verse in a soulful tone accompanied by his melodic keyboard notes he played while sitting behind a keyboard adjacent stage left to SR’s drum set.  A ballerina who wore a black tutu and black spandex top decorated with a red heart on her chest was draped on the floor center stage.  The ballerina got up and gracefully performed ballet dance moves, including pirouettes (rapid whirling of body on the toe of one foot).  GT then sang the first pre?chorus that marked the introduction of SR’s drum beats and MW and PL’s guitar riffs.  GT then sang the first chorus at which point the song converted to a power ballad.  GT played keyboards during the 15?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse.  GT then sang the second verse augmented by his keyboards and MW and PL’s guitar riffs followed by MW’s 25?second guitar solo on his black ESP guitar.  GT then sang the second pre?chorus and chorus with the former containing guitar riffs reminiscent of The Beatles’s Helter Skelter off The White Album (1968).  GT sat on his keyboard stool and the ballerina danced during the entire song.

            8. Another Rainy Night (Without You) (Empire, 1990).  Before Another Rainy Night (Without You) the juggler juggled three balls.  Another Rainy Night (Without You) began with MW and PL’s catchy, mid tempo guitar run.  GT sang the first verse at a fairly slow tempo pace augmented by MW and PL’s melodic guitar chords, SR’s basic drum beat, and EJ’s up tempo, groovy bass lines.  In contrast to the other songs that EJ played standing near the rear of stage right, EJ stood center stage slightly stage right adjacent to PL’s mike stand.  The curvaceous burlesque dancer sat in an erotic pose in a chair placed in front of SR’s drum set and twirled an umbrella.  [I did not see any rain but would have gladly done a rain dance in the buff if that would have prolonged the dancer’s erotic escapades.]  The dancer got up, put the umbrella down, draped a light blue chiffon scarf across her chest and performed a mesmerizing striptease during which she took off her skirt and bra that exposed her underwear and pasties that covered her small, fair complected breasts.  GT then sang the first pre?chorus during which MW and PL played melodic arpeggio guitar notes. 

            GT then sang the first chorus during which the tempo momentarily escalated to a mid tempo pace and MW and PL played the catchy guitar run from the introduction augmented by SR’s tom?toms and snare drums.  The tempo resumed its earlier slow tempo when GT began to sing the last line of the first chorus (i.e., “It’s just another rainy night, without you”).  MW and PL continued to play the catchy guitar run during the 10?second musical interlude between the first chorus and second verse.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse, pre-chorus, and chorus when he sang the second verse, pre?chorus, and chorus. GT then sang the bridge augmented by SR’s tom?toms followed by MW’s 25?second guitar solo.  MW had switched from his long?sleeve button?down black satin shirt to a black leather vest decorated with a metal wire that created random elliptical patterns.  GT repeated the first pre?chorus and second chorus and ended the song with the phrase, “It’s just another rainy night, another rainy night, another rainy night without you.”

            9. The Art of Life (Tribe, 2003).  Before The Art of Life GT, who sat on the red lip?shaped leather sofa center stage said, “Can I be honest?  I think I might have made a big mistake.  I know this all looks so glamorous.  The lights, the camera, the action, beautiful girls, this wonderful outfit I am wearing.  But honestly it’s all a facade really.  I am really, really lonely.  I had everything.  This beautiful love.  This thing that was so, so, so amazing.  (GT laugher)  And I lost it.  I am now all by myself.  With all you wonderful people of course.  (audience applause)  Oh you are so kind.  You are so damn beautiful.  What an amazing?looking audience we have here tonight.  But after you have travelled the world and been to all these amazing places and had true love, a beautiful audience like this is not quite enough.  Just being honest with you.  I feel so empty.  I feel everywhere I look people want something from me.  There is nothing left to give.  I honestly think I need to talk to somebody … some professional help or something … maybe a psychiatrist.”  A stagehand dressed as a psychiatrist (i.e., grey wool slacks, long?sleeve button?down white cotton shirt, and grey wool vest holding a notepad) came on stage, patted GT on shoulder and sat in a chair next to him.

            The Art of Life began with MW and PL’s chugging guitar notes that they played for a few seconds and then, with the introduction of SR’s drum beats, converted to fairly slow tempo guitar chords.  GT, who was still sitting on the sofa, then sang the first verse in a fairly slow tempo pace augmented by MW and PL’s melodic guitar notes.  The psychiatrist jotted down notes in his notepad as if conducting a therapy session.  [Presuming I was the patient the psychiatrist would get carpal tunnel from jotting down my litany of psychological problems.]  GT got up midway through the first verse.  GT then sang the first chorus during which MW and PL played heavy, slow tempo guitar chord progressions.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  The psychiatrist, who had gone off stage, returned and handed GT his sax at which point GT played a 10?second sax solo and then repeated the chorus.  GT sat down on the sofa and ended the song with the phrase, “The art of life is … without rushing, without faltering, unraveling the secrets of knowledge.  We must challenge and defeat our four natural enemies:  fear, clarity of mind, power, and the desire to rest.”  After the song concluded GT said, “So there you have it.  That session cost me about $125.  How many of you have been to a psychiatrist?  (numerous audience members raised their hand)  That is an alarming number.  Mental illness must be running amuck in this city.  This is a beautiful city, but you people are fu**in’ crazy!”

            10. The Thin Line (Empire, 1990) is a power ballad that began with MW and PL’s mid tempo guitar riffs and SR’s ample cymbal crashes.  The song’s tempo slightly slowed down when GT began to sing the first verse augmented by MW and PL’s melodic guitar notes and EJ’s bass lines that were prominent in the mix.  Four scantily clad female stagehands who wore black shorts and bras dragged a male audience member on stage including by his dog collar, sat him in a chair center stage, blindfolded him, and strapped his wrists to the rear chair legs.  The stagehands provocatively danced around the male, caressed his chest, and gave him a lap dance while being commanded by the dominatrix.  GT then sang the pre?chorus in an emotional tone followed by the first chorus during which the song’s tempo slightly escalated and featured SR’s tom?toms and MW and PL’s guitar riffs from the introduction. 

            GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse, pre?chorus, and chorus when he sang the second verse, pre?chorus, and chorus followed by MW’s 30?second guitar solo on his natural wood ESP guitar with a standard Fender Stratocaster body shape augmented by GT’s sax notes.  The stagehands teased the male by decorating him with prosthetic female boobs, a red wig, and whip cream across his face.  A female stagehand who wore a short one?piece strapless outfit twice walked across the rear of the stage holding signs that read, “Woody” and “Boner.”  [For the mentally challenged like me “Woody” did not refer to the aroused male’s nickname.]  GT then sang the third and final chorus after which he played a 40?second sax solo at the front edge of stage right while MW played guitar at the front edge of stage left.

            11. Jet City Woman (Empire, 1990).  Before Jet City Woman GT asked, “Are you having a good time?  I was.  (stagehand handed GT a glass of red wine)  This is San Francisco?!  No way.  San Francisco is one of the more (inaudible) rock towns in the world.  This can’t be San Francisco.  (GT put on his burgundy on black knee?length suede coat)  This can’t be San Francisco.  This is San Francisco?!  No wonder it’s so beautiful.  It’s a little cloudy in San Francisco.  Last night we were in Las Vegas.  Tonight when you leave could you do something for me?  Keep your eyes out for my true love.”  Jet City Woman began with SR’s cymbals and EJ’s up tempo bass lines that he played adjacent to PL’s mike stand and augmented 10 seconds afterwards by MW and PL’s melodic guitar notes.  MW and PL then played a searing guitar run and heavy up tempo guitar chords, respectively. 

            The burlesque dancer came on stage and danced in front of SR’s drum set while holding two oversized hot pink feather?covered fans.  GT sang the first verse in an emotional tone and at a slow tempo augmented by MW and PL’s melodic guitar notes until the third to last line when the tempo escalated to a mid tempo pace and MW and PL began playing heavy guitar riffs.  GT then sang the first chorus at a mid tempo pace during which SR’s drum beats were prominently featured.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by MW’s 35?second guitar solo.  GT then sang the pre?chorus and third chorus at a mid tempo pace augmented by MW and PL’s guitar riffs.  Jet City Woman, Hit the Black, and one song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

            12. The Lady Wore Black (Queensrÿche, 1983) began with MW and PL’s atmospheric, slow tempo, melodic guitar notes that they continued to play when GT sang the first verse in an emotional tone.  A drag queen who wore a full?length black dress and an oversized black sun hat with a red interior lip sat on a wrought iron bench positioned center stage bearing a saddened expression.  GT sang the first verse while standing behind the drag queen and then sat next to the drag queen and serenaded him (or her).  [I guess the red wine made GT delusional.]  GT’s voice escalated and MW and PL played up tempo guitar riffs augmented by SR’s solid drumming when GT sang the final line of the first verse (i.e., “eternal life was her debt to pay”).  GT motivated the drag queen to get up and dance with him while he sang the first chorus.  GT held his right hand out and high above the drag queen’s head leading her in a waltz?like dance.  [I knew I had not consumed any magical mushrooms.  Otherwise I would have next expected GT to dance with a pink elephant.]  The tempo resumed a slow tempo pace and MW and PL resumed playing melodic guitar notes when GT sang the final line of the first chorus (i.e., “her love can set me free”).  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus, including conversion of the tempo to an up tempo pace when GT sang the final line of the second verse (i.e., “and I listened remembering all I heard”).  The drag queen sat down on the bench and posed during MW’s 20?second guitar solo.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first two verses and choruses when he sang the third verse and chorus, including conversion of the tempo to an up tempo pace when GT sang the final line of the third verse (i.e., “but for her love I’ll gladly pay”).  The Lady Wore Black, Hit the Black, and Jet City Woman, received the strongest audience reaction.

            13. Tribe (Tribe, 2003).  Before Tribe GT, who was holding a glass of red wine, said, “Maybe I have been going at this the wrong way.  I love shopping.  But you can only shop for so long.  Maybe I should go to some exotic place.”  Four scantily clad go?go dancers came on stage bearing single?color feather boa tails, specifically pink, white, orange, and blue.  The go?go dancers with blue and orange boas entered cages positioned stage right and left, while the go?go dancers with white and pink boas stood at the front edge of stage right and stage left.  Each cage had 10 silver vertical bars and was positioned on an 18?inch high riser covered with a black drape. 

            Tribe began with MW and PL’s mid tempo, groovy guitar riffs.  The go?go dancers turned their backs to the audience and danced in a provocative manner shaking their buttocks.  [My eyes were uncontrollably fixated on the go?go dancers’s buttocks.  It was like staring at a solar eclipse.  I knew better but could not help it.]  GT then sang the first verse augmented by MW and PL’ chugging guitar riffs and SR’s tom?toms.  MW and PL played the guitar riffs from the introduction during the 10?second musical interlude between the first and second verses.  GT then sang the second verse augmented by MW and PL’s chugging guitar riffs and SR’s conga drums.  The song’s tempo then escalated to an up tempo pace as GT began to sing the first chorus augmented by MW and PL’s machine gun?like guitar riffs.  MW then played a 15?second guitar solo on his honey burst maple ESP Eclipse guitar augmented by SR’s drum beats reminiscent of John Bonham (late Led Zeppelin drummer).  GT then repeated the chorus.

            – Drum Solo with Blackfoot tribal dance.  SR played a four?minute drum solo during which a stagehand dressed in traditional Native American Indian garb danced on stage in beat with the drum beats.  SR wore black wool/cotton blend pants, black Nike cotton muscle shirt, black gloves, and black cotton headband.  SR played a red ddrum drum kit featuring silver speckles, double bass drums, and Paiste cymbals.  SR’s drum set was on an 18?inch high drum riser covered in a honey?colored drape and positioned three feet in front of the “Queensrÿche” logo backdrop with a black background and white lettering and graphic.  Positioned between SR’s drum set and the backdrop was a long 48?inch high riser covered with a sky blue drape that was not utilized.

            14. Liquid Sky (Q2K, 1999) began with PL’s recurring high guitar notes augmented 10 seconds afterward by MW’s power chord.  GT then sang the first verse at a fairly slow tempo pace augmented by SR’s solid snare drum, EJ’s bass lines, and MW and PL’s chugging guitar riffs.  GT then sang the first chorus during the first half of which MW and PL played a lingering guitar note and the second half of which the tempo escalated to a mid tempo pace and MW and PL played guitar chord progressions.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  GT pranced around holding a black cane with a silver ball tip and wearing black sunglasses and a silver disco ball mosaic derby hat.  A black wooden soapbox comprised of three steps bearing the word, “Soap” in white letters on the side was positioned center stage.  GT then sang the pre?chorus still at a mid tempo pace augmented by MW’s guitar chord progression and PL’s recurring high guitar notes.  The tempo momentarily reduced to a slow tempo pace halfway through the pre?chorus as GT began to sing the final two lines.  GT then sang the third chorus at which time the tempo resumed a mid tempo pace. 

            15. Roads to Madness (The Warning, 1984).  Before Roads to Madness GT, who was holding a glass of red wine, walked up the black wooden soapbox and said, “Can I be frank with you.  I looked everywhere and cannot find love anywhere.  I think I am going mad.”  Roads to Madness is a near 10?minute opus that began with four bars of MW and PL’s slow tempo brooding guitar chord progressions and GT’s powerful scream followed by MW and PL’s guitar riffs.  Two go?go dancers came on stage and entered the two cages in which they danced.  GT sang the first verse at a slow tempo pace augmented by MW and PL’s melodic guitar notes and SR’s subtle drum beats.  The dominatrix brought GT a champagne bottle and glass on a silver tray, which he refused.  The dominatrix returned with a full?length vertical mirror in which GT briefly admired himself.  GT then screamed the first chorus during which the tempo slightly escalated and MW and PL played catchy guitar riffs. 

            After a 25?second slow tempo musical interlude that featured MW and PL’s melodic guitar chords and SR’s drum beats GT repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  GT then sang the bridge followed by MW’s 20?second guitar solo and the third chorus.  GT then sang the second bridge still at a mid tempo pace.  The tempo significantly slowed down for 100 seconds and MW and PL played melodic guitar notes as GT began to sing the final line of the second bridge (i.e., “I can’t scream, too late it’s time.”). Two female stagehands came on stage with a black hooded cape that they draped over GT’s shoulder while he was stage front on his knees.  GT stumbled off stage in a mock exhausted state.  [GT’s antics would have made James Brown (American singer, entertainer dubbed “The Godfather of Soul”) proud.]  The song’s tempo then escalated to an up tempo pace and MW and PL played hook?laden guitar riffs augmented by SR’s driving drum beats.  GT came back on stage and sang the third and final verse at a fast pace.

            16. Until There Was You (Q2K, 2006 reissue) is a sentimental ballad that began with an attractive female stagehand sitting on the red lip?shaped leather sofa center stage.  MW and PL played atmospheric melodic guitar notes that they continued to play when GT sang the first verse in an emotional tone while kneeling in front of and serenading the stagehand.  GT then sang the first pre?chorus during which the song’s tempo slightly escalated as SR began to play a mid tempo drum beat.  GT then sang the first chorus during which MW and PL played catchy, mid tempo guitar chord progressions.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by MW’s brooding 15?second guitar solo augmented by SR’s ample cymbal crashes.  GT then sang the third verse, second pre?chorus, and third chorus.  GT, who wore the burgundy on black knee?length suede coat, motivated the stagehand to get up and seductively dance with him.  At the end of the song the stagehand was in the midst of giving GT a passionate kiss when a male stagehand came on stage with a large broom he used to shoo the kissing couple off stage.

 

            17. The Right Side of My Mind (Q2K, 1999) began with MW and PL’s melodic guitar notes and SR’s basic drum beat that they continued to play when GT sang the first verse at a slow tempo and with great emotion.  Four go?go dancers came on stage and two entered each of the two cages in which they danced.  [I would have paid handsomely for an entrance pass into the cage, but then again my ill?suited frame around the beltline would have warped the bars.  Superman spreads cage bars with his massive biceps while I spread them with my daunting derriere.]  GT then sang the first chorus during which the song’s tempo escalated to a mid tempo pace, MW played a brooding guitar run, PL a heavy guitar chord progression, and SR solid drum beats.  GT then repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus followed by MW’s memorable 25?second guitar solo.  GT, who wore the burgundy on black knee?length suede coat and black top hat, then sang the third and final chorus.  The entire cabaret cast came on stage and danced amidst the band.

            – Life is A Cabaret (Outro).  The show ended with a pre?recorded, three?minute tape track of background cabaret music during which the band members and cabaret cast danced stage front.  GT removed his top hat and bowed to the audience.

            Venue: the building that housed the original RB, known as the Avalon Ballroom, was built in 1911.  The Avalon Ballroom operated from 1966 to 1968 and reopened in 2003 under its current name.  Local bands such as Janis Joplin, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Steve Miller Band, and Big Brother and the Holding Company performed at RB during its original stint in the 1960’s.  RB is a 1,050­?seat theater with a rectangular?shaped standing room floor measuring 96 by 69 feet with blonde hardwood floors and a permanent stage measuring 42 by 20 feet.  Positioned 35 feet above the floor are 22 teardrop chandeliers circa 1900 secured on a roof adorned with gold medallions.  RB has a horseshoe-shaped reserved seating balcony, the interior siding of which visible from the floor is virgin white.  Four vertical white columns line the wall atop the stage and another six are present on each of the walls on the second floor.  Also lining the side walls on each floor are six square?shaped gold?colored tapestries. 

            Opening Band: none
Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian.  This article and all photos are protected by copyright.  Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins. 

Posted in Concert Reviews | Tagged | 17,689 Comments

Halford

Concert Review: Halford, The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA, 07-17-10 (Saturday)      
 
 
I struggled with this review, much like I now do trying to wedge my behemoth bellies (yes, plural tense) into my high school?era Levi’s 501 and FU’s denim slacks.  The struggle I faced with the Halford show was not girth? but quality?related.  Certain parts of the show I had anxiously awaited for weeks left me scratching my balding head while others left me shrugging my hairy shoulders wanting more, like how I feel after eating a rice cake or a few salt and vinegar potato chips.  I desperately wanted to write an undisputed glowing review reflecting a flawless show like many I have witnessed Rob Halford (“RH”) perform.  The show overall was good.  However, I would be doing a disservice to readers if I did not also include some criticism.  I should profess Judas Priest (British heavy metal band for whom RH has served as vocalist for 28 years) is my favorite band, a band I have seen live numerous times dating back nearly 25 years with each show further cementing the band’s legacy in the annals of metaldom.  The mighty Priest’s Defenders of the Faith (1984) and Painkiller (1990) records are molten works of genius that make most others bands sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks (animated music group created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (1958)).  I also profess that Ronnie James Dio’s (late Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Dio vocalist) recent untimely death means RH is now my favorite living singer.  Halford undeniably sounded polished due to rigorous rehearsals.  With that said, the faux pas I observed are uncharacteristic for a veteran entertainer of RH’s caliber.  Now on to the show.

On Saturday, July 17, 2010 Halford played a warm?up show at San Francisco’s 1,050?seat capacity Regency Ballroom (RB) that was two?thirds full (approximations presumed throughout).  Halford played a 13?song, 70-minute set from 10:10 to 11:20.  Halford’s logic in playing a limited 70?minute set as the headliner puzzled and disappointed me.  Before this show Halford had not performed live in over seven years (last prior show being Anaheim, California (06-06-03)).  Halford should have been chomping at the bit get on stage and prove it still has the same menacing edge and lethal quality it possessed as an actively touring band around the time of the release of the Resurrection (2000) and Crucible (2002) records.  Additionally, this was a warm?up show intended to hone Halford’s musical chops in preparation for participation on the eight?date Ozzfest tour bill commencing August 14, 2010.  A warm?up show is an opportunity for a band to play more songs than a standard set to gauge what songs do and do not work in a live setting.  The results permit a band to parse down the set list in time for future dates.  “Warm-up” is not intended to be construed literally to mean the band only spends enough time on stage to get “warmed up,” and a warm-up show is not supposed to feel like an extended sound check, which this show did.  By comparison, Kiss played 27 songs during its warm?up show for the Revenge tour (Allentown, Pennsylvania (10?01?92)).  Further, more observant fans expected a longer set because the set times posted at RB’s entranceway listed a 90?minute set.

1. Silent Screams (Resurrection record, 2000).  The red stage lights illuminated the “Halford” logo comprised of silver lettering against a black background, creating a deep crimson color.  RH casually walked on stage and said, “Hello San Francisco.”  RH wore (1) black combat boots, (2) black wool slacks, (3) Metal God Apparel (RH merchandising brand) Steel Wings blue on black?colored background t-shirt with five skeleton skulls atop a crowned pair of wings and above the “Metal God” chest?level logo, (4) black wool blazer, (5) fingerless black leather gloves, (6) black studded leather bracelets on both wrists, and (7) black pilot sunglasses.  RH’s decision to wear black wool slacks and blazer surprised me.  RH is the metal god, the revolutionary, iconic metal singer who wore head to toe studs and leather in the 1970’s long before it became standard metal regalia.  [Admittedly RH wore studded leather bracelets but the blazer and slacks made him look less like the metal god and more like Jackson Browne (American album?oriented rock singer who writes politically?charged songs).]  Silent Screams is a slow tempo song that began with “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (“MC,” guitarist) and Roy Z’s (aka Roy Ramirez’s) (“RR,” guitarist) melodic guitar notes they played on their black Jackson flying V and maple Gibson Les Paul guitars, respectively.  Shortly before RH began to sing the first verse Mike Davis (“MD,” bassist) played subtle bass notes on his black Gibson Thunderbird bass.  Bobby Jarzombek’s (“BJ’s,” drummer) subtle beats on his snare drum served as the introduction to the second verse.  MC and RR’s heavy guitar chord progressions and BJ’s solid drum beats served as the introduction to the first chorus.

RH then sang the third verse during which MC and RR reverted back to playing melodic guitar notes.  As RH sang the final line of the third verse (i.e., “killing pain”) MC and RR once again played heavy guitar chord progressions they augmented with chugging guitar notes during the fourth verse.  RH then sang the second chorus.  As RH sang the final word of the second chorus (i.e., “changed”) MC and RR began playing chainsaw?like power chords and BJ played a driving drum beat that escalated the song to an up tempo pace.  RH then sang the fifth through tenth verses with the fifth and sixth containing particularly poignant lyrics, “The man in black … I’m coming back to spew my evil hate.  My crown of horns and bloody thorns … I dig up what you fear.  (verse transition)  I am the shape that’s in your room that … watches over you.  I am the needle in your heart.  Your disillusioned god.”   BJ played catchy drum fills during the fifth verse and lightning fast beats on his tom?toms during the ninth verse.  As RH sang the final word of the tenth verse (i.e., “hate”) MC played a series of guitar runs that served as segue way for the song to revert back to a slow tempo pace.  RH then sang the third chorus and eleventh verse.  I did not understand Halford’s logic in starting the show with a slow tempo song that began with melodic guitar notes and lasted over seven minutes.  [The first song should be an up tempo rocker that (1) pummels me into a coma?like state and (2) wedges a stake far enough into my ear canal to render my shriveled brain completely useless.]

2. Made of Metal (Halford IV – Made of Metal, October 2010).  Before Made of Metal RH said, “Thank you for your loyalty.  Thank you for having Halford back.”  Made of Metal is a mid tempo song with a pop tinge reminiscent of the songs associated with RH’s 2wo project (industrial-influenced Voyeur record that included guitarist John Lowery (aka John 5) (1997)).  RR switched to a natural wood Gibson SG guitar and used four Mesa Boogie amplifiers (“amps”).  After the song concluded RH said, “That is a new song that will be out in October [2010].”  I did not understand Halford’s logic in playing an unreleased song, particularly a mid tempo, pop?tinged one as the second song.  The second song, more importantly than the first, should be a recognizable, up tempo rocker, one that leaves the audience breathless.  [By the time the first two songs are over the audience’s jaw should be gaping and drooling as if subjected to communal lobotomies, not a flashback to a public television broadcast of a Peter, Paul & Mary concert (American folk?singing trio).]

3. Resurrection (Resurrection, 2000).  Unlike the record version, Resurrection did not begin with a tape track of RH twice screaming the word “Resurrection” in drawn out form but rather with MC and RR’s up tempo chugging guitar riffs and BJ and MD’s up tempo drum beats and bass lines.  The thumping bass lines MD played on his black Fender Precision bass that emanated from four ESB amps were particularly loud, so much so that my camera uncontrollably shook as I tried to hold it still in the photo pit.  [Ashamedly I also felt my belly shake, like Jell-O (gelatin fruit gel dessert).  If I had known I would have brought my girdle.]  RH sang the first verse comprised of inspiring lyrics at an ear?shattering octave, “I’m digging deep inside my soul … to bring myself out of this God-damned hole.  I rid the demons from my heart … and found the truth was with me from the start.”  RH then sang the first chorus, second verse, and second chorus followed by MC’s 25?second guitar solo on his black Jackson flying V guitar and audible through four Mesa Boogie amps.  MC wore black sneakers, off?black denim slacks with two rows of white stars on the on the outer sides, long?sleeve black silk shirt with three rows of metal studs on each cuff, and an oversized gold cross medallion hanging at chest level.  [The white stars on MC’s slacks made him look like the metal son of Evel Knievel (American motorcycle daredevil).]  RH then sang the third verse and chorus, the latter he twice repeated.  Resurrection, and two songs to be performed, received the strongest audience reaction.  [Resurrection is a simple yet blistering three?minute song.  At the song’s conclusion I felt as if someone had rammed a long hook through my nasal canal to liquefy and remove my brain.  It felt good.]

  4. Made in Hell (Resurrection, 2000) is an up tempo anthem that began with MC and RR’s guitar chord progressions and BZ’s solid drum beats.  Shortly after MC played a guitar run RH sang the first and second verses followed by the first catchy chorus during which the audience participated by four times chanting “hell,” “Hell, we’re born to raise some hell.  Hell, we’re gonna raise some hell.”  RH then sang the third and fourth verses followed by the second chorus.  The song’s harmonic structure then changed and the tempo slightly slowed down when RH sang the two?line bridge.  MC and RR played 40?second (combined) guitar solos for after which the tempo resumed its initial up tempo pace and RH sang the fifth verse and third chorus.

            5. Never Again (Fight cover: A Small Deadly Space, 1995) presented a dichotomy because RH sang at a fairly slow tempo (yet high octave) while MC, RR, BJ, and MD played their instruments in an up tempo style.  RH sang the first verse and chorus, slightly increasing the tempo during the chorus, while MC and RR played up tempo staccato guitar riffs.  RH, who was no longer wearing his jacket or sunglasses, clutched his microphone (“mike”) in the stand with both hands and slightly swayed left and right.  RH then sang the second verse, second chorus, and bridge followed by MC and RR’s 40?second (combined) guitar solos.  RH then sang the third verse and chorus.  The song ended with the bridge section.

6. Drop Out (Metal God Essentials Vol. 1, 2007) began with four bars of MC and RR’s churning guitar riffs that they followed with chugging up tempo guitar riffs augmented by BJ’s driving drum beats.  RH sang the first verse with his left arm behind his back and in an “atmospheric” tone suited for the lyrical content, “I like to lose my mind and fly off into space.  Why don’t you come with me you’ll leave without a trace.  I’ve got the magic that will open up your head.  Tune in, turn on, drop out … just like the wizard said.”  [I am not sure what inspired RH to write such lyrics, but mushrooms, acid, and ganja may have been on the menu at the time of authorship.]  RH then sang the first chorus with his eyes closed and slightly greater grit in his voice.  RH repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  BJ then pummeled his tom?toms at a frenetic pace for 10-seconds while MC played a searing guitar solo with wah?wah effect on his white Jackson flying V guitar.  The tempo adopted a mid tempo pace for 30 seconds but resumed an up tempo pace for RH to sing the third verse and chorus. 

            7. Golgotha (Crucible, 2002).  Before Golgotha RH walked to the front edge of stage left where he shook and slapped hands with front row fans.  Golgotha is a slow/mid tempo rocker.  [Referring to Golgotha as a slow/mid tempo song is deceiving because it was heavy enough to leave me slack?jawed.]  RH chanted the first verse atop MC, RR, and MD’s heavy riffs, “Golgotha!  Rise up from your tomb.  Devil’s had a taste of holy water.  Lost children need your guiding hand.  Take them through the fire of the promised land.”  [Lyrics ripe for the soundtrack of next film in the Richard Donner British/American suspense/horror film series, “The Omen.”] MC, RR, and MD’s guitar and bass riffs were so heavy BJ’s drum beats were lost in the mix.  RH then transitioned to the first chorus, which he sang with less gusto and more melody.  After a 10?second interlude featuring MC, RR, and MD’s heavy riffs augmented by BJ’s snare drums, RH repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  RH sang the second verse with vigor while clutching the mike stand with both hands.

MC and RR then played lingering power chords that converted the song to an up tempo pace replete with frenetic riffs and BJ’s thundering tom?toms.  BJ played a grey?to?black fade Pearl drum kit, double bass drums, Paiste cymbals, and the drum heads featured the silver Halford logo against a black background.  I am not sure what BJ wore because my vision was obstructed by his Herculean drum set.  The up tempo pace that bordered on thrash carried into the third verse as RH sang at a fast pace amidst red and blue stage lights with his right arm behind his back as he rocked back and forth, “Overcoming tyranny to desecrate the entity … satanical.  Laying waste this sick disease … that crippled, maimed, feel to our knees … like Jericho.”  [RH’s physical posture reflected a medieval warrior psyching himself for a blood?filled battle.]  MC played a 10?second guitar solo followed by RH screaming the fourth verse, “Pile of skulls crunched under foot.  Torched remains are crying out … satanical.  Rising up to purge and scourge the killing of our paradise … like Jericho.”  MC then played a 15?second guitar solo followed by RH twice singing the one?word pre?chorus still at a fast tempo, “Salvation.”  The tempo resumed its initial mid tempo pace when RH sang the third and final chorus.  Golgotha, Resurrection, and another song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

8. Heart of A Lion (Live Insurrection, 2001) is a fairly slow tempo rocker that began amidst MC and RR’s basic guitar chord progressions and BJ’s basic drum beat.  RH sang the first two verses in a melodic tone atop MC and RR’s melodic guitar chord progressions they played on their black Jackson flying V and black Gibson flying V guitars, respectively.  MC and RR’s guitar chord progressions were a bit too sugar?coated for my taste, but compensated for by the memorable fiery guitar notes they played between the first two verses.  RH then sang the first chorus, third verse, fourth verse, and second chorus, screaming the word “heart” during the choruses.  RH then sang the fifth verse followed by MC and RR’s 30?second (combined) guitar solos.  RH then repeated the fifth verse after which the song’s tempo slowed down even further as RH sang the third chorus.  Toward the end of the third chorus BJ’s solid drumming escalated the tempo to its initial pace.

 

9. Never Satisfied (Judas Priest cover: Rocka Rolla, 1974) is a brooding Judas Priest classic that featured MC and RR’s catchy trudging guitar chord progressions.  RH smiled at RR and sang the first two verses in an atmospheric tone and at a slightly lower than usual octave, “Where do we go from here.  There must be something near.  Changing you, changing me forever.  (verse transition)  Places change, faces change.  Life is so very strange.  Changing time, changing rhyme together.”  The third verse was separated from the second by a 30?second interlude that featured MC and RR’s ascending guitar chords followed by their catchy guitar chord progressions from the song’s introduction.  During this interlude RH walked to the front edge of stage left where he shook and slapped hands with front row fans.  RH then sang the first chorus after which he pointed at RR as the cue for him to go center stage where he played an extended 140?second guitar solo on his maroon Gibson explorer guitar while RH was off stage.  RR demonstrated his dexterity by beginning his solo with left?hand vibrato and hammer ons on the fretboard of his raised guitar.  RR played 15 seconds of his solo with his back to the crowd and his guitar propped on the back of his neck while he continued to play.  RR swiftly turned 180 degrees, repositioned his guitar in front of his chest, and extended it forward where he used his mike stand to play five seconds of his solo.  At a couple of points during his solo RR brought his right thumb and forefinger adjoined at the tips to his lips.  [RR was either requesting a straw or encouraging marijuana smoking.]  RR wore black tennis shoes, black leather slacks, black cotton muscle button?down shirt.  MC played guitar riffs with a quasi country tinge during RR’s guitar solo.

RH came back on stage and sang the fourth verse after which MC and RR played the catchy trudging guitar chord progressions from the song’s introduction at an ever?decreasing tempo until the end of the song when RH sang the second and final chorus.  I did not understand RH’s logic in overlooking the Priest catalog.  Granted the band performed Never Satisfied, an obscure song off Priest’s first record (Rocka Rolla, 1974).  I am not the type of fan that throws a hissy fit because a band does not play a particular song and protest that the oversight had cataclysmic repercussions.  RH’s catalog with Priest, Halford, 2wo, and Fight (heavy metal band fronted by RH during his temporary departure from Priest that released two records, War of Words (1993) and A Small Deadly Space (1995)) is too expansive to be so narrow?minded.  However, RH does not have to posses Warren Buffet’s (American billionaire investor) business acumen to know the majority of Halford fans would be pleased and willing to invest their hard?earned money in a down economy ($40 face value per ticket for this show) for a future Halford show if the band played at least three Priest classics.  I am aware the show was a Halford show, not a Priest show.  Regardless, RH is and forever will be the face of Priest.  If anyone has doubts compare the attendance for Priest concerts in the Bay Area when fronted by RH as compared to Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest vocalist 1996-2003). 

 

     10. I Am Alive (Fight cover, A Small Deadly Space, 1995) is a fairly slow tempo rocker that began with MC and RR’s churning groovy guitar riffs and BJ’s hi?hat atop which RH sang the first verse at a fairly slow pace and slightly gravely tone.  RH then sang the second verse in a melodic tone while MC and RR played melodic guitar notes and BJ basic drum beats without hi?hat.  The band repeated the above pattern for the third and fourth verses.  The melodic tone continued into the fifth verse followed by the bridge during which MD came center stage and played prominent, solid bass lines on his black Fender Precision bass augmented by BJ’s hi?hat.  MD wore black combat boots, black leather slacks, black studded leather bracelets on both wrists, and short?sleeve black cotton button?down shirt.  After 10 seconds MC stepped forward and added groovy guitar riffs atop which RR played a 25?second guitar solo mainly comprised of recurring low guitar melody notes on his avocado?colored Gibson Les Paul guitar.  RH then sang the sixth and seventh verses that also featured his melodic tone and MC and RR’s melodic guitar notes from the second and fourth verses.  MC and RR then resumed playing the churning guitar riffs and BJ his hi?hat as RH sang the chorus, “I am, I said.  I am, I said.  I have a dream.  I am alive.”  RR played a fluid series of high guitar notes during the last 10 seconds of the chorus.  After the song concluded RH introduced Halford’s band members, “Metal Mike on guitar.  Bobby Jarzombek behind the drums.  Mike Davis on bass.  Roy Z on guitar.  Thank you very much.  You are very nice.”

11. Saviour (Resurrection, 2000) is a stripped down, fairly up tempo song.  RH sang the first verse with a menacing tone augmented by MC and RR’s ominous guitar riffs.  RH stretched out the last word of each verse line, “I’m set to paralyze. I’m older so I’m wise.  I have been crucified.  With words personified.”  RH then sang the first chorus at a slightly higher octave and in a melodic tone.  RR then played searing guitar notes on his black Gibson flying V guitar for 10 seconds after which RH repeated the pattern from the first verse and chorus when he sang the second verse and chorus.  MC then played a 30?second guitar solo on his black Jackson flying V guitar followed by the third chorus.  After the song concluded RH said, “I love you all San Francisco.  Thanks so much.  It’s been real.  Thank you.”  At the same time RR walked to the front edge of stage right where he extended the headstock of his guitar to the front row fans.  RH raised both his hands and took a bow.  The band left the stage at 11:07 and returned in less than one minute to play two additional songs.

12. Crystal (Crucible, 2002).  Before Crystal RH said, “Thank you for supporting us.” Crystal is a fairly slow tempo song that began with and was driven by MC and RR’s ominous guitar chord progressions, BJ’s cymbal hits, and MD’s heavy bass lines.  [MC and RR played a guitar chord progressions suited to raise the dead from the grave and make it writhe in agony.] Before the first verse RH thrice repeated the phrase, “aah … aah … aah” in an atmospheric tone. RH then sang the first two verses while MC and RR played light, mid tempo, palm?muted guitar chords in the background along with BJ’s basic drum beats, “Smell your world when you come.  I won’t make a victim.  I lie awake and I’m forsaken.  (verse transition)  From all the holes in my time.  You saved up for this true lie.  The devil bides her time in waiting.”  RH then sang the first chorus that served as the impetus for MC and RR to once again play the ominous guitar chord progressions from the introduction for 30 seconds.  The band repeated the above pattern for the third and fourth verses and second chorus.  RH then sang the fifth verse during which the guitars and drums were barely audible followed by RR’s 30?second guitar solo, part of which he played with his black Gibson flying V guitar nestled on his left thigh.  RH then repeated the third chorus four times during which he took a few steps forward and backward and left and right while he extended his hands out as if balancing on a tightrope.  Crystal, Golgotha, and Resurrection received the strongest audience reaction.

  13. Rock the World Forever (Crucible, 2002) like Never Again, presented a dichotomy.  The introduction featured MC and RR’s up tempo, choppy guitar riffs in the thrash vein reminiscent of songs on Slayer’s Diabolus in Musica record (1998).  As RH began to sing the first verse MC and RR slightly modified their playing to feature chugging guitar chord progressions, albeit still heavy.  Rock the World Forever, like Never Again, presented a dichotomy in the form of the first chorus when RH sang, “Rock the world forever.  You know you’re the one.  Rock the world together.  We will carry on.”  While MC and RR continued to play heavy guitar chord progressions RH sang in an overly melodic manner that did not mesh with the guitar chords.  It sounded like an ill?fated attempt to combine Slayer’s Stain of Mind off the Diabolus in Musica record (1998) with Judas Priest’s Living After Midnight off the British Steel record (1980).  When RH sang the final line of the first chorus MC and RR resumed playing the choppy guitar riffs from the introduction, which they continued to play while RH sang the second verse.

 

RH then sang the second chorus followed by MC and RR’s 15?second (combined) guitar solos.  RH then sang the third chorus.  At the conclusion of the song RH said, “I enjoyed myself.  Thank you so very fu**in’ much.  I love you.”  At the same time RR once again walked to the front edge of stage right where he extended the headstock of his guitar to the front row fans.  RH walked to the front edge of stage left where he shook and slapped hands with front row fans. The house manager did not even wait for RH and his band members to walk off stage before he turned the house lights on.

            Venue: the building that housed the original RB, known as the Avalon Ballroom, was built in 1911.  The Avalon Ballroom operated from 1966 to 1968 and reopened in 2003 under its current name.  During the ballroom’s original stint in the 1960’s local bands such as Janis Joplin, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Steve Miller Band, and Big Brother and the Holding Company performed at this venue.  RB is a 1,050­?seat theater with a rectangular?shaped standing room floor measuring 96 by 69 feet with blonde hardwood floors and a permanent stage measuring 42 by 20 feet.  Positioned 35 feet above the floor are 22 teardrop chandeliers circa 1900 secured on a roof adorned with gold medallions.  RB has a horseshoe-shaped reserved seating balcony, the interior siding of which visible from the floor is virgin white.  Four vertical white columns line the wall atop the stage and another six are present on each of the walls on the second floor.  Also lining the side walls on each floor are six square?shaped gold?colored tapestries. 
Opening Band: Cylinder

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu|
www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian.  This article and all photos are protected by copyright.  Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins. 

Posted in Concert Reviews | Tagged | 29,007 Comments

Exodus

Concert Review: Exodus
(San Francisco, CA, Slim’s, 12-06-10)

On Sunday, June 12, 2010 Exodus played a record release show at Slim’s nightclub. Exodus played a 16 song, 110 minute set from 10:51 to 12:41.

Arash w/ Gary Holt (left)

1. Ballad of Leonard and Charles (Exhibit B: The Human Condition record, 2010) began with a tape track for the 60 second introduction. Approximately the first 30 seconds of the introduction (approximations presumed throughout) solely featured an acoustic guitar while the second half was augmented by keyboards. The band walked on stage and Gary Holt (“GH,” guitarist) and Lee Altus (“LA,” guitarist) played pummeling mid tempo guitar riffs also featured during the last 50 seconds of Bedlam 123 off The Atrocity Exhibition … Exhibit A record (2007). GH played a smoldering series of short, high guitar notes during the second half of the riff rampage. The band stopped playing for one second followed by GH and LA’s chugging high tempo guitar riffs augmented by Tom Hunting’s (“TH’s,” drummer) thundering drumming and Jack Gibson’s (“JG’s,” bassist) solid driving bass lines. Rob Dukes (“RD,” vocalist) screamed the first verse and chorus with ferocity. During the first chorus TH smashed his Paiste cymbals, and RD screamed the final word, “Violeeeeeeeence.”

Exodus

The second verse was preceded by a seven second interlude that featured GH and LA’s chugging riffs. After the second chorus the band engaged in a 30 second jam session that highlighted TH’s drumming with prominent use of his cymbals. TH wore knee length, camouflage grey, cotton shorts, black Sik World (merchandising brand) muscle shirt with the “Sik World” logo in red letters on his chest. TH played a grey to black fade Yamaha drum kit featuring silver speckles and double bass drums. The third verse contained a vocal exchange between GH and RD. GH sang the introductory word of the odd numbered verse lines (e.g., “Fear – A macabre madness. Fiendish carnage with rabid butchery.”), whereby he chanted the following words throughout the third verse, “Fear, pain, rape, slave, sado, sick, lie, kill, death.” [Apropos words to comprise a Hallmark greeting card.] LA and GH then traded guitar solos for 60 seconds followed by RD singing the third verse and chorus. The song concluded with feedback from GH and LA’s guitars that led straight into Beyond the Pale.

Gary Holt

2. Beyond the Pale (Exhibit B: The Human Condition, 2010) is an up tempo thrasher that began with TH’s thundering drumming and GH and LA’s chugging guitar riffs during which GH briefly played lingering guitar notes for a few seconds before resuming riffing. RD sang the first verse and pre chorus. Between the first pre chorus and second verse GH and LA played chugging guitar riffs for 20 seconds that ended with a series of complicated TH drum fills. The second verse contained poignant lyrics, “Take the gun. Take the knife. Take the pain. Then take the life. My taste for homicide … is rising up and amplified. Bloody deeds, my only friend … with me ‘til the bitter end. Together we are one. And our work has just begun.” RD then sang the second pre chorus and first chorus. The band jammed for 35 seconds followed by GH’s 40 second guitar solo. GH wore black combat boots, black jean pants, black Sik World t-shirt with “Sik World” and a pentagram in red letters on his chest, and black sweatbands on his forearms. GH played a white B.C. Rich flying V guitar with pearl trim. The band jammed for 70 seconds after which RD sang the third verse, third pre chorus, and second chorus. The song came to a raucous conclusion with LA’s 50 second guitar solo.

Rob Dukes

3. Iconoclasm (The Atrocity Exhibition … Exhibit A, 2007). Before Iconoclasm RD commented on how some of the audience members in the mosh pit were engaging in “old school moshing,” including “one dude who was stepping on people’s heads.” RD wore black Vans high top shoes with white trim, knee length, black, cotton shorts with a red “Exodus” logo printed on the left leg, and black t shirt bearing a large caricature of the head of a figure wearing a gas mask on the back of which read in white letters, “The truth can be oppressed for only so long.” [RD bears a slight resemblance to George “Spanky” McFarland, American child actor in “The Little Rascals (a.k.a. “Our Gang”) American comedy short films (1922-1944). I am sure RD will “spank” my butt for calling him “Spanky.”] Iconoclasm began amidst GH and LA’s thrash infused guitar riffs and TH’s double bass drums. After a 60 second introduction RD sang the first verse at a mid tempo pace and slightly lower than usual octave. RD then sang the second verse, which was preceded by a 15 second display of frenetic riffing by GH and LA and tom tom pummeling by TH. RD then sang the second chorus with the tempo slowing down to a mid tempo pace when he sang the final word (i.e., “free”). GH and LA played heavy guitar riffs for 40 seconds after which RD sang the third verse and GH played a 35 second guitar solo. The tempo then resumed an up tempo pace and the band engaged in a two minute jam session during which LA played a 30 second guitar solo. RD then sang the third verse and chorus.

Lee Altus & Rob Dukes

4. Metal Command (Bonded by Blood, 1985) began with LA’s palm muted guitar riffs and TH’s drumming above which GH laid the song’s signature guitar chord progression. RD sang the first verse and chorus. The second verse was preceded by a 10 second interlude during which GH and LA played guitar chord progressions. RD then sang the second verse and chorus followed by a 45 second GH guitar solo and a 25 second jam session. RD then sang the third verse and chorus with the former containing particularly memorable lyrics, “Our legions show no mercy. The final hour nears. Sonic blast deafening. It’s ripping through your ears. There is no retribution … for those who do not dare. There’s only execution. You’re dead without a prayer.”

Jack Gibson 5. Downfall (Exhibit B: The Human Condition, 2010). Before Downfall RD said, “How many metalheads do we have here tonight? How many of you watch that show Metalocalypse [animated television series about a death metal band called Dethklok]? Well the director of that show [Jon Schnepp] shot our latest video. It is coming out in a week or some sh*t like that. It’s called Downfall.” [Note to self: buy a Little Rascals calendar as RD’s practical Christmas gift.] The first 45 seconds of the song featured GH playing harmonic guitar notes atop LA and JG’s solid rhythm chords. JG wore black combat boots, black jean pants, plain black t-shirt, and black sweatband on his right forearm. JG played a black Yamaha five string bass and used Ampeg amplifiers (“amps”). [JG is the metal equivalent of Johnny Cash (American country singer, guitarist dubbed “The Man in Black”). Also, JG’s mustache and beard remind me Porthos, the fictional character in Alexandre Dumas, père’s novel, The Three Musketeers (1844). Gary Holt I would not be surprised if JG came on stage wielding a sword in lieu of a bass and chanted, “All for one, one for all.”] GH and LA then played churning mid tempo guitar riffs that continued into the first verse followed by the first chorus with a slightly escalated tempo. The first chorus fluidly transitioned into the second verse during which the tempo momentarily slowed down only to return to the higher tempo during the second chorus.

The song’s highlight came after the second chorus when the tempo slightly slowed down, JG and TH delivered a heavy series of bass lines and drum beats, and GH and LA played ominous guitar riffs. [The suspenseful eerie mood the band created was equivalent to the laboratory scene in James Whale’s classic horror film, “Frankenstein” (1931) when the mad scientist successfully brought his wretched creation to life.] The audience thrice chanted, “Fall” and RD screamed, “Downfall!” [My downfall came during the first three songs when various crowd surfing limbs toppled on me like rainfall in the two feet wide photo pit.] GH then played a 35 second guitar solo followed by the third verse and chorus. During the third chorus the audience repeatedly chanted, “Hay” and pumped their fists in the air. The song ended with a 50 second cascade of GH and LA guitar riffs. Downfall, along with another song to be performed, received the strongest audience reaction of the five new songs the band performed.

Gary Holt 6. A Lesson in Violence (Bonded by Blood, 1985). Before A Lesson in Violence RD said, “You are always so awesome. This band has been tearing it up since 1982. Our new record still shows we thrash the right way. We do it just the right way, fast and heavy.” A Lesson in Violence is an up tempo thrasher that began with GH and LA’s chainsaw like guitar riffs followed by RD singing the first verse, “If you got something to say then come my way. I’m guarded by Satan I’m riding on Baphomet. I’ll teach you a lesson in violence you won’t soon forget. The pleasure of watching you die is what I will get.” RD then sang the first chorus followed by a 15 second interlude that featured a battery of GH and LA guitar riffs atop TH’s thundering drums. Robb Flynn (Machine Head’s vocalist, rhythm guitarist) came on stage and sang the second chorus. GH and LA then played guitar solos for 60 seconds after which they locked into tight riffing. The mosh pit during A Lesson in Violence, along with two more songs to be performed, was particularly violent, hence the song title.

Lee Altus 7. Fabulous Disaster (Fabulous Disaster, 1989). Before Fabulous Disaster RD said, “Are you guys tired? You want us to slow it down? You want some slow sh*t? How about something from 1989? Fabulous Disaster!” The song’s introduction featured LA playing a mid tempo guitar chord progression amidst red and blue stage lights while standing on TH’s 18 inch high, black colored wooden drum riser. GH played a series of frenetic guitar riffs atop LA’s guitar chord progression. At the 0:45 mark LA joined GH in frenetic riffing that continued into the first verse. LA wore black sneakers, black jean pants, plain black t shirt, and black sweatbands on his forearms. LA played a black ESP flying V guitar. [LA has so much lengthy hair he reminds me of a troll doll (toy doll fad created by Danish fisherman, woodcutter Thomas Dam (1959)), albeit more tamed and not as “poofy.”] Fabulous Disaster contained a particularly catchy chorus. The tempo momentarily slowed down before RD sang the final two lines of the first chorus but resumed an up tempo pace in time for GH’s 40 second guitar solo. After GH’s guitar solo LA once again played a mid tempo guitar chord progression atop which GH played frenetic guitar riffs. LA eventually joined GH in frenetic riffing that continued into the second verse followed by the second chorus that ended when RD screamed, “Fabulous disaster!”

Jack Gibson & Gary Holt

8. Blacklist (Tempo of the Damned, 2004). Before Blacklist RD said, “Is everybody drinking and getting stoned or what?! [For a nanosecond my cross-wired brain misinterpreted RB with a literal interpretation of “getting stoned,” the capital punishment whereby an organized group throws stones at an individual until death. This punishment seems a bit drastic for drinking but then again fundamentalist countries condone stoning. All it would take to crack my puny skull is a pebble.] We forgot our weed but we are home now. When we say we need weed people just throw it on stage. How cool is that?! This one is called Blacklist.” Blacklist is a catchy mid tempo rocker that began with GH and LA’s basic, chugging guitar riffs and TH’s solid tom tom drums. The audience repeatedly chanted, “Hay” while RD screamed, “Bang your fu**in’ heads!” RD sang the first two verses and choruses in standard verse chorus pattern. The band then jammed for 30 seconds followed by GH and LA guitar solos for 50 seconds. The song concluded with RD singing the third verse and chorus.

Rob Dukes 9. The Sun is My Destroyer (Exhibit B: The Human Condition, 2010). Before The Sun is My Destroyer RD said, “I heard some guy up front yell, ‘Play some new sh*t.’ This one is called, The Sun is My Destroyer.” The Sun is My Destroyer is an epic song nearly 10 minutes in length. [It was long enough for me to read Leo Tolstoy’s 1225 page novel, “War and Peace” (1869) followed by a facial.] During the first 45 seconds GH and LA played recurring guitar riffs and TH a mid tempo, heavy tom tom beat. TH then kicked the song into overdrive with insanely fast drumming on par with Dave Lombardo (Slayer drummer). RD sang the first verse and chorus with a death metal vocal style. The first verse’s lyrics fit the death metal theme, “Immortal subjugator, usurper, dominator. Blood ruler of the dark. Lord of the shadow world, flag of black unfurled. Foul, unholy patriarch. Enslaver of mankind, king of all unkind. Light ender in black domain. I fear only the dawn, at war with the rising sun. Eternal dusk ordained.”

Rob Dukes

After a 20 second interlude featuring GH, LA, and JG’s frenetic riffing RD sang the second verse and chorus. Before the third verse the tempo significantly slowed down, and RD sang with less growl and more emotion. The slow tempo continued during GH and LA’s guitar solos that lasted 60 seconds. Before RD sang the fourth verse and final chorus the song resumed a frenetic pace replete with TH’s rollicking, thunderous drumming. During the final chorus white lights positioned on the stage floor stage left and right shined on the band as RD sang, “The sun is my destroyer.” [The light was bright enough for RD to have taken off his shirt, gotten basted with sun tan lotion, and bronzed. I would have loaned RD the cucumber slices from my facial to protect the delicate skin around his eyes.] During the last 1:40 seconds of the song the band showed its musical prowess by jamming at an insanely high tempo. After the song concluded RD said, “That is the first time we played that. We played it just for you. Next time we play that I want you all to sing along.” The Sun is My Destroyer, along with Downfall, received the strongest audience reaction of the five new songs the band performed.

Gary Holt

10. War is My Shepherd (Tempo of the Damned, 2004). Before War is My Shepherd RD said, “I want a big pit for this song. This one is called War is My Shepherd.” During the introduction to this up tempo thrasher GH played sinister guitar riffs and TH bashed his tom tom drums. The pace and first verse’s lyrics set the tone for intense moshing, “You put your faith in Christianity. I put mine in artillery. My M 16 my lord and savior. Christ never done me a motherf**king favor.” [GH may not place high priority on grammar, but his prolific memorable songwriting skills are among the best in the metal genre.] RD sang the first two verses and choruses in standard verse chorus pattern. During the choruses the audience sang along with vigor. After the second chorus GH played a 20 second guitar solo.

Exodus

The aural attack did not let up as the band then engaged in a 45 second jam session during which GH and LA stood center stage facing each other. RD then sang the third verse, “Farwell, Graham and Farrakhan. They need god, I need napalm. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition. My sermon is my demolition.” [These lyrics evidence GH’s noteworthy ability to write simple yet poignant lyrics. GH is a guru at using few words to effectively convey his views and make listeners ponder. GH would have a lucrative career as a Satanic monk, if such a job title existed, preaching the virtues of the dark overlord.] The third chorus was followed by a 20 second LA guitar solo. The mosh pit during War is My Shepherd, A Lesson in Violence, along with one more song to be performed, was particularly ravenous.

Exodus

11. Impaler (Tempo of the Damned, 2004). Before Impaler RD said, “Now I am seeing old school mother fu**in’ moshing here tonight. This one goes out to (Paul) Baloff [late, original Exodus vocalist]. It is called the Impaler.” Impaler is a solid rocker that began with JG and TH’s heavy, mid tempo bass lines and drum beats, as well as GH and LA’s palm muted guitar riffs. A 15 second interlude that featured GH and LA’s guitar riffs separated the first two verses. After the second verse RD screamed, “Everyone go insane!” RD’s command served as the battle cry for the tempo to significantly increase as he sang the first chorus.” LA then played a three second guitar run followed by the second chorus during which white stage lights were syncopated with TH’s pulsating drum beats. LA then played a brief guitar solo followed by the third and final chorus. During the last two minutes of the song the tempo slowed to a mid tempo pace and the band engaged in a jam session. Impaler was the second consecutive song the band played off Tempo of the Damned (2004), but it was written by TH, GH, and Kirk Hammett (former Exodus and current Metallica guitarist) in 1982.

Gary Holt 12. Strike of the Beast (Bonded by Blood, 1985) is an all out thrasher that featured GH and LA’s fluttering guitar riffs and TH’s monstrous double bass drums. RD sang the first verse and chorus as if spitting poison out of his mouth. After a 10 second interlude that highlighted GH and LA’s tight riffing RD sang the second verse and chorus. One of the two song highlights took place after the second chorus when the tempo momentarily slowed down and RD said, “I want to thank all you guys for coming out tonight. I want you to pick a side. (the pit audience separated into two clusters) I want everyone over here [stage left] to kill everyone over there [stage right], and I want you [stage right] to kill everyone over there [stage left]. C’mon spread it out more! No one goes ‘til I say … hold … hold … hayyyyyyyy!” The fans in the two pit clusters rushed toward each other and violently collided. [The fury with which the two warring factions collided was like a battle scene from Peter Jackson fantasy adventure film trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings” (2001-2003).]

GH, LA, JG, and TH then engaged in the song’s second highlight, a 20 second jam session that was testament to the band’s undeniable music prowess and that fluidly led into the third verse after which LA and GH played guitar solos for 40 seconds. RD then sang the fourth and final verse. During the final 15 seconds of the song LA pulled a pre teen boy from front row, strapped his guitar on the bewildered boy, and encouraged him to strum the guitar. The boy enjoyed strumming LA’s guitar so much that GH and LA’s guitar technician eventually came over and gently removed the guitar. The mosh pit during Strike of the Beast, along with War is My Shepherd and A Lesson in Violence, was particularly tumultuous with Strike of the Beast reigning as the song that unleashed the greatest fury. The band left the stage at 12:17 and returned in one minute to play four additional songs.

Lee Altus 13. Bonded by Blood (Bonded by Blood, 1985). Before Bonded by Blood TH came center stage and said, “Shh. I want to dedicate this show to Debbie Abono [late Bay Area manager of numerous thrash and death metal bands during the 1980’s and 1990’s who succumbed to cancer on May 16, 2010]. She was like a mother to a lot of us. But you know what? She went out the same day as Ronnie James Dio [late Black Sabbath, Dio, Rainbow singer who also succumbed to cancer on May 16, 2010] so she is in a good place.” As a tribute to Ronnie James Dio, GH played a part of the melody of Holy Diver from Dio’s Holy Diver record (1983) and Gates of Babylon from Rainbow’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll record (1978). Bonded by Blood began with a tape track of the sound effect of the roaring engine of a rapidly descending plane shortly before crash followed by GH and LA’s high energy, machine gun like guitar riffs. RD sang the first verse and chorus with ample audience participation. After a 15 second interlude that featured GH and LA’s mind numbing guitar riffs, RD sang the second verse and chorus. GH and LA then played guitar solos for 35 seconds after which RD repeated the first verse and chorus.

Exodus

14. Hell’s Breath (Let There be Blood, 2009). Before Hell’s Breath RD said, “(Chris) Kontos [former Exodus drummer] where are you? This one is for you. You are the star of the DVD (Shovel Headed Tour Machine: Live at Wacken and Other Assorted Atrocities). Seeing you 15 feet above ground. [RD erroneously identified Chris Kontos when he meant Toby Rage whose photograph mid air high atop the crowd is featured on the DVD.] This one is called Hell’s Breath.” Hell’s Breath featured mid tempo chugging guitar riffs. RD sang the first two verses and choruses in standard verse chorus pattern. The band experienced minor technical difficulties that thrice caused very loud feedback from GH and LA’s Engl amps. Since RD was standing one foot in front of the amps, he covered his ears as he sang and stormed back and forth while he covered his ears. [RD reminded me of Quasimodo, the namesake in Victor Hugo’s novel, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1831) because he hunched over as he stormed back and forth, the difference being Quasimodo became deaf from loud ringing of church bells whereas RD nearly became deaf from amp feedback.] As RD screamed the chorus the song shifted to an up tempo mode with TH exhibiting unbelievable drumming. GH and LA each played 10 second guitar solos followed by a 60 second jam session. RD then sang the third and final verse. After the song concluded RD asked, “How many people saw that song back in the day? (numerous audience members raised their hands) Wow!”

Gary Holt

15. Toxic Waltz (Fabulous Disaster, 1989). Before Toxic Waltz RD said, “You guys tired? We got time for a couple more. I want to see an old school fu**in’ pit for The Toxic Fu**in’ Waltz!” Toxic Waltz is a mid tempo song with a catchy melody during the verses, pre chorus, and chorus. RD sang the first verse in pseudo rap fashion and fluidly transitioned to the pre chorus and chorus. After a two second interlude RD sang the second verse, pre chorus and chorus. GH and LA switched back and forth each playing two guitar solos lasting 60 seconds followed by a 25 second jam session. The tempo slightly slowed down before RD sang the third and final verse. Toxic Waltz is arguably the band’s biggest commercial hit mainly due to the airplay its video received on Headbanger’s Ball (MTV television program consisting of heavy metal music videos).

Gary Holt

16. Good Riddance (Exhibit B: The Human Condition, 2010). Before Good Riddance RD said, “Everybody say hello to Gary Holt, Jack Gibson, Lee Fu**in’ Altus, and, on the drums, Tom Fu**in’ Hunting! Give it up for Heathen. Lee Altus pulled double duty. He did that for you.” RD sang the first verse of this up tempo thrasher at a particularly fast pace followed by the first chorus. During the 35 second interlude between the first chorus and second verse GH and LA played a flurry of muted guitar riffs while TH played frenetic double bass drums. After the second verse GH and LA played frenetic riffs for 20 seconds followed by guitar solos for 40 seconds. RD stood next to LA during his guitar solo and played air guitar complete with wincing. RD then sang the third verse and second chorus. The band members individually came stage front and raised their hands in appreciation.

Venue: Slim’s is a 400 seat San Francisco club that rhythm and blues artist Boz Scaggs opened in 1988. Slim’s is located within three miles of San Francisco’s financial district. The club decor is simple and includes chandeliers, brick walls, and a bar inspired by the facades of New Orleans manors. Within five feet of walking through the entrance are six steps that lead immediately up and into the general admission floor approximately 20 feet from the stage. At one end of the main floor is the stage that measures 29 feet wide by 16 feet deep. The stage is three feet and three inches from the club floor and features a moveable drum riser eight feet by six feet and a very narrow photo pit. At the other end of the main floor is a small balcony with 14 tables and seating for 70 people. The sound console is located in the rear by the steps leading up to the balcony. The L shaped bar runs the length of the floor stage left. The general admission floor also includes six pillars. Located downstairs are three dressing rooms, coat check, and additional restrooms.

Opening Bands (first to last): Passive Aggressive, Anvil Chorus, Heathen

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
http://www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian. This article and all photos are protected by copyright. Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins.

Posted in Concert Reviews | Tagged | 30,912 Comments

Foreigner

Concert Review: Foreigner
(Cancord, CA, Concord Pavilion, 25-05-10)

Arash w/ Jeff Pilson (right)

I lost count of the number of concerts I have attended since the 1980’s but the number is much higher than my feeble intelligence quotient (“IQ”). Even with my troglodytic disposition I can spot a polished professional band before the first verse of the set opener. Foreigner is undeniably such a band. Foreigner is more like champagne than malt liquor, more like the opera than open mike night at a dive bar, more like steak than Spam, more like … well you get the point. On May 25, 2010 Foreigner played the Concord Pavilion. Foreigner played a 12 song, 80 minute set from 9:37 to 10:57.

Mick Jones 1. Double Vision (Double Vision record, 1978) is a mid tempo song that began with Mick Jones’s (“MJ’s,” lead guitarist) catchy guitar chord progression and run. MJ wore black Converse sneakers, black jean pants, long sleeve white cotton shirt with vertical satin stripes, black scarf with an intermittent white pattern, and black vest with very fine white polka dots minimally spaced from one another that gave the vest a grey appearance from afar. [As I stood in the photo pit three feet from MJ I was impressed by his dapper state. MJ had a golden tan George Hamilton (American film and television actor) would envy. MJ’s fingernails were finely manicured as if he was about to attend a knighting ceremony by Queen Elizabeth II, and his moustache and goatee were so neatly trimmed his stylist must have used a diamond measuring magnifier.] Immediately before Kelly Hansen (“KH,” lead vocalist) sang the first verse, at approximately the 0:15 mark (approximations presumed throughout), Brian Sutter (“BS,” drummer) played a series of drum fills. The first and second verses featured MJ and Thom Gimbel’s (“TG’s,” rhythm guitarist, saxophonist) chugging guitar chord progressions and Jeff Pilson’s (“JP’s,” bassist) trudging bass lines. During the first and second choruses the tempo slightly slowed down and prominently featured Michael Bluestein’s (“MB’s,” keyboardist) keyboard notes. The tempo escalated and resumed a mid tempo pace when KH sang the last line of the choruses, “My double vision gets the best of me.” During the last 60 seconds of the song the band sang the third chorus.

Foreigner

2. Head Games (Head Games, 1979) is a mid tempo ballad that began with MJ’s guitar chord progression augmented by JP’s solid bass lines and MB’s high keyboard notes. In addition to KH’s powerful voice the first and second verses prominently displayed MB’s keyboard chord progression and JP’s punchy bass lines. JP wore grey sneakers with hot pink trim, black jean pants, and long sleeve black cotton shirt. JP mainly played a natural wood Fender Precision bass with a pearl colored pick guard. [JP is the rocker in the band. JP did not look much different than the first time I saw him perform as Dokken’s bass player opening the show for the mighty Judas Priest in Oakland, California on May 15, 1986, just less hairspray and makeup, somewhat like a girl who goes from being on a first date to becoming a housewife. JP headbanged through most of the set, even during power ballads. Foreigner could have performed the nursery rhyme Mary Had A Little Lamb and JP would still have headbanged as if his head contains a metronome compelling him to do so.] During the first chorus the tempo slightly escalated for 15 seconds, and MJ’s guitar chord progression came to the forefront as KH sang, “Head games … it’s you and me baby. Head games … and I can’t take it anymore. Head games … I don’t wanna play … the head games.” KH then sang the second chorus after which the band engaged in a 30 second jam during which MJ played a memorable guitar solo and KH a tambourine center stage atop the metal ramp next to MB. KH then sang the third verse and chorus.

Jeff Pilson 3. Cold As Ice (Foreigner, 1977) began with MJ playing a very recognizable keyboard chord progression atop a keyboard riser positioned stage right. Ten seconds into the song MJ’s keyboard notes were augmented by BS’s snare and tom tom drums and continued into the first verse as KH sang, “You’re as cold as ice. You’re willing to sacrifice our love. You never take advice. Someday you’ll pay the price … I know.” KH then sang the first chorus that included a 15 second segment during which the tempo slightly slowed down and the tone became more commercial as KH sang, “I’ve seen it before, it happens all the time (ooh-ooh). You’re closing the door, you leave the world behind. You’re digging for gold, you’re throwing away (aah-aah). A fortune in feelings, but someday you’ll pay.” The commercial tone was largely attributed to MB’s “ooh-ooh” and “aah-aah” contributions. KH then sang the second verse that contained slightly varied lyrics from the first verse and was followed by TG’s 10 second guitar solo. The band then exchanged a melodic series of vocal lines, “Cold as ice. You know that you are. Cold as ice. As cold as ice to me. Cold as ice.” MB, TG, and JP sang the phrase, “Cold as ice” while KH sang the remainder. The tempo slightly escalated as the band repeated the phrase, “Cold as ice. You’re as cold as ice, cold as ice, I know.”

4. Can’t Slow Down (Can’t Slow Down, 2009) is the up tempo first single from the band’s most recent record that featured MJ’s groovy guitar chord progression during the first verse. MJ’s catchy guitar riff introduced the first chorus that featured a memorable melody augmented by MB’s keyboard notes and back up vocals. KH then sang the second chorus after which the tempo slightly slowed down, and JP provided a solid foundation for MJ to play a guitar solo on his black Gibson Les Paul.

Kelly Hansen 5. Dirty White Boy (Head Games, 1979). Before Dirty White Boy KH said, “How many naughty girls do we have out there? (screams from female audience members) That’s perfect because I am a Dirty White Boy.” KH wore white sneakers, tight navy blue jean pants, navy blue t shirt with Union Jack logo, black scarf with brown and black vertical stripes on its ends, and powder blue leather jacket. [KH comes from the Mick Jagger school of rock, not only in terms of some stage moves, but also his lanky frame and prominent mouth.] Dirty White Boy is an up tempo song that began with a catchy, bluesy MJ guitar riff reminiscent of B.B. King (black American blues guitarist, singer) that he continued to play into the first verse. When KH transitioned from the first verse to the first chorus the tempo slightly escalated. The first chorus began and ended with BS’s rapid drum fills and also featured JP’s punchy bass lines as KH sang, “’Cause I’m a dirty white boy. Yeah a dirty white boy. A dirty white boy.” The phrase “Dirty White Boy” repeatedly flashed in white letters against a black background on the video screen that stretched to the ends of the large stage. The video screen was comprised of 44 rectangular shaped panels mounted in two rows, each containing 22 panels. During the second verse the tempo slightly slowed down and prominently featured MB’s keyboard chords. MJ then played a fiery, fluid 20 second guitar solo on his black Gibson Les Paul that concluded with harmonic notes. The band then sang the third chorus followed by the third verse that featured two memorable MJ guitar runs. During the last 60 seconds of the song the band thrice repeated the chorus. Dirty White Boy and another song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

Mick Jones

6. In Pieces (Can’t Slow Down, 2009). Before In Pieces KH said, “Thank you. I don’t know about you, but I’m having a good time. We would like to do our current [second] single off our new CD, In Pieces.” In Pieces is a slow tempo ballad. BS’s solid mid tempo drumming and MB’s keyboard melodies were the focal points of the first and second verses during which the melodic guitar notes MJ played on his white Gibson Les Paul were barely audible. [MJ’s Les Paul is beautiful. I was mesmerized by its virgin beauty augmented by bright gold hardware. MJ’s guitar looked as if it had been meticulously buffed by a master craftsman going so far as to use Q tips for the saddle bridge. MJ’s guitar shined in the spotlight like a forbidden jewel, leaving my mouth slightly ajar and salivating. I felt like Indiana Jones when he stood before the golden fertility idol statute based on the Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl inside the ancient Mesoamerican cave in the opening scene of Steven Spielberg’s action adventure film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981).] Positioned adjacent to the interior portion of BS and MB’s risers were two metal ramps sloped upward at 30 degee angles and slightly angling away from one another. [MJ rarely walked on the ramps, negating the need for them to feature a moving walkway like those found in airports to prevent the onset of fatigue. (Just kidding Mr. Jones with a little age based humor with no offense intended.)] The outer edge of each ramp was bracketed with a fluorescent light positioned directly in front of a pair of 15 feet high fluorescent lights vertically positioned behind the interior portion of MJ and BS’s risers.

Kelly Hansen

During the first verse TG stood on the ramp next to BS’s drum riser while JP stood on the ramp next to MB’s keyboard riser. The video screen featured multi colored images similar to those one sees when looking into a kaleidoscope (i.e., optical instrument in which bits of glass held loosely at the end of a rotating tube are shown in symmetrical forms by reflection in mirrors set at angles to one another). KH then sang the first chorus. In contrast to the first verse that he sang at a low octave, KH screamed the first chorus, “In pieces … I see our love, scattered all around. In pieces … our broken hearts, shattered on the ground. And all the dreams we could have shared. Are torn up like we never cared. In pieces … ohhhhhhhh … in pieces.” [As KH repeated the phrase, “in pieces” I could not help but have flashbacks to how my brain felt amidst the torrent of flailing limbs in mosh pits at Slayer and Exodus concerts back in the day.] The pre chorus that preceded the third chorus was the highlight during which MJ, JP, BS, and MB provided solid music accompaniment as KH screamed, “The bridges that are burned. Ohhhhhhhh … the lessons that we learned. You’re everything to me. Baby we’re not meant to be.”

7. Starrider (Foreigner, 1977). Before Starrider KH said, “Thank you Concord for letting us play some new stuff. I am going to turn it over to Mr. Mick Jones.” The spotlight shifted to MJ as he said, “Northern California feels like home. We play here often back to the days of Day on the Green [name of a concert series presented by Bill Graham and held at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium in Oakland, California from 1973 to 1991] and Bill Graham [rock concert promoter from the 1960’s until his death on October 25, 1991], may he never be forgotten. Now let’s go back to the first album. I have to try and remember the words (laughter). It’s a favorite of a lot of our fans. Starrider.” Starrider is a slow tempo ballad that began with TG’s atmospheric flute playing, BS’s subtle cascading cymbal crashes, and MJ’s acoustic guitar chords on his black Gibson Les Paul. MJ sang the first verse with emotion supported by JP’s prominent bass lines, TG’s flute notes, and KH’s tambourine beats.

Mick Jones & Kelly Hansen

During the first chorus, with the introduction of BS’s thundering tom tom drums, the tempo momentarily escalated to a mid tempo pace, but resumed its original slower pace during the second verse. BS’s powerful drumming came to the forefront during the pre chorus that followed the second verse as MJ sang, “Speed increasing … all control is in the hands of those who know. Will they help us grow … to one day be starriders?” BS played a silver colored Ludwig drum set featuring silver speckles, single bass drum, Paiste cymbals, and the drum head featured the red and black Foreigner logo on the Can’t Slow Down record cover. [BS presumably wore clothes to prevent arrest for indecent exposure and chafing of his buttocks on the drum stool. However, since BS’s drum set obstructed my view of him, I do not know what he was wearing.] Shortly before the second chorus MJ switched guitars to a tobacco sunburst Gibson Les Paul electric and played a memorable extended guitar solo twice as long as the 30 second solo featured on record. During MJ’s guitar solo KH played a tambourine while standing on the ramp next to BS while JP stood on the ramp next to MB. At Starrider’s conclusion KH said, “Ladies and gentlemen make some noise for the leader and founder of the band.” [MJ’s musical accomplishments are praiseworthy dating back to shows he performed as a teenage guitarist for French singer Sylvie Vartan who was the opening act for The Beatles at Paris’s Olympia Theater from January 16 through February 4, 1964. As the sole founding member of Foreigner, MJ has kept the band’s legacy alive for a second generation of fans. As such, following KH’s introduction, it would have been fitting for MJ to casually sit cross legged in a royal chair with plush red velvet armrests and seat cushion and have the other band members individually approach, kneel, and kiss the ring on his hand while uttering, “Don Corleone.” But MJ’s stage mannerisms and commentary reveal a humble gracious man deeply grateful for a successful, fulfilling musical career now in its sixth decade.] MJ individually introduced the band members making a point when introducing KH to say Foreigner would not be where it is today “had it not been for his [KH’s] contributions during the past five years.”

Mick Jones

8. Feels Like the First Time (Foreigner, 1977). Before Feels Like the First Time MJ said, “We are going to go back to the beginning.” Feels Like the First Time began with MJ’s loose guitar chord progression that was soon accompanied by JP’s bass lines and BS’s cow bell. During the next 20 seconds MJ played a recurring high guitar note while the audience clapped along. The first half of the first verse featured a fairly slow tempo while the second half, introduced by MJ’s solid guitar chord progression, featured a mid tempo pace. The band then sang a 20 second catchy chorus during which the fluorescent lights vertically positioned behind BS and MB’s risers and bracketed on the ramps turned various colors (e.g., red, blue, pink, violet). [For those that had popped acid the lighting spectacle must have made the show akin to Disneyland’s Alice in Wonderland ride.] KH then sang the second verse halfway through which the tempo increased from slow to mid tempo. The band then sang the second chorus during which the tempo momentarily slowed down but escalated back to a mid tempo pace as KH sang the last line, “Like it never will again, never again.” The mid tempo pace continued through the third chorus after which MJ played a guitar solo on his tobacco sunburst Gibson Les Paul while KH sang the pre chorus, “Open up the door, won’t you. Open up the door … yeah.” The audience clapped along to JP and BS’s solid bass lines and drum beats. The band twice repeated the chorus.

Kelly Hansen 9. Urgent (4, 1981). Urgent was preceded by a two minute jam session featuring MJ, MB, and BS. KH then appeared center stage and said, “All right! On your feet! You know why? Because it’s Urgent!” [I knew why it was urgent to get on my feet. I had to use the restroom to “powder my nose” but refrained until after the set.] Urgent began with MJ’s loose guitar notes, JP’s punchy bass lines, and BS’s steady drum beats augmented by a dizzying array of flashing colors on the video screen. The audience responded with loud cheers and most of those seated stood up. [I felt as if I was amidst a Sunday church sermon in the Deep South presided by James Brown (American singer, entertainer dubbed “The Godfather of Soul”).] KH sang the first three verses at a mid tempo pace. KH then sang the first chorus while the word “Urgent” repeatedly flashed on the video screen. [Not a good thing for my exploding bladder.] While KH sang the final line of the first chorus TG played a five second saxophone (“sax”) melody standing on the ramp next to BS. TG wore black leather shoes, black jean pants, and long sleeve black cotton shirt. TG primarily played a maple Gibson Les Paul and donned sunglasses for his sax solo. KH then sang the fourth and fifth verses that prominently featured MB’s keyboards. After the second chorus TG stood center stage and played an entertaining 50 second sax solo augmented by JP’s punchy bass lines and MB’s keyboards. During TG’s sax solo MJ stood on the ramp next to BS while KH stood on the ramp next to MB and played a cowbell. Midway through TG’s solo KH and JP switched places on the ramp. TG played the high sax notes on his knees. During the last 60 seconds of the song KH sang the third chorus. When Urgent concluded KH said, “Let’s hear it for Thom Gimbel on the sax.” [TG is a talented musician but has an amusing habit. When playing the guitar, particularly when hitting a high note during a solo or striking a heavy chord, TG often exhibits a blend of a smirk and a grimace. It’s as if he cannot make up his mind between being mischievous or macho, confusing my walnut sized brain.]

Foreigner

10. Juke Box Hero (4, 1981). Before Juke Box Hero the stage was immersed in darkness except for a few dark green stage lights that served as the cue for MB to play a series of keyboard notes. MB wore black sneakers, black jean pants, and a black T-shirt. MB played three keyboards, two Roland and one Korg. MB and BS jammed for 30 seconds. MB’s keyboards and BS’s drum set were each positioned atop two feet high metal grill risers. Two pairs of eight foot high fluorescent lights were mounted on the outer part of each riser, and a third pair 15 feet in height was positioned on the interior rear portion of each riser. The lights turned various colors during the show. Juke Box Hero began with JP’s trademark trudging bass lines. KH appeared at the rear of the stage on the ramps that had been coupled together. Within 10 seconds KH sang the first verse while atop the ramps, “Standing in the rain … with his head hung low. Couldn’t get a ticket … it was a sold out show. Heard the roar of the crowd … he could picture the scene. Put his ear to the wall … then like a distant scream. He heard one guitar … just blew him away.” The first verse featured a fairly slow tempo until the final line when, with the introduction of MJ’s power chords and KH’s dash down the ramps, the tempo escalated to an up tempo pace that continued halfway through the second verse. When KH sang the final line of the second verse MJ abruptly stopped playing power chords and the tempo slowed down.

Foreigner

The third verse featured a fairly slow tempo until KH sang the phrase, “that one guitar” when, with the return of MJ’s power chords, the tempo escalated to an up tempo pace that continued through the fourth verse, pre chorus, and first chorus. After KH sang the final line of the first chorus the tempo momentarily slowed down only to resume an up-tempo pace during the fourth verse that continued through the fifth verse and second chorus. Shortly before his guitar solo MJ played a chugging guitar riff that marked the start of a loose jam. MJ then played a 25 second guitar solo. MJ demonstrated his dexterity by beginning his solo with left hand vibrato and finger tapping on the fretboard of his tobacco sunburst Gibson Les Paul. The band then jammed center stage during which KH played a tambourine. Juke Box Hero was performed as an entertaining 9 minute song and, along with Dirty White Boy, received the strongest audience reaction. When Juke Box Hero concluded KH said, “Thank you Concord! Thank you so much!” The band left the stage at 10:43 and returned in less than one minute to play two additional songs.

11. I Want to Know What Love Is (Agent Provocateur, 1984). Before I Want to Know What Love Is KH said, “You want to hear more music? Then I want you to make some noise. I need your help. Put your arm around the person next to you.” [This was not a problem for me because my 78 year old mother was my date for the show.] I Want to Know What Love Is was the second song that featured MJ on keyboards and began with MJ and MB’s atmospheric balladesque keyboards and BS’s gentle drum beats. Within 20 seconds KH sang the first verse, “Gotta take a little time. A little time to think things over. I better read between the lines. In case I need it when I’m older.” A 15 second interlude that prominently featured MJ and MB’s keyboards separated the first and second verse. KH then sang the third verse and first chorus. During the first chorus the tempo slightly escalated as KH sang accompanied by plenty of audience participation, “I want to know what love is. I want you to show me. I want to feel what love is. I know you can show me.” While KH sang the fourth and fifth verses the tempo slowed down to its initial pace.

Mick Jones

The tempo slightly escalated during the second chorus when a group of 20 teenagers from a local high school who wore black T-shirts came center stage. TG stood in front of the teenagers with his back to the crowd and served as conductor directing them to sing. TG then played a well executed guitar solo in front of the teenagers on his blue Fender Stratocaster. After TG’s guitar solo yellow stage lights shined on the audience whom KH encouraged to sing the third chorus. When I Want to Know What Love Is concluded KH said, “Give it up for Clayton Valley High School. You sound fantastic. Good job guys.”

12. Hot Blooded (Double Vision, 1978). Before Hot Blooded KH said, “Thank you for letting us in your home. We are jazzed to entertain you. We had a great time.” Hot Blooded began with MJ’s chugging mid tempo guitar chord progression on his tobacco sunburst Gibson Les Paul. Interestingly, the song began with a catchy chorus as KH sang, “Well, I’m hot blooded, check it and see. I got a fever of a hundred and three. Come on baby; do you do more than dance? I’m hot blooded, I’m hot blooded.” KH then sang the first verse augmented by MJ’s solid mid tempo guitar chord progression. The tempo slightly slowed down while KH sang the first pre chorus augmented by MB’s keyboards, “Now it’s up to you, we can make a secret rendezvous. Just me and you, I’ll show you lovin’ like you never knew.” The tempo slightly escalated while KH sang the second chorus and verse with the latter featuring a series of searing MJ guitar runs. KH then sang the second pre chorus and third chorus followed by MJ’s guitar solo. The song ended with the fourth chorus. The band took a bow and left the stage. Two flashback memories are worth mentioning. First, I recall sneaking into my sister’s bedroom in 1977 while she, who I will call She-Fro, stood 15 feet away in her bathroom combing her afro using a brush the size of a waffle iron. I wanted to shut off her stereo because I was too young to appreciate Feels Like the First Time blasting on her stereo and her off key humming of the melody. Steadfastly clutching my Darth Vader Star Wars action figure in one hand I used the other to hit the stereo tuners “Off” button, and then I bolted. Having witnessed this covert act on prior occasions, She-Fro was on guard even though she had a look of intensity in her eyes as she stroked her Afro as if meticulously adjusting the thick frosting on a wedding cake for the British royal family. She-Fro chased me brandishing the waffle iron as a weapon and struck my thigh, eventually creating a bruise. Using crude forensics I meticulously rummaged through my multi colored marker collection and found a taupe colored marker that replicated the bruise’s hue. A week or so after the bruise subsided I used the marker to create a fake bruise mark on my thigh. I sheepishly showed the bruise to my mom when she got home. With an angry tone my mom asked how I acquired the bruise. When I apprised my mom of the assailant she stormed into She-Fro’s room and slammed the door shut as if closing the lid on the soon to be reprimanded She Fro’s coffin. I got the last laugh.

Foreigner

Second, as I previously mentioned I took my mom, who I will call Mama Kin, to the concert. Mama Kin had a wonderful time throwing the devil horns backstage with the band and enjoying the show. During the set I sneaked a look at Mama Kin and observed her gently bobbing her head and intently watching the raucous blistering show. I now realize the origin of the metal torch I valiantly carry close to my heart. Mama Kin bore the same look of intensity I possessed when I attended my first concert more than 25 years ago. Rock on mom, rock on!

Hansen w/ Mama Kin Venue: Concord Pavilion (“CP”) is an outdoor ampitheater built in 1975 and designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry and landscape architect Peter Walker. Gehry also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. CP was built in response to the East Bay community’s desire to have a venue for the annual Concord Summer Festival. CP is set in a natural bowl below Mt. Diablo. CP was remodeled in 1996 to increase seating and make additional improvements. CP has a 12,500 seat capacity comprised of (1) three tiered seated sections and (2) perimeter lawn section. For a period of time Concord Pavilion was called the Chronicle Pavilion, and it is currently called the Sleep Train Pavilion, both corporate entities that purchased naming rights.
Additional Bands (first to last): Kansas and Styx (co headliner)

Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
http://www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian. This article and all photos are protected by copyright. Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins.

Posted in Concert Reviews | Tagged | 22,950 Comments

Styx

Concert Review: Styx, Concord Pavilion, Concord, CA, 05-25-10 (Tuesday)
 
             Styx reminds me of things American, apple pie and baseball games, and things a bit laid back, like sitting barefoot on a porch in denim overalls swigging homemade moonshine from a jar.  I may not be a native American, but I am proud to be an American citizen and a Styx fan.  Before I go off on a rant that compels me to sing “The Star?Spangled Banner” off key in horrid pitch let’s get to the show.  On May 25, 2010 Styx played the Concord Pavilion.  Styx played a 12?song, 75?minute set from 8:00 to 9:15.

 

            1. Borrowed Time/Mr. Roboto/Rockin’ the Paradise/Borrowed Time (Cornerstone/Kilroy Was Here/Paradise Theater records, 1979, 1983, 1981).  The first song was comprised of a three?song medley that began with Borrowed Time.  Approximately (approximations presumed throughout) the first 45 seconds of Borrowed Time featured a pre?recorded tape track of a cascade of keyboards.  Lawrence Gowan (“LG,” vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist), Tommy Shaw (“TSh,” vocalist, guitarist), James Young (“JY,” vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist), and Ricky Phillips (“RP,” bassist) came on stage and stood with their backs to the crowd one foot in front of Todd Sucherman’s (“TSu’s,” drummer) drum set.  Alternating images of the Styx logo and band member headshots appeared on the video screen that stretched to the ends of the large stage.  The video screen was comprised of 44 rectangular?shaped panels mounted in two rows, each containing 22 panels.  TSh, JY, LG, and RP repeated three?chord progressions four times augmented by TSu’s drum fills.  LG took his guitar off and stepped atop a pearl?colored, three?feet high keyboard riser positioned stage right.  TSh sang the first two verses that featured a catchy melody and mid tempo pace.  LG, RP, and JY then sang the first chorus at a slightly high octave, “Livin’ high, livin’ fine.  Livin’ high on borrowed time.”  The chorus featured a chugging, recurring riff.  The band skipped the part where they repeatedly exchange the words, “yes … no” and went straight to a 15?second JY guitar solo he played on his electric blue Fender Stratocaster.

 

            At the 3:00 mark the band shifted to the second medley song, Mr. Roboto, which they played for 50 seconds, focusing on the chorus without vocals.  The band then shifted to the third medley song, Rockin’ the Paradise.  The band played 50 seconds of the introduction preceding the first verse.  The band then returned to Borrowed Time at the first pre-chorus.  TSh then sang the third verse and second chorus.  [The band sounded clear and very well?rehearsed.  I just did not see the rationale for interspersing two quasi non?descript portions of Mr. Roboto and Rockin’ the Paradise in the set opener.  The set opener is the time to bludgeon the audience over the head with the band’s power and intensity by delivering a catchy, up tempo song.  Get in and get out.  What Styx did is tantamount to beginning by activating the Bunsen burner to a volatile chemical compound (i.e., kicking off with Borrowed Time) and abruptly shutting off the gas to the burner (i.e., shifting to Mr. Roboto and Rockin’ the Paradise) right as the audience is about to climax, figuratively and, for the diehards, literally.]

 

            2. The Grand Illusion (The Grand Illusion, 1977).  The first 30 seconds of The Grand Illusion featured TSu’s blistering drumming and LG’s regal keyboard melody.  During the first verse of this mid tempo song TSh and JY played recurring, chugging guitar notes.  The second verse followed the first during which RP’s bass lines, which he played on a black Fender five?string Jazz bass with pearl?colored pick guard, were particularly prominent.  RP wore black sneakers, black jean pants, black thigh?length wool blazer, long?sleeve grey silk shirt, and black scarf accented with shiny threads.  [RP epitomizes high fashion.  RP belongs in GQ Magazine (magazine focusing on male fashion, style, and culture).  RP should have a buxom blonde as a bass technician waiting with bated breath stage side for show breaks to feed him grapes and keep his well?manicured hair dry using a monogrammed, hand?held fan.]

            TSh then played a searing 30?second guitar solo on his ivory Gretsch guitar during which  JY, LG, and TSu provided solid rhythmic accompaniment.  TSh’s guitar solo led straight into a 20?second repetition of the chord progression from the start of the song.  LG then repeated the second half of the second verse with slightly varying lyrics followed by a second TSh guitar solo.  LG then sang the third and final verse.

         3. Too Much Time on My Hands (Paradise Theater, 1981) is an up tempo song sung by TSh that began with punchy keyboard and bass lines augmented by TSu’s simple, yet effective, drum beats.  The song features a very catchy chorus that led straight into TSh’s 40?second guitar solo during which LG continued to play colorful keyboard notes.  TS wore black combat boots, black jean pants, black blazer, off black satin shirt with a checkered bright red pattern, and bright red fringed scarf.  TSh then sang the third verse and second chorus.

            4. Lady (Styx II, 1973).  LG sang the first half of the first verse of this sentimental ballad in the spotlight accompanied solely by his keyboard melody.  LG wore black leather shoes, tight black jean pants, black blazer with satin lapels and rhinestone?laden sleeves, long?sleeve black satin shirt with an embossed honeycomb chest pattern, and maroon tie with a subtle light blue and silver floral pattern.  [LG looked dapper.  The tight pants and rhinestones qualify LG as the Neil Diamond of the band.  My only concern was that LG’s shoes pose a tripping hazard.  The sharply pointed tips elevated one?half inch above the ground along with the one?inch heels are so high they resemble an anvil, posing the threat of causing an unsuspecting band mate to trip.]  LG played a silver keyboard with a gold “Styx” logo.  When LG sang the second half of the first verse he was joined by RP’s subtle bass lines and TSh and JY’s recurring guitar notes. 

            TSu’s solid drum beats elevated the song’s tempo to a mid tempo power ballad as LG smoothly transitioned from the first verse to the first chorus.  LG jumped off his keyboard riser, walked around stage, and ascended/descended the two sets of seven pearl?colored steps positioned on each side of TSu’s drum set.  Stage left of the steps were eighth Marshall guitar amplifiers (“amps”) with shimmering silver mesh covers.  Stage right of the steps were four Ampeg SVT bass amps with a silver mesh cover.  Positioned on the outer side of each set of amps was an additional set of seven pearl?colored steps.  LG then sang the second and third verses, the latter augmented by TSu’s prominent solid beating of his tom?tom drums.

            5. Lorelei (Equinox, 1975) began with a fairly soft tinge and prominent keyboard melody. TSh and JY added guitars during the third line of the first verse.  TSu joined in with a rollicking drum fill right as JY sang the final word of the first verse, escalating the song’s tempo to an up tempo pace.  JY then sang the first chorus after which the song’s tempo momentarily decreased to its initial pace only to then escalate back to an up tempo pace as JY sang the final word of the second verse.  The second verse led straight into the second chorus, which was followed by JY and TSh guitar solos.

            6. High Enough (Damn Yankees cover: Damn Yankees, 1990).  Before High Enough TSh said, “Let’s hear it for James JY who has been here from day one.  We’ve been together for a long time.  We have been through eight?tracks, cassettes, records.  I co?wrote this song with a guy who lives around here.  As a matter of fact he may be here.  Mr. Jack Blades!”  TSh and Jack Blades shared vocals to this slow tempo acoustic ballad.  JY played a guitar solo on his tobacco sunburst Gibson Les Paul as the video screen displayed the image of a giant red heart.  [High Enough is a beautiful song but a bit too soft for my taste.  It is akin to forcing me as a rocker to wear a tuxedo, sip champagne, and discuss politics when my limited intellect and caveman instincts lean to wearing combat boots, Levi’s jean pants, and rock t?shirt, and chugging Budweiser beer.  The most profound subject I am capable of debating is whether my navel is round­? or elliptical?shaped.]

            7. Suite Madame Blue   (Equinox, 1975).  Before Suite Madame Blue JY said, “Tommy Shaw has brought out a classic Fender 12?string guitar made in these United States.  And on that instrument he is going to play for you.”  [JY spoke with such conviction and patriotism I thought he was going to don a top hat and tailcoat bearing stars and stripes and make the presidential State of the Union address.]  LG sang the first verse atop the top step adjacent stage right of TSu’s drum set and augmented by TSh’s melodic guitar notes, RP’s bass lines, and TSu’s light cascading cymbals.  The first two minutes of the song had a soft tinge.  When LG began singing the second verse the song shifted to a mid tempo power ballad replete with TSu’s powerful drumming, RP’s prominent bass lines, as well as TSh and JY’s guitar chord progressions.  The second verse is when LG arose, walked down the steps, and came stage front.  When LG paused and sang the final two words of the second verse, “… heaven’s door” the song’s tempo shifted to its initial soft tinge.

            After the second verse LG returned to his keyboard riser and played an atmospheric 50?second keyboard piece augmented by TSh’s 12?string electric guitar.  JY then converted the song to an up tempo pace by playing a fairly heavy guitar chord progression augmented by TSu’s solid drum beats.  LG jumped stage front while JY played the chord progression with plenty of left?hand vibrato on his tobacco sunburst Fender Stratocaster.  TSh, RP, and TSu jammed while JY played a 20?second guitar solo.  JY wore black leather shoes, black wool slacks with satin vertical stripes and black button?sized studs on the outer sides, black blazer with satin stripes on the outer sleeves and bordering the outer hip pocket covers, short-sleeve black cotton shirt, and fairly thin gray tie with a subtle gray floral pattern.  [JY looked classy and better without a moustache.  When I see pictures of JY from the 1970’s and 1980’s sporting a fairly bushy moustache it reminds me of Ned Flanders (devout Christian and next door neighbor to the Simpson family in the the animated television series, “The Simpsons”).  If JY still sported a mustache I would not be surprised if his stage rap included the phrase, “Okely dokely.”]  LG then sang the third verse with his blazer off as the video screen displayed aerial images of the San Francisco skyline.

            8. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (The Grand Illusion, 1977).  Before Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) TSh said, “Can you feel it my friends!  Mr. Ricky Phillips on the bass.  How about the beats, the drums, is it working for you?  Thank Mr. Todd Sucherman.  This would not be possible without a couple of brothers from the South side of Chicago who got together in their basement.  Mr. Chuck Panozzo!”  Chuck Panozzo (“CP”) came on stage to the audience’s surprise and adulation.  CP wore sunglasses, faded blue jeans, a black blazer, and black long?sleeve shirt the back of which featured rhinestones (or small studs) in the shape of an eagle.  [CP looked tough, particularly with his sunglasses and shirt with rolled up sleeves and eagle?encrusted insignia.  CP could have easily been mistaken for a Motörhead road crew member or biker in László Benedek’s outlaw biker film, “The Wild One” starring Marlon Brando (1953).]  RP played a double neck guitar with a 12?string upper neck.

            Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) began with LG’s light?tinged, prominent keyboard notes augmented by TSh and JY’s acoustic guitar strumming and TSu’s cymbal crashes.  At the 1:20 mark the focus shifted from LG to TSh and JY’s up tempo acoustic guitar strumming, and LG jumped off his keyboard riser and came stage front where he encouraged the audience to clap along.  LG then returned to his keyboard riser and provided subtle keyboard accompaniment as TSh sang the first verse and chorus, the latter featured vocal exchanges between TSh and JY, LG, and RP.  TSh sang the first two chorus lines while JY, LG, and RP sang the rest and also repeated the first few words of TSh’s parts.  The video screen displayed alternating images of the phrases “Get Up” and “Come On.”  LG then played a catchy 40?second keyboard solo augmented by RP’s steady bass lines.  LG rotated his single silver keyboard 180 degrees and played part of his solo facing the crowd with his body stretched forward, and his hands nimbly hitting the ivory keyboard keys behind his back.  [LG looked like he was stretching to participate in the 100?yard hurdle competition, and his skin tight jean pants resembled spandex workout pants.]  After LG’s keyboard solo the band sang the second chorus followed by a 70?second jam during which TSh, JY, CP, and RP stood next to one another center stage.

            Styx has been exceedingly supportive of CP’s valiant efforts battling H.I.V.  In 1998 CP revealed to his band mates he was gay and battling this potentially deadly virus.  As a founding band member who formed Styx in 1961 along with his late fraternal twin brother, John Panozzo (original drummer), and Dennis DeYoung (original vocalist, keyboardist), CP’s band mates have encouraged him to participate on a part?time basis as health permits.  John Panozzo died on July 16, 1996 at age 47 due to excessive drinking that caused him to develop cirrhosis of the liver and eventually succumbed to gastrointestinal hemorrhaging. 

            9. Miss America (The Grand Illusion, 1977).  Before Miss America JY said, “This is about a woman from Atlantic City who moved to Las Vegas.”  Miss America began with a 50?second melodic, slow tempo keyboard piece.  TSh and JY’s guitar chord progressions and TSu’s bass drums escalated the song to a thumping up tempo pace.  While JY sang the first verse TSh walked next to LG’s keyboard riser prompting LG to step down and use his right hand to strum TSh’s guitar strings.  [LG’s mannerisms and posture reminded me of Igor, the hunch?backed assistant to the mad scientist in James Whale’s classic horror film, “Frankenstein” (1931).  The only thing missing was for LG to utter, “Yes master” in a monotone somber tone.]  Miss America featured RP’s prominent, punchy bass lines and TSu’s driving drum beats that he played on a large tobacco brown Pearl drum set that featured double bass drums, Sabian cymbals, and tobacco?colored drum heads perched atop a pearl-colored, three?feet high drum riser.  TSu wore a black long?sleeve shirt with sleeves rolled up to his elbow.  [TSu bears a slight resemblance, including attire, to Cooter Davenport, fictional mechanic character in the American television show, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” albeit more handsome and eloquent.]

            The first chorus featured vocal exchanges between JY and TSh, LG, and RP.  JY sang the first part of each line while TSh, LG, and RP sang the last two words, “Well aren’t you Miss America.  Don’t you Miss America.  Won’t you Miss America.  Our love.”  LG came stage front and encouraged the audience to clap along.  After the second chorus LG played an upbeat 20?second keyboard solo immediately followed by JY’s 25?second guitar solo during which TSh, RP, and TSu continued to play the catchy up beat rhythmic accompaniment.  JY’s guitar solo was followed by the third chorus, fourth verse, and fourth chorus.  JY then six times repeated the phrase, “Miss America,” and the song climaxed with him screaming, “Miss America!”  When the song concluded TSh said, “You know it.  James Young plays for keeps.”  Miss America and two other songs to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.

            10. Come Sail Away (The Grand Illusion, 1977) began with LG’s prominent 60?second balladesque keyboard introduction during which he sang the first verse.  During the interlude between the first and second verses, CP, who came on stage for the second time, RP, and TSu joined LG with their soft bass lines and drum beats.  JY played back?up keyboards.  When LG sang the last line of the second verse the song’s tempo escalated from a slow ballad to a fairly up tempo power ballad, and JY switched from keyboards to a black Fender Stratocaster.  LG then sang the first three lines of the first chorus while standing atop his keyboard stool.  After the first chorus the tempo slowed down and LG played atmospheric keyboards for 60 seconds amidst blue stage lights.  The tempo once again escalated with TSu’s hard hitting of his snare and tom?tom drums prompting LG to jump off his keyboard riser and sing the second chorus in extended form while walking around stage front.  TSh, JY, and CP stood next to one another center stage a few feet in front of TSu’s drum set while RP stood on the rear part of TSu’s drum riser facing the crowd.  The fog machine emitted fog as TSh played a memorable guitar solo, part of which he played on his knees leaning back to hit the high notes while LG stood atop him striking his hands in the air in beat with TSu’s drum beats. 

            The band then digressed from the second chorus for audience participation.  LG said, “I look out Concord and see commitment to classic rock.”  LG sang a brief part of the chorus of four classic rock songs during which he encouraged the audience to sing along, namely Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover: Led Zeppelin II, 1969), It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) (The Rolling Stones cover: It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1974), Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd cover: The Wall, 1979), and War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover: Paranoid, 1970).  LG said, “Give it up for Ronnie James [Dio].”  Come Sail Away, Miss America, and one other song to be performed received the strongest audience reaction.  The band left the stage at 9:04 and returned in less than one minute to play two additional songs.  When the band appeared on stage they tossed two black frisbees bearing white Styx logos in the crowd.  LG appeared without his tie.

            11. Blue Collar Man (Pieces of Eight, 1978) is a fairly up tempo song that began with an identifiable keyboard melody augmented by TSu’s cymbals and tom?tom drums.  TSh sang the first verse that featured a catchy melody followed in quick succession by the first chorus, second verse, and second chorus.  During the third verse the tempo momentarily slowed down but picked up at its conclusion and led into TSh’s memorable 30?second guitar solo, which he played on his cherry red Gretsch guitar.  LG provided solid keyboard accompaniment with flair during TSh’s guitar solo, including keyboard spinning.  [LG could have a thriving second career as a pizza chef spinning dough.]

            After TSh’s guitar solo the band sang the third chorus.  During the final line of the third chorus the tempo slightly slowed down for 20 seconds but resumed a fairly up tempo pace during the fourth and final chorus.  The band jammed for 15 seconds at the end of the song during which LG repeatedly rubbed his buttocks back and forth across his keyboard keys.  [Fortunately for the fans it was LG doing the rubbing and not me as I would have caused each key to dislodge as a casualty of my not?so?girlish figure.]  Blue Collar Man, Miss America, and Come Sail Away received the strongest audience reaction.

 

            12. Renegade (Pieces of Eight, 1978) began as a soft ballad.  TSh sang the first two lines of the first verse a capella, “Oh Mama, I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law.  Law man has put an end to my running and I’m so far from my home.”  CP, who came on stage for the third time, JY, LG, and RP joined TSh in singing the remaining lines of the first verse a capella, “Oh mama I can hear you crying you’re so scared and all alone.  Hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don’t have very long.”  TSh and JY’s guitar chords, RP and CP’s punchy bass lines, and TSu’s drum beats escalated the song to an up tempo pace during which TSh sang the first chorus, “The jig is up, the news is out.  They finally found me.  The renegade who had it made.  Retrieved for a bounty.  Never more to go astray.  This’ll be the end today.  Of the wanted man.”

 

            JY played a fiery 40?second guitar solo while TSh stood on the steps adjacent stage left to TSu’s drum set and RP stood on the steps adjacent stage right to TSu’s drum set.  The band repeated the first chorus and first verse.  TSh, JY, and RP then came stage front, stood next to one another, and jammed for two minutes.  At the conclusion of Renegade the band members left the stage and returned in a few seconds with black and white beach balls they batted, threw and, in the case of LG, shot into the crowd using a hockey stick.  The band took a bow and left the stage.

            Venue: Concord Pavilion (“CP”) is an outdoor ampitheater built in 1975 and designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry and landscape architect Peter Walker.  Gehry also designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California.  CP was built in response to the East Bay community’s desire to have a venue for the annual Concord Summer Festival.  CP is set in a natural bowl below Mt. Diablo.  CP was remodeled in 1996 to increase seating and make additional improvements.  CP has a 12,500?seat capacity comprised of (1) three?tiered seated sections and (2) perimeter lawn section.  For a period of time Concord Pavilion was called the Chronicle Pavilion, and it is currently called the Sleep Train Pavilion, both corporate entities who purchased naming rights.            Additional Bands (first to last): Kansas and Foreigner (co?headliner)
Arash Moussavian, Entertainment Law Attorney
arashmoussavian@cal.berkeley.edu
www.linkedin.com/in/arashmoussavian
All photos taken by Arash Moussavian.  This article and all photos are protected by copyright.  Please contact me prior to use, or I will make shish kabab of your loins. 

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