Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

SB

“For 24 hours a day, for 10 years, all I thought about was being in a band. That’s all I did. I had no other social life. I don’t want my life to be like that now. I’ve spent the past 10 years having a real life as well. But Spandau Ballet is such a difficult shadow to outrun.” -Gary Kemp

My age is showing liking this band but I don’t care! I remember an Aussie friend asking me how I knew all those brit acts of the 80’s, he seemed to be in awe that new wave music travel across the world and picked it up by a group of islands in the pacific and groove on it. It’s not enough reason to say I’m an 80’s child ‘cause I could have picked up crap from whatever is floating in that era. So I should say, I’m an 80’s child with teenager brothers that played new wave music – lots of it!

From all the artists back then I have a special liking for this group – Spandau Ballet mostly because of their music and apart from it they are all neat and tidy and slick dresser. The group started from as a nightclub scene in London and Birmingham at the beginning of the 80’s. The founding members Gary Kemp and Steve Norman attended the same high school with the rest of the members and this is how the group formed as they shared a similar interest in music and a common desire to form a band.  The band’s name evolved from The Cut in 1976, became The Makers in 1976, and Gentry in 1978 until a friend of the band saw the phrase ‘Spandau Ballet’ doodled on the wall of a club’s toilet during a visit in Berlin. ‘Spandau’ as per Dictionary.com means a district of Berlin, in East Germany: site of prison for Nazi war criminals. Spandau Prison in Europe housed many prisoners including World War II Nazi prisoners. When these prisoners were hanged the swinging of the dead body was called the ’Spandau Ballet’ – chilling and creepy really!

They released their third album, True, in March 1983 and hit major success with No. 1 single with the song “True”, a No. 2 single “Gold” and a No. 3 single “Only When You Leave” as the band’s last American hit. Around this time, US is experiencing British invasion because 30% of the US record sales were UK acts. They released a couple of albums until 1989 but nothing surpass the True Album in terms of popularity and sales. The last hit I have known of them was ‘Through the Barricades’ and then silence that succumb to the band’s to hiatus following a spiteful breakup that ended up in court in 1990.

If 1980 has its own soundtrack that would be Spandau Ballet’s True –I first heard it on John Hughes’ ‘Sixteen Candles’ (1984) If you are, have been or ever will be a teenager, you will able to relate to his work, and his movies derived much of their power from their soundtracks – where the script was sometimes lacking, a song could fill in the gaps.  It will be heard in 4 Drew Barrymore films; ‘Charlie’s Angels’, ‘The Wedding Singer’, ‘Duplex’ and ‘50 First Dates’. Sampled by PM Dawn in 1991 to create ‘Set adrift On Memory Bliss’ which became no. 1.

According to Wiki: The song came about from the group leader Gary Kemp who composed the song at his parents’ house in Islington. A slow pop-ballad love song that in part pays tribute to the Motown artist Marvin Gaye, who is mentioned in the lyrics. The song was also partly inspired by Kemp’s crush on Altered Images singer and Gregory’s Girl star Clare Grogan: “I was infatuated with Clare Grogan,” he told The Guardian. “I met her on Top of the Pops and, at one point, travelled up to Scotland to have tea with her and her mum and dad. Although my feelings were unrequited and the relationship was platonic, it was enough to trigger a song,” Some phrases in the lyrics were adapted from the novel Lolita, a copy of which Clare Grogan had given Gary Kemp. “The lyrics are full of coded messages to Clare,” Kemp told The Guardian. “I’m still berated for the line ‘Take your seaside arms’ but it’s straight out of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which she had given me as a present – although in the book, it’s ‘seaside limbs. The line ‘With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue’ is also a bastardisation of Nabokov.”

Beyond the timeless lyrics and a melody that mixed power ballad, techno, rock, and jazzy sax, Kemp was spot on uttering these words to sum about what true is all about “… It became a song about trying to write a love song to someone who didn’t know your true thoughts, but how difficult it is to spell out your feelings without seeming too foolish.”

Yes, they are not as young, they are not as flamboyant but of course Tony Hadley is as formal wearing his blazer on stage (I’m used to seeing artists on shirt nowadays) . I have waited to see them perform live and when I finally did I was not disappointed … they are as awesome as ever!

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“Life’s a journey not a destination.” – Steven Tyler

I remember liking Aerosmith’s videos back in the day especially the song Cryin’. It was the epitome of ultimate coolness when Alicia Silverstone jumps from a bridge. It lasted only 5 seconds but the news back then reported it did cost a whopping 10K USD. Before Silverstone became “Clueless” she was first and foremost “The Aerosmith Chick”…As if!!!  The director of the music video decided she would be perfect for the role after seeing her in a movie called, The Crush. She was subsequently cast in two more videos, “Amazing” and “Crazy” with Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv Tyler a decade before her portrayal of Elf maiden Arwen Undómiel in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy

Just a few days ago while watching 80’s special of Nat Geo I happened to catch  young Steven Tyler and rappers Run-D.M.C. collaborating for a song originally released in 1977 by Aerosmith entitled ‘Walk This Way’ to create a new musical sub-genre of rap rock. Apparently this correlation paved the way for hip hop to become main stream as it was one of the best songs of 1986.

As per wiki, the young Steven Tyler wanted to be a park ranger but changed his mind and formed his first band at age 16. The drummer, Joey Kramer was responsible for coming up with the name. It was a word he said he wrote on his notebooks in high school, after thinking of it in relation to Harry Nilsson’s album Aerial Ballet. Despite the word has no meaning and somewhat mysterious background the rest of the band liked it enough to name themselves after it.

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I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing soundtrack to the film Armageddon was Aerosmith first number 1 hit after less than 3 decades as a band. “Get a Grip” is my favourite album from this band where you can find the songs: Livin on the Edge, cryin, crazy, and amazing – These are the song that defined my mid 90’s and enough reason for me coughed up 150 bucks to watch their concert last May 25, 2013 at The Meadow in Gardens by the Bay.

The show commenced as the front man, Steve Tyler strutted across the extended stage similar to a catwalk in a flashy black coat, tight graphic tee and pants accompanied by a pair of eighties-inspired red hot sunglasses, the 65-year-old rock star still command stage presence and extreme coolness with the lead guitarist, Joe Perry on his side in a shiny black coat, both hitting the guitar and vocal chords like there’s no tomorrow…

The Set list(They are still amazing even without singing Amazing but would have completed my night though…)
Love in an Elevator
Draw the Line
Oh Yeah
Jaded great to hear again…”and I’m the one that jaded you”
Cryin’ yay! woot, woot!
Last Child
Janie’s Got a Gun I like this!
Livin’ on the Edge “there’s somethin’ wrong with the world today…”
Rag Doll
Stop Messin’ around (Fleetwood Mac cover)
I Don’t Want to Miss Thing    …goose bumps… duet with Mr. Tyler
No More No More
What It Takes
Come Together (The Beatles cover) awesome rendition!
Dude (Looks like a Lady) yeah!
Walk This Way – of course!
Encore: Dream On, and Sweet Emotion

 

“We can dance until we die, you and I…we’ll be young forever!” – Teenage Dream Lyrics, Katy Perry

I stopped listening to music in the mid 90’s, somewhere after the album  ‘Keep The Faith’ or ‘Jagged Little Pill’ my ears was never updated with the latest hits and  when I get the chance to listen to music, I go back  to the old songs. As per Simon Le Bon ‘I feel sorry for the ’90s, because it was never able to be anything much more than the hangover to the party that was the ’80s.’ But even in the 2000’s, music seems just lost its mojo for me.

Being here in Singapore gave me a chance to finally catch up and attend concerts of the eighties greats, though I’m 20 years late, I can’t still passed the opportunity to listen and see them perform live. So imagine my surprise when I found myself watching an artist whose contralto vocals was never been played on cassette tape, juke box, or turn table. After witnessing her performed live in Singapore Formula 1 Race last September 23, 2012 and watching her biopic-concert film Part of Me- I have nothing but so much love for Katy Perry!!!

I must admit that her girly style and melody did not catch my eyes and ears at first.  My impression of her packaging was intended for teenagers as I can’t make out her style whether she’s current or a reminiscent of whichever decade. Looking at her just makes me all confused, I was already having a hard time telling her apart from that actress, Emily Blunt or was it Zooey Dechanel?. I snubbed her concert tour here because simply, I’m not interested. It took a while for me to embrace her knack of music and candy colour wardrobe which was given the chance of constantly watching and listening she just eventually grows in you.  After watching too much glee and friends fancied her music, slowly but surely I succumb to the ditty of this singer slash songwriter named Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson.

She’s an inspiration to all those struggling to find their place in this world and wanting their dreams to realize because she never had it easy but through it all she came out victorious. Enveloped with such talents at an early age she was brave enough to trudge forward and claimed her destiny. You can sense the truth in her lyrics. I reckoned her works are reflections of who she is and what she feels, as I read online that “I Kissed a Girl” was inspired by her attraction to Scarlett Johansson because according to her, she is “a classic beauty” who possesses the “1940s pin-up look”

As both of her parents are pastors, she listened to gospel music growing up she had no reference for outside music but her biopic cited Alanis Morrissette and the late Queen singer Freddy Mercury as influences. Seven years after her failed attempts at fame, she ditched the religious market and created the sexy alter-ego Katy Perry. Well she opted for Katy Hudson but it sounded too close to actress Kate Hudson, so she became Katy Perry instead, using her mother’s maiden name.

What I like about KP was even if you stripped her of her talents and her fame, she has her VALUES and that Jesus tattoo on her wrist she inked at age 18 was according to her, a reminder of where she came from. She made chart history in 2011 by becoming the first female artist to have five Billboard Hot 100 number ones from the same album. Surely, even my out-dated taste of music and obsolete ears can’t ignore that!

New Order

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Concerts, New Order
Tags: , , , ,

“Every time I see you falling
I get down on my knees and pray
I’m waiting for that final moment
You say the words that I can’t say”

– Bizarre Love Triangle  Lyrics, New Order

‘I feel so extraordinary’… as the first stanza of the song ‘True Faith’ goes by New Order… oh but this is what I actually felt watching them live on the night of Aug 22, 2012 @ Forth Canning Park Singapore.

This English rock band was originally formed in 1976 as Joy Division (‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’), the lead vocalist committed suicide in 1980 but the rest of the members moved and on that same year gave birth to ‘New Order’. Tension broke the group in 1993 but was able to reform in 1998.  A member who functioned in  keyboard, guitars, and synthesizers was replaced in 2001. In 2007, an original member left and apparently, this dispersed the band.When 2009 came the lead vocals announced he no longer wishes to make music as New Order. The band reunited in 2011 without the original member who left in 2007 but returning with the member who was replaced in 2001.

waiting for New Order

Somewhere in between those numbers of years, at one point I thought I never get to see them live…ever!  The years of existence of New Order had too much drama. I’m not an avid follower of the group per se but I’m a big fan of their music. But here they are in my face, literary in my face because I was just standing in the side of the stage while they played. And yeah, I rest my case on the vocalist (Bernard Sumner) who looks like Horatio Caine (David Caruso) of CSI Miami if anyone noticed. They are one of the greats and influential band that 80’s music produced in the era of new wave and electronic sound.

This band was very giving, they kept throwing the crowd hits after hits and though I felt we are not worthy , they even let us hear ‘Love Will Tear us Apart’ from Joy Division. Seeing them now, performing live after 20 plus years of enjoying ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ was an awesome experience. I would prefer to have caught them live at their prime but this is better than never.

“Disappointment came to me, and booted me, and bruised and hurt me, but that’s how people grow up.” ―Morrissey

http://newwavejournal.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/suedehead-morrissey/

On the evening of May 8, 2012 I went home disappointed from Fort Canning Park. This is the first time I ever felt I messed up my day by attending a concert to one of my favourite 80’s musician.  I woke up this morning and the feeling of having been ripped off from last night’s event just won’t go away. How did a simple concert can go wrong? Let me count the ways… First, the venue. I loved attending concerts to Fort Canning Park  I have seen Simple Minds, Pet Shop Boys, Cindy Lauper, INXS, Debbie Gibson, Rick Astley, Sugar Ray, etc. here. It’s the only venue in Singapore that for a minimum pay you can squeeze your way in the front row and see the pores of your favourite artists. The ground is elevated so you will be looking down to the stage instead of looking up, the crowd will be just comfortable seating on the grass because the stage is effortlessly in full view at eye level. For Morrissey, they moved it to Fort Gate and built a stage there so the tendency is for a bunch of people to trample up together and the access to the front row was difficult. Second, He was late but not worth the wait because, thirdly, he did not sing his hits! I’m talking about… Suedehead, Panic, The More You Ignore Me… The Closer I get, Girlfriend In A Comma, This Charming Man, and Heaven Knows I’m Miserable now.

I knew it! I knew it all along…I waited the last minute to purchase those damn tickets because I felt it in my gut he will pull something like this,  I knew he was coming months ahead but I procrastinated and completely ignored the early bird promotion. I was contemplating if the 98 bucks I will cough up will be all worth it if ever my hint was correct but  all along my brain kept telling me to just risk it …I only have this day to experience Morrissey and never again… so I went out on office lunch break and made my way to Sistic and purchased my freakin’ regret.

He commenced the show by singing ‘How Soon is Now’ and the rest was blah…then halfway thru the ending he sang ‘Every day is like Sunday’ then he mentioned coming from a cold, cold place and how it was scorching in our venue, then he bid goodbye and took off… I sense a lot of people are dissatisfied with the outcome and only his hard core fans could love him that night, so please forgive me if I can’t forgive him… yet.  I’m just an admirer of his work who happened to like a few ‘select’ songs. I blamed the temperature for making him uncomfortable thus, not finishing up his play lists, if his playlist included what I really wanted to hear. I should have read concert reviews online before deciding.  Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend these artists – being ordinary, I cannot figure out how the extra-ordinary think. When it’s as simple as people spent time and money to see what they want, artist should at least give them what they want and in between artists can do whatever the hell he wants! And if you are going to do things differently give people a heads up, don’t be a selfish arse.

I’m not done ranting, I got to let this fume off,  but how do you get piss off when my subject is one of the most influential figures in the history of British pop who redefined the sound of British rock for the past quarter-century?  Yes, his voice was golden but only lifelong fans would totally appreciate the show and recognized the songs he played. For some of them their two decades of captivation with Morrissey abruptly ended in one night.   I like the man – his undecidable sexuality, advocate for animal rights and supporter of PETA, his obsession with James Dean, his contribution to music, and with his long discography with the Smiths and solo work I think he can give his audience a little more…

I remember he mentioned this after playing 2 or 3 songs.–I can’t recall the exact words but it’s something like…  ‘Do you ever think why you are? Later you will ask yourself why you are here”…Yeah, I did ask myself why I was there because heaven knows I’m miserable now…

“I wrote quite a lot while we were touring, which was something I really enjoyed, it was really nice that after a gig, in the middle of all the chaos I’d be away in a corner with a guitar, writing about what I was feeling. Being famous and having people screaming at you doesn’t make me happy, but writing a song does.” – Dolores O’Riordan

In 1990 Dolores O’Riordan auditioned and won the role of lead singer for a band called ‘The Cranberry Saw Us’. An Irish rock band formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989 advertise for a female singer that she auditioned by writing lyrics and melodies to some existing demos. When she returned with a rough version of “Linger”, the group hired her. Later on the band changed the name to ‘The Cranberries’ the band consists of vocalist Dolores O’Riordan, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan and drummer Fergal Lawler. Their music was alternative rock

Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan (born 6 September 1971) led The Cranberries to worldwide success and fame for 13 years. Throughout the ’90s, O’Riordan was recognized for her changing hairstyles, from shoulder-length to very short crop in myriad colours and shades. The band released five albums: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (1993), No Need to Argue (1994), To the Faithful Departed (1996), Bury the Hatchet (1999) and Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (2001) and a greatest-hits compilation entitled Stars – The Best of 1992 – 2002 (2002), before they went on hiatus in 2003.

After the release of a first single, “Dreams” in September 1992, The Cranberries proposed their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, in March 1993. Neither the album nor the single gained much attention, nor did a second single, “Linger” thanks to MTV for the exposure.

In 2004 Dolores O’Riordan has been collaborating on a number of musical projects, before launching her solo career with the album Are You Listening? In 2007, following it with No Baggage in 2009. The Cranberries reunited in January 2009.

O’Riordan distinct voice and The Cranberries music defined the sound of the 90’s. I was in awe watching her live and how her powerful vocal chords made no difference listening to their CDs or watching her performed in the flesh.  It’s a snap tripping to concerts and don’t end up disappointed, makes my money and my time all worthwhile. They sang all their hits and then some I felt they lived up to everyone’s expectations with their immense stage presence and dishing out songs from both their older and newest and when the encore came to a close and it’s done the memory of this event will definitely linger…

Facts about O’Riordan:

  1. In 2006, O’Riordan was listed among the ten richest women in Ireland.
  2. She’s an admirer of the late Pope John Paul II. After meeting him inside Vatican City, O’Riordan remarked: “[He] was lovely, very saintly. I was mad about him. I thought he really cared for the poor and he loved to meet the people. I saw him when he came to Limerick, when I was a kid. So it was pretty mind-blowing to take my mum out to meet him.
  3. She made a cameo appearance in the Adam Sandler comedy Click, released on 23 June 2006, as a wedding singer performing an alternate version of The Cranberries’ song “Linger”, set to strings.
  4. She usually performs barefoot on stage
  5. Though a non-practicing catholic she’s pro-life

“Please, please tell me now is there something I should know? Is there something I should say, that’ll make you come my way. Do you feel the same, cause you don’t let it show– Is There Something I Should Know lyrics

All I can recall about Duran Duran was I was young… too young to like music but I liked them a fair bit. I remember them being well dressed, elegant and sharp and they have their own style of music and it doesn’t sound pop or rock and they never do ballads. Their MTVs are always amusing to watch it’s not just sing, sing, sing there’s always a story, a plot.

An English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1978 by Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Stephen Duffy, with the later addition of Roger Taylor and, after numerous personnel changes, Andy Taylor and Simon Le Bon. None of the Taylors are related and Roger Taylor is not to be confused with Queen’s drummer.  Duran Duran was named after the villain from Barbarella, Roger Vadim’s French science-fiction film. The villain, played by Milo O’Shea, is named “Dr. Durand Durand”. John Taylor and Nick Rhodes wanted to be the resident band at the city’s Rum Runner nightclub where John worked as a doorman and Nick as a deejay. In May 1980, London vocalist Simon Le Bon was recommended to the band by an ex-girlfriend who worked at the same pub. When they are not rehearsing they worked as disc jockey, doormen, and glass collectors by the club owner and also their manager.

In 1983, they became famous with the release of the album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger that includes the songs “Union of the Snake”, “Hungry Like the Wolf”, “Rio”, “Save A Prayer” and “Is There Something I Should Know”, They followed up with “New Moon on Monday” and their next single “The Reflex”, became their first number one hit in the United States and was successful in numerous other countries around the world. They contribute “A View to a Kill” to the 1985 James Bond movie of the same movie title and it was the last single the band recorded as the original five-piece for twenty years.

All five members of the band were photogenic and were labelled “the prettiest boys in rock” by People magazine, the band worked with fashion designers to build a sharp and elegant image. They always looked appealing in all their posters but it’s always John Taylor who always caught my eyes, he is really a looker.  Princess Diana of Wales declared Duran Duran her favourite band and the band were dubbed “The Fab Five” by the British press, comparing them to the Beatles whose nickname was The Fab Four.

Duran Duran got introduced to Generation Y, In 1993 when they released their comeback album entitled  ‘Wedding Album’ with hits like “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” their music fits likes a glove and it sound so current

Watching them live was just plain crazy; the sound of Simon’s voice will lift your spirit high and take on an emotional journey and will take you back in time like it was still 1983.