Monday, June 30, 2008
A Bon Jovi Concert (With a Slip-Up Over Troubled Waters)
By Sewell Chan
Updated, 6:49 p.m. | The rock band Bon Jovi will give a free concert on July 12 to as many as 60,000 people on the Great Lawn of Central Park in honor of Major League Baseball’s 79th All-Star Game, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced at a news conference on Monday afternoon. The humorous highlight of the news conference occurred when the band’s lead singer, Jon Bon Jovi, teased the mayor for mispronouncing Art Garfunkel’s name. (Mr. Bloomberg, citing previous performances on the lawn, had referred to “Simon and Garfinkel.”)
At a City Hall news conference, the mayor, who has been trying to drum up excitement around the July 15 All-Star Game in the last season at the current Yankee Stadium, pointed out that it will coincide with a baseball convention at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and a July 15 parade on the Avenue of the Americas, with Hall of Famers like Yogi Berra and Willie Mays. Mr. Bloomberg said that Bon Jovi would be “following in the footsteps of Simon & Garfinkel, Barbra Streisand, Garth Brooks and the Metropolitan Opera.” (Actually, Mr. Brooks performed on the North Meadow, not the Great Lawn, in 1997.)
Jon Bon Jovi, who thanked the mayor, as well as Bank of America and Major League Baseball for sponsoring the free Saturday concert, noted that he and his band were from New Jersey originally. Mr. Bon Jovi said he now lived in Manhattan and fondly remembered visiting Central Park as a child when “Simon — not Garfinkel, as the mayor said — Art Garfunkel…”
“Did I say that?” Mr. Bloomberg asked, a tad embarrassed.
“Yes, you did,” Mr. Bon Jovi replied gamely.
“He’s my neighbor, too,” Mr. Bloomberg said. (The mayor and Mr. Garfunkel both live on 79th Street, on the Upper East Side.)
Mr. Bon Jovi, who is wrapping up an international “Lost Highway” tour that included 10 dates in New Jersey, citing other past Great Lawn performers whom Mr. Bloomberg did not mention, like Diana Ross (1983) and Dave Matthews (2003), said, “To follow on the Great Lawn with our band really is a dream come true and to me the perfect book end to an incredible tour.”
The mayor suggested that distributing the free tickets might be a logistical challenge. Tickets will be distributed starting Wednesday at locations in all five boroughs. The bulk will be given out at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, but tickets will also be available at Shea Stadium in Queens and the minor-league ballparks of the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees. Some tickets will also be available through mlb.com and bonjovi.com.
Read the rest of the article here
Friday, June 27, 2008
I'll get the full review up here on the blog in a few days.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Here's a brief Billboard article on last night.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The collection is now available exclusively through iTunes. The videos feature live renditions of songs from 'In Rainbows' and the bonus CD included in its deluxe discbox edition.
The full track listing of video performances is:
House of Cards
Bangers & Mash
All I Need
Captured in a day, with direction by David Barnard and sound by Nigel Godrich, the videos represent the best recorded representation of Radiohead's live performance to date.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Beck Pre-Releases New Album Modern Guilt to TouchTunes Network
TouchTunes & LocaModa Enable Beck Fans to Send a Text Message to Find the Nearest Participating TouchTunes Location
TouchTunes Corporation, the largest out-of-home interactive entertainment network, has announced a special preview of Beck's hotly anticipated new album, Modern Guilt, via 10,000 digital jukeboxes at locations nationwide.
Produced by Danger Mouse and Beck, Modern Guilt goes on sale July 8th, but will be playing on TouchTunes digital jukeboxes beginning July 1st. While the song "Chemtrails" is currently streaming on Beck.com and imeem, TouchTunes jukeboxes will be one of the first platforms--and the first jukebox platform--to feature the album in full.
Starting today, Beck fans can text message BECK to 40411 to find the nearest participating TouchTunes digital jukebox location. Beck fans will learn about the promotion through strategically placed ads on Beck's profile pages on select social sites like Facebook, iLike, and MySpace. The text messaging capability is powered by LocaModa, a technology company providing a mobile social platform that connects consumers online and out-of-home.
"The 'Modern Guilt' sound is an homage to 1960s British pop, along with Beck's signature futuristic flair," said Ted Mico, executive vice president, digital, Interscope A&M Geffen. "The TouchTunes interactive network offered us an innovative and exciting way to release Beck's music to a very savvy group of fans. We were especially excited that TouchTunes, along with LocaModa, were able to connect Beck's most committed fans through a viral mobile platform, giving them the opportunity to listen to the album before anyone else."
TouchTunes will further support the promotion through banners and full-screen billboards that will appear during the time a user touches the screen. A custom survey will ask users about their favorite Beck song and which Beck album they love the most. Beck fans will have the option to enter their email address onscreen at any of the 10,000 participating jukebox locations to be added to Beck's mailing list and receive information about ordering the new album.
"Beck fans have been talking for months about his new album, and now, finally, it's available -- on the TouchTunes network," said Ron Greenberg, TouchTunes CMO and senior vice president of digital media. "For Beck especially, we needed to do something both a little different and sophisticated at the same time. By combining interactivity, social networks, and texting from LocaModa for this pre-release on our digital network, we're defining more integrated ways to bring great music to fans."
"An integrated media campaign like this is rapidly becoming essential, particularly in the music industry, where new dynamic approaches are cutting through," commented Steve King, VP sales for LocaModa. "The TouchTunes network reaches millions of fans where they already hang out in the real world, and now TouchTunes and LocaModa together reach them both online and on location. Together we're offering them valuable benefits for being socially active and connected. It's easy to see how both brands and consumers reap the rewards from a program like this."
For more information, please visit Beck.com. Modern Guilt is available July 8 on DGC/Interscope Records.
About TouchTunes Corporation
TouchTunes Corporation is the largest out-of-home interactive entertainment network, providing innovative solutions to over 30,000 bars, restaurants, retailers and other businesses in North America - three times larger than the nearest competitor. TouchTunes introduced the world's first digital-downloading, pay-per-play commercial jukebox in 1998 and now operates the largest network of interactive entertainment systems, playing about 1.5 million songs per day. TouchTunes maintains a digital music library covering more than two million licensed tracks from every major record label, plus independent music distributors and a host of independent labels. TouchTunes offers leading games and music solutions for independent and national restaurants, bars, and retailers.
A privately held U.S. corporation, TouchTunes Corporation's principal offices are in New York City, Montreal, and Lake Zurich, IL.
LocaModa connects people and places. The company's social platform enables people to access and control media in their favorite places, bringing location experiences to the web and web experiences to locations. LocaModa connects people in bars, cafes, colleges, public spaces and conferences. The company is privately held, headquartered in Massachusetts and founded by Stephen Randall, a former EVP/Founder of Symbian. True to its global vision, LocaModa is internationally backed by Dace Ventures in USA, Mahindra Group in India and Sumitomo Corporation of Japan, via its US-based strategic investing arm, PresidioSTX.
For more information on LocaModa, please visit www.locamoda.com
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Sometimes we turn a blind eye to a songs true meaning in order to fulfill a selfish need to feel good. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.” and John Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses” are often two widely misinterpreted songs that people feel are patriotic where in truth they are both about the dissolution of the American dream. Regardless of this, through the years people still feel the need to make the songs their own and often attach erroneous meanings to the songs. While I’m sure it makes the hairs on the necks of Springsteen and Mellencamp rise, if their art is offering a feeling of hope and release, is it necessarily bad? I don’t have an answer to that, but the same could be said for me with R.E.M.’s “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” as it’s about finding and coming to terms with your inner self.
For a band who wrote weighty songs in a time of excess (i.e.: the 1980s) their music has always had a calming effect on me for reasons that I can not even articulate…which many would say is the key to luminous music. 1987 was my watershed year for music; from hair bands, to pop-rock to teen sensations and even an alternative band or two. In March of 1987, I went overboard and delved headfirst into anything I could get my hands on. If memory serves me correct, I had a used cassette copy of Document sometime early in 1988. For one of the few bands that mattered in a time of excess (according to high brow rock critics) the album was surprisingly addictive. “The One I Love” and “Finest Worksong” were my favorites, but the song I heard the most over the next decade was “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”; a perfectly ebullient four-minute rocker that allows one to not just free their mind but body as well. There is a slight twist of irony to find solace in a song essentially about failed political policies and is essentially about our inevitable death and destruction, but the truth is that any song that provides you with consolation is a triumph. I can’t tell you how many school dances I went to where it was the last song of the night just to leave everyone grasping for air and the widest smiles possible. It was about the way it made me feel; hopeful, determined and like I could change the world. As ass-backwards as that sounds, R.E.M. took me to another world where I could dance my problems away…well, I’m not much of a dancer, but at least I was able to rock out and find solace. It’s even more ironic as guitarist Peter Buck did everything in his power to keep this song off Document. I’m glad the other three talked him into including it.
We’re living in times where it often feels like the end of the world. I see the terror everyday in people’s faces as they see gas prices rise higher than clouds of smoke once did at Grateful Dead concerts. There is a sense of hopelessness everywhere, especially in the modern media. As my good friend Paul said, “I think we’re witnessing the fall of the Roman Empire firsthand”. And while I may agree with him on the surface, I realize it’s far more important than ever to give off positive energy and to believe in yourself and not what people tell you. Despite knowing this, at times it proves to be an enormous obstacle if for no other reason than it’s difficult to find inspiration these days. However, as “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” came on the iPod a few weeks back, I can’t even begin to express the feeling of confidence that overcame me. Something no drug, liquid or food has ever done for me is to comfort me and make me optimistic simultaneously; music does. Music is all about feeling and if it’s really good, you can’t even decipher why. It could be the melody, the ripping sound of the guitars or a hailing chorus that gives you a mile wide smile. As the country dips into a recession, gas prices go up daily and we all feel an uncertain future, I’d be lying if I told you I know it’s all going to be OK, but that won’t stop me from aspiring to overcome the darkness. I just need a reminder every once in a while and the soundtrack of my life provides that feeling of liberation better than anything. In the end, it may or may not be the end of the world, but amazingly…I feel fine,
Friday, June 20, 2008
What makes music so indelibly important to certain people? One may never be able to fully express why certain artists, songs and albums are embedded into our DNA…but they are. Almost daily I hear a song that jolts me with a sense of hope or a feeling so potent, I just don’t want it to end. I plan on writing about these songs from here on out here on the blog and on antiMusic. I’ve put off publishing the first piece because I wanted a snazzy title and when R.E.M. popped up on my iPod a few weeks back, I knew I had my title; “…And I Feel Fine”.
Look for further inclusions in the coming weeks.
Remember back when this was all about music and not just money?
From Rob Levine's Article in Today's NY Times:
...The company’s stock has fallen from more than $20 last October, when the Madonna deal was signed, to a close of $13 on Thursday. The company also signed deals with U2 and the Jonas Brothers that involve touring and merchandise, but not recordings.
After the company signed Jay-Z, David B. Kestenbaum, an analyst with Morgan Joseph, wrote in a note to investors that he was “wary of management’s willingness to spend such substantial amounts of money on developing its Artist Nation segment,” referring to the part of the company that will handle recorded music.
Mr. Cohl, who is subject to a noncompete agreement, is negotiating to buy back his company, but the two sides have not reached a deal. If he does leave, it could cause problems for Live Nation, since he has a good relationship with several big acts, including U2 and the Rolling Stones.
Although the concert business has not suffered as much as recorded music, margins are thin, and promoters are exposed to significant risk because they must pay artists long before it is clear how many tickets they can sell. Acts usually take 90 percent of revenue from ticket sales, while promoters make much of their money on ticketing fees, parking and refreshment sales.
Live Nation has a plan to leverage its strength in concerts. The company’s deal with TicketMaster expires at the end of the year, and it wants to use the information it has about consumers’ tastes to sell them music and merchandise, along with tickets.
New antiMusic Column: Back Track (R.E.M.’s “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”)
The full review can be read here.
Here is what Keavin has to say about the new column:
Welcome to a new series here at antiMusic: Back Track. This is where our writers will have the chance to write about the songs that have very much become the soundtrack to their lives. The inspiration comes from Zane's blog feature called "Now Playing". It worked so well for Zane we decided to give it a try here! We kick it off with Tony K's look at an R.E.M. classic. Now heeeeerrrrreeeee'sss Tony!
I will also be doing my own column on the blog entitled "...And I Feel Fine". it's to cover the songs that for whatever reason instill something positive inside me and make me feel good. I'll launch it this week.
Until then...head on over to antiMusic now.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Last night outside of Philadelphia Eddie Vedder joined the band for a blistering version of “Begin The Begin”…not so shockingly, it’s already up on YouTube!
Purported New Guns N' Roses Tracks Hit The Web
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Nine purported "mastered, finished" tracks from Guns N' Roses' 14-years-in-the-making album "Chinese Democracy" were leaked online yesterday (June 18) by the Web site Antiquiet.com, prompting a quick cease-and-desist from the band's handlers and the removal of the links.
Six of the songs have already leaked in one unfinished form or another: "Better," "The Blues," the title track, "Madagascar," "IRS" and "There Was a Time." But these versions appear to be much further along on the path toward completion, and feature new touches like organ and tambourine on "IRS" and a beefed-up chorus with multi-tracked vocals on "Madagascar."
The three previously unheard songs are "Rhiad and the Bedouins," "If the World" and a track whose title is unknown.
"Rhiad," which was played live by Guns N' Roses in 2001 and 2002, is a pounding rocker with a trademark down-and-dirty main guitar riff and a flashy solo. "If the World" is a head-spinning blend of flamenco guitar, industrial synth tones, bluesy piano licks and Rose at the top of his vocal register, while the unnamed track is an even more unusual melange of piano-led crooning, orchestral bombast and a serene instrumental outtro.
"Chinese Democracy" was last on Interscope's release schedule in March 2007. In late March of this year, the Axl Rose-led band signed a new management deal with industry heavyweights Irving Azoff and Andy Gould and began what it described as "negotiations" with Interscope to release the album.
But even if its release is drawing near, "Chinese Democracy" will likely go down as the album with the most troubled birth in rock history. Work began on it way back in 1994, and since then, Rose has burned through a reported $13 million in production costs as well as every lone original member of the group.
Read the rest of the article here.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
For the record...I do not have the mp3's that leaked. Do not email me asking for them.
It was bound to happen eventually. Earlier today, a blog streamed 9 songs from the still unreleased Chinese Democracy. The net lit up, the fit hit the shan and the stream is down and the site that did the leaking may face legal issues. I won't even be mentioning the site here.
So where does this leave Chinese Democracy? One can only wonder. Since the album is complete, I imagined that they were shooting for a Thanksgiving week release to maximize the first major wave of Christmas shopping. Should they wait? My advice would be to get the album on the net pronto. The leaks are out there now and the best way to silence them is by releasing them. My hunch is that this will never happen and it will still be November when the disc finally gets released.
Is this all maneuvering on GNR's and manager Irving Azoff's part to force Geffen to release the album and get those contracts and negotiations rolling?
One other thing to notice? "Catcher In The Rye", a track that has been floating on the net for some time apparently is not among these 9 tracks?
The plot thickens...
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I'm not just saying this because I write for them either, it's because it is the best all around source of news for music on the Internet, no one comes close. My editor Keavin has even allowed blogs to add a feed from the site which I did today and you can now see on the right hand side under my profile. Click on any of the stories for more details.
The Day In Rock is unprecedented in its coverage and it's often where you will find Rolling Stone's music news of tomorrow...today.
Over the last decade as ticket prices have begun to escalate I’ve noticed a disturbing trend at almost every concert I attend; empty seats…lots of them. When I was growing up, securing great seats to concerts was never the objective, getting tickets was the only thing that mattered. My friends and I didn’t care where we sat, how bad the seats or the sound was…all we wanted to do was to be there for the experience. We wanted to feel that rush when the lights went down and speak rhapsodically the next day at school about what we witnessed as if we had some kind of elevated status because we had been there to witness the artist show us what the secrets they held behind the curtain. It wasn’t about the need to be seen or bragging rights, it was about experiencing the art/music come to life. I was fortunate to see a number of spectacular shows in my youth and it wasn’t until I graduated high school that I ever paid above $35 for a ticket. Now, if tickets were priced at what they are today, I can say without hesitation that my concert experiences probably would have been limited to one or two a year…tops.
Despite an increase in ticket prices across the board, there has been a declining interest in attending these shows over the last half decade as concert attendance appears to be on the downslide and yet prices keep going up every year. Even a C-grade economist would tell you this is not a positive trend and something should be done, yet nothing is being done. Now it would be one thing to have prices go up and have nary a ticket in sight, but the reality is that almost every show I attend has empty seats but there are fancy accountants who still find a way to make these shows sell-outs for the Billboard Boxscore chart. A perfect example of this was a few weeks ago for the Jay Z and Mary J. Blige concerts in Chicago where the total attendance over two nights was less than 20,000 and yet somehow it was deemed a sell-out for two shows in an arena that holds twice that number on true sell-outs. Now why not let some less than fortunate or financially challenged people get tickets for $10 and experience the show? I’ve been told that it is said to be a sign of weakness and will “hurt the stock price” of certain companies the artists associate themselves with to admit a show is “not selling well”. So let’s get this straight, you would prefer to play to a half empty house because you don’t want to send the promoter’s stock price into a windfall? That’s messed up. I’m happy to say there is one artist out there who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anything other than filling seats and giving his fans the best damn show on the planet…Kid Rock.
During the intermission to Rock’s two-hour plus rock n’ rap extravaganza in Chicago a few weeks back, I struck up a conversation with a fresh-faced, wide-eyed 22-year-old, Sheila. She was in town visiting her boyfriend who both recently graduated from college just two weeks earlier and neither has any job opportunities lined up. She’s cool and collected but in her eyes I can see a glimpse of terror. Hell, if I had looked deep enough into anyone’s eyes at the Sears Centre (just outside of Chicago) on this night, they’d all express the same revealing unrest at the state of our nation. However, our conversation quickly turns to how we both came to be at the show. Her brown eyes widened and her shoulders perked up as she says “The price!” Ditto for me. Now, I’m sure Kid’s management would not want me to write this and they aren’t advertising it, but his latest stop in Chicago wasn’t a immediate sell-out like his previous visits to the city in ’04, ’06 and just last November. He still has among the cheapest and most fairly priced tickets on the planet (with only Garth Brooks trumping him), yet when tickets went on sale for the show, only about half of the 11,800 building sold. Why? Let me tell you, it has nothing to do with his latest album, celebrity antics or overplaying a market. It has everything to do with the diminishing economy. So what did Kid Rock do? Most other acts would cancel the show, drape curtains over the balcony or point fingers wanting to lay blame on someone else. Not so for the son of Detroit, he put his money where his mouth is and discounted tickets to $15…with service charges included.
In a day and age where most tickets crack three-figures without service fee’s this was a wildly refreshing move on his part. Just two-months ago I witnessed Bruce Springsteen perform to 8,000 empty seats in Indianapolis. Why wouldn’t the so-called voice of the blue-collared worker reduce his tickets to $15? Hell if he had only sold half of those empty seats it would have meant another $60,000 gross and that’s not counting concession sales and more importantly the hope that at least a handful of those people become entranced by the performance and become life long fans. This is something every act on the planet can not wrap their head around. All they can see is dollar signs and they are missing the big picture. Springsteen hasn’t grown his audience at all in the last few decades as a result. What better way to entice those who are less fortunate and more importantly, a younger generation who will have expendable income in the coming ten to fifteen years?
Behind me sat a boy, Devon who was 8-years old and full of unabashed youthfulness and excitement. I ask him is he was a fan of Kid Rock and he just gives me a giddy smile. He tells me “My Mom took me to see the REV!” I smile and asked if she told him anything about Rev and he shyly looked away but came back and said “She said he’s a pioneer”. I look over at his Mom and show her an impressed look on my face. She goes on to tell me “I grew up with Run DMC and their music was so important to me that I wanted to share it with my son and his friends”. I look over and she had brought four of his friends with them for an evening of entertainment. I told her she was a “cool Mom” and she smiled back and said “I’d take all of them to more shows if they were this cheap”. As those words sunk into my head, it was almost as if she had been reading my mind. My press credentials did not come through for the show but when I saw that the $15 ticket price included the service charges, I grabbed a pair. Hell, I would pay for all of the concerts I attend if they were $15-$20 with service charges. Now, they did attach a $4.50 processing fee and the arena sucker punched everyone with $20 parking, but still two tickets with charges and parking cost me $56 total.
As my wife and I arrived to the arena, we noticed that merchandise was priced appropriately so that any teen who saved up their money could afford a ticket and a T-shirt for under $50 combined. As we sat down everyone around us buzzed about the $15 tickets. No one had anticipated on coming to the show but was swayed by the rock bottom prices. No one was more impressed with the prices or the show than my wife. I had taken her to Rock’s 2004 show and she walked away transformed. Since then she has seen north of one-hundred concerts and when the questions arises “Who was the best?” she always manages to mention Kid Rock’s name next to Prince, David Bowie and Paul McCartney’s names. That’s no simple feat, we’ve seen some incendiary performances and yet she always goes back to that explosive 2004 show. I’ll write more in depth about the show at a later time, but each and every night that Kid Rock hits the stage, he doesn’t just deliver, he blows the audiences mind with most people heading out of the arena saying “I had no idea he could be that good which is exactly what the college couple said to me at the show’s conclusion and when I looked over at the mother who took five kids, they were all buzzing and Devon shot me a thumbs-up. As I walked out everyone was gasping at the awesome display of force, magic and purpose Kid Rock had on that concert stage. I overheard comments like “I’ll see him every time he comes through Chicago” to “I’m heading to the T-Shirt stand now to support him since tickets were so cheap”. Why was everyone in such a good mood? It’s simple, Kid Rock knows what customer service is and when he thanked the crowd for coming out despite the messed up nature of our economy, I believed him unlike every other artist who claims to be thankful but have tickets auctioned for upwards of over $1000 on auction sites. His words were real, genuine and provided an injection of faith to the bloodstream of those in attendance. For once the consumer felt empowered.
As we strolled to the car, I turned to my wife and said “So what did you think?” She turns to me with the million dollar smile of a giddy child and said “He’s such a genuine and extraordinary performer, I would go and see him anytime…but I have to tell you, I kind of missed the pyro and strippers”. I laughed and knew exactly why I married her. I looked at her and responded “Yeah, I missed the strippers and pyro too, but in this economy it appears that even rock stars have to make sacrifices”.
Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer for the antiMusic Network and his daily writings can be read at The Screen Door and can be contacted at thescreendoor AT gmail DOT com.
Monday, June 16, 2008
By Anthony Kuzminski
- Steven Spielberg to USA Today.
I experienced the motion picture, ‘Once’ this past June. I use the world “experience” because I don’t believe that one could merely watch this film and not find it transcendental. I immediately sought out the soundtrack after the film and fell in love with it. Little did I know the story behind these two artists was just as engrossing? Glen Hansard has made a name for himself as one of the leaders in the Irish band, The Frames and has known Markéta Irglová since she was a teenager. Eventually, as she grew older, these two began to collaborate and eventually, the end result wound up being the film ‘Once’ and the creation of the Swell Season. These two individuals don’t just enrapture us on screen but on stage as well. They are touring together under the name of the Swell Season and wrapped their tour with two sold-out nights in Chicago. Before the release of the film, both artists wouldn’t find it unlikely to perform in front of a few dozen people, but in Chicago the 2,600 seats available were sold-out and nonexistent on the secondary market. Over the course of 100 enlightening minutes, the Swell Season delivered a show with understated perfection. Every night around the world, thousands of talented musicians pick up their instruments in the hopes that they connect with a handful of people who hear their stories and songs and on this once in a lifetime concert, the Swell Season didn’t just inspire, they radiated truthfulness.
After Hansard’s ferocious opening performance he was joined by Markéta Irglová for a duet of “All The Way Down” which was performed with off-hand grace. As the show continued, each performance proved to be effortless and hypnotic. As the other three members who make up the Swell Season joined them on stage, Marketa took her place at the piano and as the pensive “Lies” began, you could hear a pin drop in the audience. There are audiences who are disengaged and others who quietly respect the art, tonight was the latter. You can literally feel your stomach twist up from the ache in their voices. The entire 1,300 in capacity were completely enraptured by these five musicians. The second the song ended, the place roared and came to life. The show continued with the unpretentious “This Low”, the beguiling “When Your Mind’s Made Up”, and the beautifying “Once” proving these harmonic songs are just as powerful and resonating as they were on screen. The stage set up was minimal, five people, six instruments, two microphones, a handful of amps and speakers and pure unbridled passion and purpose.
Hansard was wildly humorous and you can immediately feel his realness while listening to his banter . His on stage persona is most likely exactly like his off-stage one; cool, laid back and witty. This was particularly evident on the new song, “Heartstrings”, which has only been performed a handful of times. It’s surprisingly simplistic and literally pulls on your heartstrings (no pun intended). Hansard summed it up as being about “If you f**k with people, then you will get f**ked”. An alternate title for this song is “My Heart Got A Monkey For A Brain” and he wasn’t joking. The picturesque storytelling lyric was performed with a peek-a-boo vibrancy and was devoid of maudlin creakiness. His comments before “Moving Slowly” (which can be found on the self-titled album, ‘The Swell Season’) were uproarious. “This is about a three-legged dog that has cancer and is on a sinking ship…but ultimately they are optimistic”. Ironically, the song wasn’t tongue in cheek, but one whose lyrics “words fall through me” cut to the bone. Their music found a voice and the crowd’s voices swelled in succession providing a spine tingling moment that was nothing short of perfection. Each song over the course of the evening was a pinch me till I bleed moment because nothing on Earth should be this real or transcendent.
Before the pensive “Leave”, Hansard shared stories about the tough crowd the night before, how the Frames were reborn in Chicago and about a woman who wrote to him after their performance in Chicago last July and offered up one her late husbands guitars. This occurred because the woman felt the guitar Hansard was playing had seen better days. As he sang, spoke and joked it became evident that Hansard is a musician who is intensely thankful to be able to make music for a living. As he came near a crescendo on “Leave” and hit that higher octave, the hearts of the audience ascended as well. Nothing about the Swell Season was the least bit calculated or cold making it all that much more authentic.
As Hansard straddled an electric guitar, he effortlessly gave a spellbinding performance of “Pavement Song” which he introduced as “I Want My Life to Make More Sense”, a song recorded by his band, The Frames. Ironically, it was written in a fit of hate as their record company asked for a hit single and ironically, he channeled that aggression into a perfect song that could make anyone smile. He apologized for cursing every once in a while and had an on-going joke of “What would Bruce do?” in reference to how Bruce Springsteen eloquently speaks about his music. Even his performance of “Fake” segued into Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” as he provided a remedy for wanting to get unnecessary songs out of your head. “Sing ‘Private Dancer’ and it will leave your head”…and ironically, he’s right. As Hansard closed his solo set, he tore through Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” with a vengeance. Morrison is one of the greatest lyricists of all time and Hansard’s fervent performance induced a wall of sound climaxing in a tormented yet severe vocal howl. Hansard slashed through the emotional wall that holds so many performers back providing what was potentially a definitive performance as he sells the song better than Morrison because the lyrics bled from his soul. With a mere guitar he made a sound larger than a symphony through the pure power of passion. He alone could hold the attention of a football stadium; this is how transcendent and devastating this performance was.
Another Frames song, “Star, Star” received the Swell Season treatment as they found a way to segue “O Holy Night” into the song which was accentuated by the miraculous string section. This elegiac version of “Star, Star” was stunningly somber and reflective. One can only hope this version appears somewhere on an official release down the line. In a fitting twist of fate, the band brought a fan, Emilio, on stage with them for the closing performance of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, a Bob Dylan cover featured on the ‘I’m Not There’ Soundtrack. Emilio saw ‘Once” earlier this year and was so inspired by it, he bought a guitar, learned how to play and made his own cd. It was a perfectly ebullient way to finish not just the evening but the tour as well. Music is made to inspire others and there is no greater compliment than someone whose art imitates and inspires life. If this performance and this past year are any indication, the music and continuing inspiration of the Swell Season will be occurring more than “once” in a blue moon, but nightly for decades to come.
Say It To Me Know
All The Way Down
When Your Mind’s Made Up
I Want My Life To Make More Sense (Frames)
Fake/ Private Dancer
Astral Weeks (Van Morrison cover)
If You Want Me
Instrumental Violin Piece
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Dylan cover)
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The attached clip has music from an untitled song as of yet and it appears that the album will finally see the light of day in late September. Maybe September 23rd or September 30th? We'll have to wait and see.
In 1992, amidst the grunge explosion Bon Jovi released their first album of new material in four years on November 3, 1992 entitled Keep The Faith. Now this album marked a departure for the band as their took their careers and their sound to that next level. When finally released, many fans found it to be a confusing array of songs that didn't play to the bands strengths, yet it was easily the most adventerous and socially conscious album to date.
Reagrdless of what one felt about the album, everyone...and I mean everyone...pointed to a timeless submerged track that kicked off side two with a roaring vengeance; "Dry County". Noted for its nearly ten-minute length, it showcased the band at their best and in many ways is the pinnacle of their 1990's output. I saw the song performed once, on March 5, 1993 and the performance was nothing short of beautifying. As I watched Richie Sambora lead his band into a existential realm during his glorious guitar solo, I knew I was watching a band who was clearly at their best, despite what every naysayer and critic would tell you. Here was a band fighting for their music to be heard and their stage movements, instruments and body language spoke volumes on that night. Legendary live versions of the song from Milton Keyes in 1993 were eventually released on the single b-side and an even more pulverizing performance was performed on June 25, 1995 which was filmed, yet "Dry County" was only available via the FM broadcast.
Since 2000, the song has been performed fewer than five times (I think the exact number is two or three). It's a shame because it's a climax builder and could be strategically placed to build songs prior to it and for a imperative physical release following it.
The band just debuted "Stick To Your Guns" Friday night and here they are making the tour debut of "Dry County" the following night in Brussels (one of my favorite European cities). The YouTube link is for your enjoyment below and to my great satisfaction, I'm happy to say it sounds as potent, vital and assaulting as ever. Let's hope this is in preperation for a rumored DVD to be filmed at Madison Square Garden next month.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
U2 in the 1990's tore down their 1980s image and surrounded themselves in brilliant irony and created some of the best music of their career.
Even though Bon Jovi's current tour has had some really good shows as of late, they truly haven't moved out of their comfort zone. Even though this tour has had some stupendous performances (a few of which I witnessed) they haven't performed any "old" songs since 2000. In short, they've only performed songs that have been performed since 2000. I think the two exceptions are "Drift Away" and "Blood Money", alas, I believe each song was performed at least once in Europe between 2000 and 2001 (if anyone can confirm, let me know). Alas, still, one is a two minute solo number and the other is a cover so even if they haven't been performed since 2000, they're not breaking any new ground...until now.
Last night in the encore, the band pulled out the New Jersey song "Stick To Your Guns", a song that was only performed once on the New Jersey tour before being retired permanently. The sad aspect of this is that it's one of their best songs. Unfortunately it appears certain songs in the band's back catalog for forever retired to never be performed again; "Shot Through The Heart", "Silent Night", "Social Disease", "99 In The Shade", "If I Was Your Mother", "Next 100 Years", "Something For The Pain", "Hook Me Up", "The Distance" and countless others.
However, last night in Amsterdam the impossible all of a sudden became possible and for the first time since December 15, 1988 the band performed "Stick To Your Guns". Greatness is defined by the chances you take and proving to an audience that as an artist there is more to them than the songs they hear on the radio. Why else would the Rolling Stones begin to play "Sway" 35-years after it was first recorded?
Here's to hoping to digging into the past continues...
By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer 49 minutes ago
MANCHESTER, Tenn. (AP) — Bonnaroo began in earnest Friday with the rarest of double bills: Chris Rock followed by Metallica.
Metallica's Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett introduced Rock, and the comedian in turn introduced who he called "the baddest ... band in the world." Both acts were unlikely fare for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which began in 2002 as primarily a jam band event.
But in recent years, Bonnaroo has broadened itself and brought more diverse fans to its 700-acre countryside site south of Nashville. Among the tens of thousands of festival-goers, Rock, Metallica and many other performers were very conscious of their entry into a tie-dyed world they seldom traffic in.
In a bit in his set about Prozac and other medications, Rock chastised the crowd, who he said was likely on "performance-enhancing drugs."
"You all should be ashamed of yourselves for taking antidepressants to see a comedian," joked Rock. "I am an antidepressant!"
Metallica also touted its cheerfulness.
"Do you feel good?" lead singer James Hetfield asked the crowd. "Metallica is here to make you feel better."
Performing on the main stage Friday night, Rock jumped right into his material, much of which he's performed during recent touring. Looking on backstage were many of the other comedians performing at the festival, as well as Jack White, whose band the Raconteurs took the main stage earlier in the day.
Rock worked the giant crowd without missing a beat in his timing, hitting on the election, Anna Nicole Smith and high gas prices despite the war in Iraq, ("If I invade IHOP, pancakes are going to be cheaper in my house," he said).
Metallica had a more difficult time winning over the crowd, which was head-banging but apparently not moshing. Hetfield repeatedly urged the audience to sing along. He asked, "We do have a few Metallica friends here, yes?"
Hetfield occasionally informed the crowd the titles of the songs they were playing and which album they were from. "That was `No Remorse' from `Kill `Em All,'" he said, an annotation that would have normally been completely superfluous for the band.
But Metallica is an exceptionally hard working band — they could be heard practicing backstage in a trailer shortly before their set. Eventually, they won the crowd over with their tenacity, as well as classics like "Sad But True" and "Enter Sandman," the latter of which was accompanied by pyrotechnics.
Like a jam band, Metallica has a fiercely devoted following and Hetfield alluded to this Bonnaroo-ness of Metallica: "We support live music ... and that's why we're here."
The notorious Tennessee heat that has in the past made Bonnaroo a chore was thus far bearable (after midnight, My Morning Jacket pulled out a cover of Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime"). But by then, the rain that had threatened through much of the day finally fell.
READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE
On the Net:
Friday, June 13, 2008
Despite an increase in ticket prices across the board, there has been a declining interest in attending these shows over the last half decade as concert attendance appears to be on the downslide and yet prices keep going up every year. Even a C-grade economist would tell you this is not a positive trend and something should be done, yet nothing is being done. Now it would be one thing to have prices go up and have nary a ticket in sight, but the reality is that almost every show I attend has empty seats but there are fancy accountants who still find a way to make these shows sell-outs for the Billboard Boxscore chart. A perfect example of this was a few weeks ago for the Jay Z and Mary J. Blige concerts in Chicago where the total attendance over two nights was less than 20,000 and yet somehow it was deemed a sell-out for two shows in an arena that holds twice that number on true sell-outs. Now why not let some less than fortunate or financially challenged people get tickets for $10 and experience the show? I've been told that it is said to be a sign of weakness and will "hurt the stock price" of certain companies the artists associate themselves with to admit a show is "not selling well". So let's get this straight, you would prefer to play to a half empty house because you don't want to send the promoter's stock price into a windfall? That's messed up. I'm happy to say there is one artist out there who doesn't give a rat's ass about anything other than filling seats and giving his fans the best damn show on the planet…Kid Rock.
READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Lots can be said about the legacy of The Band and who was the true leader (Roberston vs. Helm). All I can say is that this posting is essential reading, check it out here.
Smurfs head for big-screen at Columbia Pictures
By Steve Gorman
Wed Jun 11, 11:19 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Smurfs, those blue-skinned cartoon gnomes with short tails and white hats, are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a Hollywood movie deal announced on Tuesday by Columbia Pictures.
The Sony Corp.-owned studio said it has acquired motion picture rights to the Belgian-born characters from Lafig Belgium S.A. for a big-screen Smurfs adaptation mixing computer-graphic imagery and live action.
A similar "hybrid" treatment was recently given to another popular cartoon ensemble in the highly successful "Alvin and the Chipmunks" movie from 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.
Like Alvin and his rodent companions, the Smurfs will be created by CGI technology and interact with real actors portraying humans.
No casting decisions have been made or director chosen, but the studio is in negotiations with David Stem and David Weiss, the writing team behind both "Shrek" sequels and "The Rugrats Movie," to pen a Smurfs screenplay.
The Smurfs, simply drawn, diminutive beings -- just "three apples tall" -- with blue skin, white trousers and white caps, rank among the most widely recognized cartoon characters in the world.
Encompassing over 100 characters, the mostly male individuals all share the Smurf moniker and a descriptive first name -- such as Lazy Smurf, Grouchy Smurf, Brainy Smurf and Grandpa Smurf.
Created in 1958 by Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford, aka Peyo, the Smurfs first appeared in a series of Belgium comic strips and were originally called Les Schtroumpfs in French.
They are perhaps best known to the English-speaking world from the long-running Hanna-Barbera cartoon series that aired on NBC's Saturday morning lineup through the 1980s and is still seen in roughly 30 countries.
The Smurf phenomenon has also spawned a huge merchandising empire comprising statuettes, games, toys and videos.
Movie rights to the property originally were secured in 2002, and the producer for the project, Jordan Kerner, had been developing a Smurfs feature at Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures, which now has an option to co-finance the film and distribute it internationally.
No time frame for production or release of the film has been set, but a Columbia spokesman said, "We are committed to it and hope to get moving on it as quickly as we can."
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A Film Review
By Anthony Kuzminski
Fifteen-minutes into the start of Shine A Light the IMAX screen transposes from only using a portion of the screen into a full blown affair with the band jump starting the ferocious “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”; Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood’s flash their guitars like switch blades, Charlie Watts drum beat is adept, swift and downright dirty while the ever ostentatious Mick Jagger coasts on stage like a general leading his troops into battle with more drive than most musicians two generations removed. This is a band of soldiers united ready to fight not just the battle but the war. Who are they fighting? In short, every naysayer who has blasted the band since the 1960’s saying their popularity had peaked and would never last. By the end of the film, it’s safe to say the band was beyond victorious. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show…the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band; The Rolling Stones.It is almost fruitless to write about the Rolling Stones as they’re the world’s preeminent rock n’ roll band no matter how you feel about them. They’ve done it all and are still managing to do it today. As their new IMAX film, Shine A Light flies into theaters we’re reminded just why they continue to defy expectations and not fall into a category labeled nostalgia. I was fortunate to see five of the shows on their last tour spreading a thirteen month period. Each and every night they never ceased to astonish me with their fountain of youth mentality that makes these songs continually refreshing, imperative and relevant. It’s with this vivacity that the band set out to capture the band at this moment in time on film so future generations of rockers in their sixties will watch with mouths agape. To ensure they get it right, they enlisted the help of director Martin Scorsese whose skilled camera and intense drive for intimacy deliver a film and performance unlike any in the band’s forty-six year career. Ironically, back in April 1998, I witnessed the Stones in an arena for the first time and the intimacy compared to the vastness of stadiums I had become used to make it feel like I was seeing them in a club. A day later I ventured to Indiana to present my senior thesis, Martin Scorsese: The Great American Narrator. Ten years to the month later, the Stones and Scorsese are headlining IMAX screens across the world; the world’s most preeminent rock n’ roll band and the greatest living director.Now when I saw U2 3D earlier this year, I thought about Shine A Light and how the Stones made a mistake to delay the film from September 2007 to April 2008. I didn’t believe there was any way the Stones film could hold up to the U2 one. The U2 film is a wholly unique and state of the art experience for the 3D format, but we must remember that the Rolling Stones first embraced IMAX in the early 90’s and with Scorsese and nine Oscar winners and nominee’s manning the cameras (including Albert Maysles the director of Gimme Shelter. I’m happy to say that Shine A Light is every bit as engrossing and engaging as U2 3D. Scorsese captured the film with raw, intense and staggering detail that will be viewed as one of the definitive performance pieces in decades to come. The last time the Stones roared across the silver screen (or the IMAX screen in this instance) the band was slick, speedy and the most rehearsed they would ever be. This time around, they’re rough, edgy and real which can be detected best in the stellar mix which finds the band at their most aggressive, raw and intimate. There are close-ups on Keith’s guitar where you can hear and feel every chord…even the missed and screwed up ones. This is the beauty of the Rolling Stones where no two performances are ever the same. Don’t look for dialed and domestic performances when you fork your money over, expect the unexpected where they can even make the warhorses feel novel and modern.The film begins with the planning of the two shows in the weeks leading up to the show involving the band, their handlers and most importantly Martin Scorsese. Scorsese builds the anticipation of the show with a calming black and white partial screen effect, rehearsals, comical discussions regarding the set list and stage and an array of visitors to the show including President Bill Clinton. It provides a fascinating “fly on the wall” atmosphere where we can see these musicians with their guard down when they’re not on stage. For as big as the Rolling Stones are, the film captures the pure essence of who they are and what they want to accomplish. However, when show time comes, the band and Scorsese take no prisoners. I guarantee you that the first two performances will leave you blinded as the intensity of the band and the camera put you right in the thick of the action. Even if you had a ticket in the front row of the Beacon for one of these shows, it’s highly unlikely that the experience was even remotely as prevailing or tremendous as this film.The song selection isn’t obvious or off kilter, but is scrupulously chosen to be a ideal representation of what they’ve performed live since the 1994 Voodoo Lounge tour; meticulously melding the warhorses (“Brown Sugar”, “Satisfaction”) with deep albums cuts (“All Down The Line”, “Shattered”) and the occasional rarity (“Loving Cup”, “Connection”). Before their most current tour, “As Tears Go By” had never been performed live and “She Was Hot” from 1983’s Undercover received its first ever live airing just two-weeks prior to the filming. One would never know as the performance was as spot-on as “Start Me Up”. Ironically, “Start Me Up” and “She Was Hot” are the only songs represented between 1980 and 2006. “Back of Your Hand” appears to have been rehearsed and considered and it’s a shame as this would have proven to be the most appropriate event for the song. “As Tears Go By” is goose bump inducing to see a band rediscover a lost gem which to any other artist it would be their flagship song.The country flavored “Faraway Eyes” finds the band at their most plaintive and endearing. I remember seeing this song back in 2002 at one of the first Licks shows and it was a number I never imagined seeing in a million years. “Some Girls” is biting and sneering while “Just My Imagination”, a Temptations cover, finds the band exuberant beyond words. No one on the planet does covers like the Stones. The R&B twinge in Jagger’s vocal makes the song definitively a swaggering Stones pop ditty that while not a song one would normally associate with the Stones, it immediately grabs you and never let’s go. Keith Richard’s solo spots are included as well which featured a down and dirty “You’ve Got the Silver” and the rhythmic jolt of the long forgotten “Connection” from the band’s 1967 album Between The Buttons. How many other bands can successfully meld covers, country, rock, pop and the blues so effortlessly?The guest spots are largely bulletproof with none of the special guests overpowering or interfering with the song choice. Jack White merely complimented Jagger’s vocals on “Loving Cup”, while Christina Aguilera unleashes teasing sexual tension on “Live With Me” while Buddy Guy steals the spotlight during “Champagne & Reefer”. Say what you want about the Stones but they have never forgotten their true influences and throw them into the spotlight every chance they get even if someone like Guy suddenly becomes the center of attention as he does on this number. In between the performance footage there is an array of vintage footage of the band commenting on their music, the band, their attitude and how they’ve survived. This is a particularly joyous experience that widens smiles in the theater providing comic relief. However, there was one particularly moving moment of Keith Richards from 1978 and even though I want to tell you about it, I won’t as it’s a deeply poignant moment that in my mind brings the bands entire career full circle.The films reaches its stride when Jagger very theatrically comes through the crowd for a spellbinding “Sympathy For The Devil”, the almost forgotten outtake turned into stadium anthem “Start Me Up”, the tidal waves of “yeah, yeah, yeah woo’s” on the insurrectionary “Brown Sugar” and a rip-roaring finale of “Satisfaction” which despite being nearly forty-five years old still never fails to bring the house down. There are those who feel the Stones best days are behind them and while I wasn’t alive to see them with Mick Taylor or Brian Jones, I’ve seen enough documentation, listened to enough bootlegs to say this is the rare band who has improved with age like a fine wine. When the band’s primordial instincts take over on the opening number “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, I’d dare you to tell me you’ve ever seen this song performed with more vigor and determination. They don’t embody rock n’ roll…they are rock n’ roll and Martin Scorsese wondrously captured this for future generations to witness. Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer whose daily writings can be read at The Screen Door and can be contacted at thescreendoor AT gmail DOT com.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Lifting off with the crashing "Rip It Out", notice was served early that this would be more about substance than style. For the next 110-minutes KISS fans were treated to a rare evening chocked full of some of the best songs in their cannon and of Ace's solo career. After the triumphant 1996-1997 Reunion tour, KISS largely coasted on its success and chose the road most traveled. It's one of the defining reasons I stopped going to see them live; there are only so many times I can see "Detroit Rock City" before wanting to gouge my eyes out while 90% of their colossal and undervalued catalog goes unperformed. Ace's current show is a refreshing jolt to the body, mind and nostalgic soul. Ace Frehley is a guitarist who inspired an entire generation and even though there were more accomplished people out there, his playing was always more about feeling than virtuosity. KISS had the widest appeal of almost any act in rock's history because of their comic book image. You don't see a lot of seven-year olds wearing Rolling Stones shirts, but I amazingly still see young kids cling to the larger than life image of this band. KISS was and is the introduction to music for generations of kids, and instead of growing out of their love for this band, the KISS Army often continues to embrace their heroes long after they have left puberty in the dust. There's no denying this concert was an evening drenched in nostalgia and there is nothing wrong with that. Ace is a lot like your first girlfriend. You may have gone further with others, dated others longer and found even prettier ones (this is not a direct comparison to Ace), yet no matter how mangy or ugly that girl may have been, you'll always remember her. The way they smell, what color their hair was, what they were wearing the first time you kissed…all deep-rooted memories steeped in the vaults for all time. The reason KISS continues to sell seats and live off of their legacy is because of these recollections. The innocuous innocence of a simpler time prevails when people listen to this music.
When he launched into "Parasite" with that breakneck opening, it was explosive and the way I always envisioned it. It took me right back to that moment in time when I was twelve listening to Hotter Than Hell and wondering why it wasn't as poppy as the KISS I had become accustomed to. But that opening riff…it made me look beyond the façade of the band and realize the music was too good to merely be dismissed. "Snow Blind" was a trippy psychedelic whirlwind that took me back to my bedroom where I discovered Ace's solo album. Before Ace returned to the KISS fold, I was never able to see him live since I wasn't old enough, so I only experienced the shows through bootlegs. I am pleased to report that his current touring band of Derrek Hawkins (Guitar), Anthony Esposito (Bass) and Scot Coogan (Drums) all elevated this material to new heights. They were far better than I could have hoped for. The gruff keen of the band was a sight to behold as they soaked up in the material. Beside a treasure trove of KISS classics unheard in concert, the evening was also about reintroducing the solo artist Ace Frehley, who in the 1980's released three albums shot full of rock. "Rock Soldiers", "Breakout" (dedicated to late KISS drummer Eric Carr who co-wrote the number) and "Stranger in a Strange Land" all reminded us what no nonsense guitar rock is all about. "Strange Ways", "Speeding Back To My Baby", "Rock Soldiers" and "Five Card Stud" found the band effortlessly segueing between songs to an ecstatic crowd reaction culminating with fists flying in the military unison during "Trouble Walkin'". Even "Into the Void" proved to be rather luminous, far surpassing the performances of it with KISS. This time it's rough around the edges and the sheen is a little less blinding, revealing its true colors. "New York Groove" still serves Frehley well with the crowd stampeding back and forth as the ingrained beat and succinct clapping making it an audience highlight. It's miraculous that Ace Frehley has provided me with something I have been yearning for from KISS ever since they put the make-up back on-an evening full of deep album cuts. I've been salivating for a night like this where it wasn't necessarily about big hits, but about the best music.
"Shock Me" is a timeless classic and the solo that followed was intoxicating, even if the smoking guitar didn't work properly. It was one of the rare solo moments where everyone's eyes were upon the stage and no one dared to leave. "Fractured Mirror" was equally luminous and the band nailed it. "Rocket Ride" was stupendous beyond my wildest dreams and makes me wonder why the reunited KISS never played it? This is where the Ace tour is exceeding the current KISS tour, Frehley is providing the audience an experience they have been yearning for.
Ace Frehley began to cleave through the hefty chords of "2000 Man," I felt as if I was witnessing the entire rock n' roll era right in front of me. Now, I've never shied away from making outlandish statements in my writing, so why stop now? Call me crazy but Ace Frehley managed to embody the entire six decades of the era with just a few magnificent strummed chords. Now, I realize how nonsensical this statement may appear to be, alas, for many inside the sold-out House of Blues in Chicago, their knowledge of this art form comes from the kaleidoscope colors of his former band, KISS and Frehley is ground zero for them. They know of Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Phil Spector, but largely through the KISS looking glass. Their love, their history and their knowledge is definitively all things KISS. KISS was a band who never really had any street credibility once Alive! was released. However, Frehley, even with his Spaceman character, always seemed the one member fans could relate to the most. Not everything in music should be about virtuosity, it's about feeling and Ace Frehley is all about feeling. It's been over a dozen years since Ace has toured solo and I had doubts if he really would be capable of launching a tour and not being a mere shadow of his former self. I couldn't have been more wrong as he unblinkingly rocked the sold-out crowd flawlessly for nearly two-hours. However, the best news is that Frehley's show exceeds the ones being put on by his former bands mates. Instead of being recycled and tired, Frehley's show is audacious and alive!
Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer for the antiMusic Network and his daily writings can be read at The Screen Door and can be contacted at thescreendoor AT gmail DOT com.