Friday, November 17, 2017

Ben & Noel Haggard with The Strangers Live in Edmonton Nov.10th 2017

It's been a week already since this show, so here is a quick review of the Ben and Noel Haggard show.

Last Friday my buddy Buzzard, Cuz and I went to the Century Casino here in Edmonton for the Ben and Noel Haggard with The Strangers concert. For those that might not know, Noel and Ben are sons of the late legendary outlaw country star Merle Haggard. And backing up Ben and Noel were The Strangers which was Merle's old band.

The night started with a lady opening, I have forgotten her name and really don't have much to say about her set. I found it generic and boring.

After a short break, it was time for Ben and Noel Haggard with The Strangers. Ben who is 24 and Noel who is 54 both have the gift of their fathers voice. Not only can Ben sing like his dad, but he is also one hell of a guitar player, not that Noel isn't good either, but Ben really stood out. Ben has been playing in Merle's band since the age of fifteen, I remember seeing Merle in concert in 2010 at River Cree where Merle had a video camera set up in the tour bus so that we could see Ben playing along with the band, as he was too young to play in the venue. Noel looks a lot like Merle as well. They sounded amazing singing Merle's old country hits. The back up band was superb as well, sadly the bass payer wasn't able to get across the border so a gentleman from Toronto was sitting in. But on steel guitar was long-time Strangers member Norm Hamlet who has been the band leader of The Strangers since 1964. He too sounded great and looked to be having a blast carrying on the legacy of Merle Haggard's music, as did the son's too of course. Their near two hour set had all the hits. Have a look at the setlist for all the songs played.

After the show we got to meet the band and get autographs. Ben and Noel were both super nice guys as was Norm Hamlet. This was a very fun show. Good times!!!

Ben and Noel Haggard with The Strangers at Century Casino.

After the show my buddy Buzzard and Cuz and I got to meet the guys. Down to earth bunch, easy to chat with and it was cool to talk to Norm about being a member of The Strangers for so long and why he still loves playing music with the Haggard family. Very cool!

Autographed setlist from the show signed by Ben, Noel and Norm.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Roger Waters Live in Edmonton Oct.24th 2017

Well it's been two weeks since the Roger Waters Us + Them Tour hit Rogers Place in Edmonton, so I'm a little slow on my review. This is a show that my sweetie Janis and I have had tickets for over a year. I had bought Janis and I tickets for this on her birthday last year, and as luck would have it the show was on her birthday this year. So it was a long wait for the show but worth it. This would be my fourth time seeing Roger Waters in concert. And for the few who may not know, Rogers Waters of course formerly the bass player for the iconic band Pink Floyd. Also this was the first of two sold out shows here in Edmonton.

This time around I was thinking how the hell do you top The Wall Tour. Well, I can say, maybe not topped it, but matched it for sure. Again the concert was a big production through out the two and half hour long show. The show opened with "Breathe" from Dark Side Of The Moon then going in to the instrumental song "One Of These Days" an oldie from the 1971 Pink Floyd album Meddle. This was going to be amazing. Then of course there were the visuals and the lasers, and the political bashing of Donald Trump with all kinds of unflattering pictures of him and some of his stupid twitter quotes projected on the screens.

Roger Waters and his band did two sets with the first set closing out with "Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 & 3". It was during this song that Roger brought out some kids from the Boys and Girls Club here in Edmonton on stage to lip sync and dance around during the song. When the kids first came out on stage their heads were covered in black hoods and wearing orange prison wear like they were prisoners of war, kind of creepy actually. Eventually the hoods and orange tops were gone to reveal the kids wearing t-shirts reading "Resist". It was fun watching the kids up on stage, they looked to be having fun, especially one small girl, she was really dancing and singing along. That had to be a thrill of a lifetime for them kids. They may not realize it now, but years down the road they are going to be able to say they were on stage with a rock icon. How cool is that. Nice to see Roger Waters give kids a chance like that.

After a short intermission it was time for the second half of the show. Starting with "Dogs" then in to "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" from the Animals album. So good! Then three more from the Dark Side Of The Moon album. It was during the second half of the concert that things got more political, with the Trump images and such.

For the encore we got "Mother" and "Comfortably Numb". This show was a great retrospective of Roger Waters career with Pink Floyd. The only solo songs Roger did were from his album Is This the Life We Really Want? that came out earlier this year. Roger's back up band was amazing as well, his guitar players Dave Kilminster and Jonathan Wilson did a great job on original guitarists David Gilmour's parts both on guitar and his vocal parts. The four songs he did from that album seemed to fit very well in to the show. I've have always wanted to hear a few songs from his 1987 album Radio K.A.O.S. but that has yet to happen out of all the times I have seen Roger Waters in concert. The theme of this tour seems to be resistance to authority, which is nothing new for a Roger Waters show.

This was a great way to celebrate my Sweeties birthday. One of the best shows of the year. Good times!!!


Roger Waters at Rogers Arena in Edmonton.

T-shirt front.

T-shirt back.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Nik Turner's Hawkwind Live in Edmonton Oct.20th 2017

My buddy RCD and I went to this show featuring Nik Turner of Hawkwind, or Nik's version of it anyways.. My friend RCD is a huge fan of the British prog rock band Hawkwind, so I knew I had to go to this show with him. I myself own a few of their albums but am nowhere near the fan he is. I have to say though, I was really looking forward to the show, as Hawkwind or any assimilation of them rarely play North America. This show was at The Brixx, so a small club with two other bands on the bill.

The first band of the evening was an Edmonton band called Zebra Pulse. A band I had never heard of, and now I know why. They were awful, I don't know what you would call their music, if you could even call it that. It was a bass player, a drummer and two guys turning a bunch of knobs and using pedals and processors to make a bunch of noise. Not my thing at all, and didn't look like the few that were at the time were digging it either.

Zebra Pulse.

Next up was a prog rock band from San Francisco called Hedersleben. The band is lead by founding member Nicky Garratt formerly of the English punk band the of the UK Subs. Again this was band that neither RCD or I cared for. At least this band had members that actually played instruments, but they did nothing for me. I found them to be on the boring side. And this is the band that would be backing up Nik Turner, we were starting to think this show was going to be a bomb. The crowd was getting a little bigger, cause until then there were very few people at the show. But we weren't holding out a lot of faith on this show.


Next up was Nik Turner's Hawkwind backed up by the band Hedersleben. Nik Turner was a founding member of Hawkwind playing in the band between 1969-1976. Nik not only sang but was also the flute player and saxophone player for the band. I wasn't too sure what to expect, but my expectations were blown away.

Not only did Hedersleben do a great job backing up Nik, but Nik Turner was fucking awesome. At 77 years old he sounded great not only his voice (ok it was a little rough) but his sax playing and flute playing was stellar. He looked to be having a blast up on the stage. He came out on the stage wearing some funky glasses with tentacles sticking out of them. I wasn't familiar with all the material he did, as he also has a new solo album out that I believe he did a few songs from. But the classic Hawkwind songs sure got the crowd going, songs like "Brainstorm", "Master Of The Universe", "Silver Machine" and "Sonic Attack". There were a few times during the show that Nik had to resort to some sheets of paper with the lyrics, but you have to give the guy a break, he's an old acid head and he is 77 after all. All and all I thought the show was amazing. Way better then I was expecting especially after the first two bands.

My buddy and I had got the chance to meet Nik and get an album and poster autographed. He was a super nice guy. If you look at the poster it says "Stay High". I had to laugh at that after we got out of the venue and was having a closer look at his autograph. A great show! Good times!!!

Nik Turner's Hawkwind at The Brixx.