Sunday, September 3, 2017

Guns N' Roses Live in Edmonton August 30th 2017

On Wednesday Janis and I went to the Guns N' Roses show here in Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium. Now when this Not In This Lifetime... tour was first announced last year, I was thinking how long will this really last and what kind of gong show would this be. The line up for GnR this time was to include original members Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Slash. A year into the tour and things seem to be going quite well, as they keep announcing more dates. And lucky for us, one of them dates was an Edmonton show. I really thought this tour would fall apart part way through, but so far so good. I wasn't so sure if I would go or not, as tickets were quite expensive and it still wasn't all the original members. Really wish Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler were involved but that don't look like it will happen. Oh well, at least it's got three of the originals.

But like I say tickets were on the expensive side and who knew how good it really would be. Well on July 21st which marked the 30th anniversary of GnR's debut album Appetite For Destruction, Ticketmaster had a limited amount of 30 dollar tickets available for the big show in celebration of the anniversary. Lucky for me I was able to pick up two cheap tickets. We were now going!

This would be my fifth time seeing Guns N' Roses in concert. The very first time being when they opened for The Cult here in Edmonton in August of 1987. I've been a fan of the band forever, I was into the band even before the Appetite album came out having been turned onto the band through Kerrang magazine. I even have their EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide album on vinyl which came out before Appetite. This band was the soundtrack to me in my late teens and early 20's.

I started to read some of the concert reviews for the Not In This Lifetime... tour and looking at setlists. From what I was reading and hearing, this sounded like it could be a really good show. Now I was getting excited about seeing them again, but still had reservations about seeing this show. The last time I saw GnR in concert was in 2006, which was Axl and a bunch of hired hands doing GnR songs. The band at that time didn't come on stage till after midnight and Axl didn't sound very good, the band had no original members beside Axl, and then to top it off Bubbles of the Trailer Park Boys actually ended up being the highlight of the show when Axl invited the actors of TPB on stage. Bubbles performed the song "Liquor and Whores" and the crowd went nuts. But that show was an absolute gong show, late start having to wait for three hours for them to hit the stage, what a fucking joke. So that left a bitter taste in my mouth for the band.

The opening band was Our Lady Peace who we didn't catch for good reason, cause I'm just not a fan. Enough said.

This time around Guns N' Roses started right on time 7:30 and went until 11pm, yes a three and half hour show. Very impressive! Not only was it a long show, but it was a great 3.5 hour party. The beer sales lasted long into the set, which helped everyone get nice and primed for the show. No having to stock up on beers before they stopped selling, and you could have a drink with you in the smoking area, that too was a bonus.

Guns N' Roses opened the show with a blistering version of "It's So Easy" and then into "Mr. Brownstone", we were off to a rocking start. The third song was "Chinese Democracy" one of three songs from that album. Then it was "Welcome To The Jungle", Axl sounded great, his voice was very strong with him hitting all the high notes he is famous for. The first cover song of the night, a song they have been doing for years the Wings song "Live and Let Die". The night had a lot of cover songs thrown into the set, intro and outro's and medleys to songs, it was listening trying to catch them all that was fun. The intro to the Misfits song "Attitude" a song that appeared on the "Spaghetti Incident?" started with the Johnny Thunders song "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory". The band played that song with a lot of attitude which is the way it should be played. Slash and bassist Duff McKagan were rocking all night too, actually the whole band sounded great.

The song "Civil War" from the album Use Your Illusions started with a little Jimi Hendrix "Voodoo Chile" intro and outro. GnR have always been known for covers and they did a lot of them through out the three plus hour show. I recall the band doing Nazareth's "Hair Of The Dog" when they opened for Iron Maiden here in 1988. Slash's guitar solo had some of Chuck Berry's "Johnny Be Goode" thrown in the mix. It was during "Sweet Child Of Mine" that it was my cue to do a beer run and have a quick smoke as I really have never liked that song. I made it back in time for the band to do a song which they had never performed live before a tribute to Glen Campbell who passed away earlier in August with the band doing the song "Wichita Lineman", Duff and Slash playing acoustics for this number. I'll be honest, myself and I am sure most others weren't very familiar with this song. It is some nice of Axl and band to pay tribute to someone like Glen Campbell, these guys truly are huge music fans and it shows with all the different bands they covered.

The song "My Michelle" was rocking, and after that Slash and guitarist Richard Fortus did a little Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" which led into the big ballad "November Rain" another song I have never been a big fan of either but actually found myself singing along out loud with my partner Janis. After that song I looked at her and was like wow, I usually hate that song. The band also covered the James Brown song "I Got You (I Feel Good)" which was kind of a mess. But the Soundgarden song "Black Hole Sun" made up for that, then they did the Dylan song "Knockin' On Heavens Door" a song they have been doing for many years. To close out the set before the encore was "Nighttrain" which fucking rocked big time. The crowd was losing there shit during this one.

For the encore the band started playing the Allman Brothers song "Melissa" before going in to "Patience". Then another cover this time AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" which sounded great too. The an original "Don't Cry" which lead to the Who song "The Seeker" which rocked with all the sloppiness of the original song. And to close out the show they rocked the shit out of "Paradise City" with fireworks going off during that song. What a fucking amazing show. Even with the big stage and being seated at the opposite end of the place, this was just a great show. They made better use of the stage unlike Metallica. Metallica's stage like my brother said was so big and sparse. GnR had the same size of stage but had ramps and such on stage and screens so you could see the band. It just didn't seem so over the top. Guns N' Roses used the stage to their advantage and put on one hell of a show. Way better then I was expecting. I have to admit I had to look at the setlist to remember all the songs they played and covers they mixed in with other songs. I had such a good time at this show with Janis, we rocked out, sang along, danced, drank, smoked, made friends, hung out with friends. This is a show I would go to again in a nanosecond. Good times!!!

Guns N' Roses setlist.

Guns N' Roses at Commonwealth Stadium.

T-shirt front.

T-shirt back.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Diamond Head Live in Edmonton August 29th 2017

Last night I got the chance to see the legendary British heavy metal band Diamond Head at The Forge in Edmonton. Other bands on the bill were local bands Echoes Of Apathy whom I missed, Shocker another E Town band that play cover songs, kind of weird for them to be on this bill, and Calgary band Dextress. But lets be honest the only reason anyone was at The Forge on a Tuesday night was to see Diamond Head.

For a Tuesday night it wasn't a bad turnout for Diamond Head's first ever visit to Edmonton. They are currently doing an extensive Apocalypse Metal Canadian Tour. Would have been nice to see the place packed, but still wasn't too bad.

Diamond Head are one of the originators of thrash metal having been around since 1976, starting out in Stourbridge, England. They have been a major influence on bands such as Metallica and Megadeth. It's probably because of Metallica that Diamond Head is still around and drawing an audience, and that's good because it's always good to see a great band like Diamond Head get the recognition they so deserve.

This version of Diamond Head had only one original member that being guitarist and co-founder Brian Tatler. On drums was Karl Wilcox who has been in and out of the band since 1991, on vocals was Rasmus Bom Anderson who did admirable job on the songs, his stage presence and voice reminded me of Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden at times. On bass was newcomer Dean Ashton who also did a great job of holding the rhythm section down.

Diamond Head did about an hour and a half show playing some new songs from their 2016 self titled release including songs "Bones" and "Shout At The Devil" which both sounded like old school thrash metal. And of course the band did the three songs that Metallica have covered "Am I Evil", "Prince" and "Helpless". Those songs got great responses from the crowd with everyone singing along and banging there heads and pumping there fists. The songs sounded amazing too, it was so cool to be two feet away from Brian Tatler watching and listening to him play those classic riffs that all metal heads have got to know over the years.

All and all this was a great heavy metal show. I had to laugh at how many guts I saw in the audience sporting their jean jacket vests covered in old classic metal band patches. Old school it was! Good times!!!

Setlist from the show.

Diamond Head at The Forge.

T-shirt front.

T-shirt back.

I had already bought a shirt when at the end of the night I realized they had this t-shirt for 15 dollars, so I had to have that one as well.

T-shirt front.

T-shirt back.

Autographed vinyl.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Beck Live in Edmonton August 22nd 2017

It's been a week already since I got to see an artist that I have on the bucket list to see live since the mid 90's. I'm talking about Beck of course. Beck made his first ever Edmonton appearance here at the Jubilee Auditorium to sold out venue.

Starting the night out was opener McRorie (originally from Edmonton), an artist I had never heard of, and now I know why. He is a one man band, who plays the drums on his chest and has some kind of electronic pads on his feet to mimic a drum beat, keyboards in each hand to do the bass and guitar. What a colossal mess this was. I thought it might be interesting, oh, how wrong I was. I managed to sit through three songs, or a mess of three songs. He was all over the place playing snippets of all kinds of songs, none of which sounded any damn good. Ten minutes was enough for me, I bailed and went and had a drink.

McRorie at the Jubilee.

Now it was time for Beck, the place was packed and you could feel the energy in the place waiting in anticipation of finally seeing Beck. Beck and his awesome back up band opened the show with "Devil's Haircut" the first of five songs he did from his Odelay album, which is my favourite album of his. Then into "Black Tambourine" and "The New Pollution" what an awesome way to start the show. Beck had the audience on their feet dancing from the get go. Beck and his amazing band did at least one song from everyone of his albums, that's what I call covering your catalog of music. Even doing a song "One Foot In The Grave" from his pre Mellow Gold album Stereopathetic Soulmanure. And by covering so much music he hit on soul, folk, alt rock, funk and hip hop. His guitar player was unbelievable too. This is one show that never got boring that's for sure.

At one point during the show Beck said "I'm just gonna do whatever I want, is that ok with you" and of course the crowd shouted yes, that's when he broke out into the Prince song "Raspberry Beret", that was super cool, the whole audience sang along with him. At times during the show, Beck's stage presence reminded me of a mix of Mick Jagger and David Bowie with all the quirkiness of Beck.

For the encore Beck played "Where It's At", it was during this song that he introduced his band, with each introduction they played a snippet of a different song, songs by Zeppelin, Bowie, The Cars and Phil Collins. The two hour show was over in a flash. So fucking good. Good times!!!

Beck setlist for Edmonton show.

Beck at the Jubilee Auditorium.