Thursday, May 28, 2015

Toto @ Zénith, Paris - May 28, 2015

Toto is celebrating its 35th Anniversary by embarking on a world tour and releasing their fourteenth studio album, simply called XIV. It seems like every year brings a new Toto line-up, with new faces replacing old ones and old ones returning after a long absence... For this tour the band is comprised of David Hungate on bass, Lenny Castro on percussions, Shannon Forrest on the drums, Joseph Williams on lead vocals, David Paich and Steve Porcaro on keyboards and vocals and Steve lukather on guitar and vocals.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

AC/DC @ Stade de France, St Denis - May 26, 2015

Night two of the AC/DC's Paris gigs for the Rock or Bust tour. Same exact show as on the 23rd, same exact setlist, the only difference is that Angus's schoolboy outfit is blue instead of red. Earth shattering!

Another great show. If you're planning on catching them (and you should), watch out: they are deafeningly loud.

Vintage Trouble @ Stade de France, St Denis - May 25, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

AC/DC @ Stade de France, St Denis - May 23, 2015

AC/DC's act has remained virtually unchanged in the past twenty five years, and the recent personnel ebullition was unlikely to have changed that. As long as Angus and Brian are up there fronting the band, the supporting cast is expandable. If Bon Scott and Malcolm can be replaced, then no one is safe.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

R.I.P. BB King

BB King was one of these monoliths you assume is always going to be around. And in a way he will be. James Brown, Picasso, Orson Welles… They may be dead but they still tower over  the collective unconscious like the Sphinx of Gizeh, casting a giant shadow over popular culture. So much so that we’ve been taking him for granted these past decades. 

His playing was everywhere, and we just got used to this guitar sound, whether played by himself or one of his many disciples, from Buddy Guy to U2, Eric Clapton or John Mayer… Even if you’re not a fan of the blues, even if you’ve never heard the man himself, you’ve heard someone emulate his playing, his singing, his showmanship, and more often than not a combination of the three. For someone whose style and sound is so ubiquitous, he is not nearly as famous as he should have been. Of course, he’s a superstar and a legend but he never achieved icon status like, say, Elvis or Michael Jackson. 

Yet everything we hear today owes a little something to BB King. He was truly one of the foundations of everything we now take for granted, along with Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan. 

When I got to see him, he was already decades past his prime but he could still bring it. He could still stand, he could still walk and more importantly he could still sing. With his voice, and his guitar. He would have the most beautiful conversations with Lucille: he would talk and she would reply. Sometimes they would even fight. Lovers’ quarrels, nothing a good rhythm section couldn’t fix. And woodwinds. Strings, even. 

So the purists would inevitably throw their hands in the air. Yes, he lived in Vegas, yes he was an entertainer. Yes he got paid handsomely. He didn’t conform to the cliché of the cotton picker playing steel guitar on his porch. He plaid the blues because it was his trade, he played the blues because it was his life, he played the blues because it was his crown. BB, King of the Blues.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Who cancels Amsterdam and Paris gigs to play Glastonbury

So the Who have decided to pull some gigs to accommodate the Glasto invitation...

To cancel an engagement for another engagement is extremely shitty. Unless there is a good reason we don’t know about? Now is the time to tell us. Why is Glasto taking precedence over the scheduled dates? Why is it a priority? Is it money? Is it exposure? Is it something else? What makes the Glastonbury audience more deserving? 

Rescheduling two sold-out shows into one show this late in the game is saying to the fans: “We don’t give a fuck about you”. Personally? No skin off my back. I’m a sucker, I’ll go the make-up show. No problem. But how about the potentially thousands of fans who had made plans? Travel, hotel, babysitter, etc… How will they be compensated? 

Is that how a working band operates? Is this the legacy you want to leave behind, on your 50th anniversary? Will Paris be treated to a lackluster make-up gig because you gave your all to the people of Glastonbury? And what if the people who come to the make-up show decide to show you how they feel about being shat on? 

I know I speak for a lot of fellow fans when I say this display of unprofessional carelessness is disappointing and hurtful, and we didn’t think this band in particular was capable of it. Someone, preferably Pete or Rog, please clear the air and tell us exactly who took that decision and why?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gov't Mule @ La Cigale, Paris - May 5, 2015

Two great sets by the always dependable Gov't Mule. No Bad Little Doggie or Blind Man In The Dark unfortunately but three songs from High & Mighty and three songs from Shout!, the new record. Also a great, funky rendition of Sco-Mule and the stoner anthem Soulshine. And, of course as usual a great choice of covers: Al Green, Staple Singers, Etta James, Ray Charles and a lysergic Maggot Brain... It seems Gov't Mule was feeling soulful that night. But of course the star is Warren Hayne's guitar playing and the interplay between these monster musicians, jamming, grooving, getting high and mighty on the greatest psychotropic drug of all: music.