Rufus Wainwright Whitley Bay Playhouse 8th July 2015

rufusWell as well as being a tit man (at least according to his dad) Rufus Wainwright is also a pretty crazy, cheeky, funny guy. Oh, and he has some great songs too. Laura is a fan, and she was the main reason we were part of an attentive crowd who packed into Whitley Bay Playhouse for an intimate evening with Rufus Wainwright, as part of the Mouth of the Tyne festival. This was a solo show, Rufus alone with his grand piano, and sometimes on guitar, in great voice and on great form. The evening enjoyed visits from guests “Liza Minnelli” and “Judy Garland”. Yes both of them together! Actually they looked suspiciously like his sister Lucy Wainwright Roche (who was the opening act) and Patrick Duffy (one of the Rufus road crew). A couple asked for a picture and were invited on stage for group selfies during “Me and Liza”. Sister Lucy came back for the encore of “Pretty Things” and “Hallelujah” leaving Rufus alone to close the show with “Poses”. A great concert and great fun. I can see in Rufus some of the same zany humour which is characteristic of his dad, who would have been proud. I am starting to “get” just what Rufus is about, which Laura, of course, already knew.
Setlist: Beauty Mark; The Maker Makes; Vibrate; Grey Gardens; Out of the Game; Jericho; Want; Sanssouci; The Art Teacher; Sonnet 20; Les Feux d’Artifice; Schoenberg-style Improvisation; Me And Liza; April Fools; Gay Messiah; Going to a Town; I Don’t Know What It Is; Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk
Encore: Montauk; Pretty Things; Hallelujah; Poses

Grateful Dead “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” live screening event Empire Cinema Newcastle 6th July 2015

Grateful Dead live screening event Empire Cinema Newcastle 6th July 2015
deadfilm“Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead”
20 years after their last concert, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead (Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir) returned to Soldier Field in Chicago for a historic performance. The four members were joined by Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano). The Dead reunited for a series of five concerts (3 in Chicago and 2 in San Francisco where it all started), which was entitled “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” and grossed an amazing $52.2 million in ticket sales. The Pay to View package, which included footage from the band’s Levi Stadium San Francisco shows (attended by 151,650 fans) and the Soldier Field Chicago shows (attended by 210,283 people). The collection of live broadcasts now holds the record for the largest syndication of a live music event ever. The Grateful Dead were, of course, formed in California in 1965 and rose to become one of the best-known bands of the psychedelic movement of the late ’60s. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and have sold over 35 million albums worldwide. The last time the Dead played live together was in July 1995, just one month before the tragic death of the band’s lead guitarist and singer, Jerry Garcia. The demand for the reunion concerts has been incredible.
faretheewell The final Chicago concert was screened at more than 250 cinemas across the UK on the evening of Monday 6 July, the day after the last ever Dead show. It was a delayed screening – a live broadcast was impractical, given the six-hour time difference between the UK and Chicago.
I went with Laura and Dale to watch the film and joined a small group of UK Deadheads who wanted to see the band “live” one more time. I have to admit being unsure what to expect. My only other live encounter with the Dead was when they played Newcastle City Hall in 1972, and I didn’t quite get what all the fuss was about. Well, we all really enjoyed the movie. The songs, as always in a Dead concert, progressed into extended jams, but were never boring. I even enjoyed the Drums solo, which was followed by a lengthy Space piece involving trippy electronic sounds and heavy use of theremin. You could feel the love and respect that the fans have for this band, and see how moved Phil Lesh and Bob Weir in particular were by the whole event. If this was really the end, it was a very fitting way to close the final chapter of the career of a band who have meant so much to so many people, and touched fans throughout the world.
Set 1: China Cat Sunflower; I Know You Rider; Estimated Prophet; Built to Last; Samson and Delilah; Mountains of the Moon; Throwing Stones
Set 2: Truckin'; Cassidy; Althea; Terrapin Station; Drums; Space; Unbroken Chain; Days Between; Not Fade Away
Encore: Touch of Grey
Encore 2: Attics of My Life

Fleetwood Mac Leeds Arena 30th June 2015

fleetwoodmactix2015
“The Mac is back” said Mick Fleetwood. And this time it’s the real thing. With the return of Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac are running on full power again. I’d forgotten just how important Christine is to this band. I’d enjoyed seeing the four piece Mac (Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood) over the past ten or so years, but the last time I saw this classic 70s line-up was way back ‘in the day’ on the Rumours tour. Christine’s return has breathed new life into the band. McVie and Fleetwood provide, as always, the perfect relentless beat; a canvas of rhythm on which Lindsey, Stevie and Christine paint their stories of angst, passion and lost love. Lindsey is the hyper dynamic egocentric child, screaming for our attention; annoying yet endearing himself to us through a series of excellent guitar solos and rock star poses. Stevie is the gypsy, the wild mysterious hippie rock chick. She is singing better than ever and morphs effortlessly from the witch Rhiannon, into the twirling mystical Gypsy still living the dream that started when she and young boyfriend Lyndsey supported Hendrix in the 60s, to the scary old Gold Dust Woman creeping around a dark stage. And Christine; so cool, calm and back with her friends, her family. I’d forgotten how many great song she wrote for Fleetwood Mac, many of which she sang for us. A great performance by a truly classic band
fleetwoonmacprog2015“A blistering two hour and 20 minute set from the classic (yes, that word is ENTIRELY appropriate) Rumours-era line-up elicits one of the most passionate responses I have seen from an audience in my life” (Yorkshire Evening Post)
Setlist: The Chain; You Make Loving Fun; Dreams; Second Hand News; Rhiannon; Everywhere; I Know I’m Not Wrong; Tusk; Sisters of the Moon; Say You Love Me; Big Love; Landslide; Never Going Back Again; Over My Head; Gypsy; Little Lies; Gold Dust Woman; I’m So Afraid; Go Your Own Way
Encore: World Turning; Don’t Stop; Silver Springs
Encore 2: Songbird

The Who Hyde Park London 26th June 2015

The Who Hyde Park London 26th June 2015
thewhoThe Who. Hyde Park. London. 50 years. David, Shauna and I scrored some cheap tickets outside. It don’t get much better. We enter the park and catch the end of PUl Weller’s set. 65,000 people sing along to opener Can’t Explain and we are all off on our own Amazing Journey. The hits just keep coming: The Seeker, I Can See for Miles, The Kids are Alright, Pictures of Lily (for special guest Weller, Roger tells us). What happened to Substitute? Never mind; we can’t always get we we want. Pete is on top form, windmill arm twirling and swirling. Roger’s voice is strong; the songs still sound fresh even after all this time, particularly with the Hyde park choir helping them along. Roger and Pete seem genuinely pleased to be back home playing in London, just a few miles from where it all started. “We are the Mods” sing the old guys behind us. £22 for a bottle of Pino Grigio; are they having a laugh? Class visuals take us through Tommy and Quadrophenia, with lots of shots of Keith and the Ox. Won’t Get Fooled Again closes it, after which Pete and Roger spend quite a few minutes thanking everyone. thewhohydepark2015We wait around but there is no encore (what happened to Magic Bus?). Musn’t be greedy. My 20th Who show, and if this really was the last time that I’ll see this great band, it was a pretty excellent show on which to finish my Who journey.
Setlist:I Can’t Explain; The Seeker; Who Are You; The Kids Are Alright; Pictures of Lily; I Can See for Miles; My Generation; Behind Blue Eyes; Bargain; Join Together; You Better You Bet; I’m One; Love, Reign O’er Me; Eminence Front; Amazing Journey; Sparks; Pinball Wizard; See Me, Feel Me; Baba O’Riley; Won’t Get Fooled Again

The Moody Blues Newcastle City Hall 22nd June 2015

The Moody Blues Newcastle City Hall 22nd June 2015moodyblues2015
I foolishly passed the last couple of times that the Moody Blues came to Newcastle; so I figured that it was about time I made amends and caught up with them again. I’m pleased that I did. The set was similar to those that I’d enjoyed on past tours, but there seemed to be a new energy to the band. This went just old guys going through the motions; I could sense that they still enjoy playing. The sound was also sharper and clearer than in the past; I’ve attended a few Moody Blues concerts where the mix was murky, and it was difficult to pick out the vocals. Not this time. I could hear every word that Justin Hayward and John Lodge sang. Hayward’s guitar seemed louder and his playing more fluid than on previous occasions. It was also good to see Graeme Edge come to the front of stage and take the lead on Higher and Higher, with some nifty dad dancing and swift tambourine moves. Those songs from Days of Future Passed always get me. Tuesday Afternoon is just as powerful and classy as Nights in White Satin and it was good to hear Peak Hour. And a Moody Blues concert just isn’t complete unless they close with Question and encore with Ride My See-saw. Great to see them again.
“Cold hearted orb that rules the night, removes the colours from our sight. Red is grey, and yellow, white, but we decide which is right, and which is an illusion.” (The Day Begins, 1967).
Set 1: Gemini Dream; The Voice; Steppin’ in a Slide Zone; You and Me; Gypsy; Nervous; Say It With Love; Peak Hour; I Know You’re Out There Somewhere; The Story in Your Eyes
Set 2: Your Wildest Dreams; Isn’t Life Strange; Tuesday Afternoon; Higher and Higher; The Actor; I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band); Late Lament; Nights in White Satin; Question
Encore: Ride My See-Saw

Patti Smith Group play Horses Manchester Apollo 8th June 2015

Patti Smith & Band play Horses Manchester Apollo 8th June 2015
PattiSmithHorsesI hate the M62. There are always roadworks, traffic jams or accidents. Well this day was no different. Laura and I left home at 3.30pm; plenty of time (I thought) to drive the 130 miles or so to Manchester to see Patti Smith later that evening. I should have known better. The overhead motorway signs and the radio traffic alerts soon revealed what was in store for us. There had been an accident on the M62; and the westbound carriageway was closed between junctions 24 and 21. I checked, yup, just as I had feared; this would affect us. I started to plan alternative routes; but the traffic alerts warned me that they were all snarled up too. So off down the M62 it was. As we reached junction 24 we joined the queue; which filled every lane. It was around 5.30pm. By 7pm we had reached the junction and we were diverted off the motorway, still nose to tail in a queue of cars which was hardly moving. I decided to leave the queue and try to make my own way to Manchester. We headed into the centre of Huddersfield, then followed signs to Oldham and over Saddleworth moor into Manchester. We arrived in the city around 8pm, just as Patti was due on stage. By 8.10pm we were parked up and in the Apollo. As we took our seats Patti and the band walked onto the stage. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine ….” “G L O R I A” Woh we were off ….pattiIn an instant the stress of the journey disappeared. The Patti Smith Group was on stage and rocking. I was transported back to the ’70s; and the days when I first heard “Horses”. “Free Money” and “Gloria” were always my favourites; but last Monday every track sounded classic. Patti was on fire, and had some great cheeky Patti banter with the crowd. She recalled playing Manchester in 1978 (I saw you at Reading and Newcastle City Hall that tour Patti), walking into a guitar shop (“it looked like the one Bob Dylan walked into in Don’t Look Now” said Patti) and buying a Rickenbacker (which she told us she still has).
Patti took a break after “Horses” while the band played a Velvet Underground medley (“the greatest band from New York City”). She returned to sing the end of “White Light, White Heat” and then “Dancing Barefoot”. A guy shouted for “Piss Factory”: “I can’t do that now ….OK I’ll try a little”. The anthemic “Because the Night” had the entire hall singing. “People have the Power” closed the show, as it always seems to now; can’t say that it is my favourite Patti song, but it is growing on me.
For the encore we were back to the ’70s again for a crazy, wailing, totally manic, possessed version of the Who’s “My Generation” which ended with Patti trashing her Fender Strat; breaking each string one by one. As she snapped the last string; which was the thick brass sixth string, she flung the guitar to the floor. Patti and the band left the stage to the sound of the feedback ringing out through the hall. Stunning. Hail the new wave.
Setlist: Gloria; Redondo Beach; Birdland; Free Money; Kimberly; Break It Up; Land (including reprise of Gloria); Elegie; Privilege (Set Me Free); Velvet Underground medley (Rock n Roll – I’m Waiting For The Man – White Light, White Heat); Patti returns towards the end of the medley; Dancing Barefoot; Piss Factory; Because the Night; People Have the Power
Encore: My Generation

Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames Newcastle City Hall 30 May 2015

Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames Newcastle City Hall 30 May 2015
georgiefameGeorgie Fame walked onto the stage of Newcastle City Hall, sat at his Hammond organ and started to reflect on his first visit to Newcastle. That was apparently in 1960, and a young Georgie Fame was playing piano on the Eddie Cochran /Gene Vincent tour. Georgie couldn’t quite remember the name of the venue, but a couple of members of the audience helped him out. “The Empire” shouted one, while another kept insisting (No, it was the Odeon”. I checked it out (isn’t Google wonderful) and it was indeed the Empire, in Newgate Street.
georgietixGeorgie was soon accompanied by his sons on drums and guitar, and the trio performed Booker T’s “Green Onions”. Before too long the bass, vibraphone, trumpet and sax players all joined in. A wonderful start to the evening.
A sparse, but enthusiastic, crowd had gathered for this concert which was the final night of Fame’s tour. “Get on the Right Track Baby” and “Cool Cat Blues” (dedicated to Mose Alison) kept the groove going. We were then treated to Georgie’s 1965 No 1 hit single “Yeh Yeh”. This was preceded by a great story of how Fame and his band arrived in Stockholm 50 years ago, to find hundreds of girls waiting and waving at the airport. Sadly they soon discovered that the crowd was, in fact, actually waiting for “the Saint” Roger Moore; who also happened to be on the same flight. xgeorge-fame-film-pic.png.pagespeed.ic.wupD0hASGtThe next song was a version of Bob Dylan’s “Everything is Broken” to which Fame had added the line “Its all F**ked Up Maann” and which we all had to sing :) The first half of the show closed with Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away”, after which Georgie introduced each of the band members before they all left the stage for a short break.
The second set started with Carole King’s “Point of No Return” which features on one of Fame’s early lps. The next song, which Fame dedicated to his friend Spike Milligan, was Louis Jordan’s “Don’t Send me Flowers when I’m in the Graveyard”, followed by (I think) “Love is going to take me away” and “Listen Here”. Then we were treated to an excellent version of the Bobby Hebb classic “Sunny”, which was also a hit for Fame. The concert closed (at 9.45 wow; I love early finishes) with Mose Alison’s “Was” (“When I become was and we become were ….”). A great concert by one ’60s music greats who remains the coolest of the cool.
Georgie Fame’s modern Blue Flames are: Guy Barker (trumpet), Alan Skidmore (tenor), Anthony Kerr (vibes), Tristan Powell (guitar), Alec Dankworth (double bass) and James Powell (drums). Tristan and James are Georgie’s sons (his real name is Clive Powell).

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