With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“I was playing rock and roll and you were just a fan” March 24, 2014


EltonJohnThe synthesiser intro to Elton John’s magnificent (in my opinion) “Funeral For A Friend”, the opening track on the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘ album, was recorded by David Hentschel an engineer and, obviously, a synthesiser player. Apparently Elton only heard it for the first time after it was finished.

funny-Spider-Man-Elton-John-biggest-fan

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Reading Festival 2013 – Day 3 – Sunday 25th August August 26, 2013


We began at the Main Stage today for We Are The In Crowd. Note to Nadia Tut; it’s looking ever so slightly less of a cock fest today. I also believe that you and your fellow band mates and bands are in a position to try to change that going forward. These folks have a female singer. We need the Tuts and Colour Me Wednesday  playing here next year. As for WATIC what a superb lively start to the day from this New York band.

Back to the NME/ Radio 1 Stage for the Villagers, we had seen them at Reading a couple of years ago. They were good then and are even better now. If you had not seen them before you might be forgiven for thinking you had walked in on the Hogwarts school band fronted by Harry Potter himself. The singer certainly looks like the young wizard. But their music is indeed a magical combination of influences. Once again great use of percussion too.

Aluna George have been subject to mucho hype lately and you know what? They are well worth it. Their music is spectacularly good and Aluna’s stage clothes show that Lady Gaga has jumped the shark fashionwise. Aluna herself is confident and sassy, she commands the stage. I will very soon be the owner of Aluna George’s album.

Over to the Festival Republic stage next for Twenty One Pilots. Unbelievably a drum based rock rap hybrid dressed as skeletons. It shouldn’t work but it does. It’s as though the Strokes were spliced with Eminem and Hawksley Workman in a parallel universe. These guys MUST be on the Main Stage mid afternoon next year; are you listening organisers? This was possibly one of the finest Reading Festival moments ever for us.

As for Chapel Club; very chilled soft rock with a hard edge. I would not have wanted to follow Twenty One Pilots. If I went to a chapel club when I was a kid it wouldn’t have been this much fun! After that we lay in the sun chilling to As Elephants Are. They were pretty good.

Back to the NME/ Radio 1 stage next for Haim. Bloody hell these girls can rock. This had to be the year of the drum with even more percussion from the Haim sisters. But did the bass player have to turn so much? That part was scary.

Fall Out Boy or FOB as they are now branded are back. On form on the Main Stage. But does everything have to be reduced to an acronym? But this band does what it says on the tin. Pop powered punk at its best. A band that has been an acronym for longer than many were next on the Main Stage; it was Nine Inch Nails or NIN as they prefer to be known, certainly on t-shirts. I was expecting great things from Trent Reznor and his chums. Sadly I was very disappointed, the music came across as samey and bland and Mr Reznor was severely lacking in the interaction with the crowd department. As a result we wandered off to pastures new. First to the Festival Republic stage where we saw the Jim Jones Revue; they are a hell of a powerful band. Imagine if AC/ DC, the Stones, the Troggs and Doctor Feelgood all drank in the same pub and became the house band. It would be very much like the Jim Jones Revue. We wandered over to the Rock Stage for the first part of Funeral For A Friend’s set. They definitely do what it says on the tin with their excellent brand of hard punky tunes. After that we returned to the Festival Republic stage for the magnificent Spector. I suppose you could compare them to the Killers in sound, but they are so much more than that. The audience loved them.

Then it was time for Sunday night’s headliners; the regal and magnificent Biffy Clyro. ‘Mon the Bif! This was the first time in eight Reading appearances that they have headlined the Main Stage and after this performance they will do it again in the future too. They were clearly well rehearsed and fired up for this show. For me they were the best headliner of the weekend by far and definitely in my top 5 of all time. The highlights for me were “Many To Horror” and “Black Chandelier”. The light show, the stage set and the pyrotechnics were amazing and added to a stonking performance from Scotland’s finest. Let’s hope they are back soon. As for myself and my good mate Nick Horslen; will we be back next year? I think there is a bloody good chance that we will be.

 

Elton John – Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate Tuesday June 5th 2012 June 5, 2012


Some months ago when Elton John announced a UK tour of some places that never seem to get big rock stars performing the list included the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. So as I live just down the road and as Sir Elton is now 65 I thought I had to get tickets for me and my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman to regular readers. I love Elton’s music, especially the early stuff, but until today I had never seen him live. It was well worth the wait and the ticket price.

The support act was the amazing 2Cellos, which does exactly what it says on the tin. The act consists of two cellists from Croatia; Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. If you had said to me before today that two guys playing cello could be really exciting and create an amazing rock sound I may well have laughed at you. But frankly these guys are outstanding. They played three covers; Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, U2’s “With Or Without You” and an electrifying version of “Purple Haze” the Jimi Hendrix classic.

Just as we all thought they were about to start another song Elton and his band took the stage and raced right into “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting“. 2Cellos remained with the band for that and many other songs during Elton’s incredible two and a half hour set. He seemed to show no sign whatsoever of his recent illness and really seemed to be enjoying himself. The band who included long time Elton stalwarts Nigel Olsson on drums and Davey Johnstone on guitar. These guys have played together for more than 40 years now and I think that trust and knowledge of each other really shows.

The backing vocalists could undoubtedly be an act in their own right including; Rose Stone a founding member of Sly and the Family Stone and the sister of Sly and Freddie Stone and also Tata Vega who produced some terrific albums for Motown in the 70s. Having started the set with a superb rocker the band followed up with “Bennie And The Jets” and “Levon”. I was really pleased with the eclectic set list Elton had chosen. It included many of his biggest hits along with some of those that are not heard as often. Those included two fantastic selections from the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘ album; “Funeral For A Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding” and “Grey Seal” and the gorgeous “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” from ‘Madman Across The Water‘. I was disappointed to see so many people head for the bar and the toilets when Elton played “Hey Ahab” from his recent collaboration with the supremely talented Leon Russell.

Most of the crowd were out to have a good time and the rain didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. Although it was quite ironic to be listening to “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” when the weather had created the effect that the sun had never really come up! There was an element in the crowd that seemed to fit with the stereotypical breed of Harrogate snob. They seemed to be there more for the social occasion, to drink Pimms and most importantly to be seen. One bloke and his wife/ partner asked us to swap seats with him so that he could sit near his friends. We refused largely because they had been getting up and going in and out of the grandstand during the whole show (well the part they stayed for anyway). But it was interesting that five minutes after our refusal all his ‘friends’ left without telling him! I named him Mr Yo Yo Bollocks.

There were two ladies who spent most of the show dancing around and trying to get everyone else up, including the security guards. They were draped in a ‘we love Elton’ Union Jack and seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, but I suspect that their hangovers may be huge. It took “I’m Still Standing” to get everyone up, most of whom stayed up for the rest of the show. When Elton and the band left the stage it was hard to figure out what the encore would be as they had played some many classics, but of course it was the beautiful “Your Song”. Preceded by Elton signing a whole bunch of autographs for those at the front.

Elton John is a talented musician, a gifted songwriter, a real showman and a consummate performer. There are not many people around that can match him I believe. It is nearly 39 years since I saw my first ever gig (Jackson 5 at the Wembley Empire Pool in 1973 if you’re interested!) and todays show is easily in my top 5 ever. If you are going to one of the shows on this tour I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. If you’re not then do whatever it takes to get a ticket; sell your grannie, send your kits out to clean chimneys or get your dog to wine ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ (OK probably too late on the last one). And finally thank you for a great gig Elton!

I have no film from tonights show (I was enjoying myself too much to get my phone out) so here is a clip of Elton playing “Your Song” from a couple of years back, followed by 2Cellos with their version of “Smooth Criminal”

 

 
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