With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Journey & Def Leppard – Madison Square Garden, New York, USA – Wednesday 13th June 2018 June 17, 2018


Well thanks to a business trip to New York this blog is about to give you its third gig review from the Big Apple! I was only in New York for three nights but I thought I would check out who might be playing only to find joint headliners Journey and Def Leppard appearing at the iconic Madison Square Garden venue in the heart of New York City. Until now I had never seen Journey and the last time I saw Def Leppard was in the early 1980s, so this was one I was really looking forward to. I was joined by my brilliant boss Shannon and how good was the show? Well dear reader you will need to read on to find that out.

Journey formed in San Francisco way back in 1973 by some former members of Santana and an US psych band known as Frumious Bandersnatch (which if you wondered was the name of a character from that immortal Lewis Carroll poem, “Jabberwocky”. Sadly Journey have operated without original lead singer Steve Perry for some time now, he was replaced by Arnel Pineda. While Arnel has a great voice he will never be Steve Perry, although his stagecraft is pretty darned good. The only ever-present member of the band is guitarist Neal Schon, although bassist Ross Valory was there in 1973, but he left for a several years from the late 80s. I am convinced Journey are one of the finest rock bands that the US has produced and their songs are testament to that. From opener “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” through to the magnificent encore of “Any Way You Want It” (in my opinion one of their greatest songs) they were great. Although there was a lot of focus on Neal Schon’s guitar prowess, something which has been criticised in earlier reviews of this tour, there is no denying that he is an ace axeman. But surely if you see a classic band like this guitar solos are expected, right? The pre-encore set closed unsurprisingly with “Don’t Stop Believin'”, the Journey song that everyone knows, and yes it brought the house down. For me though the highlight was “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” from 1979’s ‘Evolution’ album and Steve Smith’s amazing drum solo which seemed almost effortless.

I believe that the bands have alternated the order of their appearance on this tour, but tonight it was Def Leppard, one of Sheffield’s greatest and most successful rock bands to hit the stage last. The excitement was stirred by a big screen countdown clock highlighting exactly when Joe and the boys would appear. They opened with a magnificent two punch combination of “Rocket” and “Animal”. Stunning and storming versions of “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Armageddon It” were hammered into us in the first half of a set that made it clear just what a collection of great songs this band has. They chose an early 70s UK chart hit to cover mid set and for me the choice was a little surprising, it was David Essex’s first hit “Rock On” which Def Leppard made their own. In their hands it became ten times heavier and it seemed to go down incredibly well. There was a soulful and emotional acoustic rendition of “Two Steps Behind”. Rick Allen’s drum solo in “Switch 265” was astounding and it looked like he was loving it. In fact the whole band seemed to be enjoying themselves. Joe Elliott and Rick Savage have been with the band from the start, while Rick Allen joined in 1978. “Hysteria” and that wonderful rock sing along “Pour Some Sugar On Me” closed the set before an encore to die for; “Rock Of Ages” which after this gig is now my new favourite Def Leppard song, and “Photograph”. This show was well worth the admission price and if you get the chance don’t miss it. I would love to hear from you if you have seen any of the shows on the tour.

Public Service Announcement: Pictures discovered via Google and videos via YouTube. If you want me to credit you in this post if any of these are yours then please let me know.

 

“Don’t need a gun to blow your mind oh no, oh no” May 23, 2010


I had the pleasure of seeing a terrific new play this weekend at York Theatre Royal. It was called ‘Catcher – Before Chapman Shot Lennon‘. As many of you know, Mark David Chapman, the man who murdered John Lennon was obsessed with J D Salinger’s ‘Catcher In The Rye’ The book was in his possession when he shot Lennon, in fact it is said that after he fired those fatal shots he sat down to read the book until the police came. I think he was obsessed with Holden Caulfield, the book’s principal character as well as with fame itself. Before he killed John Lennon he had previously been photographed with Stephen King and Bob Dylan amongst others. Click here to read a really strange and frankly highly unbelievable conspiracy theory that it was Stephen King that shot John Lennon. Personally I think this is complete and utter tosh!

Anyway, back to the play. It is believed that Chapman hired a prostitute and had her come to his hotel on the night before the killing. This woman has never been found and has never made herself known. The play is based on the conversations that Chapman my have had with his hooker in his room. There are just two actors in the whole play which lasts 75 minutes. Mitzi Jones plays the prostitute, both as her older self narrating past events and as her younger self in the room with Chapman. The way she portrays both characters is phenomenal, with just a few simple changes to her clothes and hair, which for me proves how talented an actress she is. Ronan Summers plays Chapman and he, like Mitzi, is brilliant. Very intense and he really seems to capture the potential madness and imbalance in Chapman’s personality.

Obviously as a music fan I was keen to see this play and I would like to thank Rachel V for booking it for us (Rachel, Catwoman and me). If you get the chance to see it you really should, I am sure you won’t be disappointed. You can read a couple of reviews of the play here; One in the York Press and the other from The Stage

In a bizarre coincidence I finished Nick Kent’s (a former NME scribe) 70s memoir ‘Apathy For The Devil’ the day after I saw the play and he mentions Lennon’s murder. He said that he had read a book which gave details of every Beatles session, quite a weighty tome I believe! He read it a few years after the murder and spotted a strange thing. Apparently in the early versions of “Come Together” Lennon opened his vocal with the phrase ‘Shoot Me’ George Martin changed this to ‘Shoo’ as allegedly he felt this would be more acceptable to the record buying public.

OK as this is very much a John Lennon related post here are three of my favourite Lennon songs

“Instant Karma” – Without doubt my most favourite Lennon song ever

Whatever Gets You Through The Night” – Perhaps not his most popular song, but I loved it from when I first got the ‘Walls And Bridges’ album on cassette back in the mid 70s. Elton John also plays piano, organ and provides backing vocals on the track. This is a live version recorded at an Elton gig from Madison Square Garden in 1974

“Woman Is The Nigger Of The World” – This is taken from the underrated ‘Sometime In New York City’ album. The song is based on a phrase first coined by Yoko Ono in the late 60s to describe the oppression of women, which is indeed what the song is all about. The use of the word nigger had the song banned from many US radio stations. This clip has Lennon explaining the song to Dick Cavett

 

 
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