Thursday, 26 May 2011

Gig Review - Rush The O2 25 May 2011

Flipping brilliant!!!

Ok I'm biased - I've been a Rush fan for years and they can do little wrong in my eyes. To show my hand I first heard them around 2012, All The World's A Stage time and then more when a drummer friend of my got into A Farewell To Kings. I myself went out and bought Hemispheres and was knocked out but that album and basically have bought every Rush studio album since... and a couple of live CD/DVDs etc. to boot.

I'd had the email reminding me of the gig and making it very clear Rush would be on stage at 7:30 since they were to play two sets with a 30 min intermission. Well they were about 10 mins late on based on the advertised time but then some of that was taken up with the now obligatory funny video intro. This was very good and very funny with Rush sending themselves up and displaying their character acting skills... er stick to the day job guys! :-)

Then into Spirit of the Radio as a kick off - what a kick off track. We then romped through old and new in the next hour with Geddy Lee in one of the very short intros saying - "We have 16,000 songs to play tonight" - hmm... not too far wrong there! An hour later he apologised for their old age and said they needed a break which was less than the 30 mins advertised and they were back. The whole of Moving Pictures was played at the start of that - what an album that is. That was released 30 years ago!!! Actually in the same month I started dating a 16 year old from the girls 6th form over the road from my school, the lady regularly referred to as Mrs F on here!

So some new tracks from the album that will be out once they finish it after the tour, some of Snakes and Arrows and many from the Time Machine the tour name referred to, Closer to the Heart, 2112 was a big hit with the crowd (OI!) etc. Finished on Working Man.

Sound was good - although the bass drum was a little too loud for me (I'm being picky here). Alex went through a collection of jaw dropping custom Les Pauls all bar one fitted with Floyd Roses - one being his new signature model which looked really nice and has the option of piezo output, a couple of PRS models notably a CE24, a Fender Tele and for the encore the old trusty white ES355, all through his Hughes & Kettner amps and custom cabs. His sound was impeccable throughout as was his playing.

I hope Rush continue to write, record, play and tour as frankly they don't age. They basically gave you a complete 3 hour full on set... not bad for a bunch of guys who within 3 - 4 years will all be able to get to the O2 for free on their bus passes!!! Oh and as we left enthusing about how good it had been we could still point to numerous "hits" they'd not played... Xanadu, Road to Bangkok etc.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Forever - Sue Menhart Band

I've been very privileged as I recieved a pre-release copy of Sue's new CD Forever.

Sue is an old friend and a huge talent. This is the third release and any long term / regular readers of this blog may remember her previous releases Gypsy Soul and Torn getting rave reviews on here.

For this 5 track CD Sue has broken away from her Blues-Rock style of the previous two releases to head in a more soulful, jazz inspired direction. She has teamed up with Ron Zabrocki who has in the past has produced luminaries like Mariah Carey.

The new soul style suits Sue perfectly - but to be fair the lady has enough talent to sing over the most inept of music and musicians and it still sound brilliant. The five tracks take us through a relationships lifespan, from the initial "love at first sight" to it's eventual demise.

Long term rhythm section of Kevin Clark and Dave Floret hold the tracks together with Zabrocki adding the remaining instrumentation which include some beautiful jazzy/blues guitar licks.

So another great step forward for Sue. I hope this is the breakthrough recording for her - she deserves it for all her hard work, last year she banged in 70 gigs together with the recording, writing etc. and she holds down a full time job to keep the wolf from the door. You can't say the woman isn't dedicated.

So pop over to her web site to see/read/hear more and the CD will be available from there or the usual places like iTunes, Amazon MP3, CD Baby etc. from 21st June.

Oh and if you are in the area the CD launch party is scheduled for June 18 at Burke’s Tavern in Niantic, Conn.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Gratitude and Guilt

I read this post on Liz's blog.

Sad stories but I instantly felt grateful for where I am in my life, i.e. sober, contented, loved, healthy.... lucky.

I then felt guilty for feeling like that, stupid I shouldn't necessarily feel like that, there's nothing I can do to alter either situation and I know neither of these people except through the mutual understanding of one addicts of anothers pain of addiction.

Reminders however of the road I walk. Today I put one foot in front of the other and deal with life on life's term. I haven't picked up a drink today so far, I can only hope that I don't on a daily basis whilst trying to keep myself focused on a sober day. As they say "There but for the Grace of God" and "One day at a time".

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Anniversary and Dislocation

Saturday was the 7th anniversary of my last drink. Nothing that momentous in the world really, I've simply not had a drink of alcohol. However to me one day without it is amazing in some ways, and now it is so long ago that it is only part of my life in that everyday I remind myself I can't risk taking the first one.

Other dramas this weekend included my mother-in-law trying pull a nail out a wall at 9pm Friday night, falling and dislocating her shoulder! Brilliant!! As you get to the point where you think you have the kids off your hands and more time to yourselves... the old ones start to play up!

Right ... do I watch the MotoGP I recorded or the rugby live? The kind of problems I have now that I don't have to worry about the next drink.

Oh yes proud parent moment... my daughter was elected captain of the swimming team :-) she has had her first couple of galas as captain and been really good at it. So pleased for her.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


They come they go.

This one was similar to many, different from some.

Saturday - up early to get the car to the garage for two new tyres and a recharge of the air con system... Daughter-of-Furtheron met up with a friend which then turned into her sleeping over... oh yes I had to pay the friends Mum for out portion of their family holiday which my daughter is crashing in on! Anyway that meant Mrs F and I got a day just on our own so we headed off to local shops for a quick lunch and to buy some ingredients for me to make a Chinese for the evening. I tried a new recipe Chicken with Cashew Nuts and green beans - a definite success and one I've done before Beef in Oyster Sauce.

Sunday I had to pick up D-o-F from her friends but decided to buy a new lawnmower we'd seen on Saturday, our old one has been with us since we moved here 19 years ago and frankly has been making funny noises etc. for a while. I couldn't see the point of paying out £15 this year for a new blade only for it to give up the ghost. B&Q had a nice one similar to our old one for £89 so I got that and put it all together and gave it a test drive. I did think about one of these....

Which my son looked awesome but frankly for our back garden somewhat over kill! So with all I had to pay out this weekend my wallet is considerably lighter than it was on Friday :-(

I've been watching F1 - great race, Rally - good action, Rugby - terrific last weekend action, changing all over the shop brilliant.

Played a bit of guitar in prep for hopefully a mid-week appearance at a local Songwriters Stage night.

All in all a really good weekend...

Bum - a full 5 days at work!!! When's the next bank holiday? Oh yes end of the month!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The news yesterday

Two posts in two days.... almost like the blog of old :-)

I was somewhat distracted by the news yesterday. First I knew of it was peoples Facebook status when I was on the computer. Osama Bin Laden dead. There was already a gag up there. "I was amazed to here Bin Laden has been taken out, on a Bank Holiday - they never sort the Bins out around here on a Bank Holiday". Ho Ho... or not. Also in my area now they do collect the bins on a Bank Holiday but that isn't important.

What is then?

My reaction to this news. Confusion. A mix of regret, sadness, anger and concern.

I was in New York on 9/11. Luckily not right in down town near the Twin Towers but close enough. I watched the smoke, I saw the first tower fall, I saw the panic, a smelt and tasted the most awful acrid smoke and dust you can ever imagine.

However somehow I feel no anger or resentment anymore to those that did this act. They were wrong but clearly they were thinking it was right, they did what they did. The USA and their allies reaction has been a war in Iraq and Afganistan that have cost far more lives than the 2,977 that were lost on that day.

To see people cheering and celebrating like at a football game just seemed wrong to me. He was just one man, a man probably no longer in charge of that organisation, well it is more a philosophy and a franchise than a structured organisation anyway.

It goes on - he gets killed and some celebrate and there are lurid tabloid headlines. More disaffected youths get radicalised as they see this as an injustice and on it goes. How will it stop? I certainly don't know but I'm not sure the news of yesterday is in anyway a significant step on that. It maybe for the healing of the USA who had never experienced attacks like that before on their soil but there will be more I'm afraid.

One thing I do believe - in the next few weeks and months I don't see the threat of attacks against the West diminishing, if anything I would reckon on a heightened risk level.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Cobwebs and Dust

I post so infrequently on here now I should change the background to cobwebs and dust! :-)

So Royal Wedding... blah blah! Best bit was some of the choral music. We were driving to Wales whilst it was on, Mrs F adamant that we weren't to watch it. However on a majority vote (first past the post system as a referendum) in the car we put on Radio4. Also we called into Warwick Services on the M40 whilst some of the ceremony was on the telly - but you couldn't get near it for pensioners. Honestly a coach load arrived and it was like a fight to besiege the best spot near the telly! I keep thinking this but if young people behaved with the level of intolerance and lack of general acceptance of others that I regularly see in the older generation now there'd be an outcry. Why is it acceptable for people to be rude and inconsiderate just because they are over 70?

Anyway - Wales was fun we stayed a couple of days which were sunny and relatively warm... windy but nice. Sorry this is Wales we went to isn't it? I'm use to lashing horizontal rain etc.

I've started my new assignment - back where I used to work. Odd - but okay so far.

Right see you all in a few weeks if the general regularity of posting continues...