Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Rod Stewart Newcastle Arena 9 July 2019

Rod the Mod goes to Vegas and back to Newcastle.

rod 2019 tixI continue my search for the old Rod (the Mod) Stewart, as I have previously written about. Whatever twists and turns there have been in Rod’s career I know that deep inside of the guy there remains a 60s and 70s core that loves rock ‘n’ roll and soul music, and that his voice is still as gravelly, soulful and amazing as ever. And sometimes, in every concert I go to, that mod soul singer who loved Sam Cooke, the Isley Bros and football comes out, the years roll back, and all is good in the world again. I guess you realise by now that Rod is one of my heroes, and always will be. Period.

Well this time Rod has been showing off his wares in no other than Caesars Palace Las Vegas. I have spoken to two people who went to Vegas on holiday and went to see his show. One is a good friend and the other is one of my regular taxi drivers. They were both totally knocked out by the songs, his voice, the performance, the stage show, the band, the singers and the spectacle of it all.

ROD 2019 PIXAnd now Rod returns back to Newcastle, bringing some of Vegas with him. This is a big Vegas type show. The screens are massive, the videos superb, the backing band top notch and the girl singers range from rock through soul through gospel. This is a number 1 spectacle, with our number 1 hero out front. My carer Jackie loved it and we were both totally knocked out.

So Rod starts by taking us back to his roots with Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party”, followed by a few well-known hits performed in full Vegas style and then….Bam!….Its Faces time and “Stay with Me”, coming surprisingly early in the set, but very welcome nonetheless. A few more songs and another one I love “The Killing of Georgie”. A few more standards and then back to the roots we go again with Etta James, via Chicken Shack, and “I’d Rather Go Blind”. The old ones keep coming: “Reason to Believe” (bringing back memories of seeing Tim Harden so many years ago at Sunderland Empire), “Dirty Old Town” the Ewan MacColl classic. A few more songs and we are reaching the end. Rod leaves the stage while the band perform “She Works Hard for the Money”. Rod returns and sings “Baby Jane”, which I still love, “Sailing” (sorry Rod but I never did like this one), “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” (do you really still have to sing this Rod?) And finally “Maggie May” and all is good again! I go home happy.

rod 2019 progSo once again Rod delivered. This time in true Las Vegas style. Until next time.

Setlist: Having a Party (Sam Cooke); Young Turks; Some Guys Have All the Luck; Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright); Stay With Me (Faces); Forever Young; Rhythm of My Heart; The Killing of Georgie; It Takes Two; Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me); I’d Rather Go Blind (Etta James); Rollin’ and Tumblin’; Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero (band only); Grace; Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin); Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl); I Don’t Want to Talk About It; Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison); She Works Hard for the Money (Donna Summer; band only); Baby Jane; Sailing; Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?; Maggie May

 

Ian Hunter and the Rant Band Whitley Bay Playhouse 3 July 2017

In Seventy-one all the people come
Bust a few seats but it’s just in fun
Take the Mick out of Top of the Pops
We play better than they do…..

Do you remember the Saturday gigs
We do, we do
Do you remember the Saturday gigs
We do, we do” (Saturday Gigs, Mott the Hoople, 1974)

ian hunter‘Unter is back in town. The guy who has given me so many wonderful memories over the years. The guy who has rock and roll in his blood. Forgive me while I reminisce a little, but seeing Ian Hunter brings so many memories flooding back of so many happy, happy days and nights. I owe this guy so much.

This is the guy who had long curly ginger locks and his iron cross guitar and sang about “Walking with a Mountain” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen” and blew us away with proper rock long before “Dudes” and who I saw at Sunderland Mecca with a young up-and-coming prog band called Genesis as support. Who caused so much mayhem at Newcastle Mayfair that the bouncers brought Alsatian dogs in to control the crowd. This is the guy who brought his Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus to Newcastle City Hall with none other than Max Wall as support. This is the guy who couldn’t make his mind up whether he was Bob Dylan, Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis, when actually he was Ian Hunter and that was enough in itself. Who brought us “All the Young Dudes” and the band was reborn.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Who sang to me from the stage at the Buxton Festival about “The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” complete with grand piano and a candelabra on top at what was to be Mott’s final UK gig (I think), while I stood in the mud and the rain. Who then teamed up with his old mate Ronson for a great single “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and a great concert at the City Hall. This guy then went solo, returned to the Mayfair with a grand piano at the height of punk rock, and had the Vibrators as support. Who reformed Mott the Hoople and gave me a great night at Hammersmith Odeon sat one row behind none other than Mick Jones of the Clash, a big Mott fan. And throughout the years his passion, rock ethos, drive and love for rock remained undiminished. Sorry for my rant, but this guy is one of my heroes (as you may have gathered).

So there I was, with Alan my carer, on the end of a row near the front in my wheelchair at Whitley Bay Playhouse ready to see my hero again. The audience was a mix of ages, ranging from faces I recognise from the Mayfair in the early 70s, through punks, Mott the Hoople fans and people who just like genuine heartfelt rock. And ‘Unter delivered, again. Two hours of great rock ‘n’ roll with a band of class musicians who provide a relentless backdrop for Ian’s vocals. The hair is not quite so ginger or curly, but the voice is as strong as ever. Two songs in and we get the aforementioned “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, a string of Hunter solo songs, now becoming classics themselves, then the opening guitar of “Roll Away the Stone” blows me away as it always has done. He closes with a nudge back to the past and one of his influences Lou Reed with “Sweet Jane”. The encore includes, as it has to and should, “All the Young Dudes” and the final “Good Night Irene” which seems to have become the closer at the moment.

2017-tour-ian hunterAmazing. One of the best times I have seen him. The guy was pushing 80 at the time but still has more energy, passion and drive than many half his age. I bump into Pauline and Rob of Penetration, who are surprised to see me in my wheelchair and I explain my predicament. Another night of memories, to park in the Mott/Ian Hunter collection. Till the next time, Ian. Let’s hope it is soon.

Setlist: That’s When The Trouble Starts; Once Bitten Twice Shy; Fatally Flawed; When I’m President; Saint; The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nuthin’ but the Truth; Morpheus; Just Another Night; Fingers Crossed; All American Alien Boy; Standin’ in My Light; All the Way From Memphis; Ghosts; Roll Away the Stone; I Wish I Was Your Mother; 23A, Swan Hill; Bastard; Sweet Jane. Encore: Dandy; Long Time; Life / All the Young Dudes / Goodnight Irene

Many thanks to Jim Summaria for allowing use of his image of Ian Hunter through Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

RIP Maggie, Laura’s lovely guide dog

maggieToday is a sad day, but also one filled with happy memories. Laura’s much loved guide dog, friend and companion passed away today, at the ripe old age of 14. She was a friend of all the family and accompanied us to many events and special occasions. Like all of us, she lived a full life; one of joy and so many special moments. She is one of the few dogs who has walked through the fields of the Glastonbury Festival, and walked across the stage at a graduation ceremony. She will be within our thoughts and hearts forever.

We wrote a story about Maggie’s adventures at Glastonbury; for a local magazine. You can see it below.

Maggie The Guide Dog’s Glastonbury Diary

maggieglastoHi. I am Maggie. I am a working dog, and I help my owner Laura, to get around. In 2011 she took me along to Glastonbury. I didn’t enjoy the long journey in the camper-van, but I had a great time when we got there. I didn’t see many of the bands, but I enjoyed listening to the music from my spot in the campsite. I particularly enjoyed Paul Simon; here I am listening to him. The mud was a bit of a problem for me, so I decided I would let Laura go without me in 2013. Laura will be here again in 2014, but I’ve arranged to stay at home with a friend. I don’t have a website, but Laura’s dad Peter keeps a daily blog of the concerts he has been to. You might like to have a look at it:
https://vintagerock.wordpress.com/
Enjoy the festival
Maggie Dog

 

Ian Anderson / Jethro Tull Newcastle City Hall 5 April 2018

“The train it won’t stop going
No way to slow down” (Locomotive Breath, Jethro Tull, 1971)

tull 50th tixThe sixth formers would carry LPs under their arms to school. They played them in a little room upstairs in the dining hall at lunchtime. Sometimes, if I was lucky, they allowed me upstairs to their elite “Record Club” to listen to their new, magical, psychedelic sounds. The records they carried were badges of honour and included Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown album, Cream’s Wheels of Fire, Tyrannosaurus Rex’s My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair, But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows, and Jethro Tull’s This Was. This Was included a mix of blues, rock and strange flute playing. A year or two later, I am sitting in my mate’s house and we are playing Jethro Tull’s second album Stand Up, with it’s great sleeve which opened out to a set of pop-ups of the band. How cool we felt. Then, in 1971, we all went to see Jethro Tull at Sunderland Empire. Happy days and magical memories. The die was cast. We were all Jethro Tull fans for life.

Roll-on 50 years. Only Ian Anderson remains from that original band and he is touring as Ian Anderson plays Jethro Tull, The 50th Anniversary Tour. Wonderful. What’s not to like. Why not go along and reminisce with old friends, listen to some old sounds, because let’s face it, we all like “Living in the Past”.

The current lineup of “Jethro Tull” is Ian Anderson – vocals, flute, acoustic guitar; David Goodier – bass; John O’Hara – keyboards, accordion, vocals; Scott Hammond – drums; and Florian Opahle – electric and acoustic guitars.

tull 50th progSure, Ian’s voice is not what it was and the old coat is gone, but the flute playing seems great and the songs remain as soulful, passionate, poignant and intriguing as ever. So we start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) with “My Sunday Feeling”; Track 1 Side 1 of This Was. This is followed by their first minor chart hit “Love Story”, followed by “A Song for Jeffrey” which is well known to all of us from the cheap compilation album You Can All Join In. Pure magic. The years disappear and the old songs flow over us all. These are followed by other classics from the first couple of albums. My favourites are the aforementioned “Living in the Past”, the magical flute solo which is “Bouree” and the spooky, almost scary “Witches Promise” bringing back memories of Ian’s wide-eyed madness on Top of the Pops (and didn’t our parents disapprove of him!). Set 1 closes with “Cross Eyed Mary”.

After a short interval Ian and the band return to treat us to excerpts from Thick As a Brick and A Passion Play. Then we have a run through the 70s albums moving into more more folk rock territory including “Songs from the Wood” and the Christmas song “Ring out, Solstice Bells”. Set 2 closes with a tale of that seedy tramp “Aqualung”. The encore is, as usual these days, “Locomotive Breath”. And then it is over. We quickly chat with old friends again and then go our separate ways. Until next time. Of course it will never be the same, but Ian Anderson did the Tull legacy proud, and gave us all a night to remember. Happy days.

Setlist. Set 1: My Sunday Feeling; Love Story; A Song for Jeffrey; Some Day the Sun Won’t Shine for You; Dharma for One; Living in the Past; A New Day Yesterday; Bourrée in E minor (Johann Sebastian Bach); With You There to Help Me / The Witch’s Promise; My God; Cross-Eyed Mary. Set 2: Thick as a Brick (excerpt); A Passion Play (excerpt); Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young to Die; Songs From the Wood; Ring Out, Solstice Bells; Heavy Horses; Farm on the Freeway; Aqualung. Encore: Locomotive Breath

The Pretenders Newcastle City Hall 30 September 2017

“I’m special, so special,” (Brass in Pocket, The Pretenders, 1979)

pretenders tixChrissie Hynde is as sassy, soulful, passionate and uncompromising as ever. No longer a young rocker who grew out of punk, new wave, working in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop in the Kings Road, who almost married Sid Vicious, and did marry her hero Ray Davies, Hynde still strikes a commanding pose and comes armed with a set of rocky, jangling songs which are as relevant and as much fun as they ever were.

Laura, Jackie my carer and I went along to the City Hall looking forward to hearing a string of hits, some great rock ‘n’ roll, and seeing the living icon that is Chrissie Hynde. The girls sitting beside us were a little worse for wear, singing along with every song and every now and then threatening to fall on top of, and flatten, Laura. All the ingredients for a fun night out, on the town (or should I say “the toon”).

And a fun night it was. The Pretenders treated us to a set of new songs, old hits, Chrissie Hynde solo tunes and more. After a couple of songs I didn’t recognise the old classics started to emerge: “Message of Love”, the exquisite “Talk of the Town” and then we were back to the start and “Kid” with images of the young Chrissie being soaked in beer thrown over her by members of the crowd at the Mayfair in the late 70s flashing through my mind.

The band may be different with only Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers remaining from the original Pretenders but the sound and the songs remain the same. The new members bring new life and continue the soulful, edgy, rock ‘n’ roll that is The Pretenders.

pretenders prog“Don’t Get Me Wrong” was followed by “I’ll Stand by You” and then after a few more songs my mind was flashing back again to the first time I saw the band in the Mayfair with the Kinks classic “Stop Your Sobbing”. “Back on the Chain Gang” took us towards the end.

But we knew it wasn’t really going to be the end. The encore included the classic ballad “I Go to Sleep” and finished with (of course, what else but) “Brass in Pocket” taking me back to a Friday night in Newcastle Polytechnic Students Union, the week the song was number one in the charts, standing on the tables with Marie, while the place erupted around us. It was so many years ago and yet in many ways it seems only like yesterday.

The girls next to us finally fell on the floor. We went out into the cold night and got in to our respective taxis, Laura back to her house in Newcastle and Jackie and I back to Sunderland. Happy days.

Setlist: Alone; Gotta Wait; Message of Love; Talk of the Town; Down the Wrong Way; Let’s Get Lost;   Kid; Private Life; Don’t Get Me Wrong; I’ll Stand by You; Night in My Veins; Don’t Cut Your Hair;  Boots of Chinese Plastic; Hymn to Her; Break Up the Concrete; Stop Your Sobbing; Adding the Blue;  Back on the Chain Gang; Mystery Achievement. Encore: I Go to Sleep; Middle of the Road; Thumbelina; Brass in Pocket

 

 

Roy Harper Sage Gateshead 20 March 2019

roy 1969And O how the sea she roars with laughter
And howls with the dancing wind
To see my stupid poetry burbling” (McGoohan’s Blues, Roy Harper, 1969)

The first time I saw Roy Harper in concert was in 1969. I was 12 years old and Roy was 27. Roy was just about to release Folkjokeopus his third album. The album is notable for the lengthy track “McGoohan’s Blues”, which Harper states was “inspired by actor Patrick McGoohan’s depiction of the establishment rebel in his TV series, The Prisoner“.

Here I am 50 years later seeing Roy once more. Roy is a sprightly 77-year-old and I am 62 years old.

The advertisement for the Sage concert stated: “Renowned folk singer-songwriter Roy Harper is celebrating 50 years of classic tracks including the famed epic ‘McGoohan’s Blues’. In 2013 his album Man & Myth was lauded by press across the UK. Uncut said “Harper’s first album in 13 years is a magnificent, ambitious rejuvenation.” Harper will joined by Bill Shanley and an ensemble of musicians.

HARPER TIXOn why he has decided to tour again, Harper said: “Partly because many of the things I wrote about in McGoohan’s Blues in 1968 are still very relevant 50 years later, and partly because my third record was a watershed moment in my recording life, it’s been long in my mind that I should dust it off and bring it on tour again.”

The concert was in two sets and drew from throughout Roy’s extensive back catalogue. Roy was on good form, chatting with the audience as usual; although he didn’t get quite as much banter (or heckling) in response as he usually does. His voice remains strong and soulful and his passion and commitment is as undiminished as ever. Roy was accompanied by a small string section which gave an added texture to the songs.

So we were treated to some of my favourite Harper songs such as “Don’t You Grieve”, the classic “Another Day” and “Highway Blues”. Roy closed the set with “When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease”. The encore was a more recent song “I Loved My Life”. It was great to see Roy again, still touring and still a delight. I would love to have heard him Roy-Harpersing “I Hate the White Man” but, hey, you can’t always get what you want. Jackie my carer is now a Roy Harper convert, which is great. Me, I had a lovely evening, spent with an old friend.

Setlist. Set 1: Hors d’oeuvres; Time Is Temporary; Don’t You Grieve; Man In the Glass Cage; McGoohan’s Blues. Set 2: Another Day; Drawn to the Flames; The Wolf at the Door; Highway Blues; Hallucinating Light; When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease. Encore: I Loved My Life

John Mayall Sage Gateshead 14 November 2017

mayall tix

The Sage advertised the concert: “Pioneer of blues music John Mayall played at the Sage Gateshead in Sage Hall One (the large hall) with special guest The Buddy Whittington Band on the 14th November 2017. Considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time this was not a show to miss.”

And you can’t get much more of a pioneer than the father of British blues himself, Mr John Mayall. Mayall is a living legend and deserves much respect; particularly for those classic 60s albums by the Blues Breakers featuring Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor and many other legendary guitarists, bass players and drummers. Respect. Respect that the guy is still out there, continuing to play his craft at the age of 84 at the time of this concert, just as his influences, the old blues men continued to play until a ripe old age.

This time round, John Mayall is supported by none other than Buddy Whittington, one of his previous bandmates, and an excellent guitarist in the style of Eric Clapton and Peter Green. The John Mayall band is a stripped down version; a three-piece with Mayall on vocals, harmonica, keyboards and guitar, along with Jay Davenport on drums and Greg Rzab on bass.

mayall progThe set comprises several blues standards, and songs from Mayall’s extensive back catalogue. The sound is somewhat laid-back, in the style of a Chicago blues combo with each excellent instrumentalist being given the chance to highlight their skill in an extended solo; including electric piano and harmonica solos by Mayall himself. That is the strength of Mayall. The man comes over as modest, happy and content to allow his band members to flourish, shine and excel and then move on to further their own successful careers; from Clapton onwards and Buddy Whittington himself being a recent example. There are quite a few songs I recognise and several I don’t; nonetheless I enjoyed the set, as did my carer Jackie, and continue to marvel at the legend that is John Mayall. His tiny guitar, which I have seen many times over the years, never ceases to fascinate me. Mayall finished the set with, what else but, his own standard “Room to Move” with much harmonica excellence on display. Long may he continue. Respect. Until the next time.

Setlist (something like): I’m a Sucker for Love; Talk About That; Checkin’ Up on My Baby; Not at Home; Help Me Baby; Do I Please You; Mother-In-Law Blues; That’s All Right; Movin’ Groovin’ Blues;     Driftin’ Blues; California. Encore: Room to Move

Wishbone Ash 50th anniversary tour Sage Gateshead 6 November 2019

wish 50 tixSo many of my favourite bands are reaching their 50th anniversary now. It just shows how old I am. This was a night full of memories for me, taking me back to the early 70s. Andy Powell has continued to fly the Wishbone Ash flag high for all of those 50 years and arrived to a packed Hall 2 of the Sage, Gateshead and delighted the audience with two sets, spanning the entire Wishbone Ash catalogue.

Jackie, my carer, and I were seated close to the front with a prime view of the stage; and marvelled at the twin guitar melodies and the vocal harmonies of a set of classic songs. The first set opened with “Real Guitars Have Wings”, and then we were back to Argos and the early days with “The King Will Come” and “Throw down the Sword”. In an instant I am back halfway up the lighting tower at the Lincoln Festival in 1972, 15 years wish pixold with my long hair blowing behind me and next to me is my sadly missed old mate Clive. The band may have changed over the years, but my memories remain, and to me the songs sound as glorious as they ever did. A few more great songs and the first set closes with another classic “The Way of the World”.

After a short interval, during which Jackie and I partook in some gorgeous ice cream (they do particularly nice creamy flavours such as butterscotch in the Sage), the band return. And we are back to the very start; Side 1, Track 1 of the first album: “Blind Eye”; simply unbeatable, the closing discordant guitars still ring in my ears now. A couple of more songs lead us into the guitar epic “The Pilgrim” from the second album Pilgrimage. Soon we are rocking away in “Living Proof” and then the closer “Jailbait” which for some reason brings back memories of standing at the back of a packed Sunderland Locarno ballroom (the Mecca) watching the Ash finish their set with the same song. The encore is, what else could it be but “Blowing Free”.

A wonderful night of great songs, great guitars, great harmonies and great memories. wish pix 2Jackie came along full of interest and left, a convert and a fan. I am having so much fun converting my carers into fans of classic rock bands! One omission: the epic “Phoenix”, but then you can’t have everything.

Andy Powell closed the evening by announcing that Wishbone Ash would be returning to the Sage in January 2021, with Jan Ackerman, in the larger Sage 1 Hall. The next day I bought tickets. Job done!

Thanks to Jackie for taking the photographs of the band.

wishbone progSetlist:

Set 1: Real Guitars Have Wings; The King Will Come; Throw Down the Sword; Sometime World; We Stand as One; In Crisis; The Way of the World.

Set 2: Blind Eye; Deep Blues; Enigma; The Pilgrim; Tales of the Wise; Living Proof; Jail Bait.

Encore: Blowin’ Free.

The Rolling Stones, Murrayfield Stadium Edinburgh, June 9, 2018

The Rolling Stones have been an important part of my life for over 50 years. When I was stones tixa kid, maybe 10 or 11, the public house over the road “The Colliery Inn” would sell off the jukebox copies of recent hit singles when they left the charts, or when the locals lost interest in them. My mates and I would regularly go to the side entrance of the bar, where there was a little hatch and ask the barmaid to look at the records. She would bring out a box of 45 rpm singles, each with their centres pushed out for operation in the jukebox. We would, with delight, look through the pile of records including The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, The Who and others. I can still smell the beer that wafted out of the bar; lovely! There were never many Beatles singles; someone must have held on to them. I remember buying copies of “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Little Red Rooster”, “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby (Standing in the Shadow)” and “Paint It Black”. I had to buy plastic centres for the records in order to play them on my old record player. I would stack up the records and play them again and again; particularly “Paint It Black”. My lifelong obsession with the Rolling Stones began then.

jagger 1A few years later, I was a young teenager sitting in awe in Newcastle City Hall in 1971, watching in disbelief at my hero Mick Jagger. I couldn’t believe that I was actually saying the Rolling Stones, in real life, in front of me! From then on, I have seen the Stones many times; joining 200,000 fans at Knebworth Park in 1976, many shows in football stadiums around the country, and more recently, concerts in London’s plush O2 arena and at the Glastonbury Festival.

Tickets for The Rolling Stones have always been relatively expensive, in comparison to other bands. In recent days they have reached exorbitant rates. The Stones charge up to £1000 for prime seats. However, I decided to buy much more reasonably priced (cheapest) tickets for £100 each, in an upper tier of the stadium at the side of the stage.

stones progBefore my accident, buying tickets was very different, and much easier. I would go to my computer; a few clicks and I had my tickets! Ticket buying is very different now I need a wheelchair space. I need to locate the accessible phone line and phone that number, only to be put into a queue, listening to music until I finally got through to an operator. I am then allocated my spot in the stadium and a free ticket for my carer. Sometimes I could be in the queue for over one hour, hoping to get tickets. This is admittedly much easier than queueing for tickets which I did many times in the 1970s. I once queued 28 hours outside Newcastle City Hall to buy tickets for the Rolling Stones! The logistics of travelling to a major gig have changed since being in a wheelchair. I need to plan ahead carefully. I book an accessible taxi to the train station, accessible seats on the train and two hotel rooms (one disabled room for me, one twin room for my carers). I take two carers with me, for different shifts during the night. Booking the train involves phoning the accessible travel line and then another number to book train tickets. I need to arrive at the station early and look for the friendly guys with a ramp who assist me on to the train.stones crowd

I thought my years of seeing my heroes finished with my accident but no, here I was in Scotland, witnessing a Rolling Stones concert again. We arrived just in time to catch support act Richard Ashcroft play the Verve hits, “The Drugs Don’t Work” and “Bitter Sweet Symphony”. Soon the Stones exploded onto the stage with “Start Me Up” and didn’t let up for two hours. Jagger and Richards are amazing; the energy they display in their advanced years is unbelievable. Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards perform exciting guitar duels and Charlie Watts sits quietly at the back keeping time. The hits kept flowing: “Paint It Black” (still my favourite after all these years), “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, “Honky Tonk Women” and “Under My Thumb”. One surprise is “She’s a Rainbow” from Their Satanic Majesties Request, which had been requested by fans through the Stones website (a great choice and another one of my favourites). They finish with “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Brown Sugar”. The encores were stones ronnie 1“Gimme Shelter “and (of course) “Satisfaction”.

We (myself and my two carers Joanne and Lisa) wandered into the cool Edinburgh streets to hail a taxi. Two hours later, somewhat lost, and panicking as my chair was running out of charge, as were Lisa’s and Joanne’s phone’s! We eventually found a bus which took us back to Princes Street and a short walk to our hotel. A bit of an adventure! But we all enjoyed it.

Setlist: Start Me Up; Let’s Spend the Night Together; It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It); Tumbling Dice; Under My Thumb; Ride ‘Em on Down (Eddie Taylor cover); She’s a Rainbow (by request); You Can’t Always Get What You Want; Paint It Black; Honky Tonk Women; You Got the Silver (Keith on lead vocals); Happy (Keith on lead vocals); Sympathy for the Devil; Miss You; Midnight Rambler; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Brown Sugar. Encore: Gimme Shelter; (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

Thanks to Lisa for taking the photographs. 

Sadly, this was the last time I saw the Rolling Stones with the great Charlie Watts on the drum stool. Charlie sadly passed away yesterday 24 August 2021. He was one of the world’s greatest rock drummers; providing a steady, solid beat to the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world. No big showmanship, no long drum solos; just perfect drumming for the perfect rock band. Things will never be the same again. The remaining three stalwarts Mick, Keith and Charlie are now down to two. Charlie you were one of my all-time heroes. RIP Charlie Watts.

Iron Maiden Newcastle Arena 14 May 2017

maiden tix may 2017Well it has been more than 30 years since The Maiden and I touched base. Too long. I have many happy memories of Iron Maiden and early days at Sunderland Locarno and Newcastle City Hall, Paul Di’Anno and early tracks such as “Running Free”, the entrance of Bruce Dickinson (who I had known as Bruce Bruce from Samson), the hit song “Run to the Hills” and, of course, the ever present giant monster Eddie.

This was one of the first concerts after my accident and I was both looking forward to it and also a little nervous about travelling so far in the back of a taxi and sitting through a rock concert. While I need not have been nervous. There was nothing to fear. As soon as Iron Maiden took to the stage I felt “at home”; a kid again; back in the swirling, magical, loud experience that is heavy rock music. Somewhere along the road Iron Maiden have evolved from pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to a classic, almost vintage, heavy rock band.

The current members of the band are the ever present leader, original member, and super bass guitar player Steve Harris, long time guitar men Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, drummer Nicko McBrain and local hero Janick Gers on guitar. And of course, Bruce Dickinson on vocals. Iron Maiden have a style of their own; soaring, operatic rock vocals, triple guitar rock with lots of OTT solos, and a super energetic front man in Bruce Dickinson. Oh, and of course, the aforementioned Eddie who always makes an appearance, lumbering around the stage striking fear into all who dare come near him.

maiden progThey enter the stage to the music of UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” (great choice and clearly setting out their influences) and then straight into a set which draws from their entire back catalogue, and heavily from their new album The Book of Souls. There are lots of songs that are new to me, but they all sound great and when they go back to the early days and “Iron Maiden” and the first encore “The Number of the Beast”, I am on familiar territory. I was expecting “Run To the Hills” and they don’t play it, but hey you can’t always have everything. They leave the stage to the music of Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, which about sums the evening and the whole experience for me. My carer, Alan, was a Maiden virgin but really enjoyed the whole thing. A great night with a great band. It was like meeting old friends again. I was back on the rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster; in a wheelchair, but still rocking away. Happy days are here again.

Setlist: Doctor Doctor (UFO song as intro); If Eternity Should Fail; Speed of Light; Wrathchild;    Children of the Damned; Death or Glory; The Red and the Black; The Trooper; Powerslave; The Great Unknown; The Book of Souls; Fear of the Dark; Iron Maiden. Encore: The Number of the Beast; Blood Brothers; Wasted Years. (Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: Monty Python)