Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: “Fare Thee Well”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 11/20/2015
Back in the Summer of 2015, the surviving members of The Grateful Dead, meaning Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreautzmann, were joined together in music with long time keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, Bruce Hornsby and Trey Anastasio for a series of shows under the “Fare Thee Well” banner. These shows would be celebrating the milestone 50th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead and also would be the last time that the name would be used for concerts and recording. There would be a total of five concerts with two being in California, while the remaining and final three would happen at Chicago’s Soldier Field and this Blu-ray/CD set delivers the full final performance of The Grateful Dead. Over the course of my life I didn’t initially enjoy what The Dead was all about but this was because a lot of my friends who did like them would always tell me that what I listened to sucked. My appreciation of Hard Rock and the burgeoning Metal sound found me alienating what the Dead offered up purely by association to those memories. I admit this to you readers because that was a long time ago and since that time I have learned to appreciate a whole lot of Grateful Dead music but mostly by way of the “greatest hits” that every single other casual fan might know. The concert is a long one and something like 180 minutes/three hours long and each set is delivered on separate discs. Let’s go over the first set.
Continue reading “Fare Thee Well” [Blu-ray/CD] by The Grateful Dead
Amazon.com says “30 Trips Around The Sun: The Definitive Live Story features one unreleased live song from each year of the band’s career plus one special re-released track from the band’s earliest recordings, under the name The Emergency Crew. Every year from 1965 1995 is represented. Also featured is an essay by Dead aficionado Jesse Jarnow dissecting every track in the collection. “. It comes care of Rhino Records.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: “Crimson, White & Indigo: Philadelphia, July 7, 1989”
Label: Grateful Dead/Rhino Records
Release Date: 4/20/2010
Genre: Rock/Jam Rock
Whether you are a long time fan or just one of those watchers on the wayside there is no discounting the impact on Rock and Roll and the art of Jamming that the Grateful Dead have offered up during their very lengthy career. Formed in 1965, the band had already been around for decades by the time this live concert recording was done, and by the looks of the crowd that was packed into the JFK stadium on that summer day in 1989, you could see that they had not lost an ounce of their fan appeal. For those followers of the Grateful Dead, they will agree that there is really no shortage of live concert recordings from the band and one need only look at the many volume sets under the banner of “Dick’s Picks”. That being said this particular show still stands a little special on its own based on its being the very last show performed at this stadium which was demolished in 1992. The Dead recorded this gig on what was labeled as the hottest day of the year and they would be supporting their “In The Dark” album along with many other cherished releases from their repertoire. The great thing about this release is how we get the entire concert and not just bits and pieces from a lengthy gig and that is why there are three audio CD’s making up the package. During this time in the band history, the group was made up of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Brent Mydland, and Bill Kreutzmann. The production of the live show is amazing and crystal clear based on the use of today’s technology against the original analog tapes from the soundboard and as result give you the experience as if it was happening right now.
Continue reading “Crimson, White & Indigo: Philadelphia, July 7, 1989” by The Grateful Dead
Heaven and Hell has been enjoying an incredible ride for the last couple of years and it is richly deserved based on its members overall importance to the Heavy Metal genre. The reunion show at Radio City Music Hall and its subsequent DVD showed that this grouping of players were legends and soon we would find the crushing power of their new work on “The Devil You Know”, the new CD of music. Now on a hot summers night Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice came a calling and the Metal faithful were all listening. Horns up!
Artist: Heaven And Hell
Venue: WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
Opener: Coheed & Cambria
Label: Rhino Records
One of the most highly anticipated Metal album releases of 2009 was Heaven And Hell’s “The Devil You Know” and how could it be anything less when one considers that this would be the first full album of music from the Black Sabbath lineup that featured Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice. As most of the Metal community knows, this particular configuration of Black Sabbath reunited after the great success that was found from the compilation release “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years”; this album not only gave us some of that phases greatest work but also presented three new tunes to the general public that showed incredible promise and would whet the appetite for the possibilities that the future could hold for the lineup once again. The compilation was followed by stunning concerts and video releases which would all lead us to the eventual new recording and this evening’s show – this has clearly been an exciting two and a half years for the band and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Tonight the group would be making a grand return to New York City after their rousing Radio City Music Hall concert and make an appearance at The Theater which is located just below Madison Square Garden. As their opener they would select Coheed & Cambria and while I think that they are a strong band live I could not argue with the tried and true Metal fans who felt that perhaps a little bit more of a Metal band should have been given the chance to open up on this tour. Let’s face it, there are a number of killer groups out there that more people need to see and Coheed is already doing headlining shows of their own for folks who truly appreciate their brand of Heavy Progressive-themed Rock. Here is how the night went down for those who might not have been able to secure tickets.
Continue reading Heaven and Hell @ WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden (8/25/2009)
Artist: White Lion
Title: “The Definitive Rock Collection”
Label: Rhino Records
Release Date: 1/23/2007
Genre: Hard Rock
Formed in 1983 by singer Mike Tramp and guitarist Vito Bratta; White Lion was a band that would rule the Melodic Hard Rock scene of the eighties. Together with drummer Greg D’Angelo and bassist James Lomenzo they would become darlings of the MTV sector with a number of their videos and while often associated with the “Hair Metal” focus that was prevalent at the time, would offer fans deeper musical content than many of their contemporaries. Theirs was the perfect formula for success with the pinup looking front man in Tramp and the guitar god in Bratta and this often found the pair being compared to the likes of Van Halen members Dave Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen. The offering of more socially relevant songs as opposed to what many of their contemporaries would be doing allowed the band to stand out a little more from the general pack. Yes they had some rousing anthems for love like “Tell Me” or “Love Don’t Come Easy”, but there was also “Little Fighter” which referenced a Greenpeace ship and “When The Children Cry”, their ballad that tugged at the heartstrings. With White Lion you got deeper stuff than that which focused on drinking and partying hard. Growing up in Brooklyn at a certain time allowed me to remember quite clearly how exciting this band was on stage and how well they were received by the audience. You felt as though you were a part of something special with White Lion and while I grew into much heavier stuff I always held them in special regard in my musical heart.
Continue reading “The Definitive Rock Collection” by White Lion