DAVID REECE Talks About Performing in Bulgaria, Sainted Sinners and His Upcoming Solo Album

20180329_203030Meeting David Reece for the second time in Bulgaria was an absolute delight and I sure as hell wasn’t going to skip the opportunity to talk to one of the most memorable and strong voices of rock music. David Reece, who is well known by his works in bands such as Accept, Bonfire and more recently, Sainted Sinners is a huge fan of Bulgaria and the rock community over here adores him so his visit was no surprise. He is coming back pretty soon again and I, along with his fans will be waiting with anticipation.

I met David last year when he came to Bulgaria with Sainted Sinners and Ian Paice for one of the best rock shows of 2017. Seeing him perform the songs on which rock laid its foundations on (from Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, etc.), as well as fresh new additions to the world of rock&roll was a mind-blowing experience and now I can proudly state that I was part of it all yet again and not just as a fan or a concert attendee. I had the golden chance of speaking to him about many things, including his upcoming activities as a solo artist and with Sainted Sinners, the music industry, how things have changed in the past years and so much more. He gave me such valuable insights on many things rock-music related and I am glad I can now share it with all of you – my precious readers and lovers of rock music. I do hope you enjoy the following interview and photos from his recent visit in Bulgaria.

P.S.

I would like to express my gratitude to Bulgarian rock singer Sheky and his band for backing up David Reece during this memorable night! Those guys did a wonderful job and I’m certainly proud of them! International collaborations are so beautiful!


 

How do you feel tonight and how does it feel to be back in Bulgaria? It’s not your first time being here so I’m curious to know what do you think of the Bulgarian rock community?

I realized when I came here the first time, the passion from the people was intense. I’ve been told so many times here – “You know, I really wanna see this band, they never come to our country.” I’m coming! And every time I come here, more people come to see me. I’ve built a fanbase here and I feel like people respect what I do and I respect that. I’m welcomed here and it’s a good market because many bands pass by – they only look at keeping the same, say Germany’s fees and Sweden’s fees, they wanna keep that balance. I don’t believe that. I think that you have to work with the dynamic of the market.

Is there a song you’re mostly looking forward to singing tonight?

Yeah, I’m actually a huge fan of the album from Whitesnake “Forevermore”. That song. I wanted to do it last time I was here, but the guys didn’t learn it. I think I really sing it good. I do it my way but I keep some of the Coverdale sound in it. I’m excited. Last time I was here, we ran out of time and the owner wanted more songs. So I sang an acapella. Everybody stood up and started cheering. That’s what I mean about Bulgaria! They know the songs, everybody loves music.

Are you performing any of your solo material or any Sainted Sinners music tonight?

No, I’m gonna do one Accept song – “Generation Clash”. I do that, everybody knows this song so I usually play that live.

You have recently released a new album with Sainted Sinners and it’s getting some really nice reviews. I also thought that it was a big step forward in comparison with the debut album in terms of production, songwriting, passion and energy. I’m curious if there’s a particular theme or topic you followed while making the album? How did you pick and write the songs?

The vision was – we all come from the old Deep Purple thing and that was kind of our ‘70s sound with the Hammond keyboards. Ferdy is a great keyboard player. Frank said, “How do you feel about a more guitar-oriented album?” I said okay but you can’t go from heavy guitar and keyboards and jump right into guitar – the fans who liked the first album are gonna go “What happened?” So we put little colors and keyboards on the new album. There’s a lot more guitar. Frank really gets to show his talent there.

As far as the songwriting goes, Frank and I have this weird telepathy. We don’t really speak. We play really well together, we have this really good writing relationship. When he sends me an idea, I hear the words immediately. I’m not a lyricist who wants to write “woah woah, baby baby, I love you” lyrics. I hate it. I would rather write about what I’m watching on television or what people are talking about in a club or person-to-person conversations. I hear words in my head and then I write the lyrics.

So now that the album is out, is there a next step for Sainted Sinners? Do you plan on touring together?

It’s really hard for the fans. Frank is in Bonfire. Sainted Sinners is our kind of a side project. So, I have to live in the shadow of that in a sense and I don’t like it. I would rather have more focus on Sainted Sinners but it’s not possible. One of the reasons it that Bonfire tour more. We did five shows this year on the release and it’s not enough for me.

But what I’ve done is, I’m playing my solo stuff. In July, there’s a giant festival that I’m part of. I’m headlining on the Friday night. I said, “What do you think about Sainted Sinners on Saturday before the major headliner?” So I think we’re gonna do that but Frank’s schedule is… it’s really hard.

I wanna play more but I’m not gonna sit around and wait for an opportunity. I’m gonna grab it while it’s still there for me.

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Perhaps you can maybe focus on recording new albums rather than touring?

I’m open to that with Frank. No reason why not to, we have a great writing relationship, there’s no animosity, but I really believe that if you’re a band and you’re making records, you should be touring behind those albums. I can make 50 albums a year with all the great guitar players who are home for the weekend. I don’t like that. I wanna tour what I do. You really don’t get the song until you tour it.

Tell me about your solo album. I know that it’s coming out this year.

I signed with “Mighty Music”. The story really quickly is I know a guy – Alessandro Lifonti who is very good friends with Mike Tramp.  Mike Tramp and I did shows together in the USA. I wrote Ali one day and said “I wanna make a solo album. What does Mike Tramp say about his label – Target and Mighty Music?” He said he really likes it. I said I’ll write Mike Tramp so I wrote Mike and he said “Yeah, they’d be interested.” Within minutes I had a record deal. I signed a multi-album deal. The music is very modern, heavy, melodic. If you like Accept’s “Eat the Heat”, that’s what it is vocally but it’s more modern rather than the cliché AOR.

Where did you draw your influences from?

I don’t know. I like bands like Nickelback. I enjoy them and some of those sounds they have, I think they’re great. People criticize them but they still go see their concerts.

It’s not Nickelback music (his new album) but it’s more modern than what I’m used to doing. I’m really excited cause it’s heavy. My voice is in great shape on it. Mario Percudani at Tanzan Music is recording my vocals. The band is from Denmark – the two guitar players.

So we are expecting something modern?

Modern and heavy and very melodic. Very heavy but not dark. Really good, I think it’s my best album in many years and I mean that from my heart. I’m really shocked.

So maybe by doing a more modern record, you’re getting the attention of many younger fans? Is that something you’ve thought about?

No. I kind of got bored, writing the same style. I wanted to reach out and expand my horizons. I’ve had these ideas in my head for a few years. In 2017, April – around that time, I wrote the first song, called “Karma”. That was the template of the album.

When does the album come out?

November 2018.

Maybe when you release it you can come back and have a show here to present it?

Yeah, I hope.

Is there anything you wanna say to the younger generations of rock fans, like myself?

If you believe in what you’re doing and you’re talented, then nobody can tell you that it’s not gonna work. One thing you have to learn in this business is how to say “no”. If you don’t like something and you feel it in your heart that it’s not right for you, don’t do it. I did that for years with the big record companies. They always had this great plan and in my heart that didn’t sound right and it usually failed. Follow your dream, believe in it. You’re gonna get kicked down. Rise like a phoenix – like the song in the Sainted Sinners album. Stand up! My mother used to say – “You get kicked in the teeth all the time, but you always rise like a phoenix and come back!” It’s disappointing, but there is joy and if you believe in it and it’s really you, then it’s real.

Thank you, Dave for the awesome talk! I wish you all the success and hope to see you in my country again, soon!

david reece autographed cd

What a valuable collection piece – ACCEPT’s “Eat the Heat”, signed by David Reece!

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Photos, retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/pg/rocknrollasofia/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155827891389843

Some of the photos, including the featured image were taken from the official Facebook page of the venue. Huge thanks to the photographer. For more, check out the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/rocknrollasofia/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155827891389843
P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!

Johnny Gioeli (HARDLINE, AXEL RUDI PELL) to Perform in Sofia, Bulgaria, alongside ERIDAN

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

Discovering Hardline years ago was expected, given the fact that hard rock is exactly my kind of thing. However, falling in love with their unique sound and charismatic appeal that differentiated them among the endless river of hard rock bands that came out in the late ’80s/early ’90s, was also inevitable; I mean, don’t get me wrong but who wouldn’t?

me tixFor a long time, classics like Double Eclipse” and more recent releases like “Danger Zone” and “Human Nature” have been an inseparable part of my life. You know me – once a fan, always a fan. My unconditional support for the band can largely be contributed to the talented frontman – Mr. Johnny Gioeli who mesmerized me, ever since I heard him sing for the very first time on that timeless debut album. Imagine how my little fan heart felt the moment I found out that he was going to perform in my home country of Bulgaria at the end of March, 2018. The excitement is overwhelming and I just cannot wait to see how he makes magic on that stage. I’m dying to sing along with him on hard rock anthems like “Takin’ Me Down”, “Hot Cherie”, “Rhythm from a Red Car” or “Danger Zone” and “Where Will We Go From Here”. It’s going to be one of the highlights of the season and definitely a concert I will remember forever. (Concert review will come immediately after the event, so stay tuned)

I think dedicated fans from Bulgaria are expected to come and I am certain they will. What I truly hope to see is young rock enthusiasts like myself, eager to discover for the very first time the unbelievable talent of Johnny and his music! I sincerely hope to see many new faces and spread the word, because believe me, it’s totally worth it!

(… a song I truly hope to experience live; If he decides to sing it, I will just go on that stage and dance my ass off, I don’t care!)

It’s not just HARDLINE where Johnny flourished as a notable vocalist and won the hearts of many. Alongside guitarist Axel Rudi Pell, Johnny has been conquering the stages since the late ’90s. Those two are a match made in heaven and a duo worth appreciating. I cannot wait to enjoy their music as well, presented by him on the Bulgarian stage.


One more exciting addition to the event would be the participation of Bulgarian rock band ERIDAN. I gotta say, I am not that familiar with them, however I can’t but be thrilled about the collaboration and the opportunity presented here. Since I was living abroad for so long, diving into the local rock scene and unearthing beautiful rock bands like ERIDAN can’t but be something to look forward to.

For my many international readers, I think it would be quite interesting to discover a new foreign rock band that is equally deserving. 

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ERIDAN (credits: https://www.facebook.com/pg/eridanband)

Here are a few videos, where you can get a glimpse of how magic is being made…

…and of course this incredible performance.

I am just as thrilled to hear him sing the evergreen hits of Rainbow and Deep Purple. That’s going to entirely shatter the ground beneath my feet because I’m a huge fan and seeing someone so vocally power doing justice to these classics will be a life-changing moment for me and the fans.

(Photos from  JOHNNY GIOELI and ERIDAN’s last concert in Bulgaria in 2017; Credits: Tonina Manfredi and Dimitar Lukanov)

For more information about the concert, please visit the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1801415513492413/

 


References:
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Concert Experience: SAINTED SINNERS & IAN PAICE @ Diana Hall, Yambol, Bulgaria (28/10/2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

backstage pass - ian paice yambolI think about this rock&roll weekend I had with Sainted Sinners and Ian Paice and I still cannot fully process what happened to me and how lucky I was to be there and have this life-changing experience. I’ve been to so many rock concerts, of all shapes, styles and sizes, but this was the first time I got the chance to have the “insider’s look” and closely witness how hard but immensely rewarding it is for artists, crew and everyone involved in an event to put everything together and deliver it to the beloved fans who came to support them.

me and alessandroIt was an honor to be invited backstage by the versatile musical genius Alessandro Del Vecchio and sit down and talk to him about the current situation of the music industry (stay tuned for the full interview on my blog, coming up pretty soon). Getting this opportunity was certainly the highlight of my career as a music blogger and will forever cherish the memories and insights I gained; Not just that, but I cannot wait to share everything with my devoted readers.

The concert was held at Sports Diana Hall in Yambol, Bulgaria. Despite Yambol being one of the small cities in Bulgaria, the 2,000+ people that ended up showing was no surprise. Legendary drummer Ian Paice, along with the supergroup Sainted Sinners who are composed of top-notch musicians, including lead guitarist Frank Pané, vocalist David Reece, drummer Berci Hirleman, bass guitarist Malte Frederik Burkert and guest keyboardist/vocalist Alessandro Del Vecchio are certainly a solid reason for fans to gather up for a night of pure rock&roll!

I’ve been to many sound-checks but as I said, this was the first time I’ve witnessed something of this calibre. The preparations and the level of precision and dedication from the band and crew were admirable and equally pleasing to watch as the show that came later on. I expected nothing but professionalism and great attitude from all the rockstars on that stage and believe me, that’s the only way they handled everything.

soundcheck sainted sinners and ian

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Backstage photos with David AndNadia Reece & Malte Frederik Burkert. Both were incredibly kind and sweet. I especially enjoyed talking to Malte who by the way puts to shame any lady out there with his gorgeous hair. 

Me and Frank Pané . Had the chance to tell him that Bonfire‘s “Byte the Bullet” is in my Top3 albums of 2017 so far! He was so happy to hear it!

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The Before…

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& the after…

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Right before the show; Proud of everyone who contributed to this concert and the lovely audience!

Everyone was thrilled to see Ian Paice rock the hell out of those drums, just like he’s been doing for the past 50 years or so. The first time I saw him, he immediately said hi to me and moved on to the stage for soundcheck; I will never forget how natural the encounter was. I met him after the concert as well, took a photo with him and got his autograph! What a memory. I mean, we are talking about a founding member of one of the most legendary and history-defining bands of all time – Deep Purple. Seeing him at this shape, despite being 70 years old is inspiring and I was blessed to once again this year be in his presence (I went to Deep Purple’s concert in Sofia, Bulgaria this past May too). He did a splendid job and it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves in the company of this legend.

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Me and the legend! It was an honor to meet him!

Don’t you even get me started on Sainted Sinners. This was the first time I watched them live and I had the time of my life. I knew that David Reece was going to tear down the place with his vocals and he did it, believe me. The stage dynamics were a beautiful thing to experience. I loved the energy and interaction between the members, as well as the way they portrayed their style in front of the Bulgarian audience. The concert was divided into two parts – first part was with Sainted Sinners, mixing golden oldies and newly released music. The second part was with Ian Paice and it exclusively featured Deep Purple’s strongest hits, like “Stormbringer”, “Burn”, “Highway Star”, etc. The concert was quite long and at one point I could feel that I’m no longer 20 as my back started hurting from so much dancing and jumping around.  

Some of my favorite moments include Alessandro Del Vecchio taking over the mic for a beautiful cover of Rainbow’s “Since You’ve Been Gone”. Just listen to his powerful vocals, I was entirely mindblown by how good of a live performer he is.

The setlist included timeless classics like this and more, even AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, performed by Frank Pané‘s wife Lydia was on the table. Another memorable moment for me was Sainted Sinners performing the highly energizing “We Are All Sainted Sinners” which was the point where I realized I won’t be having my voice on the next day (and yes, it was gone). You know how much I love Bonfire so seeing Frank Pané live in action was a dream becoming true. The guy is effortlessly stunning as a guitarist – he just barely touches that signature polka dots guitar as if it’s a feather and the ground starts shaking. Malte Burkert was something else – his youthful, playful but passionate presence on that stage make me drop my jaw a few times.

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For the second part of the concert, as I’ve already mentioned, drummer Ian Paice joined Sainted Sinners and put us all into his back pocket. What a musician! I especially loved when the band played “Burn” – a pivotal moment for the evening. There’s a video but you can hear me sing my guts out so I think I will keep it to myself for now. 

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Check this out! He is unbelievable – drumming as if he was a 20-year old…

The grand finale!

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Happiness…my face says it all! I was part of a historical concert and thank everyone who made it happen! Cheers to more!


P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!

Concert Experience: Marillion Live at Ancient Theater, Plovdiv, Bulgaria (24/09/2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

With so many unique rock bands out there, each bearing their own distinctive style of sound, appearance and approach to music, no wonder people can never get tired of live music and crave for more and more. I’ve always been a fan of live musical events, not just because I’m a fan of a certain band but because that’s the most genuine way to touch the heart and soul of the artists and turn it into a distinctive piece of memory you can always carry with you. There are bands out there that devoted their entire career to making spirit-lifting music, full of encouragement, excitement and confidence. Their concerts are usually filled with tons of action and fire, leaving the fans tired but satisfied to the bone.

There are also of course, the bands that make music with deeper, more complex meanings, complemented by more sophisticated sound and instrumentation. We refer to this type of rock as progressive, so I will just stick to this term for now. I’ve been a fan of progressive rock for a long long time but honestly, I’ve never attended a concert by a progressive rock band. I’ve had my ideas and expectations but once you actually witness it in front of you, you see how little you know and how much more you have yet to understand and experience. In that sense, I am quite proud and privileged to have the legendary British neo-progressive rock band Marillion come to not just my country, but to my hometown and reward me and their fans over here with not just a concert but an impossible manifestation of audio and visual techniques, creating one of the most spine-tingling and arousing musical journeys of my life so far. I must say, I’m not the most devoted fan of the band but I was never in a million years going to miss the chance to see their life-changing show. I hope to inspire you with my story and do justice to Marillion because believe me, those guys know how to deliver a striking not just musical but theatrical performance and you just gotta go see it while you still have the chance.

I should start by saying that Marillion challenged every norm and standard I had in my mind about rock concerts. The entire evening was one endless stream of sensual audio and visual provocations, topped with a magical artistic performance by vocalist Steve Hogarth. To many it was probably just a different kind of concert but to me it was way more than that – it was a beautiful theatrical presentation, incorporating compelling singing, melodramatic gestures and body movements and irresistible audience interaction, all decorated with stunning visual effects and videos that perfectly complement every song and the lyrics. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Marillion certainly put a lot of effort to make a “heavy” show; I say heavy but I don’t necessarily refer to the music. The show itself required a lot of attention and sweat from the viewer. We were assaulted with many different show pieces, all challenging each and every one of our senses; The concert put me to a test – it’s been a while since I last felt so uptight but definitely in a good way.

I’ve been talking so much about the excellent visuals and now it’s time to actually show you. The venue here also played a huge rule in the atmospheric progressive experience. My readers might be familiar with it from my Nazareth concert experience article a few months ago as it’s the same one – The Roman Amphitheater in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Marillion Plovdiv Venue

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You could clearly see how much time and effort were put into the making of those videos that were accompanying each performance. The lyrics perfectly matched the scenes and it provided the audience with another treat to watch out for. To me, the most appealing aspect of the show was when they performed “King” and the video behind them showed famous artists and musicians who have passed away, including Bon Scott, Elvis Presley and of course, my Steve Clark who I miss so much. It was unbelievable!

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Steve Hogarth was undoubtedly the star of the evening. The man doesn’t know any limitations and once in character, nothing or no one can stop him. His performance was a work of art. I cannot specifically talk about his singing or acting or stage presence, because it’s just one whole and you don’t know where Steve the actor and Steve the singer merge. It was a pleasure to observe how he becomes one with the music, the stage and the audience. He delivered many unique performances but I gotta say the way he did “The Invisible Man” stood out the most to me. Maybe because it was the first encore and the audience sensed that we are about to wrap things up, the air around us became thicker. That’s something I will never forget. One more thing I have to acknowledge is his keyboard skills – the man is an alien!

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As a young fan, who saw Marillion for the very first time, all I can say is that those guys changed a lot of perceptions I had for artists’ stage presence and musical delivery. I met new songs and learned new lyrics, which I guarantee will become an inseparable part of my life (“You’re Gone” and “Power” for example, both impeccable rock pleasures). I am delighted that I had the chance to witness this other type of concerts – the ones that make you think and observe carefully. I was so used to the crazy rock&roll vibes that make you jump around and party hard so I really needed this refreshing art experience. Thank you, Marillion


Band Members:

Steve Rothery – Guitars
Mark Kelly – Keyboards
Pete Trewavas – Bass Guitar
Ian Mosley – Drums
Steve Hogarth – Vocals

Setlist:

1.El Dorado
2.You’re Gone
3.The Leavers
4.Fantastic Place
5.Mad 
6.Afraid of Sunlight
7.Sugar Mice
8.Real Tears for Sale
9.Sounds That Can’t Be Made
10.Power
11.Man of a Thousand Faces
12.King
13.Neverland

1st Encore

14.Invisible Man

2st Encore

15.Three Minute Boy

Event management: Radio Tangra Mega Rock


P.S. This publication expresses my personal thoughts and opinions, based on actual experiences. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use the written and visual content without my permission! Rock on!

References:
Cover photo and concert poster, retrieved from http://www.radiotangra.com/en/news/read/29005.html
Setlist, retrieved from http://www.radiotangra.com/guide/read/30293.html

Concert Review: EUROPE Rocked The Night in Sofia, Bulgaria (16/05/2017)

I don’t even know how to begin writing this…I am just feeling so overly-emotional and hyped and I think I will be feeling like this for the next few days till I completely calm down. The amount of 100% pure rock energy I soaked in was the exact thing I needed in my life right now. The feelings, the emotions, the indescribable happiness I felt when one of my most beloved bands of all time – Europe stood in front of me and performed songs to which I cried and laughed – that’s something I will never forget!

You know that I am the ultimate ‘80s rock music enthusiast and on top of it all I am European! Europe and I were simply a match made in heaven! I’ve always identified with their sound, image and style and I guess part of the reason why was because I could sense that cultural and subsequently musical proximity. Many successful rock acts came out of European countries but those Swedish rockers justifiably made the biggest fuss in my little rock life!

After being a fan for so many years and listening to their songs on a daily basis it was about time I saw them live! Nothing or noone was gonna prevent me from attending that concert, despite uncertainties whether I was going to be in Bulgaria. Legendary albums such as “Prisoners in Paradise”, “Wings of Tomorrow”, “The Final Countdown” and “Out of This World” were essential in laying the foundations of enormous passion for rock&roll music so I just had to be a part of that magical show at any cost.

Europe released their phenomenal multi-platinum album, “The Final Countdown” in 1986. To celebrate the album’s 30th anniversary, in late 2016 Europe went on a tour. This January, it was announced that they are adding more countries to their special anniversary show and one of them was Bulgaria! How cool is that…

I was part of it all and would love to share my experience with you. Hope you enjoy reading about it!


The promo poster for Europe’s concert in Bulgaria:

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This is how the concert venue looks from the outside (Arena Armeec). The weather was a bit rainy and gloomy but that didn’t matter!

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Before the concert, I bought a headband and took a couple of selfies with it. I absolutely adore these headbands and have a little collection  of them from concerts I attended. You can see how happy and thrilled I was by the look on my face! The fact that I was at work all day and was very tired wasn’t gonna prevent me from being in my best shape for one of my favorite bands of all time.

To get to my seat, I had to use the elevator which was the perfect moment to snap a little mirror selfie of my concert outfit. I was wearing shorts and a BOSTON T-Shirt as you can see.

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This is how it looked from the inside. I swear this arena is like my second home these days…haha. I got a nice, more expensive seat this time because it was EUROPE, after all – one of my most favorite bands of all time. The view was simply stunning! The crowd was smaller than the Deep Purple one from two days ago mostly because not all seating parts of the arena were available for the concert. Honestly, I am glad that the arena wasn’t that full l because usually that means more fan engagement and a better show, actually. The band can interact more easily with the fans and the whole atmosphere feels less “heavy” (at least that’s how I think).

europe concert venue inside

The opening act was Sevi – a Bulgarian hard rock/goth band, led by a female vocalist. I’ve never heard of them before but I think they have a strong Bulgarian fanbase and people were obviously really happy to see them. It turns out that they actually opened for Europe a couple of years ago during Kavarna Rock Fest (a famous Bulgarian rock festival) when the Swedish rockers last came to Bulgaria. I really enjoyed their enthusiasm and it was pretty good to witness some solid female rockstar power. They seemed quite confident, started their gig on time and looked like they really enjoyed themselves. I was too excited for Europe and probably didn’t give them the attention they deserved but I will definitely check them out! 

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Europe are coming out any second now…

Europe concert logo

aaaand…there they are… the band that changed my life with their music; the band that gifted me with songs I cannot imagine my days without; the Scandinavian guys who I’ve always identified with. EUROPE

They kicked things off with the title track from their 2015 album, “War of Kings”. No words can describe the way I felt the moment Joey Tempest came on the stage… I thought I was flying; my heart and soul were free and nothing or no one else was there – it was just me, my favorite music and my favorite band playing for me. Since it was my first time seeing Europe you can only imagine how life-changing this experience was for me. I had a seat in the nearest to the stage sitting area but I couldn’t just sit down and clap so statically. I got up and went to the little terrace near my seats and for the rest of the concert I, along with other fans, stood up and danced, clapped, waved and screamed all night long!

Joey was fantastic! The kind of rockstar you don’t really see anymore these days. He was funny, confident, acrobatic, artistic and so passionate! What a sight he was! He said a couple of words in Bulgarian language, including “hello” and “we love you” which made everyone go crazy – this is the kind of gesture that speaks volumes and I always respected bands who try to say at least “hello” using the language of the country they are performing in. The second song was “Hole in My Pocket”, again from “War of Kings”. Their timeless rock anthem, “Rock the Night” was next and I just lost my mind!! Every inch of my body was electrified by Joey’s vocals and John’s thunderous guitars. “Rock the Night” has always been one of the most empowering songs I’ve ever heard and seeing how those rock Gods perform it live is something no one can ever take away from me.

A lot of hits (from his newer and classic albums) followed but the highlight was definitely their performance of “Carrie”. You know how much I adore power ballads and this one is definitely one of the most touching and heartbreaking ballads of all time. I was live-streaming on Twitter actually but I got so emotional during that ballad that I stopped the broadcasting and just decided to sing along with Joey, enjoy the song and embrace the upcoming little tears in my eyes. I will be forever grateful for that once-in-a-lifetime experience…

After the power ballad, Joey and the rest of the guys went full on straightforward hard rock with songs like “Firebox” and “Sign of the Times”…& then the best thing happened. I haven’t mentioned it yet but my favorite Europe album is “Prisoners in Paradise” (1991); maybe because I was born one year after its release or because of other personal reasons and songs that bring so many memories, but ultimately, this is one of the albums I will pick if I’m send on a deserted island with only 20 records. “Girl from Lebanon” is one of the strongest tracks from that album and one of my favorite Europe songs in general. The moment I hear those enchanting first riffs by Norum, I was about to faint, literally!!!! They didn’t play my favorite song, “I’ll Cry for You” but “Girl from Lebanon” was just as good.

We got the chance to listen to “Ready or Not”, “Nothin’ to Ya” and of course “Cherokee”, “Days of Rock & Roll” and the ultimate fan-favorite – “Superstitious”. There was also a little moment when he went “I don’t know where I’m going…but I sure know where I’ve been…” and I was like “wait wait…is this the right concert?” haha – but it was a wonderful, quite entertaining touch!

No one actually believe that the concert will end without the song that defined their career and became one of the biggest rock hits of the ’80s. After all, we are celebrating the anniversary of that worldly-beloved album. When I heard those keyboards at the beginning of “The Final Countdown” I was both ecstatic because this tune is 100% pure energy…but at the same time sorrowful because this meant that the night was over and I had to say goodbye to those outstanding musicians that mean so much to me…and who knows when will I see them again.

Soon enough the song, along with the concert itself was over but my heart was still left there, thrown on their stage… I can just shoot some fancy words to describe Europe’s showmanship and greatness but it wouldn’t mean anything… After their concert coming back to reality and working on the next day seemed unreasonable and even painful to do. The guys just transferred me to another dimension… Joey was jumping, laughing, singing his soul out, waving at everyone (including me) and he even gave the guitar to the bodyguard to try and play a little riff (which was so funny). John Norum’s presence on that stage was quite memorable too, mostly because of his mysterious, enchanting and alluring aura. He looked like a handsome magician who can compel you to do anything he wants with his guitar playing.

I would like to finish by saying that this was one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever attended and it meant the world to me to be part of Europe’s “The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary Tour”. I am sure that the day will come when I will see you again, my dear Europe!

(Here are some photos from the concerts. Apologies for the bad quality but most of the time I was enjoying the band and wasn’t really taking that many photos or videos.)

concert collage europe

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The happy audience:

audience europe concert


Setlist:

War of Kings
Hole in My Pocket
Rock the Night
Scream of Anger
Last Look at Eden
Carrie
The Second Day
Firebox
Sign of the Times
Girl From Lebanon
Ready or Not
Nothin’ to Ya
Superstitious
(the first couplet of… “Here I Go Again” /Whitesnake/ )
Cherokee
Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Encore:

The Final Countdown

 


P.S. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use them without my permission! Rock on!

Concert Overview: DEEP PURPLE’s “The Long Goodbye Tour” Concert in Sofia, Bulgaria (14/05/2017)

Some things in life you gotta do while there’s still a chance. One of those must-do things for me was to attend a concert of at least one of “the three big” rock bands – Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, of course. I couldn’t say goodbye to Black Sabbath and any hopes of a Led Zeppelin reunion went down the drain years ago, so I was left with just Deep Purple. I knew that those guys still have it in them and will pull out something special from their sleeve. In 2017 we got it – a new phenomenal album and a tour! There is a reason why those guys are one of the most influential rock bands of all time – they just keep on going, never stopping, never disappointing.  

Well, finally, after SO MANY years, I can proudly tell the story of how I attended Deep Purple’s “Long Farewell Tour” and crossed it off my bucket list. I can now say that I witnessed how classic rock songs that defined generations of musicians and completely changed the history of rock music materialized on a stage in front of me. This is just so big!! (at least to me) …

The moment I found out that Deep Purple will include Bulgaria in their “Long Farewell Tour” and most importantly, I will also be in my home country at that exact time, I didn’t even blink! The tickets were bought in that exact same second (even managed to score a sweet discount because I got them very very early). To be honest, one of the reasons why I was so excited to visit Bulgaria (I was living in South Korea) was to see Deep Purple and say goodbye to them. My wish came true and with excitement, happiness and smiles I am ready to share my experience with you and show you some photos.

The promo poster for the Bulgarian concert from Deep Purple’s official website:

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The tickets:

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It was Sunday, May 14th; the weather, along with the mood, was GREAT!

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Concert selfies (from outside and inside the venue)
(I bought a T-shirt of my favorite Deep Purple album, “Stormbringer” before the concert)

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That’s how the venue (Arena Armeec) looked from the outside [it was still quite early & the fans were just starting to come]

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deep purple concert venue outside

To get to my seat, I had to take the elevator (man, I’m such a diva, never missing a chance to take a photo….)

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and this is how it looked from the inside (the crowd started filling in the arena…)

arena armeec inside deep purple concert

Part 1: Monster Truck

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In addition to seeing Deep Purple for the very first time in my life, I also got the chance to witness the incredible performance of the opening act, Monster Truck – Canadian rockers who actually played in front of a Bulgarian audience for the very first time! I didn’t know much about them but heard only nice things so naturally, I was equally excited to check them out. I was never disappointed by a Canadian rock band and this wasn’t gonna be the first time! Those guys totally blew me away and restored my faith in modern-day rock music. Monster Truck delivered one hell of an act. I was so impressed with them that the moment I got home, I immediately researched and listened to anything I could find on Spotify. The song that attracted me the most was “She’s a Witch” – that riff electrified the entire arena and don’t get me started on the vocal delivery! I have a new favorite band and I’m so happy!

What truly made Monster Truck’s performance so memorable was the guys’ sense of humor and enthusiasm. With that right attitude and refreshing positivism, they made a lot of new fans that night, I’m sure!

monster truck collage

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Part 2: DEEP PURPLE

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After the explosive rock spectacle, delivered by Monster Truck, the stage was already hot enough and every single member of the audience was ready to welcome the giants! We took a little break after the opening act but we didn’t wait that long to welcome Ian Gillan and the rest of the legends. The crowd went wild the moment the lights went off and we heard the opening robotic monologue from their new song, “Time for Bedlam”. Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse and Don Airey settled comfortably on the stage and the party started! It was unbelievable…the great Deep Purple were in front of my eyes, performing a song from their latest album I just reviewed, “Infinite” and other eternal classics! I was lucky enough to witness how one of the most influential voices of heavy metal, Ian Gillan (who by the way is 71 years old) sang “Fireball”, “Bloodsucker”, “Strange Kind of Woman”, “Space Truckin’”, “Hush” and of course, my dearly beloved “Perfect Strangers” which I patiently waited for. Of course, they couldn’t just miss the song that defined the history of heavy metal and encouraged millions of people to grab a guitar and learn how to play it; Yes, I’m talking about that “little” track, “Smoke on The Water”, containing the simplest, most instantly-recognizable riff that was and ever will be created. Needless to say, we sang along, clapped, jumped and everything you do when such a BIG song starts playing.

A couple of memorable and highly impressive moments (at least for me) included the phenomenal keyboard solo of Don Airey who definitely stole the night! I have a soft spot for keyboard players, ever since I became a huge fan of Keith Emerson so naturally, I was all eyes in ears, diving into the breath-taking playing of Don.

Another moment I was waiting for was Roger Glover’s thrilling bass solo. One of my many dreams in life is to learn how to play the bass and seeing him crafting magic on that bass guitar so effortlessly really made me think that it’s high time I did something about that dream of mine. I always respected that guy – there’s just something so charming about him and he definitely has a good aura which spread through every corner of the arena.

The concert ended suitably, with “Black Night” (1970).

It was a delightful, unforgettable evening, full of extraordinary rock music – the kind of rock we don’t really get anymore these days. A couple of things I wanted to share, though: Ian Gillan obviously had no idea which country he was playing in (he never said “Good Evening, Bulgaria” or something like that), he only said that he was feeling “positive vibes”; also, the Bulgarian audience standing in front of the stage was a little bit too stiff (or maybe I was too wild)… I bought tickets for the sitting area which wasn’t that close BUT I was still having so much more fun than some of the people down there who were literally centimeters apart from the legends. I think it was because the audience in front of the stage was mostly composed of old-school fans who didn’t know the songs from the latest album and probably didn’t  have the energy to physically participate in the show (like they used to). One more thing, I was disappointed to see that not many young people actually attended the concert. The majority of the attendees were 40+ year old people – it is understandable, of course, but still raises questions related with the musical attitude of today’s youth. Last but not least, as much as those guys looked like (& were dressed like) our friendly grandpa neighbor who always says hi and smiles, they are still relevant and deserve all the respect they can get from every generation out there. They still have it, believe me! Long gone are their days of prime but that doesn’t mean anything when you have it inside you…

I was there, I loved it and I had the time of my life! Thank you, Deep Purple for the memories and for everything you did and will keep on doing! Till next time…

deep purple collage

bye bye deep purple wordpress

Setlist:

  1. Time for Bedlam
  2. Fireball
  3. Bloodsucker
  4. Strange Kind of Woman
  5. Johnny’s Band
  6. Uncommon Man
  7. The Surprising
  8. Lazy
  9. Birds of Prey
  10. Hell to Pay
  11. Keyboard Solo
  12. Perfect Strangers
  13. Space Truckin’
  14. Smoke on the Water

Encore:

  1. Hush
  2. Bass Solo
  3. Black Night

P.S. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use them without my permission! Rock on!

Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band in one Unforgettable Night in Seoul, South Korea

ringo

2016 was a busy year for Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band. Starting with a North American tour and moving on to Asia, these legendary musicians took on a long but quite important journey to remind people that no one can do it better than the originals. On the 4th of November, it was time for South Korea to experience for the very first time the magic of Ringo’s cheery, one-of-a-kind persona on the stage of Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. He was not the only highly anticipated star, though. Six other, A-CLASS musicians joined him for a perfect night, full of pleasant surprises, festivities and of course, breath-taking music.

I was so excited and was literally counting the days till the day of the concert ever since I found out about the event and bought my ticket. I was a little bit surprised that they included S.Korea in their tour because not many legendary rockstars are often coming here. So I naturally wasn’t gonna miss it for the world.

Experiencing the music, the aura, the talent and the legacy of such outstanding artists who worked so hard and achieved so much can be a life-changing moment. Let’s talk about the Beatles – the game-changers, the greatest of the greatest, the biggest rock band in the world! Those fabulous four guys made history not only with their music, but with the cultural and social impact they inflicted upon the world. Unfortunately, we don’t have Lennon or Harrison with us any longer. Starr and McCartney are the only two Beatles that are still alive and still rocking pretty good for their age! The amount of respect I have for the Beatles – all four of them, is limitless. So for me, to finally be able to see one of the guys I admire with all my heart and soul, was a moment of a lifetime. I hope I will get to see Paul anytime soon as well. Ringo Starr aside, let’s talk about the other members of his band – all great rockers who previously worked with some of the finest names in the industry. Steve Lukather, guitarist of the great (and one of my ultimate favorite bands) Toto; Richard Page from the 80s band Mr. Mister; Todd Rundgren who produced and worked with so many musicians, in addition to being in the band Utopia; Gregg Bissonette, a drummer coming from The David Lee Roth Band; Warren Ham, a saxophonist who toured with Olivia Newton John; and Gregg Rolie from Santana and Journey who is one of the greatest masters of the organ and keyboards. What else do I have to say? Astonishing assembly of monstrous talents; an exceptional evening was absolutely guaranteed.

Let me tell you a few things about the concert itself. I will try to be as brief as possible because when all you have to say is positive and full of love, there’s no need for extra talking. The only thing I wish I could change was the size of the audience. Unfortunately not as many people as I thought came to the concert but I can understand it up to some extend because it’s South Korea. Over here people are not head-over-heels for old-school bands and rock&roll, especially younger generations who are more involved with newly-emerged genres like K-pop. There were so many foreigners, like myself, which was no surprise at all since Seoul is an international capital.

The show lasted for about two hours, throughout which I couldn’t stop smiling, clapping and screaming. Ringo started the show with a couple of uplifting songs, performed by him. Among them was “Matchbox” (Carl Perkins/The Beatles), “What Goes On” (The Beatles) and his first solo single after the break-up of The Beatles, “It Don’t Come Easy”. Each of the band members took turns in leading a song which provided us with the ultimate experience – it was like a box full of unique chocolates and you get to enjoy each one of their specific tastes and attributes. The moment that will be forever immortalized in my head was when I heard my favorite Toto songs performed live, by Steve Lukather. “Hold the Line”, “Rosanna” and “Africa” were the absolute highlight of my evening and I wanted them to never end. The feeling of witnessing how a song you love so much takes a physical live form is one of the greatest and warmest sensations in the world. Richard Page’s performance of “Broken Wings” was another breathtaking moment for me because it’s one of my most beloved songs. Gregg Rolie delivered superior acts as well that totally stole the show. There was a foreign guy sitting behind me who couldn’t stop screaming “Gregg f***ing Rolie” every few seconds! We heard some Santana songs but unfortunately no Journey which was kind of a disappointment because I’m a huge fan of Journey. They carried out “Evil Ways”, a song they did during Woodstock Festival in 1969 and absolutely stole my heart with it. The song that electrified the audience the most had to be “Yellow Submarine” – that’s the kind of tune it is, I guess. We were singing along and clapping like crazy. Just like that after a series of empowering rockers, the concert was coming to its end. Ringo wrapped things up quite obviously, with of course a Beatles’ song, “Act Naturally” and Sgt. Pepper’s “With a Little Help from My Friends” which is his absolute staple. He couldn’t have finished the night with a better song.

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Setlist

Ringo is such a character. During the show, he took time to make jokes and engage with the audience which naturally everyone loved. He read the signs of the people out loud and made some hilarious comments about them. There was a sign reading “Ringo 4 President” which I think he enjoyed the most! Also, at one point he said something like “You know, when I was in the Beatles, I wrote a lot of songs, none of which got recorded, of course…” and everyone started laughing because we all know who were the main songwriters of the band.

The guys had so much chemistry and such a beautiful aura. I couldn’t get enough of that refreshing air circling the venue, filled up with so much passion and great music. I had an awesome time and am so happy that I got the opportunity to see them live for the first time ever! Here are some photos from the event!


 

Me with my Beatles T-shirt, all ready for the concert;

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Getting closer to the arena…

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And we are here, right on time to grab our tickets and take photos!

Peace & Love

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Me & my lovely Malaysian friend/roommate posing in front of the huge poster!

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Tickets and cool fluorescent bracelets we got ^^

These guys were hilarious! Loved how devoted they were…just look at the masks!

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The venue from the inside:

 

And let the show begin…

Obviously we weren’t up front in the best (and most expensive) seats but the view from above was pretty good as well~

Thank you Ringo & Steve & Todd & Richard & Gregg B. & Warren & Gregg R. for the memories! You guys are the real deal!

We all live in a yellow submarine
Yellow submarine, yellow submarine
We all live in a yellow submarine la la la…

ringo-twitter2


 

P.S. All the photos are mine. Please be kind and make sure that you don’t just save and use them without my permission! Rock on!

The Story of BOSTON’s “Amanda”

boston-third-stage-1

Huge fan of Boston right here! Where do I even begin? Boston are definitely one of the greatest American rock bands and the absolute staple of arena rock in the mid-70s. Surprisingly, so many people are actually not familiar with their career or legacy, which is quite disturbing because their music is just so beautiful and they are one of the best-selling American bands ever, so go figure… This year (2016), they are celebrating their 40th anniversary and I’m so happy they commemorated this career achievement with a tour. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend but hey, maybe next time…

Speaking of their beautiful music, I have a lot of favorite songs by Boston“More Than a Feeling”, “A Man I’ll Never Be”, “Don’t Look Back”, “Livin’For You”, “Peace of Mind” and of course…the exceptional power-ballad “Amanda” (you know, I’m always going for the power-ballads). “Amanda” is such a gentle and heartwarming song, that can’t but make you feel too emotional and sentimental. It’s one of those songs that you wish you’d dance to with someone you love one day. I thought that it’s a good day to remind you guys of this 80s masterpiece and share little facts about “Amanda” which happens to be part of a great comeback album – “Third Stage”. I hope you guys like the song as much as I do! If not, enjoy it!

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– “Amanda” is a power-ballad and the first single from Boston’s 1986 comeback album “Third Stage”. On top of that, it’s the only song by Boston that actually topped the US charts! The track didn’t actually get a music video BUT still, became one of the most requested songs on AOR stations! That should tell you something!

– “Amanda” was written and produced by Tom Scholz – the founder and mastermind of Boston! We should emphasize that it’s not a track written for a specific girl, named Amanda – the name was chosen because it fits so perfectly with the lyrics. Also, we should take into consideration the fact that at that time, it was not uncommon for rock bands to use women’s names as title songs! Just remember the success of “Layla” (by Eric Clapton), “Rosanna” (by Toto) and Lola (The Kinks), for instance. (All of these names, ending with an “a” and bringing great success to the songs and the band, of course.)

– Talking about the touching lyrics of “Amanda”, simply put, Brad Delp is singing about telling “I Love You” to his love for the first time. It’s a song about realizing that you’re truly in love with someone and you want to share your life with this person and you cannot hide it anymore. Everyone can find themselves in those lyrics… It just doesn’t matter if it’s too soon or if you can take the other person by surprise…if you feel it with your heart and soul, you should do it! Tomorrow might be too late! Never be afraid of telling someone you love them!

Listen to “Amanda” below:

“Amanda” Lyrics

Babe, tomorrow’s so far away
There’s something I just have to say
I don’t think I can hide what I’m feelin’ inside
Another day, knowin’ I love you
And I, I’m getting too close again
I don’t want to see it end
If I tell you tonight will you turn out the light
And walk away knowin’ I love you?

I’m gonna take you by surprise and make you realize,
Amanda
I’m gonna tell you right away, I can’t wait another day,
Amanda
I’m gonna say it like a man and make you understand
Amanda
I love you

And I feel like today’s the day
I’m lookin’ for the words to say
Do you wanna be free, are you ready for me
To feel this way
I don’t wanna lose you
So, it may be too soon, I know
The feeling takes so long to grow
If I tell you today will you turn me away
And let me go?
I don’t wanna lose you

I’m gonna take you by surprise and make you realize,
Amanda
I’m gonna tell you right away, I can’t wait another day,
Amanda
I’m gonna say it like a man and make you understand
Amanda

You and I
I know that we can’t wait
And I swear, I swear it’s not a lie girl
Tomorrow may be too late
You, you and I girl
We can share a life together
It’s now or never
And tomorrow may be too late

And, feelin’ the way I do
I don’t wanna wait my whole life through
To say I’m in love with you…


 

Unfortunately, Brad Delp died in 2004 but here’s a live video from Boston’s 2016 tour with their new lead singer Tommy DeCarlo, performing “Amanda”.

 


 

References:
“Amanda” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/boston/amanda.html
“Amanda” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda_(Boston_song)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Eric Clapton Melting Our Hearts With This Gorgeous Performance of “Wonderful Tonight” from His New LIVE Album

This beautiful live performance of “Wonderful Tonight” was just uploaded on Eric Clapton’s official YouTube account to promote his most recent live album – “Live in San Diego With Special Guest J.J. Cale”. The video shows Eric, along with his band, delivering a soulful performance of the gorgeous 1977 ballad, written for his then-wife Pattie Boyd.

The live album documents Eric Clapton‘s performance in San Diego’s iPayOne Center on the 15th of March, 2007. Many faces appear on that stage, including his idol J.J. Cale, with whom he performs the timeless classics “Cocaine” and “After Midnight”.

Watch the performance below:


 

‘P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Remember The Time VAN HALEN Reunited With DAVID LEE ROTH On MTV’s 1996 Awards?

Van Halen 1996 MTV

Huge thanks to UltimateClassicRock for reminding me of this precious Van Halen moment! 20 Years ago, one of my most favorite rock bands of all time briefly reunited on the stage of MTV to present an award for Best Male Music Video.

The crowd went crazy, the moment they saw guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony, alongside David Lee Roth. However, if you watch the whole appearance, you can easily spot the obvious estrangement and hidden tension between the members of the band. David’s a showman; he demands attention and gets it at all costs. I love him, however he just wanted that night to be all about him, instead of getting down to business – the MTV awards. At one point, Eddie was too embarrassed, so he physically pulled David away from the microphone.

Van Halen - the best of volume 1Van Halen had no intention of getting back with David on a permanent basis. The MTV guest appearance was simply part of their promotional activities for Best Of – Volume 1. The foursome even recorded two new songs for the compilation albumMe Wise Magic” and “Can’t Get This Stuff No More.”

Earlier that year, Sammy Hagar – their second frontman, left the band under questionable circumstances and it was the perfect time to briefly take David back in to record the surprise new songs for the album.

 

Watch their reunion below:


 

References:
20 Years Ago: Van Halen Reunite With David Lee Roth on MTV, retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com/van-halen-reunion-mtv/
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.