Concert Experience: NAZARETH at Ancient Theater Plovdiv, Bulgaria (18/06/2017)

So far, 2017 has been a good year for me when it comes to rock&roll! Last month I saw Deep Purple and Europe and there was no way in hell I would’ve missed seeing the legendary Nazareth this June 18th! Not only that but they were going to perform in Plovdiv, my hometown, the place I grew up in and know better than anyone! What a fateful turn of events.

tix naI traveled back to Plovdiv, especially for this concert; it was raining cats and dogs, it was cold and I it was just me and my concert ticket…but who cares, right? Despite all the difficulties and poor weather conditions, this turned out to be a concert of a lifetime! I knew it was going to be a memorable experience but it ended up being way more than that. Despite nature being against it, I had the time of my life. I hope by telling you my story and supporting it with tons of visual materials, you will at least for a little while feel as if you were there with me…This concert was not just about the sound; it was also about the visual experience. I don’t think I can convey the array of emotions I felt because it was that incredible but I will at least try…


The current line-up of NAZARETH consist of bass player Pete Agnew, guitarist Jimmy Murrison, drummer Lee Agnew and vocalist Carl Sentance. The iconic band rose to stardom in the mid-70s with timeless albums like “Hair of the Dog” and “Close Enough for Rock ‘n’ Roll”. 23 Studio albums, a 50 year career, millions of albums sold, countless fans from every corner of the world…do I have to say more? do you actually need any more reasons to see them perform live? I don’t think so…

For their Bulgarian concert, Nazareth chose the famous Roman amphitheater, which is not only a popular choice for a venue but is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the city. Plovdiv is in fact the oldest town in Europe and Roman sculptures and ruins are spread all over it. Let me walk you to the venue…

This is the central part of the town and before we go to the amphitheater, we pass through …

 

Plovdiv1

Pretty soon we arrive to the Roman Amphitheater which is located in the Old part of the town. Not only that but the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine arts is right next to it. And get this, my mom and dad who are both musicians graduated from it! How cool is that…

It was raining and I arrived a little bit early so I had to wait for a little while…Had the chance to take some photos before they opened the gates to the theater.

Plovdiv 2

It was raining like hell so everyone was carrying raincoats and umbrellas; I wasn’t but right before the concert, it stopped, thankfully! I thought I will be soaking wet and catch a cold but it all turned out fine…

This is how it looked from the inside. Breathtaking, isn’t it? This is a place of art, rich history and monumental importance to Europe and my country. On top of it all, the restorations made it look so gorgeous. The Roman Amphitheater in Plovdiv is well-known for it’s strategical location and perfect acoustics! Those Romans knew how to build an arena!

I was one of the first ones to enter and managed to take a few shots before people started flooding in.

Plovdiv 3

As you can see, it’s a pretty tiny venue; It can hold up to around 3,000 people only. This is its charm, however. The atmosphere is more intimate and you can actually see very well from each and every seat! Moreover, you can immortalize your experience with stunning photos.

Plovdiv 7

Plovdiv 6

The show started at 9pm. The rain stopped and we were all ready to clap, sing along and enjoy the band. Frontman Carl Sentance came out on the stage like a tornado. I’ve been to many concerts and seen many vocalists but he blew me away with his pure uncontrollable captivating energy! This guy was simply phenomenal! I didn’t know what to expect because after Dan McCafferty retired in 2013 and then his successor Linton Osborne left the band so quickly, things were a bit uncertain for Nazareth. Carl took over the frontman duties in 2015 and this was my first time seeing him with the band and all I can say is that the guys were a match made in heaven! 

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2 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 26

Songs kept coming one after another. They of course, played some of their classics, including the ’80s staple “Dream On” which melted my heart…

The crowd was clapping, smiling and absolutely loving the show. I was immensely happy that I chose to attend this concert. Then, all of a sudden, Carl Sentance invites the audience to come down in front of the stage, because after all, this is “the rock&roll way”. The moment I heard that I literally flew myself down, along with everyone else, and ended up being RIGHT IN FRONT of the stage. The feeling of closeness, direct eye-contact with the musicians and of course the way you listen to the live music is indescribable when you are right there in front of the stage. You feel so connected, so intimate! Not to mention that you get to move your body, dance and jump! This was the absolute turning point for me! I just knew that this was going to end up being one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to…The view in front of me changed to this…

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I wanted to share a couple of moments which took my breath away and which will forever be branded on my heart.

The first moment was when Carl and the guys performed “Love Hurts”. You all know that I’m a rock ballad person and this is one of the songs which entirely re-defined the power and importance of a rock ballad. I know that it’s a cover but it did change the rules of the game and became one of the best heartbreak songs of all time. Carl did a perfect job capturing that vocal emotion and sadness needed to complete the beautiful song. Here’s a video I made:

Secondly, some of you know that I have this fascination with the bass guitar though I never really knew how to play it. I adore bands and songs that emphasize on the bass and use it as a lead instrument. I knew Pete Agnew was a legend and I’ve always respected him for staying with the band since the very beginning (he’s the only original founding member of Nazareth who’s still with them) but seeing it and feeling it with your own eyes and soul is something entirely different. This 69 year old rockstar knocked my socks off with his bass guitar! During his solos my eyes and ears were all pointed at him and his guitar; I kept on smiling because he was just extraordinary. He smiled at me back many times – I was right in front of him!

nazareth 11

Finally, I wanted to share how much fun I had thanks to Carl Sentance! He played with the crowd like no other; he engaged with the fans, cracked jokes, jumped, danced and poured his soul out on that stage. He touched and shook hands with the fans in front of the stage, including me of course. Later on, when they performed “Hair of the Dog” he was singing “Red hot mama, down light charmer…” and he pointed at me smiling. Everyone turned to see me and I blushed so hard! It was such a sweet gesture that made my day, week, month…etc haha; Later on when the concert was over, he waved especially at me and gave me a thumbs up with the biggest smile ever! Such a lovely man! I will never never never forget him and how well he treated the fans and me, of course! Now I have so much respect for him as a live performer because believe it or not, transmitting energy from your body and voice to a group of people is immensely hard. He did it splendidly! My hands are still red from all the clapping; my legs still hurt from all the jumping! All thanks to him and his invitation to go down in front of the stage and make memories!

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16 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 2

The concert was over sooner than I wanted it to be. I would’ve loved to listen to more and more. The sadness that consumes you after such a mind-blowing event is over has to be one of the most painful things. How do you go on living your ordinary life after this; You just want more and more. Concerts like this one make me feel alive! Thank you, Nazareth for one of the most memorable nights of my life! Thank you for bringing so much joy to my tiny little rock&roll heart! Till next time!

cover photo Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 1


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!

10 Rock Ballad Compilation Albums for All Ballad Lovers Out There

balladscollage

I love rock ballads…please don’t tell me you were actually surprised to read that….!?

I’ve told the story before but it all started with Def Leppard’s “Love Bites” and it developed into one huge obsession with power ballads and we got to the point where I can actually list rock ballad compilation albums without even blinking… It’s just my thing, I guess. I have accumulated a number of ballad compilation albums (digitally and physically) and I decided to share some of those releases which I find the most appealing and worthy of possessing. Some of the following I don’t actually own because they are merely impossible to find BUT it’s easy to re-create them if you already own the band’s discography. Ultimately, my list can also give you some ideas or make you check out some of those bands’ beautiful ballad songs (I recommend all).

I would like to finish by saying that it’s high time Def Leppard released a ballad album! (please please please)

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Gary Moore – Ballads & Blues 1982–1994

gary

I just had to kick things off with this absolute masterpiece and the album that introduced me to and made me a fan of Gary Moore. Where do I even begin? “Still Got the Blues (For You)”, “Always Gonna Love You”, “Story of the Blues”, “Midnight Blues” and so on – those are just some of the precious soul-crushing and world-spinning soulful romantic pieces you can find on that album. Every time I talk about compilation albums, I start the discussion with this one. On top of it all, Ballads & Blues 1982-1994 contains three unreleased ballads which are definitely a worthy addition to Gary’s classics.


Harem Scarem – Ballads

harem scarem

Maybe you didn’t expect to see this totally underrated band on my list but you know that I’m always rooting for the less-known but highly deserving rock bands out there. The Canadian hard rockers Harem Scarem won me with the astonishing ballad “Honestly” which of course is on this compilation album and of course became the reason why I put this album here…This Japanese release was out in 1999 and it also contained a couple of unreleased before surprises in it, in addition to the well-known classics.


Thunder – Ballads

thunder

This rock jewel is one of my favorite ballad compilations of all time and that’s mainly because it’s by Thunder – one of those hard rock bands which have a very very special place in my hard. The ballad compilation album was released in 2003 and nowadays it seems like it’s impossible to find it but I haven’t given up just yet. “Love Walked In”, “Until My Dying Day”, “A Better Man” and many more gems from Thunder’s classic and not-so-classic days of rock can be heard on that CD.


Whitesnake – Best Ballads…

The masters of hard rock, Whitesnake, lead by none other than the man whose voice can send you to heaven, David Coverdale released a couple of (unofficial) ballad compilation albums from Russia, Ukraine, UK and other European countries. Ultimately, timeless rock classics like “Don’t Fade Away”, “Is This Love”, “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and of course my favorite Whitesnake song, “Looking for Love” are on all of them. Don’t hesitate to get it if you come across it. So far, I’ve seen those releases only on Ebay, unfortunately.


Scorpions – Gold Ballads

gold ballads

“Gold Ballads” by Scorpions was released in 1984 in Europe only. The 5-song compilation features Scorpions’ best romantic tunes, including the timeless “Still Loving You” and “Holiday”. I should mention that in 2003, they released a new ballad CD, simply titled “Ballads” (only in Singapore, though as they have a massive fanbase there) which is another worthy piece.


Eric Clapton – Ballads

eric ballads

This compilation was released in 2003 in Japan only but that doesn’t mean we can’t get our hands on it (especially if you are a die-hard fan like me). The breathtaking compilation features some of Clapton’s most outstanding, tear-jerking ballads, including “Tears in Heaven”, “Miss You”, “Old Love” and “Layla” ( of course ). It’s one of my favorite ballad albums of all time and it’s such a pity that I don’t have it in my CD collection (yet).


Toto – Best Ballads

toto best balads

Toto are the kings of ballads and I’m thankful that we had this awesome release, where all of their beautiful, soul-touching masterpieces gathered together. The compilation features some of my favorite melodic rock ballads of all time, including “I’ll Be Over You”, “Mama”, “Rosanna” and the saddest song in history, “I Won’t Hold You Back”. “Best Ballads” was originally released in 1995 and it contains 17 songs. In 2003, they released “Love Songs” – yet another worthy record full of love and heartbreak.


Nazareth – the Ballad Album

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The 10 song CD titled “The Ballad Album” by Nazareth was released in 1985 only in Germany. This golden piece of music features some of Nazareth (and some of the greatest of all time) rock ballads, including “Love Hurts”, “Dream On”, “Where Are You Now”, “Games” and more. I love playing this compilation, it’s so atmospheric.


REO Speedwagon – The Ballads

reo

In 1999, REO Speedwagon released a ballad compilation album with a long list of their previous, well-known classics and a couple of surprises which unfortunately couldn’t make that big of a fuss back then. It was a ballad that got me into REO Speedwagon. Yes, of course I’m talking about that special song, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” which is undoubtedly one of the most instantly recognizable melodic rock song out there and of course, the favorite ballad of all the softies out there. In addition to their beloved hit, “The Ballads” features “Keep On Loving You”, “Take It on The Run” and “Here with Me”.


Various – The Very Best of Power Rock Ballads [3CD Box Set]

ballads1

I’m finishing my list with a compilation treasure I found years ago, titled “The Very Best of Power Ballads”. There are hundreds of similar compilations, featuring identical, evergreen hits but If I have to recommend a worthy assortment of rock ballads, it has to be this one. “The Very Best of Power Ballads” was released in 2005 as a 3CD box set with a total of 50 mind-blowing songs.  You have all the classics – Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is”, Queen’s “We are the Champions”, Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, etc. Not only that but you also get to enjoy Jefferson Airplane, Whitesnake, John Waite, Cher, REO Speedwagon, The Rolling Stones and many more.


References:
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~

10 of the Saddest Classic Rock Songs Ever

PicMonkey Collagewith sad songs

There can be many reasons to break down in tears – a broken heart, unrequited love, death of a friend or a family member, losing your way in life, a happy memory that can no longer exist…Such things happen to everyone and they can truly have a very strong emotional impact on our existence.

Artists have always been channeling their emotions and feelings through music. Whether it’s true tearful lyrics or through melancholic melodies, throughout the years we have witnessed the success and effects of countless sentimental classic rock tunes. Grab your tissues and prepare yourself for the following playlist:

PLAYLIST:

Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven (1992)
Nazareth – Love Hurts (1976)
Cheap Trick – The Flame (1988)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Guns n’ Roses – November Rain (1991)
The Rolling Stones – As Tears Go By (1965)
The Who – Behind Blue Eyes (1971)
Fleetwood Mac – Landslide (1975)
Eric Clapton – Bell Bottom Blues (1991)
Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song (1973)
+
Def Leppard – Love Bites (1987)
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb (1979)


Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven (1992)

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on,
‘Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven…


Nazareth – Love Hurts (1976)

Love hurts, love scars, love wounds
And marks, any heart
Not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurts……


Cheap Trick – The Flame (1988)

Another night slowly closes in
And I feel so lonely
Touching heat freezing on my skin
I pretend you still hold me
I’m going crazy, I’m losing sleep
I’m in too far, I’m in way too deep over you
I can’t believe you’re gone
You were the first, you’ll be the last…


Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here…


Guns n’ Roses – November Rain (1991)

When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin’ when I hold you
Don’t you know I feel the same

‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain…


The Rolling Stones – As Tears Go By (1965)

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Smiling faces I can see
But not for me
I sit and watch
As tears go by…


The Who – Behind Blue Eyes (1971)

But my dreams
They aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free

No one knows what it’s like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you…


Fleetwood Mac – Landslide (1975)

I took my love, took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?


Eric Clapton – Bell Bottom Blues (1991)

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because
I don’t want to fade away.
Give me one more day, please.
I don’t want to fade away.
In your heart I want to stay…


Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song (1973)

These are the seasons of emotion and like the wind they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion – I see the torch we all must hold.
This is the mystery of the quotient, quotient – Upon us all, upon us all a little rain must fall.
It’s just a little rain…


+
Def Leppard – Love Bites (1987)

I don’t wanna touch you too much baby
‘Cos making love to you might drive me crazy
I know you think that love is the way you make it
So I don’t wanna be there when you decide to break it…


Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb (1979)

There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying…


 

10 Classic Rock Songs About Heartbreak…

“There are plenty of ways to die, but only love can kill and keep you alive to feel it…” – Leo Christopher

Nothing much to say on the subject of heartbreak… It’s indeed one of the most excruciating types of pain one can feel. When you look into the eyes of someone you love and they look away it hurts like hell and we desperately wish we could do something to stop the tears…but sometimes we just can’t do anything. We can’t stop the feelings we have for someone – and when that someone leaves us for another or walks away, all we are left with is our broken heart and empty soul… Things might get better, indeed; however, heartbreak changes people and always leaves its mark…

Heartbreak has been a popular song theme for as long as we can remember. Actually, many people choose to express their feelings through different types of art…however, since this is a place for rock music, I would be focusing on that, of course.

It may not be pleasant to write, perform or sing about being hurt by someone you love, however, out of this sadness, some of the greatest songs were born. The following publication will list 10 classic rock songs, dealing with the theme of breakup. I apologize for the sadness, but I truly admire these songs and I believe they all possess one outstanding characteristic – impressive lyrics that can make you experience an emotion (most certainly a sad one, though)…

Let’s listen to some of the greatest classic rock songs dealing with broken hearts and trying to forget someone who gave you so much to remember…


PLAYLIST:

  1. Winger – Headed For A Heartbreak (1988)
    Nazareth – Love Hurts (1976)
    Sammy Hagar – I’ll Fall In Love Again (1981)
    Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way (1977)
    Roxette – It Must Have Been Love (1990)
    Def Leppard – Bringin’ On The Heartbreak (1981)
    Led Zeppelin – “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” (1969)
    The Eagles – Wasted Time (1976)
    The Rolling Stones – Out of Tears (1944)
    Elvis Presley- Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
  2. +John Lennon – I’m Losing You (1980)
    The Beatles – Yesterday (1965)

Winger – Headed For A Heartbreak (1988)

You’ve become a stranger
I just got to be alone
Don’t need nobody on my side
To dull the blade I’m on
So don’t be waiting on love
‘Cause I’ll be waiting to ramble on…

……..It’s not a mistake
Don’t you think I can feel the pain?
I walk away, to live again…


Nazareth – Love Hurts (1976)

Some fools think of happiness
Blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves I guess
They’re not foolin’ me

I know it isn’t true, I know it isn’t true
Love is just a lie
Made to make you blue…


Sammy Hagar – I’ll Fall In Love Again (1981)

But it’s alright with me now
I’ll get back up somehow
And with a little luck, I’m bound to win
I’ll fall in love, I’ll fall in love again…

…And I guess you think you’ve got it made
Oh, but then you never were afraid
Of anything that you’ve left behind…


Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way (1977)

Loving you
Isn’t the right thing to do
How can I ever change things that I feel?

If I could
Baby I’d give you my world
How can I
When you won’t take it from me?

You can go your own way
Go your own way…


Roxette – It Must Have Been Love (1990)

It must have been love but it’s over now.
It must have been good but I lost it somehow.
It must have been love but it’s over now.
From the moment we touched, ’til the time had run out.

Make-believing we’re together
That I’m sheltered by your heart.
But in and outside I’ve turned to water
Like a teardrop in your palm….


Def Leppard – Bringin’ On The Heartbreak (1981)

You’re such a secret, misty eyed and shady
Lady how you hold the key
Oh you’re like a candle, your flame slowly fadin’
Burnin’ out and burnin’ me

Can’t you see?
Just try and say to you…

You’re bringin’ on the heartache
Takin’ all the best of me
Oh can’t you see?
You got the best of me
Can’t you see?


Led Zeppelin – “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” (1969)

It was really, really good.
You made me happy every single day.
But now… I’ve got to go away! Oh, oh, oh.

Baby, baby, baby
That’s when it’s callin’ me
I said that’s when it’s callin’ me back home…


The Eagles – Wasted Time (1976)

Oh, another love has come and gone
Oh, and the years keep rushing on
I remember what you told me before you went out on your own:
“Sometimes to keep it together, we got to leave it alone.”
So you can get on with your search, baby, and I can get on with mine
And maybe someday we will find , that it wasn’t really wasted time…


The Rolling Stones – Out of Tears (1944)

I won’t cry when you say goodbye
I’m out of tears
I won’t die when you wave goodbye
I’m out of tears
Out of tears…


I just had to…

Elvis Presley- Heartbreak Hotel (1956)

And although it’s always crowded,
you still can find some room.
Where broken hearted lovers
do cry away their gloom.

You make me so lonely baby,
I get so lonely,
I get so lonely I could die…


+ 2 BONUS TRACKS From the greatest….

John Lennon – I’m Losing You (1980)

Somehow the wires have crossed,
Communication’s lost,
Can’t even get you on the telephone,
Just got to shout about it,
I’m losing you,

Here in the valley of indecision,
I don’t know what to do,
I feel you sliping away,
I feel you sliping away,
I’m losing you,
I’m losing you…



The Beatles – Yesterday (1965)

Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday…


 

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~