15 Favorite Rock Albums that Celebrate a 30th Anniversary This Year

I get excited just by thinking of this year – the marvelous year of 1987!!! So many people on social media asked me which I think was the best year for rock music. I always say 1987 with no hesitation. Why? Check my list and you will certainly find out why!

All those outstanding releases are celebrating a 30th anniversary this year (2017) and I really wanted to list all my favorites together, in one place. Of course, I might have missed some of your favorites and yes, Appetite for Destruction is not in my top15 (surprise surprise!) but it is what it is. From Great White to Treat and Def Leppard, I honestly and straightforwardly am telling why exactly I love these albums with the idea to celebrate them and remember that it might have been 30 years since they were released, but the love and excitement over them hasn’t gone anywhere.

Don’t forget to tell me what do you think and which one is your favorite album released in 1987!?

 


Great White – Once Bitten

great white save your loveOnce you hear the mesmerizing ballad “Save Your Love” or the hard-rocking opener “All Over Now”, you will understand why Great White’s junior album deserves a place in your collection. The album came out in the hot summer of 1987 and quickly made a fuss around the band, eventually reaching a platinum status just a year after its release. The highlight and the most-instantly recognizable song from the album has to be “Rock Me” – I bet you know it. “Once Bitten” is actually my favorite Great White album and this song is a pretty solid reason behind my choice.


TNT – Tell No Tales

tnt-tell-no-tales“Everyone’s a Star”, “10 000 Lovers (In One)”, “As Far as the Eye Can See”…and on and on. TNT’s junior album is one of the best releases of 1987 and no one can take that away from it. As biased as I am (obviously), you can’t actually deny the power of vocalist Tony Harnell or the brilliance of guitar player Ronni Le Tekrø who make the perfect dream team. I got “Tell no Tales” in a record store as a “blind purchase” and this turned out to be the best decision of my life!! There are still so many people out there who haven’t discovered the greatness of this band so I urge them to do it now!


Dokken – Back for the Attack

Dokken back for the attackDokken’s fourth studio release also happens to be their best-selling album of all time and certainly one of the most interesting and captivating hard rock gems of 1987. “Prisoner”, “Night by Night” and of course the legendary “Dream Warrior” – the theme song for the horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” are just a few of the stunning rockers on “Back for the Attack”. Some critics and fans don’t consider this album as Dokken’s finest hour but then again I never actually cared about that. The album is full of jaw-dropping rockers and it deserves its place in my list.


White Lion – Pride

white-lion-prideWhite Lion’s sophomore album is an absolute classic and a musical piece that cannot really be described with words. Though my favorite White Lion album is “Mane Attraction”, “Pride” gets the honorable second place! “Wait” and “When the Children Cry” are the hits that came out of it, though I gotta go with “Hungry” as my favorite song from the album. Mike Tramp and Vito Bratta can craft some serious magic and this is one of their strongest products, for sure.


Strangeways – Native Sons

strangeways-native-sons“Native Sons” remains one of the forgotten and highly underrated representatives of the large AOR scene of the late ‘80s, despite the admirable qualities and superb songwriting it showcases. Thankfully, there are still people like me (and you) who know that picking up an apple from the top of the basket doesn’t mean that it’s the best apple of the bunch. “Native Sons” is a melodic bliss from start to finish. “Dance with Somebody”, “Only a Fool”, “So Far Away”…go check for yourself if you have never listened to these songs. Vocalist Terry Brock is one of the strongest voices of melodic rock and this is his finest hour.


McAuleySchenker Group – Perfect Timing

msg perfect timingA predictable choice, don’t you think? I mean of course I will include the debut album of the Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley, released in the fall of 1987. This project and this album represent one of my favorite collaborations in rock music. Those two were a match made in heaven and once you play songs like “Gimme More” or my personal favorite “Follow the Night” you will get what I’m saying. “Perfect Timing” deserves all the love and attention you have and I’m not “just saying it”. 


Treat – Dreamhunter

treat-dreamhunter-1987I’ve been introducing those amazing guys to fans who have a very little idea how much more there is to the world of AOR. “Dreamhunter” is the third studio album of Swedish rockers TREAT and it’s one of those underrated gems that should’ve been way bigger. It didn’t leave a big impact on the world of music but it left a tremendous impact on me and my little rocknroll heart. “Sole Survivor”, “Take Me on Your Wings” and “You’re The One I Want” are some of the stand outs from “Dreamhunter”, all impressing with great production value and brilliant melodies.There’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.


Foreigner – Inside Information

inside information foreignerSometimes when we talk about the great Foreigner, this album gets left out of the conversation and I’m not quite sure why. I mean, yes – when you have enormous era-defining albums like “4” and “Agent Provocateur”, the follow-ups might get forgotten sometimes. In fact, though, (honesty hour) the sixth studio album of Foreigner – “Inside Information” might be my favorite release by Foreigner. “Say You Will”, “Can’t Wait” and the title songs are some of their greatest works, indeed. One more thing – it’s the last album to feature the 80’s core lineup of Gramm, Jones, Wills and Elliott, making it quite relevant.


REO Speedwagon – Life as we Know It

reo life as we know itHuge REO fan right here so no surprises that their 1987 album “Life as we Know It” is in my list of favorites. The twelfth studio album of the beloved band features some outstanding music, including “That Ain’t Love”, “New Way to Love” and “In My Dreams” – all beautifully written and highly pleasing tunes, solidifying REO Speedwagon’s position as melodic rock giants. Things after this release were never quite the same in terms of commercial performance and popularity and that could be traced back to the growing tensions between the members of the band; however we do have this fine piece of music and I’m so glad it saw the light.


Helix – Wild in the Streets

helix wild in the streetsHelix might as well be my favorite Canadian band so I just had to include their highly underrated sixth studio album “Wild in the Streets”. The beginning of their career was pretty strong but by the time this album was released, the fire was already fading out. The release is filled with memorable, close-to-my-heart rockers, including “She’s too Tough”, “Never Gonna Stop the Rock” and the gorgeous cover of Nazareth’s ballad “Dream On”. Never understood why this release wasn’t that big but that never prevented me from falling in love with it. 


Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Pink Floyd - A momentary lapse of reason front“A Momentary Lapse of Reason” is often misunderstood and extremely underrated record, despite magnificent songs such as “Learning to Fly”, “Sorrow” and “On The Turning Away”. I often clash with lack of objectivity when it comes to this album but then again, everyone has their own opinion and views. For me, the magic started when David Gilmour took over and released “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” which instantly became my favorite PF albums. I love the classics and Roger Water is indeed a genius but this album right here is the PF release I connected with on a very personal level.


Tommy Shaw – Ambition

tommy shaw ambitionI wish more people would know of this album, because Tommy Shaw truly deserves it. His third solo release, “Ambition” is like a gentle autumn leaf touching your skin. Honestly, it was this beautiful piece of music right here that fully opened my eyes to his musical abilities. Not that I wasn’t appreciating him in Styx but I was always drawn to his melodic rock releases and especially this one. “No Such Thing”, “Dangerous Game” and of course – that magical cover of Survivor’s “Ever Since the World Begin” are offering a memorable experience that can make you a fan of Tommy in an instant.


Fleetwood Mac – Tango in the Night

fleetwood macFleetwood Mac forever blurred the lines between pop and rock in the ’70s with relevant releases like “Rumors”. Their style didn’t change that much in the ’80s as well. “Tango in the Night” is probably my favorite release by the legendary band and “Big Love”, “Seven Wonders” and “Little Lies” might make you agree with me. “Tango in the Night” is their 14th studio album (wow, you read right, don’t worry) and the last studio album from the band’s most successful line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. This release certainly is more pop than rock but …it’s the late ’80s we are talking about after all! 


Whitesnake – 1987

Whitesnake WhitesnakeDo I actually have to introduce or talk about this album? I don’t think so, but here we go…

Whitesnake’s most essential and internationally recognized record till today remains their seventh self-titled studio album. Released back in 1987, “Whitesnake” turned into a major successful hit, producing timeless rock tunes like “Is This Love”, “Looking for Love” and “Still of the Night”. What made this album such an impressive masterpiece is the unique combination of classic solid rock and melodic rhythms. This all became true due to the great songwriting collaboration between singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes. Melody, energy, passion and outstanding production are just some of the characteristics of the album that contributed to its phenomenal success.


Def Leppard – Hysteria

hysteria coverI saved the best (and my all time favorite album) for last. No need for me to tell you why this album is here and what it means to me because you probably know all about it. The monstrous game-changing and history-defining record turned into one of the highlights of the era, not only because of its production values, 7 hit singles and multi-platinum status, but also because it symbolized the strength of the human spirit and how with a little bit of faith and tons and tons of hard work, you can achieve anything. “Love Bites” is certainly my favorite song from “Hysteria”, though every second of it is like a heaven on Earth.


References:
Photos, retrieved from Wikipedia and Amazon
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

[Playlist] 10 Forgotten but Deserving Hard Rock Gems [Part 2]

New media technologies allowed users to upload, share and promote content of any kind, including music. Thanks to platforms, like YouTube, I was able to discover a lot of outstanding, lesser known bands and albums from the ’80s/’90s and enrich my library with rock music that doesn’t just come out of the big acts of the industry. Actually, unearthing these hidden gems which for one reason or another didn’t achieve that big of a commercial success and these days are not particularly on everyone’s minds, is one of my favorite things to do…you just never know what will come out!
I previously wrote a similar publication, which you can check out in case you haven’t : 10 Forgotten but Deserving AOR Classics and now I wanted to once again prepare a little playlist with songs from albums (and entire albums) that might had been in time but still managed to captivate me and found a way into my library. In case you know some of these AOR treasures, now it might be a good time to remember. Let’s go…


Hanover Fist – Hungry Eyes (1985)

hanover

This beauty right here I found while watching videos on YouTube. I was attracted by the album artwork but never expected to become such a fan of this album. The pleasantly obscure, rather heavy release, titled “Hungry Eyes” is actually a re-release of Canadian rockers’ 1983 debut album, with with a slightly different tracklist. I wish I had a long and interesting story but I don’t – the band lasted for about 3 years and that was it…

“Fits Ya Good”, “Hungry Eyes”, “Metal of the Night” – all songs I recommend and truly believe will fit into the playlist of every rock fan out there. Give it a chance:


Fury – Fury (1993)

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I honestly don’t know much about these guys or this album, because it’s just impossible to unearth any background information. What I do know, however, is that this self-titled 1993 release contains every ingredient I like and enjoy in a melodic rock record. I often go back to this video I accidentally found on YouTube just so I can play this album from start to finish. My favorite songs include “Trouble” and “Higher Ground” – brilliant hooks and selection of sing-alongs.


Persian Risk – Rise Up (1986)

persian risk rise up

I think that many people probably know or have heard about the NWOBHM band Persian Risk but I also think that it’s high time I refreshed your memories of them. The British band formed in the late ’70s and actually have a long story so if you’re into that genre, go ahead and dig deeper. I have Carl Sentance – their vocalist (who is now fronting Nazareth) to thank for giving me a heads up on their stunning albums. “Rise Up” – their debut 1986 release is one of the gems you simply must hear. “Jane” has to be one of their most memorable songs. Check it out:


Stage Dolls – Stage Dolls (1988)

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This album I found as I was casually browsing through YouTube (thankfully). I knew that they had to be from somewhere other than the UK or the USA and I was right. Stage Dolls is actually a Norwegian band, formed in the early ’80s. Their self-titled 1989 album is actually their junior one, released in Norway first and becoming a total hit over there. Not so sure about becoming a hit everywhere else, but with songs like “Still in Love” and “Waitin’ For You”, they are true winners in my book. Another proof that Norwegians just know how to make rock music!!


Von Groove – Von Groove (1992)

von groove

A great example of early ’90s hard rock – it was excellent (but overlooked) albums like this one that kept the spirit of the genre alive, against the upcoming grunge invasion. The Canadian band Von Groove’s debut album is everything you can ever ask for if you are a fan of this type of music. Terrific songs like “Once Is Not Enough” or “Better than Ever” will give you a clearer picture of what I’m saying.


Silent Rage – Don’t Touch Me There (1989)

silent rage

LA might at its finest! Oh, boy – this album is pure fire!! “Don’t Touch Me There” is the band’s sophomore release and in my opinion their finest hour. Led by the talented Jesse Damon, Silent Rage is definitely one of those bands who grab you by the throat and don’t let go. I simply love this album! “I Wanna Feel It Again”, “Rebel With a Cause” and the power ballad, “Tonight You’re Mine” – all stunning examples of late ’80s hard rock.


Saints & Sinners – Saints & Sinners (1992)

saints&sinners1992

Saints & Sinners – another Canadian band with tons of unrealized potential. Their 1992 release remained the band’s first and final effort. The timing wasn’t right and the album just couldn’t stand against the alternative scene, occupying everyone’s attention.

Simply put, you love glam metal, if you love catchy riffs and solid rocking melodies, colored by magnificent vocals, you will LOVE this album. I would definitely point “Wheels of Fire” and “Walk the Walk” as my two favorite tracks from it so go ahead and check them out:


Jagged Edge – Fuel for Your Soul (1990)

Jagged Edge U.K.

Lesser-known English band with an outstanding Swedish vocalist – Matti Alfonzetti. I found “Fuel for Your Soul” as I was browsing through YouTube and the opening track immediately caught my attention. Jagged Edge, unfortunately, split up after the release of this album and we couldn’t really observe how and what will they develop into but hey – we have this album which is full of memorable rockers that can stand against the bigger hits of the era. I highly recommend those guys and not just because of the killer vocals…


Helix – Wild in the Streets (1987)

helix wild in the streets

Canadian band Helix achieved great success in the beginning of their career and still are adored by fans from all over the world (including me). However, this album right here – “Wild in the Streets” somehow always remains forgotten when we talk about them. “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge”, “No Rest for the Wicked” and “Long Way to Heaven” always take the spotlight.

“Wild in the Streets” couldn’t really bring a lot of attention and commercial success to the band which led to them losing their U.S. deal with Capitol Records. I never understood why this album wasn’t appreciated! I mean, we have a brilliant cover of Nazareth’s “Dream On” and of course “She’s too Tough”, written by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. The album offers so much more, though…I hope you all agree with me.


Lionsheart – Lionsheart (1992)

Lionsheart_-_Lionsheart

Lionsheart formed in the early 90s in the UK. Overall, they released four albums and one live one before calling it quits in the early 2000s. They weren’t that big in the continent, however achieved success in Japan.

This time, I would like to focus on their 1992 coming out party with their self-titled album “Lionsheart” which is ready to satisfy every hard-rock thirsty soul out there. The sound is very aggressive and hard-edged; the album offers an experience that will knock your socks off. “Had Enough” and “World of Pain” are the songs to watch out for (along with the others of course). 


References:
Photos fetched from: amazon.com / Wikipedia / discogs.com
Videos retrieved from YouTube
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Open Invitation for My HYSTERIA 30th Anniversary PROJECT

Greetings, everyone!

Def-Leppard-HysteriaAs we all know, Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” will celebrate its 30th anniversary this August 3rd. Yes, that’s right – one of the most breathtaking and era-defining albums of the ’80s was released in 1987 and it completely changed the rules of the game. To commemorate the anniversary and because this is my favorite album of all times, I decided to prepare a little project, featuring YOU – the other beautiful members of the rock brigade from all over the world. Let’s all gather together as a community and show the world how much we LOVE Def Leppard and this album!

The project will consist of :

  • a photo collage, featuring pictures of DEF LEPPARD fans, holding Hysteria Vinyl Records, CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes, wearing Hysteria T-shirts, etc.
  • a video that will include audio and visual materials, including the photos you guys sent me, along with any other video materials I receive from you. It will also include me talking about the album.

What I need from you?

  • mehyst
    EXAMPLE

    A picture of you, holding a HYSTERIA Vinyl record, CD, DVD, etc…(Size doesn’t matter)

  • Your name and country
  • (Optional): A video of you sharing memories related with Hysteria, your favorite songs, why you like it, etc. (Please keep it up to 2-3 minutes)
  • (Optional): A photo of your HYSTERIA collection (CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, etc.)
  • Any other interesting thing, related with HYSTERIA you have a photo of (your dog, wearing a HYSTERIA T-shirt, a HYSTERIA tattoo photo – it is all welcomed!)

How can you send me the materials?

 

DEADLINE IS JULY 28TH (FRIDAY)

 

Here’s an example of a previous project I did with the DEF LEPPARD community on TWITTER

rock brigaders

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! 

1 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 28

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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…

10 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 34

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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!

15 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017

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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!

Remembering Jimi Jamison and his Final Album – “Never Too Late” (2012)

I don’t think I will ever get over the fact that Jimi is no longer with us. Yes, I do get the chance to listen to his magnificent voice on a daily basis, thanks to the huge legacy he left us with (with Survivor and his solo years); however, the mere thought that this gorgeous artist who had this out-of-this-world talent is gone, makes me feel so emotional, every single time.

Jimi 4I don’t think I’ve shared this before but me and Jimi go way back – way before I even truly knew what rock&roll was. Just like every ’90s kid out there, I was also part of that “Baywatch” frenzy that spread all over the world, including in my home country of Bulgaria. Surely, I had little idea of what was really going on on that show – I was what, like 4 or something, I don’t remember. What I always remembered though (besides the red swimming suits and the beautiful lifeguards) was of course, the opening song – “I’m Always Here”. I couldn’t speak English back then but I was loving this track so much! I didn’t know who Jimi Jamison or Survivor were but I knew how to sing those lyrics with my broken kiddo English/unknown language haha – you should’ve seen me. Many years later when Survivor became one of my most beloved bands of all time and I found out that the frontman was this exact person who sang one of the songs of my childhood, I was mind-blown. It all just fell into place and I guess destiny played its role. That’s one of the many reasons why I love and miss Jimi so much. Way before Def Leppard, Journey, Pink Floyd and the other favorite bands of mine, it was just him. He was always there and he will always be here – in my heart.


I do listen to Survivor on a daily basis and it’s been like this for many years. I personally don’t believe that there will ever come a time when I will get tired of albums like “Vital Signs”, “When Seconds Count”, “Too Hot to Sleep”, “Reach” or his solo albums, “Empires”, “Crossroads Moment” and of course the album I wanted to talk about today, “Never Too Late”. I really want to convey with words how much he and his music mean to me but I don’t think it’s possible. I just know that every part of my existence will love him and forever be thankful for his songs who were there when I needed them.

In 1984, Jimi Jamison joined Survivor, after Dave Bickler left the band….& the rest is history – a solid line of monumental releases, endless tours, going back and forth with Survivor, many collaborations…he was even asked to be the frontman of Deep Purple! He never truly left Survivor, though; Jimi took some time off to work on his solo stuff but ultimately, he was touring with the band till his dying breath.

jimi jamison never too late“Never Too Late” is the last solo album he released. It came out in November, 2012, via Frontiers Records (of course). No one knew that this was going to be his last release but I don’t think we could’ve gotten a more beautiful farewell than this one. The inspiring title, the touching words and and heart-melting songs are just a few of the reasons why I consider this album to be one of the purest, most angelic pieces of music I have ever heard. “Never Too Late” is an album with a message – you need to follow your dreams and despite the hardships of life, despite your broken heart, despite the endless fear – you need to keep going and don’t turn back! There’s just so much soul, so much character and passion within those notes; from start to finish, this album is one fantastic, life-changing, if I may say, melodic rock adventure you can never get bored of. One more thing – just look at the album artwork – it’s astonishing! The eagle is a symbol of freedom, opportunity, progression, determination – all important qualities needed to succeed in life. I think it perfectly suits the sonic atmosphere of the album.

Another amazing thing about “Never Too Late” is that it sounds like a vintage Survivor album from the ’80s. The title track could easily be mistaken for a “Vital Signs” single (it reminds me so much of “The Moment of Truth”). That’s not all!

I don’t know where to begin talking about the mesmerizing tunes you can find on this album. There’s absolutely no way you wouldn’t fall inlove with the playlist (unless you have a heart of stone). Jimi poured his soul out on each one of those tracks and because of his artistic sincerity, the connection is instantaneous (or at least it was with me).

The album opens up with “Everybody’s Got a Broken Heart” – a mid-tempo, spirit-lifting melodic bliss of a song with a beautiful message. Don’t even get me started on his soaring vocals. The title track starts similarly with a distinctive gentle piano, progressing into a motivational, day-brightening melody and a voice you could listen to for days and days… “I Can’t Turn Back” is my personal favorite; I get goosebumps every time I hear its opening – his voice is capable of playing with emotions like nothing else in this wold, I swear. Besides, the lyrics have been haunting me ever since I played it for the first time – “…I can’t turn back I can’t move on I cannot fight the feeling Though I know it’s wrong With the sweet lips of an angel The devil claims my soul I can’t turn back…”
All the tracks stand out with sensational intros – just pick any and you will see for yourself.  Magnificent songs like “Street Survivor”, “The Air That I Breathe”, “Bullet In The Gun” share this characteristic – a captivating intro that plays with your feelings right from the very first second. I almost forgot!!! “Hot Tonight” is another one of my personal favorites – the rhythms, the lyrics…this song keeps getting better and better with every listen!

I wish there was a possibility for me to deliver the entire spectrum of emotions I experience every single time I play a song from this album. I get sad, of course, because I miss Jimi so much; but I’m grateful, so grateful that I found him and he left me and everyone else out there with these beautiful gifts of art. I wish he was still here, releasing new albums, touring with Survivor…but that’s life and we have to accept it. He will never be forgotten.

Everybody’s Got A Broken Heart

Never Too Late

I Can’t Turn Back


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~

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:

europe promo bulgaria

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!

concert 6

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.

europe concert 3

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! 

europe concert opening act

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

europe collage 2

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:

deep purple 4

The tickets:

IMG_20170511_010408_032

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

deep purple concert 1 - edit

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

concert selfie

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

deep purple concert - arena 3

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….)

deep purple concert selfies14

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

monster truck

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

monster truck 2-wordpress

Part 2: DEEP PURPLE

deep purple 1

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!