5 Songs I Wish I Could Listen Again For The First Time

Recently, I asked my buddies on Twitter a very intriguing question:

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Plenty of my followers and dear rock friends from all over the world responded with various, personally relevant and undoubtedly breathtaking tracks, such as Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven”, Pink Floyd‘s “Comfortably Numb”, AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell” and more. I was so happy to see that many people sharing their stories, feelings and reasons why they would give anything to experience hearing their favorite song for the first time again.

Of course, way before asking my followers, I thought about my personal choices. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, actually. A song you wish to hear for the very first time and experience that “love at first listen” all over again is not necessarily the same as a “favorite” track, though. We all have hundreds and thousands of songs we LOVE but do you actually remember how you felt or what kind of emotions were flying around the air the first team you heard each and one of them? I don’t think so. Just like me, probably most of you guys can remember the first encounters of only a few songs – those special, world-shattering songs that challenged your entire existence and brought so many mind and body reactions, even…The following five masterpieces are such songs for me – song so captivating that make me wish I could go back in time and recall those beautiful first moments with them…the moments that took my breath away and made me think, “oh, that’s a song I will love and listen till the day I die”. I hope you enjoy my list! Feel free to share your thoughts here or on Twitter!


Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)

layla-claptonI have never felt a connection so instant and so strong as the one I had when I first heard those opening riffs. I didn’t know about the long and painful story behind the song and of course, that famous love triangle but I could feel that there’s just so much going on…”Layla” is not just your regular romantic tune; it’s a 7-minute long epic ballad that features two highly impressive parts – a speedy blues-oriented assemble, followed by a gentler piano and side guitar instrumental.  I was young but I could truly understand why “Layla” is referred to as one of the most important songs rock songs of the ‘70s and Eric Clapton’s most outstanding work. For me, it all started with “Layla”; I needed to hear it just once to know that Eric Clapton will become a huge part of my life…Years later, I cannot even imagine my life without his music.


Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Still…You Turn Me On (1973)

emerson-lake-palmer-brain-salad-surgery-1973My progressive rock journey started with ELP and in particular the song “Still…You Turn Me On”. I will always remember how immensely captivated I was by the bizarre, but gorgeous instrumentation, stunning lyrics and of course, Greg Lake’s vocals that just sent me to another dimension. I felt so attracted to this song; my body, my mind instantly reacted and by the time I knew it, I was already listening to their entire discography. ELP opened a new chapter of my life and for that I will always love them.


Boston – More Than A Feeling (1976)

Boston-1“More Than a Feeling” is probably the main reason why Boston and their debut record became one of the most popular rock acts of the late 70s. Each and every second of this song was designed to instantaneously crawl under your skin, inject its blessing and leave you in a state of trance. I wasn’t an exception. This song was never just an opening track to a classic rock record from many many years ago. “More Than A Feeling” turned into my ultimate relaxation outlet and a way for me to experience sweet comfort right from the very second I heard those guitars. I guess Brad Delp’s killer vocals, relentlessly playing with your senses were another reason why this song grabbed me right form the beginning.


Def Leppard – Love Bites (1987)

Def_Leppard_-_Hysteria_(vinyl_version)One of my biggest musical obsessions is hard rock power ballads from the ’80s. Everyone who follows my blog and Twitter knows how passionate I am about the gentler, mellower side of rock music. It all had to start from somewhere, right? Well, for me it started with Def Leppard‘s only one #1 hit single, the most stunning rock ballad of all time – “Love Bites”. The moment I heard that passionate, thrilling, so sensual song I knew two things: 1) I will become a huge Def Leppard fan and I need to listen to every piece of music they released; 2) Power ballads would become my favorite kind of rock songs and I gotta find out more. The fact that I knew these things right after the first listen speaks volumes. Joe Elliott‘s vocals crawled under my skin and the rest is history. Interestingly, every time I play “Love Bites”, it feels like the first time…


Scorpions – Send Me an Angel (1990)

Scorpions - Send me an Angel2There are rock ballads and then there’s Scorpions’ “Send Me an Angel” – a song that brings tears to my eyes every time I play it. I remember my first moments with this track back in the day very distinctively because the sincere, so powerful and expressive vocal delivery of Klaus Meine left me speechless. I played that song over and over till I finally learned the lyrics by heart. I couldn’t interpret the words but I just knew how honest they were. I had the chance to witness the song materialize on stage during their 50th anniversary tour and I will never forget that magical experience…


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~

The Joys of Record Shopping in Seoul, South Korea

I was fortunate enough to be born in 1992 – a year in which LP/CD/Audiocasette stores were everywhere and people were still enthusiastically buying music. On top of it all, I come from a family of musicians, so you can imagine the kind of musical collections I grew up with. By 1992, the CD had already established itself as a major music format and its importance in people’s lives was unquestionable. I remember asking my parents for CDs every time there was an occasion – birthdays, name days, Christmas, I would always get tons of CDs or audiocassettes of my favorite ‘90s artists as gifts from my parents. I was (and still do it by the way) giving CDs to my friends too.

I guess the CD mania didn’t really allow me to appreciate or look for any other music format when I was a kid. I remember my parents’ vinyl collections but it never really made much sense to get into the whole thing myself. Most of the LPs we had were Russian pressings and it just looked so weird to me. Like, what do I do with that black round thing? How do I play it? I better just go back to the cool stereo and play my CDs. I should’ve known better…

I’ve never really thought about the true value of a vinyl mostly because I was too young and basically moving along with the trend. The technological advancements in sound quality and proliferation and affordability of HiFi stereos made it even easier for people to enjoy music and purchase CDs (and audio-cassettes till early 2000s actually).

As I was getting into music more and more with each second, it was only natural for me to discover the magic of a vinyl record. I guess it all fell into place when I became a die-hard fan of old-school rock music. When this whole new world opened up in front of me, all of a sudden I had tons of exceptional ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s rock bands settling in my heart and they brought so much more than mind-blowing rock&roll in my life. These great artists brought with them the old ways of music which eventually became a staple for me. Of course, growing up with artists like Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Chicago, Toto, Tina Turner, Foreigner and similar, had a lot to do with my natural progression towards becoming the ultimate classic rock enthusiast. When you reach the next level of fandom, listening to Led Zeppelin or The Beatles on a CD might not be satisfying enough. I’m not sure I can fully explain it but as I was growing up and my level of music expertise and knowledge of rock music history expanded, my preference for musical formats changed too. I still buy CDs all the time but it’s the LP records that excite me and make my heart jump the moment I come across a LP store.

Some of you may know this but I live in Seoul at the moment, though I come from Bulgaria. Just like in my other countries around the world, in Korea too record stores keep on disappearing as we speak. Korean pop is still a massive force and the market for idol merchandise, including CDs, is still going strong. For a moment, if we forget about Kpop and focus on the international music market, there aren’t actually that many places that offer a wide selection of past and current releases. Moreover, my adoration for second-hand LP record shopping had to be satisfied sooner or later. After my favorite little local record store closed (because of course it had to) I felt quite lost for a little while. I had this routine and the owners knew me not just because I was the only foreigner who would come every week but because I would spend a long time there, browsing and listening to music and trying to find comfort. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to be brought to this underground shopping area, located in Myeong-dong (명동), Seoul. I’ve been to Myeong-dong area plenty of times but never knew that there was this second-hand vinyl heaven right beneath my feet. First time I went it was quite late and I couldn’t really make the best of it. I promised myself to devote at least one day and go through each and every LP that was there! I kept my promise….multiple times Ha!

I wanted to share this meaningful experience with you, guys and emphasize once again on how magical it can be to dive into this world of old-school music, put into a vinyl record so many years ago. I am well aware of the fact that most of my readers are probably from previous generations and grew up with LP records so they keep on buying and collecting them. However, it’s not just the older rock fans that know a thing or two about records. Believe it or not, there are many younger people, like myself, out there who are devoted LP collectors and appreciate this format. With this publication, I wanted to not only share what it is like to go record shopping in Seoul, Korea, but also to emphasize and remind everyone that records are the real deal and no other format can ever replace the value and the spirit, this vinyl carries within itself. I truly hope you enjoy the photos!


…This is Myeong-dong – a shopping district, located in the heart and soul of SEOUL, South Korea. There are thousands of tourists who can enjoy all kinds of stores, restaurants, malls and tourist attractions. It is always extremely crowded and it looks something like this:

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…But this is where we are heading for! Myeong-dong underground shopping center – that’s where the real music is!

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After a couple of minutes this breathtaking view welcomes you to paradise! There are plenty of music stores in that underground area but this one is the biggest and offers the widest selection of records. On top of it all, it’s not just this one wall – the owner has little record displays everywhere. I love going there because they have the best ’80s hard rock LPs and in the greatest condition (I am convinced he is a huge classic rock fan)! Don’t even get me started on how awesome the prices are! 

Of course, there are plenty of other genres offered – you can spot classic music, jazz music, pop music, ’90s music and many other subsections!

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…In addition to vinyl records, they also offer CDs (second hand, of course). Here, it says that you can get 4 CDs for 10.000Won, which is around 10$.

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Sometimes you can come across real treasures! That wasn’t what I came for, though…

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My favorite section – the place where all the great things happen is this one – this little shelf that contains mostly Korean (or Japanese) pressings of LPs from the good old days of hard rock (a.k.a the ’80s). The prices vary from 5.000Won (5$) to 15.000Won (15$), depending on the condition or popularity of the LP. I’ve been going there for quite some time now and what truly impresses me is that there are new (old) ones every time! Some even quite rare, actually! There is a little chair provided for the people (like me) who just have to go through every single record and make sure nothing is left unseen. Time flies so fast when you are looking for your next big discovery!

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These are just some of the treasures I found…

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Some of them I do have, some of them I don’t! I am still working on my rock collection and have a lifetime to do it! I wasn’t really sure what to get till I saw those two albums…

It’s amazing how the things we want so much, always find a way to come to us! I have been record shopping for ages and this is the first time I see those two albums in any music format. Bonham’s “The Disregard of Timekeeping” has been on my “list” for so long! It was almost unbelievable that it was there, just waiting for me…

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Fortune’s self-titled debut album is one rare-gem! I have never came across it and knowing how rare it is, I just had to buy it!

The prices of both were 7.000Won (7$ each). It’s crazy, right? Excellent condition, still with their lyric and promo sheets inside! This is what I’m talking about – I don’t know about you, guys but the thrill of browsing through records and all of a sudden finding one that you wanted so much can be such an emotional moment. Moreover, the most amazing thing is that these kinds of experiences can make you feel so much closer to the music. I didn’t have the chance to be born during the time these albums were released. I never attended their concert or passionately discussed such records with my friends. For someone like me, this is the most genuine way to feel that ’80s rock vibe. For a second there I feel like I was part of it all and it feels so good! Just like that, by holding an old-school second-hand record, I was brought back to the late ’80s and time didn’t matter anymore, it was all about my favorite music and me.

Bonham – The Disregard of Timekeeping (1989)

Fortune – Fortune (1985)

Moving on to the big wall of records… I just had to browse through them all.

Def Leppard

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Other interesting records I thought I’d never see in Korea!

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I wasn’t the only one on a hunt…

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The kings!

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Another separate CD section for the enthusiastic collectors.

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There were a couple of more stores which I had to visit before I leave. Though this one was the biggest and definitely the best, sometimes you never know what will jump out of the old vinyl boxes. Interestingly, there were plenty of people who were browsing and looking around. Korean people haven’t fully given up on LPs and that’s great!

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One of the other little stores always offers the best deals! In front of it, you can spot a couple of boxes, full of records, all for 5.000Won each (5$). I always find pretty interesting things there! Last time I went, I purchased Europe’s “The Final Countdown” and TNT’s “Tell No Tales” so with the hopes of finding new treasures, I went back…

& let the browsing begin…

I don’t have Guns N’ Roses’ “Use Your Illusion I” and it was such an amazing deal that I just had to buy it!

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Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion (1991)

There are plenty of LP stores all over the underground shopping center but some of them were closed as it was too early when I went there.

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Of course, there are stores that offer the suitable sound equipment for listening to those LPs you just bought.

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…and there’s me at the end of my record shopping journey all happy and full of smiles, holding my three new LPs.

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I hope by my words and photos you can tell how exciting and joyful this whole experience was for me. I do that quite often but this time I decided to photograph it all step by step with the hopes of triggering pleasant emotions to my readers and create a sweet memory. I am leaving Korea for good pretty soon but this habit of mine will keep on existing wherever I go. I hope that people out there don’t forget the many benefits of purchasing a record and don’t stop doing it. As I said, that’s one of the most beautiful ways of going back in time. Imagine – this LP was made 30+ years ago and somehow it found its way to your arms. To me that’s just so extraordinary.

When I went back home I had the chance to take a closer look at my new LPs. Ain’t they amazing?

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

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~

The Story of JOURNEY’s “Open Arms”

There are great rock ballads and then there’s Journey’s “Open Arms” – a song that goes beyond the realms of any ordinary power ballad with its distinctive poeticism and ability to break down even the toughest hearts out there. Back in the day, when I knew so little about Steve Perry or Journey, it was “Open Arms” that convinced me that there is something special about this band and I should dig deeper. Now, years later, I look back at that moment when I fell in love at first listen and I can’t but be grateful for this gorgeous song that found a way to appear in my life and brought Journey with it.

I thought it’s high time this out-of-this-world power ballad got the spotlight on [My Rock Mixtapes]. I have gathered some interesting facts and personal interpretations which hopefully my readers will find beneficial. Don’t get too emotional (though I know I will).

Journey_Escape

– “Open Arms” was released as the third single from Journey’s highly successful 1981 album “Escape”. Written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, the delicate ballad turned into an instant radio sensation and a fan-favorite. Moreover, not only it skyrocketed the album sales but it became the band’s highest charting single, occupying #2 spot for six weeks! (Surprise! Journey’s most popular tune “Don’t Stop Believin’” didn’t even reach top5 positions in the States).
All in all, what “Open Arms” achieved should come as no surprise because it was in fact a revolutionary song at the time – after its release and commercial success, it became an absolute necessity for any rock act to release a power-ballad.

journey-open-arms– Initially, Jonathan Cain wrote the melody of “Open Arms” for The Babys – a band, led by John Waite. However, to John the tune was simply too sentimental and had absolutely no interest in recording it. Imagine how different the future would’ve looked like for “Open Arms” if it wasn’t Journey who released it at the end. (Huge mistake, John…)

Things didn’t kick off that smoothly in the Journey corner as well, though. The rest of the band members, including lead guitarist Neal Schon, had their doubts about the mellow rocker as it was way too different than anything they had ever recorded before. Basically, Steve Perry was the only one who rooted for the song till the very end. He was committed and knew what was right. Let’s all thank Steve Perry for not giving up on “Open Arms”.

– “Open Arms” is a perfect marriage between melody and lyrics. Steve Perry is such a magical being; how could he come up with words so touching and so affecting, is beyond my comprehension. Simple, yet so moving, those lines are effortlessly playing on the strings of your heart, making you fall apart with each second. There’s a reason why many fans and critics refer to “Open Arms” as one of the greatest ballads of all time – not many ballads can actually provoke an emotional and physical reaction in you.

journey-open-arms– To me, the song is about that “soft” and “sincere” love between two people, who may have “drifted apart” for one reason or another, but the true feelings they have for each other never actually changed. Steve is singing about someone he wants back, ready to welcome her with “open arms” and start their beautiful life once again, forgetting the past. At the end of the day, I think it’s all about what your heart wants; when there’s “nothing to hide” and that sweet love means so much to you, it’s never too late to welcome it back to your life. My favorite lines from “Open Arms” are “…But now that you’ve come back, Turned night into dayI need you to stay”they can perfectly summarize the entire concept of the tune. If you have broken up with someone you love dearly and gotten back together, this is the song you should play on your first date back as a couple.

(Do I even need to comment on Steve Perry and his God-like vocal delivery? I will just let him do the talking…)


“Open Arms” Lyrics

Lying beside you
Here in the dark
Feeling your heartbeat with mine
Softly you whisper
You’re so sincere
How could our love be so blind
We sailed on together
We drifted apart
And here you are
By my side

So now I come to you
With open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say
So here I am
With open arms
Hoping you’ll see
What your love means to me
Open arms

Living without you
Living alone
This empty house seems so cold
Wanting to hold you
Wanting you near
How much I wanted you home

But now that you’ve come back
Turned night into day
I need you to stay

So now I come to you
With open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say
So here I am
With open arms
Hoping you’ll see
What your love means to me
Open arms


References:
“Open Arms” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/journey/openarms.html
“Open Arms” official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Arms_(Journey_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~

10 Essential DEF LEPPARD Ballads

What happens when you listen to your favorite band rocking the hell out of a beautiful ballad? Well, you have the time of your life (at least I do). My immense adoration for Def Leppard comes as no surprise, especially to people who have been following my blog and/or twitter page. To me, they are the perfect rock act and I don’t see myself connect with another band’s music on such deep, emotional level as I did with Def Leppard’s. There’s just something so special about these hardworking Sheffield guys and their turbulent, but exceptional career, spawning some of the most brilliant rock classics of all time! I can talk all day and night about Def Leppard’s accomplishments and unquestionably legacy, starting with their raw debut in 1981 with “On Through The Night”, moving on to the biggest blockbuster of the ‘80s, “Hysteria” (1987) and end up with their latest self-titled release in 2015, proving that they can still blow our minds away with solid rock music. However, now I would like to focus on a specific side of their music catalog – Def Leppard’s ballads. The majority of rock fans are well aware of classics like “Love Bites” or “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”, but there are a couple of more mellow rockers that deserve your attention. Leppard’s ‘90s releases, especially, are filled with beautiful ballads which unfortunately are not as popular as their ‘80s classics. As a die-hard fan of Def Leppard and a rock ballad enthusiast, it’s my duty to remind you of some of those songs or give you at least one new ballad to add to your playlist! Let’s listen to 10 essential Def Leppard ballads!


Long Long Way To Go (from “X”, 2002)

def-leppard-x

“Long Way to Go” is by far one of Def Leppard’s saddest songs, at least to me. The ballad comes from their 2002 release, titled “X” and is their last UK Top 40 hit single, surprisingly. This tune became a major reason why I fell in love with the album, as it was the first “X” song I heard back in the day. The crying guitars, accompanied by Joe Elliott’s heavyhearted but hopeful vocals are drawing the perfect ballad picture for me. The lyrics are what caught my attention in the first place, as I found myself in them…

“…Then every time I turn around
And you’re nowhere to be found
I know I got a long, long way to go
Before I can say goodbye to you…”

Unbelievable (from “X”, 2002)

def-leppard-x

I always wondered why critics were  judging “X” so harshly and condemning it as Leppard’s worst release, when in fact it is filled with so greatly-written and delicate songs like “Long Way to Go” and “Unbelievable”. It wasn’t as commercially successful as their previous releases but who the hell cares? “Unbelievable” is unbelievably astonishing. Not as gloomy as “Long Way to Go”, but sweeter, more uplifting with such a memorable anthem-like ending. Both ballads are the only two songs from “X” not co-credited by a member of Def Leppard.

“…You don’t say that it’s over, over
Never thought this could die
But you speak without words
Making me feel so damn good, ‘bye
It’s unbelievable…”


Goodbye (from “Euphoria”, 1999)

def-leppard-euphoria

“Goodbye” comes from Def Leppard’s 1999 release, titled “Euphoria”. Written by Rick Savage, this has to be one of their most overlooked ballads, despite being one of their best in my book. The song is a beautiful confession; the protagonist is proclaiming his love and is ready to give his everything for that special person. After all, who wouldn’t like to hear words like that:…

 “…I’d be there if the sun refused to shine
As the night gets colder I will be your shoulder
I give you my heart until death us do part
Every day, every moment, forever?”


Blood Runs Cold (from “Slang”, 1996)

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Written by Joe Elliot and Phil Collen, this has to be my favorite tune from Def Leppard’s 1996 release, titled “Slang”. “Slang”, along with “X” are the two albums to which critics didn’t do much justice, despite being absolutely phenomenal. I mean, just listen to the elegant guitars and Joe’s perfect vocal harmonies and tell me how it is possible to say something bad about the song or the album? Not to mention that “Blood Runs Cold” is another beautiful tribute to the late Steve Clark, who died of an alcohol poisoning. Def Leppard turned their immense pain over the loss of their friend to a superb ballad. It carries and important message too:…

“I guess what I’m trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin’
Living is the best revenge
You can play…”  


When Love & Hate Collide (from “Vault”, 1995)

def-leppard-vault

In 1995, Def Leppard released their greatest hits album, titled “Vault”. In addition to their timeless classics, fans got the opportunity to enjoy one newly recorded song, the power ballad “When Love and Hate Collide”. The history of that tune dates back to their 1992 album “Adrenalize”; its demo was actually the last recorded guitar solo by Leppard’s original guitarist, Steve Clark before he died in 1991.
When it was released as a single in 1995, the song became an instant success – as a matter of fact it’s one of their most successful singles in the UK. Not surprised at all, the tune is so attractive; you must have a “heart of stone” to not fall in love with it.

“…Without you
One night alone Is like a year without you baby
Do you have a heart of stone
Without you
Can’t stop the hurt inside
When love and hate collide…”


Two Steps Behind (from “Retro Active”, 1993)

Def Leppard - Retroactive tough girl

Track number 4, on Def Leppard’s 1993 album, “Retro Active” is the acoustic bliss, titled “Two Steps Behind”. It’s also featured on the “Last Action Hero” soundtrack. “Two Steps Behind” is another ballad with a long history, going back to 1989, when Joe recorded the original demo. It was also released on the “Make Love like a Man” single in 1992 (from “Adrenalize”). There are two versions of this tune, equally brilliant; however, for the purpose of this playlist, I preferred to take the acoustic one over the electric.
Joe Elliot wrote the song, but it was Phil Collen’s suggestion to record an acoustic version – a pretty good suggestion, don’t you think? The results were magnificent; I love every note and every word! Its simplicity is groundbreaking.

 “…(Whatever you do)
I’ll be two steps behind you
(Wherever you go)
and I’ll be there to remind you
that it only takes a minute of your precious time
to turn around and I’ll be two steps behind…”

Miss You In A Heartbeat (from “Retro Active”, 1993)

Def Leppard - Retroactive tough girl

The second ballad on “Retro Active” (1993) is “Miss You in a Heartbeat”, which I think is one of their most touching and heartbreaking compositions. Once again, there are two versions – acoustic and electric and I am giving you the chance to check both of them out, because I couldn’t pick just one. Written by Phil Collen as a bonus track for “Adrenalize” (1992), it was originally recorded by The Law, led by the great Paul Rodgers (ex-Free, Bad Company and The Firm). I am not going to compare both versions, I will leave it to you, guys.

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” gives you the perfect chance to say “I miss You” to someone you love…The lyrics are breathtaking:…

“…I believe, that there’s something deep inside
That shouldn’t be from time to time.
I sure found out, thought love was such a crime
The more you care, the more you fall
No need to worry, no need to turn away
‘Cause it don’t matter, anyway …”

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” by The Law


Have You Ever Needed Someone so Bad (from “Adrenalize”, 1992)

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Let’s move on to Def Leppard’s “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”, from their multi-platinum 1992 release, “Adrenalize”.  The ballad was a total success – not only did it reach top chart positions but it turned into one of Def Leppard’s most beloved mellow rockers of all time. It was destined for such enormous worldwide appreciation and I blame it on the relatable lyrics. Def Leppard always mange to convey a strong, engaging message in a simple, yet elegant way.

“…Why save your kisses for a rainy day
Baby let the moment take your heart away…
Have you ever needed someone so bad, yeah
Have you ever wanted someone
You just couldn’t have
Did you ever try so hard
That your world just fell apart
Have you ever needed someone so bad…”


Love Bites (from “Hysteria”, 1987)

Def_Leppard_-_Hysteria_(vinyl_version)

One way or another, we were destined to bump into “Love Bites” because let’s face it, we can’t talk about essential Def Leppard ballads and not mention their GREATEST, most successful one of all time – “Love Bites”, released from the 1987 blockbuster “Hysteria”. The influence it had on the audience was colossal – not only it topped the charts but it completely redefined the importance of power ballads in the last couple of years of the ‘80s. Brilliantly produced by Mutt Lange, “Love Bites” will forever remain synonymous with “power ballad”.

“…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
No!…”


Bringin’ On The Heartbreak (from “High ‘n’ Dry”, 1981)

Def Leppard - High n Dry

I will wrap things up with Def Leppard’s 1981 power ballad “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak”. Released as the second single from their “High ‘n’ Dry” album, the tune marks a very important point as it set an early standard for power ballads. It’s also one of Def Leppard’s catchiest, least-sweet and “cheesy- sounding” ballads of their career. It was written by Steve Clark, Pete Willis, and Joe Elliott. Mariah Carey did a cover version in 2002 – if you are curious about it, go to YouTube, I won’t be posting it on my blog. The lyrics are very engaging, I love the chorus!

“…I’m sorry but it’s true
You’re bringin’ on the heartbreak
Takin’ all the best of me
Oh can’t you see?
You got the best of me
Whoah can’t you see? …”


10 is never enough…

Let Me Be The One (from “X”, 2002)

Breathe a Sigh (from “Slang”, 1996)

Where Does Love Go When It Dies (from “Slang”, 1996)

All I Want is Everything (from “Slang”, 1996)

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (from “Adrenalize”, 1992, original by The Rolling Stones)

Tonight (from “Adrenalize”, 1992)

Hysteria (from “Hysteria”, 1987)

Too Late for Love (from “Pyromania”, 1983)


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/
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~

TOP 10 Rock Albums of 2016

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2016 was the year of the comebacks – some of them great, some of them not so great, but if we look at the big picture, this year definitely rocked pretty hard. Right from the very beginning, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” signaled the arrival of a strong rock&roll year. We lost David just a couple of days later, but we are beyond grateful for his last gift to us. January awarded us with Megadeth’s “Dystopia” and Dream Theater’s “The Astonishing”. After that, all hell broke loose – Elton John released “Wonderful Crazy Night”, Last In Line debuted with “Heavy Crown” and Iggy Pop came back with a new studio album – “Post Pop Depression”. The spring brought a lot of color and joy with the much anticipated releases of Cheap Trick with “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello”, Sixx:A.M.‘s “Prayers for the Damned: Vol. 1”, Cyndi Lauper’s “Detour”, Eric Clapton’s “I Still Do” and many more. The summer of 2016 was hotter than ever thanks to Paul Simon, Roxette, Neil Young, Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Heart and Steven Tyler. The last four months of 2016 were, in my opinion, the strongest in terms of rock releases. After 16 years, Kansas came back on the horizon with “The Prelude Implicit”. Along with them, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Barry Gibb, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Hughes, Bon Jovi, Sting, Simple Minds and of course, Metallica with “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct”, left quite the impression with their new albums. December gave us The Rolling Stone’s “Blue & Lonesome” –they surely know how to wrap things up with style.

Coming up with a “Top 10 Rock Albums of 2016” can be quite the formidable task. So many interesting things happened on the music scene this year and I think all of the above mentioned artists deserve a round of applause and our deep appreciation. Of course, the beauty of music is that it has something for everyone and this year there were plenty of releases with which I managed to establish a deep connection. The following 10 albums stood out to me for one reason or another and I truly believe they are among the greatest rock jewels 2016 spawned. I would like to say that this is a personal selection, driven by my taste in music. In case you haven’t listened to those albums yet, I strongly recommend you to do so! Here we go!


1. Kansas – The Prelude Implicit

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The album that tops my list of favorite 2016 releases is Kansas’ long awaited comeback – “The Prelude Implicit”. Even before the album was officially out in September, I somehow sensed that I will fall in love with it. The elevating, colorful mixture of progressive and hard rock, along with the refreshing vocals of new singer Ronnie Platt created the perfect rock experience for me. David Ragsdale’s heated violin playing was the final element that sealed the deal. “The Prelude Implicit” is absolutely stunning – from the charming opening rocker “With this Heart” to the spectacular instrumental “Section 60”, the whole album just keeps on throwing one strong punch after another. “Camouflage” became my absolute favorite song from “The Prelude Implicit” and I am still waiting for a music video, actually. “Camouflage”, along with “Crowded Isolation” and the exciting hard rocker “Rhythm in the Spirit” are some of the highlights of the album. I can’t recommend this enough.

Read My Full Review Here : Kansas – “The Prelude Implicit” Album Review

My Copy of “The Prelude Implicit”

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2. Glenn Hughes – Resonate

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Number 2 on my list is Glenn Hughes’ powerful hard rock dynamite, titled “Resonate”. No words can describe the dangerous, electrifying and absolutely mind-blowing aura of the record. Glenn is one of a kind legend and this jaw-dropping album only solidifies his position as one of the best rockers out there. “Resonate” is no joke, it’s the ultimate galvanizing rock experience of 2016! Glenn hits hard right from the beginning with the aggressive “Heavy” and moves on to “My Town”, “Let It Shine” and “God of Money” – all explosive, guitar-driven tornadoes. “When I Fall” demonstrates the gentle side of the rock monster. Overall, if you want to get drunk on pure hard rock, this is the album for you. Glenn is still here, still relevant and still releasing incredible material. The youngsters need to take notes – “Resonate” is a great example of how real hard rock should sound like.

Read My Full Review Here : Glenn Hughes – “Resonate” Album Review


3. Eric Clapton – I Still Do

Eric Clapton - I Still Do (2016)

Legendary guitar hero Eric Clapton released his twenty-third solo album in May 2016 and as a long-time fan of him I just couldn’t be happier! For “I Still Do”, the king of blues recorded original songs, as well as cover versions of classics by artists such as Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan. Positively laidback, the album definitely grabs your attention with its bluesy easy-going and breezy aura that creates the perfect mood. The songs are rather homogeneous and once again perfectly aligned with Eric Clapton’s standards and practices of reviving and exploring old ways and meanings of music. The original composition “Spiral” is one of the highlights of the record, on which Clapton demonstrates how well he can improvise with a guitar and how effortlessly he can create something so fanciful and memorable. Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway” and JJ Cale’s Somebody’s Knocking” showcase Clapton’s confidence when it comes to the blues. The genuine “I Still Do” reflects Eric’s current self-assured spirit – he wants to do music his own way and he couldn’t care less what everyone things about it. The album just goes beyond class – it’s everything I dreamed of.

Read My Full Review Here : Eric Clapton – “I Still Do” Album Review

Me With My Copy of “I Still Do”

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4. Last In Line – Heavy Crown

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Former members of DIO – drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and keyboardist Claude Schnell, along with vocalist Andrew Freeman formed Last In Line in 2012, with their name, of course, coming from DIO’s 1984 album. Kicking off things as a mere tribute band, reminding fans of the glory days of DIO and explicitly focusing on the classic albums “Holy Diver”, “The Last in Line”, and “Sacred Heart”, the guys quickly stirred things up the excitement among the fans. It wasn’t long before they decided that it’s time they pave their own way with original compositions. “Heavy Crown” was released in February 2016 and it instantly captivated the audience, including myself. I am a huge fan of Vivian (because of Def Leppard, of course), so I was impatiently waiting to see how he will lead Last In Line into triumph, which he absolutely did with this unbelievably good old-school hard rock blast, titled “Heavy Crown”. “Starmaker” and “Devil In Me” are the instant attention-grabbers with their fiery tempos and of course, the soaring chants of Andrew, who is absolutely killing it on this record. “Burn This House Down”, “I Am Revolution” and “Blame It On Me” are a couple of others energizing metal explosions, completely overpowering every one of our senses. “Heavy Crown” follows the strong spirit of DIO but at the same time, goes beyond that, quite successfully if I may say. Moreover, this album gives us one more chance to experience the talents of Jimmy Bain, which in itself is a reason enough to put the record in my top 5.


5. The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome

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Since I love the blues so much, including The Rolling Stones’ “Blue & Lonesome” on my list would come as no surprise. The rock&roll Gods came back with a phenomenal collection of spirited covers, bringing us back to the golden days of blues. “Blue & Lonesome” is Rolling Stones’ first album to feature exclusively cover songs. Among the twelve blues jewels, we get to listen to interpretations of forgotten but classic tracks by Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Buddy Johnson, Memphis Slim and other legendary bluesmen. Recorded within just a few days, with no preparation whatsoever, “Blue & Lonesome” is the perfect example of how The Rolling Stones can effortlessly craft some serious magic out of nowhere and still sound as confident as ever. Mick Jagger is absolutely killing it on songs like “Just Your Fool” (Buddy Johnson), “Little Rain” (Ewart G. Abner Jr. and Jimmy Reed), “All of Your Love” (Magic Sam) and the atmospheric title track “Blue & Lonesome” (Memphis Slim) – raw, brave and soulful, his vocal delivery is obviously reflecting his high level of satisfaction with this album. I am mind blown by the terrific guitar work of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and the drum beats of Charlie Watts. Also, my idol – Eric Clapton also appears on “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”. “Blue & Lonesome” offers a galvanizing blues experience and I definitely recommend it.

Read My Full Review Here: The Rolling Stones – “Blue & Lonesome” Album Review


6. Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello

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In 2016, Cheap Trick were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but that definitely didn’t mean they were done with rocking and rolling – on the contrary, their golden days are far from over. Their “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello” simply proved that those guys have a lot more energy, talent and joy to spread to the world. Uplifting, spirited, charming and highly entertaining – the record was the perfect spring rock sonata. Cheap Trick are still rocking pretty hard and we can clearly see it in songs like “Heart on the Line”, “When I Wake Up Tomorrow”, “Blood Red Lips” and “Do You Believe Me?”. The band’s first release for the country giants Big Machine Records is also the first album without the presence of long-time drummer Bun E. Carlos. Nevertheless, this modern-day rock extravaganza is everything but boring. Guitarist Rick Nielsen is doing a superb job; I am absolutely in love with the catchy riffs on “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello”. A well-deserving comeback by Cheap Trick, I recommend you guys to take a listen or two!


7. David Bowie – Blackstar

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David Bowie’s last album – “Blackstar” was released just a few days before we lost him. I still can’t believe this beautiful human being is not with us anymore, it was such a tragic loss for everyone. I am beyond grateful for “Blackstar” – the last chance to say goodbye and experience his magical voice and one of a kind musicianship. The value of the album lies in its aggressive experimentalism which for many people may be a bit difficult to absorb, but as a long-time fan of progressive/art rock, the anxiety of “Blackstar” perfectly matched my tastes. The twenty-fifth album of Bowie, produced by long-time collaborator and a friend, Tony Visconti, presents seven intriguing, devilish even compositions, each reminiscent of Bowie’s ‘70s glory days but still compiling tons of new and exciting elements. Songs like “Girl Loves Me”, “Lazarus” and “I Can’t Give Everything Away” are fuelled with pure drum’n’bas wickedness. David’s moody groans are the foundation of “Blackstar”. It’s so inspiring to hear him perform so bewitching given what his condition was at that time. Saxophonist Donny McCaslin is also bringing so much to the table. You will never ever hear anything like “Blackstar” again and for that it deserves to be listened and appreciated.


8. Heart – Beautiful Broken

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“I Jump” was my absolute favorite song of summer 2016! I couldn’t have my day going without listening to this glorious tune by the Wilson sisters. As a matter of fact, this song itself is one big part of the reason why this album is even in my top 10.
On “Beautiful Broken”, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson are simply offering an intriguing selection of seven re-imagined and re-recorded cherry picks from their early career, along with a few new exciting additions to their catalogue. Ann Wilson will always be one of my favorite female vocalists of all time and this record definitely proves that she still got it! Some highly appealing things are happening on this record, including the guest appearance of Metallica’s James Hetfield, whose roaring vocals work quite well with Ann’s soulful and clear singing. The heavy orchestral “I Jump” possesses that Led Zeppelin vibe, which is not surprising at all – the girls are often crediting Led Zeppelin as their biggest musical influence. “Two” and “Heaven” are a couple of other high points from “Beautiful Broken”. Many of the fans out there, including myself, are quite sentimental and prefer the original classics, however “Beautiful Broken” definitely deserves a chance – if not for the old-new songs, than for the three gorgeous new additions to their music library. Also, Ann’s voice is a reason enough to have this record!

Read My Full Review Here: Heart – “Beautiful Broken” Album Review


9. Metallica – Hardwired To Self-Destruct

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The mighty metal Gods survived through the long gap, after which the majority of rock acts would’ve been totally obliterated by the constantly changing music scene, and rose from the ashes with a smashing new heavy metal storm, titled “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”. The expectations were high but they did deliver something quite satisfying so let’s give a round of applause to singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich who co-wrote almost the entire set of throat-grabbing tunes.
“Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” is an epic double monster album, spitting 12 fiery tracks which run for almost 80 minutes! At first I thought that the record could be easy to inhale but once I heard the entire set, I realized that probably they should’ve just stopped after CD1 (which by the way is the reason why this album is in my top 10). “Dream No More” quickly became a personal favorite; I am enjoying this dark and highly-intense tune every time I play it. Some other memorable moments from “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” include the opening track “Hardwired” and of course the surprisingly splendid tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, “Murder One”Metallica build up quite the excitement among fans, including me, so it’s natural to completely lose your mind over this album.

Read My Full Review Here: Metallica – “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” Album Review


10. Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer

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This summer, Jeff Beck surprised us with a brilliant 11th album, which completely blew me away. I must say, I was sceptical at first, but the album just grew on me with every listen. “Loud Hailer” is not your typical Jeff Beck record – it’s a completely different kind of monster. Then again, it would be foolish to expect him to do the same thing over and over again, so I am applauding him for this revolutionary work on “Loud Hailer”. Two immensely talented female musicians – vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg are the reason why there’s so much color and intrigue on this record. Bones sings about apathy, greed, politics, media and a number of other issues, destroying our society. That’s one of the reason why it appealed to me that much. “Live in The Dark” is the highlight of “Loud Hailer”, at least to me. I am falling in love with the thrilling vocals and time-stopping rhythms over and over again every time I play it. The haunting instrumental “Pull It” is feeding my soul with so much power. “Shrine” wraps things up with a similar folk-blues vibe, which sends you to another dimension. “Loud Hailer” melts me with ever listen. I can’t recommend it enough.


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.

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~

Song Of The Day: TESLA – HANG TOUGH (1989)

I really needed this kind of motivation today!

“Hang Tough” by Tesla is a song that can truly help you when you are going through some tough times and you need that extra push – something to remind you that you gotta keep your head above, fight for yourself and don’t let the hardships of life conquer you. I know that it’s easier said than done but when such uplifting and encouraging words are accompanied by brilliant rock&roll music, things get a little bit better, believe me.

The track comes from Tesla’s (extremely underrated) 1989 album “The Great Radio Controversy”, which by the way is a gorgeous hard rock album and I deeply recommend it to you, guys!

I hope you find your inner strength and this song helps you through the day! Defeat, heartbreak, unfulfilled dreams…life is so unfair but we have music to make things brighter, right?

Official MV


“Hang Tough” Lyrics

 

Took a shot to the chin.
Looks like you just can’t win
In this do or die situation.
And it’s harder than it seems
To survive, keep alive and make your dreams,
Make your dreams all come true.

You gotta, you gotta give it your best shot.
Give it ev’rything you got.
Oh, you gotta hang tough.
Hang tough. Hang tough.

Sometimes love can make you blue.
A heartache made just for you.
But you can’t let it bring ya down.
If you should stumble, if you should fall,
Pick yourself up off the floor.
Fight for what’s right and stand your ground.

You gotta give it your best shot.
Give it ev’rything you got.
Oh, you gotta hang tough.
Hang tough. Hang tough.
When the goin’ gets rough.
Hang tough. You got to give it all you’ve got.
Hang tough. Keep your head above the ground.
Don’t you let it get you down.
Oh, you gotta hang tough.
Hey! Oh! Hey! Oh!

You stay locked away inside your room
‘Cause you don’t know what this world is comin’ to.
Hummingbird hums ’cause he don’t know the words
And the piper will play ’cause he don’t know what to say.
He’s alot like you, yeah. Oh, he’s alot like you, yeah.
He tries hard ev’ry day to be free and fly away. Yeah!

Hang tough, oh, when the goin’ gets rough.
Hang tough. You’ve got to give it all you got.
Hang tough. Keep your head above the ground.
Don’t you let it get you down.
Oh, you gotta hang tough.

Hang tough. Oh, you got to give it all you got. You gotta
Hang tough. Don’t you let it get you down.
Hang tough. No! Oh, you gotta hang tough.
Hang tough.
Hang tough!

 


 

Lyrics retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tesla/hangtough.html
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~

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

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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…

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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!