Apr 22

*** STOP THE PRESS *** With today’s tragic news of the untimely passing of Prince, I thought I better publish this post I’ve been meaning to do for 2 months. BIG SAD FACE for music lovers around the world today 🙁

When the Piano & Microphone Tour was suddenly announced I was so excited. As one of my “all time favourite” artists, seeing Prince perform was something I really looked forward to. Sure, I saw him not that long ago in 2012 but anyhoo, this was different. This was Prince performing without a band, backing singers, dancers or Prince style razzle dazzle – something minimal and special.
The downside was that I had already spent a fortune on Madonna Rebel Heart Tour tickets for March already. WHY did my two all time favourites have to tour Australia within two months of each other?!@%
I ended up going by myself because no-one I knew was dedicated enough to spend the (some say exorbitant) $389.90. There were cheaper tickets but they sold out so quickly. Most of my friends ended up with Sydney Opera House tickets (which would have been nice to go to as well).
So Dave stayed home and looked after baby JAG while mummy “went to work” on Sunday evening.
The crowd was, as expected older (and richer) than your average concert crowd. I met some nice people while waiting for the show to start, even a lady who saw The Beatles (when she was a kid) with her parents. I ended up sitting next to another “insane” fan Lauren, who went by herself and we had a great chat about concerts and music. Check out her blog – Sounds of Oz. We also chatted excitedly with the fans sitting around us. I assumed that everyone at these shows was a serious fan and not someone dragged along by their girlfriend because they had nothing better to do! There was a couple who had been to 3 Piano & Microphone shows already in Melbourne and Sydney! Some serious fandom was in the house.
Anyway, when he finally took to the stage it was just amazing hearing his voice and watching him play the piano. The audience was enraptured. I was just sitting there thinking how cool it was to see Prince being “minimal” and singing some of my favourite songs “unplugged”. There wasn’t as much banter as I would have liked, a few stories and anecdotes would have been nice. There were some special moments for fans, a lady who got to “daggy dance” on stage during Raspberry Beret and the kid who danced his little heart out to Kiss.
Some of the other tracks he played: Let’s Go Crazy, Why Don’t You Call Me, Controversy, Love Thy Will be Done, Black Muse. Cream, Money Don’t Matter 2Nite. Encores: Little Red Corvette, Nothing Compare 2U, Black Sweat, Kiss and Purple Rain.
The security were very strict on photos/video/phones/cameras at the show so I don’t have any pics of the actual performance. I wasn’t going to risk being kicked out and it was kind of good to be forced to just watch the show.
It was all over before we knew it, shame it wasn’t a little bit longer than the 90 minutes, because he started late and there was another show afterwards. I collected my “free” Hit & Run Phase II CD and made my way home on the bus bathed in the glory of Prince and his piano and microphone.

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May 25

Kraftwerk part 1 Autobahn

Kraftwerk part 2 : Radio Activity

Finally Vivid is here! The harbour looked amazing with all the illuminated buildings and light sculptures but the pouring rain… what a pain in the…

I met pbot at Circular Quay – he had flown all the way from San Fran for this special event. He was hyped in his reserved, jet-lagged, electro way. We met up with Dave, Dan Aikido & JRMY (via NZ) at the wet Opera Bar for a quick pre-show snack.

The show started exactly on time at 7pm. Those late comers into the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Opera House are soooo annoying 😛 By awesome co-incidence our friends were sitting right next to us, which made seeing the first Kraftwerk show even better! We put on our 3D glasses and enjoyed the show. Each show has a different “collectible” pair of glasses of each album’s artwork.  There was cheering and woohoo’ing as the pioneers of electronic music did their thing. The 3D visuals were cool and really added to the experience. There were two little kids sitting in front of us – their parents must have thought this would be a once in a lifetime experience for them, better than Yo Gabba Gabba! After Autobahn (1974) was played in it’s entirely, a Kraftwerk “greatest hits” package was played – this was great – all the classics! We filed out an hour and a half later and realised we are going to do this another seven times over the next four nights!

The second show Radio-Activity (1975), started exactly on time at 9:30pm. This time our seats were amazing – about 6 rows from the front on the left side in front of Ralf! It’s like when you want to be on the side where John Taylor will be at a Duran Duran concert  ha ha ha. The crowd seemed even more enthusiastic down the front with more shouting out and woohoo’ing. The somewhat older lady I was sitting next to was also going to all eight shows and said she was glad she wasn’t the only nutcase doing that 😛 Radio-Activity was a pretty short album, so the greatest hits package commenced to more woo hoo’ing and people wanting to bust out some electro moves in their Opera House seats. The second show came with a surprise encore – the Expo remix by UR (sorry pbot, you missed that one). I decided to check out the merchandise stand… only one person serving hoards of cashed up Kraftwerk fans, the poor guy. I bought a red tote bag (I couldn’t resist). We happily left part two of the Kraftwerk experience searching for food in the pouring rain. We ended up catching a bus to BBQ King in Chinatown for a delicious midnight supper.

Bring on the next 6 Kraftwerk shows!!

 A concept eight years in-the-making since their initial invitation from the Venice Biennale, Kraftwerk have collected three decades of their most innovative music into an audiovisual exhibition that has redefined traditional concert motifs. Celebrating eight studio masterworks across four evenings – Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991) and Tour de France (2003) – this groundbreaking new performance series explores each album chronologically alongside their most iconic moments and artwork, creating the definitive Kraftwerk retrospective.

Renowned as the pioneers in electronic music history, these self-described ‘operators’ have influenced artists as unique and varied as David Bowie, Daft Punk, Kanye West, R.E.M, LCD Soundsystem and Joy Division. Following its international debut in April 2012 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and residencies at Düsseldorf’s Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen and London’s Tate Modern, KRAFTWERK – THE CATALOGUE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 now invites Australian audiences to explore one of the richest histories in global sound, image culture and popular music.

 

 

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May 24

Prince - Welcome2Australia Tour - All Phones Arena 11/05/12

Prince - Welcome2Australia Tour - All Phones Arena 11/05/12

Prince - Welcome2Australia Tour - All Phones Arena 11/05/12

Prince - Welcome2Australia Tour - All Phones Arena 11/05/12

Prince - Welcome2Australia Tour - All Phones Arena 11/05/12

Prince - Welcome2Australia Tour - All Phones Arena 11/05/12

I love, love, love Prince. I’ve loved his music since the 1980s. I remember my school pal, Jo used to love him the most, her older brother had all the pre-Purple Rain era albums in their house. For innocent, young year seven students, he was a confusing, unusual and strange pop star. He wasn’t “cute” like Simon Le Bon or George Michael. I didn’t understand most of his saucy lyrics at 12 years old, but the music was damn funky! In 1992 I attended the Diamonds and Pearls tour, even going twice to the Entertainment Centre to see him. Prince finally toured Australia again in 2003. For some dumb reason we didn’t go, opting to save money for our home loan deposit, and having just recently bought tickets to see Craig David (doh! where is he now?). So when the Welcome2Australia tour was announced, I was totally hyped and excited to see Prince again.

I couldn’t handle the stress of trying to buy the tickets when they went on sale to the public, so somehow convinced Dave to go for a “pre-sale” package called the TOTAL Concert Experience. This is what you get for your money:

Get out of the Queue and enjoy the Prince TOTAL Concert Experience!
Hosted by Richard Wilkins – Australia’s pre-eminent entertainment reporter (He was really working the room, even got a pic with him, ha ha)
Gold Reserved Seated Ticket
2 hour pre show hospitality Function
Substantial Canapés (yes, they were substantial) & Premium Beverage selection served at pre Show
Resident Disc Jockey for Entertainment
Power Dance Performers (Didn’t see any dancers, not sure if they were replaced by the vocalist and percussionist who were on stage when we arrived)
Souvenir lanyard for each guest
Fully Themed Function Room (it was purple!)
1 Hour Post Show Party with Cash Bar and complimentary dessert item
1 guest will win a Lucky Door Prize (Another TOTAL Concert Experience to George Michael or Lady Gaga) #

This was for the first show of the Australian tour, so I was really hyped. Dave, Confused Machines & Boztek joined me for the fun at the TOTAL (yes CAPITALS) Concert Experience! The show was great (though after seeing reviews of the shows after this one, it could have been even better). I was so happy to see one of my all-time favourite artists live in concert. After all the bad stuff that has happened to me this year, it was really nice to be able to enjoy myself and be happy. I was clapping, singing, (daggy?) dancing throughout the night. My favourite tracks were:
Little Red Corvette
Take Me With U
Raspberry Beret
Cream
Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough/Cool (members of the audience from the really expensive “Purple VIP” seats got to go on stage and dance with Prince – how awesome would that have been. They really got their money’s worth!)
Encore:
Sometimes It Snows in April (with beautiful white confetti falling from the sky)
Mountains/Dance Electric
When Doves Cry
Hot Thing
Nasty Girl (Vanity 6)
I Would Die 4 U
Kiss
Encore 2:
Purple Rain
Controversy

The set lists for the whole Australian tour are here. The great thing about Prince is that he has so many songs, each night is going to be quite different. I think there were quite a few songs that he sang the next night that I wished he’d played on Friday. I would have loved to have gone again, but I’m thankful that I could afford to see the legend Prince in my hometown Sydney again after 20 years!

Here is the review in SMH

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Nov 30

I am a latecomer to the magic of Stevie Nicks. In the 1990s, I despised Fleetwood Mac – they represented the opposite of everything I liked about music eg. electronic, repetitive beats, with no guitars or real drums. Obviously, things have changed, I don’t do raves any more and Fleetwood Mac still sell albums 30+ years later. They were featured on Glee introducing them to a new young audience (who will probably download their albums)! In the 80s, I really liked Stevie’s solo track, Stand Back (much later on I found out it was inspired by Prince’s Little Red Corvette and he performed on the song). Other than that I didn’t have much time for these rock legends. Anyway, it’s true what they say about the more you hear a song, even if you hate it, you get used to it and then you start to like it! So constantly hearing Stevie Nicks over the last 20 years finally got into my brain. Then I started working with Ms JHair and she really got me into Stevie in the workplace (I still manage to be the office music Nazi).

Anyway, about the concert. Dave Stewart was her special guest, I guess no-one really knew any of his new stuff, as the audience was pretty stiff during his performance. When the band did some Eurythmics tracks (Here Comes the Rain again, Missionary Man…), it just didn’t feel the same without Annie Lennox.

An annoucement before Stevie came on stage asked the audience not to take photos or videos of the performance (ala Bjork). But really, no – I want a momento. Sorry Stevie.

Stevie Nicks appeared right on schedule at 9pm. She was actually much better vocally than I thought she was going to be. The concert went for two hours, which I consider very good value nowadays (Janet didn’t even last an hour and a half). Stevie told us from the start that it was NOT a “greatest hits” show and she was going to play her new stuff (whether you wanted to hear it or not). I can appreciate that she would want to plug her new album, after all, she said she worked really hard on it and was immensely proud of it. Luckily, I had acquired the new album a couple of weeks ago to familiarise myself with In Your Dreams. My favourite tracks of the night were Stand Back (the opening track), Dreams, Rhiannon, Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream), Landslide & Edge of Seventeen. You can see the entire tracklist here. I enjoyed her anecdotes from her career and explanations of her new songs. She kept making jokes about being “old” – good to see a diva who can joke about herself. I was concerned when she needed a helper guy to make sure she didn’t fall over when she wanted to bend down and shake the audience’s hand during the finale. I also saw on Facebook, that PAdam got to touch her hand! Overall, a pretty awesome concert! As Tricky Dicky Wilkins said at the Arias, she is the queen of rock n roll!

Dave Stewart, Sydney 2011 - 2
Dave Stewart

Stevie Nicks, In Your Dreams tour, Sydney 2011 - 6
Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks, In Your Dreams tour, Sydney 2011 - 8

Stevie Nicks, In Your Dreams tour, Sydney 2011 - 7

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May 17

Tears for Fears and Spandau Ballet concert review – 23/04/10

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Tears for Fears in concert, Sydney - 4
Spandau Ballet in concert, Sydney - 08
Continuing my 80s concert glory with a group of fellow 80s tragics at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Firstly Tears for Fears opened with an eerie acapella version of Mad World, then broke into all their classic songs: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Sowing The Seeds Of Love, Head Over Heels, Pale Shelter, Woman in Chains and Shout. Surprisingly Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith both sounded great vocally and musically. They had a tight band and a backup singer who was a bloke but sounded like a girl!
When Spandau Ballet came on, the crowd went really nuts! There was an “older” couple sitting in front of us that stood up for the entire concert (not that great when I didn’t feel like standing for the entire concert when I’d paid for a seat). I had the impression they had not gone out for 20 years and they really loved Spandau Ballet 😉 Anyway, I knew every song they performed bar one. I had earlier bought Gold – The Best Of Spandau Ballet in preparation for this night! They performed for about 2 hours, so I’d have to say it was very good value for money. Tony Hadley can still sing really well (though needed a little warming up the beginning. Have to admit he sounds better than Simon Le Bon these days) and the rest of the band did their thing with gusto. Does anyone think Tony Hadley is channelling Anthony LaPaglia? Steve Norman’s cheesy 80s glory style sax solos were quite amusing. Martin Kemp is still the hot one! When the concert ended the band members all hugged and embraced like they really loved each other (again).
When I was a teenager, I had the poster of them where they all have their tops off on my bedroom wall. I think that came with their album Parade. Mind you, Wham and Duran Duran were my bigger favourites and there were many more posters of them on my walls.
There was something very satisfying and enjoyable about hearing some of my favourite songs from my teens being performed (well) live. A good time was had by all, then everyone got in their station wagons and drove home to the Hills District bwha hahaha – oh wrong decade.

PS. It wasn’t as good as George Michael, I mean holy shit, he performed a concert for 40,000 people!!!

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Mar 21

George Michael live in Sydney review – 26/02/2010

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George Michael in concert, Sydney 2010 - 27
George Michael in concert, Sydney 2010 - 07
George Michael in concert, Sydney 2010 - 09
George Michael in concert, Sydney 2010 - 19

I’ve been meaning to write this review for a while. What can I say? George Michael totally lived up to expectations. The concert was advertised to start at 7:30pm – very early for a Friday night with typical Sydney peak hour traffic. Even George was held up by the traffic getting to the Sydney Football Stadium. Times like this I’m glad I live in walking distance of Moore Park. I sat with my dear friend from school Matt and his party posse. George performed with his band and back up singers for 2 hours (with a 20 minute intermission featuring a countdown shot clock on the big screen). He did every song I wanted to hear: I’m Your Man, Faith, Careless Whisper, Too Funky, One More Try, Father Figure, Fastlove, Amazing and the finale Freedom 90. So glad he didn’t do Wake Me Up Before you Go Go – I’m sure he is as over that song as I am. He looked pretty happy to be there and his devoted crowd were loving him back, singing along to every song. I was 100% satisfied at the end of the concert – it was worth every cent. I like George so much I was willing to pay more to be closer to the front – I think tickets went up to $1000 but no-one I knew was insane enough to spend that much money on him. I heard that he has been having an extended holiday in Sydney – so maybe I will still see him walking down the street. Sure he’s a bit older and little bit tubbier, but he can still sing and dance – just like the good old days 😉 Great concert – 5 stars!

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Sep 08

Aimee Mann @ Enmore Theatre

I have been a long time fan of Aimee Mann, so when her first ever tour of Australia was announced, I had to be there. You may be familiar with the film Magnolia, in which Aimee Mann contributed much of the soundtrack. Dave doesn’t really get into my favourite female singer/songwriters much, so I went with my Aunty instead.
Aimee was supported by Ben Lee. I like him. I’m not ashamed. Most people I know hate him but I think he writes some cool songs. Anyway, it was great to see him live for the first time as well. You can also download for free some of his Noise Addict stuff if you like.
When Aimee Mann came on stage there was rapturous applause (I guess some of these people had waited more than 10 years to see her). She writes great, deep & meaningful, sometimes witty and sarcastic lyrics, see Wise Up. Her voice is fantastic too. My aunty said, “very pure”. I knew the majority of the songs she sang, and I bought her latest album, @#%&*! Smilers at the show. My favourite songs that she sang were: Wise Up, Save Me, Red Vines, Thirty One Today and her one big hit from the 80s when she was in Til Tuesday, Voices Carry.
Aimee Mann (blurry)

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Dec 09

On Saturday night, I finally got to see the ego himself Kanye West in concert. I have been a fan of his production work for Jay-Z, John Legend, Alicia Keys etc etc as well as his solo releases. He has great showmanship and style. He’s performed in Australia quite a few times, there was the one at the Sydney Opera House with the symphony, Good Vibrations etc but when the Glow in the Dark tour of Australia was announced, I decided Kanye was going to happen for me finally. I bought a ticket for my bro for Xmas, Honka Princess and Dave (with paintball injuries) came along too.
Unfortunately, we missed Scribe, I had seen him before supporting the Beastie Boys. Next up was Nas (it was his first time in Oz, there seemed like a lot of people who were there for him). He did a really great set with some crazy backing musicians especially the guitarists. I couldn’t work out if they were male or female. Nas reminds me of Jay-Z a bit.
Then it was time for the big man, I noticed there was no hype/MC action which you usually get at hip-hop gigs, he just suddenly appeared. To be honest, I thought it was going to be better than it was. I think I had seen snippets from other performances Kanye has done this year and thought I was getting a huge spectacular, which it wasn’t. I was also surprised to see that the top section of Acer Arena was not used. (unlike Stevie Wonder, oops forgot to blog about that). When he did his old stuff, it was great, there are many great tracks (Heard ‘Em Say, Gold Digger, Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Jesus Walks, Flashing Lights, the one with Chris Martin from Coldplay). When he did his well know stuff everyone had their hands in the air! The young Asians in front were screaming and videoing everything, the posse of boys behind were dancing and whooping! For me, the best songs were Through the Wire, Touch the Sky, Stronger and Good Life. When he did his new stuff from 808s and Heartbreak he started to waffle on (in auto tune) in the middle of the songs, there was a part where he was talking about Britney and why people were hammering him for not sticking to rapping. Well, I think he should stick with rapping, producing records and not singing. Kanye, you’re no Marvin Gaye or even Lionel Richie (though the hair is coming close). Overall I had a good time seeing Kanye in concert but was disappointed that he didn’t actually glow in the dark!

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Oct 11

because…Major World Tour Begins May 2009, New Album Due April 2009
Their official website is under construction right now.
Speaking of concerts, here are a few gigs I’ve got coming up:
Oct 22: Stevie Wonder Now being the “old” legend that he is, this could go either way (bad like Barry White or awesome like err Prince). I saw him performing at the Democratic National Convention, so hopefully it will be good.
Dec 6: Kanye West I don’t care what you think. It’s going to be cool. He’s come to Australia about 4 times and I’ve really wanted to check him out, so this time it’s going to happen.
Other concerts I would like to go to but “wallet says no” are Kylie X Tour and Alicia Keys

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