Sunday, January 29, 2012


PHENOMENALLY MINDBLOWING in every sense of the word!! Roger Waters and his band performing Pink Floyd's The Wall in its entirety is one for the ages; it will go down in history as the most spectacular indoor concert production ever. For those who've seen the shows in North America and Europe, you'll already know. For those who've yet to go and are going in Australia, South America and the States again, you're in for a real treat.

Over the weekend, I was at Perth's Burswood Dome for the first shows of the 2012 tour (even though if they could logistically bring it to Singapore, it would still not be approved by our conservative government, given the show's overtly political and subversive overtones). For the first night sitting at the middle grandstand, I got a perfect unrestricted view of the stage and the projections on the wall. And the sound, oh my god the sound, was really really really fucking good -- right from the first second of the opening notes. Usually in the case with rock concerts, the sound starts out kinda distorted and then gets better as they progress. But for this Wall show, everything was crystal clear and loud, real loud. No distortion, no echoes, none of the crappy acoustics this particular venue was infamous for.

Also sitting directly under the 'special' quadrophonic-like speakers (which emits the many sound effects of the show), you get the full surround-sound effect. Paired with the visuals projected on the wall, it's like watching a really awesome movie, in which you don't want it to end even after 2.5 hours. And the visuals are what makes this show so mindblowing. I'm not going to spoil anything here, but there will be moments and images which will make everyone in the audience laugh out loud, get pissed off, shake their heads in disgust, cringe, and especially, ball their eyes out. A myriad of emotions.

The reason why I went to see again was that the ticket prices were drastically lowered for the second night, in attempts to fill up the venue as much as possible. Besides, the first night took a very long time to sell out and the second faired much worse. So this round, I sat at the extreme side, another unique perspective, being able to see Roger (and the huge puppets) up close, but missing out on a number of visuals and the band playing as the wall gets built during the first half. Personally I didn't feel as much emotional connection as compared to night 1, but experiencing the whole of Comfortably Numb from that distance absolutely killed me. Even from the side, the sound was still damn good.

Finally, I can't give enough credit to the backing band. Very very tight and explosive, with the singers and the guitarists faithfully recreating David Gilmour's parts. Thanks Roger, for showing us the truth and how screwed up the world really is, and for making us think hard, long after the show is over. Post-concert depressions has still not gone away, but I'm so relieved to have witnessed something of this magnitude. I resisted the temptation to overtake too many pictures, as this is the kind of show which you definitely don't wanna watch from a camera. Here are a couple from both nights:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Wrecking Ball World Tour

The first leg US tour dates have finally been made official. Here is the full list:
(updated Feb 9)

March 9 - New York, NY - Apollo Theater (Exclusive only to SiriusXM Subscribers)
March 18 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
March 19 - Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Coliseum
March 23 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Times Forum
March 26 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
March 28 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
March 29 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
April 1 - Washington, DC - Verizon Center
April 3 - East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Center
April 4 - East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Center
April 6 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
April 9 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
April 12 - Detroit, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
April 13 - Buffalo, NY - First Niagara Center
April 16 - Albany, NY - Times Union Center
April 17 - Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena
April 24 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
April 26 - Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
April 27 - Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
April 29 - New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
May 2 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center

May 13 - Sevilla, Spain - Estadio Olimpico
May 15 - Las Palmas, Spain - Estadio de Gran Canaria
May 17 - Barcelona, Spain - Estadio Olimpico Lluis
May 18 - Barcelona, Spain - Estadio Olimpico Lluis
May 25- Frankfurt, Germany - Commerzbank Arena
May 27 - Cologne, Germany - Energie Stadion
May 28 - Landgraf, Netherlands - Pink Pop Festival
May 30 - Berlin, Germany - Olympia Stadion
June 2 - San Sebastian, Spain - Estadio Anoeta
June 3 - Lisbon, Portugal - Rock In Lisbon
June 7- Milan, Italy - Stadio Meaza
June 10- Florence, Italy - Stadio Francesco
June 11 - Trieste, Italy - Stadio Trieste
June 17 - Madrid, Spain - Estadio Santago Bernabu
June 19 - Montpelier, France - Park & Suites Arena
June 21 - Sunderland, UK - Stadium Of Light
June 22 - Manchester, UK - Etihad Stadium
June 24 - Isle Of Wight, UK - Isle Of Wight Festival
July 4 - Paris, France - Bercy
July 5 - Paris, France - Bercy
July 7 - Roskilde, Denmark - Roskilde Festival
July 9 - Zurich, Switzerland - Stadium Letzigrund
July 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - Synotip Arena
July 12 - Vienna, Austria - Ernst Happel Stadium
July 14 - London, UK - Hard Rock Calling
July 17 - Dublin, Ireland - RDS
July 18 - Dublin, Ireland - RDS
July 21 - Oslo, Norway - Valle Hoven
July 23 - Bergen, Norway - Koegen
July 24 - Bergen, Norway - Koegen
July 27 - Gothenberg, Sweden - Ullevi
July 28 - Gothenberg, Sweden - Ullevi
July 31 - Helsinki, Finland - Olympia Stadion

The Year of the Horse?

I finally bought Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Archives remastered), and then on the same day, I find out from Thrasher's Wheat (credible fansite) that Neil Young has been recording with Crazy Horse! It is reported that "one album is complete and they are working on another". Back in 2000, the Horse recorded an album called Toast, which Neil decided to shelf indefinitely. Could this be that complete album? Shelving records at the last minute isn't something new for Neil (look at Homegrown and Chrome Dreams). He changes his mind so much it pisses his fans off sometimes. But I think a new upcoming Crazy Horse record seems quite likely, given the fact their last proper release was in '96, the criminally underrated Broken Arrow (Greendale in '03 didn't have Poncho playing). Hell, even the Archives guy said a possible Spring release! But of course with Neil, you never know...

UPDATE: Head over to RIGHT NOW for something really cool!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

U22: Final Tracklist

The votes are in. This set contains a decent mix of the really well-known hits, the relatively well-known, and the not so well-known, and that's basically about it. Most of these songs were staples throughout the 360 tour. They've always played it on the safe side when it comes to setlists. U2 should seriously retire half of these songs for their next tour and start breaking out more rarities.

1. Bad
2. Where The Streets Have No Name
3. Magnificent
4. One
5. Ultraviolet
6. Even Better than The Real Thing
7. With or Without You
8. Beautiful Day
9. City of Blinding Lights
10. The Unforgettable Fire
11. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
12. All I Want is You/Love Rescue Me
13. Moment of Surrender
14. Until The End of the World
15. The Fly
16. One Tree Hill
17. Stay (Faraway, So Close)
18. Walk On
19. Zooropa
20. Elevation
21. Out of Control
22. Mysterious Ways

Only available for subscribers.


Friday, January 20, 2012


The waiting really IS the hardest part. And I had to wait a good hour and 15mins at Ticketmaster before I got tickets to see Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers at the Royal Albert Hall on 18 June. I knew it was hard getting tickets, but I didn't know it'd be this hard. Not wanting to risk going away empty-handed, I had to settle for the high level circle seats at the side, at least they're not restricted view. Seeing a legendary rock & roll band at a legendary venue; I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Fans have been complaining that their setlists have not changed much during the past two tours. Doesn't bother me that much; many of us non-Americans have waited long enough to finally see the band live and will be more than ecstatic to have a full-on greatest hits gig. Their first proper UK show in 13's gonna be fucking epic.

Bring on your Wrecking Ball

This is the part where I put in my two cents. The official press release mentioned eleven new songs....well not exactly, it's more like nine new songs (plus one new bonus track) and two not so new -- Wrecking Ball was written in response to the tearing down of Giants Stadium and the Philly Spectrum during the '09 tour, but I think Bruce has probably reworked the lyrics to suit the theme of this album. It's a decent song, but here I hope it gets a 'major revamp', musically. Besides, the title has a nice ring to it: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Wrecking Ball World Tour -- sounds pretty kick-ass!

The other 'recycled' tune is Land Of Hope And Dreams, which was written way back in '98, performed heavily during the Reunion and Rising tours, and made a comeback during the last tour. No doubt it's one of the most significant Springsteen songs of the past twenty years, up there with Streets Of Philadelphia, The Rising, My City Of Ruins and Long Walk Home. It first appeared on Live In New York City, my gateway album into the world of Bruce (exactly ten years and counting!!) This upcoming studio version has been rumored to be the tribute to Clarence Clemons. I couldn't be happier by its inclusion, and if there's one show-closer I'm looking forward to hearing live this summer, it's this.

And finally, the first single, We Take Care Of Our Own. Somehow it reminds me of Working On A Dream (the song), but it's light years better. You still got that classic E Street melody, but at the same time it sounds fresh. Bruce sings in a low key, but you can feel something stirring up in him. There's a lotta stuff happening, lotta layers, quite expansive, like Born To Run expansive. Since it's the opening song I guess it'll set the tone for the rest of the record, and judging from the song titles and the sequence, we can expect it to get darker and then move back towards the light at the end.

So this song is good, not great, but will be in concert, and I have a feeling there will be better ones, more experimental ones, and more 'wow' moments. As for the lyrics, you have the American references, but the line "We take care of our own/Wherever this flag's flown" could possibly be applied universally. We Take Care Of Our Own explicitly highlights the importance of community. But then it can also be viewed as a negative, ironic statement i.e. politicians only protecting their own interests. That's the genius of Bruce as a songwriter. One look at the album cover and you can tell Wrecking Ball is gonna be a very edgy album, and I like that Bruce is still posing with his old Fender Esquire! So eleven songs, just the right number. Only seven more weeks!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Official


Bruce Springsteen's new album 'Wrecking Ball' has been set for March 6 release on Columbia Records. Marking his 17th studio album, 'Wrecking Ball' features 11 new Springsteen songs and was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen and executive producer Jon Landau. A special edition of 'Wrecking Ball' will also be available and include two bonus tracks and exclusive artwork and photography.

'Wrecking Ball' Song Titles:
  1. We Take Care of Our Own
  2. Easy Money
  3. Shackled and Drawn
  4. Jack of All Trades
  5. Death to My Hometown
  6. This Depression
  7. Wrecking Ball
  8. You've Got It
  9. Rocky Ground
  10. Land of Hope and Dreams
  11. We Are Alive
  12. Swallowed Up (Bonus Track)
  13. American Land (Bonus Track)
Said long-time manager Jon Landau, "Bruce has dug down as deep as he can to come up with this vision of modern life. The lyrics tell a story you can't hear anywhere else and the music is his most innovative in recent years. The writing is some of the best of his career and both veteran fans and those who are new to Bruce will find much to love on 'Wrecking Ball.'"

Bruce Springsteen will make an appearance as the keynote speaker at SXSW 2012. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be touring extensively in the US and Europe in 2012.

We Take Care Of Our Own

Monday, January 16, 2012

Occupy E Street

Another week and no official announcement about Springsteen's new album. The only news we got, from the Hollywood Reporter, a fairly reliable source, is that the upcoming album is described as his angriest yet.

“He gets into economic justice quite a bit,” says an earwitness who’s heard some of the music. “It’s very rock ’n’ roll. He feels it's the angriest album he's ever made. Bear in mind, though, that [Springsteen] wrote and recorded the majority of the album before the Occupy movements started, so he's not just setting headlines to music.”

Produced by Ron Aniello (Patti Scialfa, Jars of Clay), the album, which was recently played for label execs, is described as veering into “unexpected textures -- loops, electronic percussion … an amazing sweep of influences and rhythms, from hip-hop to Irish folk rhythms.” The still-untitled effort is said to be “terrific.”

And history has proven that Bruce is at his best when he's pissed off. Also I'm really fascinated by the part about 'unexpected textures'. In other rumors, the album is said to be released March 5 and 6. If this is correct, then the press release should come by this week, along with the first string of U.S. tour dates, running from March to May.

Finally, over the weekend, Bruce dropped by the annual Light Of Day benefit show at Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre, and jammed with New Jersey rock & roll royalty for two hours. CLICK HERE for the full report and videos. From the looks of it, the man's definitely ready to do some killing on the road!

UPDATE: Jon Landau has something to say about the new album. CLICK HERE...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Rock & Roll is our religion, and we'll continue to lose disciples as we go, but we pick up the fallen flag and we keep moving forward, bringing forth the good news that our heroes have helped create; their bodies lost, but their spirit and their good work everlasting.
-- Steve Van Zandt

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Nebraska 30

All I got is a red guitar, three chords and the truth
All I got is a red guitar, the rest is up to you

Thirty years (and two days) ago, Bruce Springsteen set out to make, perhaps the starkest and most haunting album anyone had ever done at that point in time. As far as most-personal-records go, it was his Blood On The Tracks. He would bring the acoustic four-track demos to the E Street Band and attempt to flesh them out, but it didn't work, so the bare-bones versions were released instead. Those tapes, known as Electric Nebraska, are still highly sought after in the bootleg world.

Obviously Nebraska was a totally unexpected follow-up to his previous mega-hit, The River. Its release resulted in poor sales, but garnered high critical praise. For me, it may not be one of my favorite Springsteen albums, but I can easily say it's his greatest creative achievement after Born To Run and Darkness. Bruce always creates masterpieces when he's pissed off at something, usually at the government.

The characters here are Americans, alienated from their dead-end jobs and social surroundings, some live in isolation, some have no reasons to live, some turn to crime as their only way out. I never thought I'd feel a strong sense of connection to them, but with the ultra-bleakness marriage of the guitar strumming and the heartbreaking poetry, Bruce binds you to these people in ways you'd never expect. This is the kind of record you listen to late at night when you're extremely depressed, and in a weird way it lifts your spirits up.

And when some of these songs are performed live, especially with the band, they become powerhouses:

Atlantic City -- any version from the Reunion tour onwards is probably worth checking out, though I don't particularly dig the '06 Seeger Sessions renditions; a good recent one is from The River show at Madison Square Garden, where it was performed as a sign request

Mansion On The Hill -- Reunion tour version is 'countrified', courtesy of Danny's accordion and Nils' pedal steel, and also some moving harmonization from Bruce and Patti

Johnny 99 -- Working On A Dream tour, always between Seeds and either Youngstown or The Ghost Of Tom Joad, making this set one of the highlights of any '09 show (the Hyde Park blu-ray is a good place to start)

State Trooper -- Devils & Dust tour (the one at Gothenburg is a must-hear); also performed one-off with Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Regine in Ottawa in '07

Open All Night -- Devils & Dust tour (Philly and Jersey '05), Seeger Sessions tour (surprisingly great, New Orleans/ Preservation Hall-inspired); also Eddie Vedder does justice to it during his solo shows

And my personal favorite, and if there's one staple that should be played during every show of the upcoming tour, it's Reason To Believe -- Magic tour; kick-ass blues rendition with bullet-mic (and what's better is that the band plows straight into the next song which is just plain awesome i.e. Because The Night, Candy's Room, Adam Raised A Cain, Night, Jackson Cage) CLICK HERE to watch the best version from '07.