Thursday, January 31, 2013

Big Night Out 2013

This year's Big Night Out 'festival' at Singapore's Fort Canning Park featured three very different bands. I only came to see Band Of Horses, but ended up staying for the whole night. They were the opening band, and they played a decent set, no big deal. From the looks of it they weren't really well received by the crowd. Lots of idiots were talking over the music, which is one of the worst things that can happen at any show. Sadly it's something that can't be helped. These motherfuckers should just stay at home. The best part was when Band Of Horses suddenly broke out Powderfinger, which totally made my day, and no one knew what the hell it was. Then there was Vampire Weekend, which everyone seemed to be crazy about. They sounded tight, but their music has absolutely zero appeal to me. To my ears, they sounded like a Paul Simon rip-off band half the time, and they let out this fucking 'hipster' vibe which I hate. I don't think I ever wanna hear them again. On the other hand, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a band I definitely will check out. They are great fun, and their nice blend of synth-pop, dance, punk and a little rock & roll is exhilarating, even though the music sounds a bit repetitive most of the time. And Karen O is such a joy to watch onstage! In a weird way she reminds me of frontwomen like Chrissie Hynde and Debbie Harry. The only downside to this short set was the sound system was plain dreadful.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Gaslight Anthem Oz Tour

Another weekend show in WA? Too good an opportunity to pass up. And Brian just announced he's starting a new solo record! [link]

UPDATE: Dave Hause will be the opening act for the Australian Tour!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

3rd and final Sydney show

Just when we 'lost hope' for a third show in Sydney, they suddenly announce it, just mere two months before the date, due to overwhelming demand. It's gonna be on Friday 22nd March, rather than the rumored 21st. So that's three Springsteen shows in five days at the Allphones Arena. It may seem like overkill to many, but definitely not to us diehards. I can't imagine how many different songs the band will play during this three-night stand, and how varied the setlists will be. It's gonna be EPIC. Tickets go on sale 4 Feb, with a Frontier pre-sale next Wednesday noon. This is the tenth and last Aussie show announced. Sorry to all those who have been petitioning to get them to play Perth.

2013 Wrecking Ball Tour Dates (updated 5 March):

Mar 14 - Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
Mar 16 - Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
Mar 18 - Sydney, Allphones Arena

Mar 20 - Sydney, Allphones Arena
Mar 22 - Sydney, Allphones Arena
Mar 24 - Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
Mar 26 - Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
Mar 27 - Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
Mar 30 - Macedon, Hanging Rock
Mar 31 - Macedon, Hanging Rock

Apr 29 - Oslo, Telenor Arena
Apr 30 - Oslo, Telenor Arena
May 3 - Stockholm, Friends Arena
May 4 - Stockholm, Friends Arena
May 7 - Turku, HK Arena
May 8 - Turku, HK Arena
May 11 - Stockholm, Friends Arena
May 14 - Kopenhagen, Parken
May 16 - Herning, Jyske Bank Boxen
May 23 - Napoli, Piazza Del plebiscito
May 26 - München, Olympiastadion
May 28 - Hannover, AWD-Arena
May 31 - Padova, Stadio Euganeo
Jun 3 - Milano, San Siro
Jun 15 - London, Wembley Stadium
Jun 18 - Glasgow, Hampden Park
Jun 20 - Coventry, Ricoh Arena
Jun 22 - Nijmegen, Goffertpark
Jun 26 - Gijon, El Molinón Stadium
Jun 29 - Paris, Stade de France
Jun 30 - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Hard Rock Calling
Jul 3 - Geneva, Stade de Geneve
Jul 5 - Mönchengladbach, Borussia Park
Jul 7 - Leipzig, Red Bull Arena
Jul 11 - Roma, Rock in Roma
Jul 13 - Werchter, Rock Werchter
Jul 16 - Limerick, Thomond Park
Jul 18 - Cork, Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Jul 20 - Belfast, Kings Hall Arena
Jul 23 - Cardiff, Millennium Stadium
Jul 24 - Leeds, Leeds Arena
Jul 27 - Kilkenny,  Nowlan Park
Jul 28 - Kilkenny,  Nowlan Park

Sep 15 - Rio De Janeiro, Rock In Rio

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tom Morello to replace Steve Van Zandt...

...only for the Australian tour, that is. This news still came as a total shocker. We all know that Steve is currently filming the second season of his mob show, Lilyhammer, in Norway, and we thought he'd be done in time for the tour in March. So apparently not. He will rejoin the band for the European tour. I can't say I'm disappointed, just a little bit. On the other hand, I'm elated that Bruce chose Tom Morello to fill in; I've always dreamed of seeing Tom perform with Bruce. Previously, the only times people got to see Tom with the E Street Band were in Southern California mostly, and two nights in Chicago's Wrigley Field, and at Hyde Park in London. Now he'll be playing nine full shows with the band thousands of miles away!

My concern is that Tom's and Steve's style of playing are WORLDS APART, so I'm kinda worried how Tom is gonna fit in with the band's signature sound. But they do share one thing in common....both of them can't sing that well! I got absolutely no problem with that though. But Steve knows his shit; he knows harmonies, he knows horns, he's a bandleader. So now, you have two of the greatest guitarists in the world on both sides of the stage...Nils Lofgren and Tom Morello. Again, how's that gonna work out for the band? And will there be changes to the setlist to 'cater' for Tom? Will it be more 'guitar-centric'? Will Bruce break out any rare songs in that case? One thing's for certain though -- they will play The Ghost Of Tom Joad rather frequently in Oz, and also probably rotate between Jack Of All Trades and This Depression, in which Tom guested on the record.

I'm sure a lot of Aussie fans are feeling sad and pissed that they won't get to see Steve onstage. The band have not played here for the past ten years, and I'm sure there will be a lot of first-timers at the shows, who definitely want to see the complete E Street line-up. I feel sorry for them. In fact, this will be the E Street Band's third (and possibly final) time in Oz, and Stevie would've only made it down under once (The Rising tour). He left before the Born In The USA tour, remember? Part of what makes an E Street concert so unique from others is the chemistry and interplay between Bruce and Little Steven. It's indelible. And it happens a lot during each show, night after night, more so on this Wrecking Ball tour, in light of Clarence's passing. Take for example Manchester, 22nd June 2012, now that was SICK. Us fans live for these kinds of stuff. But whatever it is, no doubt the Aussie shows will still be legendary, with Tom bringing a new kind of energy to them.

Rage Against The E Street Band. It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City, Nils and Tom ten minute guitar duel, anyone?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

West Of Memphis

This is one of the most powerful 21st century documentary films I've seen. I've been following the case ever since I saw Paradise Lost more than four years ago. A lot has been said about the West Memphis Three. This film is just further proof that Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley, and Damien Echols had been innocent since Day 1, locked up for a long time based on poor circumstantial evidence, while the real killer was still at large. The angle is not 'why and how they did it', but rather, 'why and how they could not have done it'. It's also as much about the imbalanced justice system which betrayed them; the evocative film poster says it all. These days it's hard to be entirely objective when tackling a serious matter such as this. There's an overwhelming amount of information to put forth to the audience that the filmmakers (directed by Amy Berg and produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh) are already being subjective by choosing what to put in and what to leave out. But I think it's a very fair and honest film. They are just presenting the facts as it is, from both sides of the fence. No whitewashing of the truth. But the story doesn't end after the two and a half hours. We are encouraged to go on the net and read up about the case and continue the conversation with like-minded people. The ending was highly emotional. It's heartwarming to see the three men finally reunite with their family. But you also feel a tinge of sadness, because they had their freedom unfairly taken away from them at a young age, and they never got to experience what it is to 'live'. The soundtrack is equally terrific [link], bringing together artists from Americana and rock genres. There's Patti Smith performing Wing from the 2010 WM3 benefit in Arkansas, there's Natalie Maines covering Mother (the one by Pink Floyd), and Lucinda Williams doing a new rendition of her classic, Joy. Besides the songs, there are also small recitations of Damien's letters from Death Row by longtime WM3 supporters, Henry Rollins and Johnny Depp. People need to watch this film.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

From The Ground Up

Since the U2360 tour is still pretty much unforgettable to every fan who attended, why not continue cashing in on it, by giving the fan club members yet another treat from the tour? The new thick book, titled From The Ground Up, exceeds my expectations, in terms of describing the making of the tour, better than any tour documentary I've seen so far. It's filled with beautiful photographs of the claw, in and and out of action, shot from every conceivable angle. Flipping through the pages brings back wonderful memories from December 2010. That's not all; subscribers also get a bonus CD, a follow-up to last year's fantastic U22 compilation -- this time Edge has handpicked fifteen additional tracks from the tour. The sound mix is very varied, ranging from not bad to average to downright sucky.

On the bright side, it's nice that a couple of those songs I previously voted to be in U22 appear on this -- Miss Sarajevo, Hold Me Thrill Me..., Electrical Storm, New Year's Day, I Will Follow and 40, the final song ever played on the tour, its one and only time. And lo and behold, Edge chose Vertigo from Perth! To his ears, it's the best version! But the bomb has to be the most obscure one of all, Your Blue Room. It's the best U2 song most people have not heard of, one of my top favorites. This particular one is taken from the New Jersey show, and it has only been played live seven times, and Sinead O'Connor sings the chorus part. It's pretty damn good.

So altogether there are 43 different songs, all soundboard recordings, released so far from this tour, including six download-only from No Line On The Horizon, Desire (also from Perth!), Pride, Angel Of Harlem, Unknown Caller, and the rare Spanish Eyes.


1. Breathe
Recorded at Stadio San Siro, Milan, 8th July 2009

2. I Will Follow
Recorded at Stade Roi Baudouin, Brussels, 22nd September 2010

3. Get On Your Boots
Recorded at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, 20th September 2009

4. New Year's Day
Recorded at Croke Park, Dublin, 27th July 2009

5. Electrical Storm
Recorded at Stadio San Siro, Milan, 8th July 2009

6. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
Recorded at Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, 11th May 2011

7. Your Blue Room
Recorded at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, 23rd September 2009

8. Vertigo
Recorded at Subiaco Oval, Perth, 18th December 2010

9. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
Recorded at Stade de France, Paris, 11th July 2009

10. Sunday Bloody Sunday
Recorded at Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, 2nd July 2011

11. Scarlet
Recorded at Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, 2nd July 2011

12. In A Little While
Recorded at Estadio Morumbi, Sao Paulo, 9th April 2011

13. Miss Sarajevo
Recorded at Estadio Morumbi, Sao Paulo, 9th April 2011

14. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
Recorded at Estadio Nacional, Santiago, 25th March 2011

15. "40"
Recorded at Magnetic Hill Music Festival, Moncton, 30th July 2011


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

NEW David Bowie album!!!

Silly me, I actually thought it was some kind of a hoax at first. Bowie turns 66 today, and what better way for him to celebrate it than to announce the release of his brand new album, his first in ten years, to the entire world. It's coming out only two months from now, and the best part is that all this while there wasn't even a single rumor that Bowie had been in the recording studio. Many thought he had completely retired from music, so his coming back is something we can all be joyful for. And Tony Visconti is producing! The single, Where Are We Now?, can be heard on the new website [link]. It feels very surreal, because personally I still can't believe I'm actually listening to a new Bowie song. I hope a tour comes out of this; would totally love to see him live again.

P.S. The above picture isn't the album cover for The Next Day. The actual one will knock your socks off.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Greetings 40

40 years ago today, Bruce's debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. was released on Columbia Records. It was advertised by the label as one that had the singer putting more lyrics into one single song than most artists do on an album. Bruce was also hailed as the new 'Dylan' at the time; for those who've been seeing his live shows in Asbury Park and other parts along the Eastern Seaboard for the few years prior to 1973, this statement couldn't have been more silly. Bruce had already gained a small faithful following in and around Jersey, but the rest of America took a while to catch up; record sales were dismal despite considerable publicity from Columbia. In fact it wasn't until Born To Run, obviously, that things started to move, but that's another story.

Lester Bangs was one of the earliest champions of Bruce's music; he wrote a glowing review in Creem magazine. Simply put, Greetings was and still is a brilliant album, with the exception of two duds -- The Angel and Mary Queen Of Arkansas. It's in dire need of a remaster, the sub-par sound quality doesn't do the seasoned, shit-hot backing band justice. The best parts of any E Street show now is when the band breaks out a Greetings tune. Spirit In The Night has seen a sort of revival (pun intended) and has become a mainstay on the current tour. I was also lucky to hear Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street? live in UK last year. From 'humble' beginnings, it has now evolved into something much bigger (and much more fun) onstage.
For You, like Blinded By The Light, is another early gem choked full of words, and one of the few live songs that surprisingly work well on the piano as it does full band. I hope Bruce lets the band have at it some point during the upcoming tour (ideally Australia!), as so far he's only done it solo, thrice. My personal favorite version is one from the Roxy show of 1978, which was an 'outtake' that almost made it onto the 1975-85 live boxset. Growin' Up made it though, and of course, It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City, the showstopper. It's incredible street poetry with an incredible spirit, elevated to even higher heights onstage with the famous guitar duel.

Last but not least is Lost In The Flood, an ultra-rare live one these days, and it should stay that way. It's safe to say it's one of many fans' favorites, as revealed in the recent BTX Top 20 list. And here's why -- the song made its return only one time during the last night of the Reunion Tour at Madison Square Garden. It's on the second disc of the Live In New York City album, in all its earth-shattering glory. The last time it was performed before 2000 was all the way back in 1978, on the Darkness Tour. The difference between the early ('75) versions and ones now is miles apart. And from 2000, the 'previously forgotten' song has taken on a whole new life, streaming back into the fan consciousness. It has become one of THE songs in the Springsteen cannon, just like Jungleland, just like New York City Serenade, just like Racing In The Street. An outstanding recent version of Lost In The Flood can be heard on the Gothenburg (Night 2) bootleg last year. Saint In The City also appeared in the same show!

To best get acquainted with Greetings, listen to the original '73 record, then listen to the Buffalo boot from '09, where the band played it in its entirety for the first and only time. It was also Clarence Clemon's final show with the E Street Band. Bruce best sums it up before the performance, "This was the miracle, the record that took everything from way below one."


P.S. Also today 31 years ago, Bruce recorded Nebraska in his bedroom. Here's something I wrote exactly a year ago [link].

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 MusiCares Lineup

This should be very interesting: Next month's annual MusiCares ceremony held in LA, in which Bruce is honored as Person Of The Year, will see many artists, young and old, paying tribute to him; Alabama Shakes, John Legend, Ben Harper, Jim James, Elton John, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Tom Morello, Natalie Maines, Sting, Patti Smith, Mavis Staples, Mumford & Sons, Eddie Vedder, and Neil Young (!). Fellow Jersey boy, Jon Stewart, will be hosting. The event will take place a few days before the Grammys, and Bruce is nominated for three awards in the rock categories (Best Rock Album for Wrecking Ball, Best Rock Song & Rock Performance for We Take Care Of Our Own). But being shut out for Album Of The Year is a travesty.