“Sexually unsatisfied, financially unsatisfied and philosophically trying …”
The above quote was by Mick Jagger during their second tour of the U.S. in 1965. A tour which cemented their place at the time as second to The Beatles in the world.
Over the years, The Stones – despite the backlash of ‘society’ over their rebellious ways and disregard for so called public decency, The Stones have not just endured, they have outlasted most of their contemporaries
Mick Jagger and his intelligence are the main reason why.
Combining excellent showmanship with business savvy. Artistic and intellectual curiosity with an unmatched ability to mimic vocal ebbs and flows. Jagger has mastered the art of a front-man and set the bar for all to follow. No Mick Jagger – no Freddie Mercury, No Mick – no Stephen Tyler, no Michael Jackson, no Prince. Add the fact that none come close to matching the amount of quality songs penned by Mr. Jagger; at the age of 76 – Sir Mick sits alone on the throne.
Please have a listen below to my Birthday Tribute.
Most people have dual citizenships. Keith Richards has dual personalities.
In the documentary ‘ Under the Influence ‘ ( available on Netflix) – the lines are blurred with orgasmic pleasure for a true music fan.
The general population love Keith Richards. The masses also know very little about the man.
They know the myth. They have read the tales of decadent behavior and the seemingly endless nine lives which appear to pursue Richards on and off the stage. Everyone loves a survivor. Especially one who has written the songbook of Rock n Roll with a middle finger left off the fret and pointed straight at the powers that be.
Keith Richards at seventy – one years of age, can do no wrong. He has earned the right to captain the Black Pearl.
‘Under the Influence’, the documentary which coincides with the release of Richards ‘ first solo album in over twenty years (Crosseyed Heart), is a showcase of Richards’ mindset in the studio as he lays down tracks with his ‘Xpensive’ mates.
Instead of this documentary being solely a marketing tool to help sell copies of an album made by a Grandfather who ( in Rock n Roll history) should be passed his prime, the film instead utilizes the celluloid moments to open the drapes and let the rays of American music display Richards’ crevasses on his worn face as valleys of knowledge. In short – ‘Under the Influence’ is a proper documentary.
In short – Keith Richards is a proper musician.
The Stones’ guitarist has forgotten more than most know. The Stones’ guitarist happily has not forgotten more than most know.
Director Morgan Neville takes that knowledge and places it elegantly into a history class. Not a Blues class. Not a Rock n Roll class. Not a Country music class.Not even a Great American Songbook class.
Neville and Richards deliver a top of the line University music class with the above ingredients both separate and blurred together. Just as elegantly as Richards himself.
The best thing? Lazy people need not apply …
In the 1960’s, the Beatles reinvented popular music. They too were influenced by the same men who laid the foundation for the Stones’ songbook. The Beatles remained white British boys while the Stones transformed into a bunch of Black kids playing the Blues to anyone who would scream. The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones , Mick Jagger and Keith Richards leading the way, introduced American Blues to America white folks.
In 2015, in glorious irony, at a time when the music business and an entire generation of musicians appear ‘lost for words’, along comes Keith Richards ‘under the influence’ once more.
Satan, God or whoever runs the show – every once in a while sends Richards into the forest as a musical Robin Hood. A rich man giving back to the poor.
In the eighties, when Rock n Roll and all it’s edgy guitars took backseat to synthesized drums machines and keyboards, it was Richards’ ‘Start Me Up’ riff that kept Chuck Berry sane. While Mick Jagger was experimenting with every sound heard by dogs and people as a solo artist, Richards angrily released the album ‘Talk is Cheap.’ A project that is held in highest esteem by any musician worth their weight in music.
Richards’ kept the Rock n Roll/ Blues and R and B barge afloat without a ‘Life’ jacket.
Here is where the dual personality kicks in.
Richards’ has also kept Country music in people’s consciences. From ‘Country Honk’ off of Let It Bleed’, the entire Beggars Banquet album and into ‘Dead Flowers’ off of the Stones’ classic 1971 album Sticky Fingers and everything in between, Richards continues the tradition and love of Country on his new album Crosseyed Heart. Keith Richards along with Hank Williams, George Jones, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wanda Jackson and thousands or millions more – have kept the world balanced within the structure of ‘Rock n Roll’.
No Country music equals no Blues or vice versa. No Blues / Country means no ‘Roll’ in the Rock.
Richards likes his Roll … thank you very much.
There is so much in Keith Richards songwriting than meets the bloodshot eye. ‘Under the Influence’ gives a glimmer of what makes one half of The Glimmer Twins glimmer.
Hogey Carmichael and the Great American Songbook were a huge part of Richards’ post – war English environment. Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke and all the Soul and R and B men are the foundations of Richards’ indestructible frame. Mix them all together within a man with the backbone of a lion? The main ingredient of Richards’ and the Stones’ longevity. The ability to place a song ahead of the solos.
‘Under the Influence’ is a thoughtful insight into an ageing man’s psyche. Musically and as a human being.
Many times during the film Richards’ is on the cusp of melancholy and wistfulness. Tears are welling up behind the shades as much as his influences are masked by the shades of Rock n Roll. The documentary – a rare peek into Keith Richards as a man who has conquered everything on his own terms and has no idea how he has ended up as one of the most – loved people on the planet. No idea how he has ended up still ‘ on the planet’ for that matter.
It is called integrity Mr. Richards. See you at The Crossroads ….
Keith Richards can no longer play guitar like the Richards of old.
Any Rolling Stones review post – coconut tree (shrub) incident must include this fact. Stones’ fans know it, newer fans and people seeing the band for the first time must be educated. A combination of arthritic fingers / memory loss and / or years of living dangerously have left Keef a ‘moonlight mile’ from his former self.
Why is this important information for a ‘Zip Code’ Tour that has generated rave reviews leading to the finale in Quebec City?
Believe it or not – The Stones were better when ‘the engine’ operated on all cylinders. Believe it or not – The Stones are currently better than bands half their age who are operating on all cylinders. The Stones are ‘ that good’ .
The 2015 touring Stones whose four members’ collective ages reach a high decibel of 282 years, put on quite the spectacle in Quebec City on Wednesday, July 15th on The Plains of Abraham as part of Le Festival d’ Ete . As part of history.
Setting an attendance record is one thing. Setting a record at their age – a tip of the ‘tongue’ for the boys who are commencing their 52nd year as a band ( Charlie Watts joined in 1963 and for the band, the official start of their career).
Several factors ( aside from the songs) make the Stones as popular as ever
Their legendary mystique continues to add more and more generations of fans with every tour. Everyone must see the Stones at least once and with Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles and Older Siblings passing the message along, a Stones’ show is always going to be filled with excitement. A sense of anticipation that no band can generate like The Rolling Stones.
Here’s the funny part.
That sense of danger. That increasing heartbeat. That insatiable desire to be fed raw unadulterated Rock n Roll has been with the Stones for fifty years. It was there on their first tour of America in 1964 and has festered in every show since. When The Stones are coming to a city, the urban buzz precedes and predates the concert by weeks. An uncanny sense of rebelliousness sets in because ‘the Stones fought the law and the Stones won’ – why cant we? Every city and every citizen welcomes the ‘pirates’ of music with open abandonment and for a couple of sinister weeks, generations have carte blanche to live vicariously through the Stones and their ‘satanic’ mentality. Generations create an invisible mutiny against their bosses, spouses and government.
That sense of ‘kicking authority in the teeth’ – front and center in 95,000 music fans’ fantasies on Wednesday night.
From the opening Richards’ ‘Start Me Up’ riff, Jagger et al hooked the ‘virgin’ and seasoned punters. It’s one thing to tire of the tunes on disc but hearing it live makes it important once more. Hearing the ‘ancient art of weaving’ as Wood and Richards challenge one another within the structure of a song is unique and priceless. Weaving with open tuning is the Stones. Part Blues, part Country and all their own.
Charlie Watts’ Jazzy crisp snare and a nanosecond removed from Richards’ relentless rhythm is also the Stones. A sound once again unique and definitive of the Stones’ ragged musicianship.
Jagger’s unchallenged talent of vocal mimicking. Blending Soul, Blues, Country, R and B and every style he has ever enjoyed into drawls and connotations which cannot be mimicked by anyone else. The ultimate showman and the unchallenged front-man of Rock n Roll.
Together – an initiation into the Stones’ ‘club’. The entrance fee? Your soul …
Everything is never rosy in a Stones’ show. Organized chaos has forever been their motto and the band can never be accused of choosing perfect set-lists. Lately, one or two songs are altered on any given evening. For a Stones’ fan – boring. For a new (er) recruit? Blissful. A ‘Beggar’s Banquet ‘ of sounds supplicated live.
What ‘Start Me Up’ does to open things, the sophomore song ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’ could easily stop the excitement in it’s guitar strings. Never a great song live as the song only allows Richards’ weaknesses to shine through. A glorified Berry riff void of it’s studio cousin’s charm. A rhythmic warm-up for the band – nothing more.
Then – things get interesting …A pair of songs written in the basement of a former Nazi headquarters in the South of France.
‘All Down the Line’ and ‘Tumblin’ Dice’ from the Stones’ most complete album; Exile on Main Street. The real Stones start to emerge within the rawness of the former and the groove of the latter. Disjointed sloppiness gives way to the classic pocket of a Stones comfort. A feeling which ‘once upon a time’ gave title to their ‘Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World’ moniker. A title which in 2015 remains intact.
‘Street Fighting Man’ – the request song of the evening introduced in the past few tours via internet as a fan friendly ‘ keep up with the Jones’ gimmick, remains a no-frills Rock song. No ad- libs by Sir Mick. No flashy solos by the ‘almost out of tune’ guitars. A relentless repetition of chords which increase intensity as the tune echos Jagger’s lyrics and Watts’ hard pounding metronome. The Stones have nothing to do but to play in a Rock n Roll band so why fight the simplicity of what any garage band does when their managers and record executives are looking away.
‘Wild Horses’, the only ballad of the evening, was shocking. With eyes closed, it was Mick in the 1960’s with Marianne Faithful on his arm. His voice on the Plains of Abraham as fresh and crisp as a man half his age. The entire evening was proof of Jagger’s amazing vocals yet somehow, Wild Horses from the album Sticky Fingers was special. The song, on a cool Wednesday evening under the stars, was transformed to a turntable in front of 95,000 basement party guests. To steal a Pink Floyd title; the guests were ‘Comfortably Numb’ and the band became the evening’s dealers.
Throughout the Stones’ career, they have obtained legendary status based on their unmatched circus-like live shows. Over the years, a myth has spread that they have always been great musically on stage. To set the record straight, they can be the worse band one night and the best group the next. This is the legend of the Stones. The band that never acts or attempts to fit into preconceived ideology of how a band should act.
‘Bitch’ was the Stones at their worst on Wednesday night as the Sticky Fingers’ song defined sloppiness. Jagger’s vocals losing their way in choruses and the horn section while Wood and Richards fought to keep it all together. The tune sounded like a riff looking for a home on a Stones ‘ album but could not make the cut. A bootleg which demonstrated Richards’ 2015 weakness on the guitars and perhaps – proving former sax player ( deceased) Bobby Keys’ absence is profoundly missed by the band and his partner-in-crime Richards.
‘Honky Tonk Woman’ came next and in 2015 – the song is a conundrum. An audience ‘guilty pleasure’ and the ultimate party -with-chicken-wire-around-the-band song. Richards’ can still perform his trademark riffs and the opening of ‘Honky Tonk’ makes the hairs on anyone’s neck take notice of the ‘gin soaked bar room Queen’ about to take the stage. Sadly – in recent years, the song has become too generic. Too clean for Rock n Roll’s original punks and their decadent fan base. It starts as a journey into a crack-house but quickly becomes a corporate reality show.
Ladies and Gentlemn – the home run trot now begins ….
Commencing with the band introductions and a chance for fans to say thank you through applause, it is also the introduction of Keef’s opportunity to shine. The generic ‘two song’ showcasing of Rock’s most elegantly wasted human being.
‘Before They Make Me Run’ and ‘Happy’ took center stage on Wednesday evening amid cries of adulation, respect and pride. The prodigal son is alive and standing with cockroaches within earshot of Richards’ maniacal laugh.
Two songs which define Keef more than others. An insight into kicking his heroin habit and authority away. Happy’s ‘never kept a dollar past sunset’ and ‘ always took candies from strangers’ biographical lyrics frightening in their reality of a survivor’s ability to stand true. Riffs uniquely Keef-isms. Riffs as pleasant as they are unpleasant. Defining moments on display of the reason the Stones remain apart from every band. Once more – garage band stuff littered with oil (blood?) stained hands. Richards walking before he ran …
In Quebec, ‘Paint it Black’, ‘Get Off of My Cloud’, ‘Ruby Tuesday’, ‘ ‘Cant You Hear Me Knocking’, Love is Strong’, ‘Fool to Cry’, ‘Angie’, Emotional Rescue’ and ‘Star Star’ were not played. Nor were some of the greatest songs in the past five decades displayed. Not many bands can leave the very songs which defined the decades of their success on the sound-check floor. Unless …
If any song in the Stones’ arsenal proves undeniable they are the best of all time – it’s Midnight Rambler. No matter the decade, the stage or state of the band, Rambler combines everything into one epic story of the history of The Blues blending into modern day Rock. It allows a journey from Robert Johnson’s crossroads through Sonny Boy Williamson’s harmonica and into Muddy Waters’ Checkerboard Lounge. It allows Richards to demonstrate no nonsense riffing and Jagger’s only ‘pure’ character to emerge from within his may personas. It allows an insight into why Mick and Keef met at the Dartford train station and to this day – remain on the same train. Rambler also unites the crowd into a mass of unsolicited focus. The demonic presence of the Stones and / or the demonic presence which watches over the Stones takes control. In every Stones concert since that fateful day in Altamont California, ‘Rambler’ means the Stones are getting serious.
‘Miss You’ – the band’s biggest commercial hit, makes the most demur sisters dance. A non fan dragged to a Stones show against their will starts to groove. Jagger, the original ‘prince of darkness’ struts his feminine / masculine self across and into the crowd like the piper he is. The wettest of rats will survive Jagger’s emotional rescue as Mick sets the tone for how people will behave. Like a magician in satin sheets, Jagger controls if, when and how the orgasms will play out. Rambler and Miss You – Michael Phillip Jagger’s wands of magic and manipulation.
‘Gimme Shelter’ not only showcases Lisa Fisher’s vocal talents and enables her to get work outside of the Stones with ease, it is also a defining moment for many punters in attendance. No song within the Stones’ artillery belt ( Paint it Black a close second) represents the closeness of evil versus good. Richards’ opening ascending riff combined with Jagger’s warning of impending doom symbolic of every generation being ruled through fear. Consciously or unconsciously, the Stones created a timeless tune which hovers above any musical act with a sense of irony, realism and fear of the political monster that gives no shelter but promises safety. The Stones had an insight in the sixties and sadly society has not changed. The Stones had an insight in the sixties and gladly for the people in attendance, the Stones’ message has not changed.
The rest of a Stones show is gravy on top of a delicious piece of steak.
‘Flash’ and ‘Sympathy’ are covered in Brown Sugar. Each timeless ‘drink and shout’ party song belongs to someone in the crowd. Energetic songs with riffs unmatched. As pleasing to a seventy year old’s ears as to an eighteen year old. Sing-a-long choruses as simple as smoking a joint or sipping a hidden drink inside a tongue-adorned flask. It’s no genius behind the Stones’ most loved songs. It’s a relentless in-your-face sound which grabs the primal instincts and awakens the dormant demons. Masks are discarded and it’s a gas, gas, gas …
In Quebec, the Stones delivered a two hour and fifteen minute show which would have been longer if the good folks of Le Festival d’Ete could / would have lifted the curfew. The final pair of songs, the encores, left everyone content. All smiles as the 90,000 plus left the Plains of Abraham anything but plain …
‘Can’t Always Get What You Want’ (sung with Le Chœur des Jeunes de Laval) was a pleasure. Once more Jagger conducting his orchestra, the crowd and a timeless message. Witnessing Jagger alone on the catwalk with a noir backdrop and sporadic glimmerings of light is historic. The Stones and Jagger somehow have managed to grab the pulse of every sick aspect of society, all the hopes and dreams which never change and capture the imagination of anyone and any age. Under the stars in Quebec, Jagger and the Stones ‘tried’ and the fans got what they needed including ‘ satisfaction …’
Satisfaction was sung in unison by 95,000 people to end the night. A remarkable thing. It was not sung for pleasure. It was not sung because the crowd could. It was sung with a forcefulness and conviction. It was a crowd, five generations of people and a Rock n Roll band agreeing on a simple fact of life. No matter how hard people try, satisfaction is never obtained.
Maybe one day – the Stones will be as satisfied as the 95,000 people who saw them for what may be the last time on such a grand stage.
Doubtful or the Stones would not have been in Quebec on Wednesday evening driving around the world tryin’ to meet some girl …
In Montreal, it’s called ‘l’eau’ for your soul and that is exactly what Joss Stone provided at Metropolis on Sunday evening as the 36th Edition of The Montreal International Jazz Festival drew to a close.
What a way to go out …
Joss Stone, complete with a ‘Superheavy’ resume constituting of collaborations with the likes of Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and Damian Marley, arrived in town as a precursor to the release of her upcoming 7th studio album; ‘Water for Your Soul.’
Stone bears all on stage. Not the ‘ mind in the gutter’ type baring, more like ‘shed-inhibitions-and-display-the-soul’ type undressing. Complete with shoe-less feet ( a Stone trademark), Joss neither attempts nor delivers any preconceived corporate shows. She is a hippy chick – through and through.
The song ‘Spoiled’ introduced Stone’s tremendous ‘live’ voice to a very receptive Montreal crowd. Singers such as Stone and her predecessors in the Soul / Rock / Blues category (women such as Aretha Frankin and Janis Joplin) are more times than not much better in person than their vinyl / digital representations. In other words – Memorex does not do Joss Stone justice.
Her arsenal on Sunday consisting of ‘L.O.V.E’ and ‘Baby Baby Baby’ are nothing new in the annals of popular music. The wheel has not been reinvented by Stone nor her band. In 2015 – it is difficult for any artist to truly come up with anything truly original especially in the style which Stone has etched herself. Voices are original. Vocal styles are not.
‘Super Duper Love’, from the 2004 album ‘Mind Body and Soul’ is the closest Stone has to an identifying tombstone in the graveyard of music. Catchy, bouncy with a body of soul – Super Duper is a song that comes around once -in-a-Brittany Spears. Take away Spears’ voice and add some depth – Joss Stone is front and center with a hit of her own minus the Illuminati drama.
At twenty-eight years young, Stone carries herself with extreme class combined with a touch of innocent flirtatious behavior. Why not? An entertainer utilizes whatever they must to get people to enjoy the show. In Stone’s case – her charm is much more inherited than acted. Some are born to be special and Stone compete with vocals, looks and character – is one of the ‘lucky’ ones.
One surprise last evening was Stone’s version of A White Stripes Song.
‘Fell in love with a Girl ‘ is the Stripes ‘ version and Stone (making a statement on her sexual preference perhaps), altered the lyrics to “Fell in Love with a Boy’. Either way, a perfect rendition of a well chosen song to display Joss’ versatility and her willingness to take risks.
A trio of songs which stood out like a giraffe in a herd of antelope represented different stages in Stones’ career. ‘You Had Me’ and ‘Right to be Wrong’ are part of the ‘here’s Josh Stone’ period while ‘ While You Are Out Looking for Sugar ‘ is the ‘ where’s Joss going next’ phase of her ( so far) 14 million album-selling career. All three representing brassiness, vocal perfection and a seasoned vocabulary.
A couple of songs from the ‘Water for the Soul’ album were strutted out while with the song “The Answer ‘ blending nicely from studio to live. Any songs from her work in the group Superheavy was sadly vacant. ‘Miracle Worker’ from Superheavy is another tombstone for Stone and it was a precursor for the upcoming Reggae-inspired ‘Water for Your Soul’.
Oh well, at least Stone is not as perfect as she sounds or looks …
The Kentucky HeadHunters are living proof – Country Music and Blues make up Rock n’ Roll …
Starting in 1968 as The Itchy Brothers – the band came oh-so-close to stardom. An untimely death ultimately killed their chances of becoming ‘America’s Greatest Rock n Roll band’ yet, like Rock n Roll itself – they came back with a vengeance …
Please listen to Part One and Part Two of my interview with Richard Young. Richard talks about working with Chuck Berry’s pianist (and friend) Johnnie Johnston. The greatest sideman in the history of Rock n Roll.
Philip Sayce did not just get off the Rock n Roll truck …
A Mini-Van perhaps – but not a truck!
Fresh off a triumphant eight city tour of Canada that left fans and critics spellbound, rock guitar sensation Philip Sayce makes his major label debut on Tuesday, April 7 with the release of his album Influence.
Originally released in Europe in late August 2014 to critical acclaim, the Canadian version of Influence will include two new songs led by the first single, Philip’s incendiary version of the Ten Years After classic “I’d Love To Change The World.”
The video for “I’d Love To Change The World” is now live on Philip’s YouTube channel.
Born in Wales and raised in Toronto, Canada, Philip Sayce’s love of the guitar started at an early age when his parents introduced him to all of the classics, notably, Clapton, Hendrix, and Beck. He started playing guitar as a teen and before long was winning admirers at blues jam nights at Grossman’s Tavern in downtown Toronto.
One such admirer was legendary guitarist Jeff Healey who invited Philip to join his band with whom he toured the world for the next couple of years. After a move to Los Angeles, producer John Shanks introduced Philip to Melissa Etheridge who recruited him for her band. Over the next several years Philip performed on Melissa Etheridge’s albums and was featured during her live sets on world tours.
Please listen below to my conversation with Philip.
A time to say, a time to reminisce, an occasion to place memories into a pocket called time. Concerts, just like shooting stars – come and go …
Some remain bright for years while others die within minutes of their creation. Some linger for a fleeting moment – others force gazers to look away or write a ‘bad review’. Montreal, is the music capital of Canada and arguably the best place in the world for musicians from ‘around the world’ to come play.
It is impossible to concoct a list of Top Ten Concerts. There are so many quality acts in Montreal every year. Plus – attending all the concerts; physically impossible.
There are favorites however. Shows which etch themselves profoundly inside the soul.
Please listen below to part one and two of my Top Ten Concerts of 2014.Number one is on the way …
Thank you and enjoy the holidays !
Joe Louis Walker just recently returned from a tour which brought him to Australia. He hooked up with some fellows who were schooled in the Blues. Mick, Keith, Charlie – along with Joe’s pal Ronnie Wood, love talkin’ about the Blues.
Joe loves talking about the Blues also so a match made in heaven; a gross understatement …
Please listen as Joe discusses many topics including the present and the future of the Blues along with some very interesting insights.
Contrary to popular belief, the lamb did not lay down on Broadway.
Au contraire mon frere …
In like a lion, out like a lion, stay like a lion. A summation of Genesis’ career. Starting with Peter Gabriel and ending with Phil Collins at the helm; Genesis roared loud and long …
From 1970 until 1978 – Steve Hackett was the lead guitarist in the band. Hackett solidified the position, innovating and bridging the gap between keyboards,cartoons and nursery rhymes. ‘Tapping’ his way into Rock history.
Or- is it Prog Rock history … ?
Please listen to the first part of my interview with Steve as he speaks of many things including the dynamics which led to his departure. Part two explores his guitar techniques.
First, their ‘throwback’ songs set the bar too high for every young musician to reach, then – as if matters were not worse for the next ‘Mick Jagger’ – the old guys’ concerts are as high as the tunes.
John Fogerty, he of Woodstock fame – played at The Bell Center last night. The year was 2014 not the year of our Lord ’69. Good thing music is timeless. Good thing Fogerty is also …
Following a very well put together biography on Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival on the big screen, the audience was well prepared. The young folks – schooled in the importance of Fogerty. The older folks? Reminded. For those at Woodtsock? Perhaps seeing and hearing Fogerty for the first time last night.
Yes – Woodtsock was that awesome!
Born on the Bayou, one of CCR’s signature tunes, introduced the crowd to a unique sound. Fogerty, as head of CCR or on his own – distinct with his vocals and his riffs. One of very few Rockers on the planet who is instantly recognizable. Instantly dirty …
The type of songs and where Fogerty comes from – a big part in the raw, almost ‘out of tune’ sound emitted from this Rock n Roll legend. It’s a swampy thing for sure …
Good Golly Miss Molly ensued. A song rich in early Rock n Roll. A song rich in a combination of a Chuck Berry / Little Richard duet. Feet were tappin’ and relief by the ‘over forty’ age group in the crowd – swept through the Bell Center like a broom on a dusty floor. This was going to be a Rock n Roll show – it was, that obvious. In your face as ‘Up Around the Bend‘ and ‘Down on the Corner‘ testified. Court was now in session. Fogerty – no Jester …
The singer ripped through the songs with conviction, his vocals, somehow preserved in 1969. Eyes closed – it was ’69. A time void of metal detectors at concerts ( see Montreal, Fogerty, 2014). A time of peace and love.
Fogerty himself, last night, telling a tale of Woodstock as CCR hit the stage after ‘The Grateful Dead ‘put everyone to sleep.’
“It was 2:30 in the morning”. Explained the former frontman of Creedence …” I looked out in the crowd and everyone was the same as me. Except they were naked. Naked and asleep. “
“I tried my best to get things Rockin‘. Nothing. The first rows were fast asleep. Then, in the distance, I saw a lighter being held in the air. A voice followed and I heard that voice. It said; We are with you John!’
With that story, that simple tale, John Fogerty circa 2014 set the mood for the Bell Center. The crowd was his. Just like that one guy in 1969.
‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’ was written for that guy and it is the song which – once more, either shocked or pleased a Montreal crowd ripe for nostalgia. Some bands arrive in town from the 1960’s and they play songs like it is the new millennium. John Fogerty plays his songs like it is the 60’s and – everything is so right with that.
Just ask Suzie Q …
If Fogerty was ‘born in the Bayou’, Suzie Q gave birth to him.
That riff, that nasty, sweet and messy opening riff.
Injected into a vein opened by Fogerty’s love of music which started at the age of eight. Playing piano to Jerry Lee Lewis, an early lesson in life which drove him to the point where he had to ‘put out’ or ‘shut up’. Suzie Q would not allow him to shut up.
‘Night Time (is the Right Time) ‘- that old Rosevelt Sykes tune made famous by Ray Charles came next. Fogerty and his band, paying homage to the music of the past. Many bands these days include a Sykes’ song in their shows and Night Time is the right time to do so. The only thing missing in Fogerty’s version? The horns and women back – up singers. Fogerty and his guitar – more than compensating.
CCR’s Sweet Hitchhiker, from 1971’s Mardi Gras album was a low point. Not because it was performed poorly. Not because it is a non hit. A low point because it sank into generic rock territory. Fogerty’s vocals need attention. Amid the standard rock fare provided by his band – Sweet Hitchhiker was lostamid the noise .
Next – back on track.
Organist, keyboardist and accordionist Bob Malone commenced with an accordion solo. Who does accordion solos anyways? Only guys secure in their musical roots (like Fogerty), hire guys like Malone to merge sounds of the South. Sounds of the swamp. Malone’s intro long enough to heed notice, short enough to appreciate.
‘Looking Out My Backdoor’ – another CCR classic, took center stage. Once more shoving everyone in attendance back to ’69. Guitar chords so raw, a medium rare order at a steakhouse, embarrassing ..
Midnight Special ( Leadbelly), New Orleans ( Gary U.S Bonds) and I Heard It Through the Grapevine ( Smokey Robinson) aside – the rest of the evening was all about CCR. Almost …
Fogerty’s attempt to mist the eyes of the crowd failed miserably with ‘Joy of my Life‘, a song he wrote for his wife. THE INTENT was there, the soft acoustic guitar was there – the soul was not. A legacy of Rock songs will do that to a guy. Kudos for trying John – don’t give up your day job!
Of the four remaining non – CCR Songs (aka John Fogerty solo), two stood out and the test of time. Centerfield and The Old Man Down the Road, two songs which gave Fogerty a comeback in the 80’s, could well be CCR tunes. The devilish riffs– present and accounted for along with the nasally – tinged vocals which made Fogerty a legend. The other pair of solo songs performed last night; ‘Mystic Highway’ and ‘ Hot Rod Heart’ – sadly clumped into the generic rock group. No hooks, bridges or nuances to make them stand out. Great jam but not for the faint of ‘hits’ …
The stretch run contained CCR at its filthiness …
‘Bad Moon Rising‘, Fortunate Son’, Have You Ever Seen the Rain‘ and ‘Proud Mary’. A Four song ‘home run trot’ ripe in history, ripe in riffs and just plain ripe …
Few bands can pull a foursome ofsongs which carry their weight almost fifty years later. The longevity reason? Partly due to the songs, partly due to the use of these songs in movie soundtracks – mostly because they posses a haunted, underlying theme. A sound of danger. A sound of changing times.
A sound fit for every decade and the political themes which cause rebelliousness. A sound known as Rock n Roll …
Rock for Dimes Montreal is entering it’s eight year. By the amount of money raised so far – it would appear to be in it’s 20th incarnation.
A lot of money raised in a short time means two things;Montrealers are generous and Montrealers love to Rock n Roll!
Rock for Dimes is a charity evening which places ‘cover’ bands in direct competition with one another. In a friendly way – of course. The winners get to gloat for one year until they return to defend their crowns and pride.
A year long reign as the Kings of Rock n’ Roll!
Please listen below as Marc Dore; the chairman for Rock of Dimes Montreal – explains everything involved for the evening. He speaks of the origins of the March of Dimes and how Brett ( The Hit Man) Hart and William Shatner are involved …
The sixty-four year old drummer from England, was born into a musical family. Both parents, his Grandfather and his siblings – all playing instruments around the Palmer homestead.
Beginning with his first professional gig at the age of sixteen, Carl has brushed shoulders or played with some of the legends in the music world. Heck – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards even got involved!
Reaching incredible heights in not one – two ‘Supergroups’ over the years, Palmer is still going strong. Touring with Asia and for the past little while, his own group, which brings the songs of Emerson, Lake and Palmer to a different level. Carl Palmer will be in Montreal on the 26th November at Le Gesu.
Please listen as Carl explains his influences, including his relationship with ‘the world’s greatest drummer‘ and what Montreal means to him after that fateful August evening in 1977.
Are you going to have a great big turkey on Christmas day?
Maybe the little rug-rats will be spoiled rotten by Santa Claus. Everyone will sit around, drink eggnog and be more merry than a dog with a red ribbon tied to it’s bone …
For many, this is not reality.
They are people who wish Xmas would go away faster than a P.K Subban slapshot. The very thought of the festive season brings agony, a pain so deep – Tiny Tim would wince.
In our society, things are not what they seem. Especially in the West Island. A place normally associated with money, possessions and glamorous homes. In between – amid ‘the cracks’ in the carefully manicured lawns, live a segment of the population who suffer.
Mental illness, physical sickness, laid off from work, bad luck – whatever the infliction, this is reality.
Everyone enjoys a party during the holidays. Why not combine the joyous celebrations with an opportunity to feed the less fortunate? A chance to feel as if you contributed to society. A chance to place a smile on someone’s face?
Please click on the green Bands for Baskets below to donate