Archive for Rock Of Ages

Review: Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy – Live @ The O2, Dublin (June 8th, 2011)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2011 by Tickets There

Back by popular demand, Def Leppard are in Ireland after a two year absence; once again warming up for another headlining  slot at the Download Festival. Two years ago they arrived with Journey and the jaw dropping Whitesnake in tow. Tonight’s line-up is even more astonishing with the legendary Thin Lizzy and Mr. shock-rock / Mr. Rock N’ Roll Hall of famer, the one, the only Alice Cooper, around to beef things up. The crowd in the O2 may not be as impressive as 2009’s show, but that just means a few thousand less Journey fans and I think we can all agree that’s never a bad thing.

Kicking of the proceedings tonight are Thin Lizzy and it has to be said, WOW. Anyone who was at their recent shows around the country can surely agree that the current line up are incredible. Ricky Warwick is definitely a worthy successor to the coveted space left by Phil Lynott. At no point tonight do you feel they’re anything less than the real deal, with original members Scott Gorham (original-ish) and Brian Downey rockin’ as hard as they did forty years ago. New guitarist Richard Fortus; whose last appearance in the O2 ended in near riot last September when he rolled into town with his day band, Guns N’ Roses; is more than capable of replacing John Sykes as he tears away at those rolling dual lead guitar solos with Scott. The only thought about the new line-up is that Scott and Brian will never be afforded the chance to be their age. With Phil in the band, Lizzy would be able to grow older and fans would go with it. Unfortunately, the band need to tear every song to pieces and ram it forcefully down your throat In order to walk away with a satisfied crowd to see them off. Maybe that’s the genius of Lizzy, they were never meant to slow down and this ensures it’ll never happen. Either way, Thin Lizzy have too many incredible songs to just leave idle. They need to be played and this line-up are more than up to the task.

Lizzy finish up their set with a pounding performance of ‘Black Rose’ before the mega Cooper stage show is pieced together. As the giant curtain rises up, fans pack around the stage in eager anticipation for one of rocks finest showmen to begin. The Vincent Price intro booms over the PA as the houselights go black building the spook master’s arrival. As the curtain drops, Alice stands atop a towering pulpit, decked out with spider arms around his waist as the band launches into ‘The Black Widow’; from his most recent album, Along Came A Spider. Discarding the jacket, Alice follows through with ‘Brutal Planet‘ before appeasing the greatest hits fans in attendance with his classic, I’m Eighteen. As canes get flung into the crowd amidst sword waving and exploding gloves, the band carry on with the classic ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ (which of course includes the traditional sharing of the Cooper insignia dollars), ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ and the incredible, living snake accompanied ‘Is It My Body’. ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’ follows with the crowd being informed the title and the fact that’s it’s a new song via Alice’s jacket and blood soaked shirt.

‘Feed My Frankenstein’ swiftly follows suit and easily stands out as one of the night’s highlights, especially when you factor in the 12 foot Frankenstein donning the Cooper make-up that’s brought to life to sing the last chorus… while walking around the stage Oh God yes, it is that good!. ‘Poison’ and ‘Wicked Young Man’ cause mass hysterics,  followed by the classic ‘Killer’, which ends in the traditional guillotine gorge of death. Alice, wrestled into a headlock by sadistic ghouls meets his end by violent execution. With his decapitated head being displayed by the ghouls, fans are united for a sing along to ‘I Love The Dead’ before the master returns with shiny top hat, coat; with his sword and balloons to boot for a blow out version of ‘Schools Out’, appropriate given the week that’s in it (although any JC/LC students may not agree). With a little break, the band return for one last blaze of glory; ‘Elected’, which Alice dedicates to Dublin while waving the tri-colour and dressed in the Irish jersey. Amazing show from start to finish, time to head ho…oh wait (cheeky)

With the crowd gleaming up to the nines from Cooper’s performance, it’s time for the Mighty Leppard to take the stage and show all the naysayers out there why they can headline above any other act in the world. With a striking new stage setup, Leppard emerge triumphantly to rapturous cheering from the now packed O2 arena. Starting with ‘Undefeated’, one of the three news songs that’ll be on their forthcoming live album, Mirrorball, the band are on fire. Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell and thunder God himself, Mr.Rick Allen are all at the top of their game, adorned by glittering gloves, mike stands, headphones – the works. ‘Action’ and ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ follow, sending the crowd into a sing-along frenzy before older fans are treated to the incredible ‘Foolin’. ‘Make Love Like A Man’ and the iconic ‘Love Bites’ drive the point home that Leppard can damn well do anything they please  because this is a band with more hits per album than most others can achieve over a whole career. Sav’s now standard bass solo/intro for the bands cover of David Essex’sRock On’ has to be noted as a highlight.

A duelling guitar solo between Vivian and Phil follows; before the pace is slowed down for acoustic renditions of ‘Two Steps Behind’ and ‘Bringing on the Heartbreak’. Steve Clark’s incendiary ‘Switch 625′ launches the band back into hard rock mode before and extended performance of ‘Rocket’ is unleashed in all it’s pounding drum glory. ‘Hysteria’, ‘Armageddon It’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ nail the set down before Leppard brings things near close with the almighty ‘Rock of Ages’. Of course they do return for an obligatory encore, performing one of their biggest Irish hits, ‘When Love and Hate Collide’ which goes down a treat before stunning die-hard fans with a final, hell-raising crack at ‘Wasted’ from On Through The Night.

Easily one of the best shows Ireland will see this year. Three amazing bands in one place, every one of them playing a blinder and not a hint of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. Value for money in anyone’s books.

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Tickets There Likes: Def Leppard – Pyromania

Posted in Album Review, Music, Tickets There Likes: with tags , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2009 by Tickets There

Def_Leppard_-_Pyromania

If there is one band on God’s green earth that has meant more to Tickets there, and the man behind Tickets There (no, not the guys in Eyebrowy, me ya knob!), it has to be Def Leppard. Despite Guns N Roses, Marilyn Manson, Elvis Presley, Turn, Metallica and many, many, many others over the years coming close, Leppard are and always have been the clear frontrunners of my personal favorite artists. They are the band that thought me the key core values of good music, Talent, Entertainment and Performance. Leppard may have become the arse end of most music related jokes in the nineties but they are finally clawing their way back to their former heights and slowly rebuilding their credibility around the world. For those of us who stood by them after their career nosedived after Adrenalize, this is like the second coming because if there is one band in the world who deserves to have an album in everyone’s collection, it’s Leppard, and if you’re going to start anywhere, it might as well be Pyromania.

In 1983, Leppard could barley fill a town hall in England as headliner, but in the US, people were flocking to their support shows to catch a glimpse of England’s hottest new act. After successful introductions with their debut On through The Night and it’s follow up, High N Dry, the band finally had a ready and willing fan base to unleash their full potential onto. Pyromania became one of the biggest selling albums of the eighties and the only thing that stopped it reaching number one was the biggest selling album of all time, Thriller. The combination of Leppard and renowned AC/DC producer Mutt Lange producing the album together paid off in bucket loads as the band became mega stars in the States almost overnight. The mix of catchy, riff driven anthems and Joe’s raw yet piercing voice painted a new coat on the aging rock machine and gave the whole genre a new lease of life.

Opening with the first of many anthems Pyromania has to offer, Rock Rock Till You Drop, the album is immediately given an upbeat, captivating feel as the band deliver what are essentially pop songs with much, much more of an edge……. and a lot more guitars. The massively successful Photograph follows and up’s the bands’ sound several notches which seems to be the trend of Pyromania, make each song bigger, better and more enthralling than the last one. Stagefright gives the band one of its most iconic opening live songs before the haunting Too Late For Love offers a new kind of Love songs with more attitude than Bon Jovi could ever offer.

Die Hard The Hunter brings the rock swagger back to the album before the mighty Foolin’ stampedes across everything and gives the album one of its greatest building, atmospheric compositions. Where the hell can you go from there? Well, they have an answer. It’s called Rock of Ages. One of the Rock N Metal’s greatest assets and one that even non-Leppard fans will admit to loving. Does it draw the line between cheese and music? No it certainly does not because most people these days think anything Tom Yorke, Frank Black or Chris Martin didn’t write isn’t music. Unfortunately for you lot, while you are watching the blandest, most self-indulgent, over hyped musical farces on the planet crying and preaching at you, us folk who appreciate the fun, the attitude and the full on rock n roll spirit of ‘real bands’ will be having a blast and won’t be reminded about starving kids in Africa or today’s popular disease.

Back from my rant, Comin’ Under Fire and Action Not Words bring the album near it’s close with another few bursts of catchy riffs that constantly change and include small guitar spirals and heavy bass that constantly compete with each other for melodies, harmonies and cutting edge vocals and solos. The fearsome Billy’s Got a Gun gives the album one of its most unappreciated moments and unfortunately, ends the Pyromania.

More than any album I can think off, Tickets There Suggests you go and buy this one immediately and if you don’t like it well, you’re really thick and it’s more than likely you don’t have a soul. If you do, come back and see my review of High N Dry (Which I’ll do when I’m damn well ready). Don’t jump straight into Hysteria, it’s too soon 😉