Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dark Suites Music Reviews

Concert Review
Iron Maiden with special guests Dream Theater

Iron Maiden has been one of those bands on my list that I have not seen live. I have an all inclusive list of acts I need to see before I perish this wicked Earth and Maiden was high up there. Thus I set out on a 2 hour drive to neighboring Phoenix to see the might Maiden. Our trek was long and sweaty but well worth the pain and anguish that is the Arizona heat. Dream Theater opened up their set with As I am and finished with their classic Pull Me Under. Considering that each Dream Theater song is about 9+min they only played 6 songs. While not a large number of songs they played for about 50 min.
Then it was time for Maiden. They took the stage around 9pm. Their new stage setup had a space vibe and started with a background of glaring stars. Bruce Dickenson popped up along with the rest of the band into a wicked rendition of the Wicker Man. This was my first time seeing Iron Maiden live and I have to say Bruce can really sing. There’s no studio trickery here, the man’s got some lungs on him. They treated the audience with their new song El Dorado, off their soon to be released album The Final Frontier. The song sounded good and I actually was into it considering it was my first time hearing it. They then went into a couple of songs off their Matter of Life and Death album. One of the highlights of the night was Fear of the Dark, which had everyone chanting along with Bruce. They bid farewell to the crowd after singing the track Iron Maiden. Everyone stayed out chanting their name when all the lights dimmed and we heard the beginning spoken voice that begins before The Number of the Beast. The crowd went wild, as the band ran back on stage. They finished their encore set with Hallowed be thy name and Running free.
Overall my first Iron Maiden concert was a very positive one. I do have to say that I was a bit let down that some of my favorite Maiden songs were left off the set lest. Classics such as Run to the Hills, Minutes to Midnight and The Trooper were noticeably absent from their set. They played some of their newer songs within the last 10 years along with a couple older classics. I can’t help but feel that I need to see them again to get the full complete package. Regardless you can be mad when the show that was presented was still kickass, Irons up!!!!

1. The Wicker Man
2. Ghost Of The Navigator
3. Wrathchild
4. El Dorado
5. Dance Of Death
6. The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
7. These Colours Don't Run
8. Blood Brothers
9. Wildest Dreams
10. No More Lies
11. Brave New World
12. Fear Of The Dark
13. Iron Maiden
14. Encore:
14. The Number of the Beast
15. Hallowed Be Thy Name
16. Running Free

--Steven M. Duarte

1969's "Let It Bleed", the 8th studio album by The Rolling Stones, is definitely my favorite of their discography to date. With such darkly menacing rock-soul classics as "Gimme Shelter", "Monkey Man" and "Midnight Rambler", this is the Stones when they were still edgy and focused on creating their own brand of rock/soul/blues. There's not a bad song on the album and it all ends with perhaps their greatest 60s songs, a biting salvo at the death of the counterculture movement, "You Can't Always Get What You Want". A lot of people will pick "Exile on Main Street" as the quintessential Stones album, but for my money, "Let It Bleed" still has more power per rpms than "Exile..." in my opinion. It sums up the end of the 60s in a way that few albums did. It's definitely a must own classic album for any great music collection.

1. "Gimme Shelter" 4:30
2. "Love in Vain" 4:19
3. "Country Honk" 3:07
4. "Live with Me" 3:33
5. "Let It Bleed" 5:27
6. "Midnight Rambler" 6:52
7. "You Got the Silver" 2:50
8. "Monkey Man" 4:11
9. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" 7:30

--Nickolas Cook

Boston's 1976 debut self-titled hit album did what few albums have even been able to do: at the time of this writing, it has gone platinum and incredible 17 times! What a damn near perfect blend of rock and roll harmonies and ballsy bombast; a great mix of guitar riffs and swirling keyboards, thumping bass and clean drums. It's an album that plays like a Boston's greatest hits because 6 of the 8 songs were released as singles over the course of two years. For many people, it pretty much defined the AOR sound. Legend is that the demos were recorded on a home 8 track recorder, but they sounded so good that the record company released them as is, no studio editing needed. If you're looking to add one of the quintessential 70s rock albums to your collection, BOSTON is it.

1. "More Than a Feeling" 4:45
2. "Peace of Mind" 5:02
3. "Foreplay/Long Time" 7:47
4. "Rock & Roll Band" 3:00
5. "Smokin'" 4:19
6. "Hitch a Ride" 4:11
7. "Something About You" 3:48
8. "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" 4:43

--Nickolas Cook

1978's debut album from The Cars is one of the most impressive debut albums in 70s rock. This album is pretty much a greatest hits collection because all but three of the nine songs contained herein were released as hit singles. How many albums, let alone debut albums, can claim that? From 1978 to 1980, a two year period in which The Cars dazzled critics and fans alike with songs like "Just What I Needed" and "Let the Good Times Roll". One of the first bands to really utilize the new electro studio instruments in a pop format, every song has great little electronic and keyboards hooks to compliment a strong sense of rock guitar and harmony. This is an album that truly could come only from the 70s, when a musical revolution was in full swing in the back alley clubs of London and NYC, where punk was metamorphosizing into something angry, but increasingly more palatable to the 70s radio listening audiences. The Cars found that perfect balance of musical rebellion and popular acceptance, due in great part to the lyrical equivalent of a punkrock smooch from the underground. This an album that definitely belongs in any classic rock library.

1. "Good Times Roll" 3:44
2. "My Best Friend's Girl" 3:44
3. "Just What I Needed" 3:44
4. "I'm in Touch with Your World" 3:31
5. "Don't Cha Stop" 3:01
6. "You're All I've Got Tonight" 4:13
7. "Bye Bye Love" 4:14
8. "Moving in Stereo" 4:41
9. "All Mixed Up" 4:14

--Nickolas Cook