tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
I didn't go to the concert last night after all. If i had booked a hotel like I thought I might a few days ago, i would have. My friend sent me a text about mid day yesterday on her way home from work, sick with the flu. She said she might yet go but I had my doubts. I contacted a cousin that i knew was going but he had a full vehicle going. I thought about going. Going by myself didn't bother me, what was probably going to be a pain was getting home afterward. What if the concert went late enough that i'd miss the last bus? My local bus leaves the terminal at 11:30 p.m.  which means if the concert got out anywhere near 11 it would be a near miss catching a bus from Halifax to the terminal. And with the streets and sidewalks still a mess, walking down hill to the bus from the concert would be a hazard, not to be taken up at a quick pace with only the street lights to light the way, iffy at the best of times.

Get a taxi home? Same thing. I'd never get one to flag down near the venu with thousands of people flowing out onto the streets. So yeah, walking down hill to the main drag and hoping to catch one there? or finding a place to wait if i called one? Pain in the ass. And it was cold. If it was summer, I probably would have gone.

By the time i decided not to go it was kind of late to call to see if i could get a hotel room and oh i don't know, i kind of went off that by that time. S. and I thought about it between the two of us to share the cost but she said no, she'd drive us instead. Even if we had booked one, she was doing the booking with a government discount and I think she would have to be the one to check in with her gov't ID. I stayed home and warm in the end. Felt a bit of a wuss but oh well. She couldn't help getting sick. I called her to make sure she wasn't going to try to go because you don't want to be out with the flu in crowds like that,  and she sounded pretty rough. (Plus, i didn't want to catch it!)

By all accounts it was a good gig. Another time.
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Bob Seger's playing Halifax tonight but they want a stupid amount of money for a ticket. It's not like he's U2 or Queen or anything. Our Queen tickets were actually a little less, $145 plus taxes though I think my friend and i got them a bit cheaper through her Adam Lambert fan club advance code so the total ended up being about 150 rather than another 20 or 30 on top of that. Seger, for any decent seat starts at $152 plus taxes plus fees so you're looking at 180+ I loved him back in the day and I"m sure it would be a really good concert but it just rubs me the wrong way when it feels like bands are way over pricing themselves. Tom Petty came here last year and charged something similarly shocking, maybe higher. I don't pay prices like that unless it's a "bucket list" band and even the Rolling Stones when they were here were charging, I think, about 125. That was an outdoor concert with four acts including Alice Cooper and Kanye West and another local band who've done well nationally. (edited to add... I was wrong, the price for Seger is 152 total not 152+ taxes though we did get our Queen tickets a little less but even so, we weren't willing to pay that same price for Bob Seger.  My concert buddy and I might go for Bryan Adams, waiting for her to get back to me)

For comparison, a similarly popular act, Bryan Adams, playing here in February,  is charging 100 with taxes for the top price good seats (floor and lower stadium "bowl") which, for what prices seems to be these days, is in the average range. You don't really see most good acts for less than that at the Metro Centre (rebranded as Scotiabank centre and can I just say how much i hate that "rebranding" word. You sold out to corporate sponsorship. That's it. but I digress...) The Casino prices for bands are generally lower, maybe 50 - 70 depending on who it is and they do get some good acts in addition to the ones you perceive as "washed up and trying desperately to get on the comeback wagon to cash in on the baby boomers" acts. Like the Pointer Sisters, for example. I'm sure they're still good and they'll have their fans but *shrug*. Also the Casino is a smaller venue so it feels more up close and personal even if it isn't a club or small theatre. I've seen Blondie and also Cheap Trick there and liked it.
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Bob Seger is touring and coming to Halifax at the end of November. I would like to go and have someone to go with but the tickets? $150! I can't get my head around why the concert tickets seem to have skyrocketed so much lately! That price isn't just for floor tickets, it's for lower bowl and lower upper bowl. I asked my friend if she could get advance tickets through her Amex because sometimes you can. She mentioned the Bullet club, (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, right?). So I looked it up. They make you buy a $15 package in order to take advantage of the pre-sales the cheeky bastards. You get a digital download or cd with the basic package, or a tshirt as well if you go for the $35 one, it's not a tour tshirt, mind you, it's a Bullet Club tshirt. You know the tour tshirts will run around $40!

And Bob Seger, while I like him, he's not really had any hits for yonks. A lot of the bands that were big in the 70s and 80s are touring again. The Baby Boomers group is huge and love their old classic rock! They're playing to the crowd and why not? But I still fail to see why a band that isn't someone like the Rolling Stones, The Who or even Queen can get away with charging that much. Tom Petty came here last year or so and was charging even more!

I expect we may still go, not sure if i'll take the presale though, it just rubs me the wrong way but maybe that's standard for presales on tours? I don't know. I thought you just joined a fan club and aren't fan clubs free? Maybe not. What do i know?
tvordlj: (Queen Logo)
I've been perusing some of the reviews for the Queen concerts, from Toronto, Montreal and last night's gig in New York. You know most of the serious newspapers are not going to have a lot of good to say and true to form the Globe and Mail and the New York Times reviews were churlish and petty. While they also raise some truths, they're probably not fans and for fans, the concerts were pretty fucking awesome. Did the middle acoustic set and solos drag things down? Yes, a bit, the solos put some focus on the band members who take a back seat to the lead singer who garners a lot of the attention most of the time,  and having video of  Freddie is also a treat for long time fans. It's a Queen concert, after all, not an Adam Lambert solo concert. He's there for Queen, not for his own material, so showcasing Freddie is a nice tribute.

While I do think Adam Lambert does a very good job, and I don't want to compare him to Freddie too much, it's inevitable and I wasn't sure how to explain what I thought of the differences between the two. He's very much the type that a front man for Queen needs to be, that's for sure. But a couple of reviews hit the nail on the head. Freddie's voice has more richness, one said, and another talked about Freddie's presence on stage as having authority. Yes, that's it, exactly. Freddie really did command the stage and his voice had the authority and richness and depth, no matter how high or low the octave. Most people's singing does tend to go a bit wobbly at the high end of their range, or sound screechy. Adam's does a little, too but he does have a pretty good range and the material requires it.

The reviews from the Montreal Gazette and the New York Daily News were a lot more balanced, I thought. Ok, maybe  a lot more positive than negative but since I enjoyed the concert so much, I'd agree with them anyway! A few of my friends have seen the concerts and they have all been blown away. One saw them in New York last night and said it was "wicked"!

I concur.
tvordlj: (Queen Logo)
IMG_2245Bell Centre, Montreal, July 14, 2014

I have been a fan of Queen since the 1970s, the best part of 40 years. I’ve adored Freddie Mercury’s extraordinary vocals and Brian May’s electrifying guitar work in equal measures. After Freddie died, it seemed like Queen was probably defunct but Queen never really disappeared from view. John Deacon retired from music but Brian May and Roger Taylor kept their hand in with various individual projects. A West End show was developed from their music, We Will Rock You, backed by Brian and Roger and then a new front man, veteran rock vocalist Paul Rogers, spent a few years with them, even recording new material. It was good, but it wasn’t Freddie. Nobody could be, of course, but in my opinion, Queen needed someone who was a real showman, flamboyant and full of charisma in addition to being a great vocalist. It's what we expect from Queen, isn't it?

They’ve found that missing piece. Adam Lambert is a young man who came second in an American Idol competition but has built a pretty good pop career for himself since then. He has a lot of fans and a strong following. He’s got that flamboyance taken a few steps further with a lot of animal print, bling and glam added on. He certainly does have stage presence and he’s got a hefty set of lungs behind them pipes. He may not quite have Freddie’s vocal range but he’s not far off. I read one review that said his voice doesn’t have the richness of Freddie’s and that’s exactly the element I was trying to think of. His voice is really good, he’s got a great range and lots of power and his voice suits the material really well. Freddie’s vocals just had that little something extra that was uniquely Freddie.

Even at 31, with the fame he's acheived on the pop music front, he also doesn’t seem to have the arrogance and ego that Freddie had which made Freddie just that bit more “Freddie”, if you know what I mean. But in Adam, that arrogance wouldn’t work anyway. He has the camp that’s needed, but his style is his own, and when performing with Queen, he seems to respect the big boots he has to fill and wears those boots with heels or platforms, decorating them with studs, zips, glitter and wearing them with confidence and pride.

Enough of that. Queen and Adam Lambert played a handful of concerts two years ago and it went so well that they decided to do a summer tour this year with two dozen or so dates in North America. They may be adding on some in Asia later on. For the first time, I could afford to fly to one of North American cities and see Queen live, something I couldn’t do when Freddie was alive. My coworker, Kelly, who is a massive Adam Lambert fan and saw them in London in 2012, made plans with me to go to Montreal. Another long time friend of mine, Shirley, came along as well. When telling people about the concert, from my perspective, I was going to see Queen (and Adam Lambert) while Kelly was going to see Adam Lambert (and Queen). But I had seen video of Adam with Queen and felt he was very good, a fine replacement for my beloved Freddie so I was stoked.

The show started an hour late but once it started, nobody cared about that. The set list was a good mix from all eras of Queen music from the very beginning to the last release, Innuendo, and they started off with an older tune, Now I’m Here and crunched into Stone Cold Crazy. The stage set had a big video screen framed with a circle that had additional lights and “magic” and the video was used to feature the band members up close but also used special video effects like “noise and static” during Stone Cold Crazy to a neat effect. There was also a catwalk from the stage down into the crowd and our seats were very near the end of it so we got some excellent views when the action came down the walkway. When you look at the stage from above, the catwalk actually curves out from the base of the "O" and is lit on the sides, it actually forms the tail to make the Q!

The funk beat of Another One Bites the Dust punctuated with lasers was a visual wonder. The light and video show itself was fantastic throughout the concert. Adam strutted from that into Fat Bottom Girls, one of my favourites, and worked the crowd, strutting his stuff down the catwalk into the crowd. Brian aced the guitar solos in it, as always. Back to the older part of the catalogue next with Lap of the Gods and Seven Seas of Rye.

We’re in for some theatrics now. A plush settee is set up at the bottom of the catwalk. Adam, now in a jacket with long gold shiny fringes on the spiked shoulder sleeves and glitter on his platform boots and leather pants, sashayed down the catwalk and draped himself across the settee, bottle of champagne in one hand and a fan in the other for a cheeky and very camp rendition of Killer Queen which, let’s be fair, couldn’t be done any other way. Brian played his way down and joined him. Champagne may have been consumed and showered over the end of the stage. All in good fun!

The action mixed up older and newer back to back for Somebody To Love and a newer song, I Want It All which got the crowd jumping. A couple of times Adam played with the audience doing vocal athletics with repeated lyrics and urging the audience to repeat it, in a similar vein to Freddie's bee bop vocal gymnastics that he would do sometimes. And even though it was a similar type of element, Adam did his own twist on it. I still felt a little jarring, but that's just me. The crowd seemed to love it!

The mood went quiet and nostalgic with an acoustic set. Adam had a break here so the next few songs were just Brian, and then with Roger and the rest of the band. Brian sat on the end of the catwalk alone, with an acoustic guitar and explained how he would always do this song with Freddie standing at his side. He said he would have to sing it himself, now, and encouraged the audience to sing it with him. Brian was never a strong singer but his rendition of Love of My Life was tender and emotional, and when the video screen revealed Freddie playing the piano and singing a verse behind him, I don’t think there were many dry eyes in the house, Brian’s included. You can clearly see it affects him and it’s not an act for the audience. He misses Freddie as much as we all do.

More of the band comes down now the catwalk with a drum kit in towl. We’re pulled back in time with video from the year the song is about, ’39. We get to see the new bass player, Neil Fairclough, and we’re introduced to a second drummer, the son of Roger Taylor. His name is Rufus Tiger. Spike Edney is a long time session musicion who's been with the band since the 80s on keyboards when required and he had a little portable one for this number.

Now, after '39, we also had Neil Fairclough on stage playing a short medley solo with the bass. I recognized the bass line from a number of Queen tunes such as Dragon Attack, Backchat and Brighton Rock. Shortly after that, I think before Under Pressure, or a bit before that, Roger Taylor also did a drum solo, part of which was in tandem with his son who seems to have inherited his father’s talent with the sticks though he is only 23.

We have one more slow song in this set, Days of our Lives, also from the Innuendo album. That music video was Freddie’s goodbye to his fans and the video screen played old video clips of Freddie and the band from the early days on through their history. Another lump in your throat moment. Roger was the lead singer here. They really make sure Freddie is not forgotten and it means so much for the fans to know his memory is respected.

It’s time to get back to Adam and he joins Roger on the end of the catwalk with a duo, Under Pressure, with Roger singing David Bowie’s part. It’s very clear that Roger and Brian think highly of Adam and his talent. Brian joins them and this time, the tune is one of Freddie’s from his solo album Mr. Bad Guy, released in the mid 80s. Love Kills was a disco tune back then, recorded for a rerelease of an old silent film, Metropolis. Radio Ga Ga also used that film for the music video. They’ve reworked Love Kills and slowed it down. It seems to have a lot more emotional impact this way. I think they mentioned they were releasing a new cd later in the year with mostly reworked old material including this tune but maybe some old previously unreleased songs as well. I look forward to seeing what’s going to be included.

Who Wants to Live Forever topped that off with Brian’s haunting guitar sounds filling the air. Brian then played a long 20 minute solo,  titled "Last Horizon",  that started off slow but by the end, the sound was showing very clearly that he has not lost any ounce of talent in those fingers. For me, Queen was even more about Brian’s guitar work than it was about Freddie’s vocals. Freddie’s vocals filled my heart but Brian’s playing stoked my soul. This solo left me breathless and landed Brian on his knees at the end.

After Brian’s solo, the energy didn’t so much as ramp up as it skyrocketed into another of my favourites, Tie Your Mother Down. Wow! When it’s a “Bucket List” band that you never thought you’d get to see perform, it’s all very overwhelming when you do and when you hear those favourites, you nearly burst with happy!

Radio Ga Ga is next with video from Metropolis. Don’t Stop Me Now, not one of my personal favourites is short and sweet and another of my lesser favourites, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, fully of rockabilly, has the crowd stomping. I must say, though it’s not one I ever loved, the guitar solos and Spike Edney’s thumping piano solos in it do rock the town! But as we know, The Show Must Go On and the show ended, after that tune, with the classic Bohemian Rhapsody and a costume change for Brian into a gold lame shirt with wide long bell sleeves, like he wore back in the old days. There was another appearance by Freddie at the end with Freddie and Adam trading lines in the last verse. Nothing really mattered, anyone could see. It was all about the two of them for a moment.

You know the show will have an encore and you wouldn’t have to take bets to know what the encore was going to be. Roger came back on stage first. The drums crashed. Bang, Bang, BANG! Lights and smoke go off. Bang, Bang, BANG! Again with the lights and smoke. Then more regularly. Yep. We Will Rock You got off to an aggressive start. Adam appeared on stage clad in gold with a crown and proceeded to power out the first lyrics as Brian came on stage. The video screen showed him clearly. Wearing a red Montreal Canadiens hockey jersey with “May” across the back (Number 19)!!! The crowd in Montreal's Bell Centre went nuts! What a GREAT touch that was.

The very end had all the band on stage, backed with a recording of the traditional "God Save the Queen" (as played by Brian, of course and have I mentioned that I'm going to have Queen's version of the Wedding March from the Flash Gordon soundtrack at my own wedding next year?)

We left the building, buzzing and satisfied. Shirley and I went back to the hotel for late night snacks and more Queen music while I uploaded my photos to my laptop to see what I got. Kelly met up with some of her Glamberts and floated on a high for a few hours after the show. I am quite pleased with my photo, though I had to drop a lot of shots that were blurry or overblown with light. I got some really good ones, especially of Brian. My friend who is the Adam fan got some wonderful shots of him so I will have to add them to my stash when she gets them sorted.

What an experience!!! I doubt I’ll ever see anything that will top this for me. Queen is my all time favourite band and I can die happy, now I’ve seen them!
The Montreal Gazette review is very good and I think I agree with most of it. I like them calling Brian’s guitar “muscular”. They captured the concert really well, I think. Two reviews of the Toronto shows from the Globe and Mail and the Sun were condescending and unflattering, I thought. I won’t link to them. Adam, for all his flamboyance, is his own man, and he’s not trying to imitate Freddie. I really feel that Queen needed a front man that had the same kind of theatrical presence that Freddie had. Paul Rogers has talent, there’s no arguing that, but he didn’t have the same kind of charisma that the band really needs and which Adam very ably provides. It’s a very good fit and if we can’t have Freddie, Adam is the next best thing.

My photos on Flickr (my copyright, please don’t nick without permission)

Set list: (and on Setlist.fm)
Now I’m Here
Stone Cold Crazy
Another One Bites the Dust
Fat Bottom Girls
Lap of the Gods
Seven Seas of Rhye
Killer Queen
Somebody to Love
I Want it All

Acoustic set:
Without Adam:
Love of my Life
39
Days of our Lives

With Adam:
Under Pressure
Love Kills
Who Wants to Live Forever

Brian's guitar solo

Tie Your Mother Down
Radio Ga Ga
Don't Stop Me Now
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
The Show Must Go On
Bohemian Rhapsody

Encore
We Will Rock You
We Are the Champions
tvordlj: (Queen Logo)
It's Monday morning again and in one week I will be in Montreal to see Queen (+Adam Lambert). Because he's not an official full time member of the band, he gets to have his name added on in all the publicity. My coworker who is a dedicated Adam fan suspects things are in the works for him to join full time at some point but I also hear he is going to work on a new album of his own later this year. That being said, there's no reason he couldn't join full time and still put out his own solo stuff.

I wonder, if he joins full time, that they'll record new stuff? It seems like there's a lot more excitement surrounding the band these days than when they had Paul Rogers singing with them. I think that was never meant to be a long term thing though they did release an album of new music. It was pretty good, better than him performing their classic stuff. In my opinion. I've got nothing against PR as a vocalist, he's got a good voice, I just never though it meshed with Queen particularly well. Adam Lambert really does seem to fit in well. His style is also flambuoyant but in his own way. Because Queen has been so associated with the likes of Freddie Mercury, you need someone that has a similar flair, I think and in AL it seems they have found it.

We're just in and out, basically, flying in on Sunday and back home on Tuesday after the concert. We'll get to do a little bit of stuff in Montreal on the Monday, maybe visit the BioDome and walk around Old Montreal for a bit as well. It really is a cool city.

And catching up on 2014 books...

2014 books )
tvordlj: (Queen Logo)
Three days. Three long days.
Some years ago we at work adopted a framework for delivering IT services to the rest of the corporation. It's called ITIL. We didn't implement much of it but are pushing more towards it these days. It's all processes and "best practices" and all the other buzzwords you don't want to know. More buzzwords and acronyms than you *ever* want to know. We had a course and had to write an exam.

Now, we've all had to upgrade to a newer version of it. Those of us that had certification in the old version had to sit through a three day course. Those that had been certified in the current version will only need a one day refresher. It's probably the worst course I've ever had to sit through in that they bombard you with information and definitions and a few examples, but mostly you absorb what you can, memorize what you can and hope for the best on the exam. Two and a half days to plow through 300 pages of the manual, less than that really because there are exercises and two practice exams so you might as well say it's only two days of "learning".

The exam is multiple choice but the wording can be very tricky. The practice exams are supposed to be old retired exams. They weren't too bad. I did ok on those. If they truly were exams in the past,  I think they were retired because they were too easy. The actual exam was worse. However, I apparently passed. We've got preliminary emails with a pass/fail. We will later get the actual results and an e-certificate which sucks. For the amount of money it probably costs them to put this on, you'd think they'd insist on proper certificates printed on proper certificate paper. Why should I spend my money to have it printed on nice paper? Anyway I don't care what my actual score was (you have to have 65% or 26 out of 40 questions to pass). With any luck they won't change the versions again before I retire!

Still no actual wedding date because there isn't a venue booked yet. I have a feeling we could do it on a Sunday rather than a Saturday which is ok because it's not an evening dinner/dance thing anyway. I'm going to meet someone at one of the local hotels on Saturday to chat and see their facilities. That's the first one. I've sent a couple other emails out and nobody's got back to me. I don't understand why they would be so offhanded about potential business. I sent the emails a week ago using the contact information on the websites. If that's incorrect, then they've very likely missed out a lot of business.

25 Sleeps until the Queen concert in Montreal!!! Can i just say how excited i am? (!!!!) They are my all time favourite. My only regret is never seeing them when Freddie was alive but Adam Lambert does a very good job. But i know Brian May's guitar is going to burst my heart right out of my chest. as much as I loved Freddie, it was always Brian's playing and sound that lifted me. We're going to be on the floor near the stage, well... the stage is going to have a ramp or catwalk out away from it and that's what we're going to be near. There are seats but I expect we'll be on our feet for most of it and it's going to be 3 hours, no opening band, no intermission. At least I'll have a chair to sit in if my legs or back get too tired. I'm going with a coworker and another friend and the coworker saw them in London two summers ago. She said it was the same then, long show, no intermission, no opening act. I'm so stoked!
tvordlj: (Queen Logo)
My lovely niece is getting married on Aug. 30. I got an invite for her wedding shower the other day for Sunday the 13th of July. Ok yes, i'll go, so I sent the rsvp. Then also got a notice for the AGM for the Downeast Streeters local corrie group and I thought i'd go but yes, it's also the 13th. I might have squeezed it in, leaving the shower a little early and buzzing down to where the meeting is, providing I could borrow my mom's car. Then it occurred to me.

On Sunday July 13 at 4 p.m. I'll be on a flight to Montreal! Queen plays the Bell Centre on the monday!!!!!!!!!! Squee!!! Sorry everyone, that trumps it all ! I literally cannot be three places at once, even if i could probably have squeezed in the two back to back.  Wow, just over a month away! All of a sudden it's so close!
tvordlj: (Queen Logo)
And we've got tickets!!!!!!!!!

My coworker friend Kelly use a login from the Adam Lambert fan club and they could get tickets from today on. She got through and got floor seats! No standing outside the venue all day to get a standing place in a mosh pit like she's done for other concerts. It's all seating. I have no doubt that we'll be standing through much of it but that's ok. At least if my back does get tired, I can sit for a few minutes. I'M SO EXCITED!! I know it won't be the same as it would have with Freddie but i'll keep him in my heart and really enjoy the show!

Tickets are on sale to the public on Friday. I think the official Queen fan club probably does the same thing. It does take the best seats away from the general public, I guess, but in this case, I'll take it! What's really annoying is the scalpers that grab up as many as they can and start selling them on ebay and Kijiji minutes after they've bought them. That's what really bothers me. I remember seeing that when the Elton John tickets went on sale. He sold out in a half hour and Kijiji had scads of tickets on sale immediately and all of them going for at least double the face value. It really isn't fair. It's one thing to resell a ticket you can't use or buy a couple extra and sell them for face value to someone that couldn't get through or wants an extra. It's quite another thing to buy up all the good seats to resell at a profit and nobody seems to be able to stop this. They don't have to hang around outside the venue on the day anymore, not with so many internet places to buy.

I do have to admit, though, that i bought tickets to a hockey game through eBay so there's a bit of hypocricy on my part there. It looked as if the person had a season ticket and sold the individual game tickets for auction. I looked at his other auctions and he had the exact same seats for sale at other NHL home games (Montreal Canadiens, ironically, at the same venue as the Queen concert). I didn't pay very much over the face value, though so I don't feel too bad about that. It's a different situation, as well and I didn't feel ripped off because it wasn't an outright pay-me-double+ thing.
tvordlj: (Queen Logo)
Queen is doing a short North American tour in June-July and they're playing in Montreal and Toronto! Now, ok, Freddie's dead and nobody can really fill his shoes. The last person they took on board, Paul Rogers, did not impress me though the CD they recorded of original work with him was good. I saw some early video footage of him on stage with them and he seemed to be dressed like Freddie and trying to emulate him in style when he was singing. It really put me off and although I did get the cd, i would never have considered seeing them live.

Last year, hmmm might have been the year before actually, Queen (or at least, Brian May and Roger Taylor, because John Deacon has retired from the band) did some gigs in London with Adam Lambert who is a former winner or participant of American Idol. He's made a fairly successful career for himself and is quite popular. One of my coworkers is an uber-fan and went to two of the three concerts in London. I saw some Youtube video of it and I have to say, Adam did a very good job. He did his own thing, and though did come across as flamboyant, he's apparently like that anyway and it seemed to be his own way with a nod to Freddie as well. He seems in awe of the legends that he's standing on stage with (and well he should be!) but he seems to fit in nicely.

So anyway, turns out they're doing this tour with Adam and I'm going to do my very best to snag a ticket to the Montreal show. My friend at work will be going and possibly her husband and another person at work in another department, also possibly. She's planning to drive up to Montreal so I said I'd go as well and contribute to the costs and the driving. We can share the hotel but if her husband is going, I may just get my own room as I don't really know him all that well and I'd be more comfortable on my own or sharing with the other woman even though I don't know her at all. Then on the weekend, I was talking to one of my old friends from school who was looking for a concert buddy. She has tickets to George Thorougood in May and I said i might go. I have seen him before but it's usually a good one. Queen came up and she's very interested. I think she's going to try to get her own ticket even if we don't end up sitting together. We can share a hotel room for sure, and with my coworker or the other gal if it's all girls together. I think she'll fly up. I will still go with my coworker because I promised and that was the whole idea, a road trip. My coworker was thinking of staying on in Montreal. She thought about trying to get a ticket to see Katy Perry who's playing there the next night. I don't mind KP but i don't think I want to spend the money on a concert. I thought I'd probably just come back myself on the train or fly and if my other friend is going, we could fly back together.

Anyway, it's all up in the air. The tickets go on sale Friday though early tickets can be got today I think, if you have American Express but we'll see how the week plays out. By the weekend I should know who's got what and who's going. Other plans can be made from there. I might actually get to see Queen!!! My all time favourite band!! It's definitely a bucket list band for me and even if Freddie isn't there, I think it will be a great show.

And tick off another one of those "try something new" items. I wish I had been able to see Queen back in the day but I never could, and then it was too late once Freddie died.
tvordlj: (Magenta specs)
I've long been a fan of Rush though not a very dedicated fan. I haven't really followed them much over the past many years so I'm not as familiar with their newer material. Having said that, when they came to Halifax this weekend, I wanted to see them because I never have seen them live. I knew they were touring to promote a cd from 2012, Clockwork Angels and Friday night's show had apparently featured quite a lot of that so I was prepared not to hear most of my old favourites on Sunday night.

The concert started off on a familiar note with Subdivisions. The next few and most of the first half were from older albums though I didn't know some of them but it didn't really matter. Rush puts out an awesome wall of sound for just three men. Alex Lifeson has a masterful control of his guitars and it never feels like he's "screaming" the notes out for the hell of it. He blazes his solos with precision and every note, whether it's achingly drawn out, menacingly crunching, or furiously buzzing up and down the strings with all the others is a joy to the ears. Neal Peart was surrounded by a percussion cage that spun around when he wanted to play the gear behind him and he demonstrated more than once that he's one of the greats. Geddy Lee's heart pounding bass lines rumble along underneath all of it, pulling it together in ways you don't even realize if you, like me, aren't a musician.

The stage was a pseudo carnival that cashes in on the recent Steampunk craze. Geddy's keyboard stand was decorated with gears. The drum set looked like it was sitting on a carrousel type stand, there were lights and dials and gears scattered around. The big video screen often showed the band members playing as if on a 50s style sci-fi video type screen with controls and levers and various other types of framing. The video show through much of the gig was great, with animation, cut out style graphics, and even a fun video of the band dressed up as g-nomes harassing a tax collector who had to find his way through the corridors of what looked like an old steam plant.

They even took Steampunk literally at one point, when the dry ice laid a cloud around the feet of Alex Lifeson, bathed him in blue light before Geddy came back to the microphone. There were pyrotechnics with flames blasting high at the back of the stage along with a thunderous bang and explosions of sparks. We could feel the heat from where we were!

During the Clockwork Angel songs, they were backed by a fantastic string ensemble (More about them here) but don't think of theses eight men and women as sedate, classical background noise. They rocked and rolled and filled in the back of the tracks with awesomeness gleaned out of their cellos and violins.

They ended the concert with Spirit of Radio which I love. While the crowd was loving every minute of it all, when they launched into the more familiar, the energy level of the audience lifted into the rafters and you could tell that the energy of the band suddenly matched it. It was as if, during the newer material, they enjoyed themselves but now, it felt like they were letting loose and having more fun. The encore was a fan-favourite mix of Tom Sawyer and my personal all-time favourite, a mixture of bits from 2112 including the Overture, Temples of Syrinx and bits of the rest of that 1976 concept album. It really made my night having heard that done live.

It's actually Bastille Day and I was hoping they'd play that hit. They really missed one by not doing it, I think! Someone commented to me that they didn't think Geddy could hit those ultra high notes anymore and that may be so.

I enjoyed the show in spite of not knowing most of the music and liked enough of the new material that I think I will investigate Clockwork Angels, as well. It's got a lot of good, solid rock that Rush do so well. One review I read said they played their new material with "conviction and courage" and because they did, the audience was quickly won over, even if they, like me, were hoping for a few more of the older hits.

A Flickr set of photos is here. There are more on my Facebook page

A couple of asides:
The new album is also supporting a Steampunk novel, Clockwork Angels, that Neal Peart and author Kevin J. Anderson wrote. Amazon describes the story as: The newest album by Rush, Clockwork Angels, sets forth a story in Neil Peart’s lyrics that has been expanded by him and Anderson into this epic novel. In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life. Hmmm....I may have to check that out!

Rush are the good guys. They always were and their next tour date, July 24 has been turned into a benefit concert for the Calgary flood relief. They had to cancel due to venue safety but are putting it on in nearby Red Deer, Alberta and donating all the profits from it for the benefit of people that lost so much in the recent floods. They have long been one of Canada's most respected bands and this is a very good example why.

More good news, Rush was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and about time!

Dynamic Trio
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Owie. My personal fitness dragon had me doing something a bit different for my shoulders yesterday and I can feel it today! I actually like it that i'm sore the day after because it's not sore in a bad way, just sore because i've used the muscles harder and that's good.

Thought I might go to a movie on the weekend but there isn't much I really want to see. The two movies I had read about that would have started this weekend or had already started aren't playing here yet. One is a Pedro Alomar movie, I'm So Excited and the other is what looks to be an indie movie, Byzantium, which is a British-Irish fantasy about a mother and daughter vampire team.  Figures that neither of them reached release here, I guess. I will have to keep an eye out for when they go to dvd. I would like to see Despicable Me 2 but i fear it won't be as good as the original because Gru isn't a bad guy anymore and it just wouldn't be the same!

Going to see Rush this Sunday night. I have never seen them live before and am quite excited. My cousin and I are going and I think we've got pretty decent seats, upper part of the lower bowl, just to the side of the stage. Will probably have to smuggle in the camera and hope the photo police aren't too vigilant. We did the "Hail Mary" shots at a concert last year by holding the cameras on our knees, aiming and shooting and hoping for the best.
tvordlj: (Punk)
Great concert last night. The Canadian band, Cowboy Junkies opened up. They were never a band i enjoyed though they seemed good enough. Lead singer, female, has a nice voice but she did a cover of a Neil Young tune, Don't Let it bring you Down, which i didn't know what his. I'd heard it done by Annie Lennox and thought this girl's voice was good, she ain't no Annie Lennox. Their sound was muddy too but when Mellencamp's band came on, the sound was great. They would have a proper system anyway and the opening band would probably be making do with the house set up.

Mellencamp did a variety of tunes from country to ballads to his famous hits. He's great! Got a gravelly voice often, but it suits the music. I was surprised he didn't do an encore, and the lights were up for the last couple of songs, in fact. He did sing for about an hour and forty minutes though. Better photos are here with a clip of a video, the end of Jack and Diane. We were a bit far away to take really good photos but i did some processing and tuning and came out with some that i think are ok. Maybe they're a bit over processed in part but at least they're not too bad. I've done a larger set on Facebook.

When they turned the lights down, they played a great Johnny Cash song before introducing him.
This was the setlist from the tour opener last week. I think it's pretty close to what we heard last night. Some of it i did confirm via the newspaper review but i think there were a few more than they mentioned.

Authority Song (didn't sing it all, and did it slow)
No One Cares
Death Letter
Key West
Love & Happiness
Check it Out

Jack & Diane
Longest Days
Small Town
Hymn

Scarecrow
Ghost Towns
Paper N Fire
If I Die Sudden
Crumblin Down
R.O.C.K
Pink Houses

Band Intro
Cherry Bomb
tvordlj: (Toronto)
There's barely a week to go! W00t!
I dump my change and save it, rolling it up when there's enough to do so. Usually before i trip, i'll cash it in and buy currency with it but i didn't get around to doing that in May so i have a bit more than usual for this vacation. I brought it in today and took it down to the bank to deposit and mentioned that i was going on a trip to Toronto. She said she'd put a note in my account so they'd know. I joked that the bank is used to me going all over the place but apparently, said the teller, Toronto is a different story. Quite a lot of the bank fraud that happens, comes out of Toronto!! I never knew that. I guess it kind of makes sense.

Got the gig tickets for Black Label Society et. al. Only thing is that it's the day that i had told my best friend that we might drive up to NB to see her so i'll have to reschedule that for a different day that week. I don't want to have to rush the visit to get back here for the gig in the evening. Must get my traditional pre-holiday pedicure scheduled, too.
tvordlj: (Default)
Wow, i haven't posted all week! I guess LJ really is sliding downhill and i do miss reading what everyone's doing. Facebook isn't the same really. I tried Dreamwidth but nobody was using that at the time either so i haven't bothered with it.

Really, though, there hasn't been a lot to write about anyway, not without whinging at least :) I just seem to have one ache or pain after another. I pulled a muscle in my neck while stretching in the shower the other morning, this just as my twisted ankle is nearly better and the infection (sty) in my eye was nearly gone. Also, during that heat wave, my hands got all puffy, as they do, and my ring finger knuckle got really sore and swollen. I didn't think i would be able to get my engagement ring off but i did manage it and am wearing it on my right had for the moment. The left ring finger is still a bit puffy and knuckle still a tad tender but i *can* get the ring back on. The ring always was a slight bit snug getting on and off though i could always twist it round while on my finger. It's made a dent though and the rest of that part of the finger seems a bit fleshier or puffy and i wonder if the ring has always been a little too small. I'm kind of thinking i might get it resized a little bit but i'll wait a little until the swelling in that knuckle goes away completely. It's still enough that it's a push to get the ring over it.

Was thinking of going to the air show this weekend but there's a 60% chance of showers. I don't know whether i should take the chance or not. If the cloud cover is too low they won't have the planes in the sky even if it doesn't rain. Sunday might be better so i might hold off until then. I haven't been to the airshow in a lot of years. boy the price sure has gone up!

I'm getting a Costco membership too. I don't go a lot but i might go more often and it will be more convenient to have one of my own rather than go with Mom all the time. They used to let a guest pay for their own merchandise as long as the card holder was with them but now they insist that the card holder do the paying so i have to make sure to send the money to Mom right when i get home. Plus they are doing an aeroplan signup bonus now if you join up. I don't think they give you points on your purchases normally though there is a current promotion where you will get the points if you shop online.

Getting on good with the new trainer. she does some different things but is easy to get along with.

The musical Spamalot is coming to the Metro Centre for three performances. A group of my friends is planning to go though not sure if we'll all be sitting together. I've definitely got a ticket sitting with one woman so i won't have to sit on my own. Unfortunately it's the day Graham goes back home so he won't be able to come with us. Any other time, he'd be traveling with Air Canada and leaving at midnight. We could have gone to the afternoon performance but this time he's flying to Toronto, changing airlines and then from toronto direct to Manchester which is better for him not having to wait around in Heathrow half the morning after the overnight flight. I'm almost tempted to do that myself if it goes smoothly for him though i'm loathe to give up all the lovely aeroplan points i get from the flights overseas. Using Air Canada and then the Thomas Cook charter via Canadian-affair.com works out to the same price as flying it all via Air Canada who are expensive even with seat sales. Since he's not bothered about air miles, it works for him.

I have the rental car booked for his visit and one booked for one day in Toronto when we're going to Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake. The only thing left is tickets to the Bezercus gig that features Black Label Society and Children of Bodum. He reckons i might even like BLS! I don't mind. I'll go anyway.
tvordlj: (KISS Pandas)
Allegedly, there are rumours floating about that Rush will be playing on the Halifax Commons this summer. There's a countdown on their website, possibly to an announcement of a tour and locally, an announcement is going to be made tomorrow about a gig on the Commons. Also rumoured is a Commons gig by the Black Eyed Peas. Wonder if they'd be on the same ticket? I know they're very different but then that never stopped anyone, did it? Concerts outdoors make for a long day because they generally book 3 or 4 acts and you end up standing for most of it. That's what happened with the Stones and man, were my legs and back tired! Then of course, there is always the rain. Am I willing to brave the possibility of rain to see Rush? It's tempting. There aren't many acts i'd pay to see under those conditions (outside/possibility of rain) but Rush just *might* be one of them.

That Megadeath/Slayer gig we were supposed to go to in November that got rescheduled because of a band member's surgery was set for February and then rescheduled again for July apparently. If this keeps up, it might end up scheduled for October when Graham is here again! He'd love that but I'd have to go since, of course, i still owe him. He went to the hockey game with me in Montreal and i was going to that concert with him.

I've got an irritated eye today. Looks like a little spot on the edge of my eyelid, probably an ingrown lash or else the mascara i had on the other day might have irritated it. It's been watery and itchy but it doesn't look like pink eye. I'll have to dose it with polysporin when i get home.

Gym after work today, not been since Saturday. She's doing the whole hour in the trainer's room rather than some of the time on the machines today. God knows what methods of torture she's got in store for me!
tvordlj: (Default)
Blondie... awesome!
Debbie Harry is 64 and bloody hell she looks good or, as Graham said, she's still hot! Must have had work done but even if not, she looks awesome. She's still got that high soaring voice too. She and her band put on a great show at Casino Nova Scotia though it was a bit short for my taste at 1 hour 20 minutes or so. But then, it's the casino, they want you down on the floor gambing, not sitting and watching the show all night. The crowd was mostly middle aged, people that have rocked to her music since the late 70s and after the first few songs, were all on their feet so we pretty much had to as well. The price you pay for sitting up front. (Third row back on the center aisle! She did all my favourites, Rapture, Tide is High, Heart of Glass, One Way Or Another (I'm got getcha), Call Me, Dreaming. There were quite a few i didn't know but it didn't matter, they were all good.

She came out on stage in a red dress, red beret and shades, her hair tied back in a high ponytail. A red sparkly choker around her neck, a sparkly large ring and a silver belt with long dangly bits on it, and the skirt had an uneven shredded hem and had red flats on her feet. Probably the one nod to age lol! She took the hat and shades off after a couple of songs.

Her band including partner (husband?) Chris Stein are tight to my uneducated ears though Graham was noticing a few off notes but then, he's a guitarist and catches these things. More photos to come.
tvordlj: (Punk)
I might have to do my face up all Rawk on Nov. 9. I'll probably bust out the eyeliner if nothing else ;) I was looking to see what concerts or gigs were going to be on in the area for when [livejournal.com profile] gramie_dee is here (arriving tomorrow WOOt!) and came across two that seemed likely to interest him. One i felt duty bound to tell him about, mind you, in return for dragging him to a hockey game in Montreal next week. (!) It's a four band lineup, two i've never heard of but two i have. Megadeth and Slayer (Halifax Metro Centre). The man, he say "O...M....G...!!!!" I take it you want to go, then? lol The other was Blondie (at Casino Nova Scotia) and i knew he liked her/them. He generously contained his excitement (barely) and said i could choose which one to go to. Um, yes, thinks I, but i *do* owe him one for the hockey game, right? I called him from work to discuss the matter further and how could i not get the tickets to the metal gig? I mean, really? But, as i am wont to do, when i went over to the Metro Centre, i decided to get tickets for both!

The metal gig can be an early birthday pressie for him! I'll make sure to have earplugs to take the edge off the decibels and i may like some of it though probably not the Slayer bits. Got excellent seats for Blondie, three rows back from the stage! And if anyone local wants to go, apparently Saturday night is 2 for 1 but we're busy that night.
tvordlj: (KISS Pandas)
well that was fun!
I went to the waterfront festival tent yesterday afternoon. For non-Canadians, it's a bank holiday Monday across most of the country and in Halifax, it's the weekend we celebrate the founding of the city so there's concerts and activities for a four day weekend. Yesterday was the "Tribute" band concert, all local talent, all very good. I got there early and got a good seat to watch, camera in hand. First band up was a tribute to the blues with local talent Joe Murphy and the Water Street Blues Band. They are very popular and are a fixture at one of the local pubs on a Saturday, Your Father's Moustache. They played a lot of really traditional blues by greats like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson etc. and a couple of more modern guys, like (i forget his name) used to be in J. Geils' Band and Stevie Ray Vaughn as well. There was one older man in a blue and white shirt that was up for the first 5 or 6 tunes, each song dancing with a different woman! The man was well into his 70s and is apparently a regular at Joe Murphy's gigs.

The next band up was a Fleetwood Mac tribute. The lead singer, aka "Stevie Nicks" had the look just about right and a similar voice but her vocals were a bit harsher. For all i know, she could sound just like Stevie does before the studio magic is applied, I suppose but it was a bit off for me. Having said that, the band themselves were musically very good.

Next we have Abbey Road, a Beatles cover band. They had the wigs and the suits and the John and Paul guys even had some of the gestures down pretty well. The John guy was a bit incongruous in that he did have glasses, they weren't the little round ones but the period they were representing was before John wore specs on stage. No matter. He was singing with his eyes closed a lot but it didn't look like he was chewing gum like John usually did. Maybe that was more in his later years. The band were really good and sounded a lot like the originals though "Paul" didn't really have the high "Oooooo" bit happenin'. They had a lot of the crowd up on their feet.

Up to this point i was taking pics but other than the blues set, the pics aren't all that good because i was still a bit too far away. When the next band came on, i went up to stand by the stage and quite a few others did too so a lot of those pics are better. They weren't really as dancy. That's Love Gun, the KISS tribute. Ok, no massive amps and no explosive stage show that i saw but they had the costumes and the boots and the makeup and looked the part really well. They cloned the original KISS lineup with Ace and Peter Kriss on drums. Gene's makeup was running down his face after about 5 songs! Apparently after their break, they returned without makeup, Eighties KISS style. I was gone by then to make my bus connections but i really enjoyed what i saw of it. The last band that i missed altogether was an AC/DC tribute. That would have been good, too. I wish they wouldn't take the concerts so late (this one was on until 1 a.m.) on the last night of the long weekend, with most people having to be to work the next day. Pics are here on Flickr and they're on Facebook as well
tvordlj: (Default)
First time wearing my new black shoes. They're tight on one spot on my left foot which is nearly a half size larger than my right one. I'm hoping that wearing them a little at a time will stretch them out. If i'm sitting at my desk most of the time, they won't rub too much and i've brought my sport sandals to wear home if they rub too much. I hate my feet. They've always been wide and always had one larger which made buying shoes a pain but now having a bunion only makes getting cute shoes and sandals even more difficult. I will wear skirts sometimes in summer but you can't wear socks and sneakers with them. Well i suppose you can but it looks dreadful unless you're just commuting on the bus. That's ok as long as you change into shoes or something when you get where you're going. If i ever get rich (*snork*) i'm going to have custom made shoes and sandals. And bras.

God. I went into a fancy bra shop a few weeks ago just to see if they had specialty sizes and what the prices were. They did. The ones that were on sale half off were still 100 dollars! They offered to properly size me. Ok. Why not? But... not a measuring tape in sight. They started with a bra the size i thought i was and went from there, trying various ones on. I don't know who makes their bras but i had three different band sizes on, the largest of which still didn't feel any looser around than the smallest and by the time they had me holstered into the largest size, the cups were like sails on the Bluenose! Practically up to my neck, with the sides up into my armpits. If you're working in a fancy bra shop that purports to be able to sell you any size or order any size, don't you think they should be trained in how to size you the right way? They really didn't seem to know what they were doing, that's for sure. I doubt i'd ever be shopping there anyway, not with the prices of some of the stuff i had on. One was nearly $300! Yes, the material felt really nice but it wasn't any more comfortable on otherwise than the normal ones i wear, which i try to get from Marks and Spencers when i'm away.

The sun is up. That's news, it really is. We haven't woken up to the sun in weeks and even then it's only deigned to show it's face on rare occasions later in the day. It's going to be nice right to the weekend though clouding over again on Sunday. Saturday is the Paul McCartney outdoor concert and also the Highland Games and Scottish Festival. I am not going to the concert, i saw Paul in 2003 at the MEN in Manchester. Good show but i won't spend the $120 again. Seen him once, that's enough. Some people, however, are at the height of excite! AC/DC is playing Moncton. If they'd come to Halifax, i'd have spent the money on that ticket even if i'd seen them before which i haven't. Moncton is 3 hours away and the outdoor venue is outside the city. They do have shuttle busses I believe, to ferry people from the city centre to the venue. It's just a pain. You either have to book a hotel and stay overnight or make the three hour drive back in the wee hours. KISS is playing Halifax next weekend i think but i didn't bother getting tickets for that either though i'm sure it would be a fun show. I like them but i was never a major fan. If someone called and wanted me to go with them or if it was in indoor stadium concert, i might have bothered. I did the outdoor thing for the Stones and while it was great, standing for 5 hours was hard on my back and it rained. I suppose i could spend even more money and buy a ticket for the bleacher seats which is maybe what i would do if it was a band i *really* wanted to see like AC/DC. I"m sure if i was all that bothered, i'd go over to the neighbourhood by the Commons and listen, because you will be able to hear it just fine even if you aren't close enough to see anything.

My niece apparently has the swine flu. She wasn't feeling well and the doctor said she had bronchitis but tested her for H1N1 anyway. She got the word two days later by which time she was already starting to feel better. This whole Swine Flu hype really is over the top. Yes people have died from it, people that have had underlying health problems to start with. Just as many or more probably die from other flu strains. It is a worry, though, because we were at my aunt and uncle's cottage on the weekend and my uncle does have heath problems so they'll be keeing a close eye on him in case he does catch it. His immune system is shot to hell.

God i don't half go on sometimes.

I'm just going to finish my cuppa and read the paper.

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