Marshall – 50 Years of Loud….
Wembley Arena, London. Saturday night.
Guess it took me at least two days to have the whole thing kind of… “sink in”.
That show wasn’t even just a gig, I wouldn’t be able to sit here and review it – cause it was just way beyond that. It was MUSIC HISTORY IN THE MAKING. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I am so glad that I got a ticket (and such a great seat too) because I could probably never get over it if I hadn’t.
My main reasons for going were Yngwie and Paul Gilbert, long time heroes, both of them. But I also discovered artists that I thought I didn’t like. That evening they decided to show something else that I haven’t seen before, and I’m open for more in the future.
The greatest surprise of the evening for me personally, was Joe Satriani. Never been a fan really, don’t know why, I simply never got quite into his music. But of all the guitarists trying to outdo eachother that night, he was the only one who played (Always With Me, Always With You ) with such emotion, had us hear and feel the beauty of the guitar, the sounds you can get from that instrument… It was just so classy, so beautiful, I was in heaven. Amazing.
I had a few minor “heart attacks” during that Wembley show, like when Yngwie was presented and he made his rockstar entrance. The man IS an old-school true ROCK STAR, he is the GUITAR GOD of guitar gods, the embodiment of guitar hero, I mean…. I’ve admired that guy since I was a teenager pretty much. Met him, interviewed him several times but he never became a “normal person” to me, he always remained the Star, and I like that. Not too many have that quality. :-)
[One of my “heart attacks, Yngwie entering the stage!]
I simply love what he does. I hear people complaining about him being “too much”, playing too fast or calling it guitar masturbation, but I subscribe to his simple philosophy – More is more! Damn right it is.
I’m just not worthy. You hear that it’s Yngwie the second he plays his first note, you will never ever mistake him for anybody else. Nah, I’m lost for words. Oh and he tweeted out one of my videos of him this morning, which made me feel like a happy teenager, yeyyy right on!
Then, of course, there’s Paul Gilbert. The other guitar hero in my book. He’s the most unique rock guitarist I can imagine, basically because he’s got the groove, he’s got the sense of humor and he can be as nerdy and dorky as he damn well pleases, because nobody can do what he does. I’m sure it has something to do with his ridiculously long fingers, which I’m sure makes it easier to do a lot of the crazy stuff that he does.
Kind of like this pic – which might just as well have been Paul! :)
So, Paul walks out on stage with those headphones, joined by Drummer Extraordinaire Mike Portnoy and mrs Gilbert on keyboards – looking like any guy from the crowd… and just starts doing his thing. And you never want him to stop, the guy is simply brilliant!! He can do anything, yet he knows when to not get “too much”, it’s fun and impressive. Wow.
[Pardon my shaky filming, couldn’t decide on whether to watch through the camera or “irl”. :)]
I could sit here all night and just reflect on each and every artist and artist-combination that we saw that magical evening at Wembley, but there’s no point really. The best way to try soaking in the atmosphere and the GREATNESS of all these fantastic musicians playing together for the first – and probably the last – time, is to watch it for yourself – in these videos.
My favorite combo? Yngwie with Glenn Hughes and “the Whitesnakes” Doug Aldrich/Brian Tichy teaming up with Ripper Owens in “Slide It In” – THAT’s never to be heard in that version ever again…! :) Freaking COOL!
And – this might surprise a lot of people who know my usual taste in metal, but… I thought that this combination of Slipknot’s Corey Taylor kicking ass with Slayer’s Kerry King in the Pantera-classic “Mouth For War” was the most aggressive, cool and most METAL performance of the whole evening!
Just seeing all of those BEST OF THE BEST musicians teaming up, playing together – songs that they would never have a reason to play anywhere for any other reason – was so huge and so unbelievable, that I actually left the arena seriously thinking that if I got hit by a car, I would die happy.
I mean – watch this and you will understand. That’s all I can say. :)
When it was time for Twisted Sister, the crew-guy Rob (who had invited us as his guests) showed up with a funny smile on his face. “Come on, I wanna show you something!”
So we followed him to the right side of the stage where he had placed a road-case on wheels right in front of the sound guy, yet still so perfect that we weren’t in anyone’s way. The BEST seats in the house! “This is reserved especially for you guys!” Jesus, I had to laugh, Vera couldn’t believe it either, that was just so great.
It didn’t end there. Only a few minutes before Dee & co were about to enter the stage, someone PUSHED the case so hard that I thought we were gonna end up ON the stage in front of all those thousands of people! I’ve got it on video – when I start screaming, that’s when the case is being pushed!
It was Twisted Sister’s manager Danny Stanton – a guy that I think everybody knows. He’s also managed Sebastian Bach, Lita Ford, just a bunch of bands over the years. “You can see EVEN better now!” he laughed. My god – crazy dude! :-))
Dee showed up and I could tell he was totally psyched. He was jumping and by the concentrated look on his face it was like a bomb ready to explode. “Let’s DO this!!”
And off he went – like a missile! When Dee enters a stage, it’s full speed ahead and he never stops!
I don’t know WHERE he gets all that energy from, but he’s amazing. Dee Snider is the epitome of rock’n’roll – he is the last genuine rocker out there. He will join anyone on stage if invited, because he LOVES what he does. Other rock stars won’t do shit unless they’re paid or unless they see a huge PR-value in their participation. That’s not rock’n’roll. Dee will do it because he honestly and truly LOVES being on stage and my god how we love him for that!
Not only is his VOICE better than ever – it’s strong, clear and powerful, but he also has an endless energy, at 57 he is in far better shape than dudes half his age!
Watching the crowd was also a fantastic experience. I almost got tears in my eyes, it was mindblowing. Dee had every single person’s attention. Such total control of thousands of people, that’s something that you don’t see every day.
You can see some of it in this video for instance. First he introduces Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, now with Adrenaline Mob, among others…) – we were all standing there watching the show in awe. Mike P had his family with him, his beautiful daughter Melody and his son Max, and their mother. :) They were sitting right next to me on the road case, and I thought it was so cool to introduce the kids to the world of rock’n’roll at such a young age. :)
So anyway, after Mike & band were introduced, Dee barely even got a chance to start singing. Thousands of people started singing “The Price” with their hands and cellphones up in the air. At THAT point I was really glad that I had the privilege of being up on stage! What a sight that was! You don’t see that every day.
I got to hear some of my favorites – You Can’t Stop Rock’n’Roll (and nobody sings it with more conviction than Dee Snider!) Stay Hungry, Burn In Hell (another big favorite!) S.M.F and of course the Twisted Sister anthems that no TS show could ever be without: I Wanna Rock and We’re Not Gonna Take It.
The Graspop-crowd loved Twisted Sister – so much that when he introduced the headliners of the evening – Limp Bizkit, people booed…!
We went backstage after the show cause Limp Bizkit apparently didn’t allow anyone back there when they were preparing for their gig. Rob escorted us back to the artist room and the Twisted Sister band+crew, plus the Adrenaline Mob-guys had just ordered pizza – so there was a PILE of pizza boxes in there!
Vera stopped Dee as he was passing by, cause she felt she wanted to tell him how much he had affected her life with his writings and his music. Dee was super-cool, really took time to listen. There’s just something with his whole persona that makes you like him and respect him. He is tall and walks straight, he is confident without being arrogant, and he’s very bright.
One of the Twisted Sister guys brought me a glass of white wine in a champagne-glass, but I couldn’t drink it – I was driving. :-( I tried a little sip though and regretted even MORE that I was driving because the wine was fantastic! So the guy got up, went back to the room where he got me the glass of wine and came back with a whole bottle of it. “Here you are, you can have a bottle. Nobody’s gonna drink that now anyway, we’re leaving as soon as they’re done here….”.
[Gift from the Twisted Sister-guys – we couldn’t even keep it]
At first I was happy about the gift – then I realized that I couldn’t take it home because I wasn’t checking in any luggage and you can’t bring a bottle of wine on board in your carry-on. So…. we had to leave that great wine to whoever cleaned the AVIS-rental car the next day! :-(
We couldn’t even get out to the buses and vans because the whole area was closed until Limp Bizkit started playing. So we were just hanging there, and I was checking my Twitter on the Graspop artist-WiFi. Mike Portnoy was doing the same. Suddenly one of his Tweets showed up on my Twitter-timeline. I laughed and said “You just Tweeted!”. He leaned over to check my phone “Oh, it’s up now? Can I see how it looks on your cell?” Total nerding, lol!
If you think that people are partying and taking drugs and screwing groupies backstage in 2012 – forget it. They are TWEETING and updating their FACEBOOK-statuses! :-)
[Empty backstage-area, everybody’s leaving for the next gig]
When they finally opened the parking we went with everybody to the buses and vans to say goodbye and then continue on our own way back to the hotel. Said byebye to Rob who was really a cool and generous guy – we had a great time thanks to him. AND – he had worked for Lita Ford too, that gives him a few extra points in my book, lol! :)
The NEXT day (Sunday, last Graspop-day) was just RAINY – I’m surprised I didn’t get sick after that ordeal:
SEBASTIAN BACH, UGLY KID JOE, JON OLIVA’S PAIN, MOTORHEAD, EUROPE, GUNS N’ ROSES
THE GRASPOP BLOGS:
Saturday was the best day for us – nice weather and super-VIP treatment! Spent all day on the main stage.
We got guest-passes from Rob, a crew guy who we met at Sweden Rock Festival (see, I haven’t even finished writing about THAT yet…!). When Vera approached the security, they didn’t even bother to check our passes, they just smiled and welcomed us in. We thought “wow, unusually friendly security people here!” but minutes later we learned that Rob had notified them that we were coming and instructed them not to give us any problems, lol! :-) So it was the freaking RED CARPET to the backstage area.
I didn’t want to go up on stage at first, it’s somebody’s working area so unless I’m explicitly invited up there, I’m not going. Vera went ahead and came back after a while – Rob was up on stage and we were invited. Evenso, I found a dark, secluded corner up there where I figured I wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. My legs were aching, must have strained a muscle or ten at the Slayer gig the night before.
It was only a few minutes before Adrenaline Mob were about to hit the stage.
We missed them at Sweden Rock because they were playing an early slot. Those early slots at festivals generally suck, cause it’s difficult for a band to gather a large crowd at noon. You know…. Children of the Night or Up All Night, Sleep All Day…all that sort of thing. ;-)
It was the same this time. They were due on stage 12.15. I have to admit that I haven’t listened to Adrenaline Mob before, so it’s difficult to rate their show properly. Hearing songs from the stage doesn’t do the music justice. I sat there and watched Mike Portnoy more than the others to be honest. First of all, because I am a sucker for great drummers – and hey, I don’t need to tell YOU guys that mr Portnoy is without a doubt one of the best in the business! It’s a kick watching him kill those drums, so for me I didn’t need a lot more to enjoy the Adrenaline Mob-show really. :-)
I also like great singers and although I’ve never listened a whole lot to Symphony X either, I did go to check them out at Sweden Rock, simply because two of my friends – Jan and Taz were with them on that particular tour. So that was when I got to see and hear Russell Allen. He is a great vocalist, wish I could have heard him more up there but the stage monitors didn’t do him any favors. I couldn’t hear a thing. But basically, I love bands that are the best at what they do – and if you’re looking for “Crème de la Crème”-musicians, Adrenaline Mob is definitely for you!
Photos on my FB-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
Video – this is what I heard from the stage monitors (=not too much)
Next up – PRIMAL FEAR.
Those guys are cool as hell too. Met them for the first time at Z7 with Jon Oliva’s Pain back in 2007 I think. Super-nice guys. Then we hung out with singer Ralf in 2009 at Sweden Rock. My friend Kevin from JOP was in Sweden visiting and Ralf had missed the shuttle back to the hotel. So we drove him back to the hotel, got a nice chat on the way. Really a polite, nice guy.
Met him and Mat in the backstage-area after their show, they seemed to actually remember me (I never count on that…).
Most of all – I’m INCREDIBLY IMPRESSED by Ralf’s VOICE!! Jesus, there is no competition at Graspop 2012 that comes even CLOSE to that kind of range!
My jaw dropped several times, absolutely amazing! The whole band is rocking their asses off, not one quiet moment during Primal Fear’s performance. Their gig felt a lot shorter than it was. It’s not what I would listen to at home maybe, but I would definitely go see them live – any day! It’s well worth the money.
PRIMAL FEAR photo album on my FB-page: www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
Check this out:
Next up was Thin Lizzy but we missed part of their show cause we were in the backstage catering. Good food, and nice to be able to bring a bottle of water with you without anybody keeping the bottle cap (not sure why they do that).
Forgot that keyboardist Darren Wharton is with them, that’s where he got his first break in the first place. The reason why Darren Wharton in particular is “special” to me is because he was one of the very first people I ever interviewed when I started out in this business.
I was 19 and thought that my English wasn’t good, so I printed the questions I had and gave it to the band beforehand so they could follow me during the interview. Lol! :-) My god... looking back now, I wonder what they must have been thinking.
Also, Darren was late for that particular interview, but I remember thinking he was sooo hot when he showed up in tight, bleached and torn jeans, leather jacket and his dark hair and blue eyes. That was enough to impress a young teenager like me..! :-)
His band back in those days was DARE and they had just released their first album:
Scott Gorham is also a funny guy. Many years ago when Thin Lizzy played in Malmo, he just walked out in the freezing cold – said he didn’t feel like waiting for the others to get to the hotel and asked if I could drive him back to his hotel. I told him that if he was cool with a small Renault, then sure…. He sat back there, in my tiny little car, looking around going: “Well…this is nice!” So, definitely no rock star attitude there, whatsoever. :-)
And then there’s Marco Mendoza – who’s played with every band it seems…. Whitesnake for instance. I think I’d better not comment on Marco at ALL, lol. :-) He’s a good bassplayer, that’s the main thing. :)
And current singer with Thin Lizzy – Ricky Warwick…. I interviewed him back in 1992 at Donington Monsters of Rock, I still have this CRAPPY recording from that (apologies for the bad quality, after all it’s exactly 20 years ago now…!)
This is only a CLIP – maybe someday I’ll post the whole thing…
So Thin Lizzy always brings back memories. :-) Wish I could have seen their show, I only saw the last two-three songs but it’s always a treat to hear the classics – The Boys Are Back In Town, Rosalie (eventhough that’s a cover…).
Next up –
Both require more space – so they will be reviewed separately. :)) Coming upppppp……..
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