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Concert Reviews

Concert Review of Scorpions and Ratt

On July 25, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Been a while since we took in a concert. I took the opportunity to join good friends to see Scorpions and Ratt at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas.  A midweek concert worked well for my schedule.  I honestly expected a somewhat sparse crowd for a mid week event. Of course, I am not the biggest Scorpions fan and somewhat more of a Ratt fan, but still, neither are on my top group radar. It all proved to be an interesting enough night.

Venue. Briefly, this venue holds about 6,000 total in three lower sections and a fairly massive upper section.  Between the sections are several suites for the true party types….but that is what you get, a party, cause you are not close to the band.  Our seats for this event were not nearly as close as I usually get. The venue is somewhat pie shaped from stage outward.  Good sound for the most part.  The extreme sides can be challenging, and this where we were for the seats

Crowd. Here was my biggest surprise.  I estimate the crowd to be around 4500. This is what I consider very good for these bands on a Wednesday night.   The average age of the crowd was easily close to 40. Conservative looking for the most part, and really controlled in the audience response. Ratt was trying to get more out of them, but the Geritol age had apparently kicked in. I estimate the crowd 60% male.  Nearly half were in more professional looking attire (I being one them since I drove in straight from work).

Ratt. Ratt: The punctual band. They fell right in line with the corporate rock requirements.  Started right at scheduled 8:00, and played exactly 3 minutes over what they were supposed to.  Now thats calculated and friendly to the corporate rock word of  timed contracts. This was the 8th time seeing Ratt, the sixth with Stephen Pearcy at the helm.  For those of you not quite familiar with this outfit, Pearcy is the original lead singer.  But this unit is prone to bouts of moodiness and outright  asshole attitude made him difficult as a band mate and not accepted by the audience.  In the current years, however, we have seen a more mellow Pearcy. Still quite cocky, but that is OK. He engaged the audience fairly well.  He was gracious for the most part….but he did give the impression he was not all that into the show.  Every time there was a musical bridge, he walked backstage during the lead solo. There was no interaction between Pearcy and Warren Di’Maritini, the long time guitartist. There was interaction between Pearcy and the other band mates, most specifically, the guy who came over from Quiet Riot (do not know his name) after Kevin DeBrow kicked. The sound was not mixed very.  Guitars far overshadowed vocals, and even the drums. The band was moderately tight, but nothing special. They did many more background vocals than I remember them doing in other outings. Overall, decent, not great, just decent.  Pearcy needs to stay on stage and look like he is engaged.

Scorpions on Stage in Grand Prairie Texas Scorpions. What is it about midgets with booming voices? Like the recently departed Ronnie James Dio, the lead guy for the Scorpions, who stands maybe 5′ tall has a voice that just soars.  Not as good as Dio’s was, as he was at the top in my book, but a great set of pipes, nonetheless. Admittedly, I am not a big Scorpions fan.  This is the third time that I have seen this German outfit. I am not sure if there music was overplayed back in the day or what, I am just not that big of a fan. The show tonight was the best that I had seen out of the three outings I have witnessed.  This show was set with an interesting stage where the drummer rose far above the stage. Well lighted, it was a good set and more dramatic than that I have seen in the past. The Scorpions made themselves sound and act like headliners.  There was much energy in the show, and the crowd embraced it for what they could being their age and Texas roots conservative pussy roots. There was great interaction between all of the original members of this band.  Hell, you do not even know they are German except for two things:  Lead singer slurs his words as if he is liquored up (he was not); as English is not his main language, although I am sure much better now than when they started 25 + years ago. And the second was lead guitarist Rudolph Schenker….not that boy looks and acts German….almost like the Hans and Frans act from Saturday night live many years ago….what also impressed me about Rudolph was his array of guitars.  He easily carted out 8 different guitars, one being a cool looking Fly-V acoustic.  I want one.  Was not close enough to get brand, or it may have been made especially for him.  He was his usually energetic self, running wildly across the stage. Scorpions act also incorporates calculated photo ops….this is where the band gets together and plays next to each other so the audience can shoot pictures. Klaus (lead singer, re3member now fist name, not last)  was his usual drum stick throwing self, easily tossing 100 sticks into the audience.  Hell, I bet some in the front got multiples.  (yes, I have a drum stick from Scorpions on another outing…he throws so many, you can hardly miss)

They played from 9:40 until 11:10, popping the corp. suits requirements by 10 minutes over.  They were tight and together.  Overall very good.  The few new songs they played I liked as well, including the one ballad. (Takes balls to play a ballad on new music minutes, but that is part of their signature)  But speaking of ballads, my one disappointment was they left off two crucial songs from the set :  Still loving You (yes, that power ballad) and Rhythm of  Love. Especially the missing of Still Loving You, because this song, with his voice, is just pheonominal.

Business. I estimate this concert took in revenues in excess $380,000.  4500+ people, at average of  $60 per ticket (yes, they were expensive) and at $20 average concession spend, and $20,000 for the parking robbers.  Not bad for a Wednesday night

I think this is a decent show to go see.  It really comes down to how much you want to spend for these groups……peace

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Vans Warped Tour made its stop on its eight day in Dallas Texas on July 3.  With nothing better to do on this questionable weather day, I decided to take in the event, risking the weather and getting pretty far out of my comfort zone, to see a bunch of mostly new bands and follow the original intent of this website to review live Concerts. So a review of Von’s Warped Tour is in order.  But this one has a different twist, as does the Von’s Warped Tour agenda. This tour is unlike others billed with a marketing sound bite (think Ozzfest, Cruefest, or even Rocklahoma).,  This is a one day event that features over 70 bands on what I think I counted to be eight stages.  There are no headliners. No schedule where the less popular bands open and leading up to headliners who is a name recognized band (Ozzfest and Cruefest end with?  Congratulations, your 7 years of college did not go waist). There are few things about this event non-musical related that are stunning apparant here

  1. This event is as much about selling shit than the music.
  2. The event format lends itself to shameless self promotion, and I am not talking about on the stages

The explain number #1, above, first let me explain the venue.  There are all of these stages spread out among the grounds. I suspect in every city the venue is a larger open air venue. Laced between the stages are what could be up to hundred booths selling things, promoting things, giving away free things, you name it.  Not sure how all these vendors do in this still crappy economy, but they are there trying to draw you in. (They leave me more alone as they do not know what to make of an older audience member….).  Then there is #2, above. There must have been at least 50 or parties paid to walk the crowd selling cds and books, posters, you name it, largely from the bands.  Then there were those self-promoting there bands, inviting you to listen to a bit of there band playing through their headphones.  Yup, thats what I want to do, put on headphones that have been shared by hundreds. Hell, there was even a guy there with a sign promoting his promoting services.  As you can probably tell by my sarcastic observance here, I am not across this much in your face selling, especially seemingly at the expense of the music

So why at the expense of the music?  Well, first, there was no place to be found a list of artists and stages, and play times. It would seem Von’s Warped Tour would do a better job of publishing this if they really cared about the music on stage.  As it is, I was left to try to figure out who I was listening to.  I heard easily 30 bands, and can only name a few (below).

For those of you resident to Dallas familiar with Superpages.com center, the main stage under the covered area was divided into two stages, right next to each other.  One band would play on the left stage while the other set up on the right.  Yes there was a pit area, largely accessible since it would move left or right depending on which side was playing and the popularity of the band.  One good thing about this tour is that walk up ticket prices were $40, and there is no seating, all GA (FYI. for my hate of ticketmaster, the tickets were $35 plus over $10 in bullshit fees).  So it was a less expensive and easier venue to move around the retailers on.

I could only confirm seeing 7 bands….all others from the thirty or unnamed because I could not figure it out, or, they were quickly forgettable in my book. The seven I remember or could identify are ShiraGirl, Suicide Silence, Eyes Set To Kill, I See Stars Alkaline Trio, All American Rejects, and WE The Kings.  Sorry other bands, next time put up your band name on a banner or on the drum head….to cover over von’s Warped Tour lack of promoting who you are. ShiraGirl, (shiragirl).  Was just OK.  Did not remember much about their performance, so that is not real good as you must stick out in this band overload that the Warped Tour provides.  Suicide Silence (suicidesilence), I hated.  This is just growling for no apparent reason.  Of course, they were liked by the violent young male audience sporting an IQ of maybe 50 who go to these concerts to draw blood in the pit.  Not music in my book.  My major surprise was Alkaline Trio,(alkalinetrio).  I had forgotten they would be on this tour, and if you have read this site before, I have recently seen them, and this was now my third time to see them.  Again, I recognized them only by hearing their songs playing in the distance….short set, as is all of these, but I once again enjoyed them

The best up coming group I saw was I See Stars, www.myspace.com/iseestars, a group of  barely 20 year olds from Detroit. This guys need to figure how to handle the big stage  better, but they will in time, and their music, I thought was great. Energetic, hard yet melodic, and yes, there was the growling in this also, just not a constant stream of it, and I thought thoroughly enjoyable. The crowd thought so two. I also learned new pit management techniques here.  Seems the pit is evolving from just slam dancing to a) now they dance in the pit wildly swinging their arms will dancing nearly like an Irish jig. Again, with the IQ level here, it appears the appeal is the casual destruction of other pit members that is of interest here. b) the lead singer had a name for this one, but basically he guided everyone to separate a large space, and on his command, you run full speed from opposite directions crashing into each other. Nice.  Kids are too bored with their lives and apparently need jobs.  The result is annoying, more space is need for the pit when these ecstasy laced banshees swing their arms wildly. Oh well….not often I go to a show with this young a crowd. But go check out I See Stars….good up and comer.

Eyes Set To Kill (eyessettokill) was a very popular band with the audience.  They flooded a side stage leaving little room for movement.  Does not hurt that these are fronted by two chicks pleasant on the eyes.  I thought they were decent.  Nothing special to warrant the enthusiasm of the crowd. Ironically, for crowd surfing on this one, it was mostly chicks.  Whats up with that? Hmmmm.

All American Rejects  (allamericanrejects) was terrific.  Great music, great personality, highly energetic, this group has it together. In fact, the only criticism I had is the lead talked a bit too much, or which, he then admitted it and shut up.  They are a tight group with pop/rock songs that are very catchy.  The crowd embraced them as well.  The lead singer was lucky to have had the rain come through and lower the temperatures from mid 90’s to 75 or so…as he was in a funky white suite and tie…he is the branding of the group.  Go see them.  Great band.

The above is stock pic (this was not our Von’s Warped Tour, you can tell by the presence of sun and water, and lately the only water in Dallas is that falling from the sky) of my favorite band that I heard.  We The Kings (wethekingsmusic) was an interesting outfit of great music, personality, and great crowd presence. I had heard a few of the songs before, but most not.  They are good writers.  They even played an acoustic song, slowing the pace way down, but held on to the audience. Not the tightest group I have ever heard, but very comfortable in their sound.  Once again, this is Pop/rock.  Most of the more popular acts were of this sound. It would be interesting to hear longer sets of these guys and the All American Rejects. I recommend seeing these guys as well.

It is the unfortunate situation that this is all I could identify. There were a host of other good bands there, many that I know.  This is not by prime listening area…but fairly familiar.  I would have loved to know who I was listening most of the time, because, Von’s Warped Tour, most really do go there for the music.

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Chelsea Handler Review

On April 25, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler is a chick magnet. Thats right, a chick magnet. While most guys would go to this comedians show to see her, you may as well to go girl watch. It was a great Saturday night out with the family to see this comedian, host of her own nightly show on E Network, Chelsea Lately.  Our daughter actually got us into Handler’s humor and watching the show nearly nightly. The comedian draws her humor on an overall abrasiveness making fun of celebrities. The show has a round table that hosts mostly her employees and forced E Network show types (cross show marketing) to comment on the stories largely following her lead. When they bring the comedy tour out on the road, she usually brings at least one of , or several of her comedians with her to open the show.  Tonight, at the Verizon Theatre in GrandPrarie, Texas, was no different.  Tonight the opener was Brad Wallick, one of her house comedians.  For those of you who do watch the show, he is the curly haired red head who frequents the round table.  While he usually very funny on the round table, tonight, I was very disappointed in his opening act. He came out seemingly unprepared.  Even with a cheat sheet laid on the stool by his frequented water slugs, he continually asked how Dallas was doing…a sign someone knows not what to say or do next. The funniest part came from the audience when he made some comment about Texas women, and a young lady shouted out she was ‘tight’. There was one other amusing part of his act dealing marital sex…it was very funny.  But other than that, he seemed to have to depend upon the shock value of humor, (frequent sac-religious and nazi jokes) These can be funny as well, but his were not. A complete throw away performance, in my opinion.

Chelsea came out for a one hour set.  This is the second time I have seen her live in a year. The last was at the Palms in Las Vegas, where she just was not good.  Tonight was different, however. She was genuinely funny on top of her game. The humor is predictable if you watch her show.  This is OK. That is why I watch all the time.  Something about an good looking intelligent blonde with a potty mouth and an attitude that makes things very enjoyable. She did less picking on stupid celebrities than she did selecting humorous skits from her books.  She did dog a few celebs, but most of the time she spent talking of her childhood. Mostly about embarrassing moments, including a long piece on the discovery of masturbation as an eight year old with apparently everyone else in her family knowing what she was doing, and she not. She carried this one on for a good 10 minutes.  Too long, but most of it very funny. As with a lot of comedians like her, much of the humor comes from life experiences that may or may not have been to painful to address in memory, but make great launching pads for all of us to laugh at and with her. I liken her to a female TV version of a shock jock. She does her performances not with various subjects, rather much of it from her personal experience.  Couple this with a good presence and facial expressions to accent the comedy, you have a great night of comedy, if you dare take in the subject area.

The venue holds about 6,000.  Every seat was filled. The event was great marketing tool for Belevidere Vodka, which she recently pronounced as her vodka of choice.  Drinking vodka is very much part of her branding. When Grey Goose would not poney up sponsorship money, she switched her allegence to Belevidere, (before any sponsorship money), and after the switch, they quickly signed on.  Tonight, the event ended at 10p.  Of course for those of you who visit the concert reviews on this site, you know that this theatre’s (formerly Nokia Theatre in other reviews) corporate end time is 11p.  They used the extra hour to allow for book signings from Chelsea and company, and kept the bars open until 11.  Great move. This event easy had an average of $100 spend per person tonight, or an estimated $600,000 in revenue…pretty good for a comedy act.

And yes, my daughter did purchase a book, and got it signed by the group.  They were quick, but gracious.  I appreciate that for her.

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Dave Mason Concert Review

On February 21, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

One of these days I will actually click some pics at these concerts I go to. So Friday belonged to Dave Mason.  He was playing in the DFW, Texas, area at the Granada theater.  Mason is best known for his years in Traffic at a very young age.  He is also author of very recognizable songs…namely, “Feeling Allright” the Joe Cocker staple. I was not in to this concert much, rather, choosing to go to hang out with some good friends, since it had been awhile.  What I found was a quite a good time.

A local group, Tim Shuler and Monkey Beat opened.  Based on a lot of blues rifts, their music was driving and enjoyable.  They were known locally around here for doing covers, but alas, I did not recognize much more than straight up, good ole blues. Well, at one point, I was hearing a rift right out of the Doors “Roadhouse Blues” when they are singin “passionate lady, give up your charms” in the middle of the song.  Spot on copy of the rift…but did not care.  I like these guys.  Stong voice from the lead guy, although they were more blues rock jam than having to depend on any vocals. See them if you have a chance.

Dave Mason surprised me. Looming in his presence with a large frame and shining bald head…looking a  bit old, but man, when he opened his mouth, this dude had a voice.  I cling to good vocals, and he had them. The band was extremely tight, well orchestrated. This was a enjoyable concert.  He ran through a series of songs, most of which I did  not recognize. Then he included the few I did recognize.  No matter.  It was all enjoyable, listen able music.  A variety of guitars added to the show, as well as a black bassist who was clearly the electric personality to the rather dry but unpretentious Mason.  Glad I forced myself to go out for this one. Several beers did not hurt either.

The Granada is a venue that used to be a movie theater, one of those where you get served food with the movie.  They change many years ago to this smaller venue.  Always pleasurable to go there… there is the concerts, then the people watching on Greenville avenue, a sort of entertainment district in Dallas, much to the chagrin of local residents tired of having drunk people piss and have sex in their yards….never a dull time. I will mention on the venue, the lower floor used to be all GA.  Now it is mainly assigned seating.  Shitty. This is one of the reasons people like me come to venues like this, to get as close (or not) to the stage as I dare spear my way through.  To the management of the Granada, loose the floor seats….leave that for the balcony and the VIP….I will visit you more if you do.

Peace hippies

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Anvil…HOB Dallas,1/26/10

On January 28, 2010, in Concert Reviews, Uncategorized, by admin

OK. Iwas trying to get lazy and let Robert write the review of the concert we attended Tuesday.  He checked out and put an article by one of the Dallas entertainment papers…so alas, I must write my own.  When I signed up for this concert, I had to ask, who is Anvil?  I think I heard of them, but not so sure. Come to find out, they were very familiar, probably because of their version of Spinal Tap movie. I went to this because a) it was on a Tuesday night and I did not think any BU b-ball was playing; I was wrong, they played no. 9 K-state and nearly beat them in Waco, and b) I had not done enough concerts and dying to hear some more.

These guys were pleasant. The lead guy, whatever his name is, was just a happy guy. Very different than say, Disturbed, where they scream their testosterone driven bullshit for 90 minutes.  I liked Anvil. A self proclaimed “hippie” on stage, they play a tight set with listenable rock. I even recognized a few songs.  Robert must be so proud about now. The guitarist and drummer are original, and the bassist, a throwback from the a KKK skin head. Good rock music.  They connected with the audience, stating they would be out after the show to sign autographs and hang with everyone. Near as I can tell, hey were good to their word as Robert and the boy met all the band members.  They were reported to be as sincere as they made themselves out to be.

Good times. The opening act was a local band named Mitra. Decent. A lot of blues power chords and screaming vocals.  They held their own, but in the end, I liked Anvil much better.


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Guest Concert Review

On January 27, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Since I get a little lazy at times….I need to scour for additional content. This comes from my concert buddy who went to see some obscure group at Trees in Dallas, Texas.  I post this here as I was trying to see Hinder at the same facility. It is a smaller venue that closed for quite awhile, and now reopened in an ever competitive venue scene in Dallas.  Robert always writes top notched reviews, worthy of these pages….so here you go

I made my first visit to the new and improved Trees club in Deep Ellum on January 22, 2010. For those unfamiliar with Dallas, Deep Ellum is sort of an alternative arts and entertainment district next to downtown. It features restaurants, bars and tattoo parlors, and was a popular place for quite a while. In recent years, though, many urban-oriented clubs and lot of crime moved into the area, killing off most of the rock clubs. Trees was a legendary venue that closed, but which has now reopened as some folks are trying revive Deep Ellum.

The new owners invested a lot of money into Trees, cleaning and shining it up. It is definitely not just brick walls and a run-down stage any more. New tables and chairs are at the rear, and the walls feature flat-screen TVs. Good job, Trees people.

I arrived a half hour or so after the doors opened, so that I was able to snag a table and watch as the fans arrived. I was genuinely surprised by the crowd. At least half were “old” (meaning 35 and up) and of those, quite a few were yuppie types. I even saw some folks in sweaters and polo shirts, which was just wrong. I guess that this development can be attributed to the fancy-pants apartments and condos that have been built next door to Deep Ellum in recent years. The dwellers must wander over to the bars to check out whoever happens to be playing.

Fortunately, a good number of the fans were tattooed, pierced, mohawked and otherwise sported the proper look. Quoting Les Nessman, the crowd was curious but well-behaved. The mosh pit cranked up fairly early in the evening, building momentum with each band. By the time Agnostic Front was on stage, the pit was frenzied for about half the songs. I observed only one fight, and the drunken problem child was quickly booted and peace restored.

The show began at 8:00 p.m., with local trio Preacher. They described themselves as “ghetto thrash” . . . . I do not know what that means. They were sloppy and the songs very amateurish, and they seemed happy just to have a gig. The lead singer/guitarist could do a serious speed metal solo, though. If they could work on the rest of the songwriting and get in a lot of practice, these guys have something.

Next up was another local outfit, Dog Company. Aside from Agnostic Front, these boys were the highlight of the night. It was a five-man act that featured a sound somewhat similar to the Dropkick Murphys in terms of the vocals and singalong backup vocals. The two guitarists played badass hollowbody guitars, which I just love. I will have to try to go see them again at some point.

The Broadsiders were next. Yep, another Dallas band. They had more of an oi! look to them, with two of the guys sporting buzzcuts and the dress-shirts and short pants. They were kind of skinheads-lite. The bass player, on the other hand, wore a fedora and beatnik clothes, while the drummer looked like a chubby Dave Grohl. Yeah, they were an eclectic bunch. They were probably suburban kids, though, as they did not look to be from a lower socioeconomic stratum. I really enjoyed their straight-ahead punk. Who knew that Dallas had so many good punk bands?

From sunny California, the Hellions were band number four. They had more of a rockabilly punk vibe, but did not do anything to really distinguish themselves from the other acts.

As the fans were growing a little restless waiting for the headliner, Death by Stereo took the stage. DBS is more of a hardcore punk band than the acts that preceded it, so they were a better fit to open for Agnostic Front. I could tell that they have played together for a long time, as they were very polished . . . in a punk band kind of way.

Once Agnostic Front finally began playing, the crowd up front went nuts. Unlike some outfits that discourage moshing in this day and age (as was the case with one of the opening acts), AF not only puts up with it, they frequently encourage it. Not surprisingly, the fans obliged.

Throughout AF’s set, fans would jump onto the stage (there was no security aside from the bar’s bouncers), run around for a little while and then stage dive. From my vantage point in the balcony, I could see that on a few occasions, the crowd was too busy to catch the stage diver, who went straight to the floor. Ouch. One drunk girl got on the stage at least ten times, each time staying up there a little longer. I thought that the band might get tired of her at some point, but they put up with her.

AF’s lead singer, Roger Miret, was so clearly a punk veteran and all that punk entails. Many of the fans who charged onto the stage ran up to him, stuck their face in his microphone to scream a lyric or two, or would grab/hug/push him. He took each assault in stride, never pushing away the fan or acting in any way belligerent. He just kept going.

I quickly lost count of how many songs AF played, as so many of their songs clock in at only a minute or so. Miret addressed the crowd several teams, but did not provide any stories. One of the guitarists threw an anti-Dallas Cowboys jab at one point, but the fans barely seemed to notice. They must not be big football fans.

AF is hardcore hardcore hardcore. Their songs are fast screamfests that are intended to incite a violent reaction. As much as I like them, I have to confess that I prefer Miret’s other band, Roger Miret & the Disasters, which is still punk to the bone, while having more of a melodic/catchy side to it.

I will be looking forward to going to a more shows at Trees, as it is a quality venue. Oh, and just in case you are wondering, I made it back to my truck safely after the show. There were a few scary sorts lurking around, but I scooted along quickly and covered the two blocks to my vehicle quickly and without incident.

THANKS ROBERT.  EXCELLENT AS USUAL. Publishers Note: Robert mentioned the changed in the Deep Ellum environment.  Not only was rock killed off there, many funky restaurants closed as well.  Today, the area looks to be 50% empty…the rumour is that it is on the mend, as seen by investments described above.  We will see.  again, there is a lot of competition for venues in Dallas, but there may be an opening for the smaller club scene, as most venues in Dallas holds 1500 and above booking national acts…

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Concerts, Tickets and American Greed

On January 13, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Wish to spend a little time speaking on concerts and ticket prices, so we will take a bit of a break from the top 10 lists. I see about 15-20 concerts each year. I insist that I get up close to the stage, in many cases, paying premiums to ticket resellers to do so. I used to be regular customers of local scalpers, saving some money from the high fees of ticket resellers. But I noticed oer the last several years, that up close seats were becoming harder to find from scalpers, prices were going up through the resellers and through resale sites such as Stubhub. Further, when I was more organized enough to try to secure these close seats right when they went on sale at Ticketmaster, no close seats were available.  OK. There are presales, so I spent a bunch of time joining, whatever, to get presales only to find out that presale seats are generally not the real close ones, but maybe a section or two back. So a little research was warranted.

The result were findings that do not surprise me given our ‘profit at all costs philosophy’ today.  VIP packages costing up to 10 times the amount of the face ticket are sold at every show taking up front row seating.  Sure these packages have additional benefits included, sometimes even including a meet and greet. But they are aaly expensive. Some seats are also reserved for fan clubs or some other organization you must pay to get into just for the right to assure getting an up close ticket and the “opportunity” to buy merchandise from their store at a whopping 10% discount. Further, since this drives up the resale prices for close tickets, all the major ticket outlets have joined on in the resale market to capture the revenue from these inflated ticket prices. It is basic supply and demand. And the heavy demand for the few remaining up close tickets leaves the rest of us paying high prices for the privilege to sit (or stand) close to the stage while our favorite performers play 90 minutes on average.

I miss the days before corporate became entrenched in the concert business. Sure there was less organization, sure shows were always running late, and sure some times bands did not show up at all; but the concerts were generally more reasonable, bands played with more passion and jamming, and the experience always promised to be rich!

Rest In Peace: Old Days

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Take a break from the Top 10 lists today to provide a review of the latest concert, last Thursday, 3 December, at Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas.  Teh lineup was “Alt Rock” bands, which means likely a guy my age should not be in the pit at this event. Screw them.  I am there and will be  for the foreseeable future. The line up consisted of Dead Before Sunrise, Flyleaf, Papa Roach, and headliner Breaking Benjamin. 

I ahve review this facility in other posts, and will not repeat here.  Just scroll down to other posts if you are curious of the venue.  Just know that a reported 4500 was at this event, I think the place will hold around 6,000. The audience was mostly in their early 20’s, and very enthusiastic for a cold December night. This concert was part of a local radio station promotion for Christmas concert.  Love the number of strip clubs advertised for a “Christmas” concert event.

Dead By Sunrise.  Never hear of them before.  Got in about a third of the way through their set.  I was very impressed, and will be checking out some of their tunes here in the near future on iTunes.  They were a melodic alt rock band with good driving, yet controlled music.  Decent stage presence, I was just impressed with most of the songs I heard.  Would definitely pick up a CD from these guys. Without knowing them really, not sure if any of their songs were known by the audience, it seemed they had consistent acceptance from a audience that was largely filing into the venue during their performance.  OK. Update….it all falls together now…now I realize why I liked them so much, and the familiarity.  As I go to chase a link to out here, I realize this is Chester Bennington solo band, Chester the great voice lead singer of Linkin Park.  Check them out here. Carl, please note…. www.myspace.com/deadbysunrise

Flyleaf.  I always get a kick out of seeing this group.  I like them alot. They are from Texas (all members but the lead vocalist from Belton, Texas, and lead vocalist is from Arlington).  They put on a great engeretic show, great music. Also, these guys are a blatanly Christian group, and they are not shy about this in their performances.  It always is very entertaining to look around to all the stoners, betting into the music, without a clue of the groups content.  Check them out.      www.flyleafmusic.com

Papa Roach.  This is the 6th time seeing these guys, and I must say, it is consistent all along.  Now in the early days, lead singer Jacoby used to bang his mike on his forehead until it bled, but he does not do that anymore. (Probably comes from cleaning up the drugs a bit) That antic was likely something they thought they needed to do go separate themselves, and with the normal IQ of a rock concert go’er, that probabaly resenanates much like caged all out fighting seems to for a certain audience. Now they have many CDs and have no lack of airplay. I enjoy these guys. The lead singer came out into the audience, a staple of their performance.  They are pure energy, and in this, it can even get a bit dull at is so consistent. The main guitarist of this group is very, very good.  I have been impressed with his work from the first time I saw them when they had only one hit. Just check out the pics on landing page of website, and it says it all.      www.paparoach.com

Breaking Benjamin.  Third time to see these guys.  I have always been impressed by their rather non rock music stage presence.  This group looks like a bunch of co9llege roomates who got together to form a band to avoid studying (sounds a bit familiar). They hold court well as a headliner, and in this role, they were the most tight muscially of all the groups. The lead singer is rather looming in his presence, standing an apparant 6’4″.  Great voice. He is also impressive in that he plays guitar on every song, and he and the main cuitarist exchange complexities of arrangements on each song. Difficult to do this as a lead singer and keep the great presence on stage. They have one of the best written rock songs of several years, “Breath”, and live, it sound every bit as good and impressive as the cd. (Alot of critics do not like this, but I do). Audience reaction to B.B. dwindled a bit after P.R., and B.B. even admitted follwing them is tough….but that is just for the nutty crowd.  Musically, they have nothing to hide, and they know it. For different reasons of the aforementioned, I like these guys as well.    www.breakingbenjamin.com

Probably will be off of the concert tour for a while as the busy holiday season rolls in.  If anyone takes in a concert and wants to post a review, just comment here, or email me at jay@reddganite.com


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Rocklahoma Changes

On December 2, 2009, in Live Performance, by admin

This in from Robert, one of our regulars who has his pulse firmly on the rock music scene.  For those of you who do not know, Rocklahoma is a 3-5 festival in Pryor Oklahoma that has gone the last three years with bands largely from the 80’s. I have attended the first two, loved them both.  However, attendance has melted in this difficult economic environment, and with this being managed by a local company based in Pryor, the issue was to close it down (they have permanent facility 4 miles north of Pryor) or figure new approach with new blood.  They chose the later. Read the announcement below.  I will not comment further but to take a wait and see approach. And my wait and see will also include the challenge to even attend next year, as it now falls over memorial day….a weekend I ususally spend with family.

As suggested right here a couple of months back, the first signs of a “new look” Rocklahoma festival have begun to immerge. And it isn’t good news for melodic fans…

Pryor, OK – “The producers of Rocklahoma announced today that they will be teaming with the world’s largest producer of music festivals, AEG Live, to revamp the rock festival in 2010. The management team that created the critically-acclaimed rock festival in Northeast Oklahoma in 2007 has brought on board one of the most respected festival producers and promoters to serve as executive consultants of the festival in a multi-year deal.
“In keeping with the vision that we set out to realize three years ago, we have learned that we need the strength of a major player in the live entertainment business behind us if we want to continue to grow Rocklahoma,” said Mark Nuessle, President and Co-owner of the festival.
Nuessle added, “AEG Live brings an incredible amount of expertise and credibility to the table, and that is exactly what we must have to continue the process of making this festival one of the premier destination rock festivals in the U.S.”
As part of the multi-faceted deal, AEG Live will focus specialized attention on reworking and further developing Rocklahoma in several key areas including talent booking, marketing, sponsorship, ticketing and festival operations. The entertainment company will work hand-in-hand with the current Rocklahoma management team to grow and expand the festival to new levels of attendance and acclaim in the coming years.
“We’re really excited to be working closely with the entire Rocklahoma team to create an even more incredible festival for the rock fans in Oklahoma and surrounding areas. Mark and his partners have built something very special with this festival that more people need to see and experience,” commented Joe Litvag, Senior Vice President of AEG Live.
The first major changes come with this announcement that Rocklahoma will be a three-day festival in 2010, and it is moving from its past mid-summer dates to May 28-30, 2010, Memorial Day Weekend.
“One of the first things that we discussed with our team and AEG Live was the idea of eliminating a fourth festival day in an attempt to create more depth-of-talent on each of the remaining three days. We want to expand the reach of our audience to a greater distance by giving the fans who will attend from other parts of the country an extra day to return home on the long Holiday weekend,” commented Nuessle. Litvag added, “Additionally, we felt that by moving Rocklahoma into May, the festival could capitalize on more suitable weather for the fans as well as deeper artist availability by not directly competing with the U.S. summer touring season and European festival season.”
In keeping with the Rocklahoma tradition, next year’s festival will include booking the most formidable classic rock bands in the world. But in addition, festival producers and AEG Live will create a much more diverse roster of rock artists that will include a large confluence of new active artists, as well as the classic rock artists that Rocklahoma is known for.
Announcements of the 2010 Rocklahoma line-up, on sale information, new VIP packages and additional festival upgrades and improvements will come later this fall.”

 Again, lets see how this turns out….will be interesting to see the line up.  Hopefully AEG does not make this too “corporate”  One of the charms of this event was the local flavor, as well as the local people working this event, who overall, were some of the nicest people working a public eent I have seen…and given the clientele at this event, they are truly saints.


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