News and Reviews: December 21, 2014

Buy your books,cds,dvds etc from HMV and Amazon.
www.hmv.comVisit the HMV website here.
www.amazon.co.ukVisit the Amazon website here.
For NOVEMBER reviews and previous months reviews please click on the earlier reviews link above left.
Some good gigs and events coming up worth going to...
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I did a short interview for BBC1 tv at The Troubadour Cafe,Old Brompton Road,Earls Court,SW5.
It features me talking about some of the legendary gigs I saw at Earls Court Arena in the 1970s
including Led Zeppelin,Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
They only used the bit about The Rolling Stones shows on The One Show.
I was on THURSDAY 11 DEC 7pm but it will be on www.bbc.co.uk iPlayer for the next 28 days.
It is around 13 mins in and only lasts a few seconds as they had a lot to cram in that night.
Needless to say that Brad Pitt and George Clooney have nothing to worry about.
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Sat 20 Dec---Michael Schenkers Temple Of Rock play Shepherds Bush Empire.
This is the last show on their UK and European Tour to promote their new album 'Bridge The Gap'.
I first saw Michael Schenker in 1976 at The Marquee Club when he was with UFO.
Before that he was in Scorpions for a bit at the very young age of just 17.
Michael Schenker is now aged 59.
Sun 21 Dec/Mon 22 Dec/Tue 23 Dec---The Cure play three sold out shows at Hammersmith Apollo.
The support act is And Also The Trees who were the same support band when I saw The Cure
at this venue 30 years ago in 1984.
I first saw The Cure back in 1979 when they supported Siouxsie and The Banshees at this same venue.
Expect a nice long set of 2 hours 30 mins plus.
Mon 22 Dec---Sex Pistol Glen Matlock is one of the guests on the BBC tv show 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks'.
This is the fancy dress Christmas Edition.
Tues 23 Dec---Happy Birthday to Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam who is 50 today.
Thurs 25 Dec---Happy Birthday to Annie Lennox who celebrates her 60th birthday on Christmas Day.
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The two weeks after Christmas is very quiet for gigs so it is a good time to visit the theatre,panto and cinema.
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Cirque Du Soleil return to The Royal Albert Hall after Christmas for their usual month of shows.
Their KOOZA production runs from 06 Jan 2015 to 19 Feb 2015.
www.royalalberthall.comVisit The Royal Albert Hall website for more info.
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Star of Dallas Linda Gray will be swapping Texas for Wimbledon this Christmas after producers announced that she will be making her panto debut at the New Wimbledon theatre in Cinderella.
Gray is best known for playing Sue Ellen Ewing in the TV classic Dallas but is no stranger to the London stage having played Mrs Robinson in the West End production of The Graduate.
She looks amazing for her age of 74 and looks the same as she did in her Dallas days.
Gray joins Tim Vine, Matthew Kelly, Matthew Rixon and Wayne Sleep, Amy Lennox and Liam Doyle in the cast of Cinderella.
Gray is thrilled to be making her first panto appearance at the theatre. “I am so delighted to be making my pantomime début in Cinderella at the beautiful New Wimbledon Theatre. I have heard such great things about British pantomime and I am very excited to get started! I am especially looking forward to working with such a brilliant and talented cast; the script is hilarious, my costume is sensational and I am looking forward to spending Christmas in the wonderful city of London”.
Cinderella runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre,London SW19 until – Sunday 11 January 2015.
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Jerry Hall is also in panto playing Snow White in leafy Richmond which is handy as she lives in Richmond.
Mick Jagger went to the opening press night on Thursday 11 Dec.
Jerry Hall has come in for some stick for miming on stage.
Angry patrons branded it ‘a complete joke’ and ‘beyond ridiculous’ that the model lip-synced to a track of her own voice. She couldn’t even do it well, they claimed, and often had her mouth closed when she should have been singing.
Folks should remember it is just panto.
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Memphis --- The Musical has had loads of great five and four star reviews.
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Andrew Lloyd Webber's revival of Cats has opened at The Palladium and is on until 28 Feb 2015.
Nicole Scherzinger has got rave reviews from the opening press night on Thursday 11 Dec.
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Elvis At The O2: The Exhibition Of His Life (12 December 2014 to 31 August 2015)
Over 300 Elvis Presley items including costumes and a virtual tour around Gracelands.
Jeff Beck was one of the guests at the private view launch party on Mon 15 Dec.





Saturday 20 December 2014.
Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock live at Shepherds Bush Empire,London.
This is the last show on their UK and European Tour to promote their new album 'Bridge The Gap'.
I first saw Michael Schenker in 1976 at The Marquee Club when he was with UFO.
Before that he was in Scorpions for a bit at the very young age of just 17.
Michael Schenker is now aged 59.
His band has some rock n roll pedigree as the line up includes Herman Rarebell on drums and Francis Buchholz on bass, both former members of The Scorpions and Doogie White, formerly singer for Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen.
On guitar/keyboards was Wayne Findlay from The Michael Schenker Group.
Levels 2 and 3 upstairs are closed off as unsold but there is still a good atmosphere.
Michael and the band took to the stage at 9.10pm for a 95 mins set.
Check back soon for full review.







Friday 19 December 2014.
Sparks with the 38 piece Heritage Orchestra live at The Barbican,London.
This was the first of two sold out pronto Sparks shows at this venue which were their only shows in Europe.
I loved Sparks in the 1970s and saw them play Hammersmith Odeon in 1974 and 1975.
To coincide with Sparks’ shows in London, Universal Music are to release a limited double vinyl
40th anniversary version of their landmark 1974 release, 'Kimono My House'.
'Kimono My House' was released in May 1974, peaking at Number 4 the following month and spawning the keynote hit singles ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us’ and the equally superb ‘Amateur Hour.’
I saw them play the album in 2004 when they played it at The Royal Festival Hall for Morrissey's Meltdown Festival.
This time it is with full strings and orchestra.
Sparks are on stage for 1 hour 55 mins over two sets of 50 mins and 65 mins but the last five mins was
the brothers on stage getting a standing ovation and bowing with the conductor as the crowd clapped and cheered.
The brothers look great for their age with Russell on vocals and Ron on keyboards and piano.
The first set is 'Kimono My House' which was one of the first albums I ever bought.
Both members are wearing Kimonos and a couple of females in the crowd are also in full costume.
With the strings and orchestra the songs are brought to life and it sounds amazing.
Opening with their mega tunes 'This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us' and 'Amateur Hour'.
The brilliant guitar riff for 'Thank God It's Not Christmas' is replaced by stunning strings.
The second set has a bunch of hits and they revert to their normal stage clothes.
Straight faced Ron gets up and does his funny dance during 'The Number One Song In Heaven'.
The crowd are cheering and clapping along to each song and a full standing ovation at the end.
An excellent show.
SET ONE---Kimono My House album in full.
Kimono My House Overture
This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us
Amateur Hour
Falling in Love With Myself Again
Here in Heaven
Thank God It's Not Christmas
Hasta Manana Monsieur
Talent Is an Asset
Complaints
In My Family
Equator
SET TWO---Hits and other tracks.
The Rhythm Thief
Get in the Swing
Let the Monkey Drive
Looks, Looks, Looks
Pulling Rabbits Out of a Hat
I am Ingmar Bergman (excerpt)
"Oh My God"
Dick Around
When Do I Get to Sing "My Way"
The Number One Song in Heaven
Encore:
Change





Thursday 18 December 2014.
Wicked - media night & afterparty at The Apollo Theatre, Victoria, London, SW1.
Around 300 media guests and celebs here mixed in with the paying punters.
Guests here included tv cook Mary Berry,actor David Harewood,girl about town Lizzie Cundy,
Eastenders actor Adam Woodyatt,actress Fay Ripley and X Factor acts Only The Young and
Blonde Electra.
I went to this theatre in the mid 1970s when it was called The New Victoria Theatre.
I saw some great acts including Alex Harvey,Thin Lizzy,E.L.O.,Lou Reed and Judas Priest.
Search the venue box on www.raysgigs.com for the full list of bands.
I went to the opening press night and afterparty for Wicked eight years ago in 2006.
It is a good time for me to see it again.
This musical has been a mega success around the world.
It is very popular with young women as the two main lead roles are females.
This is a big theatre to fill as it holds around 2500 folks and tonight is totally full.
The show is on for around 2 hours 25 mins over two sets of 85 mins and 60 mins.
A fantastic stage production with loads of stunning scenery changes.
Great costumes and a good storyline and some great songs.
The finale of the first set is the big tune 'Defying Gravity'.
A very enjoyable show.
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Composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz discovered writer Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West while on vacation and saw its potential for a dramatic adaptation.Maguire, however, had released the rights to Universal, who had planned to develop a live-action feature film. Schwartz met Maguire in Connecticut in 1998 and persuaded him to release them for a stage production while making what Schwartz called an "impassioned plea" to Universal producer Marc Platt to realize his potential adaptation. Persuaded too, Platt signed on as joint producer of the project with Universal and David Stone.
The novel, described as a political, social, and ethical commentary on the nature of good and evil, takes place in the Land of Oz, in the years leading to Dorothy's arrival. The story centers on Elphaba, the misunderstood, smart, and fiery girl of emerald-green skin who grows up to become the notorious Wicked Witch of the West and Galinda, the beautiful, blonde, popular girl who grows up to become Glinda the Good Witch of the North. The story is divided into five different sections based on the plot location and presents events, characters and situations from L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and its 1939 film adaptation in new ways. It is designed to set the reader thinking about what it really is to be 'Wicked', and whether good intentions with bad results are the same as bad intentions with bad results. Schwartz considered how best to condense the novel's dense and complicated plot into a sensible script. To this end, he collaborated with Emmy Award–winning writer Winnie Holzman to develop the outline of the plot over the course of a year while meeting with producer Marc Platt to refine the structural outline of the show, spinning an original stage piece rather than creating a strict adaptation of Maguire's work.
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then 200 yards up the road to the afterparty...10.30pm to 12pm...
Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, 239 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1.
Around 300 media guests and celebs here at the afterparty.
All the cast are posing for photos for the photographers.
No sign of Mary Berry or David Harewood or some others who were at the show earlier but X Factor acts
Only The Young and Blonde Electra are here.
Complimentary wines,beers and canapés for all guests.
www.wickedthemusical.co.ukCheck the Wicked website here for more info.






Wednesday 17 December 2014...7pm to 11pm...
2014 Sony Music Christmas Party at Press,47 Whitcomb Street,London W1.
A massive party for over 300 folks at this just opened private members club near Leicester Square.
It is mainly Sony staff and related folks from those that do business with them but no artists are here.
Sony A&R chap Mike Pickering is here who was in M People.
M People were a dance music band which formed in 1990 and achieved success throughout most of the 1990s.The name M People is from the initials of Mike Pickering, who formed the group.
We have a warm up dj playing some loud dance tunes and getting the crowd in the mood.
Just after 9pm hip hop dj legend Grandmaster Flash gets in the dj booth for a 90 mins set.
Grandmaster Flash, is an American hip hop recording artist and DJ—one of the pioneers of hip-hop DJing, cutting, and mixing. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, becoming the first hip hop/rap artists to be so honoured.
One of the first tracks he played tonight was his own 1982 classic ' The Message'.
Loads of dance anthems played and the dance floor was packed with a proper party atmosphere.
In the other room we had the live band Rockaoke playing where you become the singer as they play.
A choice of around 200 songs but I refrained from doing Sex Pistols 'Pretty Vacant' like I did before.
It's all good fun as folks tackled Guns n Roses,The Killers,The Rolling Stones etc.
There is a fun photo booth in the corner.
Christmas crackers on every table.
We had a raffle with some decent Sony prizes and overnight hotel stays.
Lots of complimentary booze and food with vodka cocktails,wines and beers.
Also lots of grub including bowl food,burgers,hot dogs and canapés.
We departed at 11pm even though it was on to midnight.
A great party.





Tuesday 16 December 2014...I went to two events tonight...
6.30pm to 8.30pm
Steven Meisel --- 'Role Play' private view at Phillips Gallery,30 Berkeley Square,London W1.
Steven Meisel (born 1954) is an American fashion photographer, who obtained popularity and critical acclaim with his work in US and Italian Vogue and his photographs of friend Madonna in her 1992 book Sex. He is now considered one of the most successful fashion photographers in the industry, shooting regularly for both US and Italian Vogue, and lately W (also published by Condé Nast).
This collection has just been shown in Paris and visits New York after London.
It is on display here until 11 Jan 2015.
Around 200 folks here at this large gallery.
Complimentary Ruinart champers,spicy cocktails and wines for all guests.
www.phillips.comCheck the Phillips Gallery website here.
then
9pm to 11.15pm
Belvedere Vodka - party at London Film Museum Covent Garden, 45 Wellington Street, London, WC2.
Belvedere Vodka announces partnership with the upcoming James Bond film 'Spectre'.
Over 200 guests here including model Lily Cole,Pixie Geldof and Amber Atherton.
Tinie Tempah was the dj for an hour here.
A good choice of venue as they currently host The Bond in Motion exhibition so we can see real
cars/vehicles from James Bond films alongside the film clips showing them as they were used in the films.
The bar staff are all dressed up as James Bond types and when you ask for your drinks you are asked
the classic line "do you want shaken or stirred?".
Complimentary Belvedere cocktails (three different Martinis) and canapés for all guests.
There was a fun photo booth in the corner.
www.belvederevodka.comVisit the Belvedere website here.






Monday 15 December 2014...6.15pm to 8.15pm...
Burrell at Bonhams : An Exhibition of Masterpieces from the Burrell Collection,Glasgow --- private view at
Bonhams,New Bond Street,London W1.
Masterpieces by Rembrandt, Cézanne and Degas are among a selection of more than 50 treasures from the world famous Burrell Collection going on show at Bonhams London.
When Sir William Burrell donated his astonishing collection of more than 9,000 paintings and objects to the people of Glasgow, he made it a condition that there should be no overseas loans. As a shipping magnate, he was all too aware of the risks of sea travel.
But in January 2014, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation varying the terms of the bequest and paving the way for the international tour.
The Burrell Collection was given to the City of Glasgow in 1944 by Sir William and Lady Constance Burrell. Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) was a wealthy Glasgow shipowner with a lifelong passion for art collecting. The family was of Northumbrian origin, and his grandfather George moved to Glasgow in the early 1830s. By 1856/7 George was established as a shipping and forwarding agent at Port Dundas, the Glasgow terminus of the Forth and Clyde Canal. In the following year he was joined by his son, Sir William's father, and henceforward the firm traded.
Lots of security here with a guard for every couple of paintings and most items are in thick glass cabinets.
Around 300 smartly dressed art folks here.
One of the guests was William Hague---Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Complimentary Pol Roger champers and canapés for all guests.
All guests got a nice tote bag with a book and DVD of the exhibition.
It runs until 9th January --- admission is free.
www.bonhams.comVisit the Bonhams website here for more info.


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