Daily news and reviews of gigs bars clubs restaurants product launches films theatre fashion shows books art galleries hotels competitions interesting places to visit ...and much more!
News and Reviews: July 16, 2012
15 July 2012.Day 3 of Hard Rock Calling.Paul Simon + Alison Krauss live at Hyde Park,London.
A massive crowd of over 50,000 here for this special show to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his groundbreaking classic album "Graceland".
Weather was decent enough and no rain.
After two days of five hours of standing i went into Live Nation VIP seating right of stage for tonight.They also have their own toilets.
Alison Krauss is an American bluegrass-country singer, songwriter and fiddler who made the award winning "Raising Sand" album with Led Zep legend Robert Plant.On stage for 50 mins.Some nice vocals and harmonies and great musicians but just felt too laid back on a big stage like this.
Paul Simon had loads of people on stage for his 2 hours 45 mins set that included the tracks from his 1986 masterpiece, alongside other solo hits, and Simon And Garfunkel classics.
Simon was joined for the anniversary show by South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo for tracks including 'Homeless' and 'Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes'. The choir rose to global prominence after featuring on 'Graceland'. However, at the time, Simon attracted criticism for breaking a cultural boycott of apartheid-era South Africa.
Earlier in the show, Jimmy Cliff joined Simon onstage, where he performed his classics 'The Harder They Come', 'Many Rivers To Cross' and 'Vietnam' before a reggae-infused version of 'Mother And Child Reunion'.
Later on in the show, Simon was joined by legendary South African musician Hugh Masakela. As the show rose to a climax with celebratory renditions of the title track from 'Graceland' and 'You Can Call Me Al', Simon returned to the stage alone to round off the show with a series of Simon And Garfunkel classics. The show eventually ended with a sentimental 'Still Crazy After All These Years'.
Paul Simon really pulled it off tonight.
Full setlist played.
'Gone At Last'
'50 Ways To Leave Your Lover'
'The Harder They Come'
'Many Rivers To Cross'
'Mother And Child Reunion'
'That Was Your Mother'
'Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard'
'Slip Slidin' Away'
'The Obvious Child'
'Hello My Baby'
'Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes'
'I Know What I Know'
'Crazy Love Vol II'
'Under African Skies'
'You Can Call Me Al'
'The Sound Of Silence'
'Late In The Evening'
'Still Crazy After All These Years'
See aftershow page for this gig.
14 July 2012.Day 2 of Hard Rock Calling.Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band + John Fogerty live at Hyde Park,London.
A sold out crowd of 65,000 here and it is pretty rammed for space.
Weather was nice and sunny then like last night it rained a bit at 9pm.
An amazing night really as expected.John Fogerty played for 60 mins and is one of Bruce Springsteens heroes so Bruce introduced him then watched his set from side of stage then joined him for last song "Rockin All Over The World".
Lots of Creedence Clearwater Revival gems.
Full setlist played...Hey Tonight...Lookin' Out My Back Door..Lodi...Born on the Bayou...Hot Rod Heart...Who'll Stop the Rain...Down on the Corner...Have You Ever Seen the Rain?...Keep On Chooglin'...The Old Man Down the Road...Bad Moon Rising...Fortunate Son...Proud Mary
Encore:..Rockin' All Over The World...
I saw both Bruce Springstee's legendary 1975 shows at Hammersmith Odeon and somehow he looks better now than he did back then.
Only outdoor UK shows for Bruce on this tour.
This was the first London show since the death of his sax player Clarence Clemons.
Bruce was 25 mins late on stage but still did a mammoth 3 hours 20 mins on stage.
Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine came on for five songs,John Fogerty came on for a song then at the end Paul McCartney came on for a couple.Wow Bruce is always a 10/10 show.
Bruce really is one of the best live acts.
Lots of chat with the crowd and shaking of hands with the hardcore fans at the front.
A teenage boy came up for one song on stage and a girl came up for a dance with Bruce later on.
The tracks from new album "Wrecking Ball" are great and the entire set was just amazing with the encore section just pure perfection.
Full setlist played
Thunder Road (Bruce & Roy Bittan on piano)...
Badlands...We Take Care of Our Own...Wrecking Ball...Death to My Hometown(with Tom Morello)...My City of Ruins...Spirit in the Night...The Promised Land(with John Fogerty)...
Take 'Em As They Come...(Premiere: Tour debut - Fan Sign Request)...Jack of All Trades(with Tom Morello)...Empty Sky...Because the Night...
Johnny 99...Darlington County...Working on the Highway...Shackled and Drawn...Waitin' on a Sunny Day...Raise Your Hand...The River...The Ghost of Tom Joad(with Tom Morello)...The Rising (with Tom Morello)...Land of Hope and Dreams... Encore:...We Are Alive...Born in the U.S.A....Born to Run...Glory Days...Dancing in the Dark... I Saw Her Standing There (with Paul McCartney)...Twist and Shout (With Paul McCartney...
I got into the Hard Rock Cafe marquee hospitality right of the main stage for an hour after the show.HRC really know how look after their guests.It is a replica Hard Rock Cafe with guitars and gold discs etc on the wall,a stage for acoustic sets,a dj and a full range of HRC food and drinks.
Also there is a mini swimming pool.
Even some computers to type some of this review.
The free food is during the day but the freebie desserts are still going when i am there and i get a couple of freebie cocktails too.
Lots of seating indoors and outdoors here.
13 July 2012.Day 1 of Hard Rock Calling. Soundgarden + Iggy Pop And The Stooges + Cold Chisel live in Hyde Park,London.
Around 30,000 here which is pretty good but Hyde Park holds 65,000 so nice to have space.
It stayed dry for Cold Chisel and Iggy Pop and it started to rain 30 mins into Soundgarden's set but could have been a lot worse.The extra wood ships put down by the promoters over the last few days worked a treat.
Soundgarden first London show for over 15 years.I saw them in their heyday when they were the first band to play Shepherds Bush Empire for an invite only gig in March 1994 when the venue was sold by the BBC to current owners.
First band i saw tonight were Cold Chisel who are legends back in their Aussie homeland as they were around in the 1970s with AC/DC playing pub rock venues over there.
These dates are their first in the UK for around 30 years.Some good tunes in their 50 mins set including "You Got Nothing I Want" and "Khe Sahn" and their singer Jimmy Barnes has a fantastic throaty rasping rock n roll voice.
Safe to say i am more interested in seeing punk legend Iggy Pop than Soundgarden so get a great view 10 yards from stage for his 50 mins set.
Shirtless from the start showing off his tanned skinny body he really is compulsive viewing as always.Going into the pit lots of times.
Some proper gems in the set including "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "No Fun" which were both mega.
A fantastic set.Led Zep legend Jimmy Page watched all of Iggys and Soundgardens set from the side of stage.
Full setlist...Raw Power...Search and Destroy...Gimme Danger...1970...Fun House ...Night Theme...Beyond the Law...I Wanna Be Your Dog...I Got a Right...No Fun...Johanna...
Kill City...Open Up and Bleed.
Headliners Soundgarden played a two hour set.
They were one of the main grunge rock acts in the 1990s.
Must admit i am not really a big fan.A few good songs played including "Spoonman","Black Hole Sun","Blow Up The Outside World" and "Superunknown" but the set sounded very samey and there were no real big standout songs for a
big outdoor event headlining band.
Tonight Iggy was the main man for me.
12 July 2012.7.30pm to 11.30pm i was at the launch of The Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square, London.
Lots of freebie champers,cocktails,beers,wines and canapes all night at this big event.
A massive party for around 800 guests to launch the biggest casino in the UK in this iconic building that was built back in 1900.
A few faces here including bad boy actors Danny Dyer and Tamar Hassan.Also here were Jodie Kidd and Daisy Lowe.
In 1958, the original interior was demolished and the London Hippodrome was converted into the nightclub, "The Talk of the Town" by Bernard Delfont, featuring many of the popular artists of the time including appearances by Diana Ross & The Supremes, Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Shirley Bassey,The Temptations, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Sergio Franchi, Engelbert Humperdinck, Val Doonican, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Lulu, Matt Monro, Cliff Richard, Raphael, Stevie Wonder, Sacha Distel and Neil Sedaka.
After a £40 million pound makeover it really has the wow factor as they combine casino,cabaret,dining areas and five bars.
93,000 sq feet and a 2000 capacity.
The Matcham Room is a luxury 180 seater with tables cabaret room where live acts will play four nights a week stints.
Tonight we had a full live set by veteran crooner Tony Christie.I must admit it was great to be served with free drinks at your table by waiters as you watched the act up close.
Tony Christie and nine piece band played for 95 mins over two sets of 40 mins and 55 mins.Now aged 69 and looking very neat and trim.
Some good tunes played including "Avenues And Alleyways","Las Vegas","Dont Go Down To Reno",
"I Did What I Did For Maria" he sung a couple of tracks from the album "Made In Sheffield" he did with his Sheffield hometown chum Richard Hawley.He also sung the Jarvis Cocker penned "Walk Like A Panther".The finale was great as he did a stunning version of Human League's (another Sheffield act) "Louise" and last song was his biggie hit from the 1970s and a number one when re-released in 2005 "Is This The Way To Amarillo" with all the crowd singing and dancing.He was very impressive.
Overall an excellent event.
11 July 2012.Queen with Adam Lambert live at Hammersmith Apollo,London.
The first of Queen's three shows at this venue after a couple of warm up shows in Russia and Poland.
How will new singer Adam Lambert get on?
Another band i have a lot of history with as they were the first band i ever saw at Hammersmith Odeon in Dec 1973 and i saw them a dozen times with Freddie Mercury including that famous Live Aid gig.
Queen are still very popular with the public what with the success of the musical "We Will Rock You" and "Queens Greatest Hits" is the best selling UK album ever with nearly 6 million copies sold just in the UK.
Coming in at number 10 on the list was "Queens Greatest Hits 2" that has sold nearly 4 million in the UK.
On stage for 2 hours 10 mins.A great atmosphere as downstairs is standing tonight and a very nice stage production with big screens,loads of lights,a short walkway from the middle of the stage and flames and fireworks for "Bohemian Rhapsody" at the end of the main set.
I must admit when their previous singer rock legend Paul Rodgers replacement was named as 2009 American Idol runner up Adam Lambert i was a bit shocked but Queen have a lot of younger fans who probably know the likes of him more than some old rocker.
The Queen songs actually suit a younger singer in many ways and Adam Lambert camps it up Freddie style a bit.
It is only Queen songs and thankfully nothing from either of Adam Lamberts two solo albums.
So many fantastic tunes one after the other.
Brian May guitar playing still sounds amazing.
Brian mentions those historic words "Nice To Be Rockin'
At Hammersmith Odeon".
When i have seen the "We Will Rock You" musical the male lead role always looks like Adam Lambert so it feels like watching the musical at times but overall Adam Lambert does a really job good and the crowd are loving it.
Really enjoyable show with so many Queen classic gems.
Full setlist played was
Flash (intro)...Seven Seas of Rhye...Keep Yourself Alive...We Will Rock You...Fat Bottomed Girls...Don't Stop Me Now...Under Pressure...I Want It All...Who Wants to Live Forever...A Kind of Magic...These Are the Days of Our Lives...The Show Must Go On...Love of My Life...'39...Dragon Attack...Drum Battle / Guitar Solo
...I Want to Break Free...Another One Bites the Dust...
Radio Ga Ga...Somebody to Love...Crazy Little Thing Called Love...Bohemian Rhapsody.
Encores:...Tie Your Mother Down...We Will Rock You...We Are the Champions.
Check aftershow page for this gig.
10 July 2012.Day 53 of The Olympic Torch Relay goes through Taplow and Burnham (noon to 1pm) then Slough and Windsor(1pm to 3pm).
Rain or shine folks have been turning out in their masses to see it.
I was up there noon to 1pm.A great atmosphere as crowds are lined six deep to greet the torch.Lots of stewards and police motorcycles doing a good job of getting the crowd in order.Chef Heston Blumenthal
was the torch bearer when it came past me.Lots of families and children and flag waving and a good way of getting local communities into The Olympic spirit.
It stayed dry thankfully but there was more heavy rain later on in the afternoon.
It comes to West London in a couple of weeks.
08 July 2012.Andy Murray at last gets to a Wimbledon Mens Tennis Final.
Live on BBC TV. Federer was just too good on the day and won 3-1 in sets.
The pressure on Andy Murray at Wimbledon is just massive.
Andy gave it 100%.Maybe one year he will actually win it.
06 July 2012.Another weekend of crap British weather will play havoc with outdoor festivals/events.
T In The Park,Wireless Festival Dance Events in Hyde Park and others will all probably get some rain at some stage.
The M Fest in Leeds was cancelled at the last minute due to bad weather.
Perhaps it is just as well that The Sonisphere Festival got cancelled as that
was planned for this weekend.
BBC3 TV is showing highlights from T In The Park.
Sat and Sun from 7pm to midnight.
05 July 2012.Psychedelic Furs live at The Garage,London.
For this sold out show i am front row right of stage.Perfect.
One of my fave bands from the 1980s return to the UK for a short tour.
They live in America now where they still do huge annual tours.
When i worked at Hammersmith Odeon in the 1980s The Furs
were regular visitors and for their 1987 tour they played three sold out shows there
on the back of the massive worldwide success of the "Pretty In Pink" single.
I first saw them in 1979 as a support act.
The Furs released some really great albums.
The two Butler brothers are still in the band Richard on vocals and Tim on bass.
Richard is a great frontman with his hand gestures and a look that seems to be
part David Bowie and part John Lydon.He is a visual treat to watch.
Their sax player played some neat solos to many of the songs.
The 90 mins set had loads of brilliant songs in it.
Their tunes really get under your skin and you cannot get them out of your head.
A great gig.
Full setlist was
Into You Like A Train...Mr Jones...Heartbeat...Pretty In Pink...Only You And I...Imitation Of Christ...It Goes On...Heaven...Like A Stranger...My Time...Highwire Days...Love My Way...
India...and encores...House...Forever Now...President Gas
04 July 2012.KISS live at The Forum,Kentish Town,London.
A sold out special show to just 2300 fans to compensate for The Sonisphere Festival which was cancelled.
The show was a fundraiser and all monies goes to Help For Heroes.
The music critis have always hated them but KISS really do have some of most loyal fans out there.Inside the venue there is a sweltering "Hotter Than Hell" atmosphere as the Forum is totally rammed from front to back and the crowd are all dripping sweat.
The band must have suffered on stage in this heat with their heavy costumes but duty calls.
Just two shows this time in Europe-Oslo and London-before their massive American tour starts in a couple of weeks.
It was pretty much the same 90 mins setlist from Oslo a few days ago but the order was changed a bit and the new single "Hell Or Hallelujah" being played for the first time meant "I Was Made For Loving You" was dropped from the set.
Visually we have most of the KISS arena production.
Tons of flames and fireworks used made the hot venue even hotter.
No big screens are needed and no blood spitting tonight or flying through the air by Gene but there is Gene fire breathing,Tommy has his rocket firing guitar,Eric has his hand held cannon to destroy the lighting rig above and his elevating drum kit is fun to watch.Paul mentioned they first came to London in 1976 and played Hammersmith Odeon(i was there for both shows) so that was nice.
The drum sound felt a bit clumpy at times but that is a small quibble against such a fantastic live show.
The three song encore was perfection really with the confetti cannons blasting away for "Rock And Roll All Nite" and the crowd all singing along loudly.
Like all mega gigs it was all over far too quickly.
Faces spotted here included Spandau Ballet members Martin Kemp and John Keeble and actress Gail Porter.
Look out for a full UK arena tour next year with a brand new stage production and a two hour show.
Full setlist was Detroit Rock City... Hell or Hallelujah (Live debut)...Deuce...Shout It Out Loud...
Makin' Love...I Love It Loud...Shock Me...Calling Dr. Love...100,000 Years...Love Gun...Black Diamond
Encores...Crazy Crazy Nights...Lick It Up...Rock and Roll All Nite...outro music God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You.
My fave American band who i saw at both their debut London shows at Hammersmith Odeon back in May 1976.
I still have the ticket stubs.First night was eight rows from stage on the left and the second night was front row centre.Have seen them at least once on every UK tour since and a few times overseas too.Their last tour in 2010 was mega as i caught seven UK arena shows and the club show at Islington Academy.On that tour i also went over to Madrid to see them where i met the band and had my photo taken with them.See the picture in the photo gallery on this website.
Check aftershow page for this gig.
04 July 2012.JBJ must be kidding me surely.
Jon Bon Jovi has been announced as the face of two new concert-inspired perfumes from Avon, designed to represent the spirit of live music. Floral oriental fragrance Unplugged for Her launches in October 2012, with the more woody scent Unplugged for Him set to follow a month later.
03 July 2012.A full day out for me today.
11.45am to 2.45pm i was at the KISS press conference at The Arts Club,Dover Street,London W1.
All four current KISS members were here.In civilian clothes rather than KISS costumes and face paint.
This was mainly to launch their "Monster" book which is the biggest and heaviest rock book of all time.
Frontman Gene Simmons labelled the publication as 'the Rolls-Royce of books'.
Gene also said "we will back back over here next year with a "Monster" live production that will show the little boys how the big boys do it".
Paul Stanley broke into a cockney accent too.
They talked about The Help For Heroes charity and the new single that is released this week.
This event was split into two different sections.
We were here three hours but the band were here for 30 mins for the main bit and 15 mins for the second bit.
First was around 150 press folks with lots of tv camera crews.I get a decent view after climbing over their stuff.Then tv cameras all kicked out and the band come back for a second session to say hello to all the team that made the book possible which was more relaxed.
The band were not in signing mode or chat one to one as such but Doc McGhee their legendary manager is always keen to chat.He tells me KISS to play 02 Arena for the first time as part of their UK and European tour for May/June 2013.He even tells me what hotel they are staying at.He says KISS fly out back to America on Friday.
Looks like Tommy Thayer had the most input from the band with putting it together with the publishers.
The book is handled by staff wearing white gloves.
I think it would take two people to carry it is that huge.Forty years worth of some fantastic pictures.
Each book is signed by the band.Only 1000 copies.
A lot of work goes into printing and binding each copy.
Not much mention of the high cost of the book.
It is around £3,000...Yes £3,000.
Freebie wines and canapes here too.
The book will be on display in The Groucho Club,Soho
Thursday 05 July from 10am to 4pm.
3.30pm to 6.30pm i was at The Imbibe Drinks Expo at Olympia,London.
The biggest and best UK drinks expo for brands old and new,thousands of drink samples for all,masterclasses, networking,latest drinks trends and ideas.
How to get more customers to your bar etc.
Some of my fave drinks here were Tia Maria Expresso Martini,Jack Daniels Honey,Jim Beam Honey,Aquariva Tequila,Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum and too many others.Just as well i was only here three hours rather than all day as so many yummy drinks here would have knocked me out for the evening.
At some events you see some stands promoting odd stuff.
Keeping you shirt tucked in and your socks pulled up
"The Shirt Companion" are "suspenders for men".
A male model was there wearing them.
A full set of four braces retail for £14.99 and they gave me some for a mention so that was nice of them.
See www.sharpanddapper.com for a peek at them.
Then around 7.30pm a random meeting as i bumped into AC/DC singing legend Brian Johnson near Cheyne Walk,Chelsea.We chatted for around 10 mins and i gotta say he is one of the nicest rockers out there.He is over to attend a couple of UK motor racing events which included Goodwood last week.He said AC/DC shows are are long way off so i reckon more like 2014 than 2013 as a new album has to be done first.
I met him at The Guinea Grill by Berkeley Square a few months ago and today he said "he cannot wait to go back there as The Steak And Kidney Pie gave him a hard on".
His wife was very patient and nice too.Diamond geezer.
8pm to 10.15pm was The Masterpiece Midsummer Party In Aid Of Clic Sargent at The Royal Hospital,Chelsea.
In the stunning grounds of the Royal Hospital this art and antiques fair is held every year.Loads of fantastic items here covering a really huge space.Some are worth millions.Maybe 1000 upmarket folks here including a few faces like Barry McGuigan,Tania Bryer,Theo Fennell,Chris Wright(founder of Chrysalis Records),Lord Freddie Windsor,Sophie Winkleman,Tamara Beckwith,Donna Air and no doubt a few more i missed.The auction raided a lot of money as there were some great lots.
For those like me slumming it on public transport there was a golf buggy shuttle to Sloane Square tube which was a nice touch.An excellent event.
Freebie Ruinart champers,cocktails,wines,canapes and oysters for all here tonight
02 July 2012.I went to two good events tonight.
7pm to 8.30pm i was the launch party for the Tim Gosling book "London Secrets" at The Halcyon Gallery,144 New Bond Street,London W1.
Around 200 upmarket folks at this huge gallery.
The book is full of nice sketches of London.
Freebie Lanson champers and canapes here for all.
A couple of faces here including singer and actress Elaine Paige and Coronation Street actress Helen Worth who has played Gail for some 35 years.
9pm to 11.30pm was The Old Vic Summer Party Fundraiser at The Old Vic Tunnels,Waterloo,London SE1.
This is the venue where New York Dolls played last year and holds events every now and then.It is disused train tunnels.There are two types of ticket £250 for vips and press that get freebie drinks including Veuve Clicquot champers all night and a reserved area front of stage
where i get a brilliant third row from stage view and £75 tickets that had freebie wines and beers all night and a view in the second half of the venue.
It is packed in here so must be 600 or 700 here.
It is all standing so this creates a nice buzz.
Tom Jones played Hammersmith Apollo the night before but got average reviews as he played too many songs off his last two blues/gospel albums but tonight he has judged it right as its a party crowd so there are maybe just three or four songs from recent album "Spirit In The Room" but there are loads of his big old hits.Now aged 72 his voice is still mighty and his band were great.
He really knows how to give this crowd what they want.
The 65 mins set included "Whats New Pussycat?", "Delilah","Green Green Grass Of Home","Mama Told Me Not To Come","You Can Leave Your Hat On","Its Not Unusual" and ending with an encore of "Kiss".
An excellent gig.
Guests in the crowd tonight included Rod Stewart with Penny Lancaster,Goldie and Sir Peter Blake.
Links I Like
Buy your concert tickets through Live Nation
Official London Theatre
Long Tall Sally
Sex Pistols Experience
The Halkin Hotel-Belgravia
The Compleat Angler Hotel, Marlow, Bucks
The Oakley Court Hotel, Windsor, Berkshire
Shepherds Bush Empire
The UK's #1 Gig-Goer
In November 2008 the BBC confirmed me as the UK's number one gig-goer. The jacket was a gig-going prize from Q Magazine a few years ago. I do not wear it outside of the house let alone out to gigs!
Over 5,500 gigs now seen by me since 1973 covering all genres. I still go to over 100 gigs a year.
Party or event?
Let me plan it for you!
I know the best venues,the best catering and the best entertainment agencies to suit your budget whether its small drinks and canapes or something bigger. email@example.com