Ray's Gigs

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Sunday 26 February 2033.

Sunday 26 February 2023. BLACK STAR RIDERS + MICHAEL MONROE + PHIL CAMPBELL & THE BASTARD SONS A great three band rock package plays Shepherds Bush Empire as part of their UK tour. I have seen all three bands live before. Must admit , i am more looking forward to seeing Michael Monroe more than Black Star Riders. The ex Hanoi Rocks singer really is a force of nature , and looks and performs like early David Lee Roth. Last time i saw Michael Monroe was summer 2022, when he supported Guns N Roses. Black Star Riders current album 'Wrong Side Of Paradise' entered the UK charts at number six on 27 Jan. Black Star Riders started off as ex members of Thin Lizzy. I saw THIN LIZZY 23 times between 1975 and 1983 when Phil Lynott fronted the band. They will probably play a couple of Thin Lizzy classics. Ex Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell will be playing two or three Motorhead classics in his set. -------- Needless to say, i was really looking forward to this evening of rock bands. 90% of the crowd have arrived early to catch all three bands, as all have well known members. Level 3 is closed as unsold but stalls, Level 1, Level 2 all look pretty full. Nice to see so many people here that i know. Also spotted were TOM SPENCER (The Professionals) and BEKI BONDAGE (Vice Squad). Beki Bondage is compère for the Vive Le Rock Awards at this venue on 06 April 2023, which looks great. All three bands were nice and loud. PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS arrived on stage at 7.20pm and play for 40 mins. They have a huge curtain with the band's name behind them, which is always a good idea. Phil Campbell alternates between playing a Gibson Les Paul and Flying V guitar. They played three Motorhead classics, and Micheal Monroe comes on stage for one of them. A really good set. Full Phil Campbell setlist played tonight... We're the Bastards Bite My Tongue Going to Brazil (Motörhead cover) High Rule Born to Raise Hell (Motörhead cover) (with Michael Monroe) Get on Your Knees Freak Show Dark Days Ace of Spades (Motörhead cover) MICHAEL MONROE & band arrived on stage at 8.20pm and play for 45 mins. His band include Sami Yaffa and Steve Conti who played with The New York Dolls. They play a great set of uptempo garage rock & roll, that included Hanoi Rocks classics. Michael Monroe is a total bundle of energy, and jumps on to the pit barrier a couple of times. Full Michael Monroe setlist tonight... One Man Gang I Live Too Fast to Die Young Murder the Summer of Love '78 Ballad of the Lower East Side Don't You Ever Leave Me (Hanoi Rocks song) Nothin's Alright (Demolition 23. song) Motorvatin' (Hanoi Rocks song) Malibu Beach Nightmare (Hanoi Rocks song) Dead, Jail or Rock 'n' Roll Up Around the Bend (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover) BLACK STAR RIDERS arrived on stage at 9.30pm and play for 90 mins. It totally escaped my mind that Thin Lizzy legend SCOTT GORHAM had recently left the band, but he comes on stage tonight for the last two thirds of the show. Oddly enough his replacement in BSR has long straight hair just like Scott had in the 70s and 80s. Black Star Riders play a good set of solid rock covers, but the highlights of their set were a great cover of 'Crazy Horses' and a couple of Thin Lizzy covers with the support acts joining them on stage. Overall a great evening of rock. Full Black Star Riders setlist played tonight... Pay Dirt Another State of Grace Better Than Saturday Night When the Night Comes In Riding Out the Storm Wrong Side of Paradise Crazy Horses ( The Osmonds cover) All Hell Breaks Loose ( Scott Gorham joined them on stage from this song onwards) Bloodshot Soldierstown Don't Believe a Word ( Thin Lizzy cover) (with Phil Campbell) Blindsided The Killer Instinct Before the War Testify or Say Goodbye Tonight the Moonlight Let Me Down (with Michael Monroe) Kingdom of the Lost Bound for Glory Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover) Finest Hour -------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- Saturday 25 February 2023. KELSEA BALLERINI live at Shepherds Bush Empire. 29 year old American female country pop singer-songwriter, who has won many Country Music Awards back home in America , is touring to promote her fourth studio album, titled 'Subject to Change'. This show sold out in advance. This show was the last of her four dates in the UK. ------- One of those shows were 99 % of the crowd were in early to see all of both the acts. It is pretty much an 80 % female crowd tonight, ranging from 16 to 70 in age. GEORGIA WEBSTER arrived on stage at 8.10pm for her 30 mins set. Singer-songwriter from Nashville played some decent country music songs from her debut album. Georgia was backed by an electric guitarist and a drummer. Some had a nice rockier sound as she bounced around the stage. KELSEA BALLERINI arrived on stage at 9pm for her 95 mins set. Taking the stage after the most perfect country music gig introduction song ever (Shania Twain’s ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’), Kelsea Ballerini was all grace, smiles and energy. A spoken word introduction to ‘Subject to Change’ set the tone for the evening, an evening of empowerment, self love, fun and passion. Kelsea looks great ,with her blonde locks, tight clothing and knee length boots. Kelsea was backed tonight by a five-piece band. There is a nice big screen that mixes her images & videos along with pre-recorded footage Ballerini is a natural born performer who acts out the lyrics to her songs with her body and her facial gestures. This draws you into the narrative of her songs and creates a feeling of intimacy between the crowd and the artist. As is common when Nashville artists come over to the UK and play smaller venues than they do ‘back home’, Ballerini was blown away by the reception from the crowd, the singing and the engagement on every single song. There was a lot of love in the room , and Ballerini lapped up and bathed in every moment of it. A couple of times she goes into the front pit to get near the fans there, shaking hands and posing for selfies. A couple of acoustic songs in the middle of the show, and Georgia Webster joined her for one of them. Kelsey halted the show near the end, when security had to help out a woman who had fainted. Again here, there was a film camera documenting it all. For the encore there is a full costume change. A very enjoyable and very polished show.