This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily - except after days of stress and nights of excess.
Thursday 15th August
My first indoor gig for a while and I was left in two minds. As somebody that has followed the ups & downs of their career since a debut UK tour opening for Dio back in ’84, it’s great to see Queensrÿche firmly on track once again. Each of the three albums they’ve made with Todd LaTorre as frontman has improved upon the last and, like just about everybody inside the Islington Assembly Hall, I salute their decision to integrate more of that latterday material into the set. Long term it’s the only way they will survive. LaTorre and the band sounded amazing as things began though the atmosphere felt slightly muted and for me it wasn’t until a spellbinding ‘Queen Of The Reich’, which came seven songs in, that the show seemed to truly begin in earnest.
Following that tour de force with ‘Silent Lucidity’ and ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ we were onto a winner and it was great to see them plunder ‘Rage For Order’ for ‘Screaming In Digital’, with ‘Take Hold Of The Flame’ and ‘Eyes Of A Stranger’ following right behind. However, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in checking my watch when the singer politely thanked us all and walked off.
By the time they wound things up with ‘Light Years’ from the Todd era plus ‘Jet City Woman’ and ‘Empire’ we had failed to pass 85 minutes onstage – not too clever a move from a group that’s trying to win back its fans. What happened to ‘I Don’t Believe In Love’, ‘Revolution Calling’ and ‘Breaking The Silence’? I’m not saying they shouldn’t play the new songs – I wanted to hear them! But for a band blessed with such a rich back catalogue this performance betrayed a sour whiff of tokenism.
Quality-wise Queensrÿche nailed the performance completely, but I’d be far more disposed towards embracing the band’s bold new era had they seen fit to give a little more of themselves.
Monday 12th August
I've just finished reviewing a strong contender for 2019's album of the year. Comprising multiple members of the current Danger Danger and the same band’s former lead singer, Paul Laine, The Defiants not only created the melodic hard rock album of 2016 but performed one of the same year’s most rock ‘n’ roll gigs, as a spectacularly refreshed Laine brattishly hurled a bottle of Jack Daniel’s across the stage at the Rockingham Festival in Nottingham. Now The Defiants are back to reclaim their crown. With ‘Zokusho’ (Nipponese for ‘sequel’ or ‘next chapter’) they’ve managed to improve upon that fabled debut. Start saving those pennies for September 13.
Sunday 11th August
The stats suggest that Everton had the edge, but yesterday’s 2019/’20 season opener was the proverbial game of two halves – the Toffees dominated until the interval after which Palace rallied and, with their opponents reduced to ten men, could possibly have taken all of the points. But for Pickford’s form between the sticks it might’ve happened. The affectionate response to Zaha’s late intervention as a substitute was quite touching. I didn’t hear any booing. Wantaway or not, Wilf will have a big part to play in his remaining days whilst wearing the fabled red & blue shirt. At least the Eagles didn’t lose the opening game, as we are somewhat prone to do…COYP!
I'm not saying we are footie mad here at Gentling Towers but yesterday while I was out at Selhurst Park the workmen arrived to fit a specially designed new urinal. Looks good, eh?
Friday 9th August
Friday is melodic rock day – I’m busy writing my usual AOR column for Classic Rock dated Sep 17 – Oct 15. The Defiants, Eclipse, Robert Tepper, Axe, Age Of Reflection and Outlasted. A veritable feast of deliciousness. Pink and fluffy with hooks of Velcro rules OK.
Well, well, well... without warning and in contrast to the fears of all concerned, Palace’s captain Luka Milivojevic has signed a new four-year contract and is staying at the club!!!!!!! Cue a quick chorus of: "He comes from Serbia/He'll fuckin' murder ya..." Perhaps the transfer window hasn't turned out so badly after all.
Thursday 8th August
As I type an hour and a half remains till the window slams shut at with Everton failing to match Palace's valuation it sees Zaha is staying at Selhurst, though with differing rules it's possible that a Continental team could still swoop in for him. Not entirely sure how I feel now that our talisman has taken a big, steaming dump all over the club and its fans and then been been forced to remain and suck it all up. Should he play on Saturday - and I hope that he does - I will be conflicted to f**k.
Wednesday 7th August
Here’s today's listening material. Simply perfect for a glorious summer's day: three discs of pure genius from a much-missed great.
Oh bollocks. As usual, the summer months have been plagued by speculation over Wilfried Zaha’s desire to leave Crustal Palace for European football. The Arse wouldn’t put their money where their mouth was but now, in a bid to force a move to Everton – EVERTON?!? – he’s handed in a transfer request. FFS, Wilf… with no possibility of signing a replacement (should such a thing even exist) before the start of the season, your time couldn’t be any worse.
Monday 5th August
Oh dear, Mr Rossi will be gutted to learn of the death of his writing partner Bernie Frost (not sure why but FR always calls him ‘Bernard’). As well as penning ‘A Year’ with Alan Lancaster for the ‘Piledriver’ album, Frost teamed up with Francis to write some of Quo's biggest hits of the 1980s including ‘What You're Proposing’, ‘Lies’, ‘Rock 'N' Roll’ and the dreaded ‘M****rita Time’. Frost had fought a battle with lymphoma cancer. I never met the guy, but his work will live on…
Saturday 3rd August
Ugggg. My head hurts. Recovering from BBQ held here at Gentling Towers with Amanda and her lad Ewan, plus my old buddy Andy Beare and his missus Tracey. Pimms and dark rum were consumed. By turns we supped quietly or leapt around the living room to a soundtrack of Thunder’s new 30th anniversary best-of (a double which includes a cover of Zep’s ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’, ‘The Very Best Of The Eagles’, FM’s ‘Atomic Generation’ and, of course, ‘The Best Of Wham!’. Ewan, who laid into the peach schnapps, simply couldn’t believe that Andy and I knew all the words to ‘Wham Rap!’ and could recite them at top volume. He has a lot to learn!
Oh good – new reading material has arrived. Issue #15 of Rock Candy magazine contains my interviews with Armored Saint's John Bush and Joey Vera and Thin Lizzy drumming legend Brian Downey. If you're yet to check out RC, don't delay! There’s a Try Before You Buy page here.
Here’s something you won’t believe: this afternoon Palace play a pre-season friendly with Hertha Berlin at Selhurst. Funds are so tight, I’m not going. Absolutely gutted to be missing a home pre-season friendly but simply cannot justify the expense. [Edit: With the visitors strolling to a comfortable 0-4 victory, I may have got out of jail there.]
Friday 2nd August
Having sat at Hamburg Airport attempting to follow the first day of the Ashes on my mobile phone, only to see England’s hopes eradicated by a superhuman batting display from a cheat, I’m tempted to refrain from further comment on the series. The man concerned – I won’t mention his name – is a wonderful cricketer but, in my view, an absolute turd of a human being. That he looks set to be the deciding factor between the two teams is utterly sicking, but that’s life. And heretical as it might sound right now I’ve got far bigger things to worry about than the bloody Ashes.
On an equally sicking note, it’s sad to learn of City Boy singer Lol Mason, who has died of a heart attack at 69 year old. I Loved City Boy... Though they are known for their hit ‘18.104.22.168’ the group’s albums were, mostly, very special.
For those that might care, here’s a new Playlist.
Thursday 1st August
Back at home in South London and my Unidentified Flying visit to Deutschland now seems like a crazy dream. Though I didn't get to set foot outside of the backstage area it was great to pay a first visit to the stupendously impressive Wacken Open Air - I vowed to return again someday.
For those unaware, UFO almost didn't get to perform. We were poised at side stage and somebody had rung the Last Orders bell. Andy Parker had taken his place behind the kit and had sticks in hand when the health and safety brigade informed us that due to a violent overhead storm the massive tent in which the band were playing needed to be evacuated. Later than scheduled, UFO's segment of the show *did* take place, and boy were they on fire.
Neil Carter’s fun-loving personality has slotted right back into the group dynamic. As I watched side-stage, Spike from the QBs arrived brandishing a couple of cold beers for us and proceeded to sing along loudly and lustily to ‘Love To Love’. Should this be the last time I ever get to hear that classic chewn performed live, well... what a surreal yet memorable experience. And after UFO had signed off with 'Doctor Doctor' the crowd's roar of approval was, frankly, astonishing.
To my USA friends... don't miss the band during their Autumn visit. Meanwhile the rest of us will hope that Monsewer Mogg is moved to change his mind about retiring. I understand fully why the decision was made but purely from a musical standpoint it's an utterly ludicrous one. And you know what? Having been a part of the band’s bubble for 48 precious hours, I really wouldn’t put money on UFO calling it day – quite the opposite. The band are having a blast. I’m going out on a limb to predict that further activity remains a possibility.