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.
Sunday 31st July
Last Friday I shelled out a quid for a CD of 'The Collection 1977-1982' by the Stranglers at the Record & Tape Exchange at Notting Hill Gate. I've never been much of a fan in all truth, but it's providing a very pleasing sountrack for a gentle Sunday afternoon of work. This one has always been my favourite song by the Stranglers.
Saturday 30th July
It's 5.50am and I've just walked through the park singing the Iron Maiden classic 'sunlighhht, falllling on your steeeeeeeeel' at the top of my voice. Damn you Crobar, damn you Andy Beare, damn you Robert Corich and above all damn you Blue Öyster fuggin' Cult! Why am I so goddamned persuadable? Anyone who wakes me is dead…
Phew… okay… it's now several hours later, after some shut-eye I'm feeling a little more composed, though my hangover is so monstrous that I actually forgot this afternoon Palace have a pre-season game against Fulham. Ulp! Lucky I didn't buy tickets.
Offering a fortieth anniversary revision of the group's fourth album, 'Agents Of Fortune', plus a cameo from Albert Bouchard, the Blue Öyster Cult gig first class. The Forum was sold out, but our party (which included Xavier Russell, Malcolm Dome, Derek Oliver, Steve Hammonds and the Crobeare) managed to spread itself out across two tables up in the balcony. Sound and vision were just perfect, and a bar was close by!
Featuring the band's signature hit, 'Agents Of Fortune' may be by far BÖC's biggest selling full length collection but it's some way off being their best and performing it in its original running order presented some problems, specifically that that '(Don't Fear) The Reaper' raised its head just three songs into the show – a mere seven minutes after they had taken to the stage! The audience's excitement levels dipped noticeably during the record's latter stages, but the second half of the show – completing a 25-song set-list reliable sources suggest represented the band's longest ever live performance – almost succeeded in blowing off the venue's roof. Bouchard had played guitar and sung the occasional lead vocal during the album-themed segment, but toward the end of the night he thumped away at second set of drums for 'Born To Be Wild', followed by a disgustingly messy confetti canon.
Included in the encores was the quite brilliant 'In Thee', dedicated to its late composer, bassist Allen Lanier, and also to Sandy Pearlman, the band's early manager, producer, co-writer and all round muse, who had passed on a few days before the show.
It was fantastic evening… shows such as this really don't come around too often anymore.
Thursday 28th July
Oh no! What a shame. Nektar frontman Roye Albrighton has passed away after a long illness at the age of 67. Nektar, whose 1972 song 'King Of Twilight' was covered by Iron Maiden, were such a great yet underrated band. I will never forget doing a nice little interview with Roye sitting on a wall outside a concert hall in Trenton, New Jersey, back in 2002, a few days after seeing him play a truly brilliant gig with Nektar at the Town Hall in New York. In my experience he was a wonderful guy! RIP.
It's early evening as I type and I'm back from the gym; my first session post-Ramblin' Man and the insane scramble to claw back a weekend of lost working time. One word: Broken.
Wednesday 27th July
Last night was spent at the brilliantly named Cherry Red Records Fans' Stadium enjoying an away pre-season game for the mighty CPFC against AFC Wimbledon, in the pleasurable company of Eddie and Steve 'No Relation' Way. Mr Speroni was back between the sticks where he belongs, and the Eagles won 3-2 in spite of one of the most bizarre own goals that I've ever seen.
Lots of negative stuff gets written and said about the egos of Premiership footballers, and often quite rightly so. But after Yannick Bolasie was substituted he walked around the perimeter of the ground from the dug-out and past the end full of Palace fans to reach the tunnel. Bolasie stopped to sign every last programme or piece of paper thrust at him, or to smile for selfies. No word of a lie, a journey that took 30 seconds for other players (hello Jason Puncheon!) required 20 minutes for Yala, and he did it all with incredible grace, making the night of hundreds and hundreds of young kids (and even some Dons fans in the main stand) – Eddie got one, too. It was a joy to witness.
Tuesday 26th July
Well, that wasn't a bad first day back at work (I didn't arrive back to my desk till later afternoon on Monday, following a nice ramble through the Kent countryside with Jeff and Phillippa, and a leisurely return drive). This morning, first on the agenda: A lengthy phoner with the Quo's ever-chatty Francis Rossi before lunch, and now I'm sifting through my extensive Twisted Sister collection in search of their best bits from their catalogue. That's quite a task, obviously, as they made so many good records. I even kinda like their swansong 'Love Is For Suckers' though I appreciate that's a fairly unique viewpoint, hahaha. (* And yes... I'm still pining for Mote Park, though, just a bit...*)
Monday 25th July
Well, I'm utterly overjoyed to be back in the bosom of Catford (NOT!) following a fan-bloody-tastic weekend at the Ramblin' Man Fair, spending time with a whole army of truly great peeps, drinking cold cider beneath a scorching sun and enjoying the music of so many great bands. Next year's show takes place over the weekend of July 29 and 30. It'll be interesting to see whether Steelhouse is on at the same weekend once again – here's hoping that's not gonna be the case, being able to attend bout events would be rather nice! In the meantime, here's a brief YouTube clip of 2016's RMF highlights.
Sunday 24th July
Day #2 of Ramblin' Man began with the PAT McMANUS BAND in the Blues Tent and the first cold cider! Pat and his brother John and old mates of mine from the Mama's Boys days and it's always great to bump into them onstage or off. Pat played a beautiful guitar piece called 'Iona Sunset' and whipped out the fiddle during a rousing 'Runaway Dreams'. The audience responded loudly and fervently, I found the whole things strangely moving.
Heading over to a sun-kissed Main Stage, the KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS nailed it. Wandering around at the front of the stage as the place filled up, few really seemed to know who they were but there were quite a few early bird groovers.
There was just enough time to take a quick peek at BLURRED VISION, who were going down a storm on the Prog Stage. I felt bad leaving them so soon, but given the size of the crowds in the tents I wasn't leaving anything to chance – it was time to grab a space one of two bands that I simply was *not* going to miss.
Nashville's own SIMO, featuring guitarist JD Simo, were just finishing with a souped-up take on 'With A Little Help From My Friends' as I arrived at the Blues Tent. He/they sounded great. I will deffo investigate further on November/December's tour with Aaron Keylock and Federal Charm.
Predictably, the place filled up quickly for KING KING; so quickly that my gang of mates were unable to join me in the middle and watched from just inside the tent. Last year's tour with Thunder tour did the up 'n' coming Glaswegian foursome the world of good. Their mix of early Whitesnake and Bad Company set to a blues soundtrack sounded utterly glorious!
And here's where it all got a bit confusing – what an annoying schedule clash. Three of the bands that had attracted me to the festival were due to play overlapping sets… gah! I'd seen the Von Hertzen Brothers quite recently so, reluctantly, gave them a miss and found a place on the edge of the crowd watching THE CADILLAC THREE in full view of the Rising stage, so as not to miss a note of its final group of the day. Leaving TC3 so early felt like a bit of a betrayal, I've been a diehard fan since stumbling them inadvertently in 2014 and have followed their path through bigger and more prestigious venues. And my… what a reaction!
All weekend long, when asked by people for a wildcard act they might not yet be familiar with, my reply was simple: CATS IN SPACE – a current millennium nod back to everything that was great about the 1970s. Sure enough, many of those same individuals found me afterwards to thrust a cider into my hand. As I stood a couple of rows back it was quite odd to watch Jean Beauvoir of Crown Of Thorns fame, watching them with a huge smile on his face. (We later caught up for a chat in the VIP area… see photo… I really enjoyed that!). Though their original tunes are outstanding, the Cats' set included their new vinyl-only single, a cover of Slade's 'How Does It Feel' (sadly, Danny Bowes, who features on the recorded version didn't make it across the field to join them) and ended with 'Burn On The Flame' by Sweet. Cue much headnodding from yours truly.
Another of those friggin' clashes meant I missed Airbourne; it was time to visit the Prog Stage for a spot of reviewing. "Hello everybody, how nice to see you on a sunny summer afternoon," smiled Dave Brock as roadies attempted to fix a gremlin so that the show could begin. Finally he asked, "Are you ready, Tim?" Responding, Mr Blake's theremin emitted a weird R2D2-esque noise. "Okay… chocks away, old bean." Hahaha… how English, how HAWKWIND.
Once again, I found myself torn: notebook in hand as the Hawks drew to a close with 'Shot Down In The Night' and 'Assassins Of Allah', but ready to sprint to the Main Stage. Brock and company seemed to finish and the crowd dissipated and I was off full-tilt (annoyingly, I later found out they had returned for an encore of 'Silver Machine').
As far as I'm concerned, THUNDER should have closed out the festival, with BLACK STONE CHERRY as their special guests. The former played a lean, trim nine-song set ('Wonder Days', 'Higher Ground', 'River Of Pain', 'Backstreet Symphony', 'The Devil Made Me Do It', 'The Thing I Want', 'I Love You More Than Rock 'N' Roll', 'Love Walked In' and 'Dirty Love'), while the latter did their best to follow them – a manful attempt, as it happened – and of course I get the arguments about allowing new blood a chance to come through (this was the first time that the group from Kentucky had headlined a major festival), but as good as their better songs such as 'Things My Father Said, 'Blame It On The Boom Boom' and 'White Trash Millionaire' might be, at times I found my attention wandering. Guitarist Ben Wells' awful new boy band-esque haircut didn't help matters wither… er, WTF? In fact, all too aware that the following 24 hours would see a restoration of everyday normality, I found myself descending into a bit an irrational strop.
It didn't last long. Back at Jeff and Philippa's place the air keyboards and bourbon came out for the usual trip down Journey and Foreigner Lane. In fact, we also played a few tracks by Crown Of Thorns, including the über-ballad 'Standing On The Corner For Ya', for those unaware the band's charms. J&P are wonderful hosts and it was a great end to a fabulous weekend. There are only 264 days till RMF 2017… the countdown starts here.
Saturday 23rd July
Okay, here's a very short precis of today's events at Ramblin' Man Fair. Firstly, the weather was lovely! The sun beat down relentlessly as we gained access to the site, so along with my pals Andy Beare and Paul Newcomb I headed off immediately to the bar. No exaggeration: Paul's first cider didn't even touch the sides! He had ordered a second round before I'd taken two or three swigs of my own. Talk about setting the tone for the weekend!
Annoyingly, clashes between stages were numerous and before too long I found myself watching three or four songs by one band and scuttling off to another part of the area to watch another, before it was time to be somewhere else.
Opening the main stage, INGLORIOUS experienced sound and PA problems but played a powerhouse set of tunes based upon a self-titled debut released earlier this year. I like them more each time I see them and there are very few bands playing such accomplished new music within the sphere of Deep Purple, Rainbow and Whitesnake. The audience liked, 'em, too. Frankly, I'm gobsmacked that they have yet to be interviewed in Classic Rock.
Over to the Prog Stage where FROST* played bathed in sunshine every bit as gorgeous as their fusion of prog and pop, guitarist John Mitchell sporting a most dazzling, dayglow outfit than not even my good friend Mark Taylor would have dared.
And… back to the Main Stage again for the John Corabi-fronted DEAD DAISIES. The band's latest album, 'Make Some Noise', is played regularly at Ling Towers, so it was a little confusing that they aired three covers in their first four songs… what's that all about?
My buddy Malcolm Dome had seen HOGJAW the previous evening and at his recommendation – he called them "a cross between Skynyrd and the Allmans" – I took a quick look at them over in the Blues Tent. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. In fact, some of the weekend's best music was performed out on the satellite stages, more of which later.
However, first you had to get into the tents… the Blues Tent was rammed full for pretty much the entire day. WHISKEY MYERS sounded great from outside its confines, but of course that wasn't a great deal of use. Whoops… forgot to mention that I also saw a large chunk of a set by PURSON over on the Prog Stage. By this time the cider was really doing its job. Frontwoman Rosalie Cunningham wore a fetching pink and purple outfit to complement her band's bewitching psychedelic sounds.
Alas, before too long it was once again time to move on. To my great shame, I hadn't seen Four Wheel Drive since a rebranding as CITY OF THIEVES. Their new songs sounded rather good, as did a revision of the previous group's 'Hammered Again'.
Back to the Main Stage where GINGER WILDHEART, Conny Bloom and company took us all to twisted power-pop heaven! I jotted down in my notebook: 'Wow, this is quite a bill'.
There was yet another short refuelling window before the arrival of EUROPE. I managed to get right to the front and, to my embarrassment, found myself dancing around a bit. Sorry about that, if you were unlucky enough to have seen it.
Over on the Prog Stage as dusk arrived, URIAH HEEP used their hour to perfection. I happened to be standing behind a guy who had a small girl on his shoulders. She was tiny, and she kept turning around and encouraging the crowd to get involved. It wasn't till she caught her father's attention that I realised she was Bernie Shaw's daughter. A lovely moment.
After Heep finished their final three songs – 'July Morning', 'Lady In Black' and 'Easy Livin'' – I took a short-cut back to the VIP area. Needed to grab more cider before it was time to do some work (gasp!)… I was reviewing the next band. And look who I bumped into, the nicest man in rock, the one and only Sir Michael Of Box. It was nice to catch up very briefly. Those pint glasses were starting to pile up, weren't they? Haha.
Post-Heep, the vibe was a good deal less pleasant
as FAMILY brought the same stage to a bad tempered close before a rather miniscule crowd. Maybe their fans are just are simply not festivalgoers? And with music from the Main Stage audible between songs, where the thing that now passes for WHITESNAKE went through their paces, Roger Chapman was mightily pissed off, effing and blinding and performing with all too obvious bad grace. Worse still, his voice had depreciated during the 18 months since I last saw him onstage. Frankly, it was impossible to deny the sense of anti-climax that hung in the air.
Friday 22nd July
Well, it's here at last. In a few hours I will be closing down the office, packing my bags and heading off to Kent for the second annual Ramblin' Man Fair. For a few days I can say goodbye to all those grownup things that I now find myself doing; no more laundry, no more visits to Tesco, no more washing up, no more cooking, no more playing referee between bickering Linglets… I feel like bursting into an adapted version of Alice Cooper's 'Schools Out'.
My esteemed landlord and landlady, Jeff Gilbert and Philippa Douglas, who live a fairly short drive away from the festival site, have just posted a nice photo of the accommodation that Mr Beare and I will be sharing for the weekend. Looks cosy, huh? I'm informed it *does* have a mini-bar. I can't wait!
Thursday 21st July
Here's my interviewette-cum-live report on The Kentucky Headhunters' gig at the Borderline. What an excellent night it turned out to be. Great music, plenty of beer, a nice turnout inside the Borderline and back to the Crobar for a nightcap (or seven) before the journey home via Lewisham, as the last Catford Bridge train was long gone. The one downer of the evening? I really hate it when you ask for *lots* of chili sauce and you get into the park, break it open excitedly, and realise they've given you Andy Beare's pooftah, garlic encrusted, ladyboy meal by mistake, and he's already on nightbus. "All the salad?" No, feck off, go heavy on the green chilis pls! Gah!
Wednesday 20th July
What kind of deranged loony goes out to the gym in this searing, unusually British heat? Er... that'll be me, then...
I dare say that it will also be rather warm inside the Borderline this evening as The Kentucky Headhunters finally make their debut in the UK. [Edit: Here's a very cool dressing room photo from my pre-show interview. It's a shame that drummer Fred Young, the man with the most incredible sideburns in rock, had wandered off in search of food before I produced the camera. Anyway... yeeee and indeed hawww! The South is about to rise again!]
Tuesday 19th July
Aaaaargg! I've just realised that I've got no Manowar on my iPod. What an utterly shameful oversight on my part. It's time to put that right. Let's start with 'Manowar', 'Metal Daze, 'Fast Taker', 'Battle Hymns', 'All Men Play On Ten', 'Sign Of The Hammer', 'Fighting The World', 'Blow Your Speakers', 'Heart Of Steel', 'Blood Of The Kings', 'Violence And Bloodshed' and 'Wheels Of Fire'. Whew... that feels much better.
Meanwhile, on another planet in an entirely different universe, I'm finding 'Smile More', the new single from Deap Vally, strangely and almost annoyingly compulsive. Not sure why as it's hardly the type of thing that I'd usually listen to, but I just cannot stop playing it. Their spelling is awful, too. (And no, it's not because Deap Vally are a pair of trashy young women from the US of A who have holes in their tights and sing lines such as: "Everybody's trying to tell me what to do/It makes me wanna break some shit and sniff some glue" or: "I am not ashamed of my sex life/Though I wish it were better". I just can't that seedy ol' riff out of my head!!!
Monday 18th July
What a *really* great Nazareth gig. It's never easy to replace a legend like Dan McCafferty but a year on new frontman Carl Sentance has really found his feet in the band, and the word seems to be spreading because the venue was rather full. Oh yeah... the venue. Under The Bridge. A delightful space with great sound and friendly staff. The only thing wrong with the place is that it lurks beneath fuggin' Stam***d Br***e. On those grounds I refused to buy a single drink whilst on the promises, purchasing double rounds before we left a nearby pub. That dodgy Russian bastard isn't having a penny of my hard earned cash, no sir-eee. The set-list ran as follows: 'Silver Dollar Forger', 'Miss Misery', 'Razamanaz', 'One Set Of Bones' (from the current album, 'Rock 'N' Roll Telephone'), 'Dream On', 'Holiday', 'This Month's Messiah', 'Turn On Your Receiver', 'Bad Bad Boy', 'Beggars Day', 'Changin' Times', 'Hair Of The Dog', 'Expect No Mercy', 'Love Hurts' and 'Morning Dew', plus an encore of 'Broken Down Angel'.
After the show there were a few dressing room drinkies (thanks to Robert Corich for the photo!) and with things running late it required not one but two night buses for Mr Beare and myself to reach our respective homes. It's alright for Andy, he's on holiday this week. Not exactly an ideal start to the week and feeling somewhat rough this morning, but what the heck!!
Sunday 17th July
Gym workout, refreshing shower, tasty home cooked Sunday lunch... off soon for some ciders and a gig by Nazareth. Bit of a result, that!
Saturday 16th July
Am current recovering from Crystal Palace's first pre-season game of 2016/17 (well, the first that I attended anyway). Away to Beckenham Town... just a few stops down the line from Catford Bridge. A beer and cider tent, a live band before KO and afterwards, shirt sleeves weather, great company with Richard Thompson and Eddie and, most importantly a six-goal thriller (the score was 3-3... Palace fielded an Under-21 side). Best of all, past Eagles legends John Salako and Richard Shaw wandered by - both of these fellas who played in the team regarded by fans as seminal now work for the club and were happy to have their photographs taken with a slightly starstruck middle aged man. No prizes for guessing who! File under 'life highlights'. I've had worse Fridays, that's for sure!
Friday 15th July
My ears are still ringing from a titanic night of classic, marauding, sweaty, twin-guitar, leather 'n' studs heavy metaaaaal with Armored Saint at the Camden Underworld. John Bush (also, of course, a member of Anthrax over two spells) remains one of the finest frontmen on the scene, and few do it better than the Saint, let me tell you. Bush's dry sense of humour was very much in evidence, especially when his fly zipper broke onstage. Later on a roar erupted when he asked: "How many old schoolers do we have in the house today?" Its follow-up of "How many new schoolers with an old school at heart?" received a slightly more lukewarm reaction. And finally with an amused shrug he simply observed: "How many people in here tonight are just old – besides the band?" Yeah, it was quite a show… check this out for a set-list: 'Win Hands Down', 'March Of The Saint', 'Tribal Dance', 'Mess', 'Long Before I Die', 'That Was Then, Way Back When', 'Chemical Euphoria', 'Last Train Home', 'Human Vulture', 'Pay Dirt', 'Aftermath', 'Left Hook From Right Field' and 'Reign Of Fire', with encores of 'Can U Deliver' and 'Mad House'.
I had arrived in time to take a quick peek at Savage Messiah, a young, capable, hirsute four-piece from London, very much cast in the mould of the Big Four of thrash. Tight, professional and with songs such as 'Scavengers Of Mercy', 'Insurrection Rising' and the slower, groovier 'Zero Hour' that were enjoyably familiar, without being carbon copies, it's pretty likely that I shall be seeing them again before too long.
Wednesday 13th July
Last night was spent at the Sartaj Indian Restaurant in Earlham Street, central London. My Good friend Paul Newcomb had gathered together a few of my chums unable to make the recent birthday gathering at Ling Towers. It was a terrific evening, full of beer, tasty food and more than its fair share of rock 'n' roll yarns.
Further to that Diary post of July 6, here's my 'best of BTO' chart. Those that are feeling peckish, beware: May contain references to Yorkie bars.
Tuesday 12th July
I'm in my office working on another Melodic Rock column for the next issue of Classic Rock, sifting through a pile of forthcoming releases. Jørn Lande's 'Heavy Rock Radio', a set of covers issued by Frointiers, has just worked its way to the top of the pile and stopped me in my tracks – for all of the wrong reasons. His version of 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush will keep me smiling for the rest of the day. Hehehe, and now he's rodgering John Farnham's 'The Voice' up the ass with a pogo stick. What on earth was Jørn thinking????!!! His version of 'Killer Queen' is so wooden that you could make a friggin' Viking longboat out of it. And when it comes to that oh-so-feeble attempt at 'Hotel California' by the Eagles, well… I have no words. Check it out for yourself.
Monday 11th July
It's 11am and I'm home from an early morning chiro session. I've had humongous back and shoulder issues for the past decade, but the man who fixed me up says that I'm now in "tip top shape" and there's no need to see me again till next summer, unless a body parts "falls off". Haha!
Fast forward to mid-afternoon and I'm smiling whilst transcribing a phone interview with Maddy Prior of Steeleye Span, now 68, and her reminscence of working with the Quo in the 1990s on their admittedly excruciating remake of 'All Around My Hat'. When I asked why she smiles so much in the video, it seems that alcohol was to blame: "I found myself down in the mosh pit. At one point Francis [Rossi] spotted me and told the audience, 'Oh look, there's a Maddy lookalike down there – fuck me, it *is* Maddy!' I was hoyed over the barrier [to the stage] to join them for the encore, it was all very jolly." I really love hearing that type of story!
Sunday 10th July
Following Thursday's gig by Joe Bonamassa last night I returned to the Old Royal Naval College for another show in the Greenwich Music Time Festival series (thanks to Joe Baxter for the pair of tix… we had great seats ten rows back, dead centre of stage).
I went along with my old footie mucker Kevin Denman. Neither of us knew that Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel were to be the show's special guests, which was a bit of a Brucie bonus to say the least, though it was a little frustrating that a group with such an extensive, fascinating catalogue was allotted a mere 35 minutes.
Kev and I had seen 10cc last May at the Royal Albert Hall playing their album 'Sheet Music' in its entirety. This time the show wasn't album-specific, more of a 'greatest hits'-style bash, though they did haul out the 'Bloody Tourists' track 'From Rochdale To Ocho' amid 'The Things We Do For Love', 'Wall Street Shuffle, 'Life Is A Minestrone' and a truly gorgeous 'I'm Mandy Fly Me'. The company was good, the setting magnificent and more than a few beers were supped, but one thing tarnished the evening for me (sorry to say it again): those rude fuckwits who think it's okay to shout along to their mate at the end of the row, 'Which train are you getting home?', or to loudly discuss the merits of their latest cruise during the quiet bits. Gig etiquette means zilch to these asswipes, and when I turned around to glare at them – repeatedly – they simply stared back as if to say, 'What's the problem?' Oh, for an Uzi!
[Edit: Bloody well done to Andy Murray, who is Wimbledon champion for a second time. Murray played some fantastic tennis today and was just too good for Raonic, who is a real name for the future. #heisbritishagain].
Saturday 9th July
Phew! In a new statement Simon Porter, the manager of Status Quo says that said Rick Parfitt is "making an excellent and steady recovery" from what he calls "an extremely serious life threatening situation" that went down last month following a show in Turkey. Now out of hospital, the 67-year-old has "had a defibrillator fitted into his chest in order to regulate any future heart issues". Get well soon, Mr P.
I must say that I'm loving this story in which Bad Religion guitarist Brian Baker slams Johnny-come-latelies Bring Me The Horizon with the insult of: "You Suck As Humans". Aaah, the blissful, foolhardy naïveté of youth. This is a costly reminder against taking cheap, obvious potshots at one's elders and betters.
Friday 8th July
I seem to spend half of what little spare time I have travelling across London in pursuit of rock 'n' roll, so it's always nice to attend a gig in my own backyard (metaphorically speaking). Last night Joe Bonamassa came to Sarfff Londunnnn for an open-air show at the Old Royal Naval College grounds as part of the Greenwich Music Time Festival. I was right there in the crowd, 'natch! In a performance billed as A Salute To The British Blues Explosion, Bonamassa was paying homage to the guitar heroics of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.
Save for a few isolated sprinkles that filled the air during Joanne Shaw Taylor's opening display the rain held off and Joe's record label had a hospitality tent at the side of the stage that provided a wonderful view of proceedings without having to wander too far from the bar. I'm afraid to say that way too many white wines tumbled down the neck during a great two-hour show. My own favourite was an exquisite, slowburning rendition of Led Zeppelin's classic 'How Many More Times' that brought the set proper to a close. Needless to say, the whole shebang was filmed and recorded for a live album and DVD. It'll be well worth checking out! [Thanks to Colin Hart for use of this live pic].
Wednesday 6th July
I've been up since 6am, drinking huge mugs of tea, work boots up on the desk and wearing a lumberjack shirt, as I sift through these little l'il beauts by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The Canadians were such a great, underrated band... as a consequence of hearing the albums again I have just put eight of their tracks onto the iPod.
Some people (hello Steve Leslie!) say that all you really need of BTO is their 1974 album 'Not Fragile' and a few tracks from the following year's 'Four Wheel Drive', but that not strictly true. There's gold in them thar hills... all you've gotta do is look for it. For instance I'm a huge fan of the track 'Shotgun Rider', which appeared on the underappreciated 'Freeways' in 1977. I'm also a proud owner of 'BTO Live – Japan Tour', the Nippon-Canada only concert release from that same year.
Those that follow this site's Playlist and YouTube pages might like to know that they have just been updated for the month of July.
Tuesday 5th July
For the past two days I've had the brand new Kansas album, 'The Prelude Implicit', on almost constant repeat, ahead of this afternoon's just-conducted phone interview with Phil Ehart. It's quite brilliant, as will become evident when it's released to the world on September 23. Ehart told me that European dates are set to follow next summer as the band's new look line-up celebrates the 40th anniversary of the classic album 'Leftoverture' with what he called "a two-hour show"... whoop!
Monday 4th July
Taken from the Classic Rock website, here's a cool little story-ette of mine on the making of 'Strangers In The Night' by UFO, one of the best live LPs ever recorded. Though I say so myself, it contains some rather great quotes...
Sunday 3rd July
And so the great clear-up begins. We may need a skip for this one! From lunchtime until the early hours of this morning, Ling Towers was full of drunken loonies. Neighbours ran for cover as the place rang out to the sound of Motörhead's 'Overkill', the new albums from Cats In Space and Cheap Trick and a whole host of classic acts.
Actually, I exaggerate. By the standards of previous bashes it was a bit of a low-key event, only formalised a week earlier, but thanks to all those that stopped by at such short notice, including the Crobeare, Philip Wilding and Lauren Archer, 'Mad' Malcolm Dome, Jeff and Philippa, Tyrina Gallagher, Mark Taylor, the lovely Marlene and, at the last minute, Keith Barton. Apologies for abstinence were received from my poor long-suffering webbywoman Batttttty and her Thirst-Officer Max Madd.
One of my favourite bits was the Mini-Lingfest back garden kickaround – down the years it's become a bit of a tradition. As usual, Bob The Dog was Man Of The Match. Next year we'll do a *real* Lingfest. I'm off now, but so long as a certain person deposits a tenner in my bank account I won't reveal the identity of the rather 'refreshed' individual who fell down the steps and into the rubbish bins as they tried to leave. Hehehe. Hello Lauren, whooops!
Saturday 2nd July
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, etc etc. And also to my old mate Paul Gillooly, who happens to share the same date. Some friends will be over soon for a bit of a celebration, it's bound to get pretty darned messy.
My working week ended with a hugely enjoyable phone interview with Trevor Rabin, ex-solo artist and guitarist and major creative force during the '90125' era of Yes, and now a member of the trio Anderson Rabin & Wakeman. The South African has been a bit of hero of mine for many, many years... we'd never spoken before; what a truly fascinating guy he turned out to be. Here's one of my favourite of his chewns.
Friday 1st July
Bob really doesn't like the rain so he's come to join me in my office as I work, sitting right at my feet. He knocked over a couple of piles of CDs in doing so, but... oh, bless him!
Great news from Selhurst Park. Palace have signed a *real* goalie, Steve Mandala. The French international is currently with his national team at Euro 2016, where he is Number Two to Hugo Lloris. The stats suggest that he is one hell of a custodian. Bye bye, 'Calamity' Hennessey. And shut the door on the way out, you useless excuse for a footballer.