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 30th June
Lynyrd Skynyrd at Wembley on their farewell tour. When they returned to a stage filled with dry ice for their inevitable choice of encore everybody in the hall knew what would happen next. And as Skynyrd purred through the epic 'Free Bird' the screens remembered a long list of band members lost to the reaper. When the second verse arrived Johnny simply placed his Stetson on the microphone and left the remaining words to a video recording made of his elder sibling. This was one of those rock 'n' roll bucket list moments guaranteed to bring up goosebumps. I feel very sorry indeed for the future generations of rock fans that will now never get to experience it.
Wednesday 26th June
Up to Birmingham for a sneak preview of the 50th anniversary exhibition which opens tomorrow. It's open till September. If you're a fan it's worth a visit.
Friday 21st June
Last night I went to see a little band called Metallica at Twickenham Stadium. A few other peeps were also there. They're becoming quite popular since I first saw them at the Marquee Club in 1984.
Thursday 20th June
My third live sighting of Saskatoon's own Sheepdogs, whose music is steeped in the greatness of The Allman Brothers, the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steely Dan, Little Feat, Creedence Clearwater, The Band, pre-MTV ZZ Top and classic early Wishbone Ash.
My night was complete when their encore included a smiley-faced rendition of the ABB's 'Ramblin' Man' - a festival they really should be playing at in 2020.
Monday 17th June
Another performance from the mighty Tesla - this time plugged-in at Shepherds Bush Empire. These guys never, ever disappoint.
Sunday 16th June
The final Father's Day to be spent here at Catford with my own dad who is now in the early stages of Alzheimer's. A lovely home cooked Sunday lunch (thanks Amanda) but it definitely felt like the end of an era.
Saturday 15th June
Brothers Osborne at sold-out Islington Academy. In a sea of unfamiliar faces and waiting for the lights to go down it felt odd to overhear discussion of Vince Gill, Keith Urban and past gigs at the Grand Ole Oprey. Frontman TJ Osborne and his geetar-toting sibling John hail from Maryland but are now based in Nashville and, consequently, their sound is a glorious, seductively smooth mash-up of Southern rock, pop and outlaw country. They ooze personality and, frankly, I could have watched them all night. Mark my words, this is a band headed to Wembley Arena within the next few years. It was so great to experience them in a club.
Friday 14th June
Question: What do you get if you cross members past 'n' present of Black Sabbath, GN'R, Velvet Revolver, Billy Idol's Band, The Cult and Apocalyptica? The answer: It's still too early to say. With a debut album still being recorded an 80-minute display from Deadland Ritual relied upon covers. For the most part Geezer Butler stood in the shadows at the back and Steve Stevens threw in some theramin among the flashy guitar riffs while Franky Perez sang the Ozzy-fronted Sabbath songs ('Symptom Of The Universe', 'Sweet Leaf', 'NIB' and 'War Pigs') respectably enough but wasn't up to the Dio-fronted 'Neon Knights'. Neither could he do justice to 'White Wedding', and it struck me that walking away with a new-found respect for Billy Idol felt like a sad indictment of a concert! Their own material sounded pretty good, so I'm reserving my judgement till the album.
Thursday 13th June
(EVENING VERSION) Brian Tatler and company began the campaign for their fabulous new album 'The Coffin Train' with a frustratingly short support slot. No backdrop and just 40 mins of playing time. Although I met others that disagreed, I loved that they bloodied three brand new numbers ('Death By Design', 'The Messenger' and, best of the lot, a rollickin' 'Belly Of The Beast') to the exclusion of songs they've played for decades...
'Coffin...' is likely to make my end of year Top 20 and after so many lean years it's great to see DH making such strong headway. Headliners Last In Line I can take or leave. And after less than half an hour of vintage Dio tracks and passable original tunes I went for the latter option. Sorry.
Thursday 13th June
(DAYTIME VERSION) What an absolute privilege to be here at Abbey Road as Tesla celebrate the 30th anniversary of 'Five Man Acoustical Jam' in the fabled Studio Two.
Tuesday 11th June
Today is both a happy and sad occasion. Having spent the past few months a part-time inmate here at Gentling Towers, Eddie Lemmy Selhurst Ling is moving out for good to live with his bird. No more exasperating hour-long late night showers that prevent anybody else from using the bathRoom before going to bed. No more bins full of empty Strongbow Dark Fruit tins and Super Noodle wrappers. No more desperate phone calls asking me to wash his work uniform. From next season onwards we will be taking separate routes to our Selhurst Park rendezvous. The boy is now a man and I'm proud of him. Don't be a stranger, sports bud! On that note, I'm off to play one of my all-time fave Genesis albums, 'And Then There Were Three...
Monday 10th June
Well, lookee here... UFO reunion (of sorts) at Sweden Rock Fest. One of the best photographs of the year.
Sunday 9th June
He didn't play my personal fave song of his - 'Hello Dawn' from 'Motivation Radio' - and those 105 minutes onstage flew by quicker that a pothead pixie's piss, but Steve Hillage's back-to-the-1970s gig at Shepherd's Bush Empire lived up to expectations... and then some.
Saturday 8th June
Gentling Towers goes onto the market. And so it begins...
Friday 7th June
Symphony X at the Electric Ballroom: A nice helping of power-meets-prog-metal. Not too many bands that can do it better! (And much better than staying home for the 'kin England game). When they encored with the full 25-minute rendition of the title track of their 2002 set 'The Odyssey' a poor disbelieving girl to my right was reduced to a puddle of tears. Blimey!
Thursday 6th June
The Pete Way Band at the Red Lion in Gravesend. I was last here watching either Paul Samson's Empire or Spider, it's that long ago. I also saw Samson (with Bruce) at Woodville Halls just down the road. Where on earth do the decades go?
Look... I love Pete and acknowledge he has earned the right to do whatever he wishes with his career, but at his late stage in life and in such poor health you cannot simply decide to *become* a lead singer of a high profile rock band. Like anything else, it's a craft and right now he's in danger of tarnishing the years of being in one of the finest hard rock bands of all time. My heart goes out to him.
Wednesday 5th June
Back in London for the first time in eight long years, Styx at the Palladium. Original bassist Chuck Panozzo appeared with them for a few tunes and when they burst into 'Come Sail Away', well... just like the rocket from current concept album 'The Mission' the earth moved.
Monday 3rd June
An intimate, behind closed doors and decidedly kick-ass promotional set from Warrior Soul for their new album and something called 'alcohol'. They played for more than two hours.
Kory: "For journalists, you guys rock." Gee, thanks.
Sunday 2nd June
Gov't Mule at the Forum and a guest spot from Joe Bonamassa, who joined proceedings for the Warren Haynes solo track 'If Heartaches Were Nickels', covered by Joe on 'A New Day Yesterday', and a lengthy and robust rendition of Jeff Beck's 'Freeway Jam'. Fantastic stuff.