Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Friday 31st May
I am absolutely gutted to be missing out on this evening’s Michael Schenker Group and Tank show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. A case of too much work and too little time. Watching Britain’s Got Talent with the kids and opening a bottle of vino is just no substitute.
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Thursday 30th May
Here’s my verdict on yesterday’s Journey, Whitesnake and Thunder gig at Wembley Arena, reviewed for the Metal Hammer website. In fact, my friend Caroline ‘Funky’ Gibbons and I almost didn’t get to see Thunder due to the immense size of the Guest List queue. I’d resigned myself to missing out on a big chunk of the Londoners’ set when, with two mins to go, the event’s PR man Peter Noble came rushing out with a pair of tix. Yessss! For anyone that wants to know the Thunder set-list, it ran as follows: ‘Dirty Love’, ‘River Of Pain’, ‘Higher Ground’, ‘Low Life In High Places’, ‘Back Street Symphony’, ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’, ‘Love Walked In’ and ‘I Love You More Than Rock ‘N’ Roll’.
You’ll gather from the Hammer site that Whitesnake failed miserably to float my boat. During their set I posted the following on my Facebook page: “Watching Whitesnake at Wembley. I don’t think I brought enough cherry brandy. Why are people clapping this bollox?”, followed later on by: “Whitesnake, you are a much loved former flame, but here we endeth. I wish you well.” Nuff said…

Dave Ling Online

My mood soared when, during the changeover, Steve ‘No Relation’ Way and I were introduced to CPFC’s goalie Julian Speroni at the bar. It was nice to shake Jules’ hand and thank him for the vital save he had made a few days earlier during the Play-Off Final at Wembley. Lovely man, huge rock fan and a wonderful custodian – I’m so happy that we will get the chance to see him in the Premier League.
Given the slating they’d taken on the tour’s regional dates, I expected very little of Journey. Okay, certain elements of their performance were performed on auto pilot and Neil Schon’s propensity to widdle became pretty annoying – I didn’t see it myself but my friend Nick Shilton, who was on the other side of the Arena, assures me that Jonathan Cain actually looked across at the guitarist and tapped his wristwatch during one particularly bout of snooze-inducing excess. On the whole, though, it was a pretty satisfactory evening.
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Wednesday 29th May
Carried away by Monday’s events at Wembley I’d clean forgotten a promise to head over to the Garage and check out Goldsboro, a visiting band from Los Angeles whose album I had recently praised in the pages of Metal Hammer. The hangover still felt so Godawful that I almost made my excuses and opted for an early night, but my word is my bond, etc etc, and the promise of a few beverages from my Classic Rock colleague Paul Elliott, who has been doing some publicity on behalf of the group and their manager Rudy Reed (of the Wildhearts’ fame) was too good to decline. The first pint was quite hard to force down, the next few significantly less so… hahaha.
Goldsboro are a super-tight power-trio with a big riffing style redolent of Thin Lizzy, Sabbath, Budgie and Soundgarden. You could never call them original, but their enthusiasm and power are enormous plusses. ‘Great White Buffalo’ is more Thin Lizzy than… er, the Black Star Riders and ‘Bottom’ is a ball-buster that the Black Spiders would be proud to have recorded. My friend Xavier Russell pointed out that ‘I Surrender’ sounded like “a Suvvern version of ‘Ace Of Spades’ [by Motörhead]”, which, frankly, was good enough for me.
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Tuesday 28th May
Post-match goodwill continues to flood in after my beloved Crystal Palace won the Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium. Thanks so much to all that texted, emailed, called or sent website Guestbook, FB or BB messages. Joe Elliott was most amused to learn that I was ‘put to bed’ by my 16-year-old son upon our return to Chateau Ling! So the Eagles are back in the top flight for the first time in eight years, thanks to an ice-cool penalty kick from the evergreen Kevin Phillips. How reassuring to wake up and realise that it wasn’t all a crazy, booze-fuelled dream. I’ve just sat and watched the Football League Show in tears. Okay, it’s probably best if I man up a bit. But… unlike their Hertfordshire counterparts the Palace fans sounded so loud on the box, and the players gave everything. Wilfried Zaha, who wept in the dressing room after the final whistle, signed off from the club that discovered and nurtured him with a match-winning display, tying the Watford defenders in knots and winning the spot-kick. From the despair of near-oblivion just three years ago to reclaiming our seat at the top table… Christ Almighty, what a wonderful football club. Here are a few pix from a truly fantastic day out.

Dave Ling Online

Dave Ling Online

Dave Ling Online

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Monday 27th May
And so to ‘the richest prize in world football’. Come what may I shall enjoy today’s Play-Off Final, along with 32,999 other red & blue loonies. I despise everything that the Prem league stands for but £120 million would secure Crystal Palace’s long term future. And a defeat to Udinese Reserves (AKA Twatford)? Well, we’ve already stuffed our deadliest rivals the Seaweed on their own turf – triggering a downward spiral (bye-bye, Poyet), so for a club tipped to have been relegated it’s been a bloody fantastic season. More importantly, my son Eddie’s excitement at attending an Eagles match at Wembley Stadium is incredibly touching.
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Sunday 26th May
Despite the lovely Bank Holiday weekend I’m chained to the PC, writing a Buyer’s Guide for Classic Rock. I probably shouldn’t reveal the name of the artist. Although I’m trying to free up time for tomorrow’s trip to Wembley, an air of relaxation abounds. Over lunch I sat on a sun-drenched patio and absorbed the new issue of Classic Rock. Scott Rowley’s obituary for Storm Thorgerson was a great read. My own dealings with the grouchy but legendary sleeve designer were few and far between. Several years ago I conducted a phone interview with him during which he was standoffish to the point of rudeness. I’d been asked to quiz him about ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ for a section called Sleeve Notes but he preferred to discuss a more contemporary piece of his work. Some bartering began. “Hold on a minute!” he barked as another call came in, then (apparently) proceeded to forget I was waiting patiently on line #2. Returning to the phone 15 minutes later to make a new call, Storm seemed astonished to find I hadn’t hung up and gone away and, quite possibly impressed by my tenacity, gave me exactly what I needed. Ha!
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Saturday 25th May
Gotta admit, last night’s gig from Rush at the O2 Arena underwhelmed me. Sure, the presentation was lavish… for the ticket prices (£65-£85) it had to be… but as a fan of a very specific era of the Canadian group’s history, I found the set-list most unsatisfying. Barring one song, the first of two sets was culled entirely from the trio’s keyboard-led albums of the 1980s… uggggh. After the interval they introduced an eight-person string section and began performing tunes from their most recent disc, ‘Clockwork Angels’, a record that I enjoyed a lot… however, I didn’t want to hear them play the damned thing in its entirety (or so it felt) – a huge, unforgiving, leaden chunk. A soporific mood gradually took hold and I was far from alone in sinking back into my seat. Being blunt, as the second set drew on it, my O2 experience began to feel like torture. Despite a particularly sadistic rumour that Rush had performed the ‘Caress Of Steel’ classic ‘Lakeside Park’ in Manchester 24 hours earlier (untrue, of course – though I was inclined to believe it given the lyric of “Everyone would gather/On the twenty-fourth of May”), apart from the three-song ‘2112’ medley that closed the show they included ZILCH from the 1970s. Had I seen the set-list in advance I’d have stayed home.
Here’s what was played: ‘Subdivisions’, ‘The Big Money’, ‘Force Ten’, ‘Grand Designs’, ‘The Body Electric’, ‘Territories’, ‘The Analog Kid’, ‘Bravado’, ‘Where's My Thing?’ (including Drum Solo), ‘Far Cry’, ‘Caravan’, ‘Clockwork Angels’, ‘The Anarchist’, ‘Carnies’, ‘The Wreckers’, ‘Headlong Flight’ (including second Drum Solo), ‘Halo Effect’, ‘Seven Cities Of Gold’, ‘The Garden’, ‘Manhattan Project’, Drum Solo #3, ‘Red Sector A’, ‘YYZ’ and ‘The Spirit of Radio’, followed by ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Overture’, ‘The Temples Of Syrinx’ and ‘Grand Finale’ from ‘2112’.
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Friday 24th May
Yay! Richie Sambora has hit back at JBJ’s latest slurs (see Wednesday). Go Richie! The sooner Sambora quits Bon Jovi, taking any last vestige of rock credibility with him, the better. My friend Malcolm Dome has just joked that Richie should consider forming a new band with Alex John Such… how much would *that* piss off Jonny Boy?!
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Thursday 23rd May
Aaaarg! Last night presented yet another of those annoying gig schedule clashes – Mike Tramp's one-man show over at the Star Of Kings or Scot-rockers Gun much nearer to home at the Borderline? The latter’s ‘Break The Silence’ was among my fave releases of ’12, and I felt the need to raise a few glasses in honour of Trevor Bolder, so it was off the Crobar, and then Gun for me.
Gun’s decision to promote bassist Dante Gizzi to lead vocalist following the departure of Toby Jepson certainly paid off in the studio. However, I’d say he’s still finding his feet as a live performer. Almost a year to the day since a gig at the Islington Academy, Gizzi is a more confident, able vocalist and frontman. Neither are skills you can learn overnight and the little falsetto parts he threw in (notably during ‘Better Days’) are still a little out his reach. I was slightly surprised that, with just an hour-long set, the band included three completely unheard and rather fine new tracks (‘One Wrong Turn’, ‘Hey Suzanne’ and ‘Honest Man’), two of which featured a guest saxophone player. The next album will be interesting… here’s hoping that people will continue to allow Dante Gizzi the breathing space to fulfil his potential. The set-list ran as follows: ‘14 Stations’, ‘Lost And Found’, ‘Don’t Say It’s Over’, ‘Better Days’, ‘No Substitute’, ‘One Wrong Turn’, ‘Butcher Man’, ‘Hey Suzanne’, ‘Honest Man’, ‘Break The Silence’, ‘Word Up’ and ‘Steal Your Fire’, followed by an encore of ‘Shame On You’.
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Wednesday 22nd May
What truly awful news. Last night at around 7.30pm we lost Trevor Bolder, one of the most talented, likable and modest guys in rock music. I was fortunate to have met Trev, sometimes nicknamed ‘Turbo’ for his less than breakneck demeanour, many times. He always seemed pleased to see you, was generous with his time and by all accounts made it his business to take younger bands under his wing wherever appropriate. Heep’s Mick Box says: “Trevor was a World Class bass player, singer & songwriter, and more importantly a World Class friend. He will be sadly missed by family, friends and rock fans all over the world. We are all numb to the core.” The glowing tributes say it all. RIP, Trevor 1950-2013.
And at the other end of the spectrum, Jon Bon Jovi’s mask is now starting to slip, suggesting that Richie Sambora is back in rehab again. What a vile little man.
You couldn’t make it up… I was just about to get into the shower after a run when Spike from the Quireboys called some 26 hours and 15 mins early for a pre-arranged interview. He’d been out on the piss all afternoon with Robert Plant and Terry Reid, and was so drunk that he could barely speak. Great entertainment! Wish I’d recorded it!
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Tuesday 21st May
I am still recovering from a few too many drinkies at the central London hostelry Pillars Of Hercules with a gang of boozy associates thrown in honour of my LA-based friend Caroline ‘Funky’ Gibbons who is back in the UK for her annual holiday. In attendance at various points in the evening were Dave Boyce, Danny Gwilym, Faye Blaylock and Funky’s US friend Dennette. Some of this motley crew had been on the lash since lunchtime by the time of my arrival, so there was some serious catching up to do. Rock ‘n’ roll tales flowed as speedily as the grog and as Funky and Dennette headed home a nightcap at the Crobar seemed in order… how many times have I written that regrettable phrase before? Almost missed my last train from Charing Cross station; fortunately I’m now fit enough to run down Charing Cross Road at breakneck speed!
Well, that’s my reading matter for the weekend sorted, Martin Popoff’s newie Rush – The Illustrated History just thudded onto the mat. Received with thanks, Martin. It looks great…
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Monday 20th May
Phew! After a solid week of work the Status Quo re-issue sleeve essays are finished and approved. Alan Lancaster just sent an email saying: “Excellent Dave – I even learned something new about ‘Rocking All Over The World’.” What a compliment!
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Sunday 19th May
Last night was spent in the company of my two sons, seated before the tellybox for the Eurovision Song Contest. Er, what to say about Tony Iommi’s composition for Armenia except... don’t call us, we’ll call you! Very much a case of: “Armenia... Nil points!” Amazingly, Iommi’s was not the worst offering of the night. I had to exit the room during the Spanish entry, complete with bagpipes – unlistenable bilge! And what about that Romanian song… performed by something that resembled a cross between Dracula, King Diamond and Gary Glitter. Yikes! The UK was represented by the veteran Bonnie Tyler, or as Rick Parfitt likes to call her, Tiny Boiler. Tiny’s tune, co-penned by Desmond Child, deserved far better than the meagre 23 points it managed to accumulate (in fact, Armenia actually finished one place higher, in 18th!). The political voting really pisses me off!
As I type the cricket commentary is on in the background and I’m working on album reviews for Metal Hammer. I must say, I’m *really* impressed by the newie from Queensrÿche (the Tate-less variety). Self-titled and due via Century Media on June 24, the James ‘Jimbo’ Barton-mixed set features Tate’s hugely talented replacement Todd LaTorre, previously of Crimson Glory, on vocals. After the shame of 2011’s rambling, poorly focussed ‘Dedicated To Chaos’ it goes some way to reviving the signature sound of the Seattle band’s much-cherished releases from the 1990s. Check out the track ‘Where Dreams Go To Die’ here. Accept no substitute, folks…
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Saturday 18th May
After days of rumour on internet message boards, today’s newspapers are full of coverage of “Poogate”. It seems that some dirty bastard representing the home side took a dump in Palace’s dressing room prior to Monday’s play-off victory. Fair play to Palace for answering in the best possible way – out on the pitch. Reports that Shiteon’s home is to be renamed as the Andrex Stadium have yet to be confirmed. Anyway, the Wembley tix have just arrived, so I’m very happy indeed.
Facebook can be so addictive and time consuming that I’ve opted to spend the last few days offline whilst completing my expanded re-issue sleeve essays for Quo’s ‘Piledriver’ and ‘Rocking All Over The World’ albums. I loved it when Francis Rossi picked up an acoustic guitar and sang a segment of ‘Can't Give You More’ down the phone to explain a point on the song’s birth. Spud’s comments to add tomorrow, and we’re done!
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Friday 17th May
Last night was spent at my local blues haunt, the Beaverwood Club in Chislehurst – my first visit to the place in quite a while, though among other events scribbled into the desk diary I shall deffo go back there on June 13 to see Michael Katon. On the first night of a latest UK tour, the Billy Walton Band were yesterday’s attraction. I’ve seen and enjoyed the New Jersey-based combo several times before. The absence of saxophonist Richie Taz, not due in the country for another 24 hours, was a disappointment, but Walton fulfilled his part of the bargain with some scorching blues-based riffs and a very decent version of Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’.
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Thursday 16th May
Yesssss! The postie has just delivered the tickets I’d booked for England’s T20 game against New Zealand at the Oval on June 25. Today’s haul also includes a copy of the newly re-mastered edition of Hawkwind’s 1975 masterpiece ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’, which to my mortal embarrassment till now I’d never owned on CD.
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Wednesday 15th May
Cheers so much for all of the ‘congratulations’ emails and texts, which continue to roll in. They mean a lot. I just booked the tickets for myself and seven CPFC-obsessed friends to attend the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday, May 27. By the looks of it we are right on the halfway line – a prime location. People keep asking whether I fancy Palace’s chances of beating Twatford to claim a place in the so-called Promised Land. Truthfully, promotion and the huge wads of cash would be nice but we’ve already won our cup final. (That’s what I’m telling myself anyway…).
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Tuesday 14th May
You’ll have to excuse me; I’m feeling quite emotional. Just three years ago my beloved footie club was on the verge of extinction. I stood all day long chanting outside a bank as the money men cogitated upon the future of CPFC. Look at us now: On May 27, after shafting our biggest rivals in their own back yard along the way, we get to compete at Wembley Stadium for the big £120 million prize – promotion back to the Premiership. It’s a funny ol’ game!
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Monday 13th May
Wow – what an amazing conclusion to yesterday’s other play-off semi-final between Twatford and Leicester. To be honest I’d rather have played the Foxes should the Eagles somehow make it through this evening, but that last minute kick in the teeth from the Hornets was payback for Claridge’s shin!
Must confess that as tonight’s kick-off approaches I’m struggling more and more to focus upon my work. Having drawn the home play-off tie and suffered a walloping just a few weeks earlier, the odds are stacked in Shiteon’s favour. But as history tells us, these underdog scenarios have been known to bring out the best in the Eagles. Only time will tell.
[Edit: The kids are now in bed and it’s 10.30pm. I type this after opening another three-litre box of medium dry Perry because, against the odds, Palace won the game. I refer you to my earlier Facebook post: “Wilfried Zaha I want your babies, Crystal Palace are going to Wembley! Fuck off Shiteon scum, we can see you sneaking out!!!” Seems to say it all…]

Dave Ling Online

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Sunday 12th May
Happy birthday to Eddie Lemmy Selhurst Ling, who came into the world exactly 16 years ago. I love you, Sports Bud! X Here’s his birthday cake…

Dave Ling Online

My Saturday afternoon and evening were spent down in Kingston-On-Thames, where the Celebr8.2 progressive music festival took place. I also found the time to conduct a very entertaining interview with Andy Tillison of the long-running UK-based band The Tangent – what an interesting, highly quotable geezer!
Popping in and out of the venue all day, I could only really focus upon the last two acts on the main stage. There’s something slightly perplexing about Frost*. I love the fact that they are a prog band with a sense of humour but you can have too much of a good thing, and after a while their smugness becomes mildly annoying. They seem unable to be able to make a decision and stick to it: ‘We’re splitting up’. ‘Aaah… we’ve changed our minds’. They recruit a stand-in key deputy (Tillison) and after mainman Jem Godfrey hurts himself in a bizarre garden accident, and at the 11th hour Godfrey decides to play everything with one hand – rather well, actually. But it all seems so haphazard…?
In the end Frost* delivered an enjoyable yet fairly ramshackle set plagued by equipment failures. Talking about his injury Godfrey tells us: “In the space of about four minutes I taught my kids every swearword I know” and later on he and John Mitchell were reduced to fits of giggles by their latest hardware hiccough. Musically speaking, when they were good they were great but presentation-wise I found it all to be a bit… amateur?
In nothing less than commanding, authoritative form, headliners Threshold proceeded to wipe the floor with the Frosties. Their show’s epic centrepiece, ‘Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams’, is one of the best progressive-metal tunes of recent years and I walked away from the Hippodrome and back towards the station wondering how such an astonishingly talented group, and one that has made such amazing music for such a long period of time, can be so dismally overlooked in their homeland.
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Saturday 11th May
It’s with a heavy heart that I find myself typing the words: ‘Crystal Palace 0, Shiteon 0’. The Eagles really needed to take a lead of some kind into the way leg. With leading goalscorer Glenn Murray not only drawing a blank but suffering an injury that will keep him out of the game for several months, the balance of power shifts towards the South Coast. How fucking depressing…
Luckily, this morning’s interviews with Alan Lancaster and ‘Rocking All Over The World’ producer Pip Williams went so wonderfully well that I can scarcely feel the pain. Had you told me told me as a spotty teenager on the way to Wembley Arena for my first ever rock gig that someday I would ring Lancaster, and the bassist would proclaim: “Aaaah, that’ll be the legendary Dave Ling” then I would’ve said you were on drugs! I’m really keen to make these sleeve essays as definitive as possible. ‘RATW’ was the first Quo album that I bought and side-stepping the debate over that glossy production, I really wanna do it justice. Have been playing it lots over last few days and it still holds up well...
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Friday 10th May
So… the big day is here at last and, frankly, I’m cacking myself. The ground is sold out and players and fans both know their parts. Losing to The Scum, especially in a competition as crucial as the play-offs, is simply not an option. As I type this at around mid-afternoon (KO is in a few hours’ time), a man’s thoughts turn to two important questions: 1) Which Crystal Palace will show up to face their fiercest rivals? The park team-esque one or the version that plays like Brazil? And 2) Where did I put that cherry brandy?
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Thursday 9th May
Did anyone else see Robert Fripp and Toyah last night on All Star Mr And Mrs? The odd couple talked about antique tickling sticks, sprinkled kisses over cups of tea and the fluffy bunny rabbits that apparently rules their house!!! ‘Surreal’ is not the word! It was quite touching, though...
The mental pressure’s starting to build and I really need something important to distract my attention from tomorrow’s play-off first leg game with Shiteon & Home Albion. So it’s very fortunate that I’ve just begun work on the sleeve notes for the expanded re-issues of Quo’s ‘Piledriver’ and ‘Rocking All Over The World’ albums. Messrs Rossi and Parfitt both agreed to give phone interviews. The candour of both was most welcome. Other participants to follow…
Getting back to tomorrow’s game with The Scum, in future when people ask me to explain The Rivalry, I shall simple refer them to this story from the Daily Mail []. It does a fairly decent job of raking over past skirmishes, though sadly fails to mention a glorious 5-0 victory that took place in 2002 in the first game contested by the clubs in 13 years. My friend Sy Sharp has just reminded me that after the final whistle blew that afternoon, the Selhurst announcer said: “For the safety of the Br***ton fans we will be keeping you in the ground for 30 minutes. And to the Palace fans, we’ve stocked the bar!” Genius!
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Wednesday 8th May
Having missed their reunion with former singer Neal Morse at High Voltage back in 2001 – check out the footage here – I was shocked to discover that my last sighting of Spock’s Beard was way, way back in 2008. Knocked out by the Californian band’s utterly excellent current album ‘Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep’, last night I zoomed over to the Garage in North London to set that straight.
A few days earlier I’d seen Sound Of Contact, a new band featuring Simon ‘Son Of Phil’ Collins on vocals and drums, in more intimate surroundings (see Diary, May 2). I hope this admission might come back to bite me in the future but I was a bit disappointed by their electric performance. From where I was stood, Collins didn’t seem have a great voice or much onstage charisma (lower case ‘C’). It comes to something when the guy that isn’t even a member of your band – guitarist John Wesley of Porcupine Tree fame – outshines its potential star. Beginning and ending with instrumental pieces (‘Möbius Slip, Part One: In The Difference Engine’ and ‘Cosmic Distance Ladder’), SOC also played ‘Pale Blue Dot’, the single ‘Not Coming Down’, ‘Remote View’, ‘Closer To You’ and ‘Omega Point’. I’d like to see them again soon because SB’s Ted Leonard was also slightly low in the mix – possibly it was a poor PA? – the difference being that the older man knew how to project himself, also to bring the audience into the show.
With Leonard having taken the place of Nick D’Virgilio, himself a successor to Morse (who became a born again Christian 11 years ago), Spock’s have done well to see out the last decade. ‘Brief Nocturnes…’ is a brilliant piece of work – no wonder they included all but one of its seven songs. ‘Crack The Big Sky’ and ‘The Distance To The Sun’, for from ‘Day For Night’, represented the Morse era during the main set, with ‘Walking On The Wind’ and ‘Cakewalk On Easy Street’ flying the flag for the D’Virgilio years. Keyboard weirdo Ryo Okumoto insisted upon throwing in his zany comments which helped to keep things interesting. If I’m truthful I’d like to have a heard a bit more of the older stuff, ‘June’ and ‘The Doorway’ among those tracks sorely missed, though a lengthy rendition of ‘Go The Way You Go’ was an uplifting way to round things off. The set-list ran as follows: ‘Something Very Strange’, ‘I Know Your Secret’, ‘Crack The Big Sky’, ‘Hiding Out’, ‘Walking On The Wind’, ‘Submerged’, ‘Cakewalk On Easy Street’, ‘Afterthoughts’, ‘The Distance To The Sun’ and ‘Waiting For Me’, plus ‘Go The Way You Go’.
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Tuesday 7th May
What kind of an idiot thinks it’s okay to jump up onstage, knock over a defenceless 62-year-old musician who suffers from ankylosing spondylitis (an incurable and highly painful bone disease) and then grab the same band’s lead singer to bring a show to a halt? Luckily, Mick Mars was unharmed when some f**kwit did exactly that during a Mötley Crüe gig in Canada. Fair play to the Crüe for continuing once the hullaballoo had died down a little. The older I get, the more I despair of the human race…
So Kenny Jackett has resigned as boss of Scumwall. Not exactly surprising. Jackett always struck me as a fairly decent man, in spite of his employers. He also did an impressive job of keeping Scumwall in the Championship this season. Now that Dean Saunders, the man responsible for spouting this unspeakable bilge – and much, much more besides – before guiding Wolves through the trapdoor into League 1, is a free agent maybe the knuckledraggers should make an approach? He sounds like just the man to finish the job.
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Monday 6th May
Bank holiday or not, here at Ling Towers it’s a day of work on Download Festival programme notes for yours truly. As I sat here transcribing interviews with Bruce Dickinson, Pepper Keenan, Herman Li, Mick Box, Phil Mogg, Joey Tempest, Tony Newton, Satyr, Ben Wells, Nev MacDonald, Myke Gray and Ron Young among others, poor old Eddie was queuing up at Selhurst Park to buy our Play-Off seats. There were loads and loads of people there, apparently, and poor Ed spent almost three hours lining up in the beating sun though he did find the time to send a BB message saying: “I’m not leaving till I have those tickets!” Aw, bless...
I love the fact that Mick Box knew the exact date of Heep’s last time on a Donington stage. “21st of August, 1982, it was, mate,” he announces, before reciting the names of the other bands on that same bill, also that Tommy Vance (RIP) was the compere, and going on to reveal those acts he intends to watch this year. Diamond geezer, and a genuine music fan! There ain’t many of those about…
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Sunday 5th May
It’s tough to verbalise the relief generated by Crystal Palace’s first victory in ten games. Roared on by a capacity crowd of 22,154, The Eagles soared into the play-offs thanks to yesterday’s thrilling 3-2 win, having gone behind twice in the game. Momentum-wise it was great to end the season proper with three points, and (amazingly) CPFC are now 180 minutes from a possible appearance at Wembley after a two-legged clash with fierce rivals The Unmentionable Team From The South Coast. With Glenn Murray having broken his scoring draught via a brilliantly taken penalty in first half injury time and Super Kev Phillips reminding us of his prowess as a poacher, momentum is definitely improving. Skipper Mile Jedinak’s dramatic 89th minute header sent Posh in the other direction (i.e. into League 1) – possibly a tad unfair given the way the visitors had scrapped and peformed… but what the feck, they’re managed by someone called Fergiesbum so they deserve every ounce of excrement that comes their way. Eddie and I stayed behind after the final whistle to cheer the team’s lap of appreciation. How nice that the Manure-bound Wilf Zaha, in what was his final league appearance as a Palace player, came back out wearing a vest declaring: “Thank U CPFC!” A great gesture, Wilf. Now fire us to Wembley please, before you move Ooop North.

Dave Ling Online

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Saturday 4th May
Aaaarg! Play-off nerves have got to me. I awoke at 5am, took Bob The Dog for a run through a deserted Ladywell Fields and there are still four hours till we are due to leave for the crunch game with Peterborough United at Selhurst. What to do now? In the words of Father Jack Hackett... “Drrrriiiinkkkk!” The Eagles require at least a point to secure a possible promotion berth, though there are numerous other permutations. The only results we don’t want today are Nottm Florist and Bolton to win and Palace to lose. (If Bolton win by 3+ goals or Forest by 6+ goals then a draw might not be enough). It won’t be an easy game… no, no, no. Peterboro are managed by the Son Of The Devil and are scrapping for their lives at the other end of the table, and they’ve also pulled some shocking results out of the bag.
Only one thing is for sure. By mid-afternoon, should the Eagles make the play-offs (KO is at 12.45), my Eagles-mad buddies and I will stay in the pub till closing time. And if we don’t, well… expect the exact same scenario! COYP!!
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Friday 3rd May
It was extremely upsetting to hear of the loss of Jeff Hanneman. Slayer’s guitarist has been absent from the group since suffering a near-fatal spider bite in his hot tub two years ago. Aged 49, he died of liver failure. I met and interviewed Hanneman a few times, notably in a small transit van en route from Manchester Apollo to London's Hammy Odeon on the ‘Reign In Blood’ tour and again a few years later for Metal Hammer. He seemed a likable guy with a sharp, mercilessly dry wit. Sample quote from the latter story: “What did you want ‘Angel Of Death’ to say... ‘Ooooh, Mengele was a very, very bad man?’”
On a happier note… you can always tell when the warmer weather’s here: Bob comes to sit in the doorway of my office as I work, soaking up the sunshine! It’s always great to have him here!

Dave Ling Online

And OM-Fuggin’-G, here’s the heavy metal equivalent of Lord Lucan’s return. Over at the Vardis Reunion Facebook page, after a few suggestive rumbles – the admission that Gary Pearson had bought a drum kit for the first time in 17 years, then a meeting between Pearson, his drum tech Griff and the elusive Steve Zodiac (“Great News looks like we WILL be seeing you all”) – there are now extremely strong whispers of much firmer developments. I’ll have some of that!!! Got a suspicion that Mr Zodiac may not need the talcum powder onstage anymore, though!
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Thursday 2nd May
Despite the fact that it meant restricting myself to a flying visit – no booze and darting home straight afterwards (couldn’t leave the kids alone at home alone for too long…) – I was happy to accept the offer to check out an acoustic showcase from Sound Of Contact, the new band featuring Simon ‘Son Of Phil’ Collins on vocals at London’s Gibson Guitar Studios. The evening began with the unveiling of a promo video for the group’s first single, ‘Not Coming Down’ – though not strictly prog, it struck me as an enjoyable pop song with a sophisticated twist. The band then played three songs in vox/acoustic guitar/piano format, starting with a repeat of the single, then ‘Closer To You’, and then winding up with a tune called ‘Omega Point’. I was sufficiently impressed enough to make a point of checking out their debut album, ‘Dimensionaut’, before next week’s gig with Spock’s Beard and Beardfish.
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Wednesday 1st May
Last night was spent at Selhurst Park in the company of Eddie, Steve ‘No Relation’ Way and Laurence Adams for a live beamback of the South London derby from the New Den. Several pints of foaming Palace Ale and a hip flask of cherry brandy could not disguise a dour game between two teams struggling desperately for form. Three points against Scumwall, who were still not safe from relegation, would have guaranteed a play-off spot for the Eagles, who have now gone nine – yes NINE! – games without a win. Accuse me of sour grapes if you must but those tough-house tactics, the ‘homer’ ref and a pitch like a potato field let the Scummers right off the hook. I’m still fuming as I type!
Anyway, this issue’s Playlist and YouTube updates have been made.