Tag Archives: The Forum

My Maiden Voyage – An Iron Maiden Virgin No More (Part 3 – The Concert Review)


I really did not expect this post to be a three-parter, but they say that 600 words are about all people want to read in a blog…and there was just so much fun, side stuff that came up, so here we are! (And do NOT word-count this one… DOH!)

Let me set the stage again. The venue is The Glen Helen Pavilion. My first visit, so I was also a Venue Virgin. Yes, this was a big day for me. The stage and sound are great… unlike the Forum, whose sound can SUCK, depending on where you sit. But as I said, the venue is a pain in the ass to get to and park at, especially in brutal holiday traffic.

Since there are no ins and outs we missed Exodus, which in retrospect was probably a mistake. Though I heard they had major sound issues. We caught a bit of Kamelot, who were okay and got to see a lot of Ghost, who were actually pretty good. The whole gothic, all wearing masks thing freaks me out a bit (Jason warned me)…as do songs mentioning Lucifer (Read Nice Jewish Boy) but this Swedish metal band formed in 2008 had some skills and really got the crowd going.

And speaking of the crowd… As I was coming out of the Men’s “Lounge” a guy at the very back of the line asked me “European?” Clearly I was too hot to get it, so when I said no, he said “Neither am I, but hopefully I will be soon.” (Insert Rimshot.) There were lots of “in bathroom” jokes flying around. Ahhh… men and our beer!

Maiden apparently does not call audibles like the other Bruce (Springsteen, that is) and so their set list has not changed in a long, long time. Fine for the first time viewer…but I would guess long time fans would want it mixed up a little. I knew going in I would not get to hear my favorite Maiden tune, “Run To The Hills,” so I guess I will just have to go back for the next tour. And yes, I WILL BE BACK!

Do they have huge “Eddie” inflatables, changing backdrops and monsters attacking the band? Hell to the yes!!!
About 25,000 in attendance? Check.
A few first timers? Oh yeah!

So away we go! Buckle up, Michelle, Casey and Christian. Rocking with you was a blast!!! Thank you for the food, drink and everything else! Thanks to KLOS for the tickets… Thanks to Leihua and Larry in advance for the kick-ass shirt… And Jason, thank you, thank you, thank you for the intro and kick in the butt! Your money is safe!!!

The PA system started blasting UFO’s “Doctor, Doctor” which we knew was their entrance tune and is such a great rocking song! And then my first Iron Maiden show shot out of the gate. The songs were heavy from the new album, Book Of Souls, (six out of a 15-song set) but I quite like the first two songs they did (also one and two on the record), “If Eternity Should Fail” and “Speed Of Light”…which I really, really dig. I also love the sing-along anthem “The Red And The Black” and it’s “Whoa oh, oh oh oh… Whoa oh, oh oh oh…”

But of course the biggest reaction was for the classics… and Maiden’s catalog is deep. Highlights for me were “Children Of The Damned,” “The Trooper”, and the set closer “Fear Of The Dark.” The encore was a perfect trifecta with “The Number Of The Beast,” “Blood Brothers” (soooo NOT the other Bruce’s tune) and the great ender “Wasted Years”!

The band is currently made up of:
Founder and bassist, Steve Harris (1976-present)
Guitarist Dave Murray, who has been there almost as long (with a short stint in 1977, and then from 1979 on)
Bruce Dickinson on vocals… and NOT the famed producer with the same name. (1981-1993 and then 1999 to present)
Janick Gers on guitar and with the band since the ’90s.
Adrian Smith on guitar, who went from 1981-1991, then took a break and came back in 1999 to present.
Nicko McBrain is the band’s fifth drummer, but has been playing with Maiden since 1983!

These guys are in their ’60s and rocking like 20 year-olds! Jumping, bouncing, running, going crazy and having the time of their lives. That on-stage joy is infectious, and while I know they have had their in-fighting issues, as does almost every band, it sure seems like this is a Rock N’ Roll Brotherhood!

Also keep in mind that Bruce Dickinson had throat cancer AND throat surgery. I caught his voice dropping out from time to time, but DANG… What a showman, and ALL OVER THE STAGE!

It was at this show that I realized the true meaning of Head Banging!!! Actually, head banging, neck snapping, body aching!!! In fact, Michelle and I both kept commenting on how physically sore we would be the next day… and as my head went up and down to the beat, I could feel almost a Rock N’ Roll concussion coming on. Ah, to be young again. And why did I not get into Metal in my ’20s???

Before the show was over, Bruce said a few things I wanted to share. He pointed out that we may have noticed a few mistakes…but that is what happens when a band plays live and without hiding people backstage or using “canned” vocals. Cheers to that!

I cannot tell you how many bands do this… bands that you would never think would do this. Hell, when I saw Fleetwood Mac in Anaheim on the last tour, we were sitting so high and to the side we could see an extra drummer “hidden” behind the wall next to Mick’s drum set up… and while he did not drum on every song, I was floored!

The last things Bruce said were pretty powerful. Basically he said that “everyone came in safe… and everyone needs to leave safe. Right?” The crowd roared, though I have to say, the huge bonfire some of the fans made in the lawn area gave me concern…and I questioned how security did not shut it down. But…
Oh yeah!!! They made an actual and rather large BON FIRE in the middle of the lawn sitting area, and danced around it all night long… actually ran around it in a circle!!!

The band takes their bows and throws guitar picks and drum sticks out into the adoring crowd and heads off stage as Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” comes over the PA. This is more than appropriate as Metal music often seems to have a dramatic flair, and regularly involves a battle between Good and Evil. It can be mythic and iconic, in music and lyrics…and certainly in stage antics!

Here is the setlist…

  1. If Eternity Should Fail
  2. Speed of Light
  3. Wrathchild
  4. Children of the Damned
  5. Death or Glory
  6. The Red and the Black
  7. The Trooper
  8. Powerslave
  9. The Great Unknown
  10. The Book of Souls
  11. Fear of the Dark
  12. Iron Maiden
    Encore:
  13. The Number of the Beast
  14. Blood Brothers
  15. Wasted Years

But what I would like to leave you with, is one of the last things Bruce said to the crowd:

It’s a message that should resonate with all of us. And as I posted on Facebook, it’s a shame that so few of our leaders and politicians speak up like this.

He said: “We need to come together, do no harm and go to bed with whoever we want to because we love them.”

Amen.

 

And Long Live Rock!!!

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The Seeds Of Music And Life – Neil Young Storms And Thunders The Forum On 10/14/15

Strange… this did not post a few weeks ago. My apologies… But enjoy it… Just a bit more after the fact!!!

Neil Young + Promise Of The Real
Rebel Content Tour
The Forum

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Forum

“Hey, hey, my, my
Rock and Roll will never die.”

Have I had my doubts about the state of Rock n’ Roll Music? Hell yes, I have.

Were they erased last Wednesday night? Almost.

Watching a 69-year old legend rock like a 20-year old kid is enough to renew the faith. Neil was on fire… in voice and guitar. People who have seen him far more than I, have said repeatedly that they have not seen him rock that hard in years…

It was truly something to behold.

He was happy… the crowd loved him… and luckily there were no fights or reasons for Neil to yell at the crowd. And he WILL yell at the crowd.

Social Distortion opened up and rocked us pretty hard, too. I just like those guys… A fun, high energy band!

Neil came out after 9 pm… and I was told specifically that this would be a long show… but NOT a greatest hits tour… And also that there would be a lot of the Monsanto stuff…

Look, I hate Monsanto as much as the next guy… Maybe not as much as Neil, but they are a disgusting, greedy and truly evil corporation. I appreciate his stance and what he has done in terms of a whole album… The Monsanto Years… but yes, I could have used less of that.

Though… the lessons are clear and important… We must stand up for injustice… and Neil flaunted this and the new, utterly absurd “Seed Law” by willingly breaking that law and handing out seeds to the crowd.  It was a classic Neil moment… a rebel moment… and a social justice moment. It frustrates me, in terms of the politics, back-door deals and money pandering… but it gives me hope that  Grass Roots movements can grow and bloom and thrive!

I went in with no expectations… and that is the best way to go into most things! And three hours later, filled with the second-hand smoke of probably three joints in my lungs, I was spent, exhausted, elevated and blown away.

Thanks to Chris and 100.3 The Sound for the amazing hookup. And floor seats no less!

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With the first four songs I thought everyone was wrong… all classics… and while that run would not be the way the evening would finish… He did play a lot of cool songs… and a lot of Crazy Horse tunes.

The highlight on almost every song was the jamming he did with the kids… and they were kids, literally two of Willie Nelson’s kidsLukas and Micah Nelson… and also the rest of the twenty-somethings… Anthony LoGerfo on drums, Corey McCormick on bass and Tato Melgar on percussion.

“The whole show was this big eruption, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any heavier, we just kept pushing each other,” said Micah Nelson in Rolling Stone.

They would form a circle and riff off each other… They would jump and stomp and run across the stage. It was magical… pure musical magic. This is what a band does… especially a band so in synch and in joy!

Here is a little taste from their show at Red Rocks.

And another…

25 songs… almost three hours… THIS was a show!

SETLIST:

  1. After the Gold Rush
     (Neil solo on piano)
  2. My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
     (Neil solo on acoustic guitar)
  3. Helpless
    (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover) (Neil solo on acoustic guitar)
  4. Old Man
    (Neil solo on acoustic guitar)
  5. Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)
    (Neil solo on pump organ)
  6. Hold Back the Tears
  7. Out on the Weekend
  8. From Hank to Hendrix
  9. Human Highway
  10. Wolf Moon
  11. Words (Between the Lines of Age)
  12. L.A.
    (First since 01 Apr. 1973)
  13. Burned
    (Buffalo Springfield cover)
  14. September Song
    (Kurt Weill cover) (Lukas Nelson on lead vocals)
  15. A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop
  16. People Want to Hear About Love
  17. Big Box
  18. Monsanto Years
  19. Cowgirl in the Sand
  20. Workin’ Man
  21. I Won’t Quit
  22. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  23. Mansion on the Hill
  24. Love and Only Love
    Encore:
  25. Vampire Blues

You can actually stream the Forum show HERE! Yes, they have more than just Widespread Panic shows!

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Making The Unfabulous Forum Really Fabulous… The Utter And Astounding Magic Of U2

So let me just say it… the new Forum sucks. I prefer the old Forum. I have been there three times now, and am not impressed… and what blew me away last night was U2. Emotionally, musically and technically… They should be designing the audio and visuals for every single arena… everywhere!!!

I’ll get my griping out-of-the-way, and move on to the mind-blowing, joyous, Rock n’ Roll show that will melt your face… and your mind.

The parking… a rip off at $20… and the people they have at the end “directing traffic” is like the blind leading those who have NO IDEA how to drive.  Couple that with the jerks and the timid, non-aggressive drivers and add in the kids with colored flashlights who have no spatial conception or any idea how to take 20 lanes and merge them into ONE. They were basically just moving their lights back and forth as they talked to each other, utterly clueless.

The food… In a word… disgusting… and expensive… And while the employees are all really nice, the wait times are ridiculous and the lines drift into the walkways which are crammed and ill-designed.

The bathrooms… huge, but equal opportunity waits, as the women AND THE MEN had lines up the stairs and out the door. Thanks to the one security woman who lead a group of us guys to an outside and fairly empty restroom.

The seats… narrow on the sides… and in front… BANG! Ouch, there go my knees.

The floors… I kid you not, the “stick” in our row was so strong it felt like we were Crazy Glued to the floor… Dancing? Almost involved twisted ankles. Seriously.

The sound… If you sit above the speakers, which we did for Fleetwood Mac, it is horrible and sounds terribly muffled…

Which brings me to U2… who created and brought their own sound system… and it is MAGNIFICENT!!!

Crystal clear and loud enough without blowing out my ear drums… And the visuals… Stunning… mind-blowing… and created a multi-media experience like no other.

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U2 – Live At The Forum (May 26, 2015) – Opening Night In LA
This is what a rock band is… This is what a rock band does.

Bono can sometimes be a little… well… too much… But he is a true Rock Star in every sense and idea of the word.  He commands the stage and when he moves or speaks or does anything, you have no choice but to take notice… Iconic, powerful, hypnotic… and while he can be preachy, he can also make fun of himself for it. And the fact remains, that he DOES make a difference in the world… and he DOES use his pulpit well.

Each and every band member probably covered a few miles as they moved from end to end… side to side… up and down… It was beyond expectation and something I have not seen, to this extent… well… EVER!

The Edge is just the coolest cat in the room, and you realize the leaps and jumps he has taken as a musician. He plays like a M—– F—–, but also gets sounds out of his instrument that had never been heard of before him… He is a master innovator and the joy with which he plays… watching the music take over his body… is joyous for the audience. This is what Rock n’ Roll does.

I noticed Adam a lot more on this tour… and not just because he was on “our side”… but because he seemed more vibrant than I have ever seen him.

They just looked like they were having the times of their lives… and I hope that there are no stories of secret hate and in-fighting…

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Larry was also on fire… and had drum kits on the satellite stage and on the riser… as well as a few traveling pieces.  This was a whole band effort and not at all just a two-man show.

This was a spectacle… this was visual and moving and breathtaking… This is the kind of show you just don’t want to end… and there are so many things going on at the same time… so many things flashing by you, that a repeat show, or three… would only add to the magic!

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The mix and integration of the live show, live video and animation is mind blowing. Yes, that is live Bono walking down an animated version of his street. While we understand the technology and appreciate it for what it is, watching the elements come alive so seamlessly and perfectly is astounding… miraculous… and a hell of a lot of fun. There is always something to see and hear… to the left, to the right… in front of you… above you… below you… The way the cameras and crew move… Stunning. Not sure about Bono’s obsession with spitting water on/baptizing the audience… but I am sure those drenched in his backwash and able to get one of the few bottles he tossed out into the crowd feel blessed! Ah, the simple things…

I would easily rank this amongst the best concerts I have EVER seen… and while I still put the Boss firmly at the top of that list, this had some similar spiritual moments… While not quite a “religious experience”, it was moving and got me thinking about my place in the world… and all the good that we as humans could and SHOULD do.

U2 has always had a message… has always had a deep spiritual tint to their music… And of course, have never shied away from politics… But their songs resonate for so many reasons… and most importantly because of their beauty and power… They write great music! If they didn’t we would not be listening for as long as we have. Heck, I first saw this band live in 1984… Yes, the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, with the Waterboys opening… Wow! I am still a huge fan… still love the music… still turn to so many tunes, in good times and bad.

Simply put… U2 rocks. They leave it all out there, on their records and on the stage. Blood, sweat, emotion, passion, connection… U2 is easily one of the greatest Rock n’ Roll bands of all time, and they should always and absolutely be uttered in the same breath as The Beatles, The Who, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bruce and the E Street Band.

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Just Look at that visual!!! Phenomenal!!! The staging was brilliant… BRILLIANT!!!

FIRST SET
The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
The Electric Co. / Send In The Clowns (snippet) / I Can See For Miles (snippet)
Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? (snippet) / Vertigo
I Will Follow
Iris (Hold Me Close)
Cedarwood Road
Song For Someone
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Raised By Wolves / Psalm 23 (snippet)
Until The End Of The World

SECOND SET
Invisible
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Mysterious Ways / Burning Down The House (snippet) / Young Americans (snippet)
California (There Is No End To Love) / God Only Knows (snippet)
Sweetest Thing
Every Breaking Wave
Bullet The Blue Sky / 19 (snippet)
The Hands That Built America (snippet) / Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Beautiful Day / I Remember You (snippet)
With Or Without You

ENCORE:
City Of Blinding Lights
Mother And Child Reunion (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
California (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)
One / Invisible (snippet)

VERY SAD POST SCRIPT
Literally moments after I posted this, news broke that U2’s longtime tour manager was found dead this morning… Allow me to dedicate the post to his memory, and to the band, who is going to need some amazing emotional strength to perform tonight. This band has been through so much lately, and the fact that they carry on so valiantly is a testimony to the power of the individuals and their music. We need music in times of pain and crisis… and even those who make the music, realize how important playing it becomes. Music gets us through so much.

RIP Dennis Sheehan

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