Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Philip Glass in concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

I don't listen to much classical music but I like the music of Philip Glass a lot.  I first heard his music on the soundtrack of an episode of Battlestar Galactica.  I was so impressed by the track that I identified it using google.  I then bought the 'solo piano' CD from Amazon.  I'm not sure how many times I've listened to it since then but I have listened to it a lot.

When I noticed that Glass was playing a series of concerts in Glasgow I knew that I had to see him play.  I was also very excited when I realised that he would play some of the pieces from 'solo piano' including 'mad rush' and parts of the 'metamorphosis' cycle.  I was able to get some decent seats with a good view of the stage.

The heat in Glasgow was extreme that day.  Thankfully the air conditioning at the concert hall made it very comfortable inside.  Glass looks good for 75.  He introduced and explained his music.  He played some tracks alone before leaving the stage as violinist Tim Fain played some solo violin pieces.  They then played together on a piece called Pendulum that is not yet available on CD.  I really enjoyed this piece. 

The crowd enjoyed the concert, hanging on every note.  Warm applause met the end of the main set and some further pieces were played.  Glass played another solo piano piece and Fain played some music from Eistein on the beach.

This was a great show and I wish it had lasted longer.  I am not a classical music enthusiast but this is probably one of the best concerts I've ever seen.  I'm glad I was there.

Guns 'n' Roses - Live at the SECC Glasgow

I have to admit that I've never been a Guns 'n' Roses fan.  I was about 11 when they first became popular with 'Appetite for Destruction' and I just didn't  like them.  Initially it was because I thought they were too poppy and later because I thought Axl was a twat.  As I grew older I could appreciate some of their songs.  They do have a few good songs but Axl continued to be a twat.

One of my friends wanted to see them.  He had a spare ticket so he asked me to go with him.  I agreed with some trepidation.  At least I would be able to tick another big name off the list of bands to see.  I was also interested in seeing Thin Lizzy (or at least a band that uses the name and songs of Thin Lizzy).

It was a hot day in Glasgow on Friday.  My friend and I went to the SECC at around 6ish to get parked.  A sign on the doors warned that Thin Lizzy would be on at GNR would take the stage at 9:30PM and play for a very long time.  We went for a meal before returning to see Thin Lizzy.  Phil Lynott is irreplaceable and probably embodied Thin Lizzy for most people.  He was missed tonight.  Ricky Warwick made a decent attempt but it really felt like a tribute band. 

Axl and band finally arrived on stage at 1035PM.  By that time the crowd was drunk and tired.  I saw a few very young children who were clearly out well past their bedtimes.  People drifted off at an accelerating rate throughout the 3 hour show. 

Guns 'n' Roses had a strange habit of spoiling their best songs with loud fireworks.  It's a bit stupid to let off a firework that is twice as loud as the band during your most famous song.  It sort of spoils the impact of the music.  It was really annoying. 

Axl had several costume changes and grand pianos were moved around the stage.  A number of models (?strippers) danced at the side of the stage.  Axl disappeared for a bit and the other guys played their own songs.  It was all very boring.

After 33 songs it finished at 1:30AM.  People were running out of the venue by then.  Many fans would have been unable to stay till the end because of a reliance on public transport.  I was just glad to get to my bed.  This could have been a great 80 minute show.  It was an overblown 3 hours.

Monday, May 07, 2012

New Order live at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh

I've been neglecting this blog recently.  I've been busy with work and I've just not felt like writing much.  I've also not been to many gigs recently but New Order are worth writing about.

I was born in 1977 so I remember New Order being on the radio and the TV a lot when I was a kid.  I started to listen to Joy Division when I was 11 or 12 and the crossover between these two great bands made them both seem even more special.  

This was the first time that I've managed to see New Order.  I was meant to be working this weekend so I nearly didn't see them but a fortuitous swap at work went my way so I got a ticket.  The Glasgow show sold out in hours so I had to travel through to Edinburgh.  This did give me a chance to check out the Usher Hall.

The support band played. I stood and waited for New Order.

They started with a bit of Elegia then they went into Crystal. Unfortunately the vocals were mixed down low so we couldn't hear much of what Barney was singing. The band sounded good but they were quiet.  In quick succession we got Regret, Ceremony and Love Vigilantes.  Later on we heard Bizzare Love Triangle, True Faith,The Perfect Kiss and Blue Monday with Temptation finishing the main set. An online look at the Glasgow set lets me know that 1963 was played the night before which is upsetting as it's one of my favourite tracks.

Overall they played well but I wish they'd been a bit louder. The light show was brilliant.  The crowd was middle-aged to a certain extent. Some very big men jumped up and down like teenagers.

They came back and played Transmission and Love will tear us apart for and encore.  Great end to the show.  I went home happy.  I didn't miss Peter Hook.