Posts in the "Music" Category

Bob Dylan club gig in Stockholm

I will never see Bob Dylan live again. And, please, let me tell you why: last night me and my brother had the unique opportunity to see the legend in a club gig(!) in Stockholm! And, knowing I’ll never get such an experience again, there’s no need to take that risk.

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Iron Maiden rocking in Stockholm

November 17th I went to see Iron Maiden play in the Globe arena in Stockholm. This was the first of four gigs in Sweden (three of them planned in Stockholm), concerts that sold out as soon as the tickets were released. I though I’d tell you a little about my history with Maiden and also what I though of Friday night.

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Dio visited Stockholm

Last night Ronnie James Dio, the man, the myth, the legend, came to town. I have always liked him and his music, during his Black Sabbath and Rainbow days, as well as his solo career. According to me, he’s been greatly underrated for a long time. I went with my friend Peter E and we decided to buy tickets at the arena. Besides for a guard at the door that seemed both deaf and dumb, we got inside eventually.

Two support acts were playing before him, bands that I’ve never listened to nor seen, so let me cover their performances first:

Asia

I’m sorry to say this, but their performance was a disaster. They had some kind of taped intro, and after that it got all quiet. After a minute or so, they waddled on stage, and started to play. The first couple of minutes, it sounded like they were tuning up, waking up or just plainly playing different tunes from each other… Terrible.

It got more ok after a while, but still definitely not good. The guitarist was no doubt skilled, but he kept playing lead and soloing all the time. He should learn from the likes of Toni Iommi that less is often more…

Uriah Heep

After Asia, Uriah Heep were a delight. Their playing was very tight and they were really into it. I just loved their bass player, Trevor Bolder. His looks, the faces he made, his extraordinary good playing. Man, what a beat!

I liked most of the songs and their style, but mostly how incredibly good they were at playing together. However, they were having their 35th year-anniversary, so not a big wonder…

Dio

When Dio entered the stage, people went crazy. While I didn’t care too much about the musicians he brought with him (except for former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright) and especially the guitarist’s never-ending useless solos, they did their work in the verse and chorus parts. Dio’s singing is amazing; I can’t believe his voice is still as good as it ever was.

The set list was nothing short of a dream come true. Just look at these examples:

  • Don’t Talk to Strangers
  • Heaven and Hell
  • Holy Diver
  • Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Man on the Silver Mountain
  • Rainbow In the Dark
  • Stand Up and Shout

The concert was a fantastic evening, and I can’t believe good ol’ Dio still has got it in him. His age is well-discussed, but if it’s true that he’s 63, it’s pretty unbelievable. It also got me thinking about the big and young acts today; I wonder who of them will still be playing, and even more importantly, will still be interesting to watch when they’re 60.

This was most likely my last concert this year, and what a way to end.

 

For other reviews, please look in the music category.

Bob Dylan in Stockholm

Last night Bob Dylan visited the Stockholm Globe Arena. Him being a legend, I sure didn’t want to see him live. I mean, he has influenced so many people through the years and written so many good songs that have been interpreted by many artists. With that said, Mr. Dylan wasn’t having a good night yesterday.

But let me start from the beginning: Due to a misunderstanding, my brother Martin had bought me tickets for the concert, but so had I. Trying desperately to get rid of the extra two tickets to friends, colleagues etc, failed miserably (and with the quality of the concert in hindsight, maybe it was best so). So after some dealing and wealing outside the arena, we managed to sell the tickets to a couple of guys that wanted to sit far down, rinkside (since the arena is also an ice hockey arena). They asked if it was close, and my brother said:

Yeah, sure, it’s just by the rink.

Their dealing friend also looked at the tickets and said:

But this is row 4, isn’t there a row three too? (We never replied to this, but of course there’s a row one and two. We have no idea why he asked something like that.)

They paid for the tickets and Martin and I went by Mickey Dee’s to grab a hamburger before it started. Once in there, we met someone I’ve met a couple of times before, Kim Sulocki (a Swedish artist). Good to see him again, we chatted for a short while and then attacked our hamburgers. When we got into the arena, we realized where the location of the tickets we’d sold to the other guys. They were sitting, height-wise, in the middle of the arena, at least 30 meters up from the rink; we weren’t even sure they could see the rink from where they were sitting. Anyway, our conscience didn’t feel that bad, they got the tickets for a number of kronor cheaper than what we had paid for them.

Once Bob Dylan started, everyone got really happy, but it was soon replaced by a feeling of apathy. It was a long time since I saw someone as uninspired, giving such a dull and meaningless performance. Yes, I know, he goes his own way, doing as he pleases, and I don’t have to hear How many roads to be happy. But this was so bland, so without feeling that it was really disheartening to see. It was definitely more entertaining to hear Gunnar Franklin at iBizkit doing his Bob Dylan impersonating once when we jammed a little.

Naturally, this lead to starting to watch the audience instead. And man, was it a freak show! Nothing bad to these persons, they were just different and misplaced in their respective context. And many people seemed to be as bored and disappointed as we were, there were a constant rush of traffic with people walking up and down the stairs. Since my seat was just next to the stairs, I saw some interesting persons. Amongst all, there were three girls, a bit too young, with very low-cut dresses running a round all the time, and once they were gone for at least half of the concert. I have no idea what they were doing there in the first place.

Following their departure, a big man sat down in the stairs next to me; he was the kind of person with normal legs and an upper body that looks like a balloon. Not really fat, just humongous. Anyway, he sat there for a while, trying to read his ticket, and then tried to get up again. It was soon pretty clear that he wasn’t going to make it, and Martin and I watched with fascination. He was almost up, rocking back and forth, started swaying, and then fell down again. Sitting there, looking a little dazed and confused, he decided to give it another try. This time he actually made it and started a shaking staggering down the stairs. Martin turned to me and said:

At one point, I thought he was going to turn into the Hulk…

Just after “the Hulk” got down the stairs, a very drunk person started what looked like a very strenuous climb up the stairs. I guess you should’ve been there to see all of this, but I was laughing so hard I was shaking, and I had to bite my lower lip hard to avoid displaying to the stair-walkers how entertaining they were.

At the end of the concert, he managed to destroy my favorite song all time, All along the watchtower (I prefer the Jimi Hendrix version of it, or maybe the Dave Matthews band one, but Dylan’s version is usually ok, and after all, he wrote the song) with terrible singing. The band seemed mildly motivated, and at least saved the experience a little, but all in all, it was really bad.

Anyway, I got to see Bob Dylan live. And that counts, doesn’t it?

Alice Cooper came to town

This review has been long due, so I thought it to be time for it now. August 9th I went to see Alice Cooper play at the venue Arenan in Stockholm, and it was a joyous meet-up with old friends and new faces: Peter A, Lousie, Peter E, Micke and others.

Alice is sure entertaining, and he played all the songs he should. As always, of course some people miss their personal favorites, but all-in-all a really good set list. He was throwing out lots of stuff for the people in the audience to bring home, and this is a sure way to make fans happy. Another thing that’s a major part of an Alice show is of course the stage show. Many things happening all the time and he sure has got a wicked sense of humour.

What surprised me is that the, to say the least, exotic dancer/female performer on stage is actually his daughter, Calico Cooper. I sure as hell wouldn’t want a lot of young men (well, young-ish, at least) gawking away at my daughter!

Conclusively, a great evening! And to top it off, I managed to get a pick from one of the guitarists too! :-)

Mamma Mia, what an evening

Last night I went to see the Swedish edition of the Mamma Mia musical , which is based on the music of ABBA. The evening was a gift from my parents in law so they, me, my girlfriend Fredrika, her brother and his girlfriend had a nice dinner before we went to the Cirkus arena.

Fredrika and I saw it in London in 2000 so it was especially interesting to see it on home turf now, here in Stockholm. I love the music of ABBA and the composers Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are, to me, pop music geniuses. The show is great and we had a really pleasant evening!

It was also some time since I saw a musical, and every time I go I really feel glad that I did. When I worked in New York City, I tried to see a few musicals on Broadway, and the ones that really stand out are Phantom of the Opera and Jekyll & Hyde, the latter with former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach.

Musicals are a great experience, seeing actors/musicians in real life! I really should go as often as I do to concerts.

A Maiden voyage

Last weekend was a strenuous but happy one! Myself, my little brother Martin and two friends Danne and Tony went on a road trip from Stockholm down to Gothenburg (around 500 kilometers) to see the Iron Maiden concert at the lovely Ullevi stadium.
We started out around seven Saturday morning, to be able to get down there in time to make into the front enclosure of the standing section. On the way down we passed by a small village named “Köttkulla”, which loosely translates to “meatmaid”…

Due to some lack of planning we didn’t have any hotel or hostel room to stay in, and literally every place in Gothenburg was sold out. The plan was to find something on the way down or drive home all night straight after the concert.

About maybe 40 kilometers or so before we reached Gothenburg, Tony saw a sign that said “Cabins to lease”. We took the exit and started following the signs, but all it did was getting us deeper end deeper into some woods where the Swedish equivalent of Deliverance should be filmed. We found some ghost ski hill/camping site, but by then we turned back before it was too late. I think the place was called “Bollekullen”, just to warn all you other unaware travellers…

Once in Gothenburg, we parked the car in a parking place close to the Liseberg amusement park and started the walk in the 30 degrees Celsius heat. And trust me, doing that in jeans and a black t-shirt was not a pleasant stroll.
When we got to the arena, around maybe two in the afternoon, I was shocked to see how many people that were already queuing to get in to the standing section. Some of them had been there since Wednesday, so I really was amazed to see people waiting for four days to get in.

After about an hour or so we met up with my friends Peter, Rickard and Rickard’s son Oscar, and then waited for some hours in the scorching sun and the chaos that belongs to testosteron-filled men afraid of not getting a good spot. At around 4.30 they started to let us in, and it was a bit of ruckus before we got into the arena. When I got onto the field, I’m pretty sure I set some kind of sprinting record running as a maniac to make it into the front part. But I made it! Once in there, one can walk in and out of that enclosure, with a small plastic bracelet that basically is a guarantee for a good place to stand when the show starts.

The weather had been terrific the whole week, so imagine my surprise when the rain started pouring down at around 5.30. Not that attractive when it comes to an outdoor concert…
It rained maybe an hour and a half, and during that time there were many theories going around, designated cloudwatchers trying to see where the wind would take them etc, but then it stopped and the weather was flawless the rest of the evening.

One of the two opening bands were In Flames, originating in Gothenburg, so it really was home turf for them. Personally, I’m not really a big fan of their music, but their joy and sheer happiness was contagious, and it ended up being a really good opening band moment.

Then, it was time to get ready for Maiden, time to start making one’s way into the crowd to get as close to the stage as humanly possible. This was going to a very special event, for a number of reasons:

  • There were 57 000 people in the audience.
  • It would be broadcasted live on national television in Sweden and Finland.
  • They were only going to play songs from their first four records.

So, what could stop it from being the greatest thing ever? Well, unfortunately, some things…
I mean, except for the anecdote Danne told me where one guy pied in his beer glass and then put it down, just to later found out that it was gone…

Anyway, let me describe the gig:

The audience

While most of them were in some kind of eternal bliss mood, they weren’t really acting it out as I thought they would. During the beginning of it, I was standing some meters from the stage, but during the latter half it was just one guy between me and the front fence. People seemed to be worn out from waiting outside the arena for several days, many of them not really knowing when to jump and some actually seemed surprised and unknowing of a couple of the songs and their special differential parts.

The amosphere before the gig was great but it didn’t feel just that happy after a couple of songs. To compare, I think it was a much better ambience at Iron Maiden’s concert in Stockholm Stadion in 2003.

The set list

I’m sorry to say this, but to me it was disappointing. This is how it looked:

  1. Murders in the Rue Morgue
  2. Another life
  3. Prowler
  4. The trooper
  5. Remember tomorrow
  6. Where eagles dare
  7. Run to the hills
  8. Revelations
  9. Wrathchild
  10. Die with your boots on
  11. Phantom of the opera
  12. The number of the beast
  13. Hallowed be thy name
  14. Iron Maiden

Encores:

  1. Running free
  2. Drifter
  3. Sanctuary

Of course there are many good songs there, but first, I think that any song from the Killers album is a song too much. Well, not really, but out of the ones chosen only Wrathchild appeals to me. Murders in the Rue Morgue is an ok song, but definitely not one I’d chosen to open with. My pick? Maybe Prowler or Where eagles dare.

Instead of the mediocre songs they chose from the Killers album, I think it’s unforgivable that they didn’t play any of these songs:

  • Charlotte the Harlot
  • Transylvania
  • Children of the Damned
  • The Prisoner
  • 22 Accacia Avenue
  • Flight of Icarus

 

Conclusion

It was a good gig, no doubt about it. But being their last concert on their Europen tour and being broadcasted live to about 20 million people, I think I expected a little more extra than an ordinary gig. Maybe it’s because it’s the 9th time I’ve seen them live, maybe I had my expectations set too high due to the above mentioned circumstances. But I still think they could’ve played longer (it only lasted about 90 minutes) and perhaps add some extra songs for the occasion, that they could’ve had a more spectacular stage show and just something that would’ve made me feel that it wasn’t a day on the job for Maiden.

Personally, I also think that they could’ve thrown some more stuff to the hardcore audience in the front (no, I’m not jealous since I didn’t get anything, my happiness was already made on a previous Maiden evening when I managed to get Dave Murray’s pick). It makes people so happy to get a little piece of plastic or something of the like from their idols. But I still have to congratulate the guy in front of me who got sweatbands from both Nicko and Dave!

I haven’t seen the live recording yet, so this is my perception of actually being there. It’ll be interesting though to see what it looked like on TV.

So, to round the review part up. It was good, but not spectacular. I’d give it a 3 out of 5.

Afterwards, I was soaked with sweat and water that the guards at the fence poured at us to stop us raving fans from dehydrating. Since things can get a little crazy at concerts, I told the other guys that we would meet up at the fence separating the front and back part of the standing area. Naturally, they weren’t there. I waited for maybe 20-30 minutes before I gave up and exited the arena. It was also given that it was impossible to reach anyone on their cell phone, so I wandered around outside the arena scouring the place in my search for them (especially since one of them had the car keys).

Finally I found them and of course the reply was:

Oh, you meant that fence.

We got to the car and changed into dry clothes. After that, it was time to get something to eat, and inevitably we ended up at McDonald’s. Like Tony said, the staff in the kitchen there seemed to multiply like rabbits, I’ve never though they could fit so many behind the counter.

Finally, we got back to the car and Martin, our hero, drove the whole night back to Stockholm. I got home exactly 24 hours after I left the previous morning. A great weekend adventure!

 

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A Sabbath night

A Sabbath night

Last night, the original line-up of Black Sabbath played the Globe arena in Stockholm to an extatic crowd. I was there, of course, and really had a great time! They have inspired so many musicians and they’re the base of many, if not all, heavy metal bands, so seeing them live is an extraordinary happening.

Two things that really made it special:

Seeing Ozzy live
Ozzy truly is an amazing person. If you’ve seen the Osbournes show on MTV, you know it’s a miracle that he’s still alive. But there was no trace of that whatsoever last night, he was jumping intensely, laughing wildly and grinning insanly, and no one has such a crazed stare as Ozzy’s. He’s the mother of entertainers, controlling the whole crowd like a puppet master. If you haven’t, I really recommend you to try to get and see Ozzy; it’s a non-forgettable experience.
Tony Iommi
Like a Swedish newspaper wrote in their review: he’s the man behind all the cool riffs ever made. Not as crazy as Ozzy, Tony was nodding his head, seeming to just totally dig what he’s doing with his guitar.

I was in the standing part of the crowd, in the front enclosure rocking away just a couple of metres from the stage. Why? Since I like to go crazy at concerts, jumping up and down with a big mass of people. Having Ozzy throwing buckets of water on me and the others sure helped too! :-)

And, at the end of the concert, guitar god Iommi came to the center of the stage and threw out some picks. Everyone struggled and tried to get a pick. And I managed to get one! :-D

The baton is passed…

Tommy passed the baton to me, and I’m flattered that he chose little me! There are two ways to react to a thing like this: either regard it as a “Send this e-mail to ten friends or lose a leg” kind of thing, or just something fun and different. I choose experiencing it as fun and different!
So, without further ado: Here’s my list!

Total Volume

Usually around 10 GB of widely (well, at least kind of) spread music flavors.

Last CD Bought

Dance of Death, Iron Maiden

Song Playing Right Now

Actually, none. Like Tommy, I usually like it quiet when working with the computer, unless I’m in a loud and crowded environment and need to focus on my things.

Five Songs I Listen to A Lot, Or That Mean A Lot to Me

This will be a mix of both cases mentioned in this part’s heading, and of course it’s very hard to pick just five songs. But here goes, now I reveal my secrets!

  • All Along The Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix version
  • Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel
  • Hallowed Be Thy Name, Iron Maiden
  • Highway To Hell, AC/DC (I also really like Marit Bergman’s version of it)
  • Layla, Eric Clapton (both the electric and acoustic version)

 

Five People to Whom I’m Passing the Baton

This was the fun part, picking interesting people that are very different from each other. Forgive me. :-)

 

Fun read? Then make sure to read Music and developing (a day of mood swings) too.

 

PS. I just upgraded to WordPress 1.5.1. Please let me know if something isn’t working correctly. DS.

Update: Take a look at Technorati for other .

Music and developing (a day of mood swings)

During my day-to-day work as a developer, I go through a
number of moods (maybe more moods than what’s good for me), and I
thought I’d explain them with references to songs:

My day kind of starts with I hurt myself today (and some days end with it as well):

“I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real”

Then, commuting to work:

“No stop signs, speedin’ limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down”

Walk into the office:

“Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose”

“This place ain’t doing me any good”

“I used to care, but things have changed”

Then I get to my desk, and I feel like this:

“There must be some way out of here, said the joker to the thief,
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief”

“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke”

Code something, and run into trouble:

“I once believed
I wouldn’t bleed”

Trouble that makes me go out of my mind:

“I feel my world shake
I can’t look away
Hard to see clear
Is it me
Or is it fear?”

But then I find the solution:

“God Gave Me Everything I Want”

An occasional moment of despair, that eventually turns into solving the problem:

“Fight and pray”

“Oh happy day”

And then I go home… :-)