Archive for the ‘Classic Rock’ Category


Pat Benatar is one of the best artists to emerge from the MTV era of rock & roll: the 60s-90s. Among such heavyweights as Journey, the lovely ladies of Heart, Fleetwood Mac, and even the Buggles, Benatar holds her own with her powerhouse

Cover of "Live From Earth"

vocals. This what has made her an icon. However, as with all great artists, they are meant to be heard live. Benatar proves she’s worthy of this with her 1983 live album, Live From Earth.

However, with all great artists, they are meant to be heard live and Benatar proves that she’s worthy of the “must-see” concert label.

She opens the show with the haunting classic “Fire and Ice.” However, things get really amazing when she breaks into the gritty “I Want Out” followed by the awesomeness that is “We Live For Love” and the grisly, sad, and controversial “Hell Is For Children.” That track is literally one that leaps out of the speakers and grabs you instantly. Clearly, this is Pat Benatar at her “tough-girl” persona best. One which she would abandon for another persona, a bit more personal one if you will – motherhood, with her 1984 album Tropico. The two studio tracks, the ever-popular “Love Is A Battlefield” and “Lipstick Lies” (both containing very memorable videos – such as Benatar herself doing Michael Jackson-style dance sequences) serve as a great transition into this new era for Benatar.

What Pat Benatar live album would not be complete without her performing her swan song, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot?” None! However, this is probably the weaker track of this album because you can barely hear her vocals. Since the album was recorded in many places, wherever they recorded it, the acoustics are TERRIBLE!

Benatar and her husband Neil Geraldo quickly redeem themselves on “Promises In the Dark.” The live version of “Promises In The Dark” actually sounds better than the recording as heard on 1983’s Precious Time album.

This album is okay, however it seems more or less like a greatest hits collection thrown in with a few new tracks. But its a good live album overall from what sounds like one exciting tour. B+


Pat Benatar, live, 2007-09-07

So I have come to the conclusion that, in this life, my 1st few dream concert tours will never happen. What is it you ask? The Beatles with Jimi Hendrix or Big Brother and the Holding Company with Amy Winehouse and Axl Rose. Sadly about 1/3 of these people are dead (John Lennon, George Harrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse) and one is a bit bipolar and LOVES to cause fights.

However, one could happen with lots of wishful thinking: a tour with Heart, Pat Benatarand Stevie Nicks – the queens of rock and

roll! They could call it the Wild Hearts, Lovemongers, and Heartbreakers tour.

Could you imagine what their setlists would be? Here’s what I think it would be:

Pat Benatar

  1. Invincible
  2. You Better Run
  3. In the Heat of the Night (with Stevie Nicks)
  4. Go
  5. Diamond Fields
  6. Treat Me Right
  7. We Live For Love
  8. We Belong (with Nancy Wilson on acoustic guitar)
  9. Anxiety (Get Nervous)
  10. Heartbreaker
  11. Hell is for Children
  12. No You Don’t

Stevie Nicks

  1. Stand Back
  2. Outside the Rain
  3. Gypsy
  4. Secret Love
  5. Ghosts are Gone
  6. Wild Heart (Heart joins her for a duet)
  7. Stop Draggin My Heart Around
  8.  Enchanted
  9. How Still My Love
  10. Talk To Me
  11. No Spoken Word
  12. Edge of Seventeen (Pat Benatar joins her for a duet)

Heart

  1. Wild Child
  2. WTF
  3. Never
  4. Will You Be There (In the Morning)
  5. These Dreams (acoustic version with Nancy on mandolin)
  6. Magic Man
  7. Cook with Fire
  8. Straight On (Pat Benatar joins them onstage for a duet)
  9. Dog and Butterfly (Stevie joins them for a duet)
  10. Immigrant Song (Led Zepplin cover)
  11. Crazy On You
  12.  Barracuda

A friend of mine said once that Fleetwood Mac is a band of solo artists – or something like that. Currently, you have Stevie Nicks – the lead singer, In this case he is right on the money. His proof: the documentary Fleetwood Mac: Destiny Rules.

Destiny Rules is a candid documentary that follows the making of the band’s 2003 studio album Say You Will. It was the first album without longtime member and keyboardist Christine McVie and the first record with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham back in the band. Buckingham left the band shortly before the tour for their 1987 album Tango In the Night.

What Destiny Rules shows us is that, while a considerable amount of healing has taken place among the band – particularly between the notoriously stormy relationship between Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks, there are still some caveats. For starters, they are somewhat worlds apart in their approaches to their craft – in particular the overall style.

For starters, Buckingham wanted their latest album to be a double album. A sordid Tusk 2.0 if you will. Nicks and the rest of the band see a double album as career suicide. She is right in her assessment that younger people, their target audience, will not buy a double album in 2003. After all, she would know because her solo efforts have, for the most part, consistently sold well despite her own age. Buckingham’s albums haven’t sold as well as hers.

To further drive home this point, when I saw Nicks in August 2011, her audience was a pretty full house. It consisted of young

English: FLEETWOOD MAC on March 3, 2009 in St....

women, families with children, some men and older women. It was at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion in the Woodlands – just outside Houston, TX. When Lindsey Buckingham came to the Verizon Wireless Theater in downtown Houston, it was a smaller audience that consisted of older men and women. I and my friend Javier both joked that the audience was “the Woodstock generation” because we are in our mid-twenties.

But one of the best things is that it shows the actual production process that the album went through. Such as the scene where Stevie and Lindsey converse about Throw Down and the possibility of editing out a verse. Also the idea of choosing the right mixing person to mix the songs is shown.

However the biggest complaint with this DVD is that there are absolutely NO extras. It is bare bones. It says on the back that the documentary was culled from over 500 hours of footage. You mean to tell me that you couldn’t make some extras out of that?!

B+

 


The Wild Heart is quite possibly one that loves stuff from the late 70’s and 80’s. Why? Because it was a time when rock n’ roll was starting to become more accepting of women. That’s important to the Wild Heart because the Wild Heart is a WOMAN!Also, it brought about one of the best things to ever hit music initially (but has since become a bad promo tool) and that is none other than MTV.

Pat Benatar was an integral part of that. She, along with others like Fleetwood Mac‘s Stevie Nicks, the late Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship’s Grace Slick, as well as Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, would become the trailblazers for female rockers.  She showed women that it’s okay to be as tough as the boys. Just listen to the lyrics to songs like “Heartbreaker,” “Fight It Out,” “No You Don’t,” “You Better Run” and the ever-popular “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Get the point?

Benatar also showed us that classical musicians CAN become rockers. She was originally going to study opera at Juliard, but decided to not do so. The two worlds, in spite of their differences, are essentially the same if you look at them very closely. This is something I always try to tell a music teacher friend of mine. She has [in my opinion] a somewhat limited knowledge

Pat Benatar E-Reader Screensaver

Cherry Crimson

of rock music.

“I knew the sound wasn’t right.As I sat there, listening to the playback from my first-ever recording session, I knew that something was off. It wasn’t that the speakers were bad or the mics were low. It wasn’t that my voice sounded wrong or the drummer was off the beat. It was more subtle than all that, but also much worse — not something that could be fixed by a simple equipment change. The problem was that I sounded like Julie Andrews trying to sing hard rock.” – Pat Benatar on her first recording session (Between A Heart & A Rock Place)

Also, she had a pretty good eye for fashion. When it comes to music, unless you are the terrible Lady Gaga, you cannot go wrong with that.

We salute you!


I have come to the conclusion that the city of Houston and surrounding areas of Galveston and Lake Jackson Freeport needs a music festival. Yes I know we have the Free Press Summer Fest and all and that is great. I am in no way bashing them. However, I think we need something much bigger. When I say bigger, as far as festivals go, I mean something on the scale of the original Woodstock festival and Us Festivals.

One thing that often plauges Houston during the summer is the heat. Every year we have  100% humidity. This past year, we had a record-breaking triple digit summer that brought on a drought.

However, outdoor concerts and venues, despite the heat, are still very popular. Every year, Free Press Summerfest brings in hordes of crowds from all over the country. Also, there are many concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, as well as free concerts at places like Miller Outdoor Theater, Eleanor Tinsley Park and Discovery Green.

Also, the beach is quite nice to go to during the summer.

So what am I proposing? A festival on or near the beach. It would be called “Beachfest” and it would take place on or near the beaches of Galveston or Lake Jackson Freeport.

It would be like the Us Festival meets Woodstock at East Beach – the largest beach in Galveston. It would have specified days for each act – much like the Us Festival did. It would take place either at the very beginning of summer or near Labor day over the course of 3 days.

If this were to happen, each day would be as follows:

Coming up! (day 1)

This would be a day for up and comers. One day, they shall be big – least I think they will! It would also include indie bands and local talent too.

  1.  Ellie Goulding
  2. Foster the People
  3. Jay-z
  4. Beyonce
  5. Lecrae
  6. Florence + the Machine
  7. No Doubt
  8. Janet Jackson
  9. P!ink
  10. Them Crooked Vultures

blast from the past and future (day 2)

On this day, we would have obscure rock bands that were once hits but aren’t anymore. Kinda like a mini “80’s Rewind” Festival – or 90’s. Also we would feature up and comers too.

  1. Breakfast with the Phish (as in the band Phish)
  2. Missing Persons
  3. Animotion
  4. A Flock of Seagulls
  5. Jars of Clay
  6. Toad the Wet Sprocket
  7. Vertical Horizon
  8. The Offspring
  9. Everclear
  10. Fatboy Slim
  11. The B-52’s

Legends of rock (day 3)

This would have to be sponsored by 93.7 the Arrow.

  1. Heart
  2. Peter Frampton
  3. Pat Benatar
  4. Lenny Kravitz
  5. Aerosmith
  6. Van Halen
  7. Fleetwood Mac
  8. Stevie Nicks
  9. Def Leppard
  10. Bon Jovi

Let’s make Houston one hard-rockin’ place again!

 


For some reason, everytime I do Stevie Nicks my numbers go up! This is one I personally like myself.

the wildheart

Rock music’s gold dust woman makes a huge splash with her 1983 release, The Wild Heart.

Stevie Nicks is known for having a lush, deep, contra-alto voice. Nicks’ beautiful voice truly shines on such tracks as synthesizer-driven If Anyone Falls. The track only gets better on the chorus, when Nicks is joined by her two backup singers which include die-hard fan favorite band member Lori Perry- Nicks.

However, the best track on this album is the ever-popular Stand Back. Since the album’s release, it has become a staple at both Nicks’ solo shows and Fleetwood Mac concerts. It shows Nicks at her best – complete with vocal prowess.

Nicks also shows what a great songwriter she is on Nothing Ever Changes in which Nicks exclaims “Come back…little boy/ baby come back…yeah…little boy/ Ooh…it’s just me that lies waiting/ Well it could come from anywhere/ oooh it could…

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You had one amazing voice Etta! Rest In Peace.


In the mid-80’s rocker Stevie Nicks was at the top of her game with her multiplatinum-selling albums (1981’s Bella Donna &  1983’s The Wild Heart). However, by 1986, her “game” was being threatened by a deadly cocaine habit which greatly affected her then-latest album, Rock A Little, and its subsequent tour. Her 1986 concert, Stevie Nicks: Live At Red Rocks chronicles her concert at the beautiful Red Rocks Ampitheater tucked away inside the Colorado Rocky Mountains in Denver.

While this dvd is far from Nicks’ worst performance, it’s not up to par with her post-drugs performances such as her 2009 dvd: Live in Chicago. Nevertheless, there are some redeemable parts of this concert. For example, she opens the show with the Bella Donna-era classic, Outside the Rain with a nice fade-into her Fleetwood Mac classic Dreams. 

However, one of the best parts of the concert is when she performs Talk To Me from 1985’s Rock A Little. Her vocals sound amazing just as they do on the album.

One of the cutest moments of the film is after Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You. Someone in the audience releases a white-winged dove. The dove is then handed to Nicks (who tries to get the bird to speak into the mic) and she tries to release it, but the bird doesn’t leave.

Unfortunately Nicks’s performance of No Spoken Word is an absolute disaster in both sound and film. The closeups of her face are obviously retouched due to her drug issues. She looks tired. Additionally, her vocals sound tired. It gets even worse with Beauty and the Beast. On the ever-popular Edge of Seventeen, she performs a completely unnecessary vocal solo. At times, she even looks like she’s, as the great George Costanza once said on Seinfeld, in “a full-fledged body heave set to music.”

Overall, it’s an okay dvd due to the fact that it contains rarer songs that Nicks nowadays doesn’t perform live. However, it shows her in the worst part of her drug-fueled days. Fortunately after this tour she checked into rehab and has been off cocaine ever since.

B-.


English: Stevie Nicks, Live with Fleetwood Mac...

Sometimes in the midst of madness and insanity, one can find a gem. This is so with Stevie Nicks‘ 1985 album track If I Were You from her album Rock A Little.

If I Were You is a plea to a lover to stay. However, what makes this track stand out the most is that, unlike some of the songs on Rock A Little (such as Imperial Hotel, Rock A Little, and The Nightmare) you can coherently hear what Ms. Nicks is saying. It is quite clear she was on alot of cocaine when she made this album, but somehow we got this little gem.

The other thing that makes this track stand out is that it seems to take a detour from all the synthesizers and 80’s cheesiness that made this album terrible. Rather it’s an updated homage to the overall sound that made her famous in the first place.

Bravo!


One of the coolest things to ever emerge from my generation was none other than the Wonder Years. The reason why is because it was one of the first American television shows that successfully, for my generation, showed what the 60’s and early 70’s were about – abeit with the perspective of a preadolescent kid named Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage). He was accompanied by his pal Paul Pheiffer, love interest and later highschool sweetheart Winnie Cooper as well as his family: his brother the bully Wayne, hippie sister Karen and parents Jack and Norma. Jack was a bit conservative much like most fathers were in that time period. Norma was middle-road and sort of a feminist – much in reflection to the Women’s Liberation Movement.

However, there was one thing that made this show hit the ball out of the park: the music. Never had a show truly encorporated the hit songs of the time with such ease. They used songs such as Light My Fire by the Doors, Foxy Lady by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Steppenwolf, the list goes on. The soundtrack to that show not only introduced that music to a new generation but also made good scenes between characters great.

The other great thing about The Wonder Years is that it shows that regardless of decade,  the aspects of growing up never change. Young girls will always be chased by the young guys. There will always be teenage rebellion and angst. In the 60’s it was artists like Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix as well as Vietnam War protests. My generation gets the horrible events of September 11, 2001, No Doubt, Nirvana, and Jay-Z. Not TOO shabby but still, they aren’t as comparable to those legends.

It wasn’t good television. The Wonder Years was GREAT television.