Artists/Bands I've seen live - reviews, part 4

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Dic 4 2010, 21:06

2010 update to my previous journals.
Part 1 (2006)
Part 2 (2008)
Part 3 (2009)

30. Kult (support: Coma, Strachy na lachy)
I never ever would have thought that this year’s Juwenalia would “force me” to attend a show with a lineup like that. True, I’ve always wanted to see Kult, but as far as the supporting bands go – no, not really, thanks. Clever as I am, I spent first couple of hours in “beer village”, drinking away what would have been a true nightmare sans the golden ambrosia. Anyway, when Kult’s turn arrived, I was as high spirited as possible, running towards the stage and happily jumping up and down. So we sang “Baranek”, we sang “Gdy nie ma dzieci”, we sang a couple of other tunes... and then it started to get repetitive. Sure enough, we got all the hits, including “Dziewczyna bez zęba na przedzie” and “Brooklyńska Rada Żydów”, but by the end of the show, I felt it was enough for me and I probably won’t be seeing them again. The set ended with immortal “Wódka”, shouted out by every single person at the top of their lungs, but due to strict curfew, we got no encores whatsoever. Generally, I’m not the biggest Kult fan ever, but I really do get why they have this peculiar “cult” following. Kazik is a charismatic frontman, who’s always been influential in an “underground” kind of way, especially in the student environment. No one can deny Kult’s cult status on Polish music scene – however, it’s not exactly my cup of tea.

31. Maj Party 2010 (Dżem, Kukiz i Piersi)
Maj Party is a series of concerts taking place every May in Kraków. The 2010 edition included shows by Syndrom Kreta, Enej, Dżem, Kukiz i Piersi and British electronica band Apollo 440. I was too late to catch the first 2 bands, but arrived just in time to grab a beer and head towards the stage when Dżem started playing. I’ve always wanted to see them live, so a free show during Juwenalia was like a dream come true for me. They started with “Zapal świeczkę” and from the moment they played first couple of notes, we could tell it was going to be magical. I really enjoyed Maciej Balcar’s voice and thought he was a good choice for Rysiek Riedel’s replacement. The set had a really good flow and the band knew how to keep people interested, playing newer songs in-between the classic hits like “Harley mój” or “Wehikuł czasu”. Coming out for encore, they paid tribute to both late bandmembers – Riedel and Paweł Berger, and treated us to some more hits, including very well received “Whisky”. The show reached its climax when Jerzy Styczyński started the second encore by playing a cool solo on his Gibson Les Paul, which was then followed by “Czerwony jak cegła”, highlighted by great audience participation. What annoyed me as far as audience was concerned, was the fact, that close to the stage people were dancing pogo (seriously, how can you dance pogo to blues music??) and a bit further into the crowd people were really ‘stiff’ and uninterested. What is more, Dżem were playing in broad daylight, which meant that some part of the atmospheric feel was gone, which was a shame. Next on the bill was Paweł Kukiz and his band Piersi, so as soon as the intermission was over, we heard the pre-recorded prelude of “Barock”, followed by a strong riff of… Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. I’m not really familiar with Piersi’s catalogue, so it was a bit of a surprise for me. The song had Polish lyrics and ended with a bit of “War Pigs”, now known also as “Rozje*ałem się na drzewie” (xD). As soon as people up front heard the heavier music, pogo morphed into a pretty violent mosh. The setlist included hits ranging from “Będziemy piwo pić”, through “Leżę”, “Całuj mnie” to “O nic nie pytaj”. As the last encore we got a nice version of “Skóra” by Paweł’s previous band Aya RL, which was a nice way to end the set. What I didn’t like about the show, was Kukiz trying to preach in-between the songs, talking about politics, society and stuff I generally don’t like to hear at shows. When we were leaving the grounds, we heard a bit of headliner, but just as we assumed, we didn’t like it. Overall, the show was pretty ace – Dżem was great as expected, very polished as far as musicality goes and just bluesy as we like it, while Kukiz i Piersi were enjoyable, but also forgettable. Bring on the next year’s edition of Maj Party!!

32. Stare Dobre Małżeństwo
I had no idea I was going to his one until the very day of the show – I got a spare ticket and decided it would be stupid to let it waste. I’m generally not much into sung poetry, but enjoy the likes of Grzegorz Turnau once in a while. However, SDM’s performance was very disappointing. Boring and repetitive music (with a couple of bluesy tunes saving the evening), over-intellectual lyrics and lots and lots of preaching. I hate when I’m told what to do from the stage in terms of politics and moral issues. Apart from that, the band decided not to play their older, well-known songs, saying they don’t like to be just another nostalgia act. So no “Bieszczadzkie anioły” or “Blues o 4 nad ranem” this time. They played a request of “Majka” though. As the show progressed, it changed its atmosphere from grandiloquent pathos to an attempt at lofty comedy. After 2 and a half hours I couldn’t care less.

33. Europe (support: Muniek, Kosheen)
Oh yeah. After 18 years, someone finally thought about inviting Europe to Poland! Their show was set to be a free event during Wianki in Warsaw, an annual celebration of midsummer’s night. Traditionally, it takes place at the riverside, but due to flooding of the boulevards, organizers decided to change the location and cut the event short of the fireworks display and some other happenings. They also changed the lineup, with Kosheen replacing Fun Lovin’ Criminals. On the day of the show, I met up with my friends from ‘Wingersquad’ at the train station and when we set out on our way, we accidentally saw the end of Europe’s soundcheck – they played “Last Look at Eden” and a bit of “New Love in Town” from the new album. We saw the band do a meet and greet with their fanclub, but we weren’t allowed in. While peeking through the bars with some Spanish-speaking fans we saw them taking pictures and signing stuff for the people. After talking to some cool metalhead for a while, we met up with our new friends from Lithuania and went to grab something to eat. When the time of the show arrived, we took second row spots, opposite Mic Michaeli and John Leven. The only problem was that there was a cameraman in front of us, who blocked our view on John Norum and Joey Tempest. The first band to show up on stage was ‘project Muniek’. I really, sincerely despise the guy, his voice and his music. This show didn’t make the situation any better – silly songs, lisping vocals and ridiculous lyrics (‘once I was a tram driver, now I’m nobody’). People around me seemed to share my point of view. During the intermissions between the bands we were shown films promoting Warsaw and encouraging us to help those who suffered from the flood. Next on was a trip-hop electro band from Bristol – Kosheen. While I’d normally never listen to such music, I had to admit they were very professional and the singer had a great contact with the audience. They were playing a bit too long for my liking and started to get repetitive after a while. The bass sound was a bit too heavy, resonating in our stomachs and heads. Finally, Europe came on stage at 10.30pm – after the prerecorded “Prelude” – kicking off with the title track of their new album “Last Look At Eden”. From the very first minute they rocked the audience, playing a good mix of oldies and new tracks. A short bit of Rainbow’s “Since You Been Gone” in “Superstitious” and snippet of “Heaven And Hell” in “Rock The Night” were played as a homage to recently deceased Ronnie James Dio. My personal highlights of the show included “Cherokee”, fiercely introduced by Ian Haugland, fully electric version of “Carrie” and beautiful “Sign Of The Times”. The band seemed to have a great time too, with Joey talking to the audience in well-pronounced Polish. The funniest bit of the show was “Rock The Night”, beginning with a snippet of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. John Norum seemed to screw up the first notes of the song 4 times in a row, but when they finally started playing, it was epic. In the middle of the song Joey jumped down from the stage and went right into the ecstatic crowd, which was a nice gesture. The band closed the show with a 2-song encore of “The Beast” and their immortal anthem – “The Final Countdown”, playing 50 minutes longer than expected! Overall, the Europe show was real fun and made me want to see them again as soon as possible!

34. Europe (support: Tipsy Train)
Soo, after a little over a month, Polish fans were treated to another free-entry Europe show – this time in Lublin. The event was meant to commemorate the 30th anniversary of strikes which led to creation of "Solidaność". With our memories still fresh from wonderful concert in Warsaw, we came to Lublin expecting a lot. In fact, it was far more difficult to get there, and when we finally arrived and met up, the weather seemed to be against us. On our way to grab some pizza we heard a bit of Tipsy Train's soundcheck. The supporting band proudly rehearsed some Whitesnake and Deep Purple, changing lyrics of "Stormbringer" to: "You gotta keep on running, STORM is coming!". It was hard to deny that fact, and soon enough we were standing front row on Norum's side, soaking wet, sporting raincoats and cowering against wind, rain and creepy lightnings. When our moods reached rock bottom the concert has finally begun – after a short talk about "Solidarność" and recent flood disaster, we heard first notes played by Tipsy Train and liked it instantly. It even stopped raining and the crowd was getting bigger with each song. Since I didn't know Tipsy Train's music before, my personal favourites of the set were the covers – from tribute to Dio ("I", "Holy Diver"), through classic hard rock anthems like Whitesnake's "Love Ain't No Stranger" and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", to metal medley including songs by Tiamat, Metallica, Manowar and Led Zeppelin. Top stuff. By the end of the set, Tipsy Train gained a whole bunch of new fans, me included. I was sad to see them leave the stage, but at the same time happy, having discovered a good "new" Polish band. After another healthy dose of flood-history-charity talk, we heard familiar notes of "Prelude" and knew it was time to rock! It was cool to see the band again in such a short period of time, but at the same time, their performance lacked some subtle degree of freshness. Another little sting of disappointment was the fact, that the set list was almost identical to Warsaw – same songs, similar order, no real surprises... They played 4 songs less than a month before, changing only 2 things: switching interlude in "Superstitious" to Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" and extending Ian Haugland's drum solo. The said drum solo was a highlight of the show for me – Ian played to the background theme of Rossini's Willhelm Tell Overture! The rest of the show was less spectacular, even though Joey and the band were energetic as usual and professional performance-wise. The audience was having marvellous time, cheering Joey's attempts at speaking Polish and singing along, but for me, the show lacked this little dose of spontanity, edginess and joy the band presented in Warsaw. If this concert was my first Europe show, I'd be delighted by it. I had a good time, but still, I'm saying no to routine and stale setlists.

35. TSA (support: Alex Carlin)
Going to this show was a last minute decision, but a good one at the same time. After some ticket-related drama, we ended up drinking beer and listening to Alex Carlin. Even though I didn't know who he was, I instantly liked the vibe he created. It was just one guy with his guitar, playing rock n'roll. His set was short but intense, containing some of his own tunes, a hilarious rendition of "Fever" with different Polish-English lyrics (entitled "Piwo" – beer) as well as cover songs – Motorhead's "Ace of Spades", AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". Even though the sound quality was horrendous and Alex's guitar playing abilities were average, we had a great time. After a short break, we saw TSA entering the stage and the first thing that drew our attention was Andrzej Nowak striking his guitar hero poses. We continued to stare at the guy throughout the show and we couldn't help but wonder if his ego can get any bigger ;) To be honest though, his guitar playing was really intense and soulful. Marek Piekarczyk was running around the stage, as if he was 20 years younger, and his voice stayed in shape all the time. The setlist comprised of all the BIG songs – ballads ("51", "Trzy zapałki") and rockers ("Heavy Metal Świat", "Proceder", "Zwierzenia kontestatora"). My personal favourite was "Alien", which included great audience participation. I was also surprised with the number of encores – the band kept coming back on stage 3 times, even though half of the people had left the venue before the second encore. Overall, I was really glad that I decided to go to this show.

36. Deep Purple (support: SBB)
It's really hard to begin this particular review – maybe because I have always wanted to see Deep Purple in concert, maybe because I had bought the tickets almost 9 months before the show or maybe because the show took place so close to my hometown. The few last days before the event were ridiculously long and when we finally set out and drove to the concert, I couldn’t believe it was really happening. We reached the venue half an hour before the doors were opened and the queue wasn’t very long. Finally, we ended up around 4th-5th row on Steve’s side. First on the bill were SBB, also known as the Silesian Blues Band. I’m not familiar with their music and found their set a bit boring to be honest. Keyboard/bass player and vocalist Józef Skrzek kept having some equipment problems, but continued to play nonetheless. Finally, after the stage was rearranged, we heard Deep Purple play first notes of “Hard Lovin’ Man” and that’s where the fun began. Steve Morse just made everyone’s jaw drop. Even though there were no surprises in the set, the audience reacted enthusiastically to every single song – during “Strange Kind Of Woman” I thought the guy behind me is having a seizure! My favourite moments of the show included “Contact Lost”/Steve’s solo/”When A Blind Man Cries” combo, cool version of “Lazy” and (of course) “Perfect Strangers”. Speaking of the latter, as an interlude, Don Airey played a keyboard solo, in which (to great applause) he included tidbits of Chopin’s Polonaise in A-flat major and Polish national anthem. Ian Gillan kept messing up the lyrics and looked unhappy about cameras with lights (he even told off some people), which didn’t improve the atmosphere at all. Steve, on the other hand, was his usual smiling self, as well as Roger Glover and Don. As far as the set was concerned, greatest hits from Ian-era albums were mixed with new compositions of Mark VII and VIII. The last 5 songs of the show were out of this world, with “Smoke On The Water” closing the main set and “Black Night” as the final song of the evening. It was a pity we didn’t get to hear “Highway Star” or “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” though. After the show ended, we waited like idiots in a super-long queue to the cloakroom and returned home happy and full of precious memories (interestingly enough, on our way back we were stopped by road police, who thought it was a good idea to check Deep Purple fans’ sobriety). I wanted to write something wise to sum up the Deep Purple concert experience, but all I’m able to do is just give you some superlatives followed by exclamation marks. There you go – it was: fantastic!! superb!! & awesome!! And last but not least, I’d like to say “[censored]” to all the douchebags who haven’t noticed they were on a rock concert and not in the African bush. There.

37. Paul Gilbert
Oh my, can you believe it? When I heard my favourite guitarist is coming back to Poland, I freaked out. Having overcome many difficulties and obstacles trying to prevent me from seeing Paul 3rd year in a row, I learnt that I’ve won a ticket to the show! My inborn bad luck has literally morphed into good luck (like it always does at concerts) and stayed like that for the whole evening. I reached the venue just in time to see the supporting act – Jacek Polak, only to find out there was no supporting act at all. So we waited, waited… and waited, AC/DC blasting out of the speakers. Finally we saw Paul and his band enter the stage. This time he was accompanied by Craig Martini (bass), Jeff Bowders (drums) and – instead of Emi Gilbert, who played keyboards on the last tour – Tony Spinner of Toto (guitar & vocals). From the first notes of “Silence Followed By A Deafening Roar”, to the last tact of AC/DC’s “Go Down” over 2 hours later, everybody had a big grin on their faces. Paul presented an almost totally different set compared to 2008, including lots of songs from his new album entitled “Fuzz Universe” and numerous covers. Actually, in retrospect, we thought he played too many of those cover songs – we got tunes by B.B. King, The Doors, Muddy Waters, AC/DC, Blue Öyster Cult and Yes. Added to all that we heard a good mix of Paul’s solo songs, Mr. Big and Racer X hits, as well as representation of Paul’s collaboration with Freddie Nelson (Paul Gilbert & Freddie Nelson). The audience was really responsive to the music and some guys even shouted Paul into playing a nice (unplanned) acoustic version of “Down To Mexico”. In my opinion, the best moments of the show included bluesy trade-offs between Paul and Tony during “Rock Me Baby” by B.B. King, amazing performances of the new songs (“Batter Up” just really couldn’t leave me alone after the show) and the sheer awesomeness of tunes like “Technical Difficulties” – the solo in the middle is the definition of epic win. Nobody left the show disappointed and we could hear people raving about performance of “Olympic”, shredding mania in “Light My Fire” by The Doors or vocal harmonies in Yes song “Roundabout”. After the show Paul came out to us to sign tickets and pose for photos. My good luck continued when I got him to sign (half of) his setlist, which I got from a roadie and then defended from some crazy girl trying to take it away from me. At the very end, out of the blue, some guy gave me a merchandise t-shirt with a vintage ’89 photo of Paul, so I left the venue not only with whole lot of great memories but also with some cool memorabilia. After this show, I can’t imagine not seeing Paul Gilbert again when he comes back to Poland.


Concert wishes for the future: Whitesnake, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, The Quireboys, Marty Friedman and many many more!

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