Sunday, August 29, 2010

Iron Maiden's "The Final Frontier" Review

Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier
Iron Maiden
The Final Frontier
Rating: *** 1/2

Iron Maiden's fifteenth studio album The Final Frontier is quite an ambitious album for the band. The heavy metal veterans, in their mid-50's, have been releasing albums on a somewhat regular basis since the new millennium. For me, I haven't heard the last Maiden album. I do, however, have 2003's Dance of Death which I rarely listen to. There are some negatives for this album, including the mixing. This seems to be a problem with almost every album released today. I'm not sure if I'm the only one who has this problem but the mix sounds as if someone is increasing and decreasing the volume constantly. Also, this album is just too damn long. The album clocks in at 76 minutes, the longest album by Maiden to date. Despite these negatives, the album actually has some really good music on it. The self titled track is a bit long but sounds good after a while. "El Dorado" is a really nice heavy track while "Coming Home" has this very cool melodic feel to it. "Starblind" is also pretty good but the highlight of the album has to be the album's epic 11 minutes closer, "When the Wild Wind Blows". The song is just musically excellent and the lyrics are good too. All together, Iron Maiden have given us a good album. While it is very lengthy, it's still worth a listen. If you're new to the band, don't get this. Go check out the band's older albums such as The Number of the Beast and Powerslave. UP THE IRONS!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kiss to cover "Venus and Mars" on McCartney tribute album

Note: This is old news, I know but I just heard about it so zip it.

In an interview with Weekender.com, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons says that Kiss has or will be covering the Wings song "Venus and Mars" for an upcoming Paul McCartney tribute album. It also reads on the band's official site that performers such as Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, BB King, and Paul Rodgers will be on the tribute album as well. It reads,

"After being invited, we chose and sang Venus and Mars/Rockshow for the McCartney tribute album. Other performers include Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, BB King and Paul Rodgers. The backing tracks were all recorded by Paul McCartney's touring band. We consider it an honor to be asked to participate on a tribute to one of the most influential and greatest singer/songwriters of all time. Not to mention, a major force in the most important band of all time, The Beatles. Wow!

I'm very surprised by this news. Kiss covers Wings?! I could never imagine that happening. As it says it the statement above, it looks like the band will cover both "Venus and Mars" and "Rockshow" since they are two parts of one song. I'll be looking forward to hearing this!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kiss rocks Camden

Kiss
August 6, 2010
Live in Camden
(Sorry. It's hard to find a copyright-free picture of Kiss. Please don't kill me)
Kiss is on tour once again but this time, it isn't fan-routed. The band is still touring in support of their 2009 album Sonic Boom and still consist of bassist Gene Simmons, guitarists Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer, and drummer Eric Singer. Compared to the last time I saw them, the venue was smaller (Subqhanna, major spelling error) and there were more opening acts. There were three bands: Octane, The Envy, and The Academy Is. All of them were just okay. By 8:45 pm, the lights went out and the show began...

1. Modern Day Delilah
"Alright Philadelphia! You wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world, Kiss!"
Vroom! Pow! Kiss came on with a bang opening up with the lead single off of Sonic Boom. Like last time, Paul sounded as if he had a hard time singing the song. There weren't any changes in the song except that the song opened the show. A great start!

2. Cold Gin
"How about a classic off the first album?" Paul asked.
This Ace Frehley-penned classic was played perfectly and Gene sang it wonderfully.

3. Let Me Go Rock N Roll
Paul decided to have a little contest to see which side of the audience was louder. After this, it was time to rock n roll! No notable changes from the last performance.

After the song was done, Paul went into one of his banters. This one was about the place getting hot. If it got any hotter, we'd have to call...the Firehouse!

4. Firehouse
Finally! A change in the setlist! This classic is such a great song. At the end, Gene did his fire-breathing act.

5. Say Yeah
As the latest single of the new album, this traditonal Kiss anthem had to played. Paul led the crowd to singing the song's chrous but not too many people sang along. Sad.

6. Deuce
"Let's go back to the Old Testement" exclaimed Paul.
No changes in this at all in this performance.

7. Crazy Crazy Nights
When Paul introduced this song, my mouth literally dropped open. This non-make up era song is rarely played, especially in the make up! I was pleased to hear this song so much. A suprise for sure.

8. Calling Dr. Love
Since the audience had rock n roll pnemonia, we had to call out the doctor. This song was played perfectly, almost as close to the studio recording!

9. Shock Me
"Tommy's going to sing this one" Paul said sounding excited. "This one's called...Shock Me!"

Okay, now before I go on rambling I'm gonna say that the solos that followed from Tommy and Eric were great. As for the song, it got me a bit pissed off and I'm not the only one who feels this way: "Shock Me" is Ace Frehley's song. Not only is it his song but it's also a personal one about the time Ace was electrocuted on stage back in 1976. Gene and Paul must've thought since Tommy is wearing Ace's make up, it makes sense for him to sing the song. Bull! If Tommy had sung the song "When Lightning Strikes" from Sonic Boom, I wouldn't have a problem with that at all. Still, the band played the song great as always.

10. I'm an Animal
Calming down from the last song, the band played another cut from Sonic Boom which is sung by Gene. A really good song but it wasn't much of a sing-along.

11. 100,000 Years
This traditionally long song wasn't as long as it was the last time I saw Kiss. Eric got a bit of a drum solo and Paul got to have the audience singing to. Overall, a kick-ass performance.

12. I Love It Loud
Like last time, Gene did his blood spitting act which was AWESOME! This song, as always, is a sing-along.

13. Love Gun
For a change, Paul didn't come out to the audience to sing this next song. He stayed onstage with the band and it was still great.

14. Black Diamond
Followed by Paul's solo and a snipet of "Whole Lotta Love", the band went into this song which happens to be my favorite Kiss song ever.

15. Detriot Rock City
Another great performance.

Encore
Once again Paul said this would be the longest encore. But for a change the band played...

16. Beth
I could say the same for this song as I did with "Shock Me" but I won't. "Beth" is simply a Kiss ballad and it's always great to hear. Eric Singer sang lead on this one while Gene, Paul, and Tommy backed him up. I can remember seeing a sea of flames with all those zippos all lightened up!

17. Lick It Up
Same as before. Band played a bit of "Won't Get Fooled Again". Before the song, Paul played the opening lick to "I Stole Your Love".

18. Shout It Out Loud
No changes...

19. I Was Made Fore Lovin' You
This guilty pleasure hit was played. For a change, Paul went out to the audience for this song. The only thing missing was a disco ball!

20. God Gave Rock N Roll To You
I've never seen footage or heard the band play this song with the make-up. It was magical, as corny as that sounds. The screen in the background showed pictures of legendary rock bands and people (including the late Eric Carr, who is very connected with this song for some reason. Perhaps maily due to the fact it was the last song and video he did with the band). Paul also lead the crowd to sing the song a capella!
At the end Paul said...
"And then God said....ROCK N ROLL ALL NIGHT AND PARTY EVERY DAY!"

21. Rock N Roll All Nite
After a clever lead-in from Paul, the confetti machine started and everybody was singing. As always at the end of the song, Paul smashed his guitar. A perfect end to a great show!
PS: The day of this show was also Vinnie Vincent's 57th birthday!