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  • Roger Waters @ The Palace of Auburn Hills, 10/24/10

    25. Okt. 2010, 17:14

    Sun 24 Oct – The Wall Live

    There's no competition here. That truly was the best show I've been to this year. Probably ever. I can't stress enough how legitimate this entire experience was. I missed the Dark Side tour three years ago, so basically, The Wall might very well be the last tour he'll perform. Basically, I really only had more chance that I was willing to risk of seeing Roger Waters, so I figured, why not. Let's hit this up.

    If you've ever been to the Palace you know the rush of people outside to run and get to their cars, so let me say this. With how good people actually are at this, REMEMBER WHERE YOU PARKED YOUR DAMN CAR. Learn from my mistake. Seeing I-75 again is just a rush of joy. But enough about that. The set list, as you all know, was:

    Set 1:
    In the Flesh?
    The Thin Ice
    Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1
    The Happiest Days of Our Lives
    Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2
    Mother
    Goodbye Blue Sky
    Empty Spaces
    Young Lust
    One of My Turns
    Don't Leave Me Now
    Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3
    The Last Few Bricks
    Goodbye Cruel World

    Set 2:
    Hey You
    Is There Anybody Out There?
    Nobody Home
    Vera
    Bring The Boys Back Home
    Comfortably Numb
    The Show Must Go On
    In the Flesh
    Run Like Hell
    Waiting for the Worms
    Stop
    The Trial
    Outside the Wall

    Far more than you get from most shows. Roger came out to almost a little under two hours of playing, so when you factor in the intermission in between, the whole thing went pretty seamlessly from beginning to end. It was the kind of show that you felt was going extremely quickly as it went, but in looking, was so long. Once again, the number of songs at work here.

    First of all, I had incredibly poor seats as I purchased tickets at an extremely late date, but even so, the projection was pretty clear even from the side, and was it ever entertaining. Yes, I'm not gonna lie, had I bought $200 tickets it would have been surpassable within the realms of possibility and reason, but this show was pretty incredible nonetheless. For something that was all about the visuals, it all came together extremely nicely and if you're a person like me, just makes you remember why Pink Floyd used to be your favorite band, as well as makes you notice things about an old favorite that you never noticed. Is that not what shows like this are all about?

    Anyway, I digress. Yes, naturally, nothing can compare to actually seeing David Gilmour up there, but Snowy White and the band in conjunction with Roger Waters was about as close to the Pink Floyd sound as we're getting. Some of the most legitimate moments were in Mother, Roger singing double tracked with an old video of him doing Mother 30 years prior; all of the Another Brick in the Wall parts for their own reasons; Empty Spaces which is normally one of my least favorites but with the visuals which are partially from The Wall film and partially elsewhere, as well as live, just makes it greater. The Last Few Bricks is a great way to end the set off, and then later, the crowd singing to Nobody Home, the spotlights in In the Flesh, the absolute blast that is Run Like Hell lives, and just the general sorrow you can hear portrayed in Roger's voice during darker songs like Hey You or Waiting for the Worms. Hell, he even took songs that I think nothing of at all, like Vera, and gave them total meaning to me.

    That's really all I have to say. This was a long show but one that in seeing you will absolutely love, and if you have an opportunity, do see it. It's a very visual thing to behold, which may or may not be your cup of tea, but it's not like we're liable to get any other chances, now are we? This is an easy 10/10 for me.
  • Alice in Chains @ DTE Energy Music Theatre, 9/17/10

    18. Sep. 2010, 14:11

    Fri 17 Sep – Alice in Chains, Deftones, Mastodon

    There's a lot to say going in to an Alice in Chains show. How much greater it could have been if Layne Staley were there in William DuVall's place, how predictable the setlist is, rarely anything positive. That being said, the fact of the matter will always be to me that it's a miracle we're still here seeing the band to this day, when they could have easily given up and died when Staley left us. And honestly, people can feel free to disagree with me, but I truly do believe Black Gives Way to Blue is the best album of 2009 and one of the most pleasantly surprising things I've ever seen musically. So with that in mind, what did I think of this show?

    I thought it was one of the best experiences I've ever had at a concert, by far. Was the setlist predictable? For the most part, yes. I'm not expecting to go there and hear Private Hell, but that's a moot point. The crowd was fantastic, even the songs that we all expected to hear were top notch, DuVall and Cantrell were extremely talkative, and it was just a mix of everything you want to see musically.

    Naturally, this was the Blackdiamondskye tour, so they were with Mastodon and Deftones. Due to I-75 being fucked up beyond repair, I didn't even get there in time for Mastodon. Deftones I'm not the most familiar with, but I did hear and recognize some of what they had to offer, and it was top notch. Their stage presence was terrific and it was the perfect thing to get you into the mood here. I was particularly surprised that with two bands opening, Alice in Chains while headlining managed to start before 9pm. No complaints there, though. With that, the setlist.

    Them Bones
    Dam That River
    Rain When I Die
    Again
    Check My Brain
    Your Decision
    No Excuses
    Grind
    A Looking in View
    We Die Young
    Lesson Learned
    It Ain't Like That
    Rooster

    Encore:
    Rotten Apple
    Man in the Box
    Would?

    It's important to note that if I know a setlist is going to suck, I don't go to the show. But yes, that came out to 16 songs. 3 from Facelift, 5 from Dirt, 2 from Tripod, 2 from Jar of Flies, and 4 from Black Gives Way to Blue. But yeah, every single show opens with Them Bones anymore, so I expected as much. It's not one of my favorite AiC songs, but what can I say. It's good enough for Dirt, it's definitely good enough for a show. The show more than picked up momentum when Dam That River came on. Again, it's good enough to be the second song on Dirt, it's going to transcend to being amazing in the eyes. I'll also point out: William DuVall has stage presence like a mofo. He's extremely entertaining to watch, listen to, everything. Seeing him and Jerry Cantrell together is a dream.

    Rain When I Die came next, and it was pretty damn amazing. At this point you hope they're going to play Down in a Hole next, but of course that never happens. Even though Rain When I Die is six minutes, it feels like only a couple minutes live, it's that good. You wouldn't expect them to be able to reproduce the psychedelia of it, but lo and behold they can, through the ending and all. Again was next, which I wasn't the biggest fan of but was still good stuff. Check My Brain after that, and again, that isn't one of my favorite songs of theirs, but seeing it live makes it a lot better. The band seems extremely fond of that song and even though they stuck exclusively with the singles as far as BGWtB goes, it's certainly a good choice for this.

    Here's the thing with Alice in Chains live. Blackdiamondskye is all about some of the heaviest pioneers of rock music out there, but AiC doesn't come all down to that. They've got the melodic stuff where it counts, and Your Decision was perfectly placed for that. The crowd wasn't as into it as it could have been, but I thought it was just something altogether different live. That was just incredible, but perhaps the actual concert's biggest highlight was right after that. No Excuses. I partly expected to hear it, but it was still absolutely incredible to see. The crowd was absolutely outstanding for that, plus honestly, it's always been one of my favorites off Jar of Flies and it's a LOT better live. Not even kidding, it is, DuVall puts something completely different into it.

    Next up, Grind, which I expected to hear as well and is a song I'm fond of, moreso than the next one, but A Looking in View next was terrific. Absolutely fucking terrific, second only to No Excuses on this show. Cantrell was absolutely phenomenal on the whole thing, it's just about the longest song here, and just built for a show like this at that place. Brilliant. Next was We Die Young, which was also a total pleasure to hear. If I remember correctly, DuVall announced right beforehand that they were about to play some old shit, and yep, as far as AiC goes, that's as old as it gets. Next was Lesson Learned, which was... decent. I really like that song, but honestly, it wasn't that much greater live, but still, it wasn't bad by any stretch of imagination.

    The only song they played all night that I don't really like is It Ain't Like That, but that only seemed to last about two minutes before they moved on to the part that everyone was waiting for. Rooster. It's amazing how well that song wraps up a show like this, and I absolutely loved it here. It's actually one of my least favorite songs on Dirt, but that doesn't even matter, it was mind blowing. The beginning was intercut with images of war, which I didn't even see coming, and DuVall practically let the crowd sing it up to the chorus, which was absolutely beautiful to be a part of. When Cantrell really gets into the riff though, that's where it starts becoming ridiculous fast. Again, one of the best parts of the entire show by far. Whole thing was amazing, although it's one of those songs that just gets better as it goes, and seeing the same thing in the ending as the beginning, which is essentially what Rooster is, was awesome. To make it even better, there was a very slight wait for an encore. Always a pet peeve of mine.

    Here's where it gets good. They played fucking Rotten Apple next. I didn't even know they played that song live. What's next, Private Hell? :P That isn't a song designed to be a highlight for a concert like this, but I absolutely adored that. It's a long song, but it's emotional as hell, and you don't expect DuVall to be able to capture that, but he does. But you know what he captures even better? The whole time during a show like this, you're wondering when Man in the Box is going to start. If it's not by the encore, that means it's in the encore. Guarantee it. That was next, and yes, the crowd was absolutely on fire for that. Another total highlight of the show, and seeing the energy of both band and crowd alike at the point of "buried in my shit" is beyond awesome. Just that riff, people. That riff, by itself, is worth millions. Next song was Would?, and everyone knows this is going to be the last song. And it was... pretty damn good. Crowd could have been slightly better except for IF I WOULD, COULD YOU, but damn, what a way to end the show.

    This was a 9.5/10 show for me though, at the very least. Setlist was great, not perfect as there was a general lack of Down in a Hole, Angry Chair, and Acid Bubble, but we got A Looking in View, No Excuses, and fucking Rotten Apple out of it, so complaining would simply be asking for too much. Crowd was good, not the best ever, but good, and DuVall closed by saying "Goodbye Detroit, see you next summer", so yeah. Everything's there. Especially DuVall and Cantrell being interactive, which is a very very strong point. I'd say if you're even a moderate Alice in Chains fan, go to this, because it's unforgettable.
  • Modest Mouse @ Royal Oak Music Theatre, 7/1/10

    2. Jul. 2010, 15:34

    Thu 1 Jul – Modest Mouse, Avi Buffalo

    Well. Modest Mouse. Where do I even begin with this. First of all, it's common knowledge that their setlists these days are slightly amiss. Not because they're playing all their bad songs, because that's certainly not the case. Rather, everything they play these days comes from Good News For People Who Love Bad News, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, and the occasional couple off their latest EP, No One's First and You're Next. Naturally you're going to also hear a couple off of The Moon & Antarctica, but those are very few and far between. Which sucks because if you know me you know I herald that album as one of the best things ever made.

    So with that in mind you go in there with your expectations rather neutral. You know that the songs aren't going to be exactly what you want to hear, but that it's friggin Isaac Brock and everything he does is guaranteed to entertain. And I mean, I enter with wild fantasies of hearing Night on the Sun, which is my favorite song of theirs. Obviously not gonna happen. But either way, arrival was decent. 7:45 and we were positioned towards the back as Avi Buffalo came on.

    Having never heard anything by Avi Buffalo in the past, I had no idea what to expect. Now, they're obviously nothing compared to the main act here, but I was pleased with what I heard. It's very melodic independent pop with a touch of psychedelia in there now and then, and I thought it was pretty decent. Wasn't anything I was going to write home about, but still, it was an entertaining way to start it off, and I definitely plan on least listening to the one album. At this point it was nearing 9, Avi Buffalo finished, so we decided to be daring and push our way down to the stairs. We were well aware that we pissed some people off, but we could obviously have not possibly cared less. So we were pretty close to the stage, in front of where Tom Peloso would appear later. The actual wait between Avi Buffalo and Modest Mouse was way too damn long. At approximately 9:30 though, it happened and this was what we were treated to:

    King Rat
    The View
    Dashboard
    This Devil's Workday
    Here's To Now
    Blame It On The Tetons
    Fire It Up
    Dance Hall
    The Whale Song
    Here It Comes
    Gravity Rides Everything
    Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
    Black Cadillacs
    Spitting Venom LIKE A BOSS

    Encore:
    The World at Large
    Interstate 8
    Satin in a Coffin
    Bury Me With It

    I count 18 songs total. That's 2 older b-sides, 1 Ugly Casanova song, 2 from The Moon & Antarctica, 8 from Good News, 3 from We Were Dead, and 2 from No One's First And You're Next. A little off kilter, much? Towards the end we were even making jokes that it was back to 2005 during a Good News tour, with how much we heard from that album. But ah well, it was what it was and like I said, none of those songs are bad per se. As I review every song, keep in mind: I was surrounded the entire time by a rather powerful aroma of beer, which I would have loved to partake in had I not been responsible for driving later, but I digress.

    King Rat was a very nice way of opening up the show. The Royal Oak Music Theatre is always a treat to behold in terms of lighting, and King Rat is of course a very dynamic song with lots of shifts between the manic and the calm, and the lighting that came with it really added a lot to it. And of course, it's also my favorite song from No One's First And You're Next so that always helps. What truly made my joyful, though, was the next song, The View. That's always been one of my favorites off of Good News too, both musically and lyrically. It was a really treat to see that live, plus getting the opportunity to dance with the whole crowd during the solo was something I'm not going to forget anytime soon. Granted, I was on the opposite side as Isaac, but that's all good because Peloso is always entertaining to watch.

    So it got some momentum going early, though that was let down a bit later. Next up was Dashboard, which was decent, not the most memorable thing ever, but we all knew it was coming eventually, so what can I say. The melodic parts toward the middle were really something else live though, and almost put me into mind why Isaac choose Avi Buffalo to open for them. Next up, however, was The Devil's Workday which I didn't care for, and then an Ugly Casanova song in Here's To Now, which I didn't even recognize. I wasn't crazy about either, though they're both only about 2:30 long apiece. At this point, a short pause and then as the delicate sound of an acoustic guitar broke the upper end silence, the spotlight shone on Isaac.

    Blame it on the Tetons afterwards, and we all decided that song was a little out of place, but seeing it live actually improved my opinion of the song. It was always one of my least favorites off Good News, but Isaac performed it live with so much more energy than he did in the studio, especially towards the ending, that I couldn't help but like it that much more. That being said, at this point we started making a commotion that spread even beyond our group, yelling at Isaac between each song: PLAY SOME OLD SHIT! Now, this was a chanting that occurred between every song. The next song, however, was Fire It Up, which is decent and has a groovy opening but I wasn't very ecstatic about. Isaac surprised us all by playing Dance Hall next, which is so bad it's hilarious in the studio, but just plain entertaining live. Dancing to that was just overwhelming, actually, and the melodic parts are actually a beautiful thing to behold in a situation like that. It was a fun thing to hear though, trust me.

    Next up, The Whale Song. No surprises there, we all saw that coming, and you could just tell during it, how proud Isaac was of that song. He truly does consider it his masterpiece as of late, and while I wouldn't go that far, it is all good stuff. Next was a rarer b-side in Here It Comes, which I had only heard a couple times before and only left us pleading more for Isaac to play some older shit. But he granted us our wish and treated us to Gravity Rides Everything next. This was where the show really started to get better. I love that song in the studio anyway, but live it was... something else. It was just flat out fun to hear the entire crowd singing the chorus in unison, Isaac's voice was just even spot on than in the studio, and the song had a twist of funk in it that just made it transcendental to behold. It got even better from there.

    Anyone who was with me will tell you that when Eric Judy played the bass line to Tiny Cities Made of Ashes, I became very, VERY happy. This song is famous for being one of the best things ever live, and I knew it, the crowd knew it, and Isaac Brock knew it. Now, the opening is always extended a lot to taunt the crowd a little bit, but when Isaac's vocals kicked in it made my day up to that point. It's a very groovy, fast paced song which is what makes it great live, but upon the explosion in the transition from quiet to loud, the lights went absolutely out of control, you could tell Isaac was truly having fun himself, and I started headbanging so wildly while focusing deep into the lights simultaneously that I almost passed out, but it was worth it. Bottom line, the song was incredible, the solo in the middle was great, and it was obviously extended well out with vocals on top of it. Absolutely brilliant. What wasn't brilliant was hearing Black Cadillacs next, which I've always liked in the studio, but live it actually really was out of place. But after another pause, it was all made up for.

    What came next, you ask? Why, none other than one of my absolute favorites: Spitting Venom. THIS was the most I possibly could have hoped for, even though I was pulling for Night on the Sun the whole time, but Spitting Venom is actually played on a regular basis. I almost cried tears of joy at hearing it starting, but then when it got to the explosion where it becomes heavy, it was even better than the transitions in King Rat and Tiny Cities Made of Ashes. It was literally amazing, even though in that part, Isaac messed up the lyrics by singing, "You can say what you want but don't act like you care / It takes more than one person to decide what's fair" twice, but that line is brilliant so I could care less. Even better, after that, in transit between the song's two polar opposites, there was silence and then the stage was immersed in white light to the point where we could see nothing, but when the lights moved, the horns entered. Seeing this with my own eyes is one of the things I will remember forever because I probably actually did shed tears seeing that. It was outstanding, and even though the song didn't go into I Came as a Rat like it usually does, that's no skin off my nose.

    Transition from end to encore. Very long wait, but an intention buildup of tension. Upon return though, The World at Large. Good stuff. It can't communicate all of its studio emotion live like Spitting Venom can, but it was more "fun" to hear than I expected, especially with the whole crowd shouting "ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-baaaahhh" live with Isaac. After that, though, to my surprise, Interstate 8. That was really exciting to see, as that's always been one of my favorite obscure ones of theirs from the Long Drive days, and I was surprised how much of the crowd actually knew it. Half naked chicks swimming through a sea of arms to that song was definitely an addition to it.

    After that, Satin in a Coffin. I expected that song in there, and it was pretty much what I expected. Fun song live as in the studio, nothing amazing, just good. Modest Mouse surprised me personally by playing four songs in the encore instead of three, and to close it off was Bury Me With It. I definitely have no complaints with that to close the entire experience, because I've been listening to it nonstop lately for whatever reason, and the guitar parts, while not as melodic as they could have been live, were still a brilliant way to end everything, and the chorus was awesome as always. It was actually one of the couple songs that didn't do more for me live than in the studio, but it's a difficult song to replicate so I can sympathize.

    Overall, I give the concert a 8.5/10. Setlist was predictable and a little average as a whole, in fact I correctly predicted Dashboard and Black Cadillacs before they both came on, which is not something I want to be able to. No 3rd Planet or Parting of the Sensory was a bit disappointing too, not to mention no Float On was REALLY surprising. Hearing some guy say outside, "How about Bukowski, no way they're ever gonna play that shit" made me giggle. That, and the interaction between Isaac and the crowd was a little lacking, but still, Modest Mouse live is what it's become now, and they could be playing the phone book and it'd still be amazing. See this if you get the opportunity; if you harbor any fondness for their later stuff you will love it.
  • 2009 in retrospect

    2. Jan. 2010, 2:46

    Well, 2009 is done. And it's the first full year in which I've been on last.fm, so I figure I'll take a look at my stats right now. Just so that I can compare in a years' time and so on, you see. Hell, it'll probably be completely different in a few months.

    Total plays as of 9:20 pm, 1/1/2010: 8,507

    1. Porcupine Tree
    >> Prediction: They're staying at #1. It's been pretty recent that they topped Dream Theater (actually when The Incident came out), but they're gaining plays rapidly and staying right where they are now.

    2. Dream Theater
    >> Prediction: Moving down when they get surpassed by Elliott. I still love them to death, but they don't gain plays nearly as quickly due to the length of their songs, especially compared to Elliott's or even Porcupine Tree's.

    3. The Beatles
    >> Prediction: Moving down. They've been at #3 forever, always a little below PT and DT. Elliott will probably move up to #2, though. It's a shame, I should listen to them more.

    4. Elliott Smith
    >> Prediction: Wow. Elliott started this year probably less than #20, now he's at #4 and is probably moving to #2. I'm impressed, I have to say.

    5. Radiohead
    >> Prediction: I haven't listened to them nearly as much as I used to. Again though, I love them, they just haven't been spinning too much lately. They might get surpassed by Modest Mouse, who knows, even though Street Spirit still holds the record for tracks and will continue to do so.

    6. Pink Floyd
    >> Prediction: I'm actually surprised that Pink Floyd is still holding up at #6. Another band that I love but haven't been giving that many plays to lately. Hate to say it, but as much as I dig them they're falling out of the top six soon.

    7. Modest Mouse
    >> Prediction: Probably going to rise. Here's a band that I love, have always loved, and hasn't been dropping in plays for some reason. It's like, I get tired of one album, I like another more, and it's an endless cycle.

    8. Rush
    >> Prediction: There's a huge gap between Modest Mouse and Rush in terms of my affection for the band in question, but Rush gains a fairly large number of plays at random times. They're the most inconsistent band here, so they're impossible to predict.

    9. Our Lady Peace
    >> Prediction: Staying where they are. I haven't been loving OLP as much as I did back in the day, even though I still listen to Clumsy and Happiness... and become instantly nostalgic. Burn Burn didn't do it for me, though.

    10. Coheed and Cambria
    >> Prediction: Very hard to say. I listened to Co&Ca absolutely nonstop this summer then just stopped, and they've been fairly static since then. It's just, when I start with them, I can't stop. So who knows.

    11. Muse
    >> Prediction: LOL. Down down down. I only pulled 39 plays from Muse in all of 2009, and that's because they came out with a new album, which had a few tracks I enjoyed, but apart from that, they just don't do it for me that much anymore, sorry to say. See, they used to be #6, but that was in 2008.

    12. The Smashing Pumpkins
    >> Prediction: I'm actually very surprised they're this high. Probably because I've been putting a lot of play into Adore, plus whenever I go through Mellon Collie in its entirety they rack a lot up. Probably going down one though.

    13. Coldplay
    >> Prediction: Going up. It was only very recently that it sunk into me how amazing A Rush of Blood to the Head really is, so they're at least going up to #12 or so. Who knows, hopefully they can pass Muse. They need some new material though.

    14. Genesis
    >> Prediction: Going down. I don't really listen to them very much anymore, and they fall into the Dream Theater trap that they can't gain plays as much as bands with shorter songs. That being said, I still love them and that's not going to change.

    15. Led Zeppelin
    >> Prediction: Down. I can't remember the last time I listened to Zeppelin honestly (15 plays this year, wow), and although I still like them, I genuinely don't feel that much desire to listen to them anymore.

    16. Soundgarden
    >> Prediction: Who knows. They're an inconsistent band; they used to be #7 here, but they just got surpassed in a whole lot of directions. Probably up at some point, though.

    17. Pearl Jam
    >> Prediction: Probably up quite a bit. They've got a fairly large discography, and there's a lot of songs of theirs that I feel still don't click with me as much as they should yet, so they'll eventually get a lot of plays from me.

    18. Metallica
    >> Prediction: Uh... yeah. As we know, Metallica's shining point was their early phase, and metal has grown off me so much in this year it's not even funny. So yeah, they won't completely fade out since I have sentimental attachment to some of their stuff, but they're going way down.

    19. Animal Collective
    >> Prediction: My most played band of the last three months. And so they will stay. I'd go so far as to say they may be up to #11 within the next couple months, I'm not even joking. I still wish I'd discovered them way earlier.

    20. Oasis
    >> Prediction: Oasis is on here? Well, there's probably a fairly large gap between them and the rest of this list, but I've been feeling them more lately, so they'll probably stay where they are for awhile, but probably drop eventually.

    Which is then followed by The Who, A Perfect Circle, Tool, Incubus, The Decemberists, Bob Dylan, Alice in Chains, Paul Simon, Queen, and The Cure. All of whom I still like a lot and will likely garner a lot of plays from me this year, so here's to 2010. Which will benefit Radiohead, Rush, Coheed and Cambria, and possibly Soundgarden.