Nightwish – Imaginaerum (2012) review

Nightwish – Imaginaerum (2012, Roadrunner Records)

  1. Taikatalvi
  2. Storytime
  3. Ghost River
  4. Slow, Love, Slow
  5. I Want My Tears Back
  6. Scaretale
  7. Arabesque (instrumental)
  8. Turn Loose The Mermaids
  9. Rest Calm
  10. The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
  11. Last Ride Of The Day
  12. Song Of Myself
        1 – From A Dusty Bookshelf
        2 – All That Great Heart Lying Still
        3 – Piano Black
        4 – Love
  13. Imaginaerum (instrumental)

Band Lineup (The Imagineers):
Anette Olzon – vocals
Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards, piano
Emppu Vuorinen – guitars
Marco Hietala – bass, vocals (tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12 )
Jukka Nevalainen – drums, percussion

Guest Musicians (Fellow Imagineers):
Troy Donockley – uilleann pipes (on track 5 & 13), tin whistle (on track 1, 8 & 10), vocals (on track 10 & 12), bodhran, bouzouki
Dermot Crehan – hardanger fiddle
Dirk Campbell – sorna
Guy Barker – solo trumpet
Paul Clarvis and Stephen Henderson – ethnic percussion
Pekka Kuusisto – violin
“The loved ones & the fellowship” are credited for reciting the stanzas in track 12.

Orchestra & Choir:
The Metro Voices (led by choir mistress Jenny O’Grady)
The London Philharmonic Orchestra, called “The Looking Glass Orchestra” (led by Thomas Bowes and conducted by James Shearman)
Pip Williams – director of orchestra & choir arrangements

Producer: Tuomas Holopainen

Country: Finland

Total Time = 1:14:50

Nightwish
Nightwish Facebook page
Roadrunner Records

(NOTE — This album was released worldwide in late 2011 but January 2012 for the U.S.)

Nightwish is a band that I never really got into until recently…..and by recently I mean since 2007′s DARK PASSION PLAY, the debut of Anette Olzon (formerly of Alyson Avenue) as frontwoman. Up until 2007, I only knew of Nightwish from the press the band received and the reviews I read online and, even though I enjoy female-fronted Metal of all kinds, I was completely unsure of former vocalist Tarja Turunen’s operatic style. The only Nightwish album I own from the Tarja era is WISHMASTER (2000) and I think I only bought it because I found it cheap in a used bin somewhere. DARK PASSION PLAY and Anette opened my ears to the excellent Symphonic Metal that Nightwish creates so I was pretty excited to hear that the band was releasing a new album, IMAGINAERUM, internationally in late 2011 and the U.S. in early January. Unfortunately, that excitement was slightly cancelled when I read that the new record would be a concept album with a movie based around the album.

Now I’m all for concept albums, if they are done right. Too many albums released today are deemed “concept albums” just because they have a running theme throughout. Nightwish, mainly composer/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, have taken it to another extreme by developing a film of the same name and each member having minor roles as themselves in the film itself. That makes IMAGINAERUM the soundtrack to the film that is being made…..sounds a lot like the idea behind KISS’ concept album (MUSIC FROM) THE ELDER (1981). At least Nightwish are making the movie, KISS never got that far! So what is the concept? Holopainen’s story revolves around a dying composer who is reminiscing about memories from his youth while his adult memories slowly fade. Interesting but it sounds very Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

The first song on the album is ‘Taikatalvi’, a song sung primarily in the band’s native Finnish by Marco Hietala and translated as “magic winter” in English. The song is very basic with minimal music accompaniment from Holopainen’s piano giving the song a children’s lullabye feel to it and it’s basically an intro to the actual album. I consider the track a throwaway and I skip it everytime I listen to the CD. The real opening song is ‘Storytime’ and it is everything that Nightwish is: bombastic and powerful full of orchestration and plenty of crunching guitars to go along with Anette’s vocals. This is the song that sets the album up for me and dashes any doubts as to the quality of the rest of the songs. Once I heard the huge symphonic sound of ‘Storytime’, I felt a little better about the whole concept, the film project and the rest of the record. Judge for yourself, here’s the video…..

‘Ghost River’ continues the bombastic Metal style but with a little more edge to it when Marco’s harsh vocals come in for the chorus. What I like here is that it’s not as “clean” a track as ‘Storytime’, there’s some added aggression in the vocals and guitar and it gives the band another dimension. There’s still plenty of orchestration and a children’s choir but there’s something haunting about this song and it gives off a sinister vibe at times. Just when I think that I know what the album is going to sound like, Nightwish throws in a curveball with the ballad ‘Slow, Love, Slow’ that sounds like it’s straight out of a Vegas lounge piano bar, it’s jazz vaudeville style reminds me of something Bette Midler might sing. The focus here is Anette’s voice and she is without a doubt one of the best singers in the genre…..the song segues right into ‘I Want My Tears Back’, a tried and true Power Metal feast that has a Celtic feel to it with bagpipes throughout. The guitar riff that opens ‘I Want My Tears Back’ is solid and the bagpipes kick in immeadiately on the main riff. There’s a beauty to Anette’s voice that has me in a trance at this point…..I could listen to her sing the telephone book to me (do they actually make those?). The only way I could describe the sound is like pure Power Metal meets the Renaissance sound of Blackmore’s Night…..Folk Metal maybe? It’s a great song and has plenty of power and the album has shown a lot of diversity so far and that’s obvious by the various styles on the uptempo metal nightmare that is ‘Scaretale’. The song is a nightmare scenario in the overall concept and it goes from all out Power Metal to an animated movie feel in the middle…..maybe something from my kids’ favorite A Nightmare Before Christmas? It’s a very diverse song and both Anette and Marco deliver very different vocal performances, Anette does a shrieky, scary vocal while Marco does a ring announcer/carnival barker vocal in the “animated movie” sequence. It’s an interesting track and keeps the listener guessing as to what they will hear next.

‘Scaretale’ moves directly into the instrumental ‘Arabesque’ which also has a movie soundtrack sound to it, I actually think of the old Conan movies when I hear it. Instrumentals don’t really grab me as they did back when I was younger so ‘Arabesque’ is more of a throwaway to me but it does tie the songs together and acts like a bridge to the ballad ‘Turn Loose The Mermaids’. If you want to hear what Blackmore’s Night sounds like, then this is the song! Anette does her best Candice Night impression and the band sounds just like Blackmore’s Night again with that Renaissance music sound. It’s actually a pretty good song and really focuses on Anette’s vocals, and let’s face it, she is the selling point of the band as Tarja was before.The band continues in the dramatic mid-tempo direction with ‘Rest Calm’ that has a solid main riff and good trade-off vocals from Marco & Anette while the song does from heavy to soft once the chorus kicks in. Reminds me of a Balance Of Power song from one of their records but with female vocals…..again, the beauty of the track is in the angelic voice of Anette Olzen. ‘The Crow, The Owl And The Dove’ is another slow ballad that builds dramatically while maintaining it’s calm pace with acoustic guitars, piano and subdued drums to go along with the vocals while ‘Last Ride Of The Day’ builds up immeadiately with choral vocals into a soft Anette purr as she builds up with the song, it kind of reminds me of ‘Storytime’ with it’s fast tempo and grand sound.

Nightwish is a band that thrives on their grandiose style and their bombastic approach, the band uses different orchestrations, choruses, tempo changes and arrangements to build their overall sound. This is extremely evident on the 13+ minute ‘Song Of Myself’, which is technically broken up into four sub-songs. The problem with this song is that thew first half is a proper song that runs into the same vein as other uptempo numbers on the album but the second half is mostly spoken word narration. This is where the overall concept gets in the way, who cares about the movie, just make a good record! If you edit the spoken word narration and cut ‘Song Of Myself’ in half, then you’ve got a solid album track. I understand the point that this is a concept record and the spoken word part follows that direction but there’s a point where it goes to far and it becomes pointless. The title track is the last song and it’s another instrumental of parts of every song on the album. It’s a nice way to roll the crdits on the upcoming film but nothing to really get excited about as an album track.

Just on a side note…..IMAGINAERUM was released as a single CD or a special limited edition double disc that included a bonus CD of just the instrumental version of the album. I decided against buying the limited edition version because I already knew that I would never listen to just the instrumental version. Only the absolute diehard Nightwish fans will enjoy that, I’m a fan of the entire package and especially Anette Olzen, so I found it unnecessary.

Bottom Line:
I’ve been honestly listening to this album since it’s early January release in the U.S. and I have really enjoyed it. I listen to the record and I hear new sounds all the time so it’s an album that is very complex and epic. The musicianship is above top notch and the vocals of both singers are awesome, Nightwish continues to get better with every album. My only complaint is that the album follows the movie concept on some songs more than others and that hurts the overall flow of the album. The good news is that Nightwish are so talented as musicians that they are able to evolve further with every release. At this point, the band is hitting it’s creative stride and they are poised to become one of those bands we talk about 20 years down the line. IMAGINAERUM is a solid album and one that I recommend, it’s surely in my end of the year top albums list.

Favorite Songs:
‘Storytime’, ‘Ghost River’, ‘I Want My Tears Back’, ‘Scaretale’, ‘Turn Loose The Mermaids’

Current Playlist

Here’s what’s been assaulting my ears this weekend!

KISS – ‘Hell Or Hallelujah’ single (2012): I finally broke down and purchased a song from iTunes for the very first time because I just couldn’t wait for the new KISS album, Monster, to hear this new single. I paid my $1+ and downloaded the tune and it’s been non-stop because it’s a great song! This is the KISS I like: heavy, fast, blazing guitars and Paul sounding great. If this is any indication of how the rest of Monster will sound, then it’s going to be a great record.

Motley Crue – ‘Sex’ single (2012): Thanks to the Crue for letting the fans download the track for free on the day of release. Just like the new KISS single, I’m playing this nonstop to get a handle on how the new album will sound. Seeing that both bands are touring together this summer it’s no surprise that both bands threw a teaser track out there to promote while on tour. ‘Sex’ isn’t bad (is it ever?), it’s a good song more along the lines of the Saints Of Los Angeles album from 2008. It’s hard to believe that album is 4 years old! ‘Sex’ didn’t impress me at first but it’s growing on me kind of like Van Halen’s ‘New Tattoo’ did.

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (2012): There’s just no getting over it…..this is one of the best albums of 2012! Say what you want about it not being a full Van Halen reunion, the recycled demos from the early years or David Lee Roth’s merits as a singer, this sounds like the album that would have come after the landmark 1984! I can’t stop playing it and I won’t miss their next stop in the New England area when they continue the tour.

UFO – Seven Deadly (2012): This new UFO record has been cemented into the stereo from Day #1! This is another awesome album from the band and it proves that good bands never age. Right now, this is a Top 5 album for me this year.

Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway (2012): I’m missing the Def Leppard/Poison/Lita Ford concert on August 18 because that’s the day of my 40th birthday party but Lita is doing a signing and performance the next day at the Newbury Comics record store in Norwood, MA. My daughter and I are definitely there so I’m listening up on the new album…..it’s pretty good, very introspective and reflects Lita’s current personal life. Without a doubt, this is a far better album than Wicked Wonderland…..that was a pitiful record!

Lita Ford – Lita (1988): This was Lita’s big platinum seller back in the ’80s and the bulk of those sales came off the high MTV rotation of lead single ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and her duet with Ozzy Osbourne ‘Close My Eyes Forever’. I figured that I’d re-listen to the hit record prior to the meet & greet at Newbury Comics and I just realized that it’s really a mediocre album. Is it the better wisdom of 24 years gone by or does the album have a staying power? I’m still listening and trying to decide.

Black ‘n Blue – Nasty, Nasty (1986): I had my iPod on shuffle the other day and the title track came on, I forgot that this was a Gene Simmons produced record and that gene used the main riff from this song for ‘Domino’ from Revenge (1992). I went back and gave all the Black ‘n Blue a fresh listen but Nasty, Nasty has stayed in my rotation…..what a great band they were, they should have been bigger.

Big Time Rush – (various songs): Yes, I’m talking about the boy band from Nickelodeon. I have two daughters and these guys are the biggest deal right now so we went to the concert yesterday (Sunday) at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA. I already know most of the songs from my kids’ iPods & CDs and the TV show but I got in a few more songs so I knew the tunes for the concert. My wife & I are cool parents and we shelled out the bucks for our kids to have a great time. I kept it Metal in the parking lot as we tailgated…..

I’ve been catching up on my podcasts as well…..definitely check these out on iTunes or head to their websites…..

Iron City Rocks — http://www.ironcityrocks.com/
Focus On Metal — http://www.focusonmetal.net/
Radioactive Metal — http://www.facebook.com/radmetal
Decibel Geek Podcast — http://dbgeekshow.blogspot.com/
Metalcast — http://www.metalcastshow.com/
Talking Metal — http://www.talkingmetal.com/2011/

CD Scavenger Hunt – July update

The Heavy Metal train keeps rolling to my 30th Anniversary of being a proud Metalhead (August 16th I turn 40!) and there is always plenty to buy! Lots of new releases, used CD treasure and great sales made of another productive, and expensive, month…..

Newbury Comics North Attleboro and Newbury Comics Warwick

Jorn Lande – Bring Heavy Rock To The Land (2012) – $13
Nile – At The Gate Of Sethu (2012) – $12
Machine Head – Unto The Locust (CD/DVD) (2011) – $15 used
Savage Messiah – Plague Of Conscience (2012) – $0 used

My first trip into the North Attleboro store was to take advantage of the sale price on the new Jorn Lande CD. Knowing it was out on Frontiers Records, it was an easy $20 but the sale price saved me $7. I didn’t have to run out for it because the label sent me the promo download but I always support my favorite artists and Jorn is one of the premier Metal singers out there. My second trip was to pick up the new Ozzy DVD and the new Nile album. When I got there, the two copies of the Speak Of The Devil ’82 DVD were sold out so I opted to take advantage of the “buy 1, get 1 free” sale on used discs…..I grabbed the last Machine Head album, Unto The Locust, and the new Savage Messiah record. The Machine Head cost me $15 used but I got the Savage Messiah free so what could have been $35 at regular price, or $23 used price, only cost the $15…..saved more than half on albums I needed. I snagged the new Nile on the way to the counter…..I never got into Nile back in the late ’90s but I’ve always wanted to pick up their 1998 debut full-length Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka. Everytime Nile releases a new record, I get the same urge to buy up some of their CDs so I fired up Spotify this time to stream their back catalog…..real solid Death Metal with Egyptian themes…..and the aren’t Egyptian, they are from South Carolina! Saved $6 buying the day of release and got the deluxe version with the two bonus instrumentals.

Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil (Live From Irvine Meadows ’82) DVD (2012) – $13
Icarus Witch – Rise (2012) – $16
HellYeah – Band Of Brothers (2012) – $12
Defender – They Came Over The High Pass (1999) – $2 used
Glenn Tipton – Baptizm Of Fire (1996/2006 reissue) – $3 used
Broken Teeth – Viva La Rock Fantastico (2009) – $4 used
Superjoint Ritual – A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred (2003) – $4 used
Agent Steel – Skeptics Apocalypse (1985/1998 reissue) – $5 used

My trip into the Warwick store in mid-July was to get the new Ozzy DVD because it was out of stock in North Attleboro. While I was there, I picked up the new Icarus Witch and HellYeah albums. Ozzy and HellYeah were on sale so I saved a few bucks but I had to pay full price for the new Icarus Witch…..it was a must buy because they are one of my favorite traditional Heavy Metal bands of the last 6 years and I’ve been following them since their first E.P. While I was there, I decided to grab a few used CDs that were low in price and I had put together in a certain section of the used Metal CD racks…..the Defender CD was nice and cheap for a Power Metal album and I’d been watching it for awhile, same with the Superjoint Ritual album, but I scored a great newer album with the used Broken Teeth CD. The Agent Steel CD was set aside in my hiding spot because I thought I already owned it but I didn’t and I grabbed the Glenn Tipton reissue because I passed on it when it came out in 2006. Baptizm Of Fire wasn’t that great of a record back when it was first released in 1996 but I can’t resist bonus tracks forever!

Luca Turilli’s Rhaposdy – Ascending To Infinity (2012) – $12

Is it Rhapsody, Rhapsody Of Fire or Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody? The whole Rhapsody name change saga is a big pain in the ass: first they were Rhapsody and I got into their Symphonic/Epic Metal, then 10 years into their career they got sued by another band named Rhapsody for copyright issues and they went on as Rhapsody Of Fire to avoid confusion. Now founding guitarist Luca Turilli has left on good terms and formed a new Rhapsody as Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody and Rhapsody Of Fire is continuing on their own path. Did you get all that? All I know is that I like the Metal and I have two band’s to get my fix from. I went to the North Attleboro store quick while running a few errands and I grabbed this because it was the last copy I saw…..they had stocked at least 6 or 7 when it came out and I grabbed the last one with the sale price tag on it to save $6.

Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (2012) – $18
Running Wild – Shadowmaker (CD/DVD) (2012) – $18
Baroness – Yellow & Green (Deluxe) (2012) – $0
Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth (CD/DVD) (2012) – $16
Gojira – L’enfant Sauvage (2012) – $12
Crucified Barbara – The Midnight Chace – $0

Last day of the month and an awesome sale…..”Buy 2 get 1 Free on new & used CDs”. I got in the man-van (my rockin’ Kia Sedona!) and raced to North Attleboro when Newbury opened. Everytime I buy on one of these sales, the clerks always group like priced items together so I knew I had to pay a few extra dollars on a couple of CDs to get a similar one for free. Like the Jorn Lande album, I already had the digital promo of the new Crazy Lixx album from Frontiers but I wanted the actual CD for my collection and the new Running Wild disc has been on my list ever since Rock ‘n’ Ralf decided not to retire the band. Both of those CDs were regular price at $18 each but I scored the new Baroness double album for free. Yellow & Green just came out and I have the latest issue of Metal Hammer to thank for adding them to their free sampler CD, so I splurged on the deluxe packaged double disc album and saved the full $17 sale price ($22 regular). The new Testament album was the big release of the week so I bought the deluxe version on sale for $16, added the last copy of the new Gojira album that came out a few weeks ago (thanks again Metal Hammer!) and got the new Crucified Barbara CD for free and saved the full $10 sale price ($18 regular). I was going to buy the latest Dragonforce album that I didn’t get earlier in the year but I opted for the cheaper, and less available, option with Crucified Barbara.

Ebay

White Tiger – s/t (1986/1999 reissue) – $16 used
The Rods – Wild Dogs (1982/1997 reissue) – $12 used
Venom – Cast In Stone (1998) – $6 used

I got an Ebay alert for The Rods – Wild Dogs and I decided to finally try and win one of these CDs. I collect the now defunct German reissue label High Vaultage because of the genuine fan enthusiasm they put into each reissue, each one is chock full of bonus tracks, pictures and extensive liner notes. I noticed the same seller had a copy of Mark St. John’s post-KISS band White Tiger up for auction too so I bid and won on that as well. I added in the Venom album when I did some research and found out it was a 2CD set. All total with shipping was$34 for three albums I didn’t own.

Human Cometh

Human Cometh – HC II (2011) – $13

I was going through all my saved emails and I happened upon my email from the band Human Cometh promoting their second album, HC II. I ended up getting a promo download for review but I like to support the bands so, even though the band already sent me the digital download last year, I decided to go and ourchase the actual CD from the band’s website. Can’t beat any CD that has free shipping so I paid with Paypal and it was a done deal. Unfortunately, the CD hasn’t arrived in the mail yet but I checked and it’s on it’s way!

Total = $222

Total (year) = $1393

Average Price (per item) = $8.99

Total CDs (year) = 149

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

WANTED: Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken limited edition box set (2012)

WANTED

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken limited edition box set (2012)

Had I been paying attention back in April, I would have definitely pre-ordered this set! The pre-order price was 60 British Pounds which comes to about $95 USD + the cost of shipping so I estimate it would have been around $130 USD. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about this box set until it had already sold out (in 3 days!) and it’s going on Ebay anywhere from $300 to almost $900 at auction and Buy It Now. There were only 500 copies made so it’s a rarity for sure…..read the press release below to see what was inside.

From the Saxon online store:

Strictly limited, this exclusive package contains the “Best Of Wacken” DVD, a double audio CD recorded live in Glasgow (2011) on the Call To Arms tour,

plus the full and complete Saxon W:O:A performances from 2004/2007/2009 – each on a separate DVD and, a Saxon flag.

The real surprise is that 10 ‘Golden Tickets’ are randomly included in the box sets, which will allow the 10 lucky winners to visit any Saxon concert in any city around the world (excluding festival appearances).

‘Silver Tickets’ giving access to special online content are for the remaining boxes so there are no losers – only winners.

SAXON “Heavy Metal Thunder – Live – Eagles Over Wacken”
• DVD 1: Best Of W:O:A (2004/2007/2009)
• Double CD: Glasgow Live, Recorded On The Call To Arms World Tour, April 14th, 2011
• DVD 2: W:O:A 2004 – full show
• DVD 3: W:O:A 2007 – full show
• DVD 4: W:O:A 2009 – Fan’s Choice Setlist – full show
• Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder – W:O:A flag
• “Golden Ticket” / “Silver Ticket”

I already paid $18 for the limited edition 2 CD/DVD version so I would have easily shelled out the extra $112. Full DVDs of each Wacken show and a commemorative Saxon flag are highly collectible as is the special box and the Golden and Silver tickets that allowed buyers to either see Saxon in concert ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD and/or access bonus contect online. Even with the DVDs being PAL format I would have been fine because my DVD player is region free.

Saxon is one of my all-time favorite bands, I can’t believe I missed out on this. I will be watching and, if I find one at a decent price (albeit higher than the pre-order), then I will be on the hunt!

CD Scavenger Hunt (June update)

Finally! Once I post this update for June then I’m all caught up! June was a good month with a ton of new releases so I spent some extra dollars…..

Newbury Comics

Rush – Clockwork Angels (2012) – $13
Meshuggah – Koloss (CD/DVD) (2012) – $12
Kreator – Phantom Antichrist (CD/DVD) (2012) – $14

My first trip of the month to Newbury Comics was pretty uneventful. I went in to pick up the new albums by Rush, Kreator and L.A. Guns but the store never got in the new L.A. Guns. Why? Because they were moving locations and their shipments were minimal. I got the Rush and Kreator albums no problem, and I was willing to wait until the next shipment for the new L.A. Guns rather than go to another store, so I started to browse. With the staff boxing up inventory, some of the selection was a little thin but I did manage to find the deluxe version of the new Meshuggah album, KOLOSS, for a sale price of $12. The other couple of copies were regular price around $18 so I decided to grab this while I could still get it a little cheaper.

L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (2012) – $9.50
Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway (2012) – $10.30
Malice – New Breed Of Godz (CD/DVD) (2012) – $15.20
U.D.O. – Celebrator (2012) – $9.50
Mantas – Death By Metal (2012) – $8

My second trip into the North Attleboro Newbury Comics came as the store started their moving sale — “Everything 20% off”. I immeadiately hit the new release rack for the new L.A. Guns (finally in stock!), the new Lita Ford (I hope it’s better than her last album!) and the new U.D.O. double disc package with all the unreleased/bonus/special material. I had great sale prices of $12, $13 and $12 respectively but knowing an additional 20% off was coming at checkout I knew I could buy more! I read about the new Malice album but never wrote down the release date so I was surprised to see it in the rack, unfortunately it was $19 regular price. A new album on Frontiers Records with a bonus DVD is always going to cost a little more but the 20% discount made it a little more manageable price wise. I calculated that I was going to save about $10 with the extra discount so that meant I could buy another new CD! I decided to buy the Mantas album because it is Chuck Schuldiner’s pre-Death band and I wanted to hear these demo recordings. I’m starting to get into more extreme forms of Metal and I like Death so I figured the extra savings made this CD free in theory.

Venom – Metal Black (2006) – $4.80
Brand New Sin – Recipe For Disaster (2005) – $1.60 used
Eidolon – The Parallel Otherworld (2006) – $3.20 used

Last trip into the old store before they closed the door and the inventory was all but gone. Everything was still an additional 20% off so it was still worth the trip especially since I had been watching the Venom CD and a Superjoint Ritual CD for a while. Unfortunately the Superjoint Ritual album was gone (it was only $4) but I was able to pick up the Venom CD new and two used discs from Brand New Sin and Eidolon. The prices were a cheap $6, $2 and $4 respectively so I was spending under the regular price of a normal CD as it was but getting another 20% off on top was icing on the cake.

Sleep – Dopesmoker (2003/2012 reissue) – $10

Well, the new Newbury Comics store opened in the Emerald Square Mall about a half mile down the road from the original location and they opened a day early. I checked the North Attleboro store’s Facebook page and saw they were open so I went down with the family to check it out. It’s a little smaller than the old store but it’s in a great location in the mall and there seemed to be a ton of foot traffic so maybe this store won’t go the way of other independent chains! I had to make an inaugural purchase so I decided on the DOPESMOKER reissue because it was cheap. I’ve heard the edited version of ‘Dopesmoker’ (titled ‘Jerusalem’) only once but the original 63 minute song continues to be a benchmark of Stoner/Doom Metal. The full album is one song, recorded in 1996, and released four different times without band authorization…..the 1999 release was re-titled JERUSALEM with an alternate cover and an edited song losing about 10 minutes. This new reissue is fully authorized by the band and I’ll bet that the other versions price and collectibility goes down.

Music Box (Newport, RI)

Pop Evil – Lipstick On The Mirror (2009) – $2.50 used

I caught Pop Evil a few years ago opening for Judas Priest so I’ve always had the band name in my head but I never got around to buying any of their albums. My family and I went to Newport for the day and we took a walk through the Brick Marketplace and I had to make my way to the long time Newport record store Music Box. There’s never anything exciting in there because I either own it already or it’s your basic run of the mill inventory but, one thing I’ve learned over the years, there’s always a treasure somewhere and sometime! This time I checked the cut-out/used bin at the very back of the store and found this Pop Evil CD for less than $3. It’s a promotional CD but it’s intact. I compared it to a regularly priced copy that was $15 and it looks exactly the same.

Amazon.com

Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken (2 CD/DVD) (2012) – $18.20
Great White – Elation (2012) – $10
Kill Devil Hill – s/t (2012) – $10

I went into my usual record store looking for the new Saxon limited edition set with the DVD and double CD but they didn’t have it in stock with no idea when they would have it. They did have the regular double CD but I wanted the DVD. As soon as I got home, I went to Amazon and started filling my cart: Saxon for just over $18 and I added the new Great White and Kill Devil Hill albums for $10 each. Both great White and Kill Devil Hill were priced at $17 regular price at the record store so I saved $7 each buying them with Saxon…..unfortunately, the record store stocked the Saxon limited edition a few days later at a $15 sale price but I spent an extra $3 to save an extra $14!

Total = $151.80 ($159 rounded off)

Total (year) = $1171

Average Price (per item) = $8.87

Total CDs (year) = 127

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

Covers Comparison – Tesla

If you’ve been reading Heavy Metal Addiction for any length of time then you know that I have this sore spot for cover songs. I’m not sure why I hate covers so much sometimes because there are covers that I like, most from back in the day and/or on tribute records. Anytime I do a current album review and I see a cover song in the tracklisting I get upset. The reason: doing a cover song is the easy way out, at least to me. I would always prefer to hear an original composition by a band rather than a cover song but sometimes a cover song is done extremely well. Sometimes a cover song takes on a life of it’s own and becomes a big hit for a band years after it was done originally by the original band.

Case in point: Tesla

“Signs, signs, everywhere signs….” I hate that song. Nothing is worse than hearing Tesla on the radio (which is rare nowadays) and it being ‘Signs’. Tesla have better songs, way better original songs, than their cover of the Five Man Electrical Band‘s #3 hit from 1971 but this cover hit big in 1990 on the album FIVE MAN ACOUSTICAL JAM.

Five Man Electrical Band – ‘Signs’ (1971)

Tesla – ‘Signs’ (1990)

But ‘Signs’ isn’t the only Tesla cover song out there that was a huge hit…..’Little Suzi’ is really a cover of Ph.D.’s ‘Little Susie’s On The Up’ from their 1981 self-titled debut. Watch the video and you’ll remember the time when MTV was new and all the played was British synth-pop & New Wave. I love Tesla’s version of ‘Little Suzi’ and I only realized that it was a cover tune a few years ago when I saw the Ph.D. video on VH-1 Classic late at night.

Ph.D. – ‘Little Susie’s On The Up’ (1981)

Tesla – ‘Little Suzi’ (1986)

So there’s the comparisons…..you decide which is better (Tesla!) and please let me know what you think of the originals…..

Scorpions & Tesla in concert (The Final Sting World Tour) at Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT) – 7/9/12

I went to Connecticut last week to the Mohegan Sun Casino to see the Scorpions, with special guests Tesla, on the last leg of their farewell/retirement tour: The Final Sting World Tour. Nothing is worse than hearing that one of your favorite bands is calling it a career but I’ve learned that most bands can’t stay away for long (KISS comes to mind!). Unfortunately, the Scorpions are calling it a career and have been touring the world for the last three years to give fans all over a final taste of their great live show.

Is this really the end for the Scorpions? It’s anyone’s guess really. With both founding members Rudolf Schenker (guitars) and Klaus Meine (lead vocals) reaching age 64, and putting in 40 years into the band, I can see the point. Even long time guitarist Matthias Jabs (who joined in 1979) is in his mid-50s so maybe retirement is well deserved. Maybe this is the end of touring and perhaps the band will continue to record new music? No one knows except the band but I wasn’t risking my chance to see the Scorpions live one last time. Last summer they came to New Hampshire but the drive was close to 4 hours so I didn’t bother…..this time around it was only a 45 minute drive to Connecticut. I waited until a couple of days before the show to buy tickets and my friend and I got great seats (for only $44 each!) for what was one of three concerts left on the tour’s U.S. itinerary.

Tesla setlist:

Cumin’ Atcha Live
Edison’s Medicine
Hang Tough
Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
Mama’s Fool
Signs (cover of the Five Man Electrical Band)
Love Song
Modern Day Cowboy
Little Suzi (cover of Ph.D.)

You aren’t going to get a better opening band than Tesla and, to be honest, I expected a third band to open before Tesla. Tesla is still a headline act in small arenas and theaters so this was a great way to start. The band came out and just played, not a lot of bullshit talk between songs (KISS again!), just flat out, well-played Hard Rock. The setlist is your basic shortened hits package but it was cool to hear ‘Mama’s Fool’ off 1994′s BUST A NUT record…..that album always gets forgotten by many fans. You can’t really go wrong with big hits like ‘Love Song’, ‘Modern Day Cowboy’ and Hang Tough’ but I could have done without ‘Signs’. I know it’s the band’s second biggest hit (‘Love Song’ is #1) but it’s a cover and I never liked the original either…..I’ve hated that song since 1990 when the band released FIVE MAN ACOUSTICAL JAM and the single was all over the radio. Good to hear ‘Edison’s Medicine’ because I was kind of expecting either ‘What You Give’ or ‘Gettin’ Better’ but I was glad to hear the PSYCHOTIC SUPPER (1991) track. Of course the band ended with my favorite tune, ‘Little Suzi’, complete with the full acoustic intro like on the album. I know, I know…..it’s a cover song too but I never knew that until a few years ago so I’m going to give it a pass. The band was tight, they sounded great and they just plain kicked ass! nothing is better than a band coming out and just playing without all the gimmicks and fanfare (sorry, KISS reference again!). One last thought, for being the oldest guy in the band, Jeff Keith looks and sounds just like he did back in 1986.

Scorpions setlist:

Sting In The Tail
Make It Real
Is There Anybody There?
The Zoo
Coast To Coast (instrumental)
Loving You Sunday Morning
Rhythm Of Love
Wind Of Change
Holiday
Raised On Rock
Tease Me Please Me
Hit Between The Eyes
Kottak Attack (drum solo)
Blackout
Six String Sting (Matthias Jabs guitar solo)
Big City Nights

Encore
Still Loving You
No One Like You
Rock You Like A Hurricane

Now if you’re going to see the Scorpions in the U.S. then THIS is the setlist you want to hear! The band played hit after hit effortlessly and they sounded perfect. ‘Rhythm Of Love’, ‘Wind Of Change’, ‘Tease Me Please Me’, ‘Hit Between The Eyes’, ‘Big City Nights’ and the entire encore…..that was as long as Tesla’s set and it was MTV video and radio hit time as if we were back in 1991 and the band was touring then. The cool thing is that they had just as much energy now as they did then! The band did throw in a few older songs (but nothing before 1979!) with ‘Make It Real’, ‘Loving You Sunday Morning’, the ‘Coast To Coast’ instrumental and the signature song ‘The Zoo’ so it felt like I was witnessing the WORLD WIDE LIVE album from 1985 right in my face. The big surprise for me was that they played ‘Is There Anybody There?’ from LOVEDRIVE (1979)…..a great track but I figured the band would play either ‘Lovedrive’ or ‘Another Piece of Meat’. Actually, I was a little disappointed that they didn’t play either but you can only fit so much into two hours and they might have omitted the two newer songs ‘Sting In The Tail’ and ‘Raised On Rock’. Even though they are retiring, it was good to see the Scorpions playing new material and promoting the STING IN THE TAIL album. Even though the record is a couple of years old now, this Final Sting World Tour is also about promoting that album and that makes the band more legit in my eyes rather than a straight up nostalgia act.

Now the stage show was minimal because it’s all about the music but the band did have an amazing light show with plenty of big screens to see all the action but what set the band apart is the runway down the center of the floor that put the band right in the middle of the crowd. Everyone was up and down that part of the stage bringing the concert right in your face! There was no pyro which was fine because the lighting was really great, probably one of the best stage lighting programs I’ve seen in my 30+ year concert career. The band had a cool historical intro on the video screens with some big historical moments in Scorpions history like the US Festival in 1983 and the Berlin Wall coming down in the early ’90s but the best part of the on screen entertainment was during James Kottak’s drum solo. The Kottak Attack was your basic drum solo, complete with drum riser that mimicked the Peter Criss drum riser during his days with KISS, but what made it cool was Kottak was filmed re-enacting some of the band’s most famous album covers: LOVE AT FIRST STING, FLY TO THE RAINBOW, LOVEDRIVE, ANIMAL MAGNETISM, PURE INSTINCT, CRAZY WORLD, BLACKOUT and more. To see Kottak in the limo with a woman and then is be a mannequin that his hand was stuck to with bubblegum…..that was a priceless rendition of the LOVEDRIVE cover! Add the antics to his powerful drumming and it’s a hard combination to beat. His rhythm partner Pavel Macidowa helped him keep the beat and added some youthful (and I mean 40′s youthful!) energy to the show. The older guard of Schenker, Meine and Jabs weren’t to be out done because they were running around the stage and they sounded perfect. Schenker and Jabs sounded flawless and I seriously mean that. Schenker rocked back and forth maiming that Flying V while Matthias effortlessy made his Gibson Explorer sing…..two totally underrated guitar players and definitely overshadowed by two other famous Scorpions alums Uli Jon Roth and Rudolf’s brother Michael Schenker. I personally think Klaus Meine stole the show because I expected a slight drop off vocally but the man can sing as well as he did back in the day and it seemed effortless. You’ve got guys like Paul Stanley, Don Dokken, even Geoff Tate, who have had great singing voices throughout their careers but now have trouble in concert…..not Klaus though, the guy was a 64 year old singing machine that didn’t sound a day over 30!

All in all…..a great show. Both bands rocked hard and proved that good Rock music stands the test of time. It’s a shame that bands have to get older and eventually retire, the Scorpions proved that after 40 years they are still masters of the arena. If this is the end, I’m glad I was able to catch them one last time.

R.I.P. — Jon Lord (1941-2012)

R.I.P. — John Lord (June 9, 1941 – July 16, 2012)

From Jon Lord.org:

It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Jon Lord, who suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism today, Monday 16th July at the London Clinic, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jon was surrounded by his loving family.

Jon Lord, the legendary keyboard player with Deep Purple co-wrote many of the bands legendary songs including Smoke On The Water and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career.

Best known for his Orchestral work Concerto for Group & Orchestra first performed at Royal Albert Hall with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and conducted by the renowned Malcolm Arnold, a feat repeated in 1999 when it was again performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and Deep Purple.

Jon’s solo work was universally acclaimed when he eventually retired from Deep Purple in 2002.

Jon passes from Darkness to Light.

Jon Lord  (9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012)

———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Another sad day for the world of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal, and the Music world in general, because Jon Lord passed away today at age 71. Aside from helping found the mighty Deep Purple, Jon has been world-reknowned in his solo work including various concertos and orchestrations. Jon will always be remembered as the man behind the Hammond organ in Deep Purple and as a tremendous player and writer. Jon influenced thousands of keyboard players and pianists the world over and helped create some of the timeless Rock songs ever. Unfortunately, I never got to see Jon play live because I saw Deep Purple in concert twice after he retired in 2002. I was hoping his involvement in the Who Cares project with Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) and Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) would re-ignite some Rock fires he may have had burning but that is not to be. Jon leaves us a rich legacy of music and many memories…..listen to the keyboard solo on ‘Burn’ and tell me he’s not the best Rock keyboard/organ player of all time! Looking at my collection, I own most of the Deep Purple catalog and I will be playing more than a few songs from various lineups of the band later tonight. Another hero gone too soon.

Sincere condolences go out to Jon’s family, friends, bandmates and fans…..rest in peace.

– Steve

CD Scavenger Hunt (May update)

Continuing to play catch up…..here’s the May hunt!

Newbury Comics

Tyketto – Dig In Deep (2012) – $13
Soulfly – Enslaved (2012) – $12
Huntress – Spell Eater (2012) – $15
Moonspell – Alpha Noir/Omega White (Ltd. Ed.) (2012) – $20
Angel Witch – As Above So Below (2012) – $10
Sepultura – Roots (1996) – $9 used
Soulfly – s/t (1998) – $7 used
Slash – Apocalyptic Love (Deluxe Edition) (2012) – $17
Sonata Arctica – Stones Grow Her Name (Deluxe Edition) (2012) – $10
Unisonic – s/t (2012) – $10
Sabaton – Carolus Rex (2012) – $10

Just a few quick trips this month to the record store to grab new releases at sale prices. I already had the new Tyketto album from Frontiers promo department and I did download it but I support the artists & labels, as well as my collection, so I picked it up at a great price. My second trip was to buy the new Huntress and Moonspell CDs but I also grabbed the new Soulfly while I was there. I never got into Soulfly back in 1998 but I figured now was the time since I’ve heard a lot of Soulfly as of late. The new Moonspell I grabbed was the double disc limited edition with a full bonus album titled OMEGA WHITE but the only problem I had was that I wanted the new Angel Witch album but there were none in stock. There were about 6 copies sitting around for a few weeks at a $10 sale price but all of a sudden they were all gone! I decided to take a 25 minute ride from North Attleboro to the Warwick location to find the Angel Witch CD and I was successful as they had a single copy left and while I was there I grabbed Sepultura’s ROOTS and Soulfly’s debut used. The last trip to the record shop was to get more new releases: the new Sabaton, Sonata Arctica and Unisonic were all $10 but I splurged on the new Slash record limited edition that included a bonus DVD, bonus tracks and a coupon for a free t-shirt. Like I said….a quick month.

Ebay

Anvil – Speed of Sound (1998) – $11 used

Only one Ebay purchase this month…..Anvil’s SPEED OF SOUND. With all the reissues of Anvil’s back catalog lately, I’ve been tracking down the original releases and grabbing them as the prices level out. This CD was $8 + $3 shipping and it was used but in mint condition.

Total = $144

Total (year) = $1012

Average Price (per item) = $8.72

Total CDs (year) = 111

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

CD Scavenger Hunt (April update)

Still catching up on posting my purchases…..here’s what I bought in April…..

Newbury Comics

Accept – Stalingrad (2012) – $10
Municipal Waste – Fatal Feast (Waste In Space) (2012) – $10
Jeff Scott Soto – Damage Control (Deluxe CD/DVD) (2012) – $20
Fastway – Eat Dog Eat (2012) – $15
Roulette – Lifeline (2011) – $4 used
Primal Rock Rebellion – Awaken Broken (2012) – $10
Into Eternity – Incurable Tragedy (2008) – $4 used

I made a few trips around the Rhode Island area to various Newbury Comics locations because I wasn’t banging on the door of the closest store on consecutive Tuesdays for new releases! My first trip to the North Attleboro, MA store netted me the new Accept, Municipal Waste and Jeff Scott Soto albums all at sale prices. The Jeff Scott Soto album is the limited edition with bonus tracks and bonus DVD so it’s still a pricey $20 but, when it’s an artist I enjoy, I will always pay the extra money. The second trip on the second Tuesday of April was where the problems started this month! I went to my usual Attleboro location for two new releases, Fastway and Adrian Smith’s new side project Primal Rock Rebellion, but I got there about an hour late and the two copies of Primal Rock Rebellion were sold! Not to be shut out, I had the store call the Warwick location to hold a copy for me. After I bought the new Fastway on sale, and added a dirt cheap used copy of Roulette’s LIFELINE (2001), I went the 25 minutes to Warwick, RI for the Primal Rock Rebellion album and added a cheap used copy of Into Eternity’s INCURABLE TRAGEDY (2008) to make the drive worth it.

Ronnie James Dio – The Elf Albums (1994) – $12 used
Shark Island – Gathering Of The Faithful (2006) – $1 used (was $10)
Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination (2011) – $10 used
Rush – Caress Of Steel (1975) – $1 used (was $9)
Skeletonwitch – Breathing The Fire (2009) – $8 used
Rush – Power Windows (1985) – $1 used (was $8)
Rush – s/t (1974) – $8 used
Elegy – Forbidden Fruit (2000) – $1 used (was $7)
Rush – Grace Under Pressure (1984) – $7 used
Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes – Loaded For Bear (The Best of) (1999) – $1 used (was $5)
From The Inside – Visions (2008) – $6 used
DeAllen – Twisted Inside (2000) – $1 used (was $6)
Arabia – 1001 Nights (2001) – $6 used
Black Robot – s/t (2009) – $1 used (was $4)
24K – Bulletproof (2001) – $4 used
Faith Circus – s/t (2006) – $1 used

The third trip of the month came just a few days later because there was a used CD sale, “Buy 1 get 1 for $1″, so I made sure I was outside the door of the Attleboro location early so I could grab some of those used albums I’ve been watching for a while. I use these sales to fill up some band collections quick and I had two bands in mind: Rush and Skeletonwitch. The problem on this sale was that the used CDs were a little thin compared to how many they usually have so there wasn’t a ton of Metal to chose from but I did get the Skeletonwitch records I was looking for and I was able to add four more Rush albums to fill those holes up but I also grabbed a couple of gems that I had been eye-balling with the Elf collection and the Shark Island reunion record. If you look at the prices, I listed the actual used prices for the $1 CDs and, after Rush – s/t & Rush – Grace Under Pressure, all the used CDs came from a special bargain bin the store’s had for years. What I like most about this type of sale is that the store takes the highest price CDs and pairs them all together for maximum savings instead of pairing the highest price with the lowest price, etc.

Dario Mollo & Tony Martin – The Third Cage (2012) – $18
The Sign – The Second Coming (2004) – $6 used

April was kind of a thin month for new releases so I started to search for for the new Mollo/Martin album because I never saw it in Attleboro or Warwick. I found it at the Providence Newbury Comics at the mall which is a dead zone for Metal and Hard Rock because it caters more to the Pop and Rap demographic of the area. I was a little surprised to actually find the CD at this location on a rare trip into the Providence Place Mall so I also bought The Sign’s second album at a nice used price while I was there.

Ebay (includes shipping)

King Kobra – s/t (2011) – $13
Black ‘N Blue – Hell Yeah! (2011) – $9

Just a little Ebay action this time around…..I found both the latest King Kobra and Black ‘N Blue albums for decent prices. I already had both as downloads from the label but I need the CDs for the collection. Both CDs were mint condition but the Black ‘N Blue CD was a pressing from Argentina. Nothing against pressings from other territories but I prefer the U.S., European or Japanese pressings because I’m worried about bootlegs. HELL YEAH! is from Argentina but the booklet shows that it was licensed from Frontiers Records for release so I felt a bit better about it. I wish the seller had noted the pressing in the auction but what can you do?

Amazon

Scorpions – Lovedrive (1979) – $7

My wife was buying a book so we needed something to else to get the free shipping on Amazon so I threw in a copy of LOVEDRIVE with the original cover. I already have LOVE DRIVE with the “scorpion” cover so it’s not like I was missing anything., it was a quick impulse buy.

Sentinel Steel

Sergeant – s/t (1984) – $15

Last but not least, I ordered this Sergeant reissue from Sentinel Steel mailorder because I noticed the price start to rise on Ebay. This limited edition reissue was released through Stormspell Records a few years ago but it’s sold out. The CD arrived and I found the booklet inside was damaged…..not good at all. I’m not going to return the CD because it’s too much hassle but I will keep my eys open for a copy on Ebay and sell the damaged one cheap at some point.

Total = $210

Total (year) = $868

Average Price (per item) = $8.35

Total CDs (year) = 99

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

CD Scavenger Hunt (March update)

Late again! It’s the beginning of July and I’m just posting March’s update and I have April, May and June still to go! Keep an eye out because I’m going to catch up on the CD Scavenger Hunts before I post other things. March was a good month for shopping, lots of new releases and great sale prices so here’s what I bought…..

Newbury Comics

Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent (2012) – $10
Beggars & Thieves – We Are The Brokenhearted (2012) – $14
Fastway – Trick Or Treat (1987) – $7 used
Freedom Call – Land Of The Crimson Dawn (2CD Ltd Ed) (2012) - $12
Adrenaline Mob – Omerta – $13
Alice Cooper – Brutally Live DVD/CD (2003 reissue) – $6
Jack Blades – Rock ‘n’ Roll Ride (2012) – $14
Overkill – Electric Age (2012) – $12
3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal (2012) – $10
Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival 1983 (2012) – $10
Iron Maiden – En Vivo! DVD (2012) - $14
Iron Maiden – En Vivo! CD (2012) - $18
KISS – Instant Live (Mansfield, MA - 7/16/2004) – $15 used
Falconer – Sceptre Of Deception (2003) – $3 used
Vivian Campbell – Two Sides Of If… (2005) – $3 used
War & Peace – Light At The End Of The Tunnel (2001) – $3 used
Geezer – Plastic Planet (1995) – $3 used

I made a few trips to Newbury Comics in both North Attleboro, MA (my usual stop) and Warwick, RI in March to grab some new releases and scour the used bins for bargains. The Warwick location used to be my main stop for many years because they were the only location closest to me and they had great selection but the North Attleboro store is closest to my house now so that’s where I stop for new releases on Tuesdays. As you can tell by the list above, I picked up a ton of new releases including the new Iron Maiden CD & DVD, the new Epica, Freedom Call, Overkill, 3 Inches Of Blood, Jack Blades and more. I was able to preview a few of these thanks to the labels sending me a promotional download but I still like the physical product and I picked uome solid records at great prices.

What made the trips to Newbury Comics worth it were the used bargains…..nothing is better than cheap CDs! The Fastway – TRICK OR TREAT CD I thought I owned already but I actually didn’t, I still have a dubbed cassette from back in the day and I own the movie of course! That was a good purchase as was the Alice Cooper – BRUTALLY LIVE DVD/CD reissue for $6. There’s a cut mark on the UPC but that doesn’t bother me…..I passed on this twice (2000 & 2003) but I couldn’t pass up buying it for $6. The KISS Instant Live disc is one I used to own and sold on Ebay years ago when I needed the money. I was at this show back in 2004 and bought the CD there but I ended up trading for every show as the tour went on so I sold this original and a few others I grabbed for a lot of cash. Even though I had a CDR of this show, I wanted the Instant Live disc again and I found it technically as a used disc but it’s brand new to my eyes. The rest of the used CDs basically padded the collection with names I already own but were missing these records.

Best Buy

Rush – Fly By Night (1975) – $5
Rush – 2112 (1976) – $5
Rush – A Farewell To Kings (1977) – $5
Rush – Hemispheres (1978) – $5
Rush – Permanent Waves (1980) – $5

I went to my local Best Buy to look for a CD rack and to check out some Playstation 3 and Wii games and I took my quick walk through the ever-shrinking CD section and I noticed that the section was actually smaller compared to the last time I was there! No big surprise there but what was a surprise was the round plexiglass bins filled with $5 CDs! Most of the CDs are compilations but I did some digging and found almost the entire Rush catalog. I couldn’t remember which ones I owned already so I took a guess and bought just a few. All of these discs were brand new and sealed and all are a part of the Rush remaster series from 1997/1998. Can’t beat $5 a CD for a great band…..I’ll be filling the Ruch collection at Best Buy in the coming months.

Ebay

Crazy Lixx – New Religion (2010) – $11
Autograph – That’s The Stuff (1985) (original blue cover) – $21 used
Laurence Archer – LA (1986) – $23 used

Just a few Ebay buys this month…..the Crazy Lixx disc replaces the promo download I received from the label and was nice & cheap for a brand new CD. I already own THAT’S THE STUFF with the red cover but I always wanted the blue cover, after years of searching I grabbed this one cheap at auction. I also already own LA by Laurence Archer on vinyl (Japanese pressing) but I never play it because it’s rare so I found a couple of copies being sold by a seller I’ve done business with over the years so I grabbed this just under a regular import price. The LA CD is the original European pressing on Music For Nations so it’s not the ultra-rare and highly sought after Japanese pressing but it’s cool to have it finally on CD and in mint condition.

Total = $247

Total (year) = $658

Average Price (per item) = $8.77

Total CDs (year) = 70

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

Iron Maiden & Alice Cooper in concert at Tweeter Center (Mansfield, MA) – 6/26/12

I went to go see Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper last night at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield…..it’s been a long time since I caught a live show (almost 4 months!) so it was great to catch these two Heavy Metal icons at one show. Iron Maiden was the headliner and they always draw a good crowd at this outdoor arena and the seats were all packed under the roof and on the lawn for an announced 14,000 fans! Not a bad way to start the summer: Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper and 14,000 Metal friends!

Alice Cooper setlist:

Vincent Price intro
The Black Widow
Brutal Planet
I’m Eighteen
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Hey Stoopid
Billion Dollar Babies
Feed My Frankenstein
Poison
Wicked Young Man
I Love The Dead (outro)
School’s Out (Pink Floyd – ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Pt.2)’ medley included)

I’ve caught Alice Cooper live many times in the last 10 years and he never disappoints. Alice and the band always puts on a top notch show both musically and theatrically so it’s no doubt that Alice could have done a full set with full production and had the crowd eating out of his evil hand. Unfortunately, Alice was an opening act and he had to play an abbreviated set…..but what a show! After the intro tape of Vincent Price introducing ‘The Black Widow’, Alice and the band played an 11 song set with a scaled down, but still high quality, production. An Alice Cooper concert is always about the theatrics then the music but a shorter set puts the focus on the songs.  The bulk of the setlist are Alice Cooper staples but it was very cool to hear a couple of songs make it back into the set. The entire set was awesome but the highlights for me were the return of ‘Brutal Planet’, ‘Wicked Young Man’ and ‘Hey Stoopid’ back to the setlist. The last time I caught Alice live with Rob Zombie, he played a full set as a co-headliner but these three songs weren’t played. Actually, ‘Wicked Young Man’ was done but in a medley. Both albums (2000′s BRUTAL PLANET and 1991′s HEY STOOPID) are really great and totally underrated albums because Alice has so many classic records and songs. For an older performer, Alice didn’t disappoint, he had tons of energy for the performance and he sounds as good as he did when I saw him on the BRUTAL PLANET tour 12 years ago. The band was tight and sounded great, you could tell that half a set was just a warm up and they could have kept it up for another hour easily. Alice Cooper is a true Rock legend and he proved it live once again!

Iron Maiden setlist:

Intro song (‘Doctor, Doctor’ by UFO)

Moonchild
Can I Play With Madness
The Prisoner
2 Minutes To Midnight
Afraid To Shoot Strangers
The Trooper
The Number Of The Beast
The Phantom Of The Opera
Run To The Hills
Wasted Years
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
The Clairvoyant
Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden

Encore
Churchill’s Speech into
Aces High
The Evil That Men Do
Running Free

It’s been 4 years since I’ve seen Iron Maiden in concert, the last time I saw them was at the Tweeter Center in the summer of 2008 and they were playing a greatest hits set billed as “Somewhere On Tour 2008″. That was one of the best times I’ve seen Iron Maiden live but do they ever put on a bad show? This time around, the band was focusing on songs from the SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON (1988) album and they played a solid 5 songs from it including ‘Moonchild’, ‘Can I Play With Madness’, ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’, ‘The Clairvoyant’ and ‘The Evil That Men Do’. The show production was centered around the SEVENTH SON album as well with plenty of different Eddie’s popping up and a solid stage show but, as always, the concert comes down to one thing…..the band.

Iron Maiden doesn’t disappoint…..ever! This concert was another superb performance by the band, who I consider the #1 Metal band in the world, with solid musicianship and excellent vocals. Maiden just came out and played…..not a lot of talking in between songs, not a lot of rehearsed intros like some bands I love, just flat out Metal songs one after the other. The setlist was solid, not a bad song in the bunch and, as I mentioned, the SEVENTH SON songs were the focus. When I saw Maiden in 2008, they played ‘Moonchild’, ‘Can I Play With Madness’ and ‘The Clairvoyant’ but they aren’t always in the set so it was good to hear them again but hearing ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’ and ‘The Evil That Men Do’ was simply awesome. Good to also hear ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ make the set instead of more popular songs from PIECE OF MIND (1983) and the debut record and it’s always cool to hear another song from FEAR OF THE DARK (1993) with ‘Afriad To Shoot Strangers’. As always, my favorite song of the night was ‘Fear Of The Dark’, it just sends chills up my spine everytime I hear it! Just a couple of words on the band themselves…..as I mentioned, the band played and sounded great which is no surprise but, aside from Bruce Dickinson, they weren’t as animated as they have been in the past. Maybe it’s because this was like the 2nd or 3rd show of the U.S. tour or maybe it was because they were focusing on the playing but it seemed like they didn’t move around a ton as they have in the past. Not complaining at all…..I’d prefer a flawless performance to an action packed show anytime! Solid performance, great show, I wish the band was coming back again soon.