Scorpions – Live At Wacken Open Air 2006 DVD (2007)

scorpions-live-at-wacken-2006-dvd

Scorpions – Live At Wacken Open Air 2006 DVD (2007, Sony/BMG)

  1. Coming Home
  2. Bad Boys Running Wild
  3. The Zoo
  4. Loving You Sunday Morning
  5. Make It Real
  6. Pictured Life
  7. Speedy’s Coming
  8. We’ll Burn The Sky
  9. Love ‘em Or Leave ‘em
  10. Don’t Believe Her
  11. Tease Me Please Me
  12. Coast To Coast
  13. Holiday
  14. Lovedrive
  15. Another Piece Of Meat
  16. Kottak Attack
  17. Blackout
  18. No One Like You
  19. Six String Sting
  20. Big City Nights
  21. Can’t Get Enough
  22. Still Loving You
  23. In Trance
  24. Bolero
  25. Ready To Sting
  26. Rock You Like A Hurricane

Band Lineup:
Klaus Meine – Lead Vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Guitars & Backing Vocals
James Kottak – Drums & Backing Vocals
Pawel Maciwoda – Bass & Backing Vocals

Guest Musicians:
Uli Jon Roth – Guitar (tracks 6, 7, 8, 23, 24)
Michael Schenker – Guitar (tracks 12, 13, 14, 15, 23, 24)
Herman Rarebell – Drums (track 16, 17, 18, 24)
Tyson Schenker – Guitar (track 24)

(Region 0, NTSC, Total Running Time = 139 minutes)

The Scorpions

Celebrating their 35 anniversary, Germany’s most successful Heavy Metal band, Scorpions, invited former members Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker and Herman Rarebell to join them onstage at Wacken Open Air 2006. Billed as “A Night To Remember, A Journey Through Time”, the August 3rd performance’s setlist was voted on by fans around the world via the Scorpions’ website and witnessed by over 60,000 metalheads in attendance.

This DVD is just the basic concert with a setlist that is very predictable featuring most of the well known singles from the ’80s & ’90s. You can’t fault the band for playing the songs the fans want to hear but most of them are the hits that you expect: ‘The Zoo’, ‘Tease Me Please Me’, ‘No One Like You’, ‘Still Loving You’, ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ and more. The real magic is when the guest musicians arrive onstage and join the band for some classics. I’m a fan of the Scorpions’ entire catalog even though I came of age with BLACKOUT (1982) so when Uli Jon Roth and his Sky Guitar joined the band for ’70s classics ‘Pictured Life’, Speedy’s Coming’ and ‘We’ll Burn The Sky’ it was truly a highpoint. I’m a fan of Uli Jon Roth’s solo work too and to watch his fingers fly over his custom Sky Guitar was really cool. The Scorpions have been incorporating some of the earlier material in their live sets the last few years and I heard ‘We’ll Burn The Sky’ live a few years ago when they toured the U.S. with Whitesnake in 2003.

The other major highlight for me was when one of my all-time favorite guitarists, and original founding Scorpions member, Michael Schenker joined the band onstage for ‘Coast To Coast’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Lovedrive’ and ‘Another Piece Of Meat’. Michael wasn’t as animated as his older brother Rudolf but his playing is just so smooth and effortless (same for Uli Jon Roth!) that it’s a thrill for me to see him play. It’s always good to hear ‘Lovedrive’ and ‘Another Piece Of Meat’ live but to get them with Michael was a treat for me. Herman Rarebell also came out during James Kottak’s drum solo and then took over the kit for the hits ‘Blackout’ and ‘No One Like You’ but the ultimate reunion highlight is ‘In Trance’ everybody is onstage joined by Tyson Schenker (Michael’s son) on his own Flying V. It was also nice to see the fans voted a newer song into the Wacken setlist because ‘Love ‘em Or Leave ‘em’, from UNBREAKABLE (2004), is excellent live. I wouldn’t have minded a second song from UNBREAKABLE if they had added one more in, it was a really good record and a return to the band’s signature sound.

Bottom Line:
Excellent DVD of the Scorpions’ Wacken performance, the music is played perfectly and the band has a ton of energy onstage. The setlist has a bunch of the usual standards but the guest musicians and the deeper ’70s tracks are high points of the show. It’s a reunion of course! The only thing missing is some extras and/or bonus footage but it’s a small complaint when you get a 2 hour & 20 minute concert by one of Metal’s top bands. Definitely a DVD worth picking up…..

Favorite Songs:
As I mentioned, the setlist is full of well known Scorpions tunes but the highlights for me were the songs that included Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker.

CD Scavenger Hunt – 4/7/09

Another week, another trip to the record store. I mixed it up this week and went to the Newbury Comics in Warwirck, RI (about 25 mins from home) because I hadn’t been there in months. I had spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday curled up on the couch suffering from spring time allergies so my wife decided the only way to break the cycle was to get me out of the house. We ate a quick dinner, piled the kids in the car, and headed down I-95 to Warwick.

Now if you’re a true Rhode Islander then you know that if something isn’t within a 10 minute radius from home, it’s not worth going out. I used to go to the Warwick Newbury Comics twice a week for years but, when they opened the North Attleboro store (10 mins from home!), I stopped going. What’s been killing me about the North Attleboro location is the lack of selection. Don’t get me wrong, they stock more Hard Rock and Metal than your average big box retailer but there is still a lack of variety. Previous hunts have seen me get shut out of some newer releases because only 1 or 2 copies were ordered so I figured that checking out the Warwick location would turn up a couple of gems. It did…..

My wife was kind enough to drop my oldest daughter and me off while she took our youngest to do the errands she needed to do, we had a full hour to scrounge used bins and go through all the regular priced CDs for bargains. I must say, the selection is much better in Warwick as I found all the new releases I missed out on like the new Ian Gillan CD and the limited edition Saga – LIVE IN MUNICH 2 CD/2 DVD set. I started at “A” and worked my way around the racks while my daughter grabbed a Motorhead t-shirt that she begged me to buy (and I did!). Nothing like a 10 yr. old begging for a Motorhead shirt…..reminds me of me when I was 10! I took a look around and found the new Ian Gillan album for $10 and the Saga limited edition for $25 so I grabbed those and a couple of other bargains right away.

My strategy has remained the same for years: grab all the CDs you want, get all the bargains, and then sit down in a corner of the store and decide which ones you want the most. This serves me well because there’s nothing worse than seeing an album, passing on it, and then coming back 15 minutes later to find someone bought it! Sometimes I have to decide between 20 CDs and bring it down to a better financial number. Anyway, here’s what I bought this week…..

avantasia_-_the_metal_operaAvantasia – The Metal Opera (2001) – $10: Seems weird that for a guy who had Avantasia – The Scarecrow as his #1 album of 2008 to NOT have the first two Avantasia albums. I picked up Part 1 of THE METAL OPERA in the regular CDs with an old sale sticker on it for $9.99, all the other copies were $14.99! I wasn’t passing up the bargain and this was high on my want list. I put the Ian Gillan disc back, there were 3 copies and I figured it would be there next week.

avantasia-the-metal-opera-part-iiAvantasia – The Metal Opera (Part II) (2002) – $8 used: If your going to buy Part 1, shouldn’t you also buy Part 2? There were plenty of copies in the regular CD rack for $14.99 each so I grabbed one figuring I got lucky with the sale price on Part 1. When I got to the used section, I was surprised to find 3 copies of Part 2 all for $7.99. I grabbed one of the used copies, checked the CD for scratches, and put the regular CD back in it’s rightful place.

scorpions-live-at-wacken-2006-dvdScorpions – Live At Wacken Open Air 2006 DVD (2007) – $25: Take a look at that price…..there’s 26 tracks on the DVD so it came out to $1 per song after tax! I’ve only seen one copy of this DVD in the last two years and I passed on it because of the high price tag. I noticed that the price tag’s date was last Tuesday so I figured that either an astute store clerk decided they needed to stock it or it was ordered for a customer and they never picked it up. I wasn’t taking any chances, I grabbed it and put the Saga set back!

I also grabbed a CD and a couple LPs off Ebay…..

tygers-of-pan-tang-animal-instinctTygers Of Pan Tang – Animal Instinct (2008) – $18: Opening bid on this CD was $9.99 and it was for the Japanese pressing with the 3 bonus tracks. The bonus tracks are from the BACK & BEYOND E.P. (2007) that the band released through their website. There has been a copy of the European version for months at the local shop but I wanted the extra tracks because the E.P. is out of print. The 3 songs are re-recorded versions of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Man’, ‘Take It’ and ‘Hellbound’ from 1980-1981, the other 2 songs from the E.P. are part of the proper ANIMAL INSTINCT record, ‘Bury the Hatchet’ and ‘Live For The Day’. I won the CD for $10 and the shipping from Japan was $8 registered. This takes ANIMAL INSTINCT off the WANTED! list.

savage-grace-master-of-disguiseSavage Grace – Master Of Disguise (1985) – $16: I grabbed this LP for $12.50 + $3.50 shipping. I bought it last weekend and it arrived today, a nice near mint copy of the sleeve and a mint vinyl. I’m not really sure how I got this album so cheap because copies have been flying off Ebay lately at $30+ for VG/VG+. This takes MASTER OF DISGUISE off the WANTED list.

armed-force-heavy-artilleryArmed Force – Heavy Artillery (1986) – $22: Armed Forces is the same band that released LET THERE BE METAL (1984) but under the name Armed Forces. I picked up LET THERE BE METAL already so I figured I’d get the other album by the band too. Same seller as the Savage Grace LP but I won it for $18.50. Again, another near mint sleeve and a perfect vinyl.

Weekend Playlist

The only good thing about inventory week at work is that I get the entire weekend off! Faced with plenty of time on my hands, and a lot of new CDs, I spent a lot of time in front of the stereo…..

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus (2009): I just realized that I made the new Edguy March’s album of the month and I never got around to reviewing it! I’ve been spending a lot of time on this CD all week and I can’t get passed some of the juvenile lyrics but so far I like the album.

Nashville Pussy – From Hell To Texas (2009): I started on Nashville Pussy with their first record, LET THEM EAT PUSSY (1998), but I never got into them past 2000′s HIGH AS HELL. I got this CD in the mail and I really got into it…..look for a review this week.

Siren’s Gate – Haunt Me (2008): I enjoy all forms of female-fronted Metal but I do like the atmospheric/gothic/orchestrated style the best. Bands like The Gathering, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Lana Lane and After Forever all occupy space in my collection. Siren’s Gate is in the same mold as the bands and this E.P. is a more like a demo but still pretty good. Review coming…..

Great White – Rising (2009): I just got this in the mail the other day and I broke the cellophane and gave it a single spin.

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): Just like the new Great White, I got this CD in Saturday afternoon so it only got the first spin this weekend.

My 10 yr. old daughter is starting to raid Daddy’s CD collection and sample different bands so I had to teach Metal 101 to her a little over the weekend. I pulled out a few greatest hits/live albums to give her an idea of what some bands sounded like but she started looking on her own. Here are some of the albums she picked out and we listened to…..her Twisted Sister obsession is still going strong!

Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid (1991)

Saxon – Denim & Leather (1981)

AC/DC – Back In Black (1980)

Motorhead – Everything Louder Than Everyone Else (1998)

Scorpions – Deadly Sting: The Mercury Years (1997)

Desperado – Bloodied, But Unbowed (1996)

Dee Snider – Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down (2000)

Twisted Sister – Still Hungry (2004)

Anvil – Anthology Of Anvil (2000)

Metal Mixtape – 1/25/09

Tale Of The Tape:
Dell DJ 30 (1st Gen)
4482 songs (387 albums)

I’ve got the MP3 player shuffling as I’m creating a new master list for my CD collection so here’s the first 20 songs that have come up (band-song-year)…..

  1. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Bad Times’ (1980)
  2. KISS – ‘Hard Luck Woman’ (1976)
  3. Icarus Witch – ‘Mirror Mirror’ (2007)
  4. Iron Maiden – ‘Man On The Edge’ (1995)
  5. Def Leppard – ‘Bad Actress’ (2008)
  6. Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’ (1970)
  7. Scorpions – ‘Obsession’ (1999)
  8. Daylight Dies – ‘A Portait In White’ (2008)
  9. Iron Maiden – ‘Remember Tomorrow’ (1980)
  10. Dio – ‘Straight Through The Heart’ (1983)
  11. Quiet Riot – ‘Overworked And Underpaid’ (1999)
  12. Primal Fear – ‘Fighting The Darkness’ (2007)
  13. Q5 – “Our Love Has Come And Gone’ (1984)
  14. Vinnie Vincent Invasion – ‘Burn’ (1988)
  15. KISS – ‘The Oath’ (1981)
  16. Westworld – ‘Bring The Water To Me’ (1999)
  17. Running Wild – “The Poison’ (1998)
  18. Girlschool – ‘Metropolis’ (2008)
  19. Rainbow – ‘Street Of Dreams’ (1983)
  20. Black Sabbath – ‘Die Young’ (1980)

Bonus Track: Saxon – ‘Forever Free’ (1993)

Metal Mixtape – 10/12/08

Tale Of The Tape:
Dell DJ 30 (1st Gen)
4555 songs (385 albums)

One of the problems with taking a weekend off is that you need to take care of all the little things around the house that you let slip when you are working and doing all the things you need to do to keep life going. I had some chores around the house to do, bills to pay, a dog to walk and a house that needs it’s Halloween transformation. The only way to get through it is to put the headphones on, press SHUFFLE, and go about your business! Here’s the first 20 songs that played…..

  1. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Badger Badger’ (1980)
  2. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Angel Eyes’ (2008)
  3. Uriah Heep – ‘Tears Of The World’ (2008)
  4. Icarus Witch – ‘Queen Of Lies’ (2007)
  5. Alcatrazz – ‘God Blessed Video’ (1985)
  6. UFO – ‘Hunger In The Night’ (1988)
  7. Alice Cooper – ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ (1971)
  8. Extreme – ‘Slide’ (2008)
  9. Iron Maiden – ’2 Minutes To Midnight’ (1984)
  10. Mogg-Way – ‘Totaled’ (1997)
  11. Motley Crue – ‘Down At The Whiskey’ (2008)
  12. Judas Priest – ‘Wheels Of Fire’ (2005)
  13. U.D.O. – ‘ The Devil Walks Alone’ (2007)
  14. Mogg-Way – ‘Death In The Family’ (1999)
  15. Krokus – ‘Shotgun Boogie’ (1990)
  16. Scorpions – ‘Mind Like A Tree’ (1999)
  17. Saxon – ‘Empty Promises’ (1986)
  18. Krokus – ‘Backstabber’ (1999)
  19. Balance Of Power – ‘No Place Like Home’ (2003)
  20. Black Sabbath – ‘Zero The Hero’ (1983)

Bonus Track: KISS – ‘Charisma’ (1979)

Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985)

Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985, Mercury)

  1. Countdown
  2. Coming Home
  3. Blackout
  4. Bad Boys Running Wild
  5. Loving You Sunday Morning
  6. Make It Real
  7. Big City Nights
  8. Coast To Coast
  9. Holiday
  10. Still Loving You
  11. Rock You Like A Hurricane
  12. Can’t Live Without You
  13. Another Piece Of Meat
  14. The Zoo
  15. No One Like You
  16. Dynamite
  17. Can’t Get Enough (Part l)
  18. Six String Sting
  19. Can’t Get Enough (Part ll)

Total Time = 1:17:27

Scorpions official website

WORLD WIDE LIVE is another favorite live album from my early teenage years that I still listen to regularly. I had discovered the Scorpions at the time like I did with most bands: through magazines and record store trips. I knew about the Scorpions but I never heard a single song until I saw the video for ‘No One Like You’ on MTV. I remember that video being in regular rotation and it wasn’t uncommon to see it at some point every hour. I picked up BLACKOUT but I really didn’t get into the band until they released LOVE AT FIRST STING in 1984 and became a huge commercial success. The Scorpions were everywhere: MTV, radio, magazines, and on tour. They rode a massive wave of success on the sing;es ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’, ‘Still Loving You’ and ‘Big City Nights’ but I liked the whole album and I started to put all the Scorpions’ albums at the top of my want list. I remember reading about a new Scorpions live album in Circus Magazine so I was definitely getting it.

I remember how I got WORLD WIDE LIVE very vividly. I was always a collector. I liked baseball cards, Star Wars toys and comics but, once I got hooked, Rock music became my passion. My father recognized my almost overnight change from a kid playing with toys to a kid listening to Heavy Metal and wearing studded wristbands! My father decided he was going to get involved in my new hobby by actually taking an interest into what I was buying, reading and listening. He was concerned like parents were at the time because all he really knew was what he heard on the news: how Rock/Metal music pushed kids into a world of sex, drugs, violence and danger. In order to try and understand what I was into, he thumbed through my Rock mags and made sure he understood exactly what tapes I bought. Shortly after WORLD WIDE LIVE’s release, I asked my father if he could pick it up for me on the way home from work. My father worked in the Boston area about a little over an hour’s commute so I knew that he wouldn’t want to take me to the record store so I convinced him to stop at the Good Vibrations in Foxboro, about halfway between work and home, and pick it up for me. Surprisingly, he agreed. My father came home and gave me my brand new cassette: Scorpions – TOKYO TAPES (1978)!

Now my father tried but he didn’t really get it. Each band was faceless and each album was the same, as long as I still got straight A’s in school and didn’t turn into a deliquent, he was happy. His effort to understand and keep an eye on what I was listening too was genuine but a little above his head. Turns out he stopped at the Good Vibrations, asked the clerk for a Scorpions concert album, and the showed him two different ones. He forgot the title so he bought the one that looked the safest…..TOKYO TAPES. Of course, I knew the difference right away and I told him that I wanted to exchange it at my usual Good Vibrations near home over the weekend. I ended up going to return the tape that weekend but I just ended up buying the WORLD WIDE LIVE cassette and keeping the TOKYO TAPES instead. My father found out I didn’t exchange the one he bought so he gave me the ten bucks I spent on WORLD WIDE LIVE and I ended up with two albums for free!

I was big into BLACKOUT and LOVE AT FIRST STING so hearing live versions of ‘Bad Boys Running Wild’, ‘Can’t Live Without You’ and ‘Dynamite’ alongside the popular singles ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ and ‘No One Like You’ was very cool. What was even better was that there were other songs that I had never heard and they kicked major ass! ‘Another Piece Of Meat’, ‘The Zoo’, ‘Loving You Sunday Morning’ and ‘Make It Real’ were awesome and I started to add all the Scorpions’ albums to my growing want list. My favorites on this album are the live versions of ‘Big City Nights’, ‘Can’t Live Without You’ and ‘No One Like You’ but the best part of the album was when Klaus Meine would talk to the audience…..the band was German and I knew there was a language difference but with the accents and the different phrasing, Klaus came off a bit comical while pumping up the crowd. It was because of WORLD WIDE LIVE that I became a huge Scorpions fan and I started buying up all their albums.

I had the cassette, which I wore out and it snapped, so I upgraded to CD. the problem was that the initial U.S. pressing on CD dropped ‘Another Piece Of Meat’, ‘Can’t Get Enough (Pt.1)’, ‘Six String Sting’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough (Pt.2)’ to fit it on one disc. I couldn’t listen to it without those songs so I went out and bought a new cassette. Somewhere in the late ’90s, Mercury Records started reissuing the Scorpions’ catalog and the CD reissue of WORLD WIDE LIVE ended up having all the songs and the original artwork so I picked it up on sale for $8.99.

Live Album Week

After taking most of September off from the site, and from the Internet all together, I decided to get myself into gear and end September with something I’ve been planning for awhile…..Live Album Week!

All the Live Album reviews are after this post.

This week is dedicated to some of the most influential live albums that I have listened to over the years. Most of these are my all-time favorite live albums but, most importantly, each album helped me discover more about each band.  Each live album review will be similar to my normal reviews but with a little more emphasis on the memories that each one possesses.

Here’s this week’s lineup:

Sunday: KISS – Alive II (1977)

Monday: Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985)

Tuesday: Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985)

Wednesday: Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)

Thursday: Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996)

Friday: UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979)

Saturday: Judas Priest – Priest…..Live! (1987)

Vacation Playlist – 8/31 thru 9/7

I’m back from a quick vacation! I didn’t realize that I had to use some vacation days up quick or I would lose them so i took a quick unscheduled vacation from work. I love being in a union! I decided that I was going to also take the week to get away from my dependence on the Internet and television and just concentrate on listening to music and reading a good book or two. I won’t lie and say I cut both totally out but I did limit my time to an hour for each every day. Sometimes I just need to tune out!

Some other things I did last week involved birthdays, my youngest daughter turned 5 and my mom turned 59 the same day, so there was a birthday barbecue. The return of regular season NFL Football came last Thursday with the reigning champion New York Giants facing the Washington Redskins. As many long time readers know, I’m a New England Patriots season ticket holder so I had the opening regular season game today (I am not discussing Tom Brady’s injury at this time), so I tried out a few new recipes on the grill for the pre-game tailgate in the parking lot. Add my 4 hour fantasy football draft Saturday morning and you can see that I may have been on vacation but I still had a lot going on!

I spent a lot of time with new albums and live albums this past week. I have to catch up on reviews and I want to do a “live album week” at the end of the month so I pulled out a few candidates for those reviews.

Metal Church – This Present Wasteland (2008)
Iced Earth – The Crucible Of Man (2008)
Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (2008)
Cloudscape – Global Drama (2008)
Maiden Heaven: A Kerrang! Tribute To Iron Maiden (2008)
Venom – Hell (2008)
Motorhead – Motorizer (2008)
Ayreon – 01011001 (2008)
Royal Hunt – Collision Course – Paradox II (2008)
Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008)
Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008)

These are the new albums that I have been rgiving serious rotation to the last couple of weeks. I’ve never really taken Avantasia and Judas Priest out of my weekly playlist, same goes for the new Ayreon but I’ve given it just a little more focus because there is so much to hear. The new albums from Royal Hunt, Motorhead, Cloudscape and Alice Cooper are all very good and I haven’t stopped enjoying them. I just picked up the new Venom recently (along with something else I know I’m forgetting, watch for an update on my purchases soon) and it’s…..well, Venom! Venom and Motorhead are so much alike in that they do the same thing over and over. Most of my listening went to advances of the new Iced Earth and Metal Church that I’ve had a few weeks now…..I’m preparing the Iced Earth review for this week, Metal Church next week.

KISS – Alive! (1975)
KISS – Alive II (1977)
Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985)
Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985)
UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979)
UFO – Werewolves Of London: Live In Wolverhampton 1998 (1999)
Royal Hunt – Live In Japan 1996 (1996)
Michael Schenker Group – Live Unforgiven World Tour (1999)
Black Sabbath – Live Evil (1982)
Black Sabbath – Reunion (1998)
Queen – Live At Wembley ’86 (1992)
Queen – On Fire: Live At The Bowl ’82 (2004)
Judas Priest – Priest In The East (1979)
Judas Priest – Priest…..Live! (1987)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed (1982)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Pt.2 (1998)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Pt.3 (2006)
Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)
Jeff Scott Soto – Live At The Gods (2003)

That’s a pretty good list of live albums! Some of these albums were instrumental in my discovering studio albums from the bands, some were important in my understanding of different eras of the bands, but all of them had a profound influence on me. The first two KISS ALIVE albums are cornerstones of my love for Heavy Metal and KISS but I would also have to put LIVE AFTER DEATH and WORLD WIDE LIVE right there with them because they were cassettes I played to death back when I was kid. I should probably add the Krokus and Judas Priest live records to that list too.

I did a lot of comparisons: PRIEST IN THE EAST vs. PRIEST…..LIVE!, LIVE EVIL vs. REUNION, all 3 Saxon live albums. Some are no brainers so I expect everyone to comment how bad PRIEST…..LIVE! & REUNION are to two all-time classic live albums. Some of these albums like the UFO records, the Royal Hunt, MSG and Jeff Scott Soto have become favorites over the years and you can’t dispute Queen’s legacy in the live arena. My plan for the “live album week” is to pick 7 out of this list, or maybe pick 6 and throw in a surprise, for reviews and memories.

CD Scavenger Hunt – Catching up edition

It’s been over a month since I posted an update on what I’ve picked up for music. I’m happy to say that I’ve been picking up some solid used gems and some great new releases between the record shops, Ebay, and band websites. Of course, I’m adding new discs quicker than I can listen and I have more on the way!

Band Websites

Don Dokken - Solitary (2008)Don Dokken – Solitary (2008) – $25: I’m not going to lie, I’m a big time Dokken fan and I also like Don’s solo album UP FROM THE ASHES (1990). I read a quick note online that Don was selling his new solo record exclusively on tour and at his website…..for a limited time. The download was $10 so I figured the actual disc would be around $15. I was wrong! $20 plus $5 shipping all through Don’s website & Paypal.

Ebay

Wasp - Dominator (2007)W.A.S.P. – Dominator (2007) – $11: I finally picked this album up after much debate. I’ve been listening to W.A.S.P. since the debut back in ’84 but the last two albums (Neon God Pts. 1 & 2) didn’t really excite me. Actually, I thought they were horrible. The price was right on the auction and the $11 I spent includes the shipping charge. The problem? It’s a Russian pressing. I’ll make it quick on Russian pressings: they are official releases for sale in that area only, they are usually sold cheaper due to the country’s economics and many Ebay dealers buy up the Russian pressings and sell them for double profit on Ebay. The Russian subsidiary was listed in the auction but I didn’t realize it until the auction ended. Everything looks good and the CD sounds fine but I would prefer to stay away from these pressings as they are bootlegged often and easily.

Akira Kajiyama & Joe Lynn Turner - Fire Without Flame (2006)Akira Kajiyama & Joe Lynn Turner – Fire Without Flame (2006) – $7: Joe Lynn Turner always gets involved in excellent projects and taking over the vocals for a collaboration with Japanese guitarist Akira Kajiyama was a no brainer. They had worked with each other previously on many JLT solo projects. This was rated really high on many Best of 2006 lists and it’s Joe Lynn Turner, one of the best Rock singers ever. The price was a true bargain at $7 from the same seller that I got the W.A.S.P. CD from, problem is it was another Russian pressing. Same situation as the other auction, buyer beware, but the CD seems perfectly fine.

Sunstorm - s/t (2006)Sunstorm (featuring Joe Lynn Turner) – s/t (2006) – $11: One of the top Melodic Rock albums of 2006 featuring “Mr. Smooth” himself on lead vocals, Joe Lynn Turner. I’m in a JLT zone right now because I can’t get enough of his last solo record, SECOND HAND LIFE (2007), and Rainbow. This album has been on my Want List for a couple years and I finally found a copy at a decent price. The problem? Another Russian pressing. Again, my fault because the subsidiary label was listed in the auction…..but it was hard to find.

Lillian Axe - Fields Of Yesterday (1999)Lillian Axe – Fields Of Yesterday (1999) – $8.50: I picked this up because I needed to finish off my Lillian Axe collection. This is the original 1999 pressing, it has been reissued recently by the same label, Z Records, with a couple of bonus tracks. I went for the original release because I read that the reissue is also remastered, I wanted to hear it like I should have in ’99. The price was also half what I could find the reissue for.

Heavy Load - Death Or Glory (1982)Heavy Load – Death Or Glory (1982) – $17.75: This is one of those rarities I had to have. Heavy Load is from Sweden and plays an early ’80s style of Power Metal that is very good. The vinyl usually goes for big money and the CDs are hard to come by. I happened to get this Japanese pressing from a seller in the U.S. and I was the only bidder! The last time I saw a Heavy Load disc was back around ’98 in a record store import section for $30.

Night Sun - Mournin’ (1972)Night Sun – Mournin’ (1972) – $33.75: This is a rare piece of early ’70s forgotten Metal. I’ve been getting into a lot of early to mid ’70s obscure Metal and Night Sun has been on my list for a long time. This is the lost CD and I still haven’t found it. Hopefully it will turn up at some point but I’ve checked the house, garage, cars and trash…..nothing.

Record Convention

Star Star - The Love Drag Years (1992)Star Star – The Love Drag Years (1992) – $6: I went to my firs record/music convention last month and I was hoping to pick up some obscure Metal. Unfortunately there wasn’t much to choose from but I did find this Sleaze/Glam/Punk album by Star Star. Brand new sealed for $9, I offered $5, compromised at $6.

Newbury Comics

Airtime - Liberty Manifesto (2008)Airtime – Liberty Manifesto (2007) – $18: Rik Emmett decided to Rock out once again and has released this new project with Mike Shotton (Von Groove). Unfortunately, the Triumph reunion details have kept this release under the radar but I heard the previews and it’s solid Melodic Hard Rock. Paid a little bit more at the store than online but I wanted it right away.

Nightwish - Dark Passion Play (2007)Nightwish – Dark Passion Play (2007) – $15: Nightwish have always been one of those bands that I always wanted to check out but I never really gave them the time. I dig female fronted bands like Tristania, Lacuna Coil, Lana Lane, The Gathering, Benedictum and Epica so I figured that I should try some Nightwish now that they have a new singer. I re-listened to WISHMASTER (2000) the other day and I remembered why I keep wanting to dive deeper into the band’s discography.

Lou Gramm - Ready Or Not (1987)Lou Gramm – Ready Or Not (1987) – $5 used: I dig me some Foreigner and I like AOR so this Lou Gramm solo album was a nice find for five bucks. The single ‘Midnight Blue’ is worth the fiver alone! I hadn’t seen this album in a long time and, all of a sudden, there were about 6 copies in the used bin. If you can get by the lighter fare from latter day Foreigner, then you can appreciate Lou Gramm solo.

Raging Slab - s/t (1989)Raging Slab – s/t (1989) – $6 used: I saw this collecting dust in the used bin and I wasn’t sure I had it. I remember having the cassette way back when but I wasn’t sure if I had replaced it on CD. Called the wife from the record store and had her check upstairs in the music room. Nope, not there! I hadn’t heard ‘Don’t Dog Me’ in a long time and I like Southern Hard Rock. Kind of the same situation as Lou Gramm: old disc, good price, good single.

Fair Warning - Live And More (1998)Fair Warning – Live And More (1998) – $7 used: I got into Fair Warning in 2000 when they released FOUR but I haven’t really paid much attention since. FOUR is a good Melodic Rock album but it’s a little lite, maybe that’s why I haven’t explored more Fair Warning albums. This one was cheap for a 2 disc set and I figured it was a good way to check out some of the back catalog.

Scorpions - Animal Magnetism (1980)Scorpions – Animal Magnetism (1980) – $7 used: Finally! After waiting and waiting, I finally found ANIMAL MAGNETISM at a price I was willing to pay. $7 isn’t bad at all for a classic record and an original pressing. This also takes another off my WANTED list. The only problem with this album is that I’ll have to skip ‘The Zoo’ even though it’s a classic tune, it just gets overplayed so much!

Quiet Riot - The Randy Rhoads Years (1993)Quiet Riot – The Randy Rhoads Years (1993) – $6 used: I already have QUIET RIOT I (1977) and QUIET RIOT II (1978) so I’ve got the pre-METAL HEALTH era covered. This album has a few unreleased tracks and some remastered songs from the first two albums so it’s essential to completing the band’s discography. This is the only missing piece to my QR puzzle and I got it for a really great price.

Epica - The Divine Conspiracy (2007)Epica – The Divine Conspiracy (2007) – $7 used: Like I mentioned before, I like female fronted bands like Lacuna Coil, Lana Lane, and Nightwish so picking up Epica’s latest album for a mere seven bucks was an easy purchase. I was actually going to pick this up brand new for $15 but I happened to notice that the used Metal section being re-stocked at the same time…..and there was the used copy! Someone had just traded it in!

U.D.O. - Mastercutor (2007)U.D.O. – Mastercutor (2007) – $7 used: I’ve always been a huge Accept/U.D.O. fan and I have almost every release by both bands, there’s a couple that have eluded me. Anyway, I wanted the European limited edition with the two extra songs but I never found it. The limited edition is on Ebay for $25 but I’ve been putting it off. I couldn’t pass up the U.S. release at such a great price and I finally get to enjoy an album that has been out almost a year.

Fight - K5 The War Of Words DemosFight K5 - The War Of Words Demos – $14: I’ve been putting this CD off for a while, mostly because I had missed the initial sale price of $9.99 when it first came out. I kept my eye on this disc over the last few weeks and it actually came down in price from $16.99! I figured I wouldn’t find it for less and I was sick of waiting. The original Fight release was brilliant, any doubts I had about Rob Halford continuing Metal life after leaving Judas Priest were erased.

Tarja - My Winter Storm (2008)Tarja – My Winter Storm (CD + DVD) (2008) – $15: I’m not sure why I wanted this album so badly but I did. Same thing with the latest Nightwish, I think it was just time to give in and try this music out. I’d read a lot of reviews and they were all very good, I heard some online samples and liked what I heard so the decision to buy was made. A couple of weeks before the U.S. release, I saw this album at the store as an import for $30…..I passed. When it was released officially in the States, I compared the European import to the U.S. version: there was no difference at all. Both were an oversized digipak, both has the CD and DVD, both had the same tracklisting. Not sure what was so special about the Euro version 2 weeks prior but I was glad to get this at a more reasonable price.

The Top 15 Albums of 2007

It’s been another solid year for new releases, hundreds of bands released new albums in 2007 and it’s been very hard to keep up. I missed out on many new releases in many different genres because I spend my hard earned money. That money I put aside for my music fix has to be spent wisely and some bands/albums just fall through the cracks. I’ve started to get the attention of some labels and distributors so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to review more new releases in 2008.

Another factor is availability. Today anything can be bought online but the prices can be too high, sometimes it’s better to save a few dollars by holding off on a European or Japanese import and waiting for the U.S. release. In a few of those cases, some albums released around the world in 2007 won’t be released properly in the U.S. until early 2008 (Night Ranger, Airbourne, Primal Fear).

Looking back on 2007, I noticed that some bands got more of my attention than others and I picked up a lot of new releases from 2006 that I had missed. I only expect more of the same as my Want List grows and my musical tastes expand. The only criteria I followed for my Top 15 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection. So here it is, my Top 15 Albums of 2007:

#1

Scorpions - Humanity Hour 1 (2007)Scorpions – Humanity Hour 1

The surprise of the year! The Scorpions experimented enough over the last few years but they planted the seeds with 2004′s UNBREAKABLE for a major comeback, not that they ever went away. I admit that I was apprehensive when I found out Pop Rock guru Desmond Child was aboard but the relationship produced a solid Hard Rock album full of melody, emotion, and attitude. This album has remained in my playlist rotation since it’s release and I haven’t tired of it yet, that’s the mark of a great album. I missed the band when they came to Boston this past Fall but their is a rumored tour with Judas Priest in 2008, that will make HUMANITY HOUR 1 even better. Another surprise was the advertised price ($7.99 at Best Buy) and the exclusive bonus track ‘Cold’. A great album AND value!

#2

Joe Lynn Turner - Second Hand Life (2007)Joe Lynn Turner – Second Hand Life

Very close to being my #1 album of 2007. So close in fact that I’ve had to listen to this and the Scorpions more in the last week to make the final decision. All the songs are strong and the music is a pure blend of classic AOR and Melodic Hard Rock. The songwriting is intelligent and emotional and the vocals are the best I’ve heard in 2007, JLT is in fine voice, probably the strongest of his career…..he just sounds so smooth, so effortless in his delivery. There were also a couple of Rainbow influences that gave the album a classic sound without sounding dated. Like the Scorpions album, there was a lot of value: the U.S. release on Friday Music was $12.99 and included an exclusive track (‘Freedom’s Wings’) and all the European and Japanese bonus tracks.

#3

Saxon - The Inner SanctumSaxon – The Inner Sanctum

THE INNER SANCTUM was the album of the year for me until the Scorpions and JLT released their albums. Saxon are one of my favorite bands and they have consistently produced great albums since the late ’90s, this record is no exception. Saxon blends their current approach of blazing fast Power Metal with their NWOBHM roots and creates an album of ten really great songs. Saxon are elder statesmen in the realm of Heavy Metal but they do things better than many of the younger bands. The focus is on the songwriting and then translating it to the live show. Every one of these songs could be played alongside the classics, that’s how strong they are. Add the bonus DVD to the studio album and it turns into a great package, also one of my favorite album covers of the year.

#4

Great White - Back To The Rhythm (2007)Great White – Back To The Rhythm

A successful comeback by a band no one expected to do anything. After all that has happened, did anyone think that Great White would actually make an album? They did and they made a great Blues based Hard Rock record. Getting the classic lineup back together rejuvenated the writing and getting singer Jack Russell sober made all the difference as he put in probably the best vocal performance of his career.

#5

Icarus Witch - Songs For The Lost (2007)Icarus Witch – Songs For The Lost

One of the best new bands out there playing a cross between NWOBHM and Traditional Metal. This is their second album and it doesn’t suffer from the “sophomore jinx”, this is a solid slab of straight up Heavy Metal. I even like the cover of Def Leppard’s ‘Mirror Mirror’! A band worth watching for the future.

#6

Primal Fear - New Religion (2007)Primal Fear – New Religion

Primal Fear just make good Heavy Metal records…..period. NEW RELIGION has a bit more melody and harmony within the power of their Metal assault, making the album more accessible and diverse. Everytime I hear a new Primal Fear record, I always wonder how vocalist Ralf Scheepers lost the Judas Priest gig to Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. Ralf has grown from being complete Halford clone to being one of the best Metal singers alive. Had to pick this up on import in September, the U.S. release is January 2008.

#7

Airbourne - Runnin’ Wild (2007)Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild

I bought into all the hype and rave reviews and I picked this up very late in the year. I was skeptical because I had heard only two songs and I wondered if AC/DC clones could produce a strong album. Everyone likes AC/DC, and with them out of the picture for now, Airbourne has picked up where Angus & company left off. It’s simple bluesy Hard Rock like AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, and The Angels but with a youthful energy built for party Rock. Had to get this one on import late in the year also because their U.S. distribution starts in January 2008.

#8

3 Inches Of Blood - Fire Up The Blades (2007)3 Inches Of Blood – Fire Up The Blades

A big thanks to a loyal reader, and devout Metalhead, Rene for pushing me to check out this band. Good thing I listened because 3 Inches Of Blood is a great young band that blends many different styles of Metal into their overall sound. Cam Pipes is one of the better Metal vocalists that can incorporate clean/traditional singing with growls. grunts, and groans. Another young band making their mark.

#9

Ted Nugent - Love Grenade (2007)Ted Nugent – Love Grenade

Terrible Ted came roaring from the woods to deliver his best album in years. Continuing with his gonzo attitude and hunter instinct, Ted took his love of the Blues, added his Hard Rock blend and tongue-in-cheek humor, and built the LOVE GRENADE. Jack Blades’ (Night Ranger/Damn Yankees) produces and co-writes here and does a spectacular job at getting the best from the Nuge. One listen to ‘Girl Scout Cookies’ and ‘Funk U’ and you’ll understand.

#10

Kamelot - Ghost Opera (2007)Kamelot – Ghost Opera

Another end of the year addition and it’s a shame I waited so long, it’s a good album. A little more Progressive and Symphonic than their past Power Metal style but still good. Kamelot proves that heavy music can be intricate and diverse while retaining the power…..I really dig the orchestration and strings and the lush backgrounds. Is Roy Khan one of the most underrated singers in Metal or what? Added value to this one is the bonus DVD on the limited edition.

#11

Megadeth - United Abominations (2007)Megadeth – United Abominations

At first, I wasn’t excited or impressed, Megadeth hadn’t regained my trust from 1999′s RISK debacle even though there had been two decent studio releases since. It wasn’t until mid-May when I saw Megadeth open for Heaven & Hell that I stood up and took notice. It’s having classic Megadeth back with Dave Mustaine more focused than ever.

#12

Helloween - Gambling With The Devil (2007)Helloween – Gambling With The Devil

Helloween were kind of put in the same category as Megadeth because I just couldn’t get into their last two albums: RABBIT DON’T COME EASY (2003) & KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS – THE LEGACY (2005). There was too much experimentation and enhancements on those records while the band tried to regain their signature sound and promised fans such. This album was more straight ahead Power Metal that Helloween is known for. Andi Deris puts in a spectacular performance and the band has shown that all the lineup changes of recent years hasn’t disrupted their core.

#13

Iced Earth - Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt.1) (2007)Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon (Something Wicked Pt.1)

Hard to believe that this is only Iced Earth’s third album since 1998′s masterpiece SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. It’s also hard to believe that after releasing two very spotty concept records, the band would come roaring back to form with another concept album based on the SOMETHING WICKED theme. Unfortunately, recent lineup changes (Owens out, Barlow back in) and some late year additions to my collection have pushed this album down the list, I had it Top 10 easily up until the last couple of weeks.

#14

Endeverafter - Kiss Or Kill (2007)Endeverafter – Kiss Or Kill

Endeverafter came out of nowhere to deliver solid party time Hard Rock. A blend of classic L.A. Hard Rock with today’s edge, I couldn’t find a bad song. I’d like to hear how the do on their next record.

#15

Masterplan - MK II (2007)Masterplan – MK II

I’ve had this CD since early April and I’m still enjoying it. Unfortunately, it ranks a little lower due to my getting used to Mike DiMeo replacing Jorn Lande at the mic and the fact that many top bands released excellent albums later in the year. Really good Power/Progressive Metal here, hopefully the lineup stays stable.

In case my list wasn’t enough, or you simply don’t agree, some other great Music blogs have listed their Top Albums of 2007:

Axeman

Bring Back Glam

Hard Rock Hideout

Heavy Metal Time Machine

Imagine Echoes

Layla’s Classic Rock Faves

The Metal Minute

Raise Your Fists

Rock & Roll And Meandering Nonsense

Rock Of Ages (Dave’s Best of 2007)

Rock Of Ages (Bill’s Best of 2007)

Judas Priest and Scorpions to tour North America together in 2008?

From ScorpsNews:
Lead singer/Guitar Player Joey Eppard of the Rock band Three says about 10 minutes & 15 seconds into this interview (http://www.dv-metal.com/entrevues/3151007.html) that Three might be involved in a Scorpions/Judas Priest Tour in 2008 in the States. Three was the opening act on 12 Scorpions shows this past fall in North America. I’m contacting both Judas Priest and Scorpions mangement for any confirmed information. I know that in the past I have posted 100% correct information and not rumored information in this news section. But I thought this was very important to post ASAP. Let’s keep our fingers crossed on this news topic. This could be the Tour that would put the Scorpions on the map in North America again. When this news story is 100% correct or false I will post with all details on this site. SO STAY TUNE!!!!!

From Melodicrock.com on Nov. 1st:
Scorpions and Judas Priest looks likely to pair up for a full North American tour in 2008.

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At this point, it’s all rumor but…..

The Scorps News site was one of the official outlets promoting the Scorpions U.S. tour through the band’s management AND Andrew at Melodicrock.com has tons of reliable contacts in the industry. Andrew doesn’t post a news bit or rumor unless there is serious information, his track record is impeccable.

Let’s hope this tour happens, it will easily fill good sized arenas indoors and outdoors because both bands could headline separate package tours. I will go to this one multiple times. Look for more info here as I find it…..

—- Steve

WANTED: Scorpions – Animal Magnetism (1980)

WANTED

 

Scorpions - Animal Magnetism (1980)

Scorpions – Animal Magnetism (1980)

The glaring omission to my Scorpions collection is, in fact, ANIMAL MAGNETISM. This album has some great songs including: ‘Make It Real’, ‘Lady Starlight’, and ‘The Zoo’. It’s also the beginning of the band’s journey into the ’80s as ‘The Zoo’ became a Rock radio and arena favorite. This CD was re-released in 1997 and in 2000, both with the original cover art intact. The dog is missing on the early CD issue in the U.S. due to the controversy of a woman being obedient like a dog. Most early Scorpions covers were changed for U.S. release (see LOVEDRIVE, VIRGIN KILLER, etc.).

To be honest, I’m not really sure why I don’t have it because it’s everywhere and priced decently. It’s probably this availability that has kept me from buying it because “it will be there next time” (As this column grows, you’ll notice I say that a lot!). Normally, this is located in the bargain bin at a price ranging from $7.99 to $9.99 and I could pick up 4 or 5 copies at any given time.

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Update – 3/18/08

Picked this up on the hunt, read about it here. Paid a decent price = $7 used