End of vacation Mixtape

Sadly all good things must come to and end…..and so must my vacation. It’s been a great week off from work: I spent time with the family, listened to a lot of music and did a lot of things I can’t do because work gets in the way…..like sleep! I have to go back to work today at 4pm so I decided to relax in the music room and shuffle the iPod one last time to see what comes out…..

  1. Queen – ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ (1986)
  2. Starz – ‘Violation’ (1977)
  3. Dokken – ‘The Hunter’ (1985)
  4. Autograph – ‘Send Her To Me’ (1984)
  5. Journey – ‘Send Her My Love’ (1983)
  6. Judas Priest – ‘Hard As Iron’ (1988)
  7. Accept – ‘Do It’ (1980)
  8. Judas Priest – ‘Solar Angels’ (1981)
  9. Quiet Riot – ‘Twilight Hotel’ (1986)
  10. Sammy Hagar – ‘Mas Tequila’ (1999)
  11. .38 Special – ‘Wild Eyed Southern Boys’ (1981)
  12. KISS – ‘Room Service’ (1975)
  13. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘No Bone Movies’ (1980)
  14. Manowar – ‘Fighting The World’ (1987)
  15. KISS – ‘Exciter’ (1983)
  16. Tim Owens – ‘Believe’ (2009)
  17. ZZ Top – ‘T.V. Dinners’ (1983)
  18. Motley Crue – ‘Hollywood Ending’ (2000)
  19. U.D.O. – ‘Infected’ (2009)
  20. Aerosmith – ‘Last Child’ (1977)

Bonus Track: UFO – ‘Diesel In the Dust’ (1983)

    CD Scavenger Hunt – updated purchases

    I haven’t been posting but I have been buying! Here’s everything I’ve picked up in the last couple weeks online and at the record stores…..

    Record Stores

    Dream_Theater_-_Black_Clouds_&_Silver_LiningsDream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009) – $15: The new Dream Theater came out last Tuesday and I had a choice of 2 stores to pick up the 3 CD limited edition: Newbury Comics or Best Buy. I went with Best Buy because it was $5 cheaper. The 3 CD set breaks down as follows: Disc 1 is the new studio album, Disc 2 is a bonus disc of 6 cover songs and Disc 3 is the studio album again but as instrumental mixes only. All together it’s 3 hours and 17 minutes of music on 3 CDs for the price of one regulary priced album…..a good deal!

    primal-fear-166Primal Fear – 16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead) (2009) – $16: Picked this up a couple of weeks ago at Newbury Comics when the album was released officially in the U.S. The cool thing was that the only copy the store had was the European version with the 2 bonus tracks and the video…..I prefer the extra material even if that means paying a couple extra bucks. I have only had a few spins so far but it sounds like another updated sound added to the Classic Metal assault.

    Spinal_Tap_Back_from_the_DeadSpinal Tap – Back From the Dead (2009) – $9.99: New album from Spinal Tap, great sale price from Newbury Comics! A lot of extras included in the package: the CD has 19 songs (6 new and 13 re-recorded from the soundtrack), an hour long DVD and the CD packaging folds out to become paper dolls of the band and Stonehenge! The only complaint is that there is no slipcase to keep everything in but it’s definitely a cool way to put together a CD.

    Axel Rudi Pell - Best Of (Anniversary Edition) (2009)Axel Rudi Pell – Best Of (Anniversary Edition) (2009) – $8.99: I don’t have much Axel Rudi Pell in the collection except for a few of the newer records so I figured a retrospective release like this would give me a taste of some of the older material. I picked this up mostly based on the sale price and it fit in nicely with the Primal Fear and Spinal Tap purchases.

    Ebay

    JESTER DigitaliaJester – Digitalia/Tales From The Boogieman (2000 reissue) – $2.50: Back when print fanzines were still a viable source of info, I heard about New Jersey’s Jester. I think this was around 1997 when their debut TALES FROM THE BOOGIEMAN was released on Pulse Records. I always wanted to check them out but I never got around to it and now the CD is out of print, same with DIGITALIA, now that Pulse Records is no more. Escape Music came around in 2000 and reissued DIGITALIA with new cover art and TALES as a bonus CD. Some retailers still have this for $17-$20 online but I was able to snag this on Ebay for less than $3.

    Lita Ford - Dancin' On The Edge (1984)Lita Ford – Dancin’ On The Edge (1984) – $21: I have been after this CD for a long time. I had it listed in the WANTED! column for about a year now and my patient searching brought me a copy at a decent price. $21 may seem like a high price to pay considering the original release was probably $12-$15 but this CD regularly goes over the $30 range. This was one of those short auctions (3 days) so I came in quick with a last minute bid.

    anvil_plugged_in_permanentAnvil – Plugged In Permanent (1996) – $22: I’m slowly filling all the holes in my Anvil collection after seeing the Anvil movie. I noticed that a lot of the later albums have Japanese pressings with bonus tracks and this album gives Japan one with ‘Stolen’. There were 2 copies on Ebay: this Japanese pressing from a seller I have bought from in the past and the regular U.S./Euro pressing without ‘Stolen’. Both were $17 so but the shipping was $2 more for the Japanese pressing. I paid the extra $2 for the extra track.

    Online Stores

    ufo-the-visitor-2009-cdUFO – The Visitor (2009) – $22.50: I’ve had a promo copy of this album for a few months now but I have to have an actual copy when it comes to on of my favorite bands. The bonus track ‘Dancing With St. Peter’ isn’t on the promo and I wanted to hear the updated version by UFO…..the song was the title track of the Phil Mogg fronted side project $ign of 4. The album of the same name was released in 2002. The only copy of THE VISITOR readily available was the U.S. version without the extra song so I ordered the Euro version from HMV.com.

    One of the things I’m doing now more then ever is ordering online. The UFO CD from HMV is what I consider a one time thing but I have been browsing NEH Records, Sentinel Steel and CD Inzane more often lately. There are just certain albums that the local record stores are not going to stock! So here’s my latest order from CD Inzane…..

    Solna - EuramericSolna – Eurameric (2009) – $13: I knew nothing about this all-star project except for the fact that CD Inzane founder Zane Petersen (from China Blue)produced it and played drums. There are a lot of guests on this album including Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Pamela Moore (Queensryche) and Alex De Rosso (Dokken). There are more people included and it kind of follows the path taken by other projects like Ayreon and Avantasia. I haven’t given it a spin yet but I’ve read some great reviews.

    Solna_-_Sent_From_HeavenSolna – Sent From Heaven E.P. (2009) – $4: This 6 song E.P. was released prior to EURAMERIC and included 5 songs that are on the album and an E.P.-only bonus track titled ‘I Light A Candle Too’. Only 2000 copies were pressed and the CD was on sale for $3 + $1 shipping…..can’t beat that. I figured that I might as well grab the E.P. along with the proper album to have all the songs in the collection.

    bloodbound tabula rasaBloodbound – Tabula Rasa (2009) – $12: I have to plead ignorance on Bloodbound because I’ve never actually heard any of the band’s music, the only thing I know is from the reviews I’ve read online and they all seem to be really positive about TABULA RASA. The album was $5 cheaper at CD Inzane than at NEH Records so I picked it up right away. I have the U.S./Euro version that includes a bonus video…..I hear the Japanese import has a bonus track instead.

    Nocturnal Rites 8thNocturnal Rites – The 8th Sin (2007) – $5: Over the years I have picked up almost all the the Nocturnal Rites albums as they have been released but, for some strange reason, I never bothered to pick up THE 8TH SIN a couple of years ago. I was going through the CD Inzane clearance section and there this CD was for $5! The bargain is better because it’s the limited edition with the bonus DVD with videos, live tracks, and documentaries on the band’s European Tour 2005 and Japanese Tour 2006. The regular version was $12 & the limited edition was $5…..easy choice! The bonus DVD is PAL format but my DVD-ROM drive on the computer plays PAL.

    Gothic Knights Up From the AshesGothic Knights – Up From The Ashes (2003) – $5: An online clearance section can be even more lucrative for finding CD treasure than your local record stores used bins! I couldn’t help but notice that this Gothic Knights album was a mere $5 so I grabbed it too! I looked at this album on Ebay for $15 to $20 depending on the seller…..even Sentinel Steel couldn’t match the price on a used copy! Now I only need the out of print debut from Gothic Knights.

    udo infectedU.D.O. – Infected E.P. (2009) – $12: I wasn’t going to make the same mistake of not ordering the E.P. that comes before the proper album like I did with THE WRONG SIDE OF MIDNIGHT E.P. in 2007 before the MASTERCUTOR album came out. U.D.O. always has E.P. exclusive songs and INFECTED is in different: 2 non-album tracks, a remix and a live track to go along with the title track that comes from the new upcoming record DOMINATOR. The E.P. is limited to 2222 copies worldwide so I acted fast.

    UFO – The Visitor (2009)

    ufo-the-visitor-2009-cd

    UFO – The Visitor (2009, SPV)

    1. Saving Me
    2. On The Waterfront
    3. Hell Driver
    4. Stop Breaking Down
    5. Rock Ready
    6. Living Proof
    7. Can’t Buy A Thrill
    8. Forsaken
    9. Villains & Thieves
    10. Stranger In Town

    (NOTE — The Japanese and European pressings have a re-recorded bonus track ‘Dancing With St. Peter’, a song that was originally released on Phil Mogg’s side project $ign Of 4 in 2002.)

    Band Lineup:
    Phil Mogg – Vocals
    Paul Raymond – Keyboards & Guitars
    Vinnie Moore – Guitars
    Andy Parker – Drums

    (NOTE — Bassist and founding member Pete Way is currently suffering from a liver disease and was unfortunately not available for the studio production.)

    Additional Musicians:
    Peter Pichl – Bass

    (NOTE — Pichl is the bass player in Nektar and is not credited in the liner notes of the advance copy.)

    Producer:

    Total Time = 42:27

    UFO
    Strangers In the Night
    SPV
    SPV USA

    UFO has been around for a long time…..40 years and going strong! THE VISITOR marks the band’s 20th studio album, the third with current lead guitarist Vinnie Moore, but without founding bassist Pete Way who is currently battling a liver disease and could not work in the studio. It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since 2006’s THE MONKEY PUZZLE but the band hasn’t missed a step with their classic brand of Hard Rock & Blues.

    The sound of THE VISITOR isn’t that different from THE MONKEY PUZZLE or the first album with Moore, YOU ARE HERE (2004), and it’s that type of stability and quality that I like in a band. UFO knows one way to do things and they continue to deliver. Honestly, the band has been on a roll since they reunited with longtime guitarist Michael Schenker back in 1995 for the WALK ON WATER album despite the personnel changes. Vinnie Moore has stepped in for the long departed Schenker and put his bluesy stamp on the UFO sound, a perfect compliment to Phil Mogg’s vocals. One of the continuous high points over the entire record is the axe work of Moore: he solos effortlessly and his riffs have that thick 70s Classic Rock sound. I’m not going to get into the Moore vs. Schenker debate because they are two different style guitarists but it’s easy to hear that Moore has become and integral part of the sound and the writing…..and with Pete Way sidelined, it’s good to have “the new guy” step up and help take the reins with Mogg. Of course, Phil Mogg IS the sound of UFO and his voice has gotten stronger with the years…..it’s hard to believe that he just turned 61!

    Opening track ‘Saving Me’ has a cool Southern Rock styled guitar intro and moves right into a bluesy Hard Rock number with Mogg turning out trademark phrases. It’s heavy and bluesy but it’s also a melodic song…..that’s a key ingredient to the overall UFO sound: melody. More melodic Blues Rock with the mid-tempo ‘On The Waterfront’ that features some really cool lyrics and an effortless solo while the band kicks into high gear again with the pure Hard Rock of ‘Hell Driver’, a song that could have easily fit on anything from WALK ON WATER forward. I’ll bet this is a song the band plays live on this tour because it fits so perfectly alongside the classic newer material, I had the iPod on a “UFO shuffle” recently and ‘Hell Driver’ got sandwiched between ‘Pushed To The Limit’ (from WALK ON WATER) and ‘Hard Being Me’ (from THE MONKEY PUZZLE) and it just blended perfectly. The band goes back in time with ‘Stop Breaking Down’ and returns to the classic ’70s UFO sound. It’s a melodic mid-tempo rocker with plenty of guitar flourishes to satisfy the Schenker disciples and Mogg puts in an inspired vocal but the highlight here is original drummer Andy Parker, the unsung backbone of UFO. Whereas the departed Jason Bonham provided UFO with an excellent heavy drumming style, Parker’s style sounds so effortless and retains the heaviness but in a more subtle way.

    ‘Rock Ready’ is another uptempo Blues Rock standard that I would pair with ‘Saving Me’ because of that Southern guitar style. The band slows down again from another blues number, ‘Living Proof’, that has this real groove. Mogg’s vocals impress and Moore adds some cool flourishes throughout the song but the overall sound has a certain rhythm that gets the head bobbing and toe tapping. The guitar solo is one of the best on the album. Another guitar intro opens the mid-tempo ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’, another song that has that classic ’70s melodic UFO sound, while ‘Forsaken’ turns out to be one of the best ballads the band has ever done! I think it’s just the way Mogg delivers the ballads with such passion and sincerity, I find myself repeating this song everytime I play the album.

    ‘Villains & Thieves’ is more bluesy Hard Rock but with some cool piano from longtime guitarist & keyboardist Paul Raymond. I’d put this song with ‘Saving Me’ and ‘Rock Ready’ as far as style goes but the added piano gives the song another distinct detail to it. The usual UFO sound is to have that big Hammond organ playing along with the guitar but it sounds like the organ isn’t as prominent on THE VISITOR so it’s good to hear a little more of the ivories up front. More big sounding Hard Rock on ‘Stranger In Town’ that features more of the Moore/Raymond trade-off between guitar and organ and some heavy handed pocket drumming from Parker. This is the UFO sound!  It goes without saying that not having Pete Way on the album is a disappointment, he is battling some sort of liver disease and he was unable to contribute. The band brought in Peter Pichl from the Progressive Rock band Nektar to handle the bass duties for the record and he does a great job keeping the rhythm section intact.

    Bottom Line:
    Another triumph for UFO! THE VISITOR is one of my favorite albums of 2009 so far and that’s no surprise because the band is all about solid songwriting and brilliant playing…..that’s what makes a great album! I’ve had the advance for a few weeks now and it has not left my current rotation in the car, on the iPod or on the stereo. Everytime I listen to the album I can’t really find a weak song and I find myself instantly singing along and whistling the solos…..the album captures my full attention and that defines a great album to me. THE VISITOR is classic UFO from the ’70s with an updated sound that leans more toward a Southern Rock and melodic Blues groove that sounds so effortless. That’s the key right there! The performance by the band doesn’t sound forced or pressured, there is no inner turmoil interrupting the creative process, everything sounds relaxed and natural. It’s obvious that Vinnie Moore has fit in perfectly with Phil Mogg, Andy Parker and Paul Raymond and a true bond has formed.

    Favorite Songs:
    My favorite song on the album is ‘Forsaken’ but the entire album is a solid collection of songs. I really like them all but, if I had to pick a few more to go alongside ‘Forsaken’, I’d pick: ‘On The Waterfront’, ‘Hell Driver’, ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’ and ‘Living Proof’.

    Current Playlist

    I’m trying to catch up on a lot of listening to some of the newer releases that I haven’t gotten to yet but having the collection organized has been a challenge. Everytime I grab an album to put into the Collectorz cataloging software or iTunes, I find another that I haven’t heard in a long time! Then I find a band I forgot about and I pull out all of their albums! Will it ever end?

    UFO – The Visitor (2009): This hasn’t left my rotation since I got the advance from SPV a few weeks ago and I don’t think it’s going to leave anytime soon. One of the best albums of the year for me.

    Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009): I had the advance in December and I haven’t put it down yet…..album of the year for me but UFO is challenging!

    Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens – Play My Game (2009): A great comeback for the Ripper, its good to hear him doing his own thing and not being a hired hand. I like the Iced Earth and Malmsteen albums but I think Ripper has to make a mark with his solo career or Beyond Fear.

    Beyond Fear – s/t (2006): More of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens doing his own thing instead of being a hired frontman. I listened to the album and realized that this was easily one of the best pieces of work Owens has produced. It hasn’t grown stale since it’s release, it still sounds feash and I think that’s because Ripper had the control.

    Chickenfoot – s/t (2009): Sammy Hagar & Michael Anthony…..that’s enough to sell me on this album but then you add Joe Satriani and Chad Smith. This isn’t Van Halen, solo Hagar or a Red Hot Chili Pepper thing, this is an actual new band with some good Hard Rocks songs from solid performers. So far it’s better than I thought.

    As Cities Burn – Hell Or High Water (2009): One of the worst albums I’ve heard so far this year! The album cover screams Metal but As Cities Burn is a Christian Rock/Indie/Progressive/Modern Rock band and there is just nothing heavy or hard to the music. It sounds too much like what is already clogging Rock radio: mainstream modern Rock with no substance. I wanted to give this another chance but it was a tough listen.

    Joe Lynn Turner – Rescue You (1985): JLT’s first solo album after Ritchie Blackmore ended Rainbow. I haven’t listened to this in years and I just got the CD in from a nice seller on Ebay.

    Iron Maiden – (various albums): Basically I pulled out all my Maiden albums and started spinning them on the stereo. At work, I put the iPod on “shuffle” and listened to Maiden out of order and had some cool playlists. The new DVD documentary and live CD, FLIGHT 666, come out Tuesday and I want to be ready!

    AC/DC – Back In Black (1980): I never pull out BACK IN BLACK because I can tune in to any Rock radio station in my local area and I guarantee I will hear the whole album by the end of the day! There’s nothing wrong with BACK IN BLACK, it’s just that I know it all by heart and it’s completely overplayed. So why is it in my current playlist? My 10 year old daughter loves the album and she absolutley begs me to play it! At least she knows about good music!

    The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed (1969): I’ve always been a Stones fan and LET IT BLEED has been my favorite Stones record for a long time. I heard ‘Monkey Man’ on one of the radio stations as a “deep track” and I pulled the album out as soon as I got home!

    Current Playlist

    Now that I’ve seen the Anvil movie and read the book, I feel rejuvenated! Nothing like seeing/hearing an inspirational story about Heavy Metal to get you out of a rut and back on track. There have also been some really good albums that I’ve rediscovered by adding them into my iPod so it’s been all about the music and getting myself into a Metal frame of mind. Here’s what I’ve been spinning…..

    Anvil – Anthology (1999): I have a lot of holes in my Anvil collection but I’m taking care of that as we speak. This anthology cane out on Metal Blade Records back in ’99 and has 18 songs that come from everything from the debut HARD ‘N HEAVY (1981) to SPEED OF SOUND (1998). It’s a nice overview of Anvil’s career to that point.

    Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007): Watch the new Anvil movie and you’ll get an inside look at the recording of this album. I never really took this album out of my playing rotation for the last year and a half…..if the CD is sitting next to the stereo then it’s in the “Now Playing” pile. When I actually file it away in the cases, then it’s out of normal rotation. What a great album, a serious comeback from a band that’s never really gone away.

    Wolf – Ravenous (2009): I really wasn’t expecting much from Wolf but that just goes to show you that I’m an idiot! I never picked up 2006’s THE BLACK FLAME even though 2004’s EVIL STAR was an awesome record. I ended up grabbing this CD a week after it came out as an afterthought because it was still on sale. This is probably going to be in my list of top albums of 2009! Review coming soon…..

    MSG – Gipsy Lady: The Schenker Barden Acoustic Project (2009): Always a big fan of MSG and Michael’s solo work, especially his acoustic THANK YOU series which are some of the best work he’s ever released. Now that the Schenker/Barden team is here for a while, they are exploring the acoustic realm together. It’s a little different with vocals but they are a solid team. Review this week…..

    UFO – The Visitor (2009): One of my favorite releases of 2009 and June 2009’s album of the month. Review this week…..

    Aerosmith – Nine Lives (1998): Everyone remembers this album as the one with ‘Pink’ on it but I picked this up over a decade ago the day it came out. It had been 4 years since GET A GRIP (1993) and I bought the album just because it was a new Aerosmith record. Every song on the album is great and I remember thinking that this was going to be the Aerosmith album that would closely resemble the ’70s but not be as commercially successful. They had a few singles but when ‘Pink’ hit the radio then NINE LIVES skyrocketed! I skip ‘Pink’ when I play the CD. Two quick details: I have the original pressing with the original cover art and I saw the tour on New Year’s Eve that year…..what a party!

    KISS – Crazy Nights (1987): I know this album by heart and KISS is my favorite band but I wouldn’t have listened to it 10 times in the last week if my daughter wasn’t playing it constantly!

    Rhapsody – Legendary Tales (1997): I got into Rhapsody (now Rhaposdy Of Fire) back in 1998 and I heard a newer song on an internet radio show last week so I figured I would give the band a fresh listen from the beginning and start to search out some of the holes in my Rhapsody collection.

    The Gathering – Mandylion (1995): With the band’s new album (THE WEST POLE) coming out Tuesday, I figured I would revisit the album that got me into the band. If I buy the new album it will be the first Gathering record I’ve picked up since 2000’s IF THEN ELSE.

    The first iPod playlist!

    Well I finally did it…..I bought an iPod!

    My Dell DJ 30 has served me above and beyond the call of duty and it finally died a noble death. I was listening to my DJ at work last week and the headphone jack fell out of the unit. Turns out the solder that held the actual jack in place had come loose and that’s why I kept thinking my headphones were dying. I was getting volume from one ear on the headphones unless I packed the jack with aluminum foil, a temporary fix. Then it happened…..I pulled the headphones out to put in a little more foil and the entire piece came out! R.I.P. Dell DJ……..

    So I went to Best Buy last Saturday and dropped the $250 for an iPod 120gb and $40 for the 2 yr. warranty (if anything happens to it, I can bring it back and get a fresh one). I’ve been loading albums into iTunes but I don’t have nearly as many as I had in the Dell. Here’s what I have in the iPod because it’s all I’ve listened to…..

    Great White – Rising (2009): I still haven’t given up on this album even though it’s a little too mellow. It’s definitely a grower and I’m beginning to enjoy it more everytime I play it.

    Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): Here’s another album that I haven’t given up on yet especially since I kind of knew what to expect. Hammerfall plays straight ahead Power Metal and they don’t stray far from their formula…..that can be either refreshing or redundant depending on the quality of the material. This album gets more refreshing everytime I spin it.

    Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens – Play My Game (2009): This new record comes out next week and I was lucky to get it in the mail Saturday afternoon. I’ve only given it one full spin so far.

    Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009): The album of the year for me so far!

    UFO – The Visitor (2009): Another album I was lucky to receive in the mail a full month before it’s release…..all UFO has done since 1995’s WALK ON WATER is release high quality albums and THE VISITOR is no exception.

    Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (2009): This album was probably one of the most anticpated of 2009 for me next to the new Saxon. I’ve been playing this non-stop but I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet…..probably sometime this week.

    Accept – Predator (1996): Accept’s final studio album and probably their most confusing since EAT THE HEAT (1989). I remember I picked this up the week it came out because I had read about it in a fanzine and Accept were one of my formative bands back in the ’80s. I figured that I was going to get a Metal album but PREDATOR is a mix of different styles, the best track being the first: ‘Hard Attack’. The biggest problem I had was that Udo didn’t sing every song on the album, bassist Peter Baltes sang lead on three tunes and had a primary role on the backing vocals. At the time I loved it save for a couple of tunes…..13 years later I can hear a few more filler tracks but there is some good material too.

    My Top 5 Concerts

    I’m starting to gear up for the Summer 2009 concert season, I already have my Def Leppard/Poison and Judas Priest/Whitesnake tix. I went online today to see who else is coming to the New England area and it got me thinking about all the concerts I’ve been to and which ones were my favorites. So I pulled out all of my ticket stubs and I realized I’m missing a few of the early tours I saw when I was a kid but I remember the shows like it was yesterday! So here we go, my Top 5 Concerts…..make sure you check out some of the ticket prices!

    1. KISS – Reunion Tour (Boston, MA) – 7/30/1996 – $50: Wouldn’t it figure that a diehard KISS fan would put KISS at the top of the list?! But it’s true, the Reunion show in Boston is the best concert I’ve ever seen. I never got the chance to see the band in makeup but I had seen them several times without it…..but it was the reunion with Ace & Peter and it was the “holy grail” for KISS fans. Two nights went on sale for the show at the Fleet Center but we got shut out…..this was back in the days of actually CALLING Ticketmaster! So we got shut out. The good news was that my best friend’s father had the right connections at the Fleet Center and we were able to get reserved seats on the Ace side of the stage, one section from the exact side, in the lower arena. We were so close that you could see the facial expressions! The section in front of us was the V.I.P. section and members of Boston, Aerosmith, and Extreme were in attendance. I forget who opened (didn’t matter), and the actual show is still a blur, but I screamed so loud and sang every word at the top of my lungs that I ended up damaging my vocal chords and I lost my voice for a month! All in the name of Rock ‘N’ Roll! This was the first of four shows I would catch on this tour.

    2. Saxon & U.D.O. – Metalhead & Holy Tour (Warwick, RI) – 10/31/2000 – $40: This show was at The Station Nightclub…..yes the same Station that had the tragic fire during the Great White concert. The Station was a nice small bar that got all the Metal bands for our area. What a great place to watch a show! Anyway, I was online now so I knew the show was coming and I bought my ticket at the local Strawberries Records. Getting U.D.O. in as an opener was a huge bonus. It was Halloween night so I headed over to the venue around 6pm and had a beer, at the bar was Biff Byford and Doug Scarratt from Saxon and Fitty Weinhold from U.D.O., so I was able to meet the guys and get autographs. No cameras were allowed in and I couldn’t get the guys to leave the bar and come outside while I got the camera from the car. All nice guys, a pleasure to talk to, they all autographed my show flyer. The show was awesome, I was right at the front in front of Biff’s mic stand and Saxon played two solid hours! Unfortunately U.D.O.’s set was cut short (7 songs) because the local band they had open ran late taking down their gear. I ended up with a Metalhead Tour shirt, a Holy Tour shirt, and a Wheels Of Steel long sleeve shirt…..the guy running the merch booth was Udo’s brother, Peter Dirkschneider, who was in Vanize. I ended up hanging around after the show and got a guitar pick from Nibbs Carter from Saxon and another flyer.

    3. KISS w/Ted Nugent – Crazy Nights Tour (Providence, RI) – 12/12/1987 – $16.50: This was the first time I saw KISS live, I was 15 years old, and it was at my home arena the Providence Civic Center. I missed the Lick It Up, Animalize & Asylum tours when they came through because my parents thought I was too young but I started going to concerts shortly after I missed the Asylum tour. By December ’87 I was a concert veteran! I remember my friend smuggled in a tape recorder to bootleg the show and I still have that old cassette somewhere. I lived and died KISS so when the band took the stage after their intro, I was in hysterics! Great show, they played a lot of older tunes and six off CRAZY NIGHTS. As for Terrible Ted…..he was solid but I had already seen him open for Aerosmith in ’86 so I was glad to hear him play but just wanted KISS…..nothing beats the first time I heard the KISS intro with my own ears.

    4. UFO & Blue Oyster Cult – You Are Here Tour (Hampton Beach, NH) – 9/25/2004 – $26: I’m a big UFO fan and when this stop on the tour was announced I grabbed a ticket and took a vacation day at work! The problem was that the tour got delayed, it was orginally supposed to be on 5/1 but there was a problem with Pete Way’s visa, etc. The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom is about a two hour drive from my home in Pawtucket, RI so I packed a lunch and hooked up the CD player and jammed all the way there! There was an opening act but I forget who they were (Healing Sixes maybe?). UFO and BOC were trading headline positions that tour so UFO came on first and played all the classics and a bunch off YOU ARE HERE in around two hours. I was camped in my usual spot in front of the stage but near Vinnie Moore’s side. Towards the end of the encore, I made my way more towards the side of the stage where the band entered and exited from. When the show was done, the band came off stage and by the barrier I was near and I was able to high five Vinnie Moore, Paul Raymond, and Barry Sparks. I ended up buying a shirt and hat, I where the hat all the time (I need a replacement, come back again guys!). As for BOC…..I ended up watching most of their show from the bar and I cut out early before the encore so I could get a move on home.

    5. Aerosmith – Nine Lives Tour (Boston, MA) – 12/31/1997 – $39.25: Aerosmith & New Year’s Eve = a huge party! This show was at the Fleet Center in Boston and, if you live in New England, you know not to drive into downtown Boston on New Year’s Eve! This was the 2nd show of a two night stand at the Fleet Center and it was a 21 song party complete with a countdown to 1998 in the middle of the show with balloons, confetti, etc. By ’97, I’d seen Aerosmith on every tour since the Done With Mirrors tour in early ’86 so I knew it would be a good show. It turned out to be a great show because the band went over the top to give their hometown fans a New Year’s Eve to remember. The opening acts were The Upper Crust (a local Boston Hard Rock band that dressed in French renaissance gear with powdered wigs) and Days Of The New (who sucked). The original opening band was supposed to be Talk Show (Stone Temple Pilots without Scott Weiland) and I remember my best friend getting all upset when Talk Show pulled out but he loved Days Of The New too. I watched The Upper Crust, took a nap during Days Of the New (we had been doing some drinking during the day in some Irish pubs) and was refreshed for a 2 hour Aerosmith show. My 1o yr old daughter wears my Nine Lives tour shirt now!

    Overnight Playlist – 4/26/09

    I had a couple of guys call in for the overnight shift Saturday into Sunday so I had to pull a double shift of 16 hours: 4pm Saturday to 8am Sunday. Normally it sucks but I was able to get most of the work done on my first shift and the overnight 8 hours was a piece of cake! My MP3 player is still dying a slow death, now I’m having issues with a loose headphone jack, but it still worked long enough for me to get through most of the night…..

    Great White – Rising (2009): I’ve been giving this a lot of spins because of the great work the band did on their comeback album BACK TO THE RHYTHM (2007) but RISING is a lot more mellow. It’s more of a companion piece to 1994’s SAIL AWAY, one of my favorite records of all-time, but I’m a little disappointed. I was expecting more of a kick ass Rock record then a melodic acoustic based album. It’s a decent album but a grower.

    Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): Hammerfall’s latest has been in my playlist since I bought it for two reasons: because I’m a Power Metal geek and because I haven’t really gotten into the last few Hammerfall albums. I’m not sure what it is but since RENEGADE (2000) I have bought every new record but I haven’t enjoyed them as much as the first two. So far, I’m liking NO SACRIFICE, NO VICTORY a lot…..maybe I’ll review it before the month runs out!

    Tragik – Outlaw (2009): Tragik are from my home state of Rhode Island and they play a cool Melodic Rock with a lot of guitars. Phil Vincent (vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitars) has been a fixture on the RI music scene for years and Steven Albanese (lead guitars) used to sell me a lot of my Hard Rock and Metal CDs at my favorite, and missed, record store: 2 Guys Music.

    UFO – The Visitor (2009): I just received a promo copy of this new album Saturday morning so I uploaded it to my MP3 player right away. Good thing because UFO is in my Top 5 favorite bands and I was able to listen closely to the entire album.

    Heaven & Hell – Live From Radio City Music Hall (2007): With the new Heaven & Hell album, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (2009), coming out Tuesday I figured I would re-live the two tours I’ve seen in the last couple of years. I’m so glad that Black Sabbath heaven & Hell has continued to make new music and tour because they are true Metal masters! Can’t wait for the new album Tuesday!

    KISS – Paul Stanley (1978): I wanted to listen to something familiar to end my shift so I decided to go with my favorite band (KISS) and my favorite member (right now) and give a listen. The Paul Stanley solo album is the most classic KISS-sounding album in a time where the band was struggling for an identity and sound as the world went Disco/Pop. This album proves my longstanding point that the talent in KISS is Paul Stanley.

    Press Release: New UFO album, The Visitor, due June 2nd

    From SPV:

    Good news for all fans of British rock legends UFO: their brand-new studio album, THE VISITOR, is due out before the end of spring.

    ufo-the-visitor-2009-cd

    ufo-the-visitor-2009-lp

    The arrival of the album has been set for late May/early June, tour dates will be announced soon.

    UFO composed more than 35 new tracks in the run-up to the recordings, 13 of which were short-listed and produced at the studio. 11 of these songs are expected to make it onto the regular album, the other two are scheduled to become bonus tracks for a limited edition digipak.

    The current line-up continues to consist of the three original members, Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Raymond (guitar, keyboards), and Andy Parker (drums), as well as American world-class guitarist Vinnie Moore. Bass legend and original member Pete Way is currently suffering from a liver disease and was unfortunately not available for the studio production.

    “All those who have been into UFO for a long time will find all our characteristic trademarks on The Visitor, and anybody new to the band will be impressed by our enthusiasm and dynamism,” frontman Phil Mogg enthuses on the subject of the new songs.

    THE VISITOR sees the band benefiting especially from their collaboration with Vinnie Moore, who joined UFO in autumn 2003 and has made an excellent impression on the albums, YOU ARE HERE (2004) and THE MONKEY PUZZLE (2006), and on the band’s tours.

    Mogg: “Without running down previous UFO lineups – it’s been a long time since we had a team as strong as this one. Vinnie contributes his youthful energy and amazing guitar technique, and in Andy’s return we’ve seen the reappearance of a musician who has always been very important to the band’s original sound.”

    Naturally the band will embark on a major world tour this year. Concert dates will be announced soon, and appearances at the Rock Hard festival at the end of May and the Wacken Open Air at the beginning of August 2009 in Germany have been confirmed.

    Release Dates for THE VISITOR on Steamhammer / SPV:

    Germany / Austria / Switzerland: May 29th
    UK / rest of Europe: June 2nd
    USA / Canada: June 2nd

    —————————————————————-

    Big news here as UFO is one of my all-time favorite bands! The band has put out some great albums since they came back in 1995 so I’ll bet that THE VISITOR will be a great record and follow along the lines of the last two studio album with Vinnie Moore. I can’t wait!

    — Steve

    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)

    UFO – Strangers In the Night (1979)

    UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979, Chrysalis)

    1. Natural Thing
    2. Out In The Street
    3. Only You Can Rock Me
    4. Doctor Doctor
    5. Mother Mary
    6. This Kids
    7. Love To Love
    8. Lights Out
    9. Rock Bottom
    10. Too Hot To Handle
    11. I’m A Loser
    12. Let It Roll
    13. Shoot Shoot

    Total Time = 1:09:13

    UFO official website

    UFO has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Back when I was a kid, my local Rock radio station would play some UFO songs like ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and ‘Natural Thing’ so I was aware of who they were and what they sounded like in their classic era with Michael Schenker. I listened to MSG so I knew Schenker from there and back to UFO, I listened to Fastway and Waysted also so I knew bassist Pete Way with that connection. In the mid-80s, the same radio station would play the latest single from the band during a Rock Block or on Double-Shot Tuesday (they still have this) but they always paired it with a classic single. So when I finally got online in the middle of 1998, UFO was at the top of my list of bands to check out.

    The Internet was brimming with plenty of UFO related news because the band had just released a reunion album, WALK ON WATER, in 1995 with Michael Schenker back on board. I had seen the ads in Rock magazines but I really didn’t pay them much attention. Most of the message boards and discussion lists I was on recommended starting with STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT to get a good overview of the Schenker era of the band. Every song on this album is a concert staple for the band and most are still in the setlist today! All of the songs are great and the performance is solid…..Schenker is at top form, Phil Mogg is one of the best on the mic, the Pete Way/Andy Parker rhythm section is solid and you’ve got Paul Raymond rounding out the sound on guitar and keyboards/organ. That’s the classic lineup doing a setlist from their U.S. tour that is like a greatest hits album.

    For my money, it doesn’t get any better than ‘Natural Thing’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, ‘Too Hot To Handle’ and the 11 minute plus ‘Rock Bottom’ on this record. They are all done with a lot of energy and superb soloing from Schenker. Another great song is ‘I’m A Loser’ (originally on 1976’s NO HEAVY PETTING), a song that has become one of my all-time UFO favorites. You get the staples also in ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Shoot Shoot’ but another true highlight is the power ballad ‘Love To Love’. I have no idea how this song wasn’t a hit single back in 1977, it has that classic bluesy balladeering style with a main riff that builds up as the song goes on.

    After buying STRANGERS, I started to collect the rest of the band’s discography when all the albums were reissued on CD in Japan in 1999 and 2000. I also picked up the WALK ON WATER album, started diving back into the MSG catalogue, and saw the band live in concert twice. Basically, buying this live album turned me into a major UFO fan!

    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)