ROCK REPORT 2006
By Ross Cat.
QUEEN OF HEARTS…..The Event Center located inside the Seneca Niagara Casino
& Hotel is quickly becoming one of the premier music venues in the
region. The action reached a fevered pitch last Saturday night as they
played host to the first ladies of rock, HEART.
The WILSON Sisters have been kindred butterflies in the dog eat dog world
of Rock and Roll since the 1970’s, showing that it doesn’t take a set of
balls to play kick ass music. Ann and Nancy are on the road in support
of their latest release “Love Songs”, which is a collection of tunes that
offer up a “Lighter Touch” of the bands mammoth catalog of hits. This disc
isn’t just another hits compilation it contains live versions of chart
topping tunes the likes of “Alone” and “Magic Man” to name just a few.
The evening commenced as the full house arose with anticipation welcoming
the lovely lasses. Accompanied by a four piece band they opened the
set with a rollicking rendition of LED ZEPPELIN’S “Rock and Roll”. That
would prove to be prelude to an evening filled with LED ZEP classics that
would have brought a smile to the “Golden God” himself. Vocalist ANN WILSON
sent the songs soaring throughout the state of the art concert theater,
as her ravenous voice shows no signs of attrition. After lowering the boom
on “Black Dog” and “Misty Mountain Hop” sultry guitarist NANCY WILSON showed
she can rock like a lady soulfully strumming the “Battle of Evermore”.
Though some hardcore fans may have felt the set list was a bit “Heartless”,
the band managed to “Even it Up” with a string of favorites late in the
set. Consummate rockers “Barracuda” and “Crazy On You” had the crowd
flocking the front of the stage, which by the way was unimpeded by staff
and security. Imagine that a place where your allowed to smoke, drink and
have a good time in New York State.
The SENECA EVENTS CENTER continues to roll in the top notch talent as they
will welcome THE MOODY BLUES on Saturday April 1st for an 8pm show. The
following weekend (April 7th, 8th), will find homegrown favorites the 10,000
MANIACS sharing an intimate weekend at the BEARS DEN SHOWROOM. Tickets
are available through Ticketmaster or visit www.senecaniagaracasino.com
for more info.
THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO ROCK…..The summer of 2006 looks to be a sizzling
one for SAMMY HAGAR. The fun begins with the 1st annual CABO WABO Cruise
sponsored by Rosetours (www.rosetours.com)
out of Philadelphia. The sold out ship will sail into the “Summer Nights”
on April 23rd from California, cruising its way to the sandy beaches of
“Cabo Wabo”. The week long bash will climax with a Rock and Roll party
at HAGAR’S aforementioned world famous club, celebrating the release of
his new disc appropriately titled “Livin it Up”. NIGHTLIFE Magazine will
have the unbelievable honor of being aboard to give you a blow by blow
account on what it’s like to party with SAMMY and the Redheads for a week.
Whether fronting his own band, kicking ass at the helm of VAN HALEN, or
shaking things up with the Waboritas the Red Rocker has always checked
his ego at the cooler door. SAMMY is synonymous with a good
time, knowing full well it’s about the music and not the man. HAGAR stands
alone on “Top of the World” when it comes to celebrating his music with
fans, even going as far as sharing a section of seats on stage with his
The “Livin it Up” tour will give rockers “The Best of Both Worlds”. The
tour will not only feature HAGAR and the Waborita’s, they will also be
joined by VAN HALEN bassist MICHAEL ANTHONY. While some former bandmates
seem to take father time and their talent for granted HAGAR and ANTHONY
just want to give Van Halen devotees their music, not the “Runaround”.
The show will include a set called “The Other Half” which will comprise
a collection of Van Halen classics. Bassist ANTHONY explains; “This stems
from the fact that the VH Brothers, namely EDDIE, don’t want to go out
and play Van Halen right now, or it seems anytime soon. SAMMY and I realize
that the fan interest is there and we want to share the songs live.”
The “Livin it Up” tour will erupt in Buffalo on Friday July 7th at the
Darien Lake PAC. For ticket information check out www.redrocker.com.
The first single off the new disc should be on the airwaves this week called
“Sam I Am”. Look for an interview with SAMMY HAGAR in the April Rock
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL…..As previously reported the long rumored reunion
of the NEW CARS will be hitting the highway this summer. The 2006 InCARnation
of the influential new wave band will include original members ELLIOT EASTON
(guitars), and GREG HAWKES (keyboards). The keys to the NEW CARS have been
handed over to none other then the enigmatic TODD RUNDGREN, who will be
handling the vocal duties. The multi-talented artist has made immeasurable
contributions as a musical architect for over 30 years. His chameleon like
abilities will allow him to shift the NEW CARS into high gear. Rounding
out the lineup will be former UTOPHIA member acclaimed bassist KASIM SULTON,
and drummer PRAIRIE PRINCE (TUBES) providing the heartbeat.
Although “You Might Think” that this is just another nostalgia tour, the
band has added some modern accessories for the road. They have recorded
several of the CARS many hits for a new disc entitled “It’s Alive” due
out May 9th. In addition to sixteen live songs the album will also include
three new studio tracks “Not Tonite”, “Warm”, and “More”, co-written by
the CARS original members along with RUNDGREN. You can check out the very
cool new website for track listing and tour dates @ www.thenewcars.com.
Joining the CARavan will be 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees BLONDIE
who also have a new album of Greatest Hits in stores called “Sound and
Vision”. No Buffalo date as of yet but “The Good Times Roll” into Toronto
at the Molson Amphitheater on June 21st. In the meantime NIGHTLIFE will
be chasing down an interview.
COMFORTABLY NUMB…..One of the most anticipated albums of 2006 is on the
shelves, “On an Island” from DAVID GILMOUR. While many PINK FLOYD fans
continue to hope for a reunion this collection of songs should most certainly
appease even the most dedicated FLOYD fanatic. “On an Island” finds the
guitarist/vocalist navigating across a gamut of sounds, surrounded by mystifying
melodies that flow into the absorbing lyrics.“
Contrary to the album title GILMOUR finds himself amidst some legendary
talent for his latest endeavor. Joining him on the record and on the road
will be PINK FLOYD keyboardist RICHARD WRIGHT. The title track offers up
a GILMOUR solo that “Echoes” of classic FLOYD, only to be sweetened by
the heavenly harmonies of DAVID CROSBY and GRAHAM NASH. Track three “The
Blue” sees legendary pianist JOOLS HOLLAND kicking in on the keys. “This
is my best and most personal work” explains GILMOUR; “Making the record
with my musician friends has been a positive experience on so many levels.”
While the album covers a vast array of musical styles GILMOUR doesn’t drift
far from the heavy blues influences that he and FLOYD followed. “Take a
Breath” and “This Heaven”; are two tremendous tracks that would fit nicely
on any FLOYD record.
GILMOUR is on the road in support of the new album and will be making a
stop in Toronto at Massey Hall on April 9th and 10th. The entire tour is
sold out so NIGHTLIFE will bring you a review of the April 9th Toronto
show. The disc is climbing the charts all over the world in its first two
weeks of release reaching #6 in the U.S., for more information go to www.davidgilmour.com.
Web surfers don’t forget to go to www.bestofwny.com/nightlife
for the WEB BONUS TRACKS. This month will include a review of the QUEEN
plus PAUL RODGERS show at the HSBC.
QUEEN IN GOOD COMPANY…..The Return of the Champions tour featuring QUEEN
and PAUL RODGERS (BAD COMPANY, FREE) made its way into Buffalo on St. Patty’s
Day this past week. The British rockers are in the midst of their first
North American tour in twenty years, and first obviously without the late
great FREDDIE MERCURY.
The collaboration with RODGERS began as a jam session at a charity event
in 2004 and has taken on “A Kind of Magic” ever since. Guitarist BRIAN
MAY explains, “We felt an instant chemistry with PAUL on stage that night,
we weren’t looking for a FREDDIE MERCURY replacement or impersonator, we
where looking for someone with whom we had a good chemistry to reinterpret
the QUEEN classics.”
While some steadfast QUEEN faithful may have a difficult time understanding
this union, the thing that should take precedent over anything else is
that the tremendous talents of BRIAN MAY and ROGER TAYLOR can once again
be showcased. While no one on the planet can ever replace the prismatic
FREDDIE MERCURY it should be quite clear that “The Show Must Go On”. This
is far from a nostalgia tour it is a celebration of the music of QUEEN.
While the luck of the Irish didn’t shine down at the box office as the
show at the HSBC was quite sparse as most of Western New York was celebrating
St. Patrick’s Day; there certainly was no lack of enthusiasm from the band
or the crowd. The evening commenced with the voice of whom else but FREDDIE
MERCURY beaming from above with a past performance of “It’s a Beautiful
Day”. It didn’t take long for the mood to become mischievous as the band
tore into a blistering rendition of “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Fat Bottomed
Girls”. The rest of the show was filled with QUEEN classics as MAY and
his searing solos soared to the rafters, erupting following an acoustic
opening of “Hammer to Fall”.
While RODGERS and MERCURY possess varied vocal styles the soulful blues
element that he brings to the music didn’t drain the songs of any of the
emotion that MERCURY left behind. RODGERS is no stranger to stardom as
he fronted one of the most celebrated bands of the 1970’s with BAD COMPANY.
The night was all about the love as BAD CO. favorites “Feel Like Makin
Love” and “Can’t Get Enough” would shine within the setlist. For those
in attendance this proved to be a “Rock and Roll Fantasy” as MAY and TAYLOR
would make colossal contributions to the classic cuts, especially in the
As the performance intensified the pressure would be on to bring the evening
to a close and the British Rock Royalty didn’t disappoint. As the arena
went dark the video screens would light up with FREDDIE MERCURY seated
at his piano with a spine tingling intro to “Bohemian Rhapsody” before
RODGERS and company joined in. They would also break out another gem which
has never been played live in the states as RODGERS, MAY and TAYLOR belted
out the QUEEN and DAVID BOWIE classic “Under Pressure”.
The only way to close out an already impassioned “Killer Queen” show is
with an encore of “We Will Rock You”/ “We Are The Champions”; with the
FREE favorite “All Right Now” sandwiched in between.
Western New Yorkers who where filling up on green beer and missed this
awe-inspiring show you don’t have to be green with envy as the QUEEN plus
PAUL RODGERS: “Return of the Champions” concert is available on DVD and
CD in stores now.