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Aardvark’s Music

Aardvark’s Concert Aarchives

Over the years I have went to any number of concerts. Quite a startling number (to my way of thinking). From fairly early on I have attempted to keep track of set lists and any kind of special happenings. This to varying degrees of success.

Bootleg recordings and the Internet have certainly helped me fill in some of the set list and band member gaps for groups that I only really discovered when I went to their show. You just have to know that if a band with which I was nary familiar made a mark on me they just MUST have been killer live.

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CD Review: Jethro Tull – Aqualung

aqualungSitting on a park bench, eyeing little girls with bad intent, Snot running down his nose, greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes

With those lines one of the more enduring tunes in the classic rock pantheon was born; lines I might add that were taken, almost verbatim from a conversation Ian Anderson had with his first wife following her photo shoot of homeless people.

Just goes to show you that you should always listen to your spouse; you never know what you could miss. Couple those words with one of rocks more memorable guitar riffs and an album which many consider to be Jethro Tull’s masterpiece is off and running.

A fan of Jethro Tull in general and this album in particular I just recently re-listened to it’s 25th anniversary incarnation. As the songs passed by like old friends seldom seen it struck me; this is  a microcosm of all which Ian and company would ultimately become best known for; Progressive rock, acoustic noodling s, straight ahead rock and roll. This album has it all.

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CD Review: Billy Joel – 12 Gardens Live

12 gardens live12 Gardens Live is the latest live effort by Billy Joel, one of pop rocks elder statesmen and what a great album it is. This disc brings Mr. Piano Man’s total of live official offerings to four, and to my way of thinking it is probably the most satisfying one to date.

These recordings stem from a series of 12 sold out shows at Madison Square Gardens this past spring; no small feat to be sure. In fact, the attendance record that he broke was his own, a previous 10 date stint at the self same venue. This disc could quite easily have degenerated into yet another greatest hits package as so many live albums tend to do these days. I’m happy to tell you that this temptation was avoided here to very great effect. Don’t get me wrong, the hits are here; and mighty fine versions of them they are. Smoking takes of Joel hits My Life, Big Shot and Only The Good Die Young are played with much vim and vigor.

Yet it is the deeper cuts that make the album. A stirring version of his Vietnam epic Goodnight Saigon here, live staple Miami 2017 (I’ve Seen The Lights Go Down On Broadway) there; sprinkle in a pinch of the infrequently played Vienna mix with a haunting rendition of And So It Goes and serve while still hot.

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CD Review: Rush – Moving Pictures (Deluxe Edition)

moving pictures deGrowing up in Oshawa one band that I always loved going to see in concert was Canada’s own Rush. Come to think of it, one of the first “big” bands that I ever saw in concert was Rush. It was at Iroquois Park in Whitby, Ontario. They were touring behind their third album, Caress of Steel, at the time. A friend of mine won tickets from a local radio station and he asked me to go with him and, well, you get the idea. I saw them in concert at the Civic Auditorium in Oshawa on their 2112 tour and then again on their All The World’s A Stage tour.

Then a funny thing happened. I drifted away from the band for a few years. I still listened to their new releases but stopped going to see them in concert. All of this is immaterial in the context of this review. I just mention it for context sake. Yes, I have been a long time Rush fan. That being said, I have never been slavishly enamored of the band. I have my favorite albums, albums I like and the odd “meh” album.

Moving Pictures falls squarely in my favorite album category. A classic in the truest sense of the word. I still remember hearing the opening Bass, Keyboard and Drum salvo of Tom Sawyer while driving in my car, the synthesizer slowly decaying before Geddy starts singing and Alex’s guitar chord slices through the song like a razor. Things just get better from there.

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CD Review: Aerosmith – Devil’s Got A New Disguise

devil's got a new disguiseHow many greatest hits packages does any one band need? Well, if your name is Aerosmith then the answer to this question would be a whole whack load. Let me see. In 1980 they released Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits, not the most imaginative of titles but what the hell. 1988 saw the release of Gems, a collection of deeper cuts like Rats In The Cellar, No Surprize, Adam’s Apple and their ever welcome take on the old Yardbirds warhorse Train Kept A Rollin’. Then came the first of the Geffen era GH packages called Big Ones, released in 1994. 2001 saw Young Lust: The Aerosmith Anthology, another Geffen package which, this time, pulled together a few rarities like Love Me Two Times, Head First and the orchestral version of Amazing.

Next up came the career spanning O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits the result of Columbia and Geffen cutting through the legal red tape which comes with the division of royalties when you are talking about two competing companies trying to collaborate.

Throw in the re mastered and expanded Aerosmith – Greatest Hits 1973-88 in 1997 and I believe that brings the total up to six. Throw in any number of packages released in other countries and the number becomes even scarier. And, if you are the type to lump live albums in with Greatest Hits packages, you can tack another five onto the total.

So why another greatest hits package? Well… money, I suppose.

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Live Review: Aerosmith / Motley Crüe – Monday, October 2, 2006 – Air Canada Centre – Toronto, ON

It was the best of bands; it was the worst of bands (with apologies to Charles Dickens).

Rhonda and I made our way to the concert, not sure what to expect from one band and knowing full well what we were in for with the other.

We are long time Aerosmith fans who have seen them live 12 times dating back to 1977. It would be our first time seeing Motley Crüe. I’ll admit upfront that we are not huge Motley Crüe fans; that being said we really had nothing against them either. We knew any number of their more popular tunes; Dr. Feelgood, Same Old Situation, Kickstart My Heart, you know; their classics.

So, off we went. The Motley Crüe set started with a couple of scantily clad women, several rather large explosions and the amplified strains of Dr. Feelgood; so far so good. Mick Mars thrashed away on guitar, Nikki Sixx rumbled away on bass and Tommy Lee anchored the whole damn thing, wailing away on the drums like his life depended on it. And then there was Vince Neil, erstwhile silver throated singer and ring leader of the whole damn thing.

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