Thursday, July 24, 2008

George Michael Amazing

I saw George Michael Friday night at the Bell Center in Montreal. Fuckin' amazing. I think I can finally retire from seeing concerts. Well it's not like Kylie will ever tour North America.

OK maybe I won't retire ;-)

No opening act George Michael graced the stage at 8:15 singing "Waiting (Reprise)" behind the screens, as he said "Here I Am" the doors opened to a crowd that was already standing and cheering 10 minutes before the show even started. He sang for over 2 hours 23 songs with a 20 minute break in between. The screen projections which reached almost up to the ceiling were breathtaking.

He banged out "Fastlove" and "I'm Your Man". His voice sounded incredible especially on songs like "One More Try" and one of my favorite songs "A Different Corner". The crowd went wild for "Everything She Wants" and "Kissing A Fool". The highlight had to be "Outside". Preceding the song were visuals and audio of helicopters that felt like they were coming right at you. George then blasted on the stage in full cop uniform, the crowd went wild. You could tell this was a show for his fans he included many lesser know hits like "Star People" and "Spinning The Wheel", which halfway through the song he did the remix version. On "Flawless (Go To The City)" he turned the Bell Center into one big dance club.

This has to be one of the best concerts I have seen in my long career of concert going, with the exception of a few ballads the crowd stood on their feet the whole time. My preferred set list would have had less cover songs but with so many songs who can complain. My only complaint is that he didn't sing "Praying For Time", it's one of my all time favorite song. He sang it on American Idol this year and was on the set list for the show a few dates back.

The seats I had were probably the best I've ever had at the Bell Center. 29 rows back on the floor right in the middle. For the encore "Freedom 90" I walked right up to second row and saw him up close, I almost died.

If you can get tickets to this show go!

Bell Centre, 07/18/2008

First Half

Waiting (Reprise)
Fast Love
I'm Your Man
Father Figure
Hard Day
Everything She Wants
One More Try
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Easier Affair
Too Funky
Star People

John & Elvis video

Second Half

Spinning The Wheel
Feeling Good
Kissing A Fool
Different Corner
Careless Whisper

Freedom 90
Freedom Reprise

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Natasha Bedingfield Live at the Fillmore my review

I saw Natahsa Bedingfield last night at the Fillmore in Philadelphia with opening acts The Veronicas and Kate Voegele. I could have sworn I was at a Miley Cyrus concert. It was all girls aged 12-18. I consider Natasha a more adult oriented act. Most seemed to be there to see the Veronicas. The crowd went wild when they came on, when the group asked if anybody knew who they were just about everybody on the floor except for me and a few parents raised their hands. I stayed against the wall for the first 2 acts. An 18 year old Asian kid asked me who I was chaperoning I annoyingly told him I wasn't, and that I was a huge Natasha fan. Then I said do I look that old…he kept apologizing

I got closer to the stage when Natasha started, by the encore I was right up there. She sounded and looked amazing. She came on at 9:30 and played till about 10:45. She did all the best tracks from her new album, "Put Your Arms Around Me", "Pirate Bones", "Angel", "Backyard", and all the hits. She sang the track "Wild Horses" from her first CD. I never really cared for the song but she did an amazing acoustic version that sounded so much better the recorded one, it was the best sounding vocal of the night. I taped it but the sound quality on my video cam does not do it justice. She did an amazing version of Madonna's "Ray Of Light", asking if those that knew the lyrics would sing along. You could hear a few people like me singing. I don't think most of the young audience knew the song and it's not one of Madonna's oldest it's from 98.

They were giving away 100 passes to meet and greet Natasha after the show but you had to buy something. I didn't like any of the t-shirts, they were pricey and I already had her latest album. If they had a DVD I would have bought it. At one point I went back but all the passes were gone. I was also worried if I stayed I would get home too late or not make the train or bus. Not a bad show for only $25.

Tracklist (Not completely sure of the order)

Piece of Your Heart
Say It Again
These Words
Wild Horses
Ray Of Light (Madonna Cover)
Pirate Bones
Put Your Arms Around Me
Love Like This
Pocketful of Sunshine

Friday, May 16, 2008

Madonna’s Hard Candy My Album Review

It's Madonna's final album with Warner Records, the first in a long time where she has given up her reigns of production and goes with "Hot" producers like Timbaland instead of finding the up and coming ones. I'm kind of spilt with this album. I find the production too noisy and cluttered. Some of the songs go on too long and I could do without the rap guest spots. I have to admit that the album is a lot less R & B then I feared and is more pop friendly.

Candy Shop is OK but does she really need to sing "my sugar is raw sticky and sweet". I love 4 Minutes but it's the magic of Justin Timberlake that makes the song leaving Madge to be his backing vocalist.

Give It To Me and Heartbeat are cute and catchy.

I originally heard Miles Away covered by Youtube star Mr. Boogie and I instantly loved the song it sounds very Madonna like however I hate the production on the album, there is too much clapping noise throughout the song. This song really needs to be redone I can hear it as an acoustic track.

She's Not Me is one of the best tracks It pokes fun at all the Madonna imitators in a retro disco "Ring My Bell" beat, then goes into a pseudo Beatlesque bridge, turn into Donna Summers Bad Girls complete with the whistles, then goes on too long with vocals by Pharrell Williams.

Not sure what to make of the song Incredible it's fun but has a really annoying synth/drum loop that overpowers the entire song, again the song goes on too long with vocals by Pharrell Williams, sometimes less is more.

I prefer the demo I heard of the Beat Goes On to the finished product. They got rid of a lot of lyrics including a bridge leaving almost nothing left. Then they added the Kanye West rap which I really don't care for, it doesn't fit the song at all.

The album loses it's momentum in next 2 songs. I'm not crazy for Dance 2night although it's supposed to be a retro dance tune. Spanish Lesson could have been a good song but it's all over the place. It's indicative of the album, there are great pieces but all the pieces don't fit together properly.

The last 2 tracks are co -written by Justin Timberlake. Devil Wouldn't Recognize You is not a bad song it remind me of his hit "What Goes Around Comes Around". The last track Voices start of with this weird Queen vocal intro then ask "who is the master who is the slave". A great question to ask about who 's direction really produced the album. This is my least favorite cover artwork of hers, it doesn't look sexy but cheap...maybe that was her intention.

The album sounds better after a few listens. I like it better then American Life and Bedtimes Stories two of my least favourite Madonna albums. If it stands the test of time remains to be seen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Robyn Album & Concert Review

My review of Robyn's new album and her concert at the Fillmore

What an amazing show. This was my first time on South Street and at the Fillmore. It's a small venue that holds about 1000 people. When I got there at 7:45 there was only about 25 people in front of the stage and another 30 at the bar I felt bad at first. I would say about 300-400 showed up.

Robyn came on at 9:15 and played for an hour. I was so close to the stage at the end some girls let me in front so I could take pictures. The crowd was having so much fun. She had a hard time singing the soft heartbreak ballad "Eclipse" because so many people were yelling "We Love you Robyn", she started smiling. Her cover of Salt & Pepa "Push it" drove the crowd wild as did "With Every Heartbeat" and "Who's That Girl". She came back for an encore with a percapella version of her old hit "Show Me Love", I wasn't crazy about this version, her vocal where amazing but the tingy percussion/drums was kind of off. She did "Keep The Fire Burning" which I love from her 3rd album. Fans kept on screaming so she came out again and did "Be mine" the Acoustic version from her Rakamonie EP.

Setlist not sure of the order...

Who's That Girl
Handle Me
Konichiwa Bitches
Buffalo Stance/ Push it/Sexual Eruption—Medley or rather bits of the songs
Be Mine!
Bum Like You
Crash And Burn Girl
With Every Heartbeat w/ Kleerup
Jack You Off
Dream On
Show Me Love
Keep The Fire Burning
Be Mine (Acoutic Version)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Life In Concert Motion: Mika at the Electric Factory January 31 2008

I saw Mika in Montreal last year at the very small Club Soda, he rocked then and was even better in Philadelphia. He has added new elements to the show, gigantic puppets, blow up character dolls from his cartoon album artwork and big girls that come out dancing. I'm surprised he was able to do all this at Phillly's Electric Factory. It's not much bigger then the Club Soda. He just played the Bell Center in Montreal, I would have loved to have seen that show which has a full proper stage.

Mika went on at 9:35. His voice was bang on and he didn't stop through a set of 14 songs. His energy is electric. His show is a must see. I just watched his DVD "Live In Carton Motion" and it just doesn't capture the excitement and energy of being there live. This was his first ever USA concert and he mentions how he and his band were a bit nervous. Mika tells the story of how a big record exec said that his song "Billy Brown" would never get released in the US. The song tells the tale about a friend who was married and then falls in love with another man. He's told the story in Toronto and other cities but you could tell by his tone that it meant so much more telling it to the American crowd.

You wouldn't know that he's never had a hit in the US from the girls with Mika t-shirts waiting in line to everybody singing the words to all his songs. With the exception of the Canadian bonus track "Erase" he did the entire album, and premiered two new songs "Holly Johnny", and "How Much Do You Love Me?" A big fan of Annie Lennox and Eurythmics, he covered "Missionary Man", I don't think most of the audience knew the song. Funny before the show started "Sweet Dream (Are Made Of This)" was playing and everybody sang along, he also sings the song on his DVD.

The highlights: the crowd went wild for "Big Girls (You Are Beautiful)" the gorgeous ballad "Happy Ending" and "Love Today" is always spectacular in Concert. The ending was a kaleidoscope of colour and fun. Mika and his band come out in full animal outfits and perform a skit (I can't describe it you have to see it too funny). Then they blast into the song "Lollipop" with tons of streamers, balloons, and balls of all colors floating in the air filling up the venue. At 11:00 is was all over.

Setlist...I tried my best but the order might not be exact.

"Relax, Take It Easy"
"Big Girls (You Are Beautiful)"
"My Interpretation"
"Billy Brown"
"Any Other World"
"Stuck In The Middle"
"Holy Johnny"
"Ring Ring"
"Missionay Man"
"Happy Ending"
"How Much Do You Love Me?"
"Love Today"
"Grace Kelly"

Monday, January 7, 2008

Top Albums Of 2007 the year in music review

2007 the year in music review

2007 was the year of the Umbrella ella ella, even I couldn't escape the success of the Rhianna track. The song ended up at 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 countdown of 2007 following Beyonce's Irreplacable at 1. Fergie ended the year with 5 top 10 single from her debut album The Dutchess, and 2 songs in the top ten of the year. American Idol winner Chris Daughtry and his band notched Billboard's biggest selling album of 2007.

The year started off big with a big bang with newbie Mika and the comeback of the decade as Brits Take That reformed. It started slowing down and as usual and picked up speed a few months ago for the Christmas rush. I really wish artists wouldn't do the Christmas release, too many albums come out, some fall by he way side, and I never know if I should qualify the album for this year or use it for next year. Annie Lennox and Darren Hayes turned out stellar albums. In the end all the Divas turned out in full force for a great year. Of course Kylie is back.

Top Albums of 2007

01 Life In Cartoon Motion--Mika
It's not very often that an album blows me especially a debut effort. This album is like nothing you will hear on the radio. It's a mixture of Freddie Mercury, The Beatles and Scissor Sisters all rolled up into one. Mika's a singer songwriter that can tell a story and write beautiful melodies with hooks that grab you right in. He voice is incredible it goes from a wisper to a falsetto effortlessly. The production and arrangements is superb. Every tack is great from the debut hit single "Grace Kelly" to the Beatles influenced "Billy Brown", The big choir songs Any Other World" and "Happy Ending" send chills up my spine. If you want to dance "Relax (Take It Easy)" and the single "Love Today" delivers in spades. The album is like a fantastic journey, no song is skip worthy. 9.5/10

02 This Delicate Thing We've Made--Darren Hayes
Out of 25 songs on this double disc there are only 2-3 songs I don't like the rest just brilliant. Darren's voice is gorgeous and the melodies are beautiful. My favourite would be Listen All You People which could end up becoming an anthem. I love songs that have this positive energy about change, the hook is so catchy. A lot of the album deals with the idea of space, time and dimension, including 2 great tracks Waking The Monster and How To Build A Time Machine. Listening to this album is like reading a really great novel or watching a movie, I love albums that tell a story and this album delivers in spades. For the fans of Savage Garden songs like Sing To Me , and the fabulous first single On The Verge Of Something Wonderful won't disappoint. Every listen I discover a new song 9/10

03 Songs Of Mass Destruction--Annie Lennox
After a few disappointing solo efforts Annie comes back in full force with a breathtaking album. This project is on par with her releases for Eurythmics. My favourite track is Ghost In The Machine which brings back the "kick ass" attitude of their albums like Revenge. Her voice is haunting and gorgeous on tracks like Dark Road , and Smithereens. Womankind and Sing has the making of classic anthems like the 80's hit Sisters are Doing It For Themselves. Welcome back Annie 8.5/10

04 Kylie X--Kylie Minogue
After 40 demos leaked on the net Kylie X (named by her fans) is paired down to 13 tightly produced tracks. Kylie sounds best when she is doing "Kylie". Songs like Calvin Harris's track In My Arms, Stars and The One are as good as any of her PWL classics. I like her less when she ventures into Britney territory with vocal manipulation on Speakerphone, and Heart Beat Rock. Cosmic and No More Rain are a welcome change of pace. Knowing she had to fight to get the beautiful athem No More Rain on the album makes you wonder. The album takes a few chances with the lazy/rock first single Two Hearts and the Serge Gainsbourg sample of Bonnie and Clyde in Sensitized. The only songs that don't work are the Rn/B inspired All I see and Nu-Di-Ty. This album will keep you Wow-ed on the dancefloor 8.5/10

05 Taking Chances--Celine Dion
A slightly new direction for Celine as she leaves the dance floor, for a more mature rock/ballad sound. The title track written by Eurythmics Dave Stewart and Kara Dioguardi is a diamond of a find. The Best tracks are the Shakira inspired song Eyes on me, which is oddly place on this project and Shadow of Love. The haunting This Time produced by Ben Moody of Evanescence is gorgeous. Canadian Rocker Aldo Nova adds his touch throughout the album with the catchy Hooked On A Feeling and the rock power of Fade Away. Celine does an amazing raspy jazzy voice on the song That's Just The Woman In Me to the point where you're checking to make sure it's really her. The 16 track CD could have been paired down to fewer tracks. Her foray into Rn'B with Ne-Yo on A song For You just doesn't work. 8.5/10

06 Light At The End Of The World--Erasure
I liked a few tracks from Erasure back in the 80's but I never really got into them. This new album is pure dancefloor bliss. It blasts off with Sunday Girl, one of the finest dance songs in ages and the album just keep on going. The melodies and music is heavenly and Andy Bell's voice if just as beautiful as it was 20 years ago. So many great track, If I Could Fall In Love With You, Sucker For Love, Storm In A Teacup, Fly Away. Too bad radio won't play them. 8.5/10

07 Beautiful World--Take That
After a decade, Britain biggest boy band returns with the biggest comeback in UK history. This time the album is written and song by all four members (Sorry Robbie Williams is not here), unlike previous efforts which were headed by lead singer/songwriter Gary Barlow. The result 2 1 singles Patience and the Beatlesque Shine. The music has a mature grown up quality and proves you can go beyond the dance routines of a boy band. Great album favourite tracks include the title track, Like I never Love You At All, Mancunian Way and Wooden Boat. 8.5/10

08 Trip The Light Fantastic__Sophie Ellis-Bextor
After a disappointing sophomore album Sophie is back on track. From the start of Cathy Dennis's lead song Catch You, the album transports you to the world of neon colours and BPM's. From the Euro track I Can't Dance, to the 70's inspired Your Love Is Here. Best track is the Blondie inspired China Heart. 8/10

09 Back To Black--Amy Winehouse
She took the UK by storm in 2006 and now North America has been captured under her spell. It's too bad that her music has been overshadowed by her personal life. A throw back to the 60's, her sound is an infusion of jazz and Motown. Best tacks are Rehab, You Know I'm No Good, the haunting title track, and the Supremes/Diana Ross inspired Tears Dry On Their Own. 8/10

10 N.B.--Natasha Bedingfield
After a stellar debut album I had high hope for Natasha's sophomore disc. The album has some great tunes but nothing is as radio friendly as the mega hits Unwritten or These Words from her fist album. The lead single I Wanna Have Your Babies didn't start this project off to a great start. The best tracks are Say It Again, the haunting Pirate Bones, Backyard, and (No More) What Ifs. The album has been re-tooled in the US with the new single Love Like This with Sean Kingston but at this writing the song has stalled in the top 20. 7/10

Singles of the year

01 Grace Kelly--Mika
02 Sunday Girl--Erasure
03 She's Madonna--Robbie Williams
04 Love Today--Mika
05 Shine--Take That
06 On The Verge Of Something Wonderful--Darren Hayes
07 Big Girls Don't Cry--Fergie
08 If I Could Fall In Love With You--Erasure
09 Change--Kimberley Locke
10 Sing--Annie Lennox
11 Out Of Control (Song For Mutya )--Mutya Buena and The Groove Armada
12 Two Hearts--Kylie Minogue

Please feel free to post your top picks

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