Thursday, 13 December 2018

Roger Waters - Us+Them @ Circo Massimo


Spring 2018 had come and I had yet to decide on my summer concerts in Italy. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to see Little Steven And The Disciples Of Soul who I had missed last year. I was sure they were going to play Italy in the summer because they had made a promise when they cancelled one of their winter shows. Meanwhile, I was thinking about Roger Waters and his Us+Them show. I had seen him several times but only playing his Wall show. But would it be worth a trip just for this? And secretly, I was hoping for a gig in Athens, in fact I was almost certain of a gig in Athens, since he has a house in Greece and he had played 4 gigs here on The Wall Live tour. The popularity of the first three however was overestimated by the promoters who invited him back for a fourth one two years later for an open air concert in which the stadium ended up being only half full. And this was perhaps what made them decide not to risk an appearance on his latest tour
Well, luck was on my side and Little Steven announced a Rome gig 4 days after Roger's Circo Massimo show. The decision was made for me and I bought tickets for both gigs and I was off on a 5-day trip to Rome. I had been to Circo Massimo once before, to see The Rolling Stones four years ago and to save myself from worrying about public transport I had booked a room that was at a guest house that was within walking distance of Circo Massimo and in the heart of Trastevere. I booked a room at the same place once again, and I was good to go.
Ads about the concert greeted me as far back as the airport as I got off the plane.
So after I went to my room and got a bit of a rest, I made my way to Circo Massimo. I managed to find a "place" or a "space" if you prefer, higher up, but close to the stage so I would be able to see and waited for the show to start. There were already projections on the big stage screen before the concert began.
Once the show started, it was evident that it was going to follow The Wall Live format, meaning that the projections on the screen would be used to accompany and enhance the songs played. Only this time, there would be songs from all the Roger Waters era Pink Floyd catalogue and not just from The Wall. As far as Roger's solo work was concerned though, only songs from his latest album "Is This The Life We Really Want" were played.





There was even a break in the middle of the concert but it was only a break from the music because projections were still being shown on the screen. Exactly the same thing that had happened on The Wall Live tour. This time the projections had a "resist" theme and for the duration of the break it was explained to us what exactly we should resist.

Roger and his band came back after the break with songs from Animals while the Battersea Power Plant from the cover of the aforementioned album featured heavily on the screen.

And then of course, there were the usual flying pigs.


All in all, it was not only just another brick in the wall, but it was also nice to hear songs from my other favourite Pink Floyd albums: "The Dark Side Of The Moon", "Wish You Were Here" and "Animals". The only drawback was that the fans near me could not decide if they wanted to watch the concert standing up or sitting down. I would be very happy to sit down, especially after my morning trip, but when I and others did so, there were others in front of us who stood back up. And then others behind us would ask us to sit back down again. Oh well...
In the end, there was also an encore of two songs where a laser and fireworks show predominated.
And so, I left Circo Massimo to go back to my room. The following day the World Cup Final was taking place and two days after that it would be time for Little Steven And The Disciples Of Soul.


SETLIST:
Intro: Speak to Me
Set 1:
01. Breathe
02. One Of These Days
03. Time
04. Breathe (Reprise)
05. The Great Gig In The Sky
06. Welcome To The Machine
07. Déjà Vu
08. The Last Refugee
09. Picture That
10. Wish You Were Here
11. The Happiest Days Of Our Lives
12. Another Brick In The Wall Part 2
13. Another Brick In The Wall Part 3
Set 2:
14. Dogs
15. Pigs (Three Different Ones)
16. Money
17. Us And Them
18. Smell The Roses
19. Brain Damage
20. Eclipse
Encore:
21. Mother
22. Comfortably Numb

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Rockwave Festival 2018 - Day 1 - Arctic Monkeys


People say that we don't often get the chance to see new bands (well, newer than the usual) in Greece which are at the peak of their career. I had seen Arcade Fire in Italy in 2014, something I'd been longing for for quite a long time, so after that I wanted to see The Arctic Monkeys. I never thought that would be possible in Greece but when Alex Turner's side project The Last Shadow Puppets played at Rockwave Festival two years ago, I thought, "well, Alex can't you come back with The Arctic Monkeys next year?" Two years later my wish came true. And not only did I see Alex Turner again, but also his partner in The Last Shadow Puppets, Miles Kane.

I arrived at Terra Vibe in time for Miles' set, grabbed what I judged to be a good place right in front of the second barrier (so that I wouldn't be squeezed -much -) and then Miles proceeded to give us a good head start which climaxed with the cover of Donna Summer's “Hot Stuff”

Next up were Alt-J and all I can say for them is that they were interesting but what really caught my attention was their stage set-up and their light show.
But the anticipation was high for the main act and it was during this anticipation that one Arctic Monkeys fan complimented me on my Arcade Fire t-shirt (after all, both bands begin with the same three letters!)
What can I say about their set? Wonderful. A lot of people did not appreciate their latest album with its laid-back, lounge-y sound, but when playing live they don't disappoint; mixing the new songs with the older, more energetic ones with good measure. Not to mention that they teased us in the beginning with a false start!


The only drawback was the price of the tickets. However, I have seen even British fans complain about them, so we're all in the same boat here, not just in Greece, but in other countries as well. It seems that a Monkeys gig costs a little bit more. But then again, it refreshes the parts other gigs cannot reach. And overall, it is worth it.
As for Rockwave Festival, it turned out that in 2018, for the first time ever, I attended all of its three dates. My next appointment with it would be for something a bit heavier...

SETLISTS

Miles Kane
01. Counting Down The Days
02. Inhaler
03. Better Than That
04. Loaded
05. Give Up
06. Taking Over
07. Cry On My Guitar
08. Rearrange
09. Too Little Too Late
10. Shavambacu
11. Colour Of the Trap
12. Don't Forget Who You Are
13. Hot Stuff
14. Coup De Grace
15. Come Closer

Alt-J
01. Deadcrush
02. Fitzpleasure
03. Something Good
04. The Gospel Of John Hurt
05. In Cold Blood
06. Ripe & Ruin
07. Tessellate
08. Every Other Freckle
09. Bloodflood
10. Matilda
11. Dissolve Me
12. Pleader
13. Taro
14. Left Hand Free
15. Intro (An Awesome Wave)
16. 3WW
17. Breezeblocks

Arctic Monkeys
01. Four Out Of Five (with Brianstorm false start)
02. Do I Wanna Know
03. Brianstorm
04. Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair
05. Crying Lightning
06. The View From The Afternoon
07. Teddy Picker
08. She Looks Like Fun
09. Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino
10. Do Me A Favour
11. Cornerstone
12. Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?
13. Knee Socks
14. One Point Perspective
15. Pretty Visitors
16. I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor
17. R U Mine
Encore:
18. Star Treatment
19. Arabella
20. 505 (with Miles Kane)






Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Ejekt Festival 2018 - Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, The Editors and a thunderstorm


Nick Cave is a regular visitor to Greece. I was actually planning to go to one of his gigs 31 years ago, back in 1987, but somehow I didn't. And what's funny is that I never got to see him during this 31 year period. My last attempt was last November, but this was on a weekday and because of work I couldn't make it to the venue on time. That gig was sold out and thankfully (and probably because of that) the promoters decided to bring him and the Bad Seeds back for a summer, open air gig at Ejekt Festival.
When the day of the festival came it didn't look much like a summer day at all. Well, it did, but not according to the weather forecast. A thunderstorm was predicted and this looked like a gig that was going to be ruined. It was indeed ruined for some people, but not for me because somehow I managed to properly prepare for it. I noticed that the forecast predicted a thunderstorm that would last for only an hour (from 8-9pm) and by my calculations I was going to get there at around 7:30. (The bands I wanted to see were the Editors and Nick Cave). Now, I remembereded that Water Square had a covered space on its right side (where most of the bars usually are) and I thought that if worse comes to worst, I would head straight for that particular place. My plans actually worked out, I was indeed there at 7:30, I met some of my friends near the front of the stage and I could see the thunderstorm approaching from the south. When I felt the first drops of rain, I immediately headed for the sheltered space and stayed there for the duration of the thunderstorm which was indeed a fierce one and, as predicted, lasted for only an hour.
 
Now, I have been in a situation that seemed worse, namely a Bruce Springsteen concert in Florence under a rain that lasted for three hours, but this was different. The rain in Florence was just rain. The situation in Athens back in June was a thunderstorm, meaning there was thunder and lightning and the danger of being struck by a thunderbolt was considerable. However, after the storm I once again emerged in the open, completely dry. It was then that it was announced through the speakers that the festival would go on, with Editors appearing at 10 with Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds to follow. I have already mentioned that the gig was ruined for some people. These were the people that got soaking wet during the thunderstorm, left the venue and went home thinking that the festival was going to be canceled. And they blame the promoters that they did not announce that the gig was going to go on (During the thunderstorm the stage was covered and there was a power failure so maybe that's why no announcements were made from the speakers). There were others that went home, changed clothes and came back (thankfully re-admission was allowed).
So, as I came out into the open after the storm I noticed that I couldn't get too close to the stage, because a huge pool had been formed, so I decided to watch the gig from further back as I had done with Thievery Corporation.

At 10pm promptly, Editors came on stage playing a rather short set (well, it was certainly shorter than expected from the act before the headliners, but that was probably due to the fact that the festival was way behind schedule by then). I wanted to see them, since they are quite popular in Greece, but for me there were just another one of those bands I have seen at festivals while waiting to see another one.
After the Editors finished their set, the stage was being prepared for Nick Cave who we thought was going to appear soon. However, this procedure lasted for quite a long time (this was probably for the best since the end result turned out to be formidable) and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds came on stage exactly at the stroke of midnight. All the obstacles we had faced up until then were forgotten as he launched into a full two hour set featuring most of his (and our) favourites. Our only loss were the projection screens. They were working (albeit intermittently) during the Editors set, but went completely blank while Nick Cave was performing.



Going home was a daunting task since the festival finished at 2am, but finally seeing Nick Cave live, somehow made everything worth it!


SETLISTS:
EDITORS
01. Hallelujah (So Low)
02. Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors
03. An End Has a Start
04. Munich
05. Violence
06. No Harm
07. Sugar
08. The Racing Rats
09. Papillon
10. Magazine

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS
01. Jesus Alone
02. Magneto
03. Do You Love Me
04. From Her to Eternity
05. Loverman
06. Red Right Hand
07. The Ship Song
08. Into My Arms
09. Girl in Amber
10. Tupelo
11. Jubilee Street
12. The Weeping Song
13. Stagger Lee
14. Push the Sky Away
Encore:
15. The Mercy Seat
16. Rings of Saturn


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The second time I saw Marsheaux

It had already been more than a year since the OMD gig in Athens when I discovered Marsheaux and the time had finally come to see them for a second time. The gig was a free one, part of an exhibition at Technopolis called Athens Digital Week. And this time they were not the support band so I hoped they would play for a bit more time. They did, but only just. (You have to remember they had only released two albums at that time).
I arrived at Technopolis, just as the gig was starting. The synths were playing and I could see the shadows of Marianthi and Sophie as they were preparing to come on stage. 
I really enjoyed that particular gig and I took quite a few videos which were some of the first I ever posted on YouTube. Unfortunately, I managed to ruin a couple of them in the process by singing along (mainly "The Promise"). Being a YouTube newbie, I did not realize that I would be heard over the music. 
Over the years, I have taken many videos at concerts where people were singing along and I have often wondered why it was my voice only that could be heard on these early videos. And then it dawned on me: I was probably the only person that knew the full lyrics by heart. At that time I was a member of a Marsheaux fan forum on the internet and for a while I was the only Greek in there. 
I also took a few photos as well which you will notice that they are quite dark. It was indeed very dark there. There were no stage lights and in fact the only light was coming from the projection screen at the back of the stage. And as I was sitting at the very first row I didn't think it was proper to use a flash. Apart from stage lights there were other things missing on that night: changing rooms. As a result of that, Marsheaux, whose stage outfits are usually quite spectacular, performed wearing their everyday clothes.
The main reason however that this particular gig was special for me was that I met Marsheaux (as well as Nick and George from UNDO Records and Fotonovela) after it had finished and took a couple of photos with them.
I would have to wait three more years to see them again, playing support to Thirty Seconds To Mars.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

MTV GR Day


10 years ago, MTV Greece was launched. And this was done with a free concert at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens (which had been the venue for the Rock In Athens festival back in 1985). The line-up was quite impressive: REM, Kaiser Chiefs, Gabriella Cilmi and C-Real (a Greek band).
You will notice, at the end of this post, that there was a ticket issued. How come, you may wonder, since this was a free concert? Well, what happened was this: As people were approaching the stadium, they were handed this particular ticket which had a "nominal value" of €0.20 (of course, no one paid that amount). And then, they were let in. And it's great as a souvenir, 10 years after the event.

The concert was broadcast live at various MTV channels around the world so the sets had to comply to the TV format, meaning that C-Real, Gabriella Cilmi and Kaiser chiefs played 30 minute sets with enough time left over after each one ended for commercials, interviews etc. REM, on the other hand, played a full 90-minute set, and although that might have been a bit shorter than their usual sets, they still managed to overrun its intended duration with an encore


And between sets, we were treated to different happenings such as the debut of the Greek MTV presenters who were selected after an audition, presenters from other MTV channels, plus a guide to Athens and an REM interview that were also broadcast through the big screens that were set up in the stadium on that day. 

 
But what I mostly remember among all these and several commercials was the repeated screening of Kid Rock's video "All Summer Long" which sampled Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and its lyrics invoked good feelings, nostalgia and the simple things in life back in 1989 when "we didn't have no internet" (that's a double negative, by the way, Kid) and...

"we were trying different things
We were smoking funny things
Making love out by the lake to our favorite song
Sipping whiskey out the bottle
Not thinking 'bout tomorrow
Singing Sweet home Alabama all summer long"



First on stage where C-Real whom I had seen two years before at the Olympic Stadium supporting Shakira. People argued about whether they were suitable for this event, but this was MTV Greece after all, and a Greek band had to be featured.


Next up was Gabriella Cilmi, from Australia with Italian origins. She had a big hit at the time "Sweet About Me". She also treated us to a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" at the end of her set.


Then, it was time for Kaiser Chiefs, a band that a lot of people in the audience had come to see. Their singer kept prancing about the stage even climbing up towards the stage lights (surely, that had to be dangerous) and before each song announced that "we are the Kaiser Chiefs" (I mean, I'm sure we already knew that by then).



And finally, it was time for REM. I had seen already seen them nine years before when they had come to Athens (that is Athens, Greece, not their native Athens, Georgia). Nothing could beat that performance of course with its epic 7 minute version of "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" at the end and Michael Stipe singing "Happy Birthday" to everyone who had their birthday on that day, but it was still pretty good and a very lucky chance to see them for a second time, especially considering that a few years later they disbanded.


And so it was that MTV GR Day was finally over and we went home where we had the chance to watch it again and again on MTV Greece which repeated it a few times. I had set my DVD Recorder for it and I'm, sure I have the DVD somewhere.

Sadly, like REM, MTV Greece is no more. It was closed a few years ago. But we will always remember the day we got to watch - for free - REM and Kaiser Chiefs and discovered Gabriella Cilmi.


SETLISTS
 
Gabriella Cilmi
01. Got No Place To Go
02. Sanctuary
03. Cry Me A River
04. Sweet About Me
05. Don't Want To Go To Bed Now
06. Terrifying
07. Save The Lies
08. Whole Lotta Love
 
Kaiser Chiefs
01. Never Miss A Beat
02. Everyday I Love You Less And Less
03. You Want History
04. Ruby
05. Half The Truth
06. I Predict A Riot
07. The Angry Mob

REM
01. Living Well Is The Best Revenge
02. What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
03. Drive
04. Man-Sized Wreath
05. Ignoreland
06. Bad Day
07. Hollow Man
08. Electrolite
09. (Don't Go Back To) Rockville
10. The Great Beyond
11. The One I Love
12. She Just Wants To Be
13. Losing My Religion
14. Let Me In
15. Horse To Water
16. Orange Crush
17. Imitation Of Life
Encore:
18. Supernatural Superserious
19. It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
20. Man on the Moon

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Your disco needs you - Kylie Minogue live in Athens in 2008


As I was writing my latest blog spot in the series of "gigs I attended 10 years ago" (the Madonna concert), I realized that there was another pop queen I saw live in that particular year (2008) and I forgot to write a post about it! It was of course Kylie Minogue, who came to prominence in 1988, a bit later than Madonna.
Her concert did not take place at a big stadium but at Terra Vibe Park instead. Now, this was the second time I went to Terra Vibe. The first was for Depeche Mode back in 2006 which was a traumatic experience. The park was filled to capacity (maybe over capacity) and we arrived quite late. The result was that there were so many people and I was at the back and I could not see absolutely anything. You see, Terra Vibe is a park not a proper concert venue so there's no gradual elevation. All I could see were the heads of the people in front of me.
This time, however there weren't so many people and after we walked about 1.5km from the car park for what seemed like ages, we managed to find an elevated area, so if everything went wrong we would still be able to see the stage.

Kylie sang several songs from her current album of that time "X" but did not forget the old hits. My personal favourites were "Shocked", which was one of her last singles with Stock/Aitken/Waterman, presented in my favourite version, the DNA mix as featured in the 12inch single I had bought at the time and "Your Disco Needs You" an amazing song which as far as I can remember was criminally not released as a single in the UK, but I discovered it as a B-side on one of her CD singles.
The ending of course couldn't be anything else than "I Should Be So Lucky".
After that, we had to face the usual Terra Vibe torture: trying to get out of the car park (It is said that this is a procedure that can last longer than the actual concert!)

So 2008, was the year that I saw two pop queens live: Kylie, and, 4 months later, Madonna!


SETLIST:
01. Speakerphone
02. Can't Get You Out of My Head
03. Ruffle My Feathers
04. In Your Eyes
05. Heart Beat Rock
06. Wow
07. Shocked (DNA Mix)
08. Loveboat
09. Copacabana (At the Copa)
10. Spinning Around
11. Like a Drug
12. Slow
13. 2 Hearts
14. Flower
15. I Believe in You (Ballad)
16. On a Night Like This
17. Your Disco Needs You
18. Kids
19. Step Back in Time
20. In My Arms
Encore:
21. No More Rain
22. Love at First Sight
23. I Should Be So Lucky