Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Aerosmith live in Athens June 2010

They say that in Greece the only music fans that go to concerts are the heavy metal fans. So, if you offer them quality hard rock in the form of Aerosmith, they would jump at the chance, right? Wrong! The stadium was half empty. Many theories were formulated to explain that (maybe the tickets were too expensive, maybe the organizers made some mistake and so on...). The truth is that the tickets were no more expensive compared to the other concerts at the time. True, I bought an expensive one, but that's because I chose to, since I wanted to be as close to the stage as possible. And the brutal truth is that in order for the stadium to be full the band has to be called Scorpions. It's that simple...

  Anyway, Tyler and his gang didn't mind the low ticket sales (in contrast to other so-called "stars" who will refuse to play in a half empty stadium in order to maintain their "image") and they got on stage and gave it their all making this one of the best concerts we have ever experienced in Greece. They played both the "old" and the "new" songs. (By "new" I mean the 90's tracks featuring ballads such as "Cryin'" and "Crazy" which we would keep watching on MTV back in the day in order to see Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler.)

They actually started their set with "Love In An Elevator", which was introduced by a recording of Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35". In my original video I had included that introduction, which a few years later YouTube decided to mute (only the intro, mind you) because, well, it's a Bob Dylan song and Bob Dylan doesn't like his songs being on YouTube...

Steven Tyler even asked us to admire his "amazing body" which he has at his age and which he got "by eating Greek salad".  

01. Love In An Elevator
02. Back In The Saddle
03. Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)
04. Eat The Rich
05. Pink
06. Livin' On The Edge
07. What It Takes
08. Rag Doll
09. Crazy
10. Cryin'
11. Drum Solo
12. Lord Of The Thighs
13. Stop Messin' Around
14. I Don't Want To Miss a Thing
15. Sweet Emotion
16. Guitar Solo
17. Third Stone From The Sun
18. Baby, Please Don't Go
19. Draw The Line
20. Dream On
21. Walk This Way
22. Toys In The Attic

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Billy Idol & The Stranglers live in Athens June 2010

I had already bought all the tickets for the summer concerts I wanted to attend that year when I noticed this one. I wasn't craving much to see Billy Idol (apart from "Eyes Without A Face" of course), maybe it was The Stranglers I wanted to see more (even without Hugh Cornwell)
I arrived while The Stranglers had already started playing for fifteen minutes. They were good, but to me they looked strange without Hugh. Thankfully, I had already seen them with their original line up back in 1985 at the by now famous Rock In Athens festival.

Billy Idol was the big surprise, however. With his guitarist, Steve Stevens who has been with him since the 80's. He started "quietly" one might say, performed "Eyes Without A Face", while it was obvious that he had had a few ("too much f***ing Greek wine", he said). He had kept his strongest tracks for the end, though: Rebel Yell, White Wedding, Mony Mony, Dancing With Myself. He even performed King Rocker from his Generation X days. And he managed to excite the Greek audience. Unbelievable! I never imagined that I would have such fun at a Billy Idol concert. 

And while Stevens was playing his guitar solos, Billy was taking time off by going to the side of the stage in order to make out with his girlfriend! (The fact is that the aforementioned girlfriend looked young enough to be his daughter!)

01. 5 Minutes
02. Walk On By
03. Always The Sun
04. Golden Brown
05. All Day And All Of The Night
06. Nice 'N' Sleazy
07. No More Heroes
08. Peaches
09. Skin Deep
10. Duchess
01. Ready Steady Go
02. Love Is Strange
03. Dancing With Myself
04. Flesh For Fantasy
05. Scream
06. Twenty Flight Rock
07. To Be A Lover
08. Sweet Sixteen
09. Eyes Without A Face
10. Kings And Queens Of The Underground
11. L.A. Woman
12. Don't Shoot The Messenger
13. King Rocker
14. Running With The Boss Sound
15. Rebel Yell
16. White Wedding

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood live in Istanbul June 2010

This concert trip didn't start in the usual way. What I mean is that we didn't say "Oh, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood are playing in Istanbul so let's go see them". What happened instead was that the previous winter we had said that we should go to Istanbul some day, and if we could go to a concert there that would be even better! So, at some point we realized that Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood would be playing there together on the last day of their European Tour which didn't pass through Greece. We didn't think too much about it. We booked our flight and hotels during the previous March. The added bonus was that my birthday was on the day after the concert and I would have the chance to celebrate it there. I will dedicate another post to sightseeing whereas here I will concentrate on the concert itself which took place on Sunday the 13th of June 2010. Not before mentioning the Bruce moment of that trip which happened just a few hours before the concert. I had gone to explore the Asian side of Istanbul and as I was getting on the boat to get back to the European side I noticed a guy wearing the same t-shirt as me from the Working On A Dream Tour of 2009. He was a Turkish Bruce fan who knew most of my European Bruce friends. What's more he was going to the concert that night as well.
Although we had hired a mini van to take us to the venue, it literally took us hours to get there. The reason? Istanbul traffic jams are far worse than those of Athens! When we did arrive though, we found ourselves in one of the best concert venues we had ever been to! Imagine being next to the Bhosphorus listening to your favourite music! Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, were outstanding and we could see the stage very clearly from where we were standing. In fact, because of the way the venue was designed we would have been able to see the stage from anywhere. 

The best moment however was the fireworks show that took place halfway through the concert.

Several times during the concert I kept looking at those around me. "So, these people are Turkish" I kept thinking. Of course there were Turkish, I was attending a concert in Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city, so the majority of the audience had to be Turkish. What was so strange about that? Nothing, apart from the fact that from the moment we Greeks are born in this country we are taught by everyone (teachers, politicians, priests, journalists and the army) that we should hate these people. Instead what I saw as I was looking at them were not enemies, but people like us, with the same needs, the same problems, and, in that particular case, an equal love of music and who were there to enjoy a rock concert.

After the concert ended, as I was waiting for my beer (yes, the bars stayed open after the concert had ended) I struck a conversation with one of them reminiscing about the last time I had seen Eric Clapton live back in 1984 in Athens.

As we were leaving the venue we caught a glimpse of the Turkish leg of Sonisphere Festival the Greek leg of which I would be attending a few days later.

Once outside, we started waiting for our minivan to come and pick us up and lead us back to our hotel where a (surprise) birthday party had already been planned for me...

01. Had to Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. After Midnight
04. Presence of the Lord
05. Glad
06. Well All Right
07. Tuff Luck Blues
08. While You See a Chance
09. Key to the Highway
10. Midland Maniac
11. Crossroads
12. Georgia (On My Mind)
13. Driftin' Blues
14. How Long Blues
15. Layla
16. Can't Find My Way Home
17. Gimme Some Lovin'
18. Voodoo Chile
19. Cocaine
20. Dear Mr. Fantasy

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

The Specials live in Athens June 2010

Having seen Madness live at Ejekt Festival 2007 (who managed to complete their set before the riots started) I learned that The Specials, the other great band of the 2-Tone scene had reformed the following year. They started playing gigs first in Britain and then in the rest of Europe with great success and then on Friday, the 11th of June 2010, came to Greece in order to appear at the Kosmos Festival where they headlined its first night.

At the festival entrance, there were stands selling books, jewellery and even food from different countries of the world.

The two bands that performed before them were Staff Benda Bilili and Dub Inc.

And finally, 3 years after Madness, The Specials came on stage for another night of fun and dance, even though they were never as "mad" as Madness.


Our only complaint was that they didn't do an encore and the reason for that, as I've learned in the following days was this young lady, who not only came onto the stage and started dancing, but in the end, grabbed the microphone and started singing as well!

All in all, it was a wonderful night, but I had to go back home because the following morning I had to catch a flight to Istanbul...

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Jean Michel Jarre live in Athens June 2010

I had wanted to see Jean Michel Jarre in concert ever since the late 80's. Having seen on television excerpts from his concerts in Houston, Lyon and other cities with the incredible - at least for that era - laser shows and the musical instruments that he had created, I decided that this was an experience I would like to have! And I was actually ready to do that since I was in London when he announced that he would organize similar concerts at the Docklands. Of course, the English, being as usual spoilsports set several obstacles concerning safety reasons and what have you and so the concerts were postponed only to take place later marred by the worst kind of English weather as well as reduced ticket numbers. As a result, I couldn't make it.  However, back in 2010 I got my chance to make up for it. Seeing as the concert was taking place at an indoor venue (as was the whole of that year's tour), I was doubtful as to whether he could reproduce all those special effects. I needn't have worried! He performed a bit of everything. Including the musical instrument with the laser beams which played a different note depending on which beam he was touching. He even treated us to some 3D effects... and he played the theremin as well!

The theremin is one of the first electronic instrument invented almost a century ago by a soviet scientist.

One funny thing that happened was when I realized that the two people sitting next to me were talking about their visit to Busch Gardens, the amusement park I was working at back in 2000 in the USA. All in all, this was a night to remember, and what was more important was that the venue was full. And keep this in mind: for those that listen to synth-pop, Jean Michel Jarre (together with our very own Vangelis) is their classical music! 

01. Oxygène 2
02. Magnetic Fields 1
03. Équinoxe 7
04. Équinoxe 5
05. Troisième Rendez-Vous
06. Magnetic Fields 2
07. Souvenirs Of China
08. Oxygène 5
09. Variation 3
10. Theremin Memories
11. Équinoxe 4
12. Statistics Adagio
13. Révolution Industrielle 2
14. Deuxième Rendez-Vous
15. Quatrième Rendez-Vous
16. Chronologie 6
17. Chronologie 2
18. Oxygène 4
19. Oxygène 12
20. Calypso 3