Tuesday, 25 June 2019

AC/DC live in Athens in 2009

Back in the 80's, AC/DC was one third of what we considered to be "the holy trinity of heavy metal" (well, that's how we thought of that music at that time). The other two members of that club were Motorhead and Iron Maiden. It all started in 1982 when my friend and I made this arrangement: I would buy "For Those About To Rock" by AC/DC and she would buy "Iron Fist" by Motorhead. We would then record the album we had bought on tape and then give it to the other. A year later, I would buy "Flick Of The Switch" by AC/DC, "Another Perfect Day" by Motorhead and "Piece Of Mind" by Iron Maiden on the same day. I finally managed to see AC/DC live in Lausanne, a few years later in 1988. Later that same year, I also saw Iron Maiden live in Athens. For Motorhead I would have to wait a bit longer. I finally saw them live in Milano in 2014, a year before Lemmy left us. By then, I had already seen AC/DC live for the second time in Athens in 2009 (which is what this blog post is about) and last year I saw Iron Maiden again in Athens.
Well, in 2009 AC/DC were enjoying renewed success with their "Black Ice" album and thankfully we didn't have to go to a faraway place like Terra Vibe to see them. The concert was being held at an appropriate place for a band of that size and stature : The Athens Olympic Stadium which five years before had hosted the Olympic Games. 

We were about a month away from the start of our Bruce Springsteen's trips and several of us met there at the AC/DC concert. The band played several tracks from "Black Ice" as expected (but then again, "Rock' N' Roll Train" is such a great song) but with several tracks from "Back In Black" and "Let There Be Rock" they didn't disappoint.

After I had left the stadium, I took the train home. And that's when I realized that I had boarded a real rock 'n' roll train. They driver played "Hells Bells" through the speakers and told us that he hoped we had enjoyed ourselves!

01. Rock 'N' Roll Train
02. Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be
03. Back In Black
04. Big Jack
06. Shot Down In Flames
07. Thunderstruck
08. Black Ice
10. Hells Bells
11. Shoot To Thrill
12. War Machine
13. Dog Eat Dog
14. Anything Goes
15. You Shook Me All Night Long
16. T.N.T.
17. Whole Lotta Rosie
18. Let There Be Rock
19. Highway To Hell

Friday, 21 June 2019

A concert that never took place - Depeche Mode @ Terra Vibe in 2009

My first visit to Terra Vibe was in 2006 to see Depeche Mode live for the second time (the first was at the Rock In Athens festival in 1985). My problem then was that I couldn't see anything. I only heard the band. So, when Depeche Mode announced they would be coming back in 2009 at the same place, I decided to organize everything perfectly so that I would make up for the last (lost) time. I remembered from 2006 that the areas to the side of the stage were higher up, so I would be able to see the stage from there. Those were the areas that were designated as VIP. So, without hesitation, I bought the more expensive ticket for one of these areas, I arranged the bus tickets in time having learnt my lesson from the Leonard Cohen concert the previous year and I was ready to go.
Everything was going according to plan. After work I went to the Athens train station from where the buses would depart, I got in one and arrived at Terra Vibe. 

While I was getting in, Puressence were playing support, another band that I had never seen live until then who were coming to Greece very often but unfortunately I missed them as I was busy getting in and trying to find my place. (I would see them the following year just before they split up).

Anyway, I was there. I even met some friends. And then we were waiting. And waiting. And waiting. But it still didn't occur to me that something might have gone wrong. Meanwhile people kept on coming. Soon, Terra Vibe was as full as it had been back in 2006, only this time, I was in an area where I was comfortable. And then the announcement was made through the speakers. Dave Gahan was ill (we didn't know what it was at that time) and he had been taken to the hospital. 
If you remember, it turned out to be pretty serious and a substantial part of the Tour Of The Universe had to be canceled or rescheduled. And although other dates were rescheduled the Greek promoters didn't try to bring them back in Greece at a later date. Just like they had done in 2006 with The Rolling Stones. Anyway, I got on the bus back home, the next day the gig was officially canceled (they told us it might take place the following day) and our tickets were refunded. The problem was that according to some people, Dave had already been taken to the hospital while tickets were still being sold at the gate with more people coming in. Lots of people were disappointed. Many of them had come from other European countries (among them one British friend who noted that Terra Vibe was a safety hazard). At least for me, it turned out well. When Depeche Mode announced two extra dates for Barcelona in November I immediately bought a ticket for one of them and ended up being present at one of the two nights where the official DVD was being fimed! But more about that later...
Oh and when Depeche Mode came back to Terra Vibe in 2013 for the Delta Machine tour, I bought a ticket at exactly the same VIP section and finally managed to actually see and not just hear them at Terra Vibe

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Uriah Heep live in Athens

Uriah Heep is another band that I wanted to see live for years. The reason for this was that about 10 years ago they had come to Athens for an acoustic gig, but it was not the kind of gig for which one could buy a ticket. It was organized by a tobacco company and you had to take a part in a survey conducted by that same company in order to get a free invitation and only if after the survey they decided to give you that invitation. Well this time they were coming for a proper, full-electric gig and I was alerted to it by a co-worker. The only problem was that I was not sure if I could make it. I would finish work at 9:30 and Uriah Heep would come on stage at 10:00. Well, for once I decided it was worth the extra expense and I arranged for a taxi to wait for me outside work and take me straight to the venue.
I just made it on time just five minutes before Uriah Heep came up on stage and managed to find my friends in the process. Not only that but it was sold out but that time and we could barely fit into the main hall. I ended up watching a large part of the gig from the lobby, since the doors were open and the sound - and visibility - was just as good as inside.

As an added bonus, when looking to our left, towards the stairs, we could glimpse posters adverising what was to come during the summer!

The band played several tracks fron their latest album. Although with a band that has such a history as Uriah Heep, albums as these, so late in their careers, tend to be dismissed as below par (also taking into account the fact that, if I'm not mistaken, there is only one original member left), the songs they played for us on the night actually sounded quite good. I haven't listened to the full album yet, but my judgement is based on the songs I heard that night, especially the title track ("Living The Dream"). Apart from these, all the other classics were there including "Lady In Black" and "Easy Livin' which ended the main set and the encore respectively.

All in all, it was a long overdue enjoyable night despite all the trouble I had to go through to get there...

01. Grazed By Heaven
02. Return To Fantasy
03. Living The Dream
04. Too Scared To Run
05. Take Away My Soul
06. Knocking At My Door
07. Rainbow Demon
08. Waters Flowin'
09. Rocks In The Road
10. Gypsy
11. Look At Yourself
12. July Morning
13. Lady In Black
14. Sunrise
15. Easy Livin'

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Still Corners live in Athens

More than one month after my trip to Milano to see Blossoms, my next gig was another one of the "girlfriend bands" (ie bands I have discovered through my girlfriend). In fact, it was with her that I had gone to see them for the first time, five years before this one. Unfortunately, this time she couldn't attend while I just barely made it on time after work. What was surprising was that the venue was full and the gig was sold out. 

It's quite nice to see synth-based bands selling out gigs in Greece. Having said that, I managed to secure a space on the stairs from where I could see all the action.
Still Corners may rely mainly on synths but at the same time they manage to have a deep, American, almost southern sound. I don't know if "southern" is the correct word for it. Probably not. Maybe "Wesren". ("Californian" perhaps?) I could compare it with what Bruce Springsteen's latest album, "Western Stars" sounds like (which is a solo album, ie without the E Street Band and sounds totally different from his other albums)

This time, I didn't worry about the setlist, I just wanted to have a night out after work with soothing and relaxing music.

I did make a new discovery, there was a song that stood out for me ("Horses At Night") and it turned out that it was not featured on any of their albums. I bought it a few days later from their Bandcamp page as a digital download. 

On my first gig back in 2013 I had bought their first two albums (one of which was "Strange Pleasures" on coloured vinyl signed by Tessa!). This time I was looking forward to buying their third and fourth (the latest). Unfortunately, it was only the latter ("Slow Air") that was for sale at the merchandise stand, but I did manage to track down their third on Amazon the following day.

Nothing else to say except that it was an enjoyable night out on a weeknight and that Tessa was wonderful and lovely as usual...

Oh! And they also took a selfie with all of us towards the end of the gig...

01. Black Lagoon
02. Fireflies
03. Lost Boys
04. Dreamlands
05. The Calvary Cross
06. Don’t Fall In Love
07. Cuckoo
08. Beginning To Blue
09. The Message
10. The Photograph
11. Endless Summer
12. Berlin Lovers
13. Horses At Night
14. The Trip
15. Wish
16. Still Life