May & Ellis’ Candlelight Concerts Recording Another Huge Hit For Eagle Rock

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Eagle Rock Entertainment and its visual division, Eagle Vision, have been at the front of the line in live recordings in recent years thanks to releasing so many big, bombastic concerts on DVD and Blu-ray. So it goes without saying that Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts is quite the departure for Eagle Rock and Eagle Vision. That’s not a bad thing, either. While it features Queen guitarist Brian May alongside one of the most powerful voices in Broadway’s modern history, the references to Queen are kept to a minimum throughout the course of the concert. That is the most important factor in what makes this latest release from Eagle Rock and Eagle Vision so worth the time. Another reason that audiences will appreciate this new recording is its audio and video mix. The high quality video and audio mix (both on the Blu-ray and CD) maintain Eagle Rock and Eagle Vision’s long-held standard of releasing only the best quality concerts to audiences. And making everything complete for this latest recording is its packaging. Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts has been made available to consumers in a double-disc Blu-ray/CD combo pack in a single package. This allows audiences to take in the performance in whole without having to choose which one they would want more. It may be a slightly higher price. But in the long-term, it’s more cost effective for those wanting the full concert experience. All of the factors noted here make Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts yet another huge success from the leader in live recordings.

Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts is not a Queen concert. That’s not to say that there are no Queen songs featured throughout the course of the set’s CD and Blu-ray. As a matter of fact, some of Queen’s biggest hits including ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and ‘No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young)’ are part of the performance. But by and large, this performance features covers of other songs, and even a couple original tunes. One of the most powerful of the performance’s moments comes in Ellis’ cover of ‘The Way We Were.’ The song, made popular by singer/actress Barbara Streisand in the 1973 movie by the same name. As Ellis notes before performing her take on the song, it’s more commonly performed with a full orchestral backing, even in the movie’s soundtrack. It gains a whole new identity in this completely stripped down setting. On the other end of the spectrum, May and Ellis presented a stripped down song in ‘The Kissing Me Song’ that absolutely cries out for a full band setting. Any drummers and percussionists out there will agree with this drummer that there is a stunning polyrhythmic drum track just waiting to come out in this piece. One can even hear a tambourine part echoing in the background. Making the song even more interesting is that it is an original piece, instead of a cover. It would be interesting to see if the pair ever re-works the tune for a full band setting. Moving on, there is at least one more high point in this performance in terms of the show’s set list that audiences will appreciate. That last high point is the duo’s take on ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love.’ Despite being in a stripped down setting, it is just as enjoyable in this setting as on record. And experiencing the audience’s enthusiastic reaction to the song makes it all the more enjoyable for viewers watching it in their homes. It has just as much energy here as in any other setting. As enjoyable as this moment is, it isn’t the last of the show’s many high points. There are plenty more moments from which audiences will get to choose when they purchase or order the combo pack for themselves.

The set list chosen for this penultimate performance of May and Ellis’ “By Candlelight Tour” is central to the enjoyment of this recording. Those hoping for a stripped down Queen set will be sadly disappointed since it isn’t a Queen set. For those more open-minded, they will deeply appreciate the variety of songs included in the show. The songs would be nothing without the expert work of those behind the cameras and soundboard. Eagle Rock Entertainment and Eagle Vision have maintained a high standard for their live recordings for some time. And this recording is no exception to that rule. The picture and sound are both crystal clear. And the angles used in the camera work expertly capture the emotion of both performers in the rather intimate setting. It adds so much depth to the overall presentation, making it even more worth checking out.

The set list and overall production values of Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts are both pivotal elements to the overall presentation of this recording. Both go hand in hand in making the whole thing worth the time and money. There is still at least one more element worth noting about this set. That aspect is the recording’s packaging itself. Eagle Rock, Eagle Vision, and Eagle Records have come together to make the set available to the masses not as separate release, but as one entire package. On the surface, this might drive up the price of the set a bit. But in the long run, it actually saves money and the time trying to decide which is more important. Eagle Rock is actually serving its customers by combining the CD and Blu-ray into a full double-disc set. What’s more, each of the two discs gets its own spot on either side of the Blu-ray’s case. That saves space and in turn, helps to keep the cost of the set down. And that combined with the show’s outstanding production values, and equally outstanding set list makes it one more huge success from the company that more than deserves the title of being the leader in live recordings.

Brian May & Kerry Ellis: The Candlelight Concerts is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Candelight-Concerts-Live-Montreux-Blu-ray/dp/B00I60VY56/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1396512611&sr=1-1&keywords=brian+may+kerry+ellis. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment, Eagle Vision, and Eagle Records is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://www.eagle-rock.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Excision To Perform At Charlotte, NC’s Fillmore This Saturday

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

Canadian-based dubstep artist Excision is coming to North Carolina as part of his current tour.

Excision will perform this Saturday, March 8th at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He will be supported by French drum and bass duo Dirtyphonics and fellow Canadian Ill Gates.  Excision has released a series of singles in conjunction with his current tour, including the songs ‘Get Stupid’, ‘Rock You.’  ‘Get Stupid’ is a collaboration with Louisville, KY-based producer Space Lanes.  It is available now online at Destriod Music.  ‘Rock You’ is an update of Queen’s classic hit, ‘We Will Rock You.’

Excision’s current tour marks the return of his immense twenty-eight foot wide, fifteen-foot tall video and lighting wall called “The Executioner.”  The video wall was originally built for Excision’s 3D video mapped visual sequences.  This time out, “The Executioner” has brand new 3D visual animations that will run across its four hundred and twenty square feet of space.  Audiences can see just how massive “The Executioner” really is when they see Excision live this Saturday in Charlotte.  Tickets are available online now at http://www.flavorus.com/excision.  Audiences can check out a trailer for Excision’s tour is available online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_Y3UW4V0t4.

More information on Excision is available online at http://www.excision.ca, http://www.facebook.com/Excision, http://twitter.com/excision and http://www.myspace.com/excision.  Fans can hear more of Excision’s music online via Soundcloud and YouTube at http://www.soundcloud.com/excision and http://www.youtube.com/excisionofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock’s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert Re-Issue An Amazing Way To Finish Off The Year

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Freddie Mercury, the late front man of the legendary rock band Queen, was in his time one of the single most charismatic vocalists in the music industry.  Many vocalists have tried to emulate the legendary singer’s energy and style.  Few if any have succeeded.  Sadly, Freddy Mercury was taken from the world in 1991, one of so many victims of the then emerging AIDS epidemic.  The music world paid tribute to his legacy and memory in 1992 with a special live tribute concert.  The concert, held at London’s Wembley Stadium has become one of the biggest and most  powerful live concert events of the Twentieth Century, even after more than two decades since it was originally held.  The only concert event that could compare to this event is Woodstock ’94.  And now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, the legacy of Freddie Mercury lives on once again thanks to the Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  While this SD Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is not the first time that the concert has been released to the masses, this release is the concert’s best yet.    There is so much to be said of this latest re-issue.  The best place to start is the overall audio and video presentation.  Those charged with resurrecting the original footage are to be commended as the concert is presented here in its full original glory.  Audiences get to see the show as it looked in its original recording.  The audio sounds just as good.  This is especially the case for those with home theater systems.  The cinematography is incredible to say the least.  The crowd shots and shots of the crowd from the stage are collectively the epitome of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And of course, there is also the show’s set list and list of performers.  Both by themselves and collectively, they make a bold statement that puts the finishing touch on this incredible latest re-issue from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The first and most obvious factor to investigate in Eagle Rock’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is the audio and video mix.  This concert was recorded almost twenty-two years ago.  April 20th, 2014 will mark the twenty-second anniversary of this landmark concert.  Being that high definition recording was still years away when this concert was recorded, it’s obvious that the quality of the footage would not be crystal clear in this presentation.  But Eagle Rock openly noted on the recording’s case that this presentation is a Standard Definition Blu-ray.  That means that Eagle Rock openly notes that the presentation contained therein is a standard definition recording.  Those expecting pure 1080 quality video have only misled themselves.  Eagle Rock Entertainment is not to blame here.  That the footage still looks as good as it does over two decades later is a testament to those charged with maintaining and resurrecting it.  And having the option to set one’s TV to “Cinema” to gain the full concert video experience only serves to make it even better.

The quality of the concert’s video footage is impressive to say the very least.  It is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.  Though, with the advent of high definition televisions, most viewers can set their monitors to present the concert in full “Cinema” mode.  That mode shows better than any how well the footage has stood the test of time.  The audio mix is just as impressive as the video in terms of its quality.  Every riff, every beat, and every chorus from the crowd of thousands is enhanced on this re-issue.  In comparison to the concert’s previous releases, the audio mix has never sounded better.  It has been enhanced so much that at times, the echoes of Brian May’s voice as he talked will make audiences think they are actually there in person.  It has been mixed that well.  That is quite the testament to those charged with restoring this concert to its former glory.  And along with the footage, it is one part of a very strong cornerstone of this recording.

The video and audio mixes serve collectively as a solid base for The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  The concert’s cinematography adds an extra element of enjoyment to the recording, too.  Much as was the case with Eagle Rock’s release of The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park Live this Fall, the camera shots obtained over the course of this concert are extraordinary.  There is something to be said about an entire stadium full of people singing in unison, arms high in the air, clapping in time. The visual effect both from the stage and from high above the sea of bodies is something that cannot be put into words.  It is something that must be seen to be fully appreciated.  Even seeing the shots in question from one’s own sofa, bed, etc. is awe inspiring.  They collectively go to show the love that so many people had for Freddie Mercury and for Queen.  While the concert’s audio and video mixes are the foundation on which the concert rests, the shots obtained by the camera crews give the show its shape.  And what a shape those crews give the concert.

As one should be able to tell from everything noted already, there is much to like about Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on SD Blu-ray.  Much has already been examined with this latest release from the leader in live recordings.  But it would not be complete without making mention of the concert’s set list and its equally diverse lineup of performers.  The show itself is set up into two separate segments.  The first of those segments is the “Opening Acts” segment.  This segment allows some of the acts tapped to perform at the concert to perform their own music and warm up the crowd at the same time.  This segment runs the gamut to say the very least.  It opens with a trio of songs from Metallica and follows that up with a medley of Queen hits courtesy of Extreme.  Guns N’ Roses (the original Guns N’ Roses) closes out the opening acts segments.  Def Leppard is also one of the opening acts.  Their front man, Joe Elliot, joins Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, and so many other acts from across the music industry for the “Main Show” segment of the recording.  Having such a wide array of artists covering the music of one band is a bold statement.  It shows the impact that Queen had on them as bands and artists.  It also goes to show the respect that those bands and artists had for Freddie Mercury.  It goes to show the kind of person he was and how important he was to so many around him.  Keeping that in mind while watching the incredible shots, and hearing the equally incredible song selections is sure to bring a smile and maybe even a tear to some viewers’ faces.  If it does one, the other, or both, then it has most certainly done its job.  It means that Eagle Rock is that much more justified in once again unearthing this important piece of music history.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hungarian Rhapsody Is Queen’s Career Defining Performance

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Eagle Rock Entertainment has done it yet again.  This is not a company that rests easily on its laurels.  Every live recording that the company has released this year has been just as good as or better than the previous.  And now with the year winding down, Eagle Rock has released what is one of its best releases so far this year in Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest.

Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest is Queen at its finest.  For any classic rock lovers and Queen fans in general, this new deluxe set is important not just for the performance itself but for what the performance meant.  It was a victory not just for Queen and for rock music as a whole, but it was a major turning point, politically speaking.  As Rhys Thomas writes in the liner notes of the set, “It was the first stadium show by a Western act to be held behind the ‘Iron Curtain.’”  Some might ask about that, why that is important.  It’s important because it represented the opening up of certain groups of individuals to Western influence of any kind.  It represented a political shift in that side of the world.  For Queen to be able to say it was the first band to do so had to have been an honor.

Having been invited as the first band to perform behind the ‘Iron Curtain’, the band showed its appreciation to the people of Hungary for the invitation as a whole with an absolutely amazing show.  The band’s energy spread throughout the Nepstadion throughout its more high energy pieces such as ‘Tear It Up’, Tie Your Mother Down’, and the show’s opener, ‘One Vision.’  And even in the concert’s more reserved moments such as ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’, Under Pressure’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’ received highly positive response from the audience in attendance.  They are of course, just a small sampling of everything that the band had to offer in its landmark performance.  The set list also includes the band’s perennial favorites, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘We Are The Champions.’  There’s even a cover of ‘Tutti Frutti’ that exemplifies the band’s ability with other styles of music, too.  The first half of the song is a full-on acoustic cover, while the second half absolutely rocks out.  It shows the band’s abilities with other styles and will have audiences of any age moving and dancing in their own living rooms, bedrooms, and cars.

Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest is stunning from the set list itself.  Every band has shows that every fan considers to be the band’s best.  With the case of this recording, there is no doubt that this performance is the band’s best.  Mr. Thomas is correct in writing in the accompanying liner notes that this performance is Queen at the top of its game.  There is something about the band’s performance that stands out from any of its others.  It could be the band’s energy.  It could be the response of the audience.  It could be both together.  Regardless, this performance is the prime performance from Queen.  Add in that Mr. Thomas also states in the liner notes that the band did this show although there was no profit to be made from it, and audiences gain a whole new respect for the band not just as musicians, but also as people.  It makes this performance that much more important in the career of Queen.  Needless to say it makes this concert that much more of a career defining performance.  Sure, that term is thrown about a lot with musical acts.  But there can be no argument about it with this performance.

Nearly three decades have passed since this performance was originally recorded.  In that time, the importance of the concert hasn’t been lost on its audiences both for its set list and for what it meant to the world.  For home audiences it will mean even more considering the quality of the footage transfer from its original 35mm format to Blu-ray and CD.  Both the video and audio qualities of this performance are just as impressive as the set list and its energy combined.  Again, thanks to Eagle Rock, audiences can enjoy that high quality transfer as it has been put to both a double-disc CD set and single-disc Blu-ray in a complete triple disc Deluxe set that’s available both in stores and online now.  For the Queen fan in anyone’s house, it can be ordered direct online at Eagle Rock Entertainment’s website, http://www.eagle-rock.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New Documentary Shows Freddie Mercury In A New Light

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Queen fans all know Freddie Mercury as the front man of the iconic British rock band.  But how many people out there know that Mercury actually worked on projects outside of Queen?  Early this year, Eagle Rock Entertainment and Eagle Vision released a documentary titled, “Days of Our Lives.”  That documentary very briefly touched on Mercury’s time away from Queen.  Now, fans get a whole new look on Mercury’s other work with the new documentary, “Freddie Mercury:  The Great Pretender.”

“Freddie Mercury:  The Great Pretender” presents not just Freddie Mercury as a solo artist, but as a person.  Audiences will learn through archived interviews with Freddie, his band mates in Queen, and others who knew him, a side of Freddie that perhaps few audiences might have known.  One of the most interesting facts that audiences learn from this documentary is that Freddie originally had no intention of being a rock star.  He admits in an archived interview, that he originally was going to be a graphic artist.  Or as he called it, a graphic illustrator.  One only knows what would have become of Queen had that happened.  This is just the tip of the iceberg in this brand new release.  Something that audiences will really be in awe of is Freddie’s love of the cultural arts.

Interviews with Freddie and those who knew him reveal that Freddie became a big fan of opera during his life.  It’s fitting that he would.  His voice always came across in that very theateric and operatic style.  He was never really a rock singer.  So when he started singing with opera great Montserrat Caballe, the result was definitely a far cry from what audiences might have expected.  Surprisingly though, his work with Caballe was actually very impressive from the angle of studying opera.  As one of the individuals interviewed for this feature noted, if not for Freddie Mercury, the name of Monterrat Caballe would have been known only to audiences of opera.  It was Mercury that brought her to such popularity.  That alone says quite a bit about Freddie Mercury’s influence.

One other note that stands out in this documentaryis Freddie Mercury the on-stage persona versus Freddie Mercury the man.  The vocalist of any band is typically charged with the duty of being a larger than life personality in order to engage the band’s audience.  What makes this important is that while he noted in one breath how much he loved being in this position, Freddie was also quite the private person offstage.  He notes in his interviews that he stayed mostly to himself when he was offstage.  that juxtaposition of his two different personas is so intriguing.  It’s just one more piece of what makes this new documentary so enjoyable and enlightening for Queen’s fans.  “Freddie Mercury:  The Great Pretender” offers plenty more for audiences in its near ninety minute run tim.  There are also bonus interviews to add even more depth to who this icon really was.  “Freddie Mercury:  The Great Pretender”  is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Queen Video Anthology Re-Issue An Important Piece Of Music History

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Queen’s newly re-released video anthology, “Queen: Greatest Video Hits”, is an important piece of music history.  It’s an important piece of music history not just for fans of Queen, but for music historians, music lovers and those in the business, too.  There are those who would like to speak and write negative things about this set.  Those same people obviously know little about what makes this anthology so important or about the history of music videos as a whole.  That includes music videos up to today.

In its earliest days, the music video was used mainly as a means to establish the identity of a given band and/or artist. With the advent of MTV, music videos began to slowly see a change from forming the identity for a band and/or artist to being an artistic outlet for directors.  Those newer music videos rarely had anything to do with the songs being performed by said bands and artists.  And in relation, those same videos also focused less and less on the bands and artists themselves.  Even music videos made today that actually do star a band and/or artist rarely have anything to do with the said band and/or artist’s song being featured.  In simple terms, music videos went from being excellent marketing tools for bands and artists–and their music–to being little more than excuses for overly artsy directors to do what they would consider flexing their “creative muscle.”  In direct contrast though, Queen did the opposite of what so many others bands and artists began to do over time.  It didn’t let those same overly artsy directors compromise its identity, staying front and center in every video released throughout its career.  What this did was maintain a certain balance between marketing the band as a unit and its music.  This is evident all the way from its hit, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ all the way to its much discussed video for ‘I Want To Break Free.’  And now audiences and music historians alike can look back and see that for themselves with this double disc set.   

The comparison of Queen’s music videos to those of so many other artists is just one significant factor that makes “Queen:  Greatest Video Hits” an important anthology.  Something else interesting occurs in watching the videos included here.  Viewers will notice that the band’s performance of ‘Spread Your Wings’ was likely recorded at the same time as the video for the band’s biggest hit of all, ‘We Will Rock You.’  The setting and attire is exactly the same in both videos.  The only difference is the music.  In relation, it’s interesting to note that ‘We Will Rock You’ has become a staple at hockey games across America and Canada to this day.  In relation, audiences will note in both videos that bassist John Deacon was actually sporting a Chicago Blackhawks coat.  Coincidence?  Probably.  But it’s interesting to note that.  Also, audiences will find equally interesting that the band’s video for ‘We Are The Champions’ was one of its standard live performance videos instead of what is presented in ‘We Will Rock You.’

The videos compiled in the collection by themselves exhibit the change not just in the industry, but musically in the band.  And in conjunction with the companion DVD and blu-ray, “Days of Our Lives”, the videos presented in “Greatest Video Hits” have an even deeper meaning.  Hearing the band discuss the different phases of the band’s career and everything that it went through in “Days of Our Lives” brings that much more meaning to this new anthology.  “Days Of Our Lives” was released earlier this year, also via Eagle Rock Entertainment and Eagle Vision.

Both releases are available now both in stores and online.  They can both be ordered direct via Eagle Rock’s website at http://www.eagle-rock.com.          

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

White Tie Affair frontman talks solo debut, Lady Gaga, more

Good Monday morning, everyone.  I hope your week is off to a great start.  I’ve got another brand new review on the way.  But before I get into it, I’ve got another special treat of those of you that follow my daily ramblings.  While you wait for this morning’s brand new review, I’ve got an interview with White Tie Affair frontman Chris Wallace.  I had the honor of interviewing Chris recently.  I asked him about his dreams of being a musician, touring with Lady Gaga, and his brand new upcoming solo release, among other topics.  That album is due out this Summer, by the way.  So while you wait for this morning’s new review, why not sit back, grab that cup of coffee, and check out my interview with Chris Wallace.

PP:  Your bio mentions that you didn’t want to follow in your family’s footsteps.  And when you told people about your decision to try your hand in the music business, people talked down to you and tried to discourage you.  What was the reaction of your parents?  

CW:  My parents were always supportive in everything i wanted to do, but they had no idea how much of a dreamer I really was. They just thought it was a hobby I would grow out of. As soon as I got my first guitar there hasn’t really been a plan b to playing and writing music. Ha there still isn’t, and will prolly never be. I’m definitely a lifer. It’s just way to much fun.
PP:  You mention in your bio about pumping Queen in your car when you were growing up.  I’m curious, Queen aside, what were some of your favorite bands to listen to when you were growing up?

CW: I was really obsessed with the killers. for a while. I love how they blended dance, rock, pop and great songwriting to make amazing albums. I also love third eye blind, taking back sunday, and U2 . I’ve always been obsessed with great melodies in music. So also pretty much every pop song I’ve ever heard ha. 

  
PP:  I want to get in to the White Tie Affair for a little bit.  For the fans that might not know, how did the White Tie Affair originally come together? 

CW:  The white tie affair originally was just me. I grew up playing in local rock bands. One day in fall of 06, a  good friend convinced me to finish this pop song I was jokingly working on called ‘Mr Right.’ I produced and wrote it myself. A few weeks after the song was finished, I made up a band name (white tie affair) and put the song on MySpace. Seriously no more that 3 weeks later, I had several major label deal offers. My life had literally changed overnight. All because of one song…I put the band together and wrote our first album. We got to travel the world, play over 1000 shows, and I had such a great time!  

 
PP:  The feeling from White Tie Affair’s Facebook page is that you all are on pretty good terms, despite you striking out on your own.  So for fans of White Tie Affair, what are the band’s plans on recording another album?  Do you just consider doing this a side project, or do you see it taking prominence over White Tie Affair?

CW:  I don’t see myself doing another  white tie album. It was such a different time in my life. In workin on my solo project I’ve finally figured out how to add my personality and raw energy into the songs. The white tie affair was not nearly as personal as my upcoming album ‘Push Rewind.’ We are definitely on great terms tho. 

 
PP:  Getting back to the your bio, it mentions your tour with Lady Gaga.  Can you expand on how taht tour came to be?  Did her people come to you, or was it the other way around?  What was your initial reaction to being included on her tour?

CW:  I was actually turned on to lady gaga’s ‘the fame’ record way before she became a household name. I met her randomly after her set at lalapalooza 07 and had been following her career. So when my manager told me she was looking for acts for her tour. I immediately agreed we should submit for it. And when the tour started 9 months later, Lady Gaga was on her third #1 single and had become the biggest thing in music. It was more luck and timing and relationships that got me on that tour.  My initial reaction was… Wow this could be fun, but as her fame grew and grew and grew, It became more and more surreal. Gaga is such a great person and I learned so much from hangin out with her on that tour.  

PP:  Your bio mentions how you watched Axl Rose warm up for his show.  Are there any other favorite or least favorite moments that you can share with readers about your tour?  Are there any artists/bands that are on your “MUST” list in terms of who you’d love to tour with?

CW:  My favorite moment on tour had to be singing onstage with cindi lauper. A few years ago I was the opening act for 2 dates on her true colors tour. During our set, I glanced over and saw cindi lauper and Rosie o’donnel watching me play. If that wasn’t surreal enough… Right after my set they cornered me and told me how great I did. Cindi asked if I would come out and sing the second verse  of true colors with her. I went in my dressing room and listened to that song at least 30 times to prepare. Sharing the stage with such a music icon was something I could only dream of.   

PP:  You were really shy when you were growing up.  So are you still shy today, as an adult when you’re not performing?  Or do you find yourself a lot more open as a result of being such a huge star?

CW: I’m not shy at all anymore. I think it was just a part of growing up and finding myself. Music really helped me figure out how to express myself and the be person I wanted to be. Once I go in touch with who I was, it was hard to get me to stop talking haha.  
PP:  One more question before I go.  Your debut solo release comes out soon. For fans who have never heard The White Tie Affair or your music, what can they expect from your new album?

CW: At the core ‘push rewind’ has very hard hitting pop rock songs like ‘remember when’ and ‘keep me crazy.’ ..but there are also a few slower songs  like ‘ready to fall’ that i wrote on piano with a string quartet. Overall you can expect a high energy pop rock dance album that is very honest and personal.

Fans can keep up with all the latest from Chris Wallace online at http://www.chriswallacemusic.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/chriswallacemusic, and on Twitter at @chriswallace101.

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Joe Bonamassa adds one more to the list of 2012′s great live recordings

Joe Bonamassa is a modern day music legend.  This guitar virtuoso is right up there with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani, B.B. King and so many other guitar greats.  That multi-faceted mix of raw talent has been expertly captured on his new live double disc dvd, “Beacon Theatre:  Live From new York.”

Bonamassa and his band are shown at the top of their game in this performance, recorded last year.  From the raw energy of ‘Cradle Rock’ to the beautiful, emotional ‘Bird on a Wire’ to the Jimi Hendrix-esque ‘Blue and Evil’, there is little, if anything, bad that can be said of Joe Bonamasa and company in this performance.  The entire band shines both on its own and as a supporting act to guest artists Beth Hart, John Hiatt, and Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, The Firm).  Audiences really do feel the respect between the band and the guest vocalists throughout the duration of the concert.

Of course, those moments aren’t all that make this performance so great.  One of the greatest moments of the show comes in the show’s closer, ‘Young Man Blues.’  The control of drummer Tal Bergman is immense with each (yes,each) drum solo used to set up each segment of the song.  It does so to help build the anticipationof what’s to come next.  the music presented by Joe Bonamasa and his bandmates makes for an outstanding show.  But one would be remiss to ignore the show’s production values, as they add their own element to the overall enjoyment of seeing J.B. and company live.

Kudos are in order to director Scot McFadyen and eveybody behind the scenes of the show.  The video and audio are very well balanced throughout the course of the concert.  This is the case both on the blu-ray and standard def dvd presentation.  The video is especially clear on both versions, as the concert was shot in high definition.  So no matter which format audiences may choose, they will be getting an excellent presention, all the way around.  Combine the top notch production values of the concert recording with a solid set list, and audiences get a show that is easily one of the best home live releases of the year.

For fans who want more new material from Joe, fear not.  Joe has a new album out later this month titled, “Driving Towards The Daylight.”  And in support of the album, he’s already headed out on a tour that will take him straight through December.  North Carolina fans will be excited to know that Joe will be making a stop at the nationally known Durham Performing Arts Center on November 28th.  Fans can check into tickets and more on the DPAC website, http://www.dpacnc.com.  Joe’s fans can follow his tour news and more online at http://www.jbonamasa.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JoeBonamassa, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JBONAMASSA