Now What?! Re-Issue A Must Have For Any Purist Deep Purple Fan

Courtesy:  E.A.R. Music

Courtesy: E.A.R. Music

Deep Purple is one of modern music’s most beloved and respected bands. The UK based band has been making music for some forty-five years. In that time, the band’s members—Its current lineup consists of Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Roger Glover (bass), Steve Morse (guitar), and Don Airey (keyboards)—have crafted no fewer than eighteen albums. Considering all of the band’s lineup changes and side projects through the years, the very fact that the band has churned out nearly twenty albums is quite the statement of its staying power. Last year, Deep Purple’s most current lineup released album number nineteen in the form of Now What?! That album was met by critics and audiences alike with largely positive reviews. Fans that enjoyed that album—the band’s first in eight years—will enjoy just as much its newly expanded re-issue, which is available now.

Now What?! Gold Edition gives audiences more than its share to applaud. Those that haven’t picked up this recent re-issue first because it presents Now What?! in its entirety.  It also includes a second bonus track versus the single bonus track included in the album’s original release.  The re-issue’s added bonus track, titled ‘First Sign of Madness’ is a fun, up-tempo piano driven rocker that is certain to impress every listener.  Front man Ian Gillan sings against keyboardist Don Airey’s almost manic performance, “Somebody tell me why I’m talkin’ to myself/Haven’t listened to a word I say/Nor does anyone else/Somebody asked me/If I have any doubt/Well maybe yes/Maybe no/It’s something to think about.”  Airey’s work on the keys gives the song a light, not so serious vibe.  And Roger Glover’s low end set alongside the equally driving drumming of Ian Paice completes the song.  It all gels, making this a fitting closer to the album.  It isn’t the only impressive piece that the band includes on this album.  Audiences will also enjoy the funky, sexually charged song that is ‘Bodyline.’

‘Bodyline’ is a great addition to What Now?!  As Gillan explains in the album’s liner notes, the influence of the song was the silhouette of a woman he saw on the classic TV show Tales of the Unexpected.  He explained that the silhouette of what appeared to be a naked woman dancing in the flames was used in the show’s opening sequence.  He adds that this was when he was much younger.  That would explain the song’s swing and its energy.  Every male in his youth goes through that stage of puberty where his hormones are raging uncontrollably.  And that is essentially what is being described here.  Gillan sings in the song, “I’ve been watching you dancin’ all night long/Your legs go on forever/Exquisite synchronicity/But they never stay together/My head is spinning keeping focus on my whirling dervish/I don’t know who you are/But I’m enslaved and at your service/It’s your bodyline.”  What makes this even more interesting is that while the silhouette of a woman on TV was the influence behind such a verse, that same sexual energy makes this song just as much a hit in the clubs.

The songs included on the primary release of Now What?! are a big part of what made that release so enjoyable.  Now with its re-issue a new aspect has been added to the album that makes it even more album.  That aspect—a dual pronged aspect—is the newly included What Now?! Live Tapes.  The bonus disc and its companion booklet take Deep Purple fans out on the road with the band.  Whether the band has ever come to a fan’s town or not, this bonus live recording is a wonderful addition to the overall presentation.

The songs culled for this recording were recorded throughout the band’s 2013 “Now What?! World Tour.”  They do an impressive job of representing the band’s history.  And the audio mix of the recordings is just as impressive.  It would have been so easy to simply put together a slapdash recording and call it a bonus disc.  E.A.R. Music and the band’s members had more respect than that for the band’s legacy and its fans.  The audio is crystal clear on each song.  Add that to the fact that the song selection is such an impressive cross section of the band’s catalog and it makes this disc even more of a bonus for fans.  Speaking of that cross section, it would have been just as easy for those charged with the recording’s production to simple toss in each song and make them separate.  But they didn’t do that, either.  The transitions from song to song are clear and solid.  If one didn’t know that each song came from a different point on the band’s tour, one would have no idea that that was the fact.  The solid transitions between songs make this grouping of recordings feel like the entire show was recorded at one single venue.  Again, this is a minor issue on the surface.  On a deeper level though, it is quite the important piece to the overall recording’s presentation.  Those charged with assembling the recording and presenting it are well deserving of praise for their work.  Just as deserving of praise are those charged with assembling the companion booklet that comes with the bonus live recording compilation.

The companion booklet that comes with the bonus live recording compilation is the finishing touch to Deep Purple’s What Now?! Gold Edition.  For starters, it provides more than just the standard, stale liner notes.  It actually makes a person want to find out the whole presentation’s “W”’s (The who, what, when, where).  It also provides audiences with some personal insight from the band on each of the album’s eleven primary tracks.  Also included is a collage of albums featuring the band on the covers, as well as full color photos of the band on tour.  Some of those photos were also included in the main album’s companion booklet, but weren’t in color.  So seeing those same photos in full color brings them to life. And they make the experience all the richer.  Together with the bonus live recording compilation and the original album, the bonus companion booklet is the final touch on a rare worthwhile re-issue from any band across the board.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/What-Gold-Edition-Deep-Purple/dp/B00F9K3VSO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1385497926&sr=8-3&keywords=deep+purple.  More information on this new release, news from the band and more is available online at http://www.deep-purple.com and http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple.  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.

Bearings Is A Beautiful Musical Eulogy For A Great Guitarist

Courtesy:  Alien Echo Music BMI/RoMoCo

Courtesy: Alien Echo Music BMI/RoMoCo

Guitarist Ronnie Montrose was one of the music industry’s busiest individuals during the course of his life.  Montrose, who died last year of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was one of the most respected guitarists in the music industry.  Despite the respect that he earned among his fans and fellow musicians, he never gained the level of fame that those musicians gained.  It had been known that he had been suffering from depression at the time of his death.  So it is perhaps no wonder that the music on his final recording, Bearings, is in large part, very reserved.  The fourteen total tracks that make up the album are so painful yet just as beautiful in their emotional depth, too.  Of course for all of the reserved emotion displayed throughout most of this album, there are more upbeat songs, too.  One of those more upbeat songs is the album’s opener, ‘All Aboard.’

‘All Aboard’ is a prime example of Montrose’s exemplary talents right from its opening seconds.  The song comes in at just under three minutes in length.  In the course of that three minutes, he showed in this song that his talents were right up there with the likes of Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani and so many other equally talented guitarists.  What makes this so interesting is that this song actually bears more of a country/bluegrass vibe about it than that of a rock song.  It would be so easy to see Ronnie sitting on the back porch of a large house somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, playing this piece.  Just as interesting to note on this song, is that Montrose also covered the song’s mandolin part, and the equally driving bass.  The layering of the three parts, which was also largely handled by Montrose let each part come through just enough to give a full assembly effect.  In turn, what listeners get in ‘All Aboard’ is a solid ad aptly titled opener to this record.

‘All Aboard’ is impressive to say the least.  It is impressive because of the talent displayed by Montrose both as an instrumentalist and as a producer.  He showed that he more than knew his stuff.  Just as much an example of his talent (and that of his fellow musicians) is the album’s fifth track, ‘Morning.’  Just as ‘All Aboard’ was aptly titled, so is this near five-minute song.  Ronnie was joined by percussionist Michele Graybeal and keyboardist Ed Roth for a song that stands out in so many of its own ways.  The gentle strains of Montrose’s guitar set next to Roth’s role on piano give this song so much life.  Graybeal is not to be left out either.  The use of what is either a small bongo drum or even a tabla is a subtle addition.  But it is just enough to add a certain extra something to the song.  One can close one’s eyes, and see the sun slowly coming up over a mountain range perhaps after a late night thunderstorm.  Others might see something else in hearing this song.  And they would be right, too.  That’s the beauty of completely instrumental music. It is one hundred percent open to interpretation.  And it’s just one of many songs that will lead to any number of interpretations on Montrose’s last recording.

The songs included in Bearings could be interpreted in so many ways.  That has already been noted.  No one interpretation would be wrong, either, regardless of who is interpreting the song.  One more example of that ease of interpretation comes in the form of the album’s penultimate piece, ‘Lighthouse.’  The song’s very title invokes images of a lighthouse set on a cliff.  The music itself feeds an even richer vision.  This critic alone sees images of said lighthouse overlooking a calm ocean on a warm summer night.  The sun is setting off in the distance.  The gentle fade of the music in the song’s closing seconds sees the sun setting below the horizon and the moon and stars taking over in the sky.  Again, this is just one critic’s view of this beautiful work.  Others might have their own visual interpretation of the song.  And those interpretations would be just as right.  Much the same can be noted of the album’s other songs, too.  That is exactly why any true music lover will want to hear this record at least once.  It not only displays a late musician’s talents once more, but also displays said musician’s ability to evoke so many different emotions among his audiences.  The album is available now online.  It can be ordered direct from the official Ronnie Montrose website at http://www.ronniemontrose.com/merchandise/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=237&zenid=2f9f4e8f36f439800dd5f1b97f4131fb.  More information on other Ronnie Montrose releases is available also available at http://www.ronniemontrose.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.

“Concerto” Documentary A Fitting Tribute To Lord’s Memory

Courtesy:   Eagle  Rock Entertainment/Thompson Music/E.A.R. Music

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Thompson Music/E.A.R. Music

When Metallica recorded its now fan favorite live album S&M with the San Francisco Symphony, that recording was lauded by fans and critics alike. The praise showered on the band was fully justified. It was considered by some to be a groundbreaking performance because it was the coming together of two entirely separate musical worlds. What many people might not know is that S&M was not in fact the first time that the two worlds have come together. Former Deep Purple member Jon Lord crafted and performed his now famous Concerto for Group and Orchestra almost forty-five years ago in 1969. That performance was truly groundbreaking. Sadly, cancer claimed Lord in July of 2012. Thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment though, Lord’s opus finally saw the light of day that same year. And now again thanks to Eagle Rock, audiences are taken even deeper into Lord’s majestic and magical composition thanks to a new documentary on that record. There is a lot to like about this recently released documentary. The documentary’s behind-the-scenes main feature is the main portion of what audiences will appreciate in this release.  Audiences are provided a history of Lord’s original performance of his opus in order to set up the more recent recording session.  As part of the recording process, viewers will also get to hear from some big names that helped bring the recording to life. Audiences will also appreciate that not only are they taken behind the scenes of the recording’s birth, but they are also provided with two opportunities to hear the recording in the new Blu-ray presentation.  It is included both as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray itself, and as its own separate CD as even more of a bonus.  All of this taken into consideration makes the documentary on Jon Lord’s Concert for Group & Orchestra quite the interesting work.

Far too many record labels in today’s music industry add “making of documentaries” to their new albums and try to pawn them off on fans as something special.  The problem is that so few of those “documentaries” in question are really worth the extra money shelled out by hard working audiences.  Jon Lord: Concerto for Group& is not one of those releases.  This documentary gives audiences a full history of the former Deep Purple member’s iconic song, from its very first ever performance in 1969 at the famed Royal Albert Hall to its first non-live recording in 2012.  Audiences see just how much work went into putting his composition to record.  It’s a fitting tribute to the musician, who sadly lost his battle with cancer just last year.  From the initial setup to the recording of each part and everything in-between, viewers will see that this isn’t just another one of those albums where each part was recorded separately in different studios.  This understanding will generate a whole new appreciation for the song and everything that went into actually doing a “studio” recording of it.  This applies to listeners that are both more familiar with Lord’s work and those that might be less so.

Along the course of the documentary, viewers get to hear from some of the biggest names in the rock world that took part in the recording process.  Those names include greats such as Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden and blues/rock guitar great Joe Bonamassa among so many others.  The respect shared between them and Lord is obvious through their shared commentary and by the seriousness with which they approached their respective roles in the overall composition.

The overall presentation of the documentary here is exceptional to say the least.  From the composition’s history to its first official studio recording, so much information is shared on its importance.  As impressive as the main feature is, Eagle Rock didn’t stop there.  Eagle Rock has included as a bonus for fans, the complete Concerto for Group & Orchestra both on its own CD and as a bonus feature on the primary Blu-ray disc.  And it’s not all that is included as a bonus, either.  Eagle Rock has exceeded expectations once again with this documentary’s bonus material.  Also included as bonus material is are interviews with Paul Mann and Marco de Groeji.  Mann conducted the orchestra assembled for the new recording of Concerto for Group & Orchestra.  The insight that he shares is something special.  That’s because of his understanding of and appreciation for the worlds of both rock and classical, as well as for Lord himself.  His interview and that with others involved with the record’s production more than live up to the title of bonus features. Together with the documentary’s main feature, they collectively make this release one that transcends genres.  It’s one that fans of both classical and rock will enjoy. It is available now in stores and online.   More information on this and other releases 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.

Satriani Announces Complete U.S. Tour Schedule

Photo Credit:  Daniel Robert Dinu--ConcertPhotography.ro

Photo Credit: Daniel Robert Dinu–ConcertPhotography.ro

Joe Satriani has officially announced the schedule for his upcoming U.S. tour in support of his new album, Unstoppable Momentum.  The tour kicks off August 29th in San Diego, California.  Satch will be joined by the Steve Morse Band on the tour up until October 3rd at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine.  Fans in North Carolina will be happy to know that Satriani will be making a stop in the “Old North State” as part of his tour.  He will perform at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, North Carolina on Tuesday, September 24th.  Presale tickets for that concert will be available this Wednesday, June 5th.  Fans can order presale tickets online via the official Joe Satriani website at http://www.satriani.com/road/.

The complete listing of Joe Satriani’s U.S. tour is available below.

Joe Satriani’s Unstoppable Momentum Tour Itinerary (* featuring Steve Morse Band as support thru Portland, ME):

August 29            Balboa Theatre                                           San Diego, CA *

August 30            Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort     Las Vegas, NV *

August 31            Orpheum Theatre                                             Los Angeles, CA *

September 1      Talking Stick Resort Ballroom                          Scottsdale, AZ *

September 2      Kiva Auditorium                                                Albuquerque, NM *

September 4      Historic Paramount Theatre                                        Denver, CO *

September 5      Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center                     Midland, TX *

September 6      Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie                               Grand Prairie, TX *

September 7      House of Blues                                                                  Houston, TX *

September 8      Austin City Limits – Moody Theatre                         Austin, TX *

September 10   House of Blues                                                                  New Orleans, LA *

September 11   Ruth Eckerd Hall                                                               Clearwater, FL *

September 12   Parker Playhouse                                                             Ft. Lauderdale, FL *

September 13   Hard Rock Live                                                                   Orlando, FL *

September 14   Saenger Theatre                                                              Pensacola, FL *

September 15   Symphony Hall                                                                  Atlanta, GA *

September 17   War Memorial Auditorium                                           Nashville, TN *

September 18   Chicago Theatre                                                               Chicago, IL *

September 19   Lakewood Civic Auditorium                                         Lakewood, OH *

September 20   Taft Theatre                                                                       Cincinnati, OH *

September 21   Wings Stadium                                                                  Kalamazoo, MI *

September 22   Macomb Music Theatre                                    Mt. Clemens, MI

September 24   Carolina Theatre                                                               Durham, NC *

September 25   Warner Theatre                                                      Washington, DC *

September 26   Beacon Theatre                                                        New York, NY *

September 27   Orpheum Theatre                                                           Boston, MA*

September 28   Tower Theatre                                                                  Upper Darby, PA *

September 29   Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead                           Munhall, PA *

October 1            Center for the Arts                                                          Buffalo, NY *

October 2            Palace Theatre                                                                  Albany, NY *

October 3            State Theatre                                                                    Portland, ME *

October 4            Casino New Brunswick                                                  New Brunswick, NB

October 5            Rebecca Cohn Auditorium                                           Halifax, NS

October 7            Le Capitole De Quebec                                                  Quebec City, QC

October 8            National Arts Centre Southam Hall                           Ottawa, ON

October 9            St. Denis Theatre                                                             Montreal, QC

October 10          Centre in the Square                                                      Kitchener, ON

October 11          Massey Hall                                                                        Toronto, ON

October 14          Burton Cummings Theatre                                           Winnipeg, MB

October 15          TCU Place                                                                            Saskatoon, SK

October 16          Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium                      Edmonton, AB

October 17          Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium                      Calgary, AB

October 19          Vogue Theatre                                                                  Vancouver, BC

October 21          The Fox Theater                                                               Spokane, WA

October 22          Paramount Theatre                                                        Seattle, WA

October 23          Historic Elsinore Theatre                                               Salem, OR

October 25          Vina Robles Amphitheatre                                           Paso Robles, CA

October 26          Fox Theater                                                                        Oakland, CA

 

Fans can keep up with all the latest news, tour dates and more from Joe Satriani online at http://www.satriani.com and at http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.

 

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.

Satriani Releases First Round Of Dates For New Tour

Courtesy:Sony Music/Epic Records

Courtesy: Sony Music/Epic Records

Guitarist Joe Satriani is set to release his latest album, Unstoppable Momentum.  In celebration and support of the album, Satriani has announced the first slate of dates on his supporting tour.  The first group of tour dates includes thirteen dates, beginning in San Diego, CA on Thursday, August 29th.  The Steve Morse Band will serve as supporting act on the tour.  Satriani will spend the majority of the first thirteen dates on his tour on the West coast and Southwest.  The current slate of performance dates is available below.

August 29             Balboa Theatre                                                                   San Diego, CA

August 30             Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort          Las Vegas, NV

August 31             Orpheum Theatre                                                              Los Angeles, CA

September 1        Talking Stick Resort Ballroom                                         Scottsdale, AZ

September 2        Kiva Auditorium                                                                  Albuquerque, NM

September 4        Historic Paramount Theatre                                           Denver, CO

September 5        Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center                          Midland, TX

September 6        Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie                                   Grand Prairie, TX

September 7        House of Blues                                                                    Houston, TX

September 26      Beacon Theatre                                                                  New York, NY

September 27      Orpheum Theatre                                                              Boston, MA

September 28      Tower Theatre                                                                    Upper Darby, PA

October 26           Fox Theater                                                                          Oakland, CA *

*Steve Morse not supporting this date.

Unstoppable Momentum will be available in stores and online Tuesday, May 7th.  Fans that pre-order the album now through Sony Music’s Epic Records store at http://www.myplaydirect.com/joe-satriani will have the chance to bundle new signed copies of the album with exclusive t-shirts and guitar straps.  Fans that pre-order the new album via Satriani’s own website, http://www.satriani.com, will receive a never before released book of artwork and doodles drawn by Satriani himself throughout the course of his career.  He explained in a recent interview, his reason for releasing the exclusive book.  “This book represents my first effort to finally compile my oddly drawn friends into one place, a wildly colorful portfolio of sorts. A collection of drawings meant to inspire and entertain,” he said.  As he also notes, “Some of my drawings have made their way on to guitars, straps and picks, LP and CD booklets, t-shirts, hats, keychains, etc and even my live stage productions.”

All the latest tour dates and news from Joe Satriani is available online at the official Joe Satriani website, http://www.satriani.com and Joe’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lord’s “Concerto” Is A Modern Musical Work Of Art

Courtesy: Thompson Music/Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records

Jon Lord’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra is a modern musical work of art.  One part classical and one part rock concert, this opus proves more than ever that music truly is the universal language.  It’s a modern classical work that could so easily put modern masters the likes of Hans Zimmer and John Williams to shame.  The way that the musicians so perfectly complement each other throughout each movement makes it sound just as much a movie soundtrack as a general modern classical opus.

The style and dynamic contrasts of this three movement piece will pull in audiences from both sides of the fence.  And the addition of a top notch group of musicians on both ends to bring it all to life makes it that much more of a joy to hear.  Steve Morse, Joe Bonamassa, and Darin Vasilev all join in on guitars, with Vasilev heading things in the first movement.  Bonamassa comes in on movement two, while Morse finishes things off in movement three.  Brett Morgan and Guy Pratt add their own touch to the work’s rock based sections.  On the other side, the control of the orchestra (especially the strings) throughout what would seem to be the “B” section of the first movement.  That section repeats later near the end of the movement, too.  Classical fans will also recognize what is a reference to Gusatv Holst’s The Planets.  As noted in the liner notes, there is a reference in the first movement to “Jupiter.”  But it’s a bit of a surprise that there’s no mention that the final moments are equally similar to the final moments of “Mars.”

The immediate contrast of the brashness from the first movement into the second movement adds so much more emotion to the overall piece.  It’s a total mood change.  The way that it the second movement changes moods so much from one section to the next makes for even more discussion and enjoyment.

The intensity from the concerto’s first movement returns in its third movement full force, with the orchestra’s percussion and low brass holding court first.  The woodwinds come in next, followed by the strings, and then even Hammond organ.  It all comes together for what is without a doubt the entire concerto’s finest moment.  While the entire movement is nearly eleven minutes long, it’s nearly eleven minutes well spent as even rockers who have never been fully introduced into the world of classical music will find themselves listening intently to the musicianship of this group, along with the rock elements.  When it’s all said and done, it will leave audiences soundly appeased yet wanting more.  That is the sign of a good recording.

Concerto for Group and Orchestra offers so much for both fans of classical and rock.  One can only hope that it will serve its purpose and bring both sides together, perhaps making for new fans of the other side all the way around.  This is a standout album, all the way around.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct via 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.