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Len Read

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Celebration Day [2CD+Blu-ray+NTSC DVD--CD Case]
Celebration Day [2CD+Blu-ray+NTSC DVD--CD Case]
Price: 27.10

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the promised land, 19 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is for the 2CD/Blu-ray/DVD bonus disc set.
Anyone with even a passing interest in Led Zeppelin needs to have this amazing set in their music collection.

The performances from Jones, Page and Plant , exceed anything from the patchy Song Remains the Same film. JPJ not only plays incredible bass and keyboards but, like the rest of the band , can't contain his joy at being finally reunited as the band belts out versions of some of rock music's finest tunes and riffs in a way no one has a right to expect.

I see some reviewers have criticised Robert's singing and reduced range. Well I have news for them, that's what makes this so wonderful. He is actually singing and not screaming or wailing and brings a maturity and depth that befits the passing of the years. Jimmy's guitar playing is fresh, urgent, sparky and tighter than anything I have seen of him before in concert.

I have deliberately not mentioned Jason Bonham until now. If his father was not looking on from somewhere on high with an approving nod and chest busting pride, then I would want to know why. Jason is absolutely tremendous in driving his Dad's old mates on to a supreme performance.

This video brings the intimacy of the stage into the living room in a way few concert DVDs have done before. And the DTS surround sound is absolutely bang on -- loud and ballsy but clear. Even Jason's occasional backing vocals which are a special treat !

The songs are treated in a similar way as they were on what was to prove to be the original line-up's final ever concerts during a tour of Europe in 1980 before Bonham's untimely death. They were being pared down with some improvisation but trying to peel away the excesses.

That's what you get here and , ultimately, a fitting epitaph for the band that for me will stand alongside The Beatles as a national music treasure , leaving a musical legacy echoing around the world as inspiration to millions of musicians and music lovers.

If the stunning climax to Kashmir does not leave you welling up, check with your GP to see if you still have a heart ! Having watched this twice now, I am pleased the band did not go out on the road and risk all they gained here with a farewell beyond comparison.

No pyrotechnics , no guest vocalists, no celebrity compares. It's obvious at the curtain call that the band enjoyed it and so will you.

The bonus DVD has the full show rehearsal but filmed from a single fixed camera .I had been hoping to hear some banter and some of the other numbers attempted or considered for the shows. But that is the only gripe one can have.

Please buy


Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream
Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream
by Neil Young
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.00

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neil's journey through the past is only partial, 13 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Neil Young is one of the few rock musicians who has never compromised his art by pandering to expectations. He has alienated record company executives, friends, musicians and fans by doing what he does-- following his muse to the exclusion of all else. You admire the man for his single mindedness even if not for all the music he has produced across 30 or so solo albums.

But I've stayed with him for 40 odd years because of those towering moments on record or in concert when you realise all the frustration has been a cheap price to pay. Not surprisingly, Neil does it his own way when it comes to writing his autobiography.

In 2003 , an authorised story of Neil's life by music journalist Jimmy McDonough hit the stands, but only after the subject tried to prevent its release. If you have not already done so, I suggest reading that tome first and then moving on to Waging Heavy Peace. McDonough's meticulous research , a across many years, saw him interview all the major personalities in Neil's life as well as the man himself plus lesser lights.

The hurt felt by people Neil has discarded for one reason or another along the way, often by getting someone else to do his dirty work,can be brutal reading.

That book came before Neil was diganosed with a life-threatening brain aneurism in 2005. This event is covered in great detail by Neil here. It appears this brush with death and a fear of the dementia which afflicted his late father has shaped the impetus for Neil's book.

That and his determination to bring his holy grail of allowing people to listen to music with the warmth and detail digital downloads cannot even begin to reproduce. Oh, and he is still passionate about his project to produce an electric car, converting an old Lincoln Continental for his LincVolt project.

What each chapter amounts to is effectively a blog entry that cris-crosses the decades in no particular order other then the random one thrown up by Neil's oscillating train of thought. Many pages are about his classic American car collection, others about his model train layout or, more importantly, the audiophile quality music system he is developing called Pono.

Thus, we have a rare beast of an autobiography that looks forward to things that may or may not happen rather than a straightforward retelling of the past. But it is the past that still holds sway and is of main interest to devotees who will read this book.

Neil admits his failings with people in his life without ever going into great detail. He apologises and vows to change, if he can. He recalls those who have passed away such as his influential producer David Briggs , pedal steel player Ben Keith and original Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten in loving terms.

But even then ,he confesses he did not always heed what they had to say, despite his respect for them. He also makes general apologies to people he may have hurt down the years , explaining it was only his muse and search for perfectionism which made him behave that way. It was never personal. He wants to change and treat people differently. Perhaps he won't be able to.

Amazingly, he even stresses what a great guy record boss David Geffen is even though Geffen Records signed Neil then sued him for making what it claimed were non-represenative Neil Young albums during Neil's fallow Eighties period.

Some of the book's most moving moments are about Neil and wife Pegi's quadriplegic son Ben, born in 1978, whom Neil refers to always as "Ben Young ".

It is also obvious that Pegi is Neil's rock and he is at pains to emphasize just how lost he would be without her.

What you may have noticed from this review is how little anecdotal material there is about his creative process or relationships with other strong personalities such as Stephen Stills, David Crosby And Graham Nash. When they are mentioned , it is to detail what he admires about them and what makes them great companions.

It is like Neil wants to change so much, he cannot bear to revisit those events which his new self now wants to make amends for.

There are all too few moments of insight into his songwriting or recording.

We do get a wonderful chapter devoted to the incredible , understated epic Will to Love off American Stars and Bars . It had me immediately digging out my original copy of the album and slapping it on the turntable.

But great swathes of his recorded history are either not mentioned or else glossed over. It is the lack of this detail which moves me to give the book four, as opposed to five stars. Because after all, it is the music which brought us to Neil in the first place and it is the music we want to read about.

But he's an ornery old critter. And we love him.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2013 2:31 PM BST


Siren's Song
Siren's Song
Price: 12.32

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Siren's Song could be more alluring, 18 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Siren's Song (Audio CD)
Having absolutely loved the first album I couldn't wait to get this in the CD player. Sadly, after many listens, at home and in the car, willing myself to give it five stars, it has to be said this falls well short of the first offering. The problem ? The songs and riffs just aren't as good. Simple as that. Pete Shoulder's voice is fantastic and I love Luke Morley's guitar playing and tone. But unfortunately, after the excitement generated by the title track, which opens the album, the other numbers feel only workmanlike whereas those on the debut felt inspired. I see lots of five star reviews for this but those who post these don't do bands any favours. Newbies dipping their toes expect perfection and don't get it so are put off. If you do not have a Union album and want to know what the fuss has been about, buy the debut.I would say the only major plus here is that the production quality is definitely up a notch or two. And as I said, Pete has to be one of the best vocalists the UK has produced since Paul Rodgers. He's that good. Soulful, strong and clear. I still love the band and will be seeing them on tour next year. But I hope the song writing gets back to the promise shown on their first offering. Sorry boys !
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2012 9:41 PM GMT


Live: Lovely To See You [Blu-ray]
Live: Lovely To See You [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ The Moody Blues
Price: 15.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full track listing , sound options and extras, 13 Dec 2010
Beautifully filmed concert. Shame only three original members in Hayward, Lodge and Edge but the band is superb.

Great versions of some classic tunes.

Here's the full track listing for those curious.

The 20-strong tracklist : 01. Lovely to See You / 02. Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon) / 03. Lean on Me (Tonight) / 04. The Actor / 05. Steppin' in a Slide Zone / 06. The Voice / 07. Talking Out of Turn / 08. I Know You're Out There Somewhere / 09. The Story in Your Eyes / 10. Forever Autumn / 11. Your Wildest Dreams / 12. Isn't Life Strange / 13. The Other Side of Life / 14. December Snow / 15. Higher and Higher / 16. Are You Sitting Comfortably? / 17. I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock & Roll Band) / 18. Nights in White Satin / 19. Question / 20. Ride My Seesaw

Sound-- DolbyHD, Dolby 5.1, PCM stereo

Extras: 20 minute interview with the band


Pneumonia
Pneumonia
Price: 7.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ryan strikes early gold, 13 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pneumonia (Audio CD)
I decided to revisit this album because of the recent special edition re-release of what I consider the vastly inferior Strangers Almanac. Pneumonia was released three years after being recorded and Ryan Adams had already disbanded the group to begin his solo career. I have to say this is one of the strongest and most underrated collection of songs in his catalogue. It actually fits perfectly between Strangers Almanac and his first album as an individual,Heartbreaker. Most of the numbers here have a sharper focus than those on Almanac while several, with the miked-up-close vocals and distant backing tracks, would have fitted easily into Heartbreaker. The opening track, Ballad of Carol Lynn, is possibly the album's weakest moment. But from there things only get better.Don't Wanna Know Why is lovely and Jacksonville Skyline one of those effortless numbers with goosepimple-inducing chorus Ryan seems able to pull out at will. Other highlights include Don't Be Sad, Sit and Listen to the Rain, despite what the official Amazon reviewer may say,and Easy Hearts. Crazy Bout You is a two and half minute piece of throwaway pop genius while the closing Bar Lights is a good time romp about the joys of drinking, full of great hooks. There is the odd weak moment but, all in all , this is a terrific set and should be rated up there with Ryan's finest.Why this man is not a major superstar I'll never know. Heartily recommended.


Bruce Springsteen & The E St's London Calling: Live in Hyde Park [Blu-ray] [2010]
Bruce Springsteen & The E St's London Calling: Live in Hyde Park [Blu-ray] [2010]
Dvd ~ Bruce Springsteen
Price: 17.99

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sound advice for Bruce fans, 12 Oct 2010
Let's get one thing straight here. Bruce's performance on this release is as energetic and pumped up as ever. No complaints about him not putting heart and soul into his usual marathon set. The choice of material is also good and the London Calling opening a great tribute to the late Joe Strummer. My beef is all about the sound. When I watched this first on TV a year before release, it was virtually unlistenable because the 5.1 Dolby soundtrack was mixed with vocals cranked up to straining point while the instrumentation swirled in and out of the mix as if carried on a billowing wind. I assumed this would all be put right when I saw it was being turned into a DVD/Blu Ray release. Well, to my ears, the 5.1 mix is still appalling. There seems no balance and the bass is lacking while the up-front vocals still persist. I was surprised and disappointed. It is more balanced in stereo format but I did not invest in a Blu Ray player and surround sound system to listen to my concert and film collection that way. What a shame the soundtrack does not match the crisp,pin-sharp pictures which deserve so much more. If you plan to buy this, consider how you are likely to listen to it. Though the TV speakers , you will find it adequate. Anything else and you'll be questioning how Bruce's quality control let it through.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 21, 2011 11:26 AM BST


Live At Shepherd's Bush
Live At Shepherd's Bush
Price: 15.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen still on song, 12 Oct 2010
This review is from: Live At Shepherd's Bush (Audio CD)
What a cracking little package this is ! Stephen has had problems with his voice in recent years but the touch of gruffness on this release adds real character and perfectly compliments his standing as one of rock's all-time greats. The DVD concert is beautifully filmed in what is a lovely, intimate old venue which looks like an old-time music hall. The crowd is definitely up for it and Stephen gives them a collection of classics that reminds us just what a superb acoustic and electric guitarist he is. My particular favourites are Johnny's Garden and the extended workout on the Buffalo Springfield classic Rock and Roll Woman. But really, there is not a duff song or performance here. Stephen is obviously enjoying himself and plays off the enthusiastic crowd to prove there's more than enough life in the old dog yet ! Highly recommended anyway but at this price it's a no brainer of a buy. Enjoy !


Le Noise
Le Noise
Offered by produXa UK
Price: 8.49

9 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Comes a time for an old man to take stock ?, 11 Oct 2010
This review is from: Le Noise (Audio CD)
I am not surprised by this travesty of an album by Neil -- just worried that his current losing streak of poor and below average offerings seems to be showing no sign of abating. Prairie Wind was his last half decent album but since then, Living With War, Chrome Dreams II, Fork in the Road and now this aptly titled mess have done nothing to enhance his reputation. This album reminds me very much of his genre experimentations of the Eighties. At least during that particular decade we fans knew Neil was coping with bringing up two disabled sons and setting up the admirable Bridge School foundation, leaving music to take a back seat. He ended that fallow period with three of his best ever records in quick succession: Freedom, Ragged Glory and Harvest Moon. But really, at the moment he seems to be under the illusion that dressing up sub-standard, half baked material like this in what he presumably sees as some avant garde sound scape is acceptable. Well, I've reached the end of my tether. I would prefer it if Neil spent two or three years writing some good songs first and then worry about the production rather than foist things like this on long-suffering devotees. He has said in the past there is not enough time to make what he says are good records. I disagree. When experimental messing about replaces inspiration this is what we get. I was not expecting a lot though. As I said earlier, the recent CV was poor .Chrome Dreams looked good on paper but the songs were awful, even the much heralded "lost classic" Ordinary People. Living with War was a strong political statement but apart from one or two tracks, it was musically dire. I can't even bring myself to talk about Fork in the Road. It's down there with the Everybody's Rocking and Landing on Water albums for me. The last album I really loved was Silver and Gold -- 10 years ago now ! I don't want to be in a position where the only NY releases I look forward too are old albums issued from his Archives project. But for that to happen , he needs to up his game considerably. If he really has no more juice in the tank, then give up now even trying to write new songs and concentrate on getting the rest of the Archive catalogue out before even die-hards like me lose interest in it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2011 7:38 PM BST


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