Monday, June 10, 2024

Rock Blog #30! 30! A milestone reached!

So this is the 30th blog entry since I started this freeform babbling... Oh well, it's just a number and there are no festivities planned for this "milestone". Let's get down to business!

Last week was full of major concerts here in Finland. Metallica played two gigs in Helsinki on Friday and Sunday and Judas Priest conquered Tampere on Wednesday. THE Gig for the Finnish AOR fans took place on Tuesday, when JOURNEY played here for the very first time. 

Here's a few words about the gig... Arnel Pineda! I know, "he's not Steve Perry" and yada yada...  but his vocals were terrific and he brings a lot of youthful energy to the show (he's  only 56 years young!).

With Deen Castronovo and Jason Derlatka both singing lead on one song each and everyone in the band singing backing vocals - this band has plenty of vocal power available! 

The whole band was great, especially Neal Schon is a real guitar hero with a melodic touch. I could have lived without the extended soloing though, as good as he was.  

I do find it strange that the tour is called "Freedom Tour", named after their latest album, but not a single song from that album was played. Only songs from the "Golden Perry era", up to 1986... then again, this has happened with many bands/artists before, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised anymore.

I filmed some clips and put together this video below. Yep, we didn't have the greatest seats and that wire was slightly annoying. But what I've heard, the sound was at times very loud and messy down there in the standing area, we didn't have that problem. Win some, lose some.

Brother Firetribe supported, they played a solid set. Vocalist Pekka might have been a bit nervous in the presence of "AOR gods", because he didn't entertain us with his usual comedic banter...then again, it's the songs that matter and we got those.

Last Friday was the release day of "FOREVER", the new BON JOVI album. The rather good "Living Proof" single raised my expectations and I knew that this was going to be at least somewhat better than the depressing "2020" album, their worst album of all time in my books. 

After a few spins I think "Forever" is on the same level as the last few Bon Jovi albums before the previous one - a few good songs but a lot of fairly forgettable material. "Living Proof" is the stand-out song, very much in the vein of "It's My Life", "Bounce" and other their more rocking songs of the last 25 years. "Walls Of Jericho" is the second "anthem" of the album, simple yet effective pop-rocker with a singalong chorus. "Na Na Na's" and "One More Time With Feeling" taking us back to the "New Jersey" album nicely. "The People's House" is a throwback to "Keep The Faith" era and an okay track too. I also like the darker "Waves", it's a good mid tempo track with a clever chorus. I've kinda grown to like "Legendary" too.

The rest of the tracks don't do much for me I'm afraid. I don't really dislike them but... The uptempo tracks "We Made It Look Easy", "Seeds" and "Living In Paradise" sound like the band is driving with the hand-brake on. The more balladic songs may have poignant lyrics but the melodies aren't really memorable. As for Jon Bon Jovi's voice, he sounds decent enough, all things considered. RRR.   

The previous Friday (31st of May) was the release day of an album I was anticipating quite a bit more than the Jovi one - NESTOR's second album "Teenage Rebel". What is with the Swedes that they keep on releasing stuff that just destroys all competition? Just a couple of weeks ago Remedy released a fantastic new album, and now Nestor does just the same! 

"Teenage Rebel" gets my second RRRRR rating this year, it's the perfect soundtrack for summer of ´24, oozing nostalgia, eighties, swirling keyboards, killer hooks and blazing guitar solos. Tobias Gustavsson and co. could be accused of just recycling all the classics from the eighties, but they do it so well that I can only enjoy. I can hear the ingredients - Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Van Halen for example - but what these cooks make of them is something of their own, a delicious dish called Nestor.