Saturday, December 29, 2007

Eagles - Long Road out of Eden

Here's the brand new album by Eagles, after more than 20 years! I've always loved Eagles (and I also have an Eagles cover band: Kings of Hollywood).

Of course, after such a long time, I was kind of skeptical about this new album, by the way, it's a double CD!

Instead, right after the first listening I was really pleased with it, and still I am. I keep on listening to it with much pleasure. Don't expect anything new from it: it's still Eagles, but that's a nice thing to me, since their sound (which is one of the reasons I like them) is basically still the same.

Don Felder is not in the band anymore, and that's a pity, since I loved this guitarist: he has a very nice musical touch; don't get me wrong, I like Joe Walsh too, but I preferred Don :-)

However, the other guitarist in the band, Steuart_Smith, is very very skilled and he has a wonderful touch too.

The sound is still the same, although a little bit more modern; the record is of course played very well, and with lots of country/melody (typical of Eagles).

One of my favorite song of the first CD is probably "I don't wanna hear anymore", which is much closer to a pop ballad, than to a country song, but that's fine, since I like pop too. While, concerning the second CD I have no doubt: the title track "Long Road out of Eden" is my favorite. It's kinda strange actually, and probably not like the Eagles I used to, but it's very interesting and it hit me right from the beginning. I must admit there's one song that I really can't manage to like: "It's your world now"... but in a double cd that's OK :-)

I heard that some critics are against this record, saying "it's nothing new", but I wouldn't expect anything else, after such a long period, if a band produces a new album, that's the least you could expect from the critics, couldn't you? ;-)

Well, I've also heard that probably these songs had already been written so many years ago, and that they were now re-used for a new album... don't know whether that's true... but I like this record anyway :-)

Happy listening!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Queensryche - Mindcrime at the Moore

As soon as I saw this CD on the music store I had no doubt at all: I had to buy it!

A little regression...

I've always liked Queensryche and in particular, the concept album, Operation Mindcrime was one of my favorites ever. The live they recorded during the Empire tour, Operation Livecrime, when they perform the whole album, is even better than the studio version: so rich of sounds and so filled with energy. The video version of Operation Livecrime is a masterpiece and I enjoy seeing it over and over again: the band is sooo cool, and the moment Pamela Moore enters the stage, performing Sister Mary is emotional!

In my opinion, that was the time the band was at its best. Actually, I still prefer Operation Mindcrime, Empire and Promised Land to their previous works (which sounded too heavy metal for me).

I was disappointed by this band when they released, after Promised Land (which was kind of experimental in some sense), Hear in the New Frontier... I still can't listen to that record, I can't stand it... the sound turned to Grunge, which I hate :-) That was not the Queensryche I was used to.

That record is also sad since it represents the last album before Chris De Garmo left the band. Chris was a great guitarist, a great vocalist (his background vocals were great!) and last, but not least, a great composer. Together with the singer Geoff Tate, he wrote the most beautiful songs of Queensryche.

Micheal Wilton & Chris De Garmo in the good ol' days

Then, comes Q2k, which I didn't even buy: I was too disappointed by the previous record, and without Chris... well... it's not Queensryche anymore. I listened to it later... well... it's not that bad, but I didn't like it either.

Then, Tribe, where Chris rejoined the band for some songs... I bought that one, and I didn't mind it; I didn't love it either, but I can listen to it.

Finally, Operation Mindcrime II! It is no competition with the original Operation Mindcrime but it had some nice songs and the concept was still appealing.

Summarizing, I was really curious about hearing the live version of both Operation Mindcrime and Operation Mindcrime II!

Well... I was disappointed again, about the performance of Operation Mindcrime I. Needless to say: I miss Chris... the recording doesn't sound the same... Actually it sounds worse. I definitely don't like the new guitarist, Mike Stone, I don't like his touch, I don't like his sound. Micheal Wilton is still great but without Chris... Geoff doesn't have that voice anymore and in many high parts he changes the melody lowering down. He's still a great singer, though, and his vocals are nice anyway. But, again... without Chris... :-)

Even the way they rearranged some songs does not convince me much.

I must admit, on the contrary, that the performance of Operation Mindcrime II is far better; probably the band is more comfortable with the new material and they do a good job. I also appreciated the songs much more.

The encores: Walk in the Shadows and (one of my favorite, from Empire) Jet City Woman; needless to say, I was disappointed by the version of Jet City Woman... even the intro theme is not played correctly!

Well... I don't regret buying the cd, but I could do without it ;-)

Still, I'd really love to see this band live again! I saw them live in Milan during the Promised Land tour, and at the Gods of Metal, before Tribe was coming out; in the latter live they only played 30 minutes, which was really a pity... if only Chris rejoined the band! :-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dream Theater Live, Paladozza, Bologna, 25 October 2007

On 25 October I went to see a concert of one of my favorite band: Dream Theater! I've been following this band since 1992, when, after listening to their second album Images and Words, I got really astonished by their music (I'm not talking about virtuosities and technique).

I actually lost the count of the times I saw Dream Theater in concert... probably 18 times I guess!

Whenever they come to Italy I do my best to reach the nearest place of their concert, and this time it was Bologna.

It's always a great emotion to see them live, and it's still hardly believable the way they play live!

This is the tour after their last record, Systematic Chaos. I cannot say it's one of my favorites, but I don't mind it, apart some too heavy metal songs... unfortunately they played such songs at this concert... too bad... :-)

They only played one entire song from my favorite album, Images and Words, i.e., Take the time, (they also played one short excerpt of Learning to live during the encore medley), but probably they cannot always play songs from that record.

However, it was a great concert, and it was kind of funny to see Jordan Rudess play the keyboard guitar (keytar)! Great concert, great band, great songs! :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Photos

Hi there! The musical tour is over, and I'm already missing it :-)

Here are the photos of the theaters of the musical I saw (in chronological order). Unfortunately, I can't find the one of Mamma Mia!

Mary Poppins

Les Miserables


Billy Elliot

Avenue Q

The Sound of Music

The Phantom of the Opera


What fabulous days! Hope to get back there soon :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 5

Here's the report of yesterday (14th August); my musical tour finished yesterday, since today I'm going back home.

For yesterday matinée I went at the opening of the box office of the Phantom of the Opera, to see if I could find a day ticket or any discount. Unfortunately, there was no day ticket, but they had a good price for the stalls: 30 pounds instead of 55, in row K! Since I had seen the phantom before (that was my 5th time) but never in a really good seat, I had no hesitation, and went for that ticket :-)

Ah! The phantom! it's always an emotion to see this show, and I guess I'll never get tired of that, never! Since the seat was really good, I could enjoy every minute of it. The phantom is now played by Earl Carpenter, who was great, with a very powerful voice! As for Christine, there are two alternates in this production; at this performance there was Robyn North. She's very young, but yet really good! Probably, she's not the best Christine I've ever seen, but she was very moving in singing and acting, trying to interpret the song, instead of just thinking about a perfect execution. Since this was not a recording, but a live show, I think this was for the best. Indeed, I noticed, that every one tried to think more about the interpretation, and that made the show very good.

Wendy Ferguson was playing as Carlotta, and she was very funny. Probably she missed some notes and went slightly out of tune in those high parts (the finale of Prima Donna), but she was great in the show. Also Raoul, Michael Xavier, was good, and he had a very powerful voice too. So, it was a very nice experience to enjoy the phantom once again :-)

By the way, after the show I went to the Stage Door, and got the autographs of Earl, Robyn, Michael and of Lindsey Wise (Meg) :-)

Basically, I had seen all the musicals I wanted to see, so for the evening I could pick up one of any choice. I was tempted to see The Little Shop of Horrors, but I had seen it in Italy (in Italian) and wanted to try something different.

I heard many good things about Wicked, so I though I'd give it a try. Since I had been at the box office of the phantom for the opening (10 am) when I arrived at the Wicked's theater, there already was a small queue, and could find any day tickets. Actually there were few seats (this musical seems to be a success), and only found a 15 pound seat, very far, but with a nice view of the stage.

Well, Wicked is basically an alternative version of The Wizard of Oz and it is based on the novel "Wicked" (1995) by Gregory Maguire. It is The Wizard of Oz, but viewed by the wicked witch of the west (who, as you'll see, probably was not so wicked) and it tells the story of her "career" as a which.

The story is very nice and also the show was brilliant! In particular, the two main singers Kerry Ellis (Elphaba) and Dianne Pilkington (Glinda) were absolutely wonderful! I suggest to see this musical. I bought the book to be sure I got the plot right ;-)

By the way, the witch of the west has green skin, and she goes to Emerald, a green city and there was a lot of green in the show... well, green is my favorite color, so I might be biased? ;-)

Well, this musical tour is over :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 4

Yesterday (Monday 13 - on Sunday there's only The Lion King and I had already seen it... and didn't like it that much) there was no matinée and I decided to go for The Sound of Music which I had never seen (of course I saw the movie many times and love it).

Once again, I was lucky enough to find a day ticket: 20 pounds for the first row (they consider first row as a restricted view, but it's a wonderful sit! And you can also see a little of bit of the orchestra which is nice in my opinion).

At this performance, the role of Maria was played by the alternate Maria, Aoife Mulholland. She was very very good at singing and acting! The role of Captain Georg von Trapp was played by Christopher Dickens and he was good too!

Probably, the most impressive performer was Margaret Preece, playing Mother Abbess (i.e., the one singing the wonderful "Climb every mountain"). There's no doubt about it, also considering she's been playing the role of Carlotta in The Phantom! By the way, by looking at her biography, you also find out that she's the one singing the parts of Carlotta in the Phantom movie (Minnie Diver does not sing those parts).

The show was really great and I enjoyed every minute of it! Many compliments to the whole cast!

At the end of the show I went to the Stage Door, and managed to get the sign of Sophie Bould playing the role Liesl (very bright in her performance, and so cute and wonderfully kind after the show at signing! - by the way, she also played the role of Maria sometimes) and also the one of Christopher. Unfortunately Aoife wasn't coming out and I didn't want to be too late.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 3

Here's the report for yesterday (11 August).

Since it was Saturday I knew in advance that it would have been quite hard to find any good ticket (if not any ticket at all) since that's the most crowded day for musicals.

I first tried with the Sound of Music, but they had really high prices and only one "cheap" available sit (very far and with restricted view). Too bad. I tried with Billy Eliott the musical. Well, there was an acceptable queue for day tickets but fortunately I found one for 25 pounds in the second row. This was intended as a restricted view, since you had to keep you are very near the stage which was a little bit high. However, it wasn't restricted at all! That was really a very good sit and I could see everything and very well!

The show started very well and looked pretty good! In particular all the kids were very good at dancing and also singing. The music was not that impressive in my opinion. The show lasts 3 hours and I found it pretty long... many numbers might also be removed without losing anything, I think. Moreover there were many kitsch parts... for instance, the one sung and "danced" by the grandmother and most of all the encore after the finale... well... I guess it might have been better... I'm not saying I hated the show, but I've surely seen better ones, and I'm sure I wouldn't want to see it again.

For the evening, I found another 25 pounds dayticket, fourth row in the stalls, for Avenue Q. I knew nothing about this show but it was suggested to me by some friends and I thought I should give it a try... Thanks a lot to those who suggested it! That's one of the most funniest show I've ever seen! I laughed and laughed and laughed till I got misty eyes, really!

The characters of the show are both "humans" and puppets (that are moved by actors that act together with the puppets themselves while they're singing) who live in Avenue Q. It's incredible how the actors moving the puppets succeed in creating such expressions in the puppets! And, both the actor's and the puppet's several face expressions are the same. The show is really meant to be funny: really, nothing serious, even though it tries to provide a moral, which is nothing new, but not even wrong.

The cast was really greeeeattt! Only six persons; 3 of them acting as "humans" and 3 of them moving the puppets (these 3 often played more parts at the same time). They were great at singing and also at acting (and at moving the puppets). Unfortunately, I missed some jokes, due to the English language, but for most of the time I laughed and had fun.

If you have the chance, please do not hesitate, and enjoy this show! :-D

By the way, without knowing it in advance, I happened to attend the 500th performance of Avenue Q :-)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 2

OK, so here's the report about the second day (10th August, which, by the way, was also my honomastic)!

For the matinée I tried to go to the theater of Grease. I had seen this musical in Italy and I enjoyed it, so I thought I could see it in West End :-) I was actually quite skeptical about seeing it in the West End, since I happened to read on a magazine here in London, that critics about it were not quite good, although the audience loved it. However, I found a day ticket, 20 pounds, first row (yeah, really first row).

Well, the audience was right: it was a really, really, funny show! The cast was absolutely brilliant! Everyone! They were good at singing, at dancing, and most of all, at acting! And this makes Grease a really enjoyable show that I suggest to everyone that also likes to have fun and laugh at musicals :-)

For the evening, I decided to see one of my favorites: Mamma Mia! this was the third time I was seeing this musical.

This is one of those funny musicals, where you really laugh a lot (well, probably if you're mother tongue, you'll probably laugh more than me, since I miss some jokes: you know, when the audience suddenly laughs and you don't know why :-)

Abba songs are carefully and ingeniously embedded in a funny comedy!

Well, I must admit that the cast was not so brilliant in singing... but they really compensated that with their acting: they were perfect for this comedy! Every moment, every expression was meant to make you laugh. I had a very good place (sort of day ticket) about 10th row, perfectly central, so I could see every single blinking eyes, and every single minimal face expression of the cast. So, this was definitely my best Mamma Mia performance.

Mamma mia is a must see, in my humble opinion! I might be biased, though: I love Abba music :-)

So, this musical day was indeed a funny musical day!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Musicals in London (August 2007) - Day 1

I made it! I made it again! I'm back in London to see musicals, similarly as I did in 2002 :-)

I arrived yesterday (9th August) in the morning, so I had the chance to enjoy 2 musicals already!

The first one was the matinée of Mary Poppins the musical. This musical features the original songs plus some new written songs (just for the musical I guess). The original songs are lovely, while the new songs... well... they look like they're there only to fill some gaps... probably I'm saying this only because I heard them once.

However, the cast was great and also the choreography was brilliant; there were also lots of special effects (Mary actually "flights" with her umbrella also over the audience and Bert walks upside down on the stage).

I cannot say it's the best musical I've ever seen (and don't know whether I'd like to see it again), but I surely enjoyed it, and I feel like suggesting it.

For the evening... I special musical, one of my favorites... Les Miserables! This is always a fantastic show! Absolutely! That was my third time but it's always magic! Moreover, this time, there was something I really had to see, John Owen-Jones performing Jean Valjean (the main character). John played the Phantom for 4 years in the West End (I saw him in that musical too), and he's really great. He did not disappoint me in Les Miserables, his voice is really great. I must admit, though, that I was a little bit disappointed about his acting... that was not really good, but after all he was great. I'd have some critics also about some other performers: Hans Peter Janssens as Javert and Edward Baruwa as Enjolras... I think they didn't really fit their role (especially Edward: his voice was not really perfect for the role). But this is just to find something wrong in this fabulous show ;-)

Well, stay tuned for some more news ;-)

At the moment, I found a 20£ ticket for Grease, this afternoon. Now I'm trying to find a good one for Mamma Mia for tonight!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Purple Sucker, Live Legri 30 June 2007

Purple Sucker is a Deep Purple cover band I've been playing with since 1999. We perform only songs by the great Deep Purple! You can also find us on MySpace.

Here are some photos from our concert in Legri, on 30th June 2007. You can find the whole photo gallery in this section of our home page.

Jacopo Meille - Vocals

Lorenzo Bettini (myself) - Guitar

Pierluigi Pozzi - Bass and Backing Vocals

Alessio Olmastroni - Drums

Dario Scovacricchi - Organ

On our YouTube section,,
you can see some of our live videos!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Super Trouper: ABBA Cover Band

I'm very proud to announce that we finally made it to put up a new cover band: an ABBA cover band!

We had this project in mind for a long time but finally we found all the ABBA's fans to complete the lineup and so... Super Trouper is coming!

We will perform live for the first time on 22nd June 2007 at OMI, Scusa Mario, Osmannoro, Sesto, Firenze, Italy.

For the moment we don't have a real web site, but we have a MySpace page:

Here's the lineup:

Alessia Alessandri - vocals

Lucia Sargenti - vocals

Alessandro Barbi - drums and backing vocals

Lorenzo Bettini (myself) - guitar

Tommaso Paba - keyboards

Pierluigi Pozzi - bass and backing vocals

Since the 22nd will be our first concert, for the moment we don't have any live recording; we plan to make one on that occasion, so stay tuned for that :-)

Hope you like ABBA fabulous music, so full of joy and melody, and hope you'll take a chance and come to our concerts ;-)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Starlight Express the musical

If you've never seen this musical, you've missed a lot! It's one of the most spectacular, let alone funniest, musical I've ever seen. It is a rock musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. It has a spectacular choreography, since it is performed entirely on roller skates!

The music is spectacular too, don't get me wrong (I might be biased since I adore Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals :-) but what really strikes you is seeing those singers/dancers/acrobats on the skates. Indeed, the characters of the musical interpret trains!

This is the plot of the musical (borrowed from wikipedia page):

In a child’s dream, a racing tournament takes place on a model railway, with engines from all over the world competing. Representing the USA is Greaseball, an arrogant diesel locomotive who bears a strong resemblance to Elvis Presley, whose girlfriend is Dinah the dining car. He is accompanied by the Greaseball Gang, also diesel locomotives. In the yards lives Rusty, a steam engine who dreams of winning the race but who is seen as slow and old-fashioned by everyone else. He is in love with Pearl the observation car, but when he asks her out she turns him down. A late entry to the race is Electra, a state-of-the-art electric locomotive who bears some resemblance to David Bowie, with the Components, his own personal freight cars. He convinces Pearl to race with him. Poppa, an old steam engine and past racing champion, serves as Rusty's mentor. To bolster his confidence, he tells him the legend of the Starlight Express, a midnight train who helps engines in distress.

Dinah & Greaseball

In 1992 the plot was slightly changed, some characters were removed (e.g., Belle the sleeping car and BC), some songs were removed (e.g., "Only him") and others added (e.g., one of my favorite, "Next time you fall in love", which, like many of Webber's songs, immediately hits you, in spite of its simplicity)

Electra & his gang

I happened to see this musical, almost by chance, in 2000, at the Apollo theatre, near Victoria station, in London (when I was working in Cambridge). I knew basically nothing about it, and never heard any of its song. After the first song ("Rolling stock") I was already hit by the show and started to adore it and enjoy every minute of it. At the end of the show, I loved it!

The Coaches (Buffy: the buffet car, Ashley: the smoking car, Dinah: the dining car, Pearl: the observation car)

The show closed the year after (if I remember well) and started a UK tour, which is still on. Keep in mind that the stage in the theater was built especially for this show. Well, this is quite typical of London show (e.g., Cats) but in this case the stage spreads through the audience with many tracks throughout the theater that are by the trains... ehm... the actors when they perform the races (at high speed actually).

Greaseball & his gang

Then, in 2005, I went to Edinburgh for a conference... when I landed there, at the airport I happened to see a brochure saying the Starlight Express was touring there in those days! You can't imagine my surprise and happiness! Of course, I went to see the show (twice :-)

Pearl & Rusty

The tour version of the show is a little bit different, starting from the stage that could not be the same of the original one: you should change the theater almost completely. Thus, there were not tracks and the races were not actually performed live: they were shown on big screens in 3d (you get the special 3d glasses at the theater). The plot was changed too, and basically it was more similar to the original plot than to the 1992 plot. However, the cast was reduced, and some characters were missing (in particular, Belle, some national trains and some gangs characters). Some songs were changed too ("Lotta locomotion" was completely changed, in worse way, in my opinion) and "Next time you fall in love" was removed :-(

However, I enjoyed the show anyway, since it was still spectacular, and it was emotional to see one of my favorite musicals ever!

Here are some videos found on YouTube. They're not the most spectacular moments of the show, and it's not like being there, but you might get an idea :-)


"Whole lotta locomotion"

"I am the starlight" and "Light at the end of the tunnel"

"Next time you fall in love"

"Coda of Freight"

A race and the finale "Light at the end of the tunnel"

If this show ever comes near you, don't miss it! :-)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Mad Mice - Live at Rex Cafe - 31 Jan 2007

Mad Mice is an acoustic cover band I play guitar in, together with my mates (also in our Deep Purple Cover Band, Purple Sucker), Jacopo Meille (voice and guitar) and Pierluigi Pozzi (bass and backing vocals). See also this previous post.

We played at Rex Cafe on 31st January 2007 and here are some links to the songs we recorded live that evening (the quality is not that good since it's a live recording with a non professional recorder):


[SND]02-Heart of Gold.mp3


[SND]04_Old Love.mp3

[SND]05_God Put a Smile Upon Your Face.mp3


[SND]07_No Expectation.mp3

[SND]08_Sunshine of Your Love.mp3

[SND]09_Behind Blue Eyes.mp3

[SND]10_Dead Flowers.mp3

[SND]11_For What It's Worth.mp3

[SND]12_Wanted Dead or Alive.mp3

[SND]13_Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay.mp3

[SND]14_Thank You.mp3

[SND]15_Honky Tonk Women.mp3

[SND]16_Babe I'm gonna leave you.mp3

[SND]17_I Saw Her Standing There.mp3

[SND]18_Eyes Without a Face.mp3

[SND]19_Horse With No Name.mp3

[SND]20_Woman From Tokyo.mp3

[SND]21_Ramble On.mp3

[SND]22_You Can't Always Get What You Want.mp3

On that evening we tried an experiment: perform Woman From Tokyo (the famous song of Deep Purple) unplugged. We actually didn't even rehearse it :-)

And here are some photos of that evening (and yes, the ropes are for real :-)

As usual, any comment is more than welcome :-)