The Rolling Stones In Hyde Park: Summer 1969

It had been two years since The Rolling Stones had played live in public, their previous show being at the Panathinaikos Stadium in Athens, Greece, on the 17th April 1967. They would perform at the NME Poll Winners Concert in 1968 but that show in Greece was their last proper live performance. In that time they would release two albums, 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties Request and 1968’s Beggars Banquet. The former is an almost forgotten album in their catalogue and the latter is regarded as the start of a new golden era which would continue until Mick Taylor’s departure in 1974.

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The Return Of Slowhand: Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concerts

It’s the 6th December 1970 and Derek and the Dominos bring their US tour to a close at the Suffolk Community College in Selden, New York. It would be another 8 months before Eric Clapton would take to the stage again for George Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh event at Madison Square Garden in New York and in that time the Dominos would come falling down, signalling the end of Clapton’s first musical chapter. It would be another year and a half after the Concert For Bangladesh until he played live again, brought out of a drug fuelled isolation by Pete Townshend of The Who. The result, two comeback concerts on the 13th January 1973 at the Rainbow Theatre in London, England.

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Earlier this year I had the pleasure of interviewing Dave Rowntree from Blur and I asked him a number of things from his childhood, Blur, The Ailerons, politics and more. The interview was in two parts originally but here it is in full for your reading pleasure!

I’d like to start right at the beginning if I may. Your family was quite musical, so in many ways it was inevitable that you would get into music. But what made you want to play the drums?

There was a rule in my house that we had to learn an instrument, it didn’t matter which. In fact the rule originally said that we had to learn the piano, which I hated, so I complained long and hard until I was given the choice. Anyway, I thought I could subvert the rule and get out of music lessons altogether by picking the loudest and most obnoxious instrument there was, so I originally chose the bagpipes. However, I was only 10 and it takes adult lungs to inflate the bag, so I switched to the drums. I was hooked straight away, and played every spare moment from then on.

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The Rolling Stones Isolated Tracks: Sympathy For The Devil

Recorded at Olympic Studios in London in June 1968, Sympathy For The Devil is one of those songs that everyone knows instantly from the opening notes, or in this case, the percussion that opens the song. It could only be The Rolling Stones.

The vocal track, aside from Keith’s roaring guitar solo, is the best of the isolated tracks. At a time where automated vocals were non-existant it just shows what a great singer Mick Jagger was and still is. At just over the 2 minute mark of the isolated vocal track, the “woo woo” backing vocals come in but you’re still able to hear Mick making noises in the background which aren’t audible in the final studio version. The high pitched singing at the end of the track is wonderful too, take a listen for yourself:

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RIP B.B. King

What a sad day not only for the blues but for music in general. I’ve been lost for words since I first heard the news this morning, this one has hit me hard. B.B. King was a hero of mine and a huge influence on my own guitar playing.

I saw him live in concert twice, the first time on the 25th June 2009 in Birmingham. It was the night Michael Jackson died and it was odd because during the show he was talking about young musicians who had been influenced by him, who he had played with, who then died too young. I don’t think he knew about Michael Jackson’s death until after the show like the rest of us so it was a “weird” kind of moment. A great show though, I recorded a number of the songs on my phone and even though the recordings aren’t great his one of a kind guitar playing shines through. The second time I saw him was at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2011. He started the show by himself but over the course of the whole evening a number of guests came out to join him including Ronnie Wood, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Slash and Mick Hucknall. The last time I saw him, the last time he came to England I believe. 4 years ago. I’ll cherish the memories of hearing him play for the rest of my life. A blues legend straight from the Mississippi Delta, born and bred on the cotton fields. As blues as you can get.


The Magic Whip Live: The Return Of Blur

This is something that I had almost given up on a few months ago. All signs pointed to the end of Blur, one of the greatest British bands of all time, but out of nowhere a new album (The Magic Whip) was announced alongside a Hyde Park show this summer, and then a few weeks later a secret show as well where the band would play through the new album from start to finish for the first time ever. The show, played at MODE in London, was for competition winners only and resulted in only a few hundred people at the venue on the night. Very intimate, the perfect way to listen to a band in my opinion. Tickets were available for collection at 5:30pm sharp and even though it was stated that people would be let in to the venue an hour later, we were swept in as soon as we were given our tickets.

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