Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Falco - Rock Me Amadeus - Falco's grave in Vienna Zentralfriedhof

Falco is best known for his 1985 hit Rock Me Amadeus, which was a number one hit all round the world.  He died 20 years ago, aged 40 and is the best-selling Austrian singer of all time. This year he had his eleventh number one album in the Austrian charts - "Falco 60" - a compilation marking what would have been his 60th birthday.

His first few singles released in 1981, Ganz Wien and Der Kommissar  both reference drug taking, which ultimately lead to his death.  He crashed his car under the influence of alcohol and cocaine in 1998.

He is buried in the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) in his hometown Vienna.  Zentralfriedhof is situated around 5 miles out of the centre Vienna and is accessible by a short tram ride.  There are several florists near the still working cemetery if you wish to buy some flowers.

As well as Falco, the cemetery also contains the graves of Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert and a few of the Strauss family. Mozart also has a grand memorial, but is actually buried in another nearby cemetery.  Many more of Austria's great and good are also buried in Zentralfriedhof.  We stumbled upon Hedy Lamarr's (1930s/1940s actress) "The woman many critics and fans alike regard as the most beautiful ever to appear in films" says her IMDB bio.

Hedy Lamarr

Falco's grave does not disappoint.  A large "Falco" emblazoned obelisk towers above a glass panel engraved with his song titles and CD covers.  His mother lies next to him, and the grave seems well attended by devoted fans - with fresh flowers and candles burning away. A nice visit to pay our respects to the singer of one of the greatest pop songs of the 80s!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Depeche Mode Copenhagen Telia Parken review

I was half expecting an impromptu sing-a-long on the flight from Edinburgh to Copenhagen, given that it seemed filled with Depeche Mode fans.  I was reminded of a raucous flight to Paris in 1998 when Scotland fans filled every seat on the plane, and every glass.  It was more subdued than this, but there was definitely an expectant buzz.

Copenhagen is a compact and welcoming city. In a whistlestop 48 hours, aided by a transport system that Glasgow should envy, my cousin and I managed to traverse the place with ease.  By the time we reached Telia Parken, Denmark's national stadium I was ready to sit back and put my feet up.

Telia Parken

Going Backwards is a great opener - for the album Spirit and for the Global Spirit tour.  A paean to the emotional anesthesia of our times, it sees the band turning back their history to a bleaker worldview.  It sets the mood for a set whose highlights include In Your Room, Everything Counts, Wrong and a blissful cover of Bowie's Heroes.

The crowd were seduced and cajoled by Dave, in full preening and swaggering mode, and joined in where required (Never Let Me Down, Personal Jesus, Home, Where's The Revolution).  The crowd really started getting into things proper with the opening bars of World In My Eyes.

For Martin Gore's spotlight moments, in counterbalance to the serious, political Mode, he returned to some of Depeche Mode's sweetest and most naive songs: Somebody and Question of Lust.  Despite playing to a stadium of some 40,000 fans this still masterfully had the feel of an intimate show.

Dave Gahan

Martin Gore, Somebody.

This was a flawless performance that thrilled the residents of Copenhagen and the many who had travelled from further afield.

I'm sure The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen's famous statue and Danish fairytale protagonist could see the irony, along with me, in encore Walking In My Shoes. She herself was doomed to endure torturous pain wherever she walked on land.  Me, I wore my attention seeking flashing shoes.

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen.
Look at me

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Depeche Mode play Parken, Copenhagen May 2017

I have been to a few shows around the UK over the years now, so when their European tour was announced last year I decided to make my first trip abroad to see Depeche Mode. 

I was really just looking for anywhere I could get to quite easily from Glasgow, so Copenhagen it was.  Surprisingly after travelling the 650 miles from Glasgow to Scandanavia's third largest city I'm a fraction south of where I set off from.

Depeche Mode are playing at Parken, the football stadium for both Denmark and FC Copenhagen.With a capacity of around 50,000 for concerts,  I'm looking forward to seeing my biggest Depeche Mode show yet, with a crowd easily eclipsing the 36,000 that joined me at Crystal Palace in 1993.
It's testament to Depeche Mode's phenomenal popularity in Europe that this will be their 5th show here in the previous 20 years or so.

Depeche Mode at Parken, Copenhagen 2009

Parken was opened in 1992, on the same site as the previous national stadium Idrætsparken.  I'm hoping for a better time than most Scots who've been to this venue.  The last time a Scotland football team managed to beat Denmark in Copenhagen was in 1975, when Joe Harper scored the only goal. However the match was overshadowed by an 'altercation' in a night club later that night, and five Soctland players were given lifetime international bans following the incident.  I plan no such strain on international relations.

Depeche Mode play Copenahgen on Wednesday 31st May

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Adam Ant - Anthems Live Tour Preview

At 9 years old I bought the Prince Charming 7" single to sit alongside my copies of Kings Of The Wild Frontier and Stand And Deliver.  35 years later on Adam has dusted down his old hits for what he's calling the 'Anthems' tour.

Adam was the only pop star whose posters were allowed a space on my bedroom wall (and ceiling) alongside the ZX Spectrum computer games ones when I was a young pop kid.

The enjoyment endured, and I've stuck with antmusic over the years.  From Live Aid (where he was notoriously the only performer not to see a sales boost from appearing) and through several comebacks of varying success.  He last seriously troubled the charts with a top 20 single and album in 1990 when Room At The Top was a minor hit.

I was first due to eventually catch Adam perform live in 2002 as headline act on the 80s revival "Here And Now Tour" but unfortunately he was unable to perform due to being arrested for waving a gun around as a result of the mental illness which he has struggled with for many years.  But he appears to be in better shape now and has been performing live for several years - mostly performing album setlists of either debut Dirk Wears White Sox or his classic Kings Of The Wild Frontier - so it's nice that this time it's being billed as an out-and-out HITS! tour.

I'll be particularly enjoying any renditions of later works Room At The Top, Wonderful, Vive Le Rock, Apollo 9 along with the old staples.

Adam Ant is 62 now. Sadly he no longer performs with his Ants, in particular his one time muse Marco Pironi, but he's assembled a good band around him who do the old songs justice, notably the hard working Will Crewdson who also jobs with The Selecter amongst others - though this current lineup is much diminished following the sad death of guitarist Tom Edwards earlier this year.

I don't follow fashion so much these days either, so more than happy to get some nostalgia kicks from this gig.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Catching Up With Depeche Mode

With Depeche Mode playing Glasgow Barrowland this weekend (I don't have a ticket) I got thinking about the first time I saw them live.

When my friend Jamie and I were at school and then university he was initially the Depeche Mode/Pet Shop Boys fan, whereas for me it was all about New Order.  These two opposing camps didn't last long and we swapped cassette tapes frequently. At this time the gateway albums for New Order being Substance, and for Depeche Mode it was Singles 81-85.  It wasn't long till we both shared a love of lots of 80s electronic music.

In the years ahead university grant cheques (remember them?) were promptly spent on an ever growing collection of 12" singles.  New Order and Depeche Mode excelled in producing 12" singles with new tracks amd remixes of great quality.

This lead to our first Depeche Mode pilgrimage together when I was 20. Parents with credit cards were called upon to purchase tickets which cost the grand sum of £18.50 each (seemed like a lot at the time!) for the 1993 Crystal Palace concert which was the culmination of the European leg of the Devotional tour supporting the album Songs of Faith and Devotion.

Moody student that I was I could often be spotted on campus sporting a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt - so they were an added bonus on the bill (they featured the ex Sigue Sigue Sputnik bass player Tony James in their line-up at this time - another plus for me.)

Jamie and I borrowed my folk's Citroen BX and set off on Friday afternoon for London.  I can remember finding a tenner on the pavement, then stepping on a nail just before we set off on the journey - random facts, not portentous.

That night we parked in a service station, and then zig-zagged across the motorway to some mirage like lights in the distance we hoped would be civilization - me still limping as I'd ealier cut my foot. Turned out to be an out of town shopping centre closed for the night, but we spied lights further in the distance which turned out to be a Pizzaland (remember them?).  Some pizza and several bottles of Becks later we navigated the motor-way again and crashed out in the car for the night.  This must all have been in gentler times when you could do this with no one caring, and no heft parking charge.

Saturday we arrived in London, parked the car nearby and found ourselves in several of the pubs near the venue - packed with DM fans and blaring out music.  I remember it as a hot sunny afternoon and Jamie enjoying lots of cold beer with 36,000 other Depeche Mode fans, while I, the designated driver, sipped colas all day.  I'm not quite sure why we did, but we started the drive home straight after the gig, rather than crashing for the night.

I don't remember much about the gig itself now - the throbbing of "Rush" for some reason sticks in my head and an a rather out of place introduction from Harvey Goldsmith to events, and everything seemed very far away.

We got out of town that night and slept in the car again in some outskirt of London before heading home, totally hooked.

I've seen them since in Manchester, London and Glasgow several times now, so I decided to give London a miss this year and go a little further afield.  Copenhagen at the end of May beckons.

They play Glasgow Barrowlands on Sunday night for those lucky enought to have a ticket.  I will be at Oran Mor enjoying Howard Jones - there was less of a rush for tickets for this one, but Depeche Mode in the other side of town will be in the back of mind.

There are a few Depeche Mode events on this Sunday at The Solid Rock and Flying Duck - I'll see if I can pop in to one for a bit.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Howard Jones concert at Glasgow Oran Mor - Feb 10 2016

Howard Jones is probably best remembered for his videos and Top of The Pops appearnaces featuring chained up mime artist Jed Hoile.

These days the sixty year old 80s synth pop survivor is still recording and performing, and appeared at Glasgow's Oran Mor for a show of "songs and stories."  A stripped back perfomance, he played songs from accross his career accompanied only by piano and interspersed these with related anectodes.

What is Love and No One Is To Blame suited this arrangement the best and lyrically and musically still stand out, and I enjoyed a new track from the forthcoming 80s inspired Fly (Eddie The Eagle) film soundtrack.  He voice sounds good and he managed ably with all the high notes his old songs seem to include.

Howard was relaxed and chatty, and happy to have a gentle laugh at himself.  He talked us through 1985 hit Life In One Day asking the audience the question "do the lyrics stand the test of time?"  (They do mostly, but it was agreed that "The future will take care of itself somehow" is not the best advice, and "gets the hereditary bone" is perhaps a little suspect)

We also chuckled as he sang a poorly translated Japanese version of Like To Get To Know You Well, singing "I want to force myself upon you well..." - a lyric he was advised would ruin his career in Japan.

Perhaps never quite as big a showbiz celebrity as some of his contemporaries, Howard explained he wishes perhaps he had done Band Aid, but never felt part of that crowd and didn't push himself forward enough to participate, but was very happy to perform at Live Aid, and loved meeting David Bowie on the day.

He grumbled that The Guardian were never a fan of his, but recently they've emailed him to write a valentine's piece on What Is Love?  He wasn't sure what to do.  I'd like to read it, so I hope he doesn't follow the Glasgow crowd's loudest suggestion "Fuck 'em!"

A few covers also went down well especially Wonderful Life in tribute to Black's Colin Vearncombe, who recenlty died in a car crash.

I last saw Howard Jones in 2002 with a much more electronic performance, so this was a nice change and a good way to get to know the man a little.  I'd love to see him again with drum machine switched back on.