#458: The LeBrain 2015 Christmas Extraganza! – full report

GETTING MORE TALE #458: The LeBrain 2015 Christmas Extraganza! – full report

Scraps of turkey remain, wrapped in tinfoil, awaiting soup or sandwiches to be made.  The cranberry sauce, if not used up, has been thrown out along with a mountain of cardboard and paper packaging.  Bank balances are lower, but hearts are fuller.  Christmas has come and gone.

Here we sit on the Monday after, hopefully still on vacation, to enjoy the spoils.

The first thing I need to address personally is this:  Happy birthday to my sister Kathryn!  Kathryn requested a birthday review this year, but unfortunately I just have not had the time to do it.  I will review her request sometime in early 2016!

The first Christmas gift that I opened came in the mail from Aaron who sneakily did this even though he certainly didn’t have to!  And I know he has sent Christmas gifts to other folks in the community.  What a generous lad!  I know he loves to hear about how we react to his surprises, so I had Mrs. LeBrain record mine.  This was done on the evening of the 22nd. Thanks Aaron!

You can’t have too many Kiss shirts!  And that Flying Colors blu-ray is going to be amazing.  In fact I’m already arranging a group screening for review purposes!

On the 23rd, we had a half day at work, and a huge Christmas feast for lunch. This was catered in by a company called Platters that we’d never tried before. It was easily the best catered meal we have had in my eight Christmases at the company. Lots of laughs and handshakes, and then by 1:00, most people had taken off for the Christmas break. For some of us though, a long day was still ahead! We had taken on a job that was new to us only a week before. The job had to be completed and shipped on the 23rd, so we had a skeleton crew left, working hard to get this accomplished. I was responsible for coordinating the customs paperwork, and so I was among the stragglers. Around 5:00, the job was finally completed and I crawled home exhausted to begin my holiday. It sure felt amazing to walk in that door!

Mail had arrived, and in the box was Marillion’s latest fan club-only Christmas CD!  Free gifts given only to fan club members, I collect these things which are true rarities. I’m only missing the first two (1998 and 1999). This year is a double live called A Monstrously Festive(al) Christmas.

On December 24th, Christmas Eve, it was so warm outside that I was wearing shorts. In all my years I have never seen a Christmas without any snow. This was the first. We’ve had blizzards and mild weather but nothing like this!

Christmas in shorts

Christmas in shorts

Over the course of the next 24 hours, there were some pretty damn cool gifts given and received.  Here are the musical highlights.  All are still sealed, so as to savour every delightful moment.  As usual, I have some intensive listening to do in the weeks and months to come.  Do you see something here you’d like reviewed?

It’s a very Purple Christmas this year!  Hard Road is a 5 disc box set containing the first three Purple albums with bonus tracks, and also the rare original mono mixes, which I have never heard before.  This renders even the best remastered versions of the early Purple CDs obsolete.  I need someone to gift them to!  As for the Rainbow, and Wacken sets…this is a lot of hours of music.  Include that Flying Colors double live as part of my Purple Christmas!

The live rock continues:

Two new releases and one classic.  Many more hours of incredible musicianship to be had right here.  But what’s Christmas without some kind of crazy deluxe edition boxed set?

I originally acquired Too Old to Rock ‘N’ Roll in 2012, so I don’t know it very intimately.  I do like it though, so why not go for the whole hog?  This box set contains: the original album, the previous bonus tracks with a bunch more on top, the original quadrophonic mix transferred to DVD for the 4.0 quad experience, a TV special, bonus video features such as a tribute to the late bassist John Glascock, and lots more.  Go big or go home!

Then we have this massive Led Zeppelin book set, The Ultimate Collection by Chris Welch, including a DVD and an enormous amount of reproduction memorabilia:

Sheer overload!  When am I going to have time to go through all this?  I only have a week off!

Fortunately, I have already enjoyed these two movies, Ted 2 and Ant-Man.  Great way to enjoy Boxing Day.


New Transformers and nerd-stuffs also arrived chez LeBrain.  My mom even bought me a selfie stick Nerd Stick.  Look at the aerial photo I took of her Christmas village!  In fact, the only snow in town could be found in her Christmas village.


Nerd stuffs:

Finally, I needed a new coffee mug.  I need a cup that can comfortably hold 12 oz.  Mrs. LeBrain’s Mom delivered, with my brand new Vader mug.  Dark side or not, that’s just a light roast inside him.  This is actually quite a nice mug, with silver paint applications on Vader’s mask.  It’s odd to see the Disney logo on anything I own, but there it was on the box.  I believe that Lord Vader will be accompanying me as I journey through the light and dark sides of live music sets!


I hope everyone had a merry, merry Christmas.  Next up:  the new year.  And you know what that means!  Year end lists!  Next time on Getting More Tale.




  1. Haha nice Vader mug. I call that one an official CUPFACE!

    Dude, I’m so glad you dug the prezzies. Didn’t have to do it? Who says? :) I am also glad you didn’t already have the Flying Colours set. My big thanks to your lovely wife for helping me narrow down the bestest prezzie to send! And apologies to her too, for the laundry. Also, man, do your own laundry! Hahahahaaaa!

    Marillion FTW! Oh man, that Rush 40. After Deke wrote it up… I’m drooling. And Blue Rodeo too. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on that one, though I know already it’s gotta be awesome because Blue Rodeo. Didn’t you buy that Tull album on a Taranna trip? Or was that another one? The Zep book also looks awesome. We both got Zep for prezzies this year!

    You know, come to think of it, you now need a companion Vader mug to go with that one… the updated Episode VII version, a replica of the one in Kylo Ren’s possession! Sure, it’s maybe be a bit more of an eyesore, but a completist needs the whole set!

    Wow Dude, what a holiday you’ve had!! Merry Merry to you and yours! And don’t forget to Give ‘Er in 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We DID get the original Tull on the FIRST Toronto trip. At that HMV store where they didn’t have Kiss. But this one, man oh man. I finished off DVD #1 yesterday, that was a couple hours right there. Hoping to review this one first, of the box sets.

      It would be SO GOOD if they did the burned up Vader helmet. Then I could talk to it, and ask its advice!

      We’re still givin’ er, dude! I got up early today specifically to GIVE ER!


      1. My memory is better than I give it credit! That Tull cover looked familiar, is all. I’m glad the box is great. Looking forward to reviews in these pages!

        I would buy a burned up Vader mask coffee mug too. I wouldn’t need its advice though, I ‘d just need it to be the vehicle for how to get the black, black coffee into me.

        Wakin’ up early to give ‘er. Lebrain’s living it right!


  2. But hang on!? How on earth do these people know what to and what not to buy you for Christmas hmmm? Do you provide a complete list of your collection to date or do they just know you that well?

    Anything music related my kids/family need ask me if I have something already (and I don’t have nearly the collection you would ;)

    Merry Christmas all,
    Have a safe new year period :)


    1. Oh Wardy, they don’t know…they really worry and worry over duplication! But I maintain an Amazon wishlist and when in doubt, they go for that. It’s all but impossible to buy music for me without it. My sister will buy me a vintage vinyl, if she finds one at a good price, but that’s about it!

      Safe new year to you too!


      1. Hi Mike and keepsmealive, the Mellencamp is cool. Very bluesy and Americana but hard at the same time. Great version of Death Letter by Son House. So much music so little time. Gave Iron Fist a crank last nite in honour of Lemmy. I’ve got a backlog of over 300 disc that I need to give a proper listen to. In between recording a new album with my band Buffalo Crows and collecting discs it’s a matter of making time. All the very best for a prosperous and healthy new year. Looking forward to reading more aticles in 2016.


  3. Some smashing stuff there, Mike – that Led Zep collection looks pretty ace. Kinda thing to spend hours looking through, huh? I hope you’re putting a day aside for that!

    Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the Rush and Blue Rodeo releases!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure Zeppelin will require a long sit. Good thing is, I still have some unlistened to Zep DELUXE editions to play, while paging through!

      Blue Rodeo are probably my favourite live band of all time, I expect great things. In fact, at Christmas, my sister announced that she and Bob Egan, Blue Rodeo’s slide guitarist, have a project in the works. That surprised me because she usually doesn’t work with guitar. I’ve only seen her do a project with a guitar once!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh I am! And I’d be more excited if that was the only news. But the other musical news, she said I can’t talk about. At least not until April. Let’s just say I’m a proud brother.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I probably heard of Hard Road from you! I just need to examine the bonus tracks, and make sure there is nothing missing, before I re-gift my old copies.

      I haven’t gone into the Rush yet, but I did start on the Jethro Tull. So far, amazing set. We all know Rich loves the remixing work of Steve Wilson. There are only five tracks in 5.1 surround here, but they are lush and full of depth.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice haul Mikey. I like the fact that your Prog expands past Rush into Tull and Marallion as well. That’s awesome.
    I look forward to it when u get around to the R40 as I only have the audio so to read the actual dvd will be cool.
    Great stuff

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome stuff.

    Yes, I got the Flying Colors DVD and I’ve watched about half of it so far — great stuff, indeed!

    Approve of the mug. I’ve still my Mr Bump mug although I do have a few ‘official’ coffee mugs now.


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