Jen beat Covid just in time to enjoy a happy Easter with the family.
I rocked my brand new Grab A Stack of Rock “Faces” hoodie, and unboxed the new KISS Off The Soundboard: Poughkeepsie 11/28/1984. This is the only soundboard show with Mark St. John on lead guitar. This will be an interesting listen to a period of KISStory that ended prematurely. Also opened the deluxe Blackout by Scorpions, one of the few deluxes of theirs that I was missing. No longer!
Finally, I opened a new Apexcam, underwater camera. My cottage videos from last year were lacking in underwater footage. The old camera case had finally cracked. Now I have a new one, in time to up my cottage video game this summer!
Unfortunately the Jays beat the California Angels, ending Easter on a downer! Hah.
On the bright side…we now have Tee Bone Man shirts! Thanks Harrison!
It seems like only last year, but in fact it was 10 years ago today. One of the only times we ever closed the store early was the Great Blackout of 2003. If you lived in, well, North America, you probably remember Blackout 2003.
I recall closing up shop in the mid-afternoon. It was obvious the power wasn’t coming back on, but the phones were working. We got the call to do our best to close up without power, and head home.
For many people, particularly in Toronto, this turned out to be an exceptional evening. People left their homes, went out and socialized. Many went to the beach. Me, I just sat at home and read a book until it was too dark to read. Then I turned in.
I fell asleep quickly, it was so quiet. Suddenly I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing. I reached for my watch, my eyes trying to focus on the glowing hands. 4:30 am. I didn’t know what to think.
On the other end was Brandon “You Are So Punk”, who worked at our Niagara Falls location. That first night, they incredibly still had power, although that wasn’t going to last!
“Man, why are you calling?” I yawned. “It’s 4:30 in the morning.”
Brandon paused. “What are you talking about?”
Frustrated, I answered, “I’m looking at my watch, you’re calling me at 4:30 in the morning!”
Brandon paused again, and answered simply, “Dude. Your watch is upside down. It’s 10:00 pm. I just got home from work.”
The next day, Friday the 15th, the power was restored in the early morning. Still, we weren’t supposed to be open. The government had advised all non-essential businesses to stay closed, and not put additional strain on our fried power grid. Us being so essential, were open (of course). That is until about mid-afternoon when we again had to close, due to rolling blackouts. The shit thing about that was that we were absolutely slammed with people that morning, we were overwhelmed. A lot of them were what I called “tire kickers” — they like to ask you a lot of questions but they don’t buy anything. Since nobody was open except us and a few other “essential” businesses, it was like a holiday for the general public. People brought in used discs by the box load to sell, I kid you not. I went through 300 discs from one guy alone. I had him leave his box behind because it was going to take a couple hours to go through, and then we ended up closing while he was out. He came back a few days later for his cash and unwanted discs (which was most of them).
When people reflect back on the blackout, they usually have fond memories and stories. Not me! I remember shit stories! Oh! And I had to throw out all the meat that I had bought that day before work too, because the fridge had no power. Fuck you, blackouts!
HALFORD – Live Insurrection (2002 Japanese Import)
Having a wealth of solo and Priest material to draw from, this seems like a good place for a double live album to drop. And so it was; Live Insurrection, Rob’s first full-fledged live solo outing. For me personally, this is the peak. This Rob’s home run of solo projects.
Admittedly, there is a certain sense of Rob trying to bury parts of his recent past. There are no songs from Two, and the set is Priest-heavier than prior tours. I found the Halford band to be kind of faceless, a little devoid of personality. They’re absolute pros and there is no question of them cutting it. That’s not the issue, it’s just one of…I can’t hear the different personalities of the players, compared to Fight.
On the other hand, the setlist is so much richer than Fight used to do. The songs are culled from the Halford album Resurrection, the Judas Priest back catologue, and the first Fight album, with a lot of added surprises.
These surprises include three studio tracks, two of which are tracks written by Judas Priest, but never released at the time! You also get Rob’s duet with Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, “live” (recorded during rehearsal I believe), and the two bonus tracks from the Japanese version of the Halford album, once again performed live. Rob even sings his first-ever solo track, “Light Comes Out Of Black” which was originally on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer soundtrack back in 1992. The Priest material is a great mix: old obscure stuff from Sad Wings and Stained Class, as well as more obvious stuff from Hell Bent and Screaming. Rob’s voice is in fine form, doing justice to the Priest and Fight material.
Rob’s so hardcore, he stapled his fuckin’ forehead!
The Japanese bonus track is “Blackout”. Yes, the old Scorpions tune, and recorded here with a Scorpion: Rudolph Schenker! Halford easily handles Klaus Meine’s vocal part. It’s a great bonus track, easily worth the extra cash that I spent on this import version. I got this from Amazon.com in 2002.
They give you lots of great packaging with this live album. Decent liner notes, lots of pictures, plenty to look at while you spend a couple hours listening to this platter of metal perfection. Enjoy the feast.
I’ll be taking a summer break from this series. I’m a bit burned out on Halford albums now, and there are so many new arrivals to listen to! But fear not. I’ll be following this review with Crucible, another Japanese release, a box set, and more.