“Benvenuto, bambini!” Roger Waters exclaims through his microphone to the line of children excitedly walking toward the stage inside Rome’s massive Stadio Olimpico. On this blistering afternoon in late July, the former Pink Floyd leader and his band are in the middle of the soundcheck for tonight’s show, at which they’ll perform Floyd’s classic 1979 double-album, The Wall, for 50,000 Italian fans.
Red Rocks is a musical mecca, a natural amphitheater in the foothills of the Rockies renowned for its great sound and serene setting. On this summer night, afternoon storms have given way to sunshine. A rainbow spreads across the plains behind the stage, helping to make the place feel even more magical.
Rock and roll is a funny game to be a part of in 2013. When we’re this connected and this exposed to feedback and criticism on an instant and almost constant cycle, rock and roll’s decided lack of any sort of hip, self-aware irony makes its earnestness an easy target for the smugness that has come to dominate internet culture at large.
What a difference a year makes. In February 1969, the Grateful Dead recorded a series of shows at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore West in the hope of finally capturing on tape the psychedelic alchemy of their already legendary onstage interplay. The double album Live Dead, released in November that year, showcased the Dead at their adventurous and exploratory acid-peak best and cemented their reputation as the premier jamming band of the era.
The 46-year-old Petrucci certainly knows a thing or two about challenging one’s self. In more than a quarter century with Dream Theater, the native of New York’s Long Island has regularly raised the bar for six-string (and sometimes seven-string) fretboard wizardry.
The world needs more guitar heroes like Guthrie Govan. No mere notes-per-nanosecond noodler, Govan has musical tastes and a command of music history far more eclectic and adventurous than those of the average shred demon.
Founded by guitarist Jeremy Wagner, Chicago-based death metal band Broken Hope began in 1988, back when extreme metal was on the rise. They achieved acclaim with their first few albums, including Swamped In Gore, The Bowels Of Repugnance and Repulsive Conception, and after two more studio releases, they disbanded in 2002.
Twenty years after Kurt Cobain suffered for the sins of corporate rock, Nirvana rise from the vault in a deluxe box-set reissue of their great grunge apotheosis, In Utero. GW delivers the gospel according to Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear.
I maintain it’s my absolute prerogative to wear whatever hairstyle goes with my guitar at any point in my life. It amazes me when people make a big deal about people changing their hair. Surely that’s one of the bonuses of being in a band. When I was a kid, David Bowie was big, so that’s where it started for me.