Last night’s final Fare Thee Well show; the final joint appearance, ever, by the Grateful Dead’s "core four" of Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann—if you take them at their word—began and ended the same way: with a group bow and a huge roar from a giant crowd.
Kiss brought their 40th Anniversary Tour to the First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, Sunday, August 24 — and were greeted by a packed house. They played what amounted to a greatest-hits set that included "Deuce," "Love Gun," "God of Thunder" and more. They also sprinkled in a good portion of non-makeup-era Kiss with "Hide Your Heart" and "Lick It Up."
Chris Kringel pieced together 21 separate lessons into one book that will help define your playing style as a bassist. The book starts off with simple right-hand plucking concepts and ends with complex two-handed tapping techniques.
Highlights included an arena-sized version of “Stranger in This Town” and a thundering “Seven Years Gone,” featuring exciting fretwork from both Sambora and Orianthi. While Ori gave Richie most of spotlight, she wasn’t shy when it was her turn to solo. Her incredible technique and more trebly, biting tone lit a fire under the frontman’s ass, who clearly enjoyed being challenged.
It’s no insult to the band to say that Kiss have always been about window dressing. That’s why Paul Stanley’s new autobiography, Face The Music: A Life Exposed, comes as such a surprise. After years of carefully maintaining his Starchild superhero identity, Stanley lets down his guard and unleashes a torrent of pent-up feelings that erupt and flow over 400 pages like molten lava.
Charlie “Bird” Parker is another “shredder” from the past worth investigating. Parker flamed out way too soon in 1955, but his shadow still looms large on the contemporary jazz landscape. Jazz writer Stanley Crouch spent the last 20 years researching this amazing figure, and captures him in all of his high-flying glory in Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker.
In terms of George Harrison's guitar playing, we get to hear the good (his whammy-bar-laced guitar solo on "Till There Was You"), the not so good (his lackluster solo on "Lucille") and the intriguing (His better-than-the-EMI-version solo on "I Saw Her Standing There" opens up so many possibilities).
If you’re looking for a soundtrack for the last gasp of summer, try a set of sweet singles by singer/songwriter Tawny Ellis. A native of Savannah, Georgia, Ellis splits her time between Los Angeles and New Orleans, and it shows in her music. A sultry compilation of twangy strings and smoky vocals, Ellis delivers a collection that showcases her considerable talent.
Many guitarists may never know the crunchy overdrive and sweet compression of a vintage 1968 Marshall JMP50 “Plexi” amplifier driven through a 4x12 Marshall cabinet loaded with Celestion Greenback speakers, much less the grinding, high-gain distortion of a Bogner Uberschall Twin Jet. And isn’t that shame?