Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Favourite Albums of 2009

This is becoming a tradition now! For the second year, here is my list of favourite albums of this year. Again, somewhat different from all the other lists out there. Here are my top 5:
As always all comments are welcomed!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lisa Hannigan Live in Vicar St, Dublin - December 3rd, 2009

Musically, Lisa Hannigan is about the complete opposite from Yes. Barely a week later after seeing them I was treated to the perfect week for a Thursday evening. I discovered Lisa a while back through her work with Damian Rice but I became a big fan after the release of her Mercury Price nominated album See Saw. I don't know the full story behind the break up with Mr Rice, but nothing in the set made reference to her musical past. Having seen him opening for Leonard Cohen and then Lisa's show earlier this week. I am firmly on Lisa's camp.

The set started with a fantastic version of Pistachio, and was made up of most of Lisa's debut album. She complimented it with a couple of covers and she was brave enough to play 3 or 4 new songs. For me the highlights of show where "I don't know", "Teeth", "Lille" and the closing song, which was a fantastic version of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus".

The simplicity of Lisa's music accompanies her voice perfectly. The beauty of the arrangements and the energy and happiness of the musicians made for an incredible gig. I imagined myself going back to Vicar St to see her over and over again for the next 20 years as the memories build up of her incredible music.

  • Pistachio
  • Sea song
  • Blurry
  • Ocean and a rock
  • My Pirate disco
  • Braille
  • Venn diagram
  • Courting blues
  • Passenger
  • I don't know
  • Just like tom thumb
  • Couldn't love you more
  • Teeth
  • A Sail
  • Lille

  • Blow the wind southerly
  • Keep it all
  • Personal Jesus
Lisa's live picture is from kDamos's flickr Lisa Hannigan Live Set.

Yes Live at the Olympia, Dublin - November 26th, 2009

Nearly 8 years to the date after I saw Yes for the first time as part of their Symphonic tour at The Point in Dublin, I had the opportunity to see them again. The fact that Jon Anderson is not with them doesn't bother me, but don't et this the wrong way, I understand the importance of Jon Anderson in the history of Yes, but 2 things: The fact that he is not with them on this tour means that they played a couple of Drama tracks, and more importantly, right around the Union tour I remember him making a comment that Yes was like an Orchestra, where it didn't matter who was playing as long as the Spirit of Yes was kept alive. Indeed it is!

The crowd in Dublin was fantastic, like me, most of them didn't seem bother with the fact that Benoit David was singing or that Oliver Wakeman was on keyboards, although lets face it, the number of keyboard players in Yes over the years is rather large.

First to Benoit, I think he did a fantastic job. He was able to hit all the notes ad he had lots of energy, even if his dancing was a bit dodgy. He gave the show a different vibe. The guys were having fun on stage, and I think he was the main driver behind that.

As for Oliver, he is a really good keyboard player, although his timing was not impecable like his father's. A lot of the previous reviews pictured him as a bit cold, I felt he was really involved in the show.

Alan White played a good set with a a solid and fun drum solo. I think his playing is a bit understated, and to be honest I wasn't paying to much attention to him as I spent most of the time enjoying Steve's playing.

Chris Squire played a fantastic show, although he was about to collapse at the end of it! It still gets me how he can sing background vocals while playing Roundabout, if you have a bass, try playig it, let alone singing at the same time. A highlight for me was the bassline for Tempus Fugit.

But to me, the star of the show was Steve Howe. I have seen him with Yes a couple of times and with Asia a couple of times, and this was by far his most fun performance. He was dancing around and improvising in some of the soles, which is unheard off! In true over the top prog rock mode, at some stage he had his Gibson ES, while playing the Line 6 Variax on a stand, beside the Fender Dual Pro Steel and changing between the three. Fantastic!

For his solo set, I wanted to see him play Mood for a Day, which he played the last time I saw him with Asia, but instead he played Classical Gas... it was superb!

As I mentioned before, the highlights of the show where the two Drama songs, and the fact that there were no 20 minute epics didn't bother me. Easy for me to say because the last time I saw them they played Gates of Delirium and Close to the Edge. The other song that is worth mentioning was Siberian Khatru. So the opening was exactly like the start of the famous Yessongs. All in all a fantastic show, from a fantastic band, and yes, if they come back again, I will go and see them. Doesn't matter who is playing what instrument, as long as the spirit of Yes is alive, I will continue to support them.

The Setlist:
  • Firebird Suite
  • Siberian Khatru
  • I've seen all good people
  • Tempus Fugit
  • Onward
  • Astral Traveller (with Drum Solo)
  • Yours is no disgrace
  • And You and I
  • Steve How Solo
    - Classical Gas
    - Cactus Boogie
  • Owner of a lonely heart
  • South side of the sky
  • Machine Messiah
  • Heart of the Sunrise
  • Roundabout

  • Starship Trooper