Tuesday, July 18, 2006

We Honour You

I saw the VH1 Rock Honors program on Vh1 last evening in it's full entirety. I had earlier seen parts of it, having failed to check the timings in the paper. But it was worth the wait and I could watch it over and over again. This is a long overdue tribute of sorts to heavy metal & hard rock legends of the music world. The very idea is enough to make any metal-head lift his hands in the air, showing the index & pinky finger salute, and scream "oh yeah" into the night! And as soon as I saw the advert clip on VH1, I was all glea and had my air guitar tuned to perfection.

By the way the show was hosted by the hot chick Jaime Pressley, who is a big rock fan herself. The first honoree were Queen - who were represented by just two of the remaining three original members, bassist John Deacon having elected to step out of the spotlight upon his retirement from the music business. And ofcourse you all know that lead singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in 1991. Drummer Roger Taylor & guitar maestro Brian May still perform (with special guests) as Queen, however it just isn't right. A tribute, nonetheless, is a very welcome thing and an excuse to rock your bloddy socks off! The duo invited former Free singer Paul Rodgers (who does a tremendous job, btw) and gave the faithful crowd a dose of Queen songs. They were joined by drummer Taylor & singer/guitarist/drummer Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, who are huge Queen fans. Funnily enough, no spotlight was thrown on a bass player for the performance; they could have asked a celebrity bassist to join them for the night. Who would say no?

Next to be highlighted were the grandfathers of heavy metal, none other than Judas Priest themselves. Man do they rock hard! When I hear bands of Priest & fellow British metallers like Iron Maiden, I find it hard to fathom that Britan can now only produce wimp rockers like Oasis & Blur and every other member of a British rock band looks like he came out of his mother's nose while she sneezed! Anyway, Judas be my guide - the Priest rocked like it was 1984 all over again. Singer & screamer Rob Halford may look like Stone Cold Steve Austin's old father, but can he shake the house down or what! His voice is in fine condition. Tandem guitarists extra-ordinary, Glenn Tipton & KK Downing (pictured below) gave us a metal guitar lesson in harmonies, rhythmn and lead breaks. Ian Hill & Scott Travis complemented each other in a supporting role as the bass & drum rhythmn section, not forgotten in the background. It was magic to say the least. I was never a huge fan of the band but they played my all-time favourite JP tune - You got another thing coming - which I think is killer! Their presentation was preceded by the band Godsmack performing a medley of "Electric Eye"/"Victim Of Changes"/"Hell Bent For Leather".

The only band who I have followed and loved throughly came next - DEF LEPPARD! And they left their soft harmony driven ballads at home and ROCKED! They reminded everyone present that this band has a heavier side and can be counted to deliver the metal goods. They played "Rock Of Ages" & cover version of "20th Cenury Toy" a T-Rex original, which will also be included in their latest album. For the latter, they invited Brian May onstage to give the guitar sounds an additional tweak. Phil Collen and Viv Campbell sounded great with the former giving the shread section a much needed boost & it is always great to see the world's greatest drummer Rick Allen. Must admit that there were downsides - Rick Savage and his ridiculous haircut and it is a mighty shame to hear Joe Elliot struggle to reach the high notes in "Rock Of Ages". He just could not hit it and probably will never be able to deliver the goods like before. The second song suited him a lot better and I guess he will need to sing in a lower octave than before. The All-American Rejects suck and I reject them.....but they performed "Photograph" at the event as a tribute to the Leps.

The three British bands were followed by the American business institution - KISS. This is a money printing machine of the fastest rate. Kiss were there in their full makeup. Wikipedia notes them to be the most financially sucessful band of all time, what with makeup, t-shirts & all kinds of shit with Kiss logos selling faster than a comet. But Kiss are down to only two original members, Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons, who are now more astute businessmen than rockers. Guitarist Tommy Thayer has taken Ace Frehley's place and Eric Singer returns for his second stint in the band behind the drums. The band that got on stage to pay a tribute to Kiss were actually better and more exciting than the real thing. A Supergroup was formed to play the arena anthemn "God Of Thunder" - playing on stage were Gilby Clark & Slash on guitars, Scott Ian (Anthrax) on bass (he is normally a rhythm guitarist), Tommy Lee on drums and Rob Zombie on vocals. They were also joined by Ace Frehley. Okay! I am finally a fan of the Zombster, he was cool and rocked hard. I have to say this, Scott Ian looked like he was having a blast, Zombie was a demon on the mikes, Ace showed why he was also quoted as an inspiration by every guitarists who were prominent from 1980 to 2000 & Gilby looked like he was there purely to pay his respects. That leaves us with two guys who do everything to stay in the news, spotlight, tv, etc etc - Slash & Tommy Lee. I am not really big fans of either, although there was a time when I thought that Slash could do no wrong. Make no mistake, I think his tunes are great, not so sure about his intent. Anyway, Kiss came later to rock the fans out.

All in all, we saw/heard some great tunes, guitars that were in hiding came out, some rockers with balding or no hair at all and quite a few paunches fighting a battle with the tight leather pants. It was worth it, long live rock & metal and long live the music of these four bands! Peace!

Song for the day - "Breaking The Law" - JUDAS PRIEST