Tag Archives: Vinyl

REPOST: Vinyl Spin: Elton John “Live from Moscow”

img_20190505_18354623985168918866547048.jpg

NOTE: This post was originally written in April 2019 in honour of Record Store Day. The 2 LP/CD set has been released globally January 24, 2020.  In honour of that event I’m resharing this Red Heart Blue Sign piece.

In 1978 Elton John released a solo Lp, A Single Man, it marked a few departures for him musically.  It was the first where Bernie Taupin did not have a writing credit on the Lp.  He also didn’t record with the band that had accompanied him on his two previous studio albums Rock of the Westies and Blue Moves. Elton toured to support the album, but unlike previous tours, the tour in ’79 was a man and his piano.  Elton was accompanied only by percussionist Ray Cooper. The tour that year had only one stop in Canada, the old O’Keefe centre (now the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts) in Toronto.  These shows were not unlike shows recorded Elton 20 years later in Madison Square Gardens.  These shows were made available solely to Fan Club members (of which I was) on two CDs in 2000 and 2001.

The tour included a historic eight shows in the old USSR, four in Leningrad and four in Moscow.  The concerts were one of the first by a western musicians allowed into the country and would open the flood gates for everyone else.

For Record Store Day this year, the BBC recordings of his last concert in Russia in 1979 were released on vinyl as a double Lp.  This 2 disc set was my first purchase after buying a new Turntable and it fills me with joy to hear the needle softly set itself down on side one track one with every album I play now.

Disc one Side one opens with Elton solo on the piano with open refrain of “Daniel” and cautiously welcoming applause, as the song plays I find I have tears in my eyes to hear the warmth of vinyl again; it’s a welcoming feeling to my youth.  Sticking with older materal Elton seques to his self professed favourite composition, “Skyline Pigeon”.  Take me to the pilot leads into Rocket Man a song that turns epic in this live performance.

Flipping to Side two it begins with “Don’t Let the Sun go down on me”, “Goodbye yellow brick road” and “Candle in the wind” all songs the audience well recognizes.  It seems as listening to the Lp that the the soviets in attendence are settling in and are not so wary of this pop superstar.  Elton’s love of Motown is widely known, the side ends with Marvin Gaye’s “Heard it through the grapevine” but sadly, IMHO, he over extends this taking away from the performance.  As I listened to it, I wonder how many in the audince felt as I did – is this almost over?

Over to Disc 2 Side 1 and Elton is joined by percussionist Ray Cooper.  Cooper has been playing with Elton since the 1971 Lp Madman across the water.  Besides Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson no one has played more with Elton.  The second disc opens with a combined “Funeral for a friend/Tonight”, songs that appear on Eltons only two disc studio albums.  Touching on 9 of his 11 previous studio Lps in this concert he brings a bit of Captain Fantastic with “Better off dead” before breaking into a full arena sized concert version of Bennie and the Jets with a room full of Russians yelling “BENNIE” on queue.

One last flip to Side 4, with “Sorry seems to be the hardest word” and “Crazy water” from Blue Moves, the audience is clearly in his hands, Elton sets up the end of the show with a a series of song combinations guaranteed to get Russian boots moving.  Elton works his magic with “Saturday night’s alright for fight” and “Crocodile Rock” with his “Pinball Wizard” and he was the first to end a western pop concert in the USSR with the Beatles “Get Back” and “Back in the USSR”. Judging the by the reaction to the song you might think he played official state anthem, but while the USSR was still in tact as it was in 1979, it was  most certainly the unofficial  emotional anthem.

Elton John Live from Moscow is a gift to his fans from a performer who is in the middle of his “farewell yellow brick road” tour.  For me it took me back to being 19, Elton John’s Greatest Hits was my first vinyl Lp I purchased and “Sleeping with the Past” in 1989 was his my last before going into full CD mode.  Live from Moscow brings me back to being a fan of Elton John and to vinyl. From the warmth and depth of the sound of the recording to the packaging of vinyl.  It is a return to good days and good music.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter@robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My Year in Music

elton JOhnOne word, Vinyl sums up my year in music.  At the same time, I moved back to vinyl I also took a giant leap forward on digital music.  The loser in 2019 was the Compact Disc.  Considering I always ripped CD’s to digital storage, it made sense to make the bold step (for me) go 100% digital, with the exception of my vinyl purchases.

My move to vinyl was in conjunction with Record Store Day this past spring.  My desired purchased was the 2-disc set of Elton John’s concerts in Moscow. Putting on that vinyl stirred my heart.  I wrote about it in May in a post I called Vinyl Spins  That post can be found here: https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2019/05/05/vinyl-spin-elton-john-live-from-moscow/.

In the past 12 months a few artists really got me tapping my toes.  I’ll try something different here in an attempt to mention as much music that moved me in 2019 as possible.  I mention why I liked the in two or three sentences.  It’s a written lightening round of answers.

imagesAfter a year of playing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the feeling” on repeat, her LP Dedicated provided more fodder for my ears beyond “Call me Maybe”.  Dedicated proved that “E-Mo-Tion” was no fluke.  I look forward to listening to this for months to come.

 

Black KeysMy interest in The Black Keys is 100% based on my love of the music of Michelle Branch.  Like other music I’ve purchased in the past on impulse, “Let’s Rock” was a surprise to my ears.  Catchy tunes, Beatlesque harmonies and some good ol’ rock and roll make this the surprise of 2019 for me.

ColdplayThe last I listened to Coldplay was 2014’s Ghost Stories, I have largely ignored new music from Chris Martin, up until “Everyday Life” was released this fall. To be honest it took a few weeks after buying it off iTunes to listen to it, but when I did, I was surprised and so happy to hear a return to form of the band.  Will it be another Viva la Vida?  Likely not – but this Everyday Life is Coldplay, and it’s nice to have them back.

StingThere are very few artists that I would allow creative license to go back into their catalogue and revisit key songs, Sting is one of them and this year he released “My Songs”.  Sting goes back to The Police (with re-envisioned Message in the Bottle and Walking on the Moon and 5 others) and 7 songs from his solo years.  Some of his selections don’t move far from the original, but bold “re-writes” to his early music proves how talented a songwriter Sting is.  While I bought this digitally purchasing the vinyl of this is a sure thing.

Kacey MusgravesDua LipaJanelle MonaeSt. Vincent

Kacey Musgraves, Dua Lipa, Janelle Monae and St. Vincent grabbed my attention during the 2019 Grammy Awards show.   Winning an arm full of Grammys got my attention to find out more about Kacey Musgraves.  A fabulous performance pairing of Dua Lipa and St. Vincent performing Masseduction and One Kiss left me no choice BUT to seek out their music.  I was not let down by either.  Neither did Janelle Monae, who for me is the next coming of Prince.
Out of the 2019 Grammy’s it was Musgraves who stood heads and shoulders above the others.  Golden Hour, winner of four awards in last year has provided hours of listening enjoyment.  I am not embarrassed to admit that that I have three songs on repeat on my iPod; Slowburn, Space Cowboys and Butterflies.  I would listen to these songs for a full day, the three songs over and over and over.  I would not, could not tire of them.  As a postscript I’ll also add Billie Eillish to this group of performers that are bringing something new.

Musgraves, Monae, Lipa and St. Vincent are leading each of their genres bringing new energy and voice to music, I can’t wait to hear what comes next from each of them.

One last musical highlight, it came to us on December 5th and I dare anyone not to like “Christmas Tree Farm” from Taylor Swift.  The song on its own is infectious in its joy of Christmas.  However Swift enhanced that joy with a short video on the making of the song, which was written, produced and released in 6 days from December 1st to 6th.

I hope you all had music that moved you in 2019, may 2020 bring more beats that enthrall you and give you goosebumps!

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at

 

http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Vinyl Spin: Elton John “Live from Moscow”

img_20190505_18354623985168918866547048.jpgIn 1978 Elton John released a solo Lp, A Single Man, it marked a few departures for him musically.  It was the first where Bernie Taupin did not have a writing credit on the Lp.  He also didn’t record with the band that had accompanied him on his two previous studio albums Rock of the Westies and Blue Moves. Elton toured to support the album, but unlike previous tours, the tour in ’79 was a man and his piano.  Elton was accompanied only by percussionist Ray Cooper. The tour that year had only one stop in Canada, the old O’Keefe centre (now the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts) in Toronto.  These shows were not unlike shows recorded Elton 20 years later in Madison Square Gardens.  These shows were made available solely to Fan Club members (of which I was) on two CDs in 2000 and 2001.

The tour included a historic eight shows in the old USSR, four in Leningrad and four in Moscow.  The concerts were one of the first by a western musicians allowed into the country and would open the flood gates for everyone else.

For Record Store Day this year, the BBC recordings of his last concert in Russia in 1979 were released on vinyl as a double Lp.  This 2 disc set was my first purchase after buying a new Turntable and it fills me with joy to hear the needle softly set itself down on side one track one with every album I play now.

Disc one Side one opens with Elton solo on the piano with open refrain of “Daniel” and cautiously welcoming applause, as the song plays I find I have tears in my eyes to hear the warmth of vinyl again; it’s a welcoming feeling to my youth.  Sticking with older materal Elton seques to his self professed favourite composition, “Skyline Pigeon”.  Take me to the pilot leads into Rocket Man a song that turns epic in this live performance.

Flipping to Side two it begins with “Don’t Let the Sun go down on me”, “Goodbye yellow brick road” and “Candle in the wind” all songs the audience well recognizes.  It seems as listening to the Lp that the the soviets in attendence are settling in and are not so wary of this pop superstar.  Elton’s love of Motown is widely known, the side ends with Marvin Gaye’s “Heard it through the grapevine” but sadly, IMHO, he over extends this taking away from the performance.  As I listened to it, I wonder how many in the audince felt as I did – is this almost over?

Over to Disc 2 Side 1 and Elton is joined by percussionist Ray Cooper.  Cooper has been playing with Elton since the 1971 Lp Madman across the water.  Besides Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson no one has played more with Elton.  The second disc opens with a combined “Funeral for a friend/Tonight”, songs that appear on Eltons only two disc studio albums.  Touching on 9 of his 11 previous studio Lps in this concert he brings a bit of Captain Fantastic with “Better off dead” before breaking into a full arena sized concert version of Bennie and the Jets with a room full of Russians yelling “BENNIE” on queue.

One last flip to Side 4, with “Sorry seems to be the hardest word” and “Crazy water” from Blue Moves, the audience is clearly in his hands, Elton sets up the end of the show with a a series of song combinations guaranteed to get Russian boots moving.  Elton works his magic with “Saturday night’s alright for fight” and “Crocodile Rock” with his “Pinball Wizard” and he was the first to end a western pop concert in the USSR with the Beatles “Get Back” and “Back in the USSR”. Judging the by the reaction to the song you might think he played official state anthem, but while the USSR was still in tact as it was in 1979, it was  most certainly the unofficial  emotional anthem.

Elton John Live from Moscow is a gift to his fans from a performer who is in the middle of his “farewell yellow brick road” tour.  For me it took me back to being 19, Elton John’s Greatest Hits was my first vinyl Lp I purchased and “Sleeping with the Past” in 1989 was his my last before going into full CD mode.  Live from Moscow brings me back to being a fan of Elton John and to vinyl. From the warmth and depth of the sound of the recording to the packaging of vinyl.  It is a return to good days and good music.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter@robertdekker& @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net