Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hard Rock Royalty on Tour - Maiden, UFO, Ace Frehley

Between the quiet noodlings of The Swell Season and Mark Knopfler, the Northwest will greet some hard rockers who are doing rare tours this year. Check it:

Iron Maiden
I have seen them seven times. Why not eight? Especially as this tour is called the "Somewhere Back In Time" tour, as the band is dusting off their huge stage set from the 1984-85 Powerslave tour and are only playing songs from the first six albums. This will indeed be a step back 22 years in time for me. I saw them at Ozzfest a couple of years ago and they were still as great as I remembered from the 80s.

They followed Ozzfest with a concept album called A Matter of Life and Death and on that tour, did the whole 75 minute album end-to-end, pissing off many fans that wanted to hear the old hits. Good for Maiden! Oh, and to offset the cost of trucking all that gear around this year, the band had an airplane outfitted to carry band AND gear and guess who is flying it? Lead singer/pilot Bruce Dickinson. The band plays June 2 at the White River Amphitheater, outside of Seattle. It is their only Northwest stop. I will be there.

Ace Frehley
Hot off of his Dunkin Donuts TV campaign, Ace has been working hard at finishing his CD and staying sober. Ah, Ace's CD. I have been hearing about this so long, I am not sure which one has been longer in the making - Ace's album or Chinese Democracy. Ace doesn't even have his own Web site but I have been hearing "it's almost done" for years now.

Still, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ace is back on the road, after very successful Halloween and New Years Eve gigs in the New York/Jersey area. This tour is not just a few gigs on the road - it's a full on club tour that kicked off last Wednesday. I have always been a big Ace fan and when he left KISS (I was 12), my interest in that band was over. I have a soft spot for the guy, as he is the reason I took up the guitar way back when. And the set list for this tour is smoking. The closest he gets to Portland, however, is Spokane or Vancouver BC. (Typically weird for Ace. Why Spokane?) Anyway, I may miss this due to the six to seven hour drive I would have to endure each way.

I don't have a lot to say about this one except that my wife and I saw UFO a few years ago at the Hard Rock in Chicago and they were fantastic. On that tour, they had Jason Bonham on drums and a different bass player, as Pete Way was not able to get into the country. Looks like that is close to getting smoothed out for this tour, and they are again with original drummer Andy Parker. So with the exception of Michael Schenker, they are touring with the classic lineup: Phil Mogg, Vinnie Moore, Paul Raymond, Pete Way, Andy Parker. The show I saw in Chicago was notable because I had no idea how many truly great songs UFO put out. It was one after the other and we had a blast. This show comes May 8 to the Aladdin Theater in Portland, which dramatically increases the odds that I will go.


Further on up the road said...

I'm off to see Maiden at Twickenham in July. We saw them at Reading festival when they did a huge oldies set - only from the first 4 albums I think. Stunning! Then we saw them on the next tour at Earls Court with Trivium supporting. Again brilliant but they managed to fry the electrical supply to the stage necessitating a 15 min hiatus whilst some electrians performed miracles behind stage. I know a lot there were annoyed about the focus on the latest material but hey they had done the oldies tour before and it's probably their best album in a decade. I knew the new material so was well into it.

UFO - now somehow I've never seen them? Or did I once in the early 80s? Is Vinnie Moore still guitarist? He's very good. Schenker has taken a lot of stick lately but he was in a guitar mag here recently saying he is clean and sober and I wish him the very best. He is a stunning guitarist when he's together.

Isorski said...

Yeah, they did the oldies set at Ozzfest and it was awesome. I wish I could have seen them do the whole Matter of Life and Death album but they did not bring it to the States broadly. I agree that it's their best album since, probably, 7th Son.

Yeah, Vinnie Moore is still the guitarist for UFO and he's great!

Guitarman5150 said...

What Ace hasn't relased new CD yet? Ha Ha! Don't hold your breath! I still have Frehely's Comet stuff on Tape. I can't find it on CD. The only thing I can find is 12 Picks. That is about as close as I have come to getting his stuff. If I browse e-bay or Amazon long enough I might be able to find it or maybe iTunes. I dunno if I wanna go to all that trouble.

As far as G N'R Ace will put one out first. That is who I'd put my money on. You might see the leftovers put out after Axl has kicked the Buckethead! HA! I made a funny!

Isorski said...

I am starting to get the sense that we will see an Ace album this year. I just posted today that it even has a title - "Pain in the Neck." But then of course, GNR's upcoming CD has had a title for a decade!

Chris said...

Have tickets for that Maiden show at White River gone on sale yet? This is the first place I've actually seen that date announced! I must see that show! I saw them twice in Seattle (Somewhere in Time tour at the Tacoma Dome with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion opening, and the 7th Son tour at the Seattle Center Coliseum with Guns & Roses opening). I also saw them in Columbus, OH, with Dio and Motorhead too.

Isorski said...

According to Ticktbastard, the pre-sale for Maiden starts on Wednesday.