Tuesday, April 21, 2015

bus vibes #1 - robbie williams

hello there

well, as i mentioned in passing a little while ago, i am skipping reading on the bus thus far this week. yes, i know, how is it that the world media has not given blanket coverage to this? beats me, look you see, but i have mentioned it twice now, and i suppose that will do.

i felt compelled, or of a mind, to catch up on some vibes for a bit. the excuse, or if you like flashpoint, for doing this was investing a not inconsiderable number of coins of money into a recent release off of Robbie Williams. yes, sis, i will be reviewing that now as i listened to that first, so you may want to skip this blog post until you have played it. if, of course, you are reading this.

what is the release? it's a "best of" three nights in concert in Paris, recorded between March 30 and April 1 of this very year, with this very year being 2015. why did i buy it? because it's Robbie and my sister really, really likes him. i do too, in fairness. i would tend to be, and indeed have been, more selective with my Robbie investments over the years. my sister, however, believes that i should hand Robbie every single coin of money he asks for in return for a release, and do so with a smile on my face.

hence this.

for a mere £60 (!), Robbie was prepared to sell me recordings of all three nights he did in Paris. i figured, all by myself, that this would essentially be buying the same set three times over, and thus went with the idea of £20 for the best of being quite fine thanks.

so is it value for the coins of money requested for a 2 CD set and the mp3 download (postage was extra, for the record)? overall, yes, if only for the slightly more than passing fan of the man.

there are two schools of thought on the live album. actually, three if we throw in the "contractual obligation" element. first some - the Manic Street Preachers in particular - see them as a rip off for the fans, as they are basically buying live recordings of songs they have already bought the studio versions of already. yeah, that's a band that have released 2 x greatest hits and a number of "anniversary" editions for which it was OK for the fans to part with money. others would argue that the live recording brings a different dynamic to the songs, a different experience - think Live At Leeds by The Who, maybe Frampton Comes Alive! and, in fairness, most of the Bowie live releases.

to which camp does this release belong? why, it has a foot in both, since the contractual obligation thing no longer applies to Robbie and his "i will release it myself" approach.

oddly, * magnificent spoilers * lie ahead here. if you intend to buy or otherwise obtain this album, you may want to skip the rest, i would not want to spoil surprises for you.

by bringing "something different" to a live recording, Robbie starts off with two of the big hits, Let Me Entertain You and Rock DJ, with a whole load of wah-wah pedal guitar on them. he also remains highly absent from singing duties on both, leaving most of the singing to backing singers and the crowd. presumably he was darting around allowing the gendarmes and garçons to check him out; something that works great at the gig but perhaps not as well as it could on a recording.

after that, though, it settles down to Robbie more or less singing the songs that the kids all went to go and see him do, and a few select covers that presumably amused him to have a go at. to that end, the mix of We Will Rock You and I Love Rock N Roll are boss, they are.

we get, as far as i can work out, a new "song" here, going by the name of Motherf****r. i am unaware of it being on any studio recording release, apologies if it was. it's apparently an ode to his son, and is notable for the fact that the title of it is most certainly not the rudest word in the actual song. Liam Gallagher's Little James this most certainly is not.

any particularly amazing, truly outstanding moments. oh my yes, and i wonder if i am going to get away with sharing this clip here. hope so. the intro to Kids is a cover of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, only with some very special new lyrics, directed at recent incidents relating to planning permission.

you may need to turn this bit up to hear it, but don't turn it up too loud. i think "nsfw" is the thing that all the kids write on the internet when something is a little naughty.....

very funny, and very well behaved of Mr Williams. in their little pop star world dispute everyone seems to think that Jimmy Page is in the right. most defend him at all times, of course, no matter what he has done. it's interesting what certain people seem to get away with. anyway, that bit above made it an absolute pleasure to contribute £20 to Robbie William's presumed planning permission appeal.

the bad stuff? well, Minnie The Moocher is on. i hate every version ever of that song, so skipped it. the cover of Bohemian Rhapsody is peculiar, for it seems to be, basically, Robbie singing over the Queen original, with the Mercury vocal turned up. begs the question, why bother?

mostly, it's all good, though. there's an outing for Monsoon, an often overlooked great song, and indeed Bodies, which is just amazing. yes, of course, Angels brings it all to a close.

the purpose of this tour? no idea, since as far as i am aware there's no new album or new greatest hits in the offing to promote. i think it's called the Let Me Entertain You tour as he was not allowed to call it the Because I Can, Because I Am Robbie Williams, Because F*** You tour. i think he just fancied getting out and about amongst the fans, doing his thing, earning coins of money and reminding everyone that, once upon a time, pop stars really, really mattered.

one of the best comments made about the U2 Songs Of Innocence 'controversy' was a heartfelt comment from a reviewer and presumed fan. he asked "why do they do this?", as in, why do they put themselves in the firing line for abuse and being slammed. the band should, he reasoned, just take it easy, not record new stuff and just go out and play the greatest hits every 4 or so years, feeling the love for them. maybe Robbie's doing that.

about ten or so years ago, Rod Stewart was asked why he was only doing 'Great American Songbook' cover albums. he responded, quite comfortably, that neither he nor - more importantly - the audience were particularly interested in anything new, all just wanted familiar songs and the classics, both on stage and on record. and then he wrote his engaging, interesting and immersing autobiography; something which clearly inspired him to go right ahead and write Time, arguably one of his greatest ever works as a solo artist. is Robbie undergoing a similar cathartic experience? who knows, and maybe fewer care.

if you were curious about this release and wanted to know more before buying, well, hope this has somehow helped. i would imagine, though, that all interested parties in the record have either bought it or have simply taken it as a given that their brother will have bought it for them. £20 in coins of money does feel somewhat steep for this, but hey ho, spent it now.

that was Monday's audio adventure on the bus. today was, and still is, Tuesday, and it was all David Lee Roth. far too late to do that post now, however - will try and do it tomorrow. after, of course, i have had a listen to some other vibes.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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