All posts by saradzhyan

DIO: Fallen Angel Shows Aging Fans Paradise.

Fallen Angel Shows Aging Fans Paradise.
By Simon Saradzhyan.
735 words
10 March 1999

All the clichees that go with the concerts of a veteran hard-rock star were there to be counted at Ronnie James Dio's first gig in Russia at the Olimpiisky sports arena.

A gigantic heavy-metal tour T-shirt was strung behind the stage and powerful speakers were piled up in front as groups of middle-aged faithfuls craned their necks above the enthusiastic teenage mosh pit to catch a glimpse of their idol.

But there was something that made last Saturday's show different from those put on by other old hard rocksters that have come to this country in the past few years to exploit the nostalgia of their aging fans. And that was Dio's sad, but truly powerful voice that dominated the arena for an hour and a half.

Dio effortlessly climbed up and roared down his formidable range as he went from his most recent solo hits to the earlier numbers that made him the star vocalist of Rainbow and Black Sabbath in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

His vocals overwhelmed the audience in a way that would have made Ian Gillan of Deep Purple and David Coverdale of Deep Purple and Whitesnake weep into their mikes.

Both Gillan and Coverdale struggled through most of their repertoire during their recent performances in Moscow, often choking on the higher notes they had mastered with such apparent ease on studio records.

But not Dio. He outperformed Coverdale even when performing one of the latter's most famous Deep Purple hits – "Mistreated."

American-born Dio also had to cover up the flaws in his most recent lineup, which featured only one man up to his standard – former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright.

Guitarist Tracy G could offer none of the lighting-speed technique and mind-blowing riffs of Rainbow's Ritchie Blackmore or Black Sabbath's Toni Iommi, and merely succeeded in producing all sorts of ugly screaming sounds. Nor was keyboard player Scott Warren able to offer much beyond simplistic background lines that could hardly be heard.

But Dio was powerful enough to compensate and make the audience forget about the acoustic defects of Olimpiisky and the constant feedback from the overloaded speakers.

The crowd repaid Dio back for his efforts by bursting its lungs every time the singer picked up the refrain of one of his biggest hits.

"We have lost the children of the sea," the crowd howled as Dio spread his fingers for another old-fashioned satanic sign over the expanse of burning lighters. However, most of his mystical and angry lyrics, filled with encounters with all sorts of devils and monsters, were likely wasted on his Russian audience which could only guess what words Dio sang between refrains.

Dio himself said in an interview that his angry lyrics are not meant to depress, but rather enlighten his fans.

"The evil things that I have sang are more of a warning, telling the people there is a dark side of life and you'd better stay away from it," he said of songs he wrote while singing with Black Sabbath.

Moreover, Dio admitted that the main function of such lyrics was to maintain the image he had cultivated for himself.

"I wrote and sang a bit on the darker side than I would have if the Black Sabbath were called Angel or something," admitted Ronnie James Padovana, whose pseudonym means nothing less than God in Italian.

God or not, Dio was visibly pleased with the way his local hard-rock flock screamed and applauded at the end of his show to prompt him to do a few extra songs. He is already planning his next visit to Russia in the fall.

More of Faith No More

Preview of Faith No More Concert in Moscow in January 1998
More of Faith No More
By Simon Saradzhyan
The Moscow Tribune
January 1998
“Can you feel it? See it? Hear it today? If you can’t then it doesn’t matter anyway. You will never understand it cause it happens so fast. And it feels so good like walking on glass." Sorry for such a long “Epic” quote, but that’s really how my organs of sense, if not feet, feel like every time we put on one of those Faith No More records, except, maybe, for their sarcastically-visualised cover of Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like A Sunday Morning.”
Everything else is so erratic and eclectic that even seasoned connoisseurs of the mainsteram rock’s heavy alternative fail to track down all influences in FNM’s ongoing sonic aggression which will this week stretch into Moscow for the third time courtesy of Talent Concert International.
Thrash metal? Rap? Funk? Punk? This 18-year old San Francisco unit which mutates with each new release, yet stays on its own “Path of Glory.“ The latter is one of the better tracks on the new release , yet stays on its own “Path of Glory.“ The latter is one of the better tracks on the ? You name it! We at [i]The Tribune[i] have already lost remnants of our teenage faith in the Western pop industry’s classifications, trying to do that, and just call it Faith No More.
Really, the very word “style” is something that doesn’t stick up to to band’s latest record which is not completely misnamed “Album of the Year.”
On the whole, this 1997 release sounds much more powerful and alive than the previous half-hearted “King For a Day” where guitar lines were recorded by an alternatively unimaginative Trey Spruance from singer Mike Patton’s side project Mr. Bungle. Luckily this king of guitar mediocracy has already been dethroned by Jon Hudson, former roommate of FNM’s bass virtuoso Billy Gould. And much the joy of this country’s vast hard rock community, already cheered by FNM drummer Mike Bordin’s allaince with Ozzy Ozbourne, Hudson wisely shares Black Sabbath leanings of the band’s original guitarrero Jim Martin.
While still too stifle to match this British hard rock monster’s stage insanity, Faith No More will definitely give us all more kicks at Luzhniki’s Malaya Sportivnaya Arena this Sunday at 6.00 pm than the laughable money-reaper who sailed through Kremlin last week.

Review of Faith No More Concert in Moscow in January 1998
By Simon Saradzhyan
The Moscow Tribune
I couldn’t care less when Roddy Bottum of Faith No More told me that one of his favourite bands is Aqua. Oh, well, just another sordid joke so typical of the San Francisco outfit, I thought, preparing for this San Francisco band’s headlining gig in Moscow last Sunday, a single date in the ongoing European leg of their world tour.
I realised how wrong and inattentive I was only a few hours later, when vocalist Mike Patton interrupted his rapid-fire succession of FNM’s best and worst for a quick rendition of Aqua’s finest.
“I’m a Barbie girl in my Barbie world.
Life in plastic. It’s fantastic.
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere.
Imagination. Life is your creation,” Patton drawled, much to the confusion of Moscow’s FNM junkies, who showed up in full force at Luzhniki’s Malaya Sportivnaya Arena.
“Come’on, Mikey, let’s go party,” [i]Tribuners[i] replied, taking up the next line of this Danish duo’s lollipop chart-breaker, but this suggestion drew no response from Patton.
Mike, like the rest of this angry hardcore-rap-punk-pop-kitsch band brought by Talent Concert International, was too preoccupied with continuing the show. Patton, dressed and hair-dressed like an aspiring mafiosi, stepped into the spotlight of the T-shaped stage. The FNM’s visibly tense frontman started it all slowly with a melodic cover of the “Midnight Cowboy” soundtrack, allowing the mushpit crowd to recover from the sickening offerings of Russian bands Naiv and Tequilajazz as well as Ukraine’s Green Gray. All three were chosen to open for the Frisco posse at what was officially dubbed the [i]S Pertsem Po Zhizny[i] festival.
Soon enough the soothing effect of Patton’s harmonica was all lost in the roar of the US music underworld’s best rhythm section, that kept all our diaphragms violently vibrating hours after the show was over. Mike Bordin drummed away one speed-chasing sequence after another, all lost in his dreadlocks, to the joy of the arena’s cigarette-puffing crowd. The latter ran out of breath long before Bordin, even though this founding member confessed to me before the show that he had been smoking cigars lately.
Spitting on the floor and leaving his footprints on Luzhniki’s interiors, Bordin, who is the only of FNM not to have traded the traditional rock appearance for a trendy suit and short haircut, told [i]The Tribune[i] he started digging [i]kurros cubanos[i] while touring with Ozzy. Unlike Osborne, who smokes ten cigars a day (and rides an exercise bike too!), Bordin enjoys only two smokes a day, unwilling to affect his fierce drumming performance, matched only by FNM’s other rhythm-man Billy Gould.
Swirling his head with an intensity that would have made Metallica’s James Hatfield weep into his beer, Gould dribbled his fingers all over his bass’ neck. The mushpit’s headbanging males almost wrang each other’s necks trying to emulate this bass idol, while stoned gals literally leaped onto the press corps from the upper seats.
This stage-bound motion was temporarily slowed down during a paralysing instrumental by Bottum and the band’s latest guitarist Jon Hudson, but then climbed a crescendo when Faith No More finally conceded to play “Epic.” This was, and still is the song its creators are most “sick of” having to wrestle out at every “f…ing” show, according to Bottum.
And, if Patton did have “a little problem” with his vocals, as the same Bottum put it on Sunday morning, it did show in his performance of this best-known hit from the band’s breakthrough album “Real Thing.”
“Can you feel it? Hear it? See it today?” Patton shout at the audience in the very first line of this FNM anthem. And we did feel, hear and see a lack of combative spirit in the whole group. This impression vanished as soon as the band moved to “The Land of Sunshine” from their 1992 album “Angel Dust,” but then got back again when Patton started rapping reluctantly the lines of another anthem dubbed “We Care A Lot.”
In fact, the only of their standards Faith No More did perform impecabbly and easily on that Sunday night was “Easy Like A Sunday Morning.” This cover of Lionel Richie’s ballad again proved both Patton’s vocal might and Hudson’s ability to copycat the solo technique of the band’s original guitarrero Jim Martin.
And like this head-bobbing Sphynx of hardcore, Hudson stayed motionless. The shy generator of Black Sabbath-like riffs pranced forward only when urged by Patton to squeal out the guitar solo on the tip of the stage.
As for Patton, he wouldn’t stop his kung-fu dashes and shadow-boxing even when nearly hit by a stick hurled from the mushpit. Instead, he moved to the edge of the stage by shouting “Come on, m….r” and pointing to his forehead. He even froze for several seconds producing a Placido-Domingo-like vibrato.
Fortunately, this provocation didn’t work and Patton retreated to make vicious circles in front of Bordin’s kit, screaming and howling, chattering and wheezing until it was all abruptly over.
Having prematurely fired all of their standards in the middle of their disturbing show, Faith No More retreated from the stage. Then they came back and left, came back and left again in what looked and sounded like an automatic replay due to the evident lack of one convincingly final anthem.

Preview of Motorhead’s 1st Concert in Moscow in 1997

By Simon Saradzhyan
The Moscow Tribune
October 27, 1997
“But that’s the way I like it, baby, I don’t want to live for ever” was the favourite response me and my college friends would blurt out whenever some girl got verbally horrified by the amount of cheap alcohol consumef cheap alcohol consumeee o’clock in td by us by “three o’clock in the morning.”
And you know what? We still stand for these and other sermons sung by Great Britain’s probably most American band, although good years of heavy-partying are well behind my bald head and “I ain’t no nice guy any more” as [i]Motorhead[i] singer and bass player Lemmy Kilmister have rightfully revealed in a lyrical duo with his “chemically imbalanced” pal Ozzy Osborne.
Actually this dual tear-jerker as well as “1916” are one of the few revvvvvvvvare one of the few revelations of Lemmy’s softer ego in more than 20 years of fronting the band that have sent entire chapters of US biker gangs supersonic “On The Road”
This and other Motorhead adrenalisers are put on by these two-wheeled banditos almost as often as these easyed banditos almost as often as these easy riders get stomped in Hollywood action movies. No wonder, folks, as Lemmy himself has come to look like a character driven on a chopper from “Hunter S. S. opper from “Hunter S. e’ and all its synonyms would hardlyThompson’s Hell’s Angels” despite all his British blood.
In fact, this preposition ‘despite’ and all its synonyms would hardly be enough to describe Mr. Killmister’s “March Or Die,” activities that have already translated into 18 albums that includ include win numerous head-banging-against-pa’s closet contests.
Only by subjecting your fragile ears to these records of sheer roar you can tell what really a tough life it has been and still isthe author of immortal buster “Killed By Death” who claims he just for the formerly problem fatherless child mutated into our average rock star. Lemmy himself describes this glorious biography of odds-defying standards as being being born into “a hostile Welsh community,” ostile Welsh community,” Welsh community,” ited to play bass with Hawkwind, but “busted up at the Canadian border” with drugs and fired in 1975 to finally kickstart Motorhead. And all this invariably accompanied by “asterisking” those “of all co those “of all coar. He himself describes itas born “afighting childhood battles “mostly lost because there was always another Welsh kid waiting,” “raised on the early rock’n’roll and the Beatles.” Then forming “Rocking Vicars” which lasted from 1966 to mid-1967, then invtatives of the opposite sex “of all die-hard fans fruitlessly trying to “keep me in a box they made.”
Indeed, to restrain a man like Lemmy is almost as impossible as to fully comprehend what this touring veteran is trying to convey by his touching and humble request, suc “Love Me Like A Rep such as “Love Me Like A Reptile,” while being overwhelmed by guitar rattle of his dehumanising “Road Crew.” While still in school I tried to make out this lethal trio’s lyrics are billions of times and to no avail, but I’m gonna give it another try try lours, sizes, shapes and political and religious persuasions,” staying with a friend who would “spend 3/4 of that afternoon in front of my toilet talking on the big white telephone,” and digging bands like Everly Brothers, ABBA and MC5 to the horror of hise such heavy studio classics as “Overkill,” Ace of Spades” as well as the powerful concert which I keep forgetting the name for, but which has helped mcert which I keep forgetting the name for, but which has helped m the name for, but which has helped mwhen Motorhead finally rolls on stage of DK Gorbunova courtesy of Talent Concert International (TCI) to end its European tour. See you all at Gorbushka on Friday and Saturday to get a live grip of Lemmy’s husky drawling.
“March Or Die,” folks!

Whitesnake’s Concert in Moscow

By Simon Saradzhyan
The Moscow Tribune
Oh, you older Eves of Moscow, weep and tremble!
Whitesnake is sleuthing into this autumn town to lure you and the local Adams into partaking of their evergreen and eternally tempting tree of soft rock knowledge.
Yes, girls, no one but David Coverdale himself will dawn on you at Luzhniki’s Malaya Sportivnaya Arena on Saturday and Sunday nights, courtesy of Rusintershow.
You may not know it, but this ageless master of tear-jerking ballads iscurently roaming the world in what Whitesnake promoters claim to be his band’s Final Tour.
We at [i]The Tribune[i] believe this claim as much as Ozzy Osbourne fans showing up for his yet another farewell world tour. But wouldn’t it just be a perfect example of Murphy’s Law if it really were the Whitesnake’s last tour and you never got to see David Coverdale strut his stuff on a Moscow stage for the very first or very last time?
I just don’t understand how teenagers today can avoid succumbing to the vocal verve of this self-described “rock’n’roll preacher, not a Sunday school teacher” who lured so many female souls to the kingdom of Whitesnake back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I, myself, have never left this land of heavy rattle and utter sadness ever since I heard Deep Purple’s third line-up.
This Goliath of British hard rock recruited young David in a rather painstaking way after kicking rather painstaking way after kicking out the rebellious Ian Gillan in 1973. The already extremely popular band placed an anonymous classified advert in British press, welcoming demos from hard-rock oriented singers.
Most of the demos drove Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore to tears because of the attempts to imitate Gillan’s trademark screams. Only one audio bid stood out from the rest— a recording of drunken moaning periodically interrupted by swift sonic ascents to dizzy-making heights.
Ritchie and the gang hie and the gang invited the owner of the voice for auditioning, which lasted more than four hours. A wide-eyed David, who couldn’t believe he was singing for his idols, more than proved his vocal guts making Deep Purple veterans forget about his lack of stage experience and facial skin problems. The latter were swiftly taken care of with help of intense medication, which when prescribed jointly with alcohol intoxication, transformed “the ugly duckling into a rock prince of sorts,” as the BBC Russian service’s rock herald Seva Novgorodtsev once put it.
After the fateful auditioning, only a few months passed before the new album, “Burn,” hit music stores, starting a new era in Deep Purple’s hard rock quest. Much to the chagrin of female fans, the new singer’s sex appeal was obscured by the album cover, which pictured the faces of the new line-up as blurry burning candles.
They did appreciate, however, all pros and cons of the dual between Coverdale and bassist-vocalist Glenn Hughes both in the powerful speed-chasing opener [i]Blenn Hughes both in the powerful speed-chasing opener [i]Burn[i] and bluesy [i]Might Just Take Your Life[i]. The vocal stand-off between our hero and funk-crazed Hughes became even more audible with Deep Purple Mark III’s next album, which featured the lyrical revelations of [i]Soldier of Fortune[i] and [i]Holy Man[i].
Apart from these slow tracks, the songs remained the same, much to the die-hard joy of conservative fans back in the good old hippy year of 1974.
Dubbed “Stormbringer,” this gold LP did in fact bring a storm into the relations between Blackmore and the rest of the band. Soon enough, the moody guitar wizard was replaced with American jazz guitarist Tommie Bolen. Surprisingly enough, Bolen, a currently deceased, formerly cheerful, then-cheerful heroin addict, decided to join the vocal battle between Coverdale and Hughes, which turned ugly in Mark III’s eclectic bunch of swan songs released in 1975, dubbed the “Come Taste The Band” album.
Having tasted enough of domination from Deomination by Deep Purple’s founding fathers, Coverdale finally went solo with his first album called (what else) “Whitesnake.”
One year after this 1977 release, Coverdale founded Whitesnake the band, which played less sophisticated tunes than Deep Purple but sounded tempting enough to draw keyboard player Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice.
These two ex-Deep Purplers joined their ambitious colleague in 1980. Unfortunately, this re-union didn’t last long enough to see the band achieve the peak of its commercial succesl success in 1987 with “1987.”
In this album, the ninth of a total of 11, David finally found what dazzling sale his high-pitched vocals could produce if juxtaposed against the literally singing guitar of John Sykes. This binary weapon exploded right during the heat of British soft metal invasion, into ears of teenage girls across the world. Indeed, what could the son of a steel smelter do better than melt down the hearts of young women?
Unfortunately, Sykes left in yet another band reshuffle, but Coverdale continued his battle for our ears with the help of another wonderboy of modern guitar playing—Steve Vai.
“Why Vai?” one might have asked after hearing the “Slip of the Tongue” that came out in 1989.
Welelel Well, because only the world’s fastest and most creative guitar surfers can keep up with the great tidalwave of Coverdale’s voice. And that’s why uninventive Vai was dumped when Coverdale disbanded Whitesnake to team up with Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.
The two, however, did not engender any lasting chemistry, although the slow tracks of “Coverdale/Page” did enter my Rock Ballads Hall of Fame. Coverdale himself has denied his Whitesnake works have even fallen under Led Zeppelin’s influence, but the latteer can be traced in “Judgment Day” from “Slip of the Tongue” which reminds some somewhat of Robert Plant’s [i]Cashmere[i].
Having called it quits with Page, Coverdale reconvened his Whitesnake to record yet another sad, but soul-gripping self-exploration dubbed “Restless Heart.”
I know, folks, it is a bit old-fashioned to try dig the depths of soft metal, but trust me, there is nothing like seeing and hearing a live reptile coil up. So I’ll see you girls and others suckers for a sad white soul at Luzhniki on Saturday and Sunday night.