Category Archives: Uncategorized

6 Types of Instagram posts that you’ll find on your timeline

Here’s a quick blog post that I was discussing with my wife last night. It must be said ..

Here are the 6 Instagram posts that you ALWAYS find on your timeline:

1- The ‘I-wasnt-aware-you-took-a-pic-of-me-but-Sobhan-Allah-I-look-like-I’m-about-to-walk-down-the-aisle’ Post

Shutup! We know this was premeditated. We know you planned this. The ‘Oh damn I wasnt looking but this is going to be my profile pic’ isnt fooling anyone!

2- The Mirror Selfie 

Ya Zalameh KHALAS. Whether in an elevator or in the place you choose to release your stomach waste, we all know it took you 2.6 million tries before posting that pic .. because you know, everyone’s going to notice if you tilted your face ever-so-slightly to the left, or right ..

3- The Fashionista that tells everyone exactly what she’s wearing by brand and store:

You know those .. the one with the caption that reads like this ‘Great day, wearing my LouisVuitton bag, Armani belt, Tiffany bracelet, Abu M7ammad hair tie and ready to take on the world lolololol’ and bam, now you’re fashionista with 123344550666799777 million followers. Our female sisters aren’t the only one guilty of this, I see lots of men doing the Fashionista (Fashionisto?) thing aswell. No one cares what belt you’re wearing.

4- The person who keeps #ThrowingBack to that one vacation:

One time you’ve been to Italy, now its the only memory you have. move on bro.

5- That person that posts an insta-Diarrhea 

You know those right? the guys who post 15 images in a row of one incident. you know could use those flipagram things right?

6- The motivational speaker

That person that keeps finding quotes from the internet to make sure you know that you need to ‘follow your dreams’ and ‘nothing happens in your comfort zone’. Thanks buddy, really ground breaking stuff there

 

For the record, I love Instagram and I love all the posts I come by. 🙂

 

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10 Kick ass guitar players, who Kick ass

claudio

Often I would be driving long distances, after a long day of work, stuck in Dubai’s rush-hour traffic .. waiting to get home and just call it a night, but then, just as I drive up to my house after a gruesome 45 minute commute, that Pink Floyd song comes on and I know that David Gilmour is about to blow out a ripping solo, so whats another 5 minutes around the neighborhood?

Not all guitar solos are created equal! Some of them elevate a song to the point of no-return, some of them meh-them to the gournd. here are the 10 kick ass guitar players who, Kick ass!

10 – Kerry King

HA HA – Kidding, Kerry King sucks

10- Claudio Sanchez

Its that squeeky-voiced dude from Coheed and Cambria – He is, perhaps, one of the most underrated guitarists of our time. Its CRIMINAL! Reminicent of players like Gilmour, this man brings out the intensity of his lyrics through his solos and riffs – Claudio holds nothing back on his ‘Apollo’ albums – no filler, all killer!

9 – Tom Morello

Are those turn tables? do they have a DJ? I dont get it!! what are those sounds coming out of those ‘Rage Against the Machine’ songs? Thats Tom Morello for ya! and it happens once every 1.6 million years, when a guitarist comes out and creates his very-own sound that is instantly identifiable. In addition to his kick-assery in Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello also has had some fine moments in Audioslave (remember them?), where he shells out some really groove-led riffs and melodically sweet solos!

8 – Dave Mustaine

Riff Master! Dave Mustaine is arguably one of the greatest guitar players that ever lived. I am ofcourse referring to his signature riffing style accompanied with his blistering solos. Not only is he a great player, he also picks great players to play WITH him. From the ‘now-Japanese-pop-sensation’ Marty Friedman, to the melodically brilliant Chris Poland – Megadeth songs sound like absolute Trail Blazers, knockin’ you down one riff at a time.

7 – Joe Perry

This man should be crowned the king of Rock n Roll ballads. Seriously, Joe Perry is the melody man, his riffs are supported by excellently written mini-solos. The man knows when to bring in the high-notes, and how to compliment Steven Tylers voice at the most opportune moments. Songs like ‘Its Amazing’, ‘Crazy’ and ‘Cryin’ wrote the book on Rock n Roll ballads!

6 – Mark Knopfler

Money for nothing! Need I say more? the most recognizable riff in rock n roll! But thats not what really makes him great, its his majestic solo in ‘Brothers in arms’ that gets me to crank out that air-guitar, and close my eyes in emotional glory! Mark Knopfler can turly make a guitar weep!

5 – James Hetfield

Alex Skolnick called James Hetfield a ‘true guitar virtuoso’ – you know what, and I’m being totally bias here, he truly is. Hetfield is probably the best rhythm guitarist that ever lived! Not only that, but he’s a mean soloist when he wants to be. Yes, he doesnt have a chest-box of solos, but when he decides to whip one out, he surely makes it a stunningly beautiful one.

4 – Slash

It took over 5 guitarists to replace Slash in Guns n Roses, and they STILL dont have his sound. Lets Face it, Slash is 50% of the Guns sound, without him – we only have the Axl Rose solo circus. Slash doesnt just play solos, he creates moments .. think about that moment in ‘Dont Cry’ after the second verse when he just explodes into a guitar solo that make your knees weak, or the triumphant outro of November Rain. Say what you will, there is only one Slash, and he’s most likely never to happen again

3 – John Patrucci

If I had a dirham for everytime I air-guitared in pure joy to a John Patrucci solo, I’d have 164,300 dirhams. There is not much that can be said about this mammoth of a guitar player, because his playing does all the talking for him. One the first records I have ever put my hands on, was a cassette tape of ‘Scenes from a memory’ – John Patrucci truly takes us on an adventure, from start to finish … closing it all off with the eargasmic solo of ‘Finally Free’ at end of that album. The gold standard.

2 – The Iron Maiden Trio

I put the three of them because I don’t really know who plays what. They’re all great riffers, and theyre all great soloists – But i’ll tell you this, the first time I heard the intro to ‘No More Lies’, I had to stop the car to comprehend the awesomeness that bestowed itself upon me. Melody has always been Iron Maidens comfortable area, they have pioneered the whole concept of guitar harmonies and paved the way for the thousands of bands that came after them. Melodic Masters, top of their game until this very day.

1 – David Gilmour

The last 5 minutes of Pink Floyds  ‘Comfortably numb’, as performed at the Pulse concerts, are the most elevating, mindblowing, glorious, triumphant minutes in music history. David Gilmour can truly make a guitar tell a story, amplify lyrics and complete a song.  He is the backbone of Pink Floyds melodic strength, and the only axeman that makes a Fender Stratocaster sound like the greatest guitar ever built. He focuses on note selection and melody, rather than technical ability and speed. Best guitarist that ever lived, long live the king!

The Hitch Hikers guide to: METALLICA

 

Throughout my 15 years as a Metallica fan, I have always had to put up with the cynics. The naysayers who always dismissed the notion of Metallica playing in the Middle East. I’d always say ‘You wait and see, Metallica WILL perform here!’

In mid September, Flash events had announced what many Arab fans have been waiting to hear for a very, very, very, very, VERY long time … METALLICA had finally set a date for the Arab world, they were finally coming  to our home turf! This was it: LIVE AND LOUD IN ABU DHABI.

So, to those who got tickets but arent very familiar with the mammoth nature of what theyre about to experience .. here are some tips to prepare:

First, How to pronounce the word ‘METALLICA’

Some say Mitaleka (what we refer to as 7afartal), some say Meteliceh (Kiwis and Austrailians), other says Meetalika (arabs). Friends, whenever you say ‘Metallica’, you have to show badass enthusiasm, the only way to pronounce the band name correctly is by separating the MET from the TALLICA. with an emphasis on the T. It should roll off your tongue as ‘METT-ALLICA’  .. go on, try it. METTALLICA. see? you feel like a badass already!

Whats the big deal? it just a rock band ..

Woww .. lets not get hastey and call Metallica ‘just a rock band’. These are the founders of the Sanfransisco Bay Area thrash movement of the early 1980’s. they challanged Hair Metal and came out victorious, that should count for something, right?

Not only did they sell well over 100 million records, Metallica is responsible for a generation of musicians that came after them – not just famous bands, but fellow amature musicians who picked up the guitar for the very first time because they saw James and co. rockin out!

What do I do the morning of the concert?

Ah, ofcourse, that is a very common question (no its not). You should wake up at around 11 and hit the gym. You need to get that blood circulated. Have an apple that morning, and water. This would serve as your best ‘last’ chance to revise your Metalli-Material. Make sure you know the lyrics by heart no later than 1:00 PM .. in time for lunch. have someone hear you repeat the lyrics over lunch.

MAKE SURE YOU DONT PARTY THE NIGHT BEFORE – YOU NEED TO BE COMPLETELY AWAKE TO EXPERIENCE THE PHENOMENON THAT IS METALLICA.

Whats the best way to arrive at a Metallica show?

Metallica shows are usually a friendly/family affair! So its best that you go and drive out to Abu Dhabi with your buddies! Assemble your own entourage of Metalli-fans and arrive at the venue blasting Metallica music. dont be a douchebag and play songs from irrelevant bands .. like hiphop, pop or even other types of metal. Stick to Metallica, we’re all there for that festive occasion!

What to wear?

MANDATORY METALLICA T-SHIRT!! Its the official uniform for the show. also, denims and converse are advised! If you have a chain that you could dangle from your jeans, that would make you a certified badass. Elites could wear Harley t-shirts/Jackets – James Hetfield is a HOG, so he’d like that!

Will they play ‘Nothing Else Matters’?

SHUTUP! Who cares if they play that!! But here are a few gems you need to take note of:

– The Memory Remains: You’ve got to know the chorus to this because YOU WILL BE ASKED TO SING ALONG. Do not fail them, for every crowd in the world sing this song really, really loud!

– Master of Puppets: Hetfield wont be doing any chorus singing here … you better know the words!

– Wherever I may Roam: Look, 2 things you need to know about this song; the part where he says ‘I ASKED NO-ONE’ and ‘WHEREVER I MAY WANDER, WANDER, WANDER’ … James is gonna leave that up to the beautiful people of Abu Dhabi

– For whom the bell tolls: This Hitchcock inspired classic is a must! what you need to know are the words ‘Time Marches On!!’ right after Hetfield asks you politely ‘for whom the bell tolls?’

– Sad But True: “I’m Your dream, make you real” .. friends, you need to know this part by heart. Hetfield will ask you all if his Metallica family wants to sing with him, then he’ll get the entire audience to sing that line! DO IT!

– Seek and Destroy: Look .. James doesnt ask much of you, all he asks is you know these three small words. At the end of the concert, just before Metallica head back home, James will tell everyone to give ALL their energy to this one last song, and even if you dont know the words … just follow those who do. This is going to be a LOUD monster!

Other songs to look out for:

– Fuel

– Ride the Lightning

– Blackened

– Creeping Death

– One

– Fade to Black

– Welcome home

– Unforgiven

– Enter Sandman

– Am I evil

– No Remorse

– The four horsemen (ufff)

– Hero of the day

– All Nightmare long

– Broken, Beat and Scarred

– Turn the Page

– and Justice for all

– Frayed ends of Sanity (opening riff will be played at some point in the show)

– Battery

– Hit the lights

– FINE … nothing else matters

I advise you to get the DVD ‘Live in Nimes’, or ‘Live in Mexico’ – it would set the mood perfectly.

At what point do we get into a water fight?

WE DONT! This is Abu Dhabi, not the California Spring Break! take your water fights else where!!

Should we stay the night in Abu Dhabi?

Yas Island weekends are always memorable! so if you have the chance to stay in one of the hotels, then you should, by all means, do it! You’d get to enjoy both the concert AND a nice chillaxing time by the pool the next day! Yas Island weekends are hands down, the best thing to happen to weekends since the inception of weekends.

The most important thing in a Metallica show is to have a good time! This is a band that changed the history of music, sold millions of albums, inspired millions of musicians and wrote countless rock anthems – they are literally one of the biggest bands of all time. These Rock n’ Roll hall of famers will be loud, entertaining and the biggest damn concert you will ever see!

BRING ON THE KINGS OF METAL!

2 guys, 1 band.

 

Do you believe in fate? well I certainly do, I believe that when the stars align, and fate has its way, two people will come together and form something magical, something that can’t be produced by the mere existence of ‘coincidence’, something calculated and designed to change the world as we know it –  I’m talking, ofcourse, about  the sheer power of musicianship. If history taught us anything, its that music prodigies often come in pairs, especially in the realm of Rock n’ Roll, so here are a bunch of those icons that changed the way music was written:

(NOTE BEFORE YOU GO AHEAD: 1) I blog mostly on memory, so I may have forgotten some ‘teams’ and 2) I have eliminated some bands because their success was also majorly attributed to the other members in the band, or the success was driven by one man)

here it goes …

Tom Morello/Zac DelaRoca (Rage Against the Machine)

These guys may have not created the concept of Rap Rock, but they sure as hell gave it a meaning of its own! With their ‘viva revolution’ attitude, ‘Rage Against the Machine’ managed to sum up legions of loyal fans who believed in their message. From songs like ‘Bulls on Parade’ to ‘Guerilla Radio’, this duo shook every music scene they were a part of. Once these guys split and went their separate ways – the intensity faded with the introduction of their side projects … it just wasnt the same. DelaRoca did his own thing while Morello started Audioslave … both efforts were commendable, but nothing close to the sheer raw power they created together in ‘rage’.

Layne Staley / Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)

This is an undeniable force in music history! Not only did they write rock/metal anthems that led the Seattle scene in the early 90’s … they were the first (and probably the only) rock duo to revolutionize the way vocal harmony was used in a band. Just go back and listen to tracks like ‘Down in a hole’ or ‘Would’ and tell me you dont hear it! The AIC boys created a trademark sound that was unique enough to coin as their own – the vocal melodies became synonymous with their sound, the song arrangements were arena worthy, and the guitar solos exclusive to their explosiveness. This pair will never be forgotten.

James Hetfield/Lars Ulrich (Metallica)

Where would the music industy be today if James Hetfield never saw that ad that Lars Ulrich put in the paper? What if he never called him?  Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield’s partnership was not only crucial for their band, but for the music industry as a whole. Together, they formed the titanic Metallica and wrote 4 consecutive undisputed albums in the 80’s that reshaped the way heavy metal was looked at .. in 1991, they wrote their self titled 5th album which went on to be one of biggest selling albums of all-time. This team brought us killer songs like ‘Fade to Black’, ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘Battery’ and ‘Hit the lights’ – if you know any musician(s), chances are they know how to play atleast ONE Metallica song!  that should tell you something.

Joe Perry/Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)

We were all probably too young (or not even born) to remember this … but when Joe Perry exited Aerosmith in 1979, it really .. totally .. majorly sucked. These guys were made for each other, just listen to the superb rock tunes they’ve created together, from ‘Amazing’, to ‘Blind man’, ‘ to ‘Deuces are wild’ to ‘Love in an elevator’; rock anthems that rang across stadiums and arenas around the world, anthems that formed the foundations of modern rock as we know them!  The Perry/Tyler duo is a ‘rock n’ roll hit machine’. Steven Tyler has a ‘larger-than-life’ vocal approach that can only be complimented with a rockin’ blues man that is found in Joe Perry.

Jimmy Page/Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)

The fathers of modern Rock! Pause for one second and go back to 2007, a time that we can all relatively remember well (depending on who you ask, ofcourse) .. but just try to remember .. in 2007 .. when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant announced that they would be playing together again for a one-off Led Zeppelin show, the music world went ape-shit! an estimated 80 million people logged online to get a chance to ‘win-to-buy’ tickets … thats right, you had to actually enter a lottery to buy a ticket! that is the power of Page and Plant.  Not only are these two responsible for some of rock n roll’s best written gems, they also topped every chart and filled every stadium. Page and Plant simply redefined music, they took all the rules, put em’ in one box, and threw em’ out the window … Without Page and Plant, alot of the bands that you love today would’nt exist, that includes the aforementioned Metallica.

John Lennon/Paul McCartney (The Beatles)

I mean, need I say more? really? I think our memory of music stops at Lennon/McCartney, its like nothing existed prior to that combo. In many ways, they are regarded as the founders of modern pop rock.  They scored so many number 1 singles, they filled so many stadiums, they were the center of so many controversies and at points in their careers, they hated each other – recipe for a true Rock n’ Roll story. Simply put, this duo wrote some of the best songs the human race has ever heard, and that isnt even an exaggeration – If you put that in perspective, you’d understand why no words I write would do them any justice.

David Gilmour/Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)

The music world craves a reunion … and not a Pink Floyd reunion, but a Gilmour/Waters reunion! repsonsible for albums like ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Wish you were here’ and ‘Animals’ (and parts of ‘The Wall’), this duo struck the perfect balance between melody and brilliance. From the lyrical Journies supplied by Waters, to the euphoric musical melodies presented by Gilmours, the men behind Pink Floyd created a progressive-rock sub-genre that is quite simply impossible to replicate. Just think of ‘Dark Side of the Moon’,  It remained in the charts for 741 weeks, longer than any other album in history. It went on to sell 45 million copies making it Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums of all time. Yeah, we need a reunion.

Noel Gallagher/Liam Gallagher (Oasis)

‘Tonight, Im a Rock n’ Roll Star’ sang Liam – and ironically, “Rock n’ Roll stardom” is what killed this once fantastic duo. Noel, who led the charge, along with Liam had composed and performed on some of the most memorable, and commercially successful, music in British music history.  Circa 1994 – 1997, this bands stardom was comparable only to the likes of The Beatles,  Noel and Liams turbulent relationship resulted in cancelled tours, firing band members, quitting band members, tabloid frenzies .. it was a mess, but it sure resulted in some great rock tunes. Some may argue that Noel was the main force, and its true .. but you cant have Oasis, a true Oasis, without one or the other. Even though they currently hate each other, and killed Oasis, I have a good feeling that we’ll see them collaborating again sometime in the near future. Glastonbery, lots’a cha-ching perhaps?

Max Cavalera/Igor Cavalera (ex-Sepultura)

Some may scratch their head and say “wha’? .. really?” .. well, yes. really. Max and Igor, the men who started the Brazillian thrash machine ‘Sepultura’, wrote some of the meanest, grimmest, badass-est tunes in metal! But thats barely the reason why this duo made this list, These guys did something much bigger for music in South America. Sepultura’s rise to success, in many ways, opened the gates for many bands in their region to be considered and heard by major labels that would never normally consider them … The Cavalera brothers, probably unknowingly, paved the way for many South American bands to be propelled into the main music arena due to the worlds reception to their music. The boys saw the hight of their success in 1996 with the release of ‘Roots’ – but a decline in popularity was immenent when Max had exited the band, proving that this duo need each other.

Steve Harris/Bruce Dickenson (Iron Maiden)

‘Two minutes .. to miiiidnight’. I say Maiden, and that’s probably one of the first lines that pops in your heard, and who’s voice do you hear? thats right! Bruce the goose Dickenson (I just called him the goose ..wtf), anyway .. Steve Harris, the man leading this legendary outfit, dabbled with quite a few vocalists in his career .. Go back to the ‘Blaze Baley’ years of Iron Maiden, Yeah, we heard some solid tracks in that era, but think about that instant, that second, that mili-micro-second that Bruce Dickenson decided to rejoin, Maiden shot back into stadium-status!  Fact is, Harris writes great tracks, but he needs the vocal power-house that is Bruce Dickenson to take those tracks to hights that no other singer can possibly mimmick. and thats the truth!

Axl Rose/Slash (Guns n Roses)

This was an ugly split, an ugly divorce, and those kinds of divorces are hardest on the kids i.e. the fans. Axl and Slash had it made, they were/are brilliant composers and have tremendous talent; they created one of the most notorious rock bands that ever existed, and ruled the world with the surplus of hits that they wrote together. Sure, Duff and Izzy helped .. but the fact of the matter, Guns n’ Roses were all about Axl and Slash. Think of the moment you hear the opening notes of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, then think of the countless singers who tried to cover it .. but fell flat. Axl and Slash were a match made in heaven: Axl brought in the big-choruses, and Slash brought in that guitar sound that, despite being replaced by 5 different guitarists in GnR, was never ever recreated. Marriage counsling is in order … we need those two back together, for the sake of music as a whole.

John Patrucci/Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)

Two extremely, insanely, over-the-topp(ly?) inspired and talented human beings. Patrucci and Portnoy put together one of the worlds most dynamic, couragous, and mindlowing progressive rock bands that music has ever known. Too much music has been created between both these men, from concept albums like ‘Scenes of a memory’ to progressive experimintation in ‘Liquid tension experiment’ .. The names Portnoy and Patrucci became synonems to ‘drumming legend’ and ‘guitar guru’ – a force of synergy that redefined progressive metal, and took it to impossible lengths.

Dave Mustaine/Marty Friedman (Megadeth)

Imagine you had a band that had two of the worlds top guitar players. Two things were bound to happen: 1) Awesome composing and all-around shredding, and 2) a dramatic ‘clash of the titans’ .. and thats what happened in this classic Megadeth lineup (completed by Nick Menza and Dave Ellefson). This was a guitar duo that conquered the mid-90s in skill, talent and excellent musicianship – just think about those metal moments where Mustaine and Friedman would go at a guitar battle that leaves you pretty much dumbfounded. For various reasons, This relationship died in the late 90’s, and even though Megadeth goes on with Mustaine at the helm, that brief crossroads of guitar legends will always remain one of metals finest moments.

Tony Iommi/Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath)

Some may argue that the Iommi/Osbourne alliance was the definitive Sabbath, and in many ways , thats correct … But truth be told, Ronnie James Dio unlocked a sound that no other Sabbath singer did. With heavy weight titles like ‘The Mob Rules’ and ‘Heaven and Hell’ under their belt, this formation of Black Sabbath was heavy, melodic, relentless and above all, friggin’ magical. Iommi pretty much invented Heavy Metal, and Dio was that missing ingredient that made it the metal outfit it was always supposed to be. His operatic vocal approach shook the very foundations of what Heavy Metal was supposed to sound like. ‘If you listen to fooollls .. the mooobbb rulllees’ .. Oh Ronnie, RIP.

Dimebag Darrel Abbott/Vinnie Paul Abbott (Pantera)

Another ‘brotherly love’ team that took the world by storm. The Abbotts created one of the most successful heavy-metal outfits in history, ‘Pantera’. But forget the floods of anthems that they wrote, and lets concentrate on the symmetry they had as musicians … the Abbotts were hands down, an insane groove machine. ‘Dime’ had his own approach to guitar that was easily identifiable, and Vinnie was the only drummer who knew how to play along .. making those riffs come to life in a way that only a blood-brother would know. Pantera, and subsequently, DamagePlan, showed their wide array of expertise and how reliant they are/were on one-another to write timeless songs that kick-you in every area worth kicking.

Jon Bon Jovi / Ritchie Sambora (Bon Jovi)

You can’t talk music without mentioning the ’80’s hair’ movement. Of all the bands that infested that decade, I Think its safe to say that Jon Bon Jovi and Ritchie Sambora stuck to writing some tunes that stood the test of time. This duo came up with some of the cheesiest tunes in rock, and I use ‘cheese’ very positively here … they also wrote of straight-up awesome rockers, and sweet-sweet ballads. The Bon Jovi/Sambora duo remains one of the strongest combos to come out of that era in music, and still manage to fill arenas till this very day.

Bono / The Edge (U2)

U2 is a group effort, thats probably true and it could also be said about every band I have mentioned, But U2 aint U2 in any way or form without ‘Bono’ or ‘The Edge’. The explosive combination of sound that both individuals bring to the table is what makes this machine very successful. U2 today is probably one of the most appealing bands out there, their shows are always held in major stadiums around the world, always sold out and always headliner worthy. Bono’s global campaigning for Africa and various other issues makes him one of the music industries most renowned activists , Whereas ‘The Edge’ being coined as a ‘legend’ along side Jimmy Page and Jack White in the documentary ‘It might get loud’ puts him up there with guitar greats and does a whole-lotta-great things for his musical credibility. Two men, one band.

Even though lots of these guys had their personal issues with each other, some even went out of their way to never, ever .. ever play together again – its remains true that they created some of the greatest bands, albums and songs that crafted the world of Rock n’ Roll. Wether you were alive to witness it unfold, live to experience it today, or still in your musical exploration phase, the above teams are amongst the most talented human beings to walk/have walked Gods green (brownish in some areas) earth!

If you have any more that I may have forgot, do let a brotha’ know.

Top 10 Concerts I’ve ever been to

There’s something about concerts that you can’t experience anywhere else. The vibe, the anticipation, the mounting excitement to see your favorite artist, the quality time spent with friends and the great night (day) out. It’s also pretty awesome to see the magnitude of the production going on on-stage, and to what extent a band is willing to go to put on a triumphant performance.

One of my goals since getting out of high-school (I’m a working man now, btw) was to attend as many rock concerts as possible – and I gotta say I’ve been fortunate enough to catch quite a few bands in action in the past decade – so without any further babble, here are the top 10 concerts Ive ever been to:

10 – Sepultura – Dubai Desert Rock, Dubai – March 2005

Now that’s an odd choice! but ill tell you why. This was the first ever true Rock/Metal show to take place in the region .. the hunger of the audience was palpable. When the Sepultura logo was raised as their backdrop, the crowd exploded .. saluting a friggin logo! For the first time, I felt being a part of real fans awaiting an arrival of a real band. The guys excelled when they played – one of the tightest performances I’ve seen, and most ‘metal’ if I may boldly state.

9 – Rage Against the Machine – Rock im Park, Germany – June 2008

After a 7 years hiatus, Rage made their return to europe and I was there to catch it. it was obvious that the majority of folks who came out to this particular festival, came out to see RATM. The field was full, and as the band kicked off their set, it was absolute awesomness … the havoc that was created was intense. the stage set-up was very simple, just a ‘Rage’ logo as the backdrop, and .. well, that’s pretty much it. the band relied on their skills and the strength of their songs to get people going .. and damn, they got people going hard. Zac Dela Roca surely has a way to get the audience fired up, and it isn’t through his crowd interaction, it was purely on his lyrics.

8 – Iron Maiden – Dubai Media City, Dubai – February 2009

This was the second time i had ever seen Maiden! But man, starting a show with ‘Aces High’ can never get you off to a bad start. The show seemed like it needed 3 generators to keep running! it was THAT energetic! the band were spot on, playing a mix of Maidens classics and some of the later tunes. Dickenson (Vocals) is a performer at heart – the man acts like he’s still in his mid-twenties, he runs around the massive stage in full speed, he sings off the top of his lungs with absolutely no off-notes and grabs the crowd in his palm! A great frontman, and a true legend. Not to mention the crowd ruled every song.

7 – Bon jovi – Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi – May 2008

I had mixed feelings about attending a Bon Jovi concert at the beginning, but with tons of classics under their belt, a bunch of friends and a mini-road trip to Abu Dhabi – how on earth could this go wrong!? and thank God almighty, it was a blast. Singing along to ‘You gave love a bad name’ was probably one of the most memorable experiences of my life. the band played a great and lengthy set, and the audience was as loud as any other BonJovi fanbase across the planet. Classics like ‘Livin on a prayer’, ‘Dead or Alive’, ‘Bad Medicine’ and ofcourse the flagship ‘You gave love a bad name’ rang across the arena. The sound was great, the fans were great, the vibe was immense, and the performance was pure Bon Jovi.

6 – Machine Head – Dubai Desert Rock, Dubai – March 2005

The year of anticipation. Machine Head made their Middle East debut in 2005. At a time when Machine Head albums weren’t even being sold in the country a month prior, the expectations were pretty low on the band front .. However, come 8 pm Dubai time  … as the legendary Machine Head played their first riff, it was evident that they were the true headliners of Dubai Desert Rock 2005! The crowd went into a state of absolute frenzy, singing every song they knew, jumping collectively as one, and rockin’ hard like their life depended on it. Flynn (vocals) is a great frontman, he interacted with the crowd, played with passion and prepared a surprise to the audience: He brought out Andreas Kisser of Sepultura to perform Metallicas Creeping Death with MH. I remember reading a review the next day in 7-Days (local paper), praising the performance of MH and the fans who, for the first time, showed journalists that these were real fans, and not random people coming to spend a day out. What made the show was the real connection between the band and the audience.

5 – Slipknot – Sonisphere Barcelona, Spain – July 2009

When I was a toddler .. well not a toddler, but younger, I used to be a huge Slipknot fan. As I grew up though, my interest decreased and I pretty much dismissed them for my later discoveries in music. But standing amongst 60,000 people in Barcelona, I was pretty excited to revisit my younger years, the excitement was infectious. as the 9 members of Slipknot walked on stage and kicked off with their brutal ‘Sic’ – I knew this was going to be something special. The production was massive, the band where pretty much insane .. and I mean insane in a ‘not-mentally-right’ type of way. Theres something about watching 9 masked men destroy a stage and play heavy music that makes a show really damn fun to watch. The crowd interaction was awesome, Corey Taylor really knows how to pump up some angry teenagers and .. well, post-angry teenagers trying relive the good ol’ days

4 – Guns n’ Roses – Yas Island, Abu Dhabi –  December 2010

Watching Axl scream the words ‘Do you know where you are!? Youre in the jungle baybeh, and youre gonna diiiieeee” is probably one of the most Rock n’ Roll moments I have ever witnessed. Axl Rose is one of the last true remaining Rock stars out there today, and seeing him live only confirms that notion. The man pulled a 2.5 hour set in the utmost sense of rocking – his voice still intact, and his gear as rockin’ as ever … did i say rockin’ enough? the (new) GnR were a power house in every sense. relentless playing, running, jumping, jamming and bowing (yeah, bowing) to fill the 2.5 hour slot they were assigned. In all of my concert-going experiences, I have never seen a reception to a song as loud as it was for ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ … that blew me away. Axl, you still got the pipes, and the larger-than-life rocker charisma that is lacking in many artists and bands today. A special mention goes out to the breathtaking outro of Paradise City, which put an amazing ending to a superb show.

3 – Cold Play – Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi – March 2009

This was one of the most special musical events Ive ever been to. It was perfect. The Rain, the sound, the music, the band, the crowd … the planets had aligned for this one night, and it was pure and absolute magic. This was one of those rare occasions where you feel a 20,000 strong audience actually felt like a small intimate setting. Cold Play performed like they were our heroes, and the crowd sang every word. goosebumps moments were plenty on that day – from the rain falling while we all sang ‘Fix You’ .. to the butterfly confetti falling as Mr. Martin played on his Piano. I’m not the biggest Cold Play fan, but this was a special night … everyone who was there still speaks of that show, nearly 2 years on.

2 – Roger Waters, The Wall Live – Madison Square Garden, New York – October 2010

A paragraph does not do this show justice. The brilliance of Roger Waters is portrayed excellently throughout every second of this 2 hour show. From the pyrotech, to the actors, to the massive .. MASSIVE production, to the building of the wall, to the projections on the wall, to tearing down the wall, to the absolutely flawless performance of the Roger Waters band. It was exceptional. This was a visual experience as it was a musical one – the HD visuals on the wall complimented the classic Pink Floyd sound and took it to another level. The music was remarkable, watching the Comfortably Numb solo being played on the top of the wall, with 3D surround sound was something soul satisfying. this was closer to a broadway show than it was a concert – definitely a great tribute to the 70’s masterpiece .

1 – METALLICA – Rock Im Park, Germany – June 2008

I was hoping Waters could top this – but by God, There is not one band on this planet that could come close to the might of James Hetfield and his comrades. Metallica makes a statement when they play, and that is: We’re the biggest band on the planet, and we’re going to prove it. As the ‘Ecstasy of gold’ started filling a field of 80,000 strong … the audience became one, it was remarkable. everyone’s eyes were glued to the stage in anticipation of the metal kings to come out – As Hetfield made his way to the center, it was – by far – the most memorable concert experience I have ever had. After 13 years of being a fan, there he was .. in the flesh .. standing there doing that ‘Hamster smile’ we all know and love, with his arms open and accepting the 80,000 roars … it … was … earth shattering. The band performs as a tightly-knit unit, with absolute fluidity. Hetfields presence was immense, commanding and determined. the sound was large, thanks to Metallicas long-life engineer, Big Mic. The massive screen that covered their backdrop displayed awesome captures of the concert as it was happening. Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammet and Trujillio all have their own big personalities which makes the show even larger, and more entertaining to watch. The lights and production at many Metalli-show is sure to drop jaws .. but the most awesome part was, the true fans. 80,000 singing every single friggin word uttered by Hetfield .. it was great to be able to enjoy it with such a passionate fanbase.

there ya have it – my top 10 experiences! Ofcourse there are honorable mentions going out to Megadeth, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Korn, Motorhead, Kanye West (2005), Aerosmith (2009), Alter Bridge, Opeth, and Robert Plant. But the above were the ones that had a profound impact on me ..

Ah yes, concerts … a feeling of unity amongst thousands who couldn’t have been more different from you, a feeling of family amongst fans who attend a venue for the same purpose. A sense of connection with musicians you’ve grown up listening to. and ofcourse, an amazingly memorable and great time with your close friends and family.

Heres hoping to see the legendary David Gilmour one day!

Thats all I got! enjoy

The essential ‘4.5-minute-guide’ to Guns n Roses in Abu Dhabi

alright .. so its no secret that I am a closet Axl Rose groupie (and everything Guns n Roses) – it also isnt a secret that my excitement cannot be contained with regards to the upcoming uber-awesome Guns n’ Roses show taking place in our very own back yard (Yas Island, Abu Dhabi) in 2 weeks.

So as a responsible rock citizen of the world, it is my duty to answer the FAQs .. that’s right, i get FAQs (Frequently asked questions) about who the hell is in Guns .. why should i care .. what are they going to be playing .. and where in the world is Slash!?

Without further babble .. here are the essentials:

Who is GnR 2010?

GnR was initially founded by one W. AXL ROSE in the late 1980s .. as he searched Hollywood for the perfect band, he came across a few musicians that would become the classic incarnation of Gun n’ Roses.

Mid 90s .. the boys started leaving the band (or were fired) for various reasons. Main reason was Axl Rose – the man had a vision, and it had to be met with or without the members. Slash left .. followed by Duff and Matt Sorum. Izzy quit prior to the ‘Illusion’ albums and Adler was straight up fired.

So who remains from the original lineup?

AXL MU’FUKIN ROSE!

… thats it

as for the rest ..

Guitar – Ron Thal (lead guitar, also known as a shredder for his solo band ‘Bumblefoot’ – played and recorded on Guns latest Chinese Democracy)

Guitar 2 – Richard Fortus (been playing with Guns since 97, he replaced Izzy Stradlin – Played and recorded on Guns latest Chinese Democracy)

Guitar 3 – DJ Ashba (replacing a wide array of guitarists, most notably Slash. he formed Brides of Destruction with Motley Crue founder; Nikki Sixx)

Bass – Tommy Stinson (original bass player of rock outfit ‘The replacements’ .. been playing with Rose since 97. he replaced Duff – Played and recorded on Chinese Democracy)

Keyboards 1 – Dizzy Reed (been with GNR since the early 90s as part of the ‘classic’ lineup. he recorded on the Illusion albums and Chinese Democracy)

Keyboards 2 – Chris pitman (hes more of a backup musician and a new addition to the band – played and recorded on Chinese Democracy)

Drums – Frank Ferrer (a beast on drums replacing Matt Sorum and Brain Mantia .. who both played for GNR. been with Axl since 06 – Played and recorded on Chinese Democracy)

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY?

Yes, they will play the old stuff. I friggin guarantee it!! Axl likes to mix things up a little bit. Hes going to throw in a few new ones to help introduce the world to the current incarnation of Guns, he will also allow the other members a few solo spots and maybe a collective live-Jam session. but the dominating aspect of the set will come from the classic albums ‘Appetite for destruction’ (best rock album known to man) and ‘Use your Illusion I and II’.

Here are the songs I recommend you get into, as I guarantee you will know atleast 90% of the setlist if you know the following:

Welcome to the jungle

Mr. Brownstone

Nighttrain

Chinese Democracy

Out ‘ta get me

Patience

Civil War

November Rain

Sweet Child O Mine

Paradise City

Sorry

My Michelle

You could be mine

Rocket Queen

Live and Let die

Better

Its so easy

Knockin’ on heavens door

Dont cry

Street of dreams

Go on iTunes and download these tracks .. burn em’ and make them your essential CD for the coming two weeks.

If you truly cant be bothered to download .. then get your hands on ‘Guns n Roses: Greatest hits” and a copy of ‘Chinese Democracy’. I do not guarantee itll be as awesome as my list, but you’d still get a good bunch of songs under your belt.

GEAR!?

Going to GnR show means you need to look the part! the obvious thing to do is to dress up as Slash, which is highly and utterly unrecommended … if Axl spots you, he is likely to throw your ass out, hes known for throwing asses out.

So bring out your denims, and any band shirt you may have (unless its Velvet Revolver) – match those with that leather jacket you KNOW you want to wear but never had the right occasion to. Converse is a universal must .. but the ‘deal sealer’ is that bandana .. oh that sweet red bandana that takes you back to 1980 and will make you look like a complete douche, but its ok .. for one night, its all ok!

Will it start at 9 as stated?

Well, to put it simply: No chance, No way. Rose is known to being fashionably late like yours truly. So I would suggest you stick to your group of friends, get some Pop-eye chicken, maybe a ‘tableh’ and estimate atleast an hour delay before the mayhem begins.

I do suggest being there on time though, estimating by the amount of people showing up .. youre going to need a good spot. Plus, as Arabs .. we should be used to being late. Axl should feel right at home.

Why should I care?

Because Axl Rose is the most bad-ass vocal-monster to ever front a band .. and not any band, but one of the greatest rock bands in history. In a world filled with poser-wannabe rockstars, Axl Rose is the real deal … and one of the few remaining true rock stars out there today. Think the same league as Robert Plant, Mick jagger, Ozzy Osbourne and James Hetfield.

Also, this is the man responsible for some of the biggest sing-alongs in rock n roll .. especially Paradise City and Sweet Child o’ Mine. Not to mention the ‘larger-than-life’ Rock show they put on!

Get ready, and welcome to the jungle! Guns n’ Roses live in Abu Dhabi, December 16 – see you there friends

And Happy UAE national everyone!