Ed Sheeran Live At Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA June 3, 2023

Last night I took my daughter to see one of her favorite artists, Ed Sheeran, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Ed put on a great show with solo performances and songs with his band. The stage was massive with video screens galore for a fully immersive experience. Check out some highlights from the show in my video below.


Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, Philadelphia, PA May 14, 2023

Photo: Megan Earling

On May 14, I took my daughter and one of her best friends to see Taylor Swift at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. I can’t say much about the show because I didn’t see it. Tickets were hard to get, and my daughter’s friend, a die-hard Swiftie, got shut out, so I sold her my ticket at face value and made sure the girls got to experience the show together.

The part that I can say something about is the omnipotent reign of Taylor Swift. I have been going to concerts since 1984. I’ve seen hundreds of shows by some of the biggest names in the music industry. I’ve seen fans line up at merch booths in venues time and time again. But I have never seen a merchandising phenomenon as huge as the Taylor Swift empire. We arrived at the venue around 4:30pm and I made sure that my daughter and her friend got into the venue. Once they were safely inside, I stuck around to check out the scene outside. There were thousands of ticketless fans outside the venue waiting around just to hear the show without even being able to see it. I had never seen that many fans gathered outside a venue just for a chance to hear the show, and only barely hear it. But the most impressive thing to me was the power of Taylor’s merch line. From the time I arrive until well after 10pm, with the show still going on, fans lined up all night long to buy Taylor Swift concert merch. Watch the video below to see how long the line stretched for merch. It was like this all night!

Taylor Swift fans wait hours to buy concert merch

And as for Taylor’s music, I don’t know much about it (only what I hear from my daughter playing it) but I can say that after watching the adoration of her fans outside the concert, Taylor’s bond with her fans is unbreakable. Check out this clip that I shot outside the venue while the show was well underway inside.

Taylor Swift fans sing along outside the show

It was an amazing spectacle to behold outside of Lincoln Financial Field that night. It was a long night waiting outside, but absolutely worth it just to see the excitement on my daughter’s face when she came out of the show. I’ve seen some life-changing concerts in my lifetime. But on that night, it was my turn to give that joy to my daughter and one of her besties. And it was well worth the trip and all the time that I spent getting the tickets.

Swiftie Megan Earling ready for Taylor’s concert

Book Review: “Sideman: In Pursuit of the Next Gig” by Mark Rivera

If you’re a fan of Billy Joel, Ringo Starr, or Foreigner, you probably already know Mark Rivera. He’s the supremely talented saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist that not only plays in Billy’s band, but has also served as Ringo Starr’s musical director. He contributed a sax part to Foreigner’s recording of “Urgent,” toured with the band, and played sax on Peter Gabriel’s recording of “Sledgehammer.” He has also appeared on stage with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Hall & Oates, Peter Frampton, Sheila E., Joe Walsh, and Tony Bennett, just to name a few.

Mark’s book is an absolute joy to read. It’s one of those books that feels like you ran into someone in the park, sat down on a bench for a few hours, and listened to them tell you their life story over the course of an all-too-short hour or two that passes by in what feels like 10 minutes. This book includes stories about the legends that Mark has played with, but the most enjoyable aspects of Mark’s story are his passion for the music and his love for his family. Mark is motivated by the thrill of the crowd and creating a killer musical vibe that creates a two-way interaction between the audience and the performers. Sure, he’s in it for the money and the fame too, but who isn’t? A “gig” is of course still a job, but the position of sideman is a job that Mark loves, and it has always showed. I’ve seen proof live in concert.

The first time that I witnessed the musical passion of Mark Rivera was October 8, 1986 at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. It was my first Billy Joel concert, on The Bridge Tour. I was — and still am — a die-hard Billy Joel fan. I was of course well-versed in Billy’s musical catalog and had seen Mark’s name in a few of Billy’s album credits, including the smash album An Innocent Man, but I had not yet encountered the on-stage force of nature that is Mark Rivera. That night in Philly, every time Mark stepped up to play one of the iconic sax solos, chills went up my spine. This man was putting his heart and soul into every note, and when he was done, you could see and feel the joy on his face as he watched the crowd take it all in. He’s the kind of band member that every star wants on their stage because he makes you and your band better just by his presence and his energy.

Many years after my first Billy Joel show, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Rivera at one of Mark Lapidos’ wonderful Fest For Beatles Fans conventions in New Jersey. Mark Rivera was a musical guest at the show and a mutual friend mentioned to him that I was a big fan and that I was working as a vendor at the show. Mark took time to stop by and say hi. He was every bit as genuine in person as he had seemed on stage. We talked about music for a bit and I shared my story about seeing him for the first time at that amazing Philly concert in October 1986. He signed my program from that tour and it remains a staple of my collection today (see photo above).

If you’ve ever watched the musical sidemen in your favorite bands and said to yourself, “I wonder what that guy’s story is? How did he get here?” then this book is for you. It’s a story about what drives a musician to do what they do, the struggle to provide for their family, and as the title says, the “pursuit of the next gig.” Mark’s story is heartfelt, funny, inspiring, and joyous. You can order the book via the link below:

Song of the Day: “Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” by Steve Perry

“Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” was released in March of 1984 as the B-side of Steve Perry’s hit single “Oh Sherrie” which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. For my money, “Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” might be the greatest recorded example of Perry’s abilities as a soul singer. Yes, that’s right. I said soul singer. He is of course known as one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time for his days fronting Journey, but Perry grew up idolizing Sam Cooke, and you can feel the spirit of Cooke and other soul legends on this track written by Perry, drummer/percussionist/songwriter/producer Craig Krampf, and legendary guitarist/songwriter/producer Danny Kortchmar.

Kortchmar is of course well known for his guitar, songwriting, and production work on music by Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Carole King, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Neil Young, and countless others.

Krampf was a founding member of the short-lived rock band Alien Project along with Steve Perry and went on to work with other artists including Kim Carnes, Alice Cooper, Flo & Eddie, Melissa Etheridge, Paul Stanley, Cher, The Motels, and others. Three of the demos that Perry and Krampf recorded under the Alien Project name were eventually released as bonus tracks on the 2006 CD reissue of Perry’s solo album masterpiece Street Talk. “Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” also appeared as a bonus track on the same CD.

Reflecting on “Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” in the liner notes for the 2006 reissue of the Street Talk CD, Perry wrote that the song was “recorded for fun by some studio musicians with a specific type of R&B in mind that I always loved. We had some fun with this track.” Indeed they did, and you can hear it on the record. It’s three minutes and six seconds of pure energy. So turn the volume way up, and listen to the song in the link below.

For My Dad, As He Leaves This “Ordinary World”

My daughter, Megan, and I saw my dad for what turned out to be the last time during the afternoon of Friday, December 30, in his hospital room in the ICU. He was just barely strong enough to talk to us, but alert enough to tell Megan that he looked forward to reading her next novel, and that he would be there for her high school graduation (which by the way would not be until 2024). When he said this, I thought he meant that he was going to fight, recover once again as he always did, and be there in person,  but in hindsight I think that he knew that he was telling her that he would do both of those things from above. As I remember the look in his eyes as he spoke, his eyes were resigned, but happy. There was not much fight left. He had already put up the fight of his life after major heart surgeries, diabetes, knee replacement, and having spent the last four years of his life on dialysis. I think he knew his time was finally up, but he was ready and meant that he would be there for her always in spirit. 

I told him my wife and I had tickets to see on of our favorite bands, Duran Duran, in concert that night in Atlantic City, and he told me to have fun. I was on the fence as to whether I should still go to the show, but he always told me to live my life and never miss a single opportunity. In the back of my mind I was worried that he wouldn’t be able to fight this time, but I thought we might have days left, not merely hours, or even better, he would fight on to live another day, just as he always had, just like one of his heroes, James Bond. My daughter and I said our goodbyes, not knowing for sure if they would be our final goodbyes, and I went to the concert with my wife. 

Four songs into their set, the band played “A View to a Kill”, their theme song from the James Bond movie of the same name. My dad loved James Bond. Some of my earliest movie memories are of my dad and I watching James Bond movies, always with a big-ass bucket of popcorn, pretzels, and Twizzlers. The year that some of my heroes (Duran Duran) created a theme song for one of my dad’s heroes (James Bond) two of our passions intersected in a magical way that gave us something special to talk about every time the song played on the radio when I was with him. I remember hearing that song with him many times in the car, and it always prompted a fun discussion about James Bond, music, or both. 

As it turned out, and although the band surely didn’t know it, that night they were playing the song for my dad, right around the time he was moving on. I can’t say for sure that I felt that he was gone in that very moment, but the song hit differently for me that night and I certainly felt a great disturbance in the force, one combined with simultaneous joy and sadness, thinking back about all of the time we spent watching James Bond movies together. 

Later in the set, the band played “Ordinary World”, a song about grieving a loss but finding a way to move on, and although I have seen them play this song many times live, it was much more personal for me that night because as the song played I felt that even if my dad might be leaving soon, I would indeed find a way to “make my way to the ordinary world,” and “learn to survive” just as Simon LeBon so beautifully sang in the song. 

I would find out from my sister, just hours later and after the show had ended, that my dad had passed right around the time Duran Duran had gone on stage and were a few songs into their set. And so as my dad was leaving this world for the next, I was in Atlantic City, NJ — just minutes away from his childhood home of Brigantine — doing what I promised him I would do: continuing to live my life.

I would like to think that after my dad’s spirit had ascended and he had seen his family for the last time in this world, knowing how much he was loved, he made one last flight over his hometown, looked down, and saw me fulfilling my promise to keep living and “make my way to the ordinary world” and “learn to survive”. We’ll miss you dad, but we know that you’ll always be with us. 

Daryl Hall and John Oates, Atlantic City, NJ October 7, 2022

Photo: Chuck Earling

Daryl Hall and John Oates have been two of my favorite musical heroes ever since I first heard their Voices album in the summer of 1980 when I was just nine years old. I have seen them in concert many times over the last four decades, but tonight in Atlantic City I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of seeing them from the front row. The show was phenomenal and I felt the same energy that I felt when I first heard “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” so many years ago. Daryl, John, and their stellar band are at the top of their game. Hours after the concert ended, I’m still riding a natural high from the experience. Their music has been a huge part of the soundtrack of my life. I’m overjoyed that Daryl and John are still with us and continue to keep playing live and making music. Here are some more photos from this magical night.

Photo: Chuck Earling

Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling

Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling

Book Review: “Cruel To Be Kind: The Life and Music of Nick Lowe”

Nick Lowe is one of my musical heroes who I didn’t really discover until his 1998 album Dig My Mood. It’s not that I didn’t know of him at all, simply that I hadn’t bought any of his albums or delved deep into his recorded catalog until then. In the early eighties I had heard his wonderful gem of a pop single “Cruel To Kind” plenty of times on the radio and had even seen the music video for the song in the early days of MTV. I also knew that Elvis Costello had covered a fiery rendition of what today is widely considered to be Nick’s signature song, “(What So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding”, but that was the extent of my knowledge about Nick. For some reason I just never looked any deeper into his music. In the eighties I was engrossed in the music of Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Duran Duran, and many other artists, and I really missed the boat on Nick Lowe’s discography.

I really don’t remember what compelled me to buy his album Dig My Mood, but I’m pretty sure I probably heard one of the superb tracks from the album on Philadelphia’s WXPN radio station, which was most likely the only terrestrial radio station that I would have been listening to at that time when commercial radio had died. Whatever the circumstance, I absolutely fell in love with the album and immediately dove into Nick’s back catalog, completely unaware that this brilliant singer-songwriter was also considered by many to be the godfather of pub rock, punk rock, and new wave, having worked with Brinsley Schwarz, The Damned, Elvis Costello, and The Pretenders, among others. After buying all of his back catalog, I was hooked. The albums that followed Dig My MoodThe Convincer (2001), At My Age (2007), and The Old Magic (2011) — are not just my favorite Nick Lowe albums, but some of my favorite albums period. They are masterpieces and stand alone as tremendously rare examples of an artist creating the very best work of their career later in life. It was as if Nick had found the magical formula to creating perfect albums when so many of his contemporaries were churning out recycled “heard it before” tracks.

I recently stumbled upon Will Birch’s superb biography of Nick Lowe, Cruel To Be Kind: The Life and Music of Nick Lowe. While the book is not necessarily an “official” biography, it is the closest thing we’ll ever get to one, and it’s fantastic. Birch has known Lowe for more than 40 years and relied on many interviews that he personally conducted with the man himself as well as just about everyone who was a part of Nick’s life and career. This is one of the most informative, insightful, and thoroughly enjoyable music biographies that I have ever read. I believe that the best way to know an artist is through their work, but I’m tremendously grateful to have this book as an authoritative companion piece to Nick’s recorded works, as it tells the in-depth (but never boring) stories about Nick’s life and music in a well-written, scholarly, objective style by someone who knows Nick and many of the players in the story personally.

If you’re a fan of Nick’s music and haven’t discovered this book yet, I urge you to seek it out immediately and binge it like I did. I promise you will be delighted.

Here is a link to order the book:

For more information about the author:


Harry Styles “Love on Tour” September 2, 2022 Live at Madison Square Garden

My wife, daughter, and I wrapped up a fantastic summer of concerts by seeing Harry Styles live at Madison Square Garden September 2, 2022. Having seen AJR, Tears for Fears, Jackson Browne, Rick Springfield, and Duran Duran over the last few months, we wrapped up our summer of concerts with another great show. Here a few photos along with a video of highlights from the concert.

Duran Duran with Nile Rodgers at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, Maryland August 23, 2022

Photo: Megan Earling

My wife and I last saw Duran Duran in Camden, NJ on their Paper Gods tour July 21, 2016. Obviously a lot has changed in the world since then. The absence of live music during the pandemic took a serious toll on my emotional well being, but once live music returned, my soul started healing. Last night at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD wasn’t just a night out. It was on par with a religious experience and a restoration of faith. Specifically, faith in the power of music and its ability to shine through the darkness, even at a time when it seems like the world has gone insane. For our family (me, my wife, and our daughter, who joined us for her first Duran Duran show) the concert served as an early celebration of my wife’s birthday and simultaneously a celebration of finally getting to see one of our all-time favorite bands in concert again after a six-year wait.

The evening started with the legendary Nile Rodgers and Chic playing an incendiary, soulful, joyous set featuring music that Nile collaborated on spanning his entire career. It was a hit-packed performance of songs by Chic, Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Madonna, and David Bowie. My wife and I had seen Nile and Chic once before at the same Duran Duran show that we saw in 2016, so we were already aware of Nile’s greatness, but as eager as I was to see Nile again, I was even happier that I would finally be able to introduce my daughter, Megan, to the power and the majesty of Nile live in concert. He did not disappoint, and he conducted a master class in live performance.

Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling

Nile Rodgers and Chic had the audience fired up and ready for Duran Duran. It was finally time for Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor (along with touring member Dom Brown on guitar) to hit the stage. The new song “Velvet Newton” played in the background as the band came out, and the boys hit the crowd hard by opening with a raucous “Wild Boys” which instantly created a frenzy. The evening continued with many of the Duran Duran classics that you would expect, and also a few that you might not, such as “Friends of Mine,” from their debut album and “Hold Back The Rain,” from the Rio album. These songs were a thrill to hear live and were superb additions to the setlist. Here’s the setlist as posted to Duran Duran’s social media after the show.

Photo: From Duran Duran’s Facebook page

Simon had the crowd in the palms of his hands all night long. Ever the dramatic showman, Simon is in my opinion one of the all-time great front men in music history. It’s always a thrill to watch him captivate the audience while delivering masterful vocal performances of the songs we all know and love. John and Roger powered the rhythm section with their usual intense vigor that is the core essence of Duran Duran’s sound, while Nick embellished all of the songs with his trademark elegance of synthesizer beauty. I would be truly remiss if I didn’t mention the contributions of Dom Brown on guitar, who plays gritty when that’s what the song calls for and still delivers elegant, melodic solos when required.

This show stands out as one of the greatest that I have seen Duran Duran perform and it was a thrill to finally introduce my daughter to the exhilaration of a Duran Duran live show. She had grown up listening to their songs because my wife and I played them constantly, and she finally got to see what all the fuss was about.

Here are some more photos and videos that I shot at the show along with a few shot by my daughter.

Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Megan Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling

Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling

Tears for Fears: The Tipping Point Tour at Mann Music Center, Philadelphia, PA June 21, 2022

Photo: Chuck Earling

After making a solo trip to the Tears for Fears concert at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD June 19, I caught their June 21 show at The Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, this time accompanied by my daughter for her first Tears for Fears show. It was an emotional night for me seeing one of my favorite bands and sharing the experience with my daughter. Roland, Curt, and the band were superb. Here are a few shots from the evening.

Photo: Chuck Earling
Left: Megan Earling. Right: Chuck Earling (author of this blog) Photo: Marlon Martinez
Left: Megan Earling. Right: Chuck Earling. Photo: Chuck Earling

Tears For Fears: The Tipping Point Tour at Merriweather Post Pavillion, June 19, 2022

Photo: Chuck Earling

Tears for Fears brought The Tipping Point tour to Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD last night in support of their new album of the same name. I have always loved their music, but somehow never wound up seeing them live until this show. When their new album was released in February, I immediately fell in love with it and have played it so many times that I already consider it a classic. My love for The Tipping Point album made me determined to finally catch Tears for Fears in concert.

When most bands tour, they focus heavily on their greatest hits and might throw in a few songs from their newest album, much to the audience’s chagrin. But with The Tipping Point tour, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith made the bold decision to include a hefty assortment of songs from the new album. A whopping seven songs from The Tipping Point were played during last night’s show. This wasn’t unique to the Columbia stop of the tour. The band has built their core setlist for their entire tour around these seven songs while also including a crowd-pleasing selection of their biggest hits and fan favorites. The result is an inspiring, joyous show that celebrates the band’s past and present in a strong, 19-song set. It’s a gamble to include so many new songs in a show, but the reason that it works in this show is due to the strength of the songs on The Tipping Point album. I would argue that the new album is equally as good as — if not better than — Songs From The Big Chair, their classic eighties masterpiece. I am aware that this is a bold statement, but I stand by it. The Tipping Point is not just a good album, it’s fantastic. The show is so great that I decided to catch another date on this tour, June 21 in Philadelphia at The Mann Music Center. I can’t wait to experience the thrill of this show one more time before the band heads overseas for the rest of their tour. Thank you Roland and Curt for a beautiful night!

Here are a few photos and a video compilation of short clips from the show.

Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling
Photo: Chuck Earling

Prince and The Revolution Live: The Deluxe CD/LP/Blu-Ray Box Set

Prince and The Revolution Live CD/LP/Blu-Ray box set

The Prince estate and Sony Legacy have finally released Prince and The Revolution Live, shown here in the deluxe box set configuration that includes 2 CDs, 3 LPs, and a Blu-Ray Disc. This marks the first time that this concert has been officially released on CD, LP, and Blu-Ray. The concert from the Purple Rain tour was originally broadcast around the world from The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY March 30, 1985. The video of the concert was later released on VHS, laserdisc, and eventually decades later as a bonus DVD included with the Purple Rain deluxe edition CD. Dissapointingly, that DVD was very similar in quality to the VHS release. The fact that the DVD had not been remastered or restored at the time was a major letdown to fans. That tragedy has been corrected with the Blu-Ray included in this new set, as the video and audio have been significantly improved. The video looks much better and more vibrant than the VHS and DVD, and even looks better than the laserdisc that had been — until now — the best video release of this concert. The audio on the Blu-Ray is a tremendous improvement too, presented here in 2-channel stereo, 5.1 Surround, and even a Dolby Atmos mix.

The real gem in this set is the audio itself, included as 2 CDs and 3 LPS. The sound on the previous VHS, DVD, and laserdisc releases always sounded compressed, was heavy with treble, and had almost zero bass or low-end frequencies. Brown Mark’s bass was almost inaudible in many portions of the audio. The fans always knew that there must be a better-sounding source for this audio, and finally, that source has been located. The audio in this set has been remixed and remastered from the original multi-track master tapes that were found in Prince’s vault. The result is simply stunning.

When I first heard that Sony Legacy was planning to release this set, I had tremendously low expectations because the audio for this show has always been mediocre at best. Even when a new version was released to streaming platforms in 2020, it sounded mostly the same as the previous video releases, which to my ears was a disappointment. But with this new release, the audio is infinitely better in every way. I’m not talking about one of those remastered releases in which you compare the original release to the remaster and say to yourself, “Ah, I do hear a bit of a difference,” to make yourself feel better about the used car (or more accurately, CD) that you just bought. I’m talking about a day-versus-night difference. A difference so significant that the original VHS, DVD, and laserdisc releases of this show sound like bootleg audience recordings when compared to this new release. The sound is still crisp and clear in regards to treble, but the low-end sounds have finally been revealed in the master tapes and Bobby Z’s drums and Brown Mark’s bass can now be heard and felt in all of their glory. I say “felt” because when I went to my first concert, The Purple Rain Tour in Philadelphia November 24, 1984, I vividly remember literally feeling the rumble of the bass in my chest as the show began. With the previous releases of the Syracuse concert, it was impossible to recreate that feeling at home because the bass and low end were virtually non-existent. But with this new release, I can finally hear — and feel — Brown Mark’s bass playing again, and it is wonderful! Mark is a superb, funky-ass bass player, and his rumble technique has always been lost in previous releases of this concert, but now it’s back and the world can finally hear the genius of Brown Mark and his contribution to this era of Prince’s live shows. Bobby Z’s kick drum is also back in all of it’s glory, serving as the anchor for The Revolution’s groove.

This set magically captures The Purple Rain Tour and is an essential purchase not just for Prince fans, but for anyone who wants to see what a live masterpiece looks and sounds like. It’s essential viewing/listening.

Daryl Hall at The Met in Philadelphia, April 9, 2022

Daryl Hall and the Live From Daryl’s House band at The Met in Philadelphia, April 9, 2022. Photo: Chuck Earling

Daryl Hall brought his Spring 2022 tour to The Met in Philadelphia last night promoting his new 2-CD collection of songs titled Before After, which features a selection of his solo material compiled by Daryl himself.

I have been to many Hall & Oates shows but somehow missed out on Daryl’s previous solo concerts through the years, so this was my first time seeing him on his own. It was not only an emotional night for me because of the fact that Daryl is one of my musical heroes, but also because I celebrated the night with my longtime best friend, Chris Mohr, who had been living on the west coast until recently moving back to New Jersey. We both turned 50 in 2021 but didn’t get to celebrate together due to the pandemic, so Daryl’s concert doubled as our belated 50th birthday celebration. Daryl and his band, along with Todd Rundgren, made the evening magical.

The evening opened with a great set from Rundgren backed by the Live From Daryl’s House band. Hall’s set was also fantastic, featuring songs from his solo albums such as “Dreamtime,” “I’m in a Philly Mood,” and lesser-known solo gems such as “Sacred Songs,” and “Babs and Babs” from his collaboration with Robert Fripp.

Hall and Rundgren shared the stage for three songs: Rundgren’s “Can We Still Be Friends,” the Hall & Oates classic “Wait For Me,” and “Expressway to Your Heart,” a cover of the Soul Survivors hit.

Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren. Photo: Eliot Lewis

The night concluded with the Hall & Oates masterpiece “You Make My Dreams,” the mega hit which recently reached the historic milestone of one billion streams worldwide on streaming services. If you’d like to catch Daryl on tour this Spring, check out the tour dates below.

Here’s a little taste of the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtfYsz5nK3Q&lc=UgySRiPR4qVsGIiyWBV4AaABAg

The birthday boys!

“Videodrome: The Complete Restored Score” by Howard Shore is Finally Available on CD and LP

I’m going to take a bit of a detour for today’s blog post. I normally write about concerts and rock musicians who I love, but I am also a die-hard fan of David Cronenberg’s 1983 sci-fi/horror motion picture masterpiece Videodrome, and today I want to share some huge news for my fellow Videodrome enthusiasts.

La-La Land Records and Universal Pictures will finally release Videodrome: The Complete Restored Score on CD in a limited edition production run of 2,000 units. Mondo will release a vinyl LP version which has already sold out, but the company recently tweeted that there will be another pressing.

This release marks the first time that Howard Shore’s original score from the movie will be available in any format. The original release of the film’s soundtrack was actually a remixed version of selections from the score, but this new release restores the complete score in its original form. Howard Shore has personally overseen the restoration. The restored score has been produced by Shore and Alan Frey, and was mastered by Simon Gibson at Abbey Road Studios.

I have been obsessed with Videodrome since the first time I saw it late at night on HBO sometime in the mid 1980s. I consider it to be Cronenberg’s finest, most relevant work. Long before virtual reality was achievable with today’s technological wonders, Cronenberg captured the awesome wonder and awe of the subject and, in true Cronenberg fashion, explored the horror that could ensue when the lines between the virtual world and the real world begin to blur.

The visuals of the movie — along with masterful performances by James Woods, Deborah Harry, and the rest of the cast — created an indelible, haunting vision that left me fascinated and in deep thought long after the credits rolled, and not just days later, but decades later. As much as Videodrome is a Cronenberg project (both written and directed by Cronenberg), I would argue that it is equally a Howard Shore project. The complete and total vision and impact of Videodrome could not have been fully realized without Howard Shore’s haunting, unsettling, fascinating score. His music paints the perfect aural landscape to match the bizarre visual world that Cronenberg so wonderfully created. In the same way that the Star Wars movies would not be the same without John Williams, Videodrome would not be the same without Howard Shore. I am thrilled that his original score is finally available. For more information, check out the links below.

Link to Mondo’s page

Link to order the CD

New Tears for Fears album “The Tipping Point”

The SuperDeluxeEditon.com deluxe edition of “The Tipping Point” CD with 3 bonus tracks

Tears for Fears have released their new album The Tipping Point, their first new album since the 2004 release Everybody Loves a Happy Ending. It’s always a thrill for me when one of my favorite artists releases new material, but in this case I am ecstatic. It has been far too long without new music from Tears for Fears. Having grown up with their music in the eighties, I loved watching Tears for Fears grow and evolve as artists and constantly surprise and delight their fans with new musical directions while staying true to the essence of their sound.

A few years ago, their former manager had encouraged Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith to work with younger artists and producers in an effort to expose their music to a younger audience and pursue hit singles in this age of streaming. They did some “speed dating” sessions with some of those artists, but when they had assembled an album, Roland and Curt agreed that it wasn’t what they wanted, so they scrapped it. It had what they thought would be hit singles, but the album didn’t tell a story and wasn’t truly representative of what a Tears for Fears album should be. Tears for Fears amicably parted ways with their management and went back to the drawing board.

Roland and Curt got together for a writing session and the song “No Small Thing” emerged. That song was the impetus that convinced them that there was more music to come, and they continued working on other new songs that would become their brilliant new album The Tipping Point. I’m so glad that they stayed true to themselves and created an album that captures the essence of Tears for Fears. I listened to the album twice this weekend and can’t wait to give it another spin. It’s a beautiful work filled with meaningful, insightful lyrics and the trademark Tears for Fears sound and also evolves into new musical directions.

As for the hit singles that their former manager was looking for, The Tipping Point is packed with at least three songs that could be #1 hits if given the proper exposure. “Break The Man,” “Master Plan,” and “End of Night” all have hooks that will have you humming long after the music stops. But more important than hits and hooks, the songs on The Tipping Point carry weight and provide healing and hope for these crazy times.

Paul Sinclair at Super Deluxe Edition recently conducted an in-depth interview with Roland and Curt in which they discuss The Tipping Point. You can read the interview here: https://superdeluxeedition.com/interview/in-search-of-the-tipping-point-tears-for-fears-talk-to-sde/

Song of the Day: “Everything Must Change” by Paul Young

It’s been a few years since I last listened to Paul Young’s superb 1985 album The Secret of Association. I recently bought an autographed copy of the 2-LP Music On Vinyl reissue from the fantastic superdeluxeedition.com. The signed LP is sold out but I highly recommend that you order the special edition booklet commemorating the album. It’s packed with interviews and commentary, and is still available at this link: https://superdeluxeedition.com/news/paul-young-the-secret-of-association-2lp-coloured-vinyl-reissue/

When I revisited this album again yesterday, I was stunned that I had almost forgotten about the track “Everything Must Change”. I remember hearing it only occasionally on the radio in 1985. This song should have been a #1 hit. Apparently it only reached #56 on the Billboard Hot 100 here in the United States, which is a damn shame because this is such a beautiful song. The Brits must have better taste in the case of this song, as the single reached #9 in the United Kingdom. Written by Paul Young and Ian Kewley, “Everything Must Change” is a rare gem of a song that contains lyrics that are as powerful and emotional as the music. Here’s a link to Paul performing the song on Top of the Pops. Enjoy!

Song of the Day: “My Ever Changing Moods” by The Style Council

Every once in a while I stumble upon an eighties song that I somehow neglected to appreciate at the time. I recently rediscovered the song “My Ever Changing Moods” by The Style Council. Originally released as a single, then as a 12-inch single in a longer version, and then again in a stripped-down, piano-and-vocal-only version on their album Cafe Bleu, “My Ever Changing Moods” could easily be on the list of greatest soulful pop songs in history.

What’s truly amazing about this song is how beautiful it sounds across multiple arrangements. Take some time and listen to the four versions below and behold the magic of this Paul Weller composition.

Original single version:

12-inch single version:

Version from the album Cafe Bleu:

2021 orchestral version by Paul Weller accompanied by Jules Buckley and the BBC Symphony Orchestra:

Stevie Van Zandt’s Memoir “Unrequited Infatuations”

I just finished listening to the audio book version of Stevie Van Zandt’s memoir Unrequited Infatuations. I chose to listen to the audio book instead of reading the print version because the man himself, Stevie Van Zandt (a/k/a “Little Steven” and “Miami Steve”) narrates it. It would be more accurate to say the he performs the book as opposed to narrates it, because unlike many narrators, Van Zandt reads the book with an unmatched enthusiasm, vigor, and dedication that I have rarely encountered in an audiobook.

The audio version captures your attention immediately, right from the opening, and never relents. If you’ve ever imagined sitting down on a park bench with one of your musical idols and hearing all about their life, their trials and tribulations, their dreams, their goals, their adventures, and their life lessons, that is exactly how this audio book feels. It’s shockingly but refreshingly candid, and provides tremendous insight into his work with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, Darlene Love, his solo music, his political activism, his acting career, his work with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee, his Teach Rock foundation, and just about everything else you could possibly want to know. This book was such a thrill to experience. The time flies by. With the exception of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, I don’t think I have ever felt such exhilaration after finishing an audio book. Unrequited Infatuations is easily one of the best memoirs I have ever experienced.

The Jonas Brothers in Camden, NJ October 7, 2021

The Jonas Brothers in Camden, NJ October 7, 2021 Photo: Megan Earling

If you have read this blog in the past, you already know that I mostly write about my two favorite musical heroes, Bruce Springsteen and Prince. So what the hell am I doing at a Jonas Brothers concert? Well, I don’t exclusively write about Bruce and Prince (see my other recent post about AJR’s stellar concert in Wallingford, CT). I listen to a wide variety of artists, but I admit that I always assumed that the Jonas Brothers were just another boy band, and I haven’t listened to terrestrial FM radio in many years, so their music wasn’t on my radar. That is until my teenage daughter started watching their old show on Disney+ and she fell for them hard. So of course I hear their songs all the time around the house now. The brothers are now her number one musical obsession right alongside another set of brilliant musical brothers, AJR.

My daughter, along with almost every other kid her age, had a rough 2020. The pandemic of course halted almost all social gatherings and she went to school remotely for three out of four marking periods of her freshman year of high school, finally going back in person for the last marking period. She worked hard and stayed on the Principal’s List, but despite having a loving family and friends, it was still a rough year. Shortly after our family got vaccinated, I found out that the Jonas Brothers were touring, and I made it my mission in life to take my daughter to see her boys.

If you haven’t been following the concert industry, you might not know about dynamic ticket pricing. I could write an entire book about this topic and how to use it to your advantage, but the quick version is that instead of tickets in certain sections of the venue having a fixed price, the ticket prices can change constantly based on supply and demand, just like prices from scalpers. I logged onto Ticketmaster every day of the summer and watched the prices in the first few rows of the pit change until they reached a price low enough for me to pull the trigger. Then one day, boom! I scored her tickets in the sixth row of the pit, dead center in line with Nick Jonas’ microphone. You can’t put a price on your kid’s happiness. Well, you can actually when it comes to concert tickets, but you have to work hard to make sure you don’t get robbed in the process.

So was it worth it? Let me explain it like this: One day in 2020, in tears, my daughter asked me, “Daddy, will things ever go back to regular normal?” The best honest answer I could give her was that yes, they would, but I couldn’t promise her when. I could only promise her that they would...eventually. Thursday night at the Jonas Brothers concert, I got to see her watch her musical heroes up close and hear her say, “Daddy! I made eye contact with Nick!” and I saw the same look in her eyes that I’m sure I have in mine at a Springsteen show. That look is priceless. So yes, that alone was worth it. The surprising part is that I myself enjoyed the show! Part of my enjoyment was of course seeing the show through my daughter’s eyes, but I also knew almost every song they played at the show because I had heard them at home for the last few years. Their songs have infectious hooks, creative bridges, and lyrics that make you feel something. And speaking of those lyrics, after a long time without being at a large-scale concert due to the pandemic, it was an absolute joy watching thousands of girls sing every single lyric along with the band during the show. Luckily the amps were louder than the girls, but not by much. The girls gave the amps a fight! I’m not saying they were as frenzied as a Beatles audience, but these are my daughter’s Beatles, and that’s why it was so much fun. Last but not least, I found out that the Jonas Brothers are Jersey boys, and I’ve had a pretty good run enjoying many, many concerts featuring a certain Jersey boy from Asbury Park, so maybe it’s something in the water in Jersey!

AJR at The Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT September 25, 2021

On September 25 my wife, daughter, and I took a road trip to The Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT to see AJR’s concert, one of the stops on their OK Orchestra tour. The group isn’t scheduled to perform in our area until May 2022, so we decided to catch their Connecticut show now. We had never seen an AJR concert in person before, but we were captivated by their December 2020 live stream special One Spectacular Night. My daughter is the big AJR fan in our house, but after seeing that special and listening to their albums, my wife and I got hooked on AJR’s music too, so a family road trip made perfect sense.

You’ll see in the photo above that we were fortunate enough to meet the band (The Met brothers Adam, Jack, and Ryan) at a special pre-show event billed as “Ryan’s Production Masterclass” in which Ryan Met discussed the production of the band’s song “Way Less Sad” with a fun presentation showing his Pro Tools breakdown of the creation of the song. It was fascinating to see how AJR took a brief horn section from the last few seconds of the Simon & Garfunkel song “My Little Town” and turned it into an entirely new song of their own.

I often hear people complain about today’s music and argue about which — if any — of today’s new bands will still have fans coming to see them years or decades from now. After witnessing AJR’s spellbinding, incendiary concert at The Oakdale Theatre Saturday night, I am pleased to report that AJR will most certainly be one of those bands who will still have fans coming back to see them over and over again for decades to come. These guys are the real deal and they’re here to stay. Their songs feature superb production, excellent musicianship, and insightful, inspiring lyrics that leave you thinking about the songs and humming their unforgettable hooks long after the music stops.

It was truly a thrill to see AJR’s die-hard fans of all ages singing the songs at the top of their lungs for the entire night. In their live shows, AJR feeds off of the energy of the crowd and uses it to take their live performances to euphoric levels of intensity. In addition, they combine elements of theater, showmanship, humor, hope, and inspiration. I have rarely seen a show like this one and I’m not sure that I will again. These guys have something very special going on with their music and their audience, and I can’t wait to see what they do next. If you aren’t already familiar with their music, I highly suggest you check it out, and if you have a chance to see AJR in concert, make sure you go! For information about AJR, visit www.ajrbrothers.com.