Daily Archives: May 15, 2017

The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin Begin New National Radio Series on SiriusXM

http://rockbands.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/05/The_Philadelphia_Orchestra_Logo.jpg?p=captionPHILADELPHIA, May 15, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Philadelphia Orchestra returns to national broadcasts with a vibrant new, year-round series on SiriusXM. This series casts a focused lens on the unique Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin partnership, with the Philadelphia…


Review: At the Drive In Reunite, Explode on Stadium-Sized 'Inter Alia'

In the Nineties, El Paso, Texas’ At the Drive In were an art-punk hailstorm informed by Fugazi, Pink Floyd and a little Tito Puente. Their highpoint was the landmark 2000 LP, Relationship of Command, which thrashed somewhere in the liminal space between Rage Against the Machine’s funk-metal spitfire and the taunting stop-start antics of lateral-thinking hardcore ranters Refused. Splintering away from the steel-toed punk establishment, the band tipped the post-hardcore genre towards something much more free-form – and maraca-friendly. Such lawlessness left some rock critics befuddled, but history has shown them to be a mad-scientist experiment gone right. The band crumbled in 2001, divorcing into two factions – Latin-tinged prog-rock venture the Mars Volta and major label post-hardcore loyalists Sparta – only to re-emerge in 2012 for some live reunion dates. Now, in a move once thought inconceivable, At the Drive In rebound with their long-awaited fourth LP.

Their first recording in 17 years, Inter Alia (stylized as in·ter a·li·a) picks up the anarchic sprawl of Relationship and amplifies it into a stadium-size version of the band’s old glory. On the Maiden-esque kickoff track “No Wolf Like the Present,” vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala, turned dark wizard twin to Freddie Mercury’s Killer Queen, snarls: “There’s no wolf like the present/They own your history and scrap it for parts.” Bassist Paul Hinojos and drummer Tony Hajjar deploy the same thunderous punk blitzes that ignited their initial ascent. Notably standing in for founding member guitarist Jim Ward is Sparta alumnus Keeley Davis, who meets guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López’s mathematical exactitude with fleeting gusts of catharsis. “We need to honor where we left off sonically,” Bixler-Zavala recently told The New York Times, “and we need to honor how we used to paint outside the lines.”

Inspired in large part by sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick, Bixler-Zavala renders dystopian scenes from real life horrors in brisk, operatic free verse. As if perched on a soapbox in the sky, Inter Alia‘s lead single “Governed By Contagions” sees Bixler-Zavala finger-wagging of looming American fascism, howling “Brace yourself, my darling/Brace yourself for a flood!” Drafted with the density of a pointillist sketch, his cryptic words often run too close together to impart the same hair-raising gravitas as 2000 Juárez murder ballad “Invalid Litter Dept.,” or the cries from inside immigrant detention centers in “Quarantined.” The closest thing may lie in the atypically straightforward track, “Incurably Innocent,” in which Bixler-Zavala extends compassion to those who’ve suffered sexual abuse in silence: “A blank tape that couldn’t remember/But you can never erase the hurt/Out in the dial-toned distance someone heard.”

Rodríguez-López memorably took issue with what he called the “plastic,” condensed ambience that encased Relationship, thanks to the handiwork of producer Ross Robinson and mixer Andy Wallace, both of whom found fame by producing nü-metal records. Now with the help of Mars Volta producer Rich Costey, Rodríguez-López the sound feels at once more fluid and a little more tempered than before. Bixler-Zavala’s vocals stand tallest in the mix, but Inter Alia flatters their instrumental meanderings most – especially in “Continuum” and “Tilting at the Univendor,” where Rodríguez-López’s splashes of psychedelia and Hajjar’s swift offensives move in lock step. The same spastic, frenetic energy exists in the undercurrents, but it’s carefully and economically dispersed.

Onstageat New York City’s Terminal 5, 42-year-old Bixler-Zavala landed several of hislegendary amp-hopping, acrobatic moves. Between gasps, he commended fans forpassing the word along in their early days via mixtapes, message boards andhouse shows – and he wryly thanked an audience at Boston’s House of Blues,”for taking a chance on some spics from El Paso.” Perhaps Inter Alia isjust a nostalgia-soaked, one-time penance paid to their devout followers. But inter alia – “among other things” in Latin – it’s a testament tothe band’s survival in spite of themselves. A once combustible band ofself-punishing misfits, hammered by a cocktail of substance abuse and workaholism, At the Drive In made the most responsible call whenthey put their legacy on hold in 2001. Now older and wiser, they’re much betterprepared to nurture their blaze than before. All it needed was a little roomto breathe.

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'American Epic': Inside Jack White and Friends' Obsessive Roots-Music Doc

Years before he became obsessed with creating “the Lawrence of Arabia of music documentaries,” filmmaker Bernard MacMahon was just a young music fan in South London, hearing an album by Mississippi John Hurt for the first time. He remembers those late-Twenties folk-blues recordings as strangely intimate: “There didn’t seem to be any filter between performer and me.”

That was his introduction to a sound and era that has now led to his four-part American Epic music documentary, which airs starting Tuesday on PBS and explores the earliest recordings of folk, blues, country, Cajun and Hawaiian music, and more. Along the way, MacMahon attracted the support of executive producers Jack White, T Bone Burnett and Robert Redford, who also narrates and has referred to that musical era as “the first time America heard itself.”

“All of us have a common foe, and that’s forgetfulness – where you forget where you came from and who you are,” Burnett told Rolling Stone. “We all appreciate that link to our history. We need that.”

Burnett was sitting with Elton John in Los Angeles when MacMahon first explained the American Epic project, and both were astonished with what had been collected for the documentary. Burnett has his own history reintroducing Americans to their musical roots, including as producer of the Grammy-winning O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack in 2000. John offered his support and ultimately performed a new song, “2 Fingers of Whiskey,” in the closing episode, American Epic Sessions, with White on electric guitar.

The goal was not simply to retell the Wikipedia version of the story. MacMahon and producer Allison McGourty spent a decade seeking original sources in the field, going from “family to family,” MacMahon says. They discovered artifacts and previously unknown photographs of such originators as Son House, the Memphis Jug Band and West Virginia mine workers the Williamson Brothers and Dick Justice, whose small output included a haunted classic recording of the ancient murder ballad “Henry Lee.” (That recording inspired a 1996 cover by PJ Harvey and Nick Cave.)

“All these different musicians and styles of music – recordings and people I’d never heard of that just had sadness and stories – I felt, man, this is something that people really need to know about,” says blues veteran Taj Mahal, who is interviewed in the documentary and performs blues and Hawaiian songs in the final episode. “It’s music about people’s lives in different tempos.”

In 2006, the research and interviews were mainly a personal project for MacMahon, and not part of a planned documentary. That year, a trio of old Delta bluesmen – Honeyboy Edwards, Homesick James and Robert Lockwood – were traveling to England to appear at a small, obscure music festival. “A voice inside me said, ‘I need to take a camera crew and film there,'” MacMahon recalls. “‘Someday I’m going to need this.'”

He interviewed them for hours on camera, documenting their memories of Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. They also assessed a later generation of blues singers who didn’t exactly share the same life experiences of original Delta shouters. “They don’t plow the mules. That’s what makes the voice, see?” explains Homesick James with a laugh in that film footage. “They ain’t done hollered behind a mule, ‘Hey! Whoa! Haw! Gee! Get over there!”

All three died soon after their U.K. trip, underlining the urgency of MacMahon’s project, which became a serious documentary at the urging of McGourty. It was first commissioned by BBC Arena. “It felt like a divine force was pushing me to do it,” says MacMahon. “This is the last time the story can be told before everyone is dead. A lot of the people I was interviewing – some were approaching 100. … It touched me. I remember thinking, ‘These are the unsung people of America. They had this one moment to put their thoughts and feelings on a record.'”

MacMahon and McGourty traveled with a film crew from the U.K. to the shores of Oahu (exploring the deeply influential lap-slide guitar tradition there) and to the Mississippi Delta, the old mining towns of Appalachia to the Gulf of Mexico, digging into the history of blues, country, sacred Hopi Native American songs and Mexican American corridos ballads.

“It’s really noticeable where the music comes from in the different landscapes,” says the Scotland-born McGourty, who produced the series with Duke Erikson (of the band Garbage). “That was when the idea crystallized there was a bigger story that needed to be told.”

As American Epic explains, the explosion of styles heard in the film was the result of a monumental collision of commerce and creative inspiration in the late Twenties. As radio became increasingly popular, record sales in the metropolitan U.S. saw a significant drop as fans began listening to their favorite songs for free. Labels responded by sending new state-of-the-art recording devices into rural America, with the plan of selling records of local musicians back to local listeners.

It turned out that the whole country wanted to hear what the rest of the United States sounded like. “It was a watershed time for the record industry,” says Burnett. “The record companies that couldn’t sell music in New York went down South and started recording people where they didn’t have electricity. This whole process was begun of inventing rock & roll and hillbilly music and everything else that led to the Beatles and Nas.”

The ancient machine that made those early recordings included a lathe for cutting directly to wax, with the game-changing new Western Electric microphone and amplifier. Instead of electricity, the cutting lathe was powered by a weight and pulley that slowly lowered to the floor. That machine was considered lost to history, but engineer Nicholas Bergh reassembled a working version from spare parts found around the globe.

“That guy cannot get enough credit,” MacMahon says of Bergh. “That is like you’re in the engine room of a giant 1920s cruise ship and you’re the only guy who knows how this enormous engine works.”

That led to more than two weeks of sessions with the gear produced by White and Burnett in a small recording studio across the street from Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. Among the artists gathered to perform vintage songs and some originals were Beck, Alabama Shakes, the Avett Brothers, Los Lobos, Pokey LaFarge, Steve Martin with Edie Brickell, and the Americans.

The recordings re-create a crisp texture recognizable from records of the time, but without the crackling noises of a vintage 78. Burnett calls the recording method “a very high form of analog art – it’s the equivalent of an oil painting. A digital copy is the equivalent of a Polaroid.”

One early Sessions highlight is rapper Nas performing a faithful rendition of the Memphis Jug Band’s streetwise “On the Road Again” with fiddle, jug and banjo accompaniment, a blend that still sounds like contemporary hip-hop. “It’s eye-opening, but then you realize this music’s been going on a long time,” says Burnett. “The surface changes and the technology changes – the substance doesn’t.”

The old machine occasionally broke down. Early in the Sessions episode, White reverts to his former career as an upholsterer to rescue a day with Los Lobos after the strap holding the machine’s weight snaps. He’s quickly back at the sewing machine in his suit and fedora like a superhero needleworker.

“He was a big advocator of getting back to purer forms of recording … less of the artifice. He very quickly got a grip on how the machine worked,” MacMahon says of White’s hands-on work. “That’s how the [original] sessions would have worked. There would have been someone like Jack.”

The reverse-engineering required to get the machine to work meant Bergh and the producers could create vivid recordings of the modern performances, but also provided knowledge used to pull higher-fidelity sound from the old recordings. The startlingly clear results can be heard in the documentary and on an accompanying five-disc box set of the music of American Epic (released on CD by Columbia/Legacy and on vinyl by White’s Third Man).

In the final performance of Sessions, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard perform the duet “The Only Man Wilder Than Me.” Haggard has a look of complete joy on his face throughout the session in the old-timey recording set-up once used by his musical heroes. Later, Haggard asked if he could record his next album on the same contraption, but he died before it could happen.

The series includes the story of MacMahon’s original inspiration, Mississippi John Hurt, who recorded several songs for the Okeh label in 1928 before going silent for 35 years. He worked as a sharecropper for decades and was tracked down for rediscovery during the Sixties folk movement. He didn’t realize anyone had remembered him or his music.

For Taj Mahal, Hurt was a touchstone during a turbulent decade. “Those were some pretty doggone dangerous times. And to try to really find a mentor or a sound or a style of music that centered you, it made you peaceful on the inside so you could make some better choices than a lot of these guys living dangerously,” he recalls of Hurt and other American folk-blues singers. “That’s what those guys meant to me. They kept me focused.”

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Watch Alice Cooper Reunite Original Seventies Band for Nashville Concert

Sunday night in Nashville, Alice Cooper played five classic songs with his band’s original Seventies lineup at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Cooper previously reunited with the four surviving members of his band in 2015, at an intimate gig in a Dallas, Texas record store

After the shock-rock pioneer’s requisite beheading by guillotine, the Tennessee theater went dark and Cooper’s touring band, save for guitarist Ryan Roxie, ceded the stage to the Seventies lineup: bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith. 

With the album cover to 1973’s Billion Dollar Babies unfurled behind them, Cooper emerged in a gold snakeskin suit to lead what was billed as a “mini set” of “I’m Eighteen,” “Billion Dollar Babies,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Muscle of Love.” Both current and vintage lineups joined forces for the show-closing “School’s Out,” with Cooper donning a Nashville Predators jersey (No. 18, naturally) to show support for the playoff run of Music City’s NHL franchise.

The reunion marked the first time the Alice Cooper band has performed together with any elaborate stage production since their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, and their appearance at the Golden Gods Awards that same year. Smith, Dunaway and Bruce have been collaborating with Cooper in Nashville, where the 69-year-old singer recorded his new album Paranormal with longtime producer Bob Ezrin. The project, set for release July 28th, features U2’s Larry Mullen Jr., ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover and includes a special bonus disc of three new songs by the classic lineup.

The original Alice Cooper group played together from the mid-Sixties through 1975, when the singer launched a solo career with the same name and released the album Welcome to My Nightmare. Cooper’s original guitarist Glen Buxton died in 1997.

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Watch U2 Perform With Eddie Vedder, Mumford & Sons in Seattle

U2‘s Joshua Tree 2017 Tour continued to deliver surprises Sunday night in Seattle as the band was joined by Eddie Vedder and Mumford & Sons on “Mothers of the Disappeared.”

Following the first verse on The Joshua Tree closing track, Bono asked the Centurylink Field crowd, “Where’s Eddie Vedder? Spirit of Seattle, spirit of Chicago, spirit of America. Where’s Eddie?” The Pearl Jam singer emerged to take lead vocals on “Mothers of the Disappeared.” Bono brought out Mumford & Sons, U2’s opening act, to provide harmony to the track’s closing coda.

The Seattle show featured both new and old cuts. U2 performed their new Songs of Experience track, “The Little Things That Give You Away” as well as deeps cuts like “Trip Through Your Wires” and “Exit,” for the first time in nearly 30 years. And, best of all, they performed Joshua Tree‘s “Red Hill Mining Town” for the first time ever onstage. The band’s trek in celebration of their 1987 album continues Wednesday in Santa Clara, California.

U2’s The Edge explains why now it is the perfect time to have a ‘Joshua Tree’ tour. Watch here.

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Paramore Announce North American "Tour Two" Beginning September 6th In Jacksonville, FL

 (PRNewsfoto/Live Nation Entertainment)LOS ANGELES, May 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Fueled By Ramen recording group Paramore is celebrating the release of their acclaimed fifth studio album with a wide-ranging storm of international activity. The GRAMMY® Award-winning band’s first new album in more than four years, “AFTER…


7UP Teams Up with Trisha Yearwood

http://rockbands.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/05/7UP_Logo.jpg?p=captionPLANO, Texas, May 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — 7UP is excited to announce its partnership with Trisha Yearwood, the three-time Grammy Award winning country star, New York Times best-selling cookbook author, and host of the Emmy-winning Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on Food Network. Just in time…


Twisted Tea Hits the Road with Multi-Platinum Entertainer Dierks Bentley for his 2017 WHAT THE HELL TOUR

Twisted Tea Hits the Road with Dierks Bentley for his 2017 WHAT THE HELL TOURCINCINNATI, May 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Twisted Tea, maker of the No. 1 refreshing hard iced tea in the United States, today will hit the road with multi-PLATINUM singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley as he continues to throw the party of the summer. As a sponsor of Dierks’ explosive 2017 WHAT…


U2 Resurrect 'The Joshua Tree,' Preview New Album at U.S. Tour Opener

It’s very easy to dismiss U2’s Joshua Tree Tour 2017 as a cash grab by a band that’s more comfortable these days looking into the past than into the future, especially considering the blowback that greeted their 2014 LP Songs of Innocence, a public-relations fiasco of such devastating proportions that Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update is still mocking it three years after the fact. It would also be easy to think the move means that they have officially joined the ranks of the Rolling Stones and the Who, giants of rock that long ago contented themselves with playing their old hits at stadium shows that create tremendous amounts of excitement, nostalgia and money, but little forward motion.

But U2 have spent their entire career proving doubters wrong, fiercely resisting the easy lure of nostalgia and rising above any move that hints at cynicism. Time and time again throughout the new tour’s U.S. opener at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field (the band’s North American run officially began in Vancouver two nights earlier), U2 proved how a 30-year-old album can speak to the issues of today – whether they be immigration, U.S. foreign policy or the dwindling power of labor unions – while reminding the audience that they are a live act simply without peer. The band has always done their best work under trying circumstances, and in the words of Bono back around the time they came back with “Beautiful Day,” it really felt like they were reapplying for the job of the best band in the world by showing how they earned the title in the first place.

The show began with Larry Mullen Jr. casually walking onto the B stage (which is shaped like a tree) and kicking into the thunderous intro of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” He was totally by himself, mirroring (intentionally or not) how he founded the band back in 1976. One by one, the others joined in, though they stayed on the tiny satellite stage and left the enormous screen on the main stage dark. It stayed that way for the entire pre–Joshua Tree portion of the evening, a bold move when you’re playing to about 60,000 people, most of whom can barely see you, but it worked.

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” led right into “New Year’s Day,” also from 1983’s War. They’ve done this song more than 700 times, but this was the first time Bono has ever sang “And so we’re told this is the golden age/And gold is the reason for the wars we age” from the final verse. It was the first sign that this show was about presenting the songs as they appeared on the albums, minus the extended codas, false endings, snippets of cover songs and mini-speeches that have seeped in over the decades. It was also the first indication that the show (at least until the encores) was going to present their music in strict chronological order.

After the two War songs, they moved on to 1985’s The Unforgettable Fire. A moving “A Sort of Homecoming” (unplayed in America since 1987, discounting a single spontaneous acoustic attempt in 2001) followed, leading right into an intense “Bad” (replacing “MLK” from opening night in Vancouver) and then “Pride (In the Name of Love).” The latter is the tune that took U2 from college radio and clubs and theaters onto Top 40 radio, MTV and arena stages. It positioned them perfectly for the critical and creative breakthrough that came two years later with The Joshua Tree.

While the crowd was still singing the refrain of “Pride (In the Name of Love)” the band moved onto the main stage as the swelling synth intro to “Where the Streets Have No Name” filled the stadium and the screens came alive with the color of a bright orange sunset and the band silhouetted in front of it. This was the exact original opening to the Joshua Tree tour in 1987 and it lost none of its power in the past 30 years. The moment kicked the crowd into a whole other gear of euphoria. The sunset effect transitioned into a new film by longtime U2 photographer Anton Corbijn of a car slowly moving down a deserted desert highway, a street with no name. Nearly every song on the album would be paired with a mini-film, most taking place in the arid desert that gave the album its inspiration. The clarity and brightness of the tour’s 8K mega video screen is unlike anything that’s ever been seen at a rock concert, making even their past ones seem chintzy by comparison.

The Joshua Tree is top heavy with the hits, so “Streets” was followed by singalong renditions of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking” and “With or Without You.” These are also mainstays of U2 concerts, but hearing them in the context of the broader album made them feel fresh again. “Bullet the Blue Sky” – a furious denunciation of Reagan’s foreign policy in South America – featured a film in which citizens of Latin America, old and young, put on army helmets while standing in front of a painted American flag, essentially bracing for the brutal impact of decisions made thousands of miles away from them with little regard for their lives. On past tours Bono has delivered a “Bullet Rap” that spoke to the politics of the moment, but tonight he let the original lyric speak for itself. Near the end, Bono shined a handheld spotlight on the Edge, just like the iconic image on the cover of Rattle and Hum.

The next seven songs – “Running to Stand Still,” “Red Hill Mining Town,” “In God’s Country,” “Trip Through Your Wires,” “Exit” and “Mothers of the Disappeared” – weren’t hit singles, and a decent chunk of the audience probably didn’t know them very well. That’s a tremendous challenge for a stadium show, but the Corbijn movies coupled with the group’s passion meant that most everyone stayed engaged and on their feet. “Red Hill Mining Town” had never been played live until this tour and this was a slower version with the Edge on piano and a video of the Salvation Army Brass Band. Any fears that Bono could no longer hit the high notes on the song were clearly misplaced. He turned 57 this week, but his voice is in stunning shape.

The most exciting song from the second side of the album was “Exit.” The haunting tune hadn’t been touched in concert since the psychopath that murdered actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989 claimed the song influenced his actions. In Rattle and Hum Bono said that U2 were stealing “Helter Skelter” back from Charles Manson, and this ferocious rendition of “Exit” seemed to finally steal it back from the clutches of a deranged murderer. It was about time. The Joshua Tree portion of the show wrapped up with “Mothers of the Disappeared,” complete with a video of women holding candles in honor of the young Chilean men murdered by Augusto Pinochet. Eddie Vedder came out to deliver the final verse, joined by opening act Mumford & Sons.

That song is a sad way to end a set, so the encore kicked off with upbeat renditions of “Beautiful Day” and “Elevation” that got the crowd back on their feet. It was followed by the Achtung Baby deep cut “Ultraviolet (Light My Way),” which has been reimagined as a feminist anthem, paired here with a video honoring everyone from Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks and Angela Davis to Ellen DeGeneres and Lena Dunham. (Any Republicans in the audience must have spontaneously combusted when that last one came on the screen.) A speech about AIDS relief in Africa, “One” and “Miss Sarajevo” (with piped in vocals by the late Luciano Pavarotti) followed.

For what appeared to the grand finale, the group returned to the B stage, stood in a circle and played the anthemic brand-new song “The Little Things That Give You Away,” which is slated to appear on their upcoming album Songs of Experience. “Sometimes I can’t believe my existence,” Bono sang. “See myself on a distance I can’t get back inside.” That song ended the night in Vancouver, but in Seattle the group wasn’t ready to leave. “One more for the people who traveled all the way here,” said Bono. “Let’s get back to where we started.” With that they launched into “I Will Follow” and once again had the stadium bouncing up and down.

Unless the band adds on another leg, the Joshua Tree Tour 2017 will wrap up in just two and a half months. That’s short by U2 standards, but it’s understandable that they don’t want to spend too much time revisiting their past. And judging by the sublime beauty of “The Little Things That Give You Away” they have plenty of exciting things to come in the future. They just need this tour to remind the world of the incredible journey that got him here.

Set list:
1. “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
2. “New Year’s Day”
3. A Sort of Homecoming”
4. “Bad”
5. “Pride (In the Name of Love)”
6. “The Joshua Tree”
7. “Where the Streets Have No Name”
8. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
9. “With or Without You”
10. “Bullet the Blue Sky”
11. “Running to Stand Still”
12. “Red Hill Mining Town”
13. “In God’s Country”
14. “Trip Through Your Wires”
15. “One Tree Hill” 
16. “Exit” 
17. “Mothers of the Disappeared” (with Eddie Vedder and Mumford & Sons)

18. “Beautiful Day”
19. “Elevation”
20. “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)”
21. “One”

Second encore: 
22. “Miss Sarajevo”
23. “The Little Things That Give You Away”
24. “I Will Follow”

On the 30th anniversary of ‘The Joshua Tree,’ read 5 little-known facts about U2’s pivotal 1987 LP.

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Watch AC/DC's Brian Johnson Sing Onstage For First Time After Hearing Loss

Fourteen months after Brian Johnson was nearly forced into a premature retirement due to a hearing impairment, the AC/DC singer returned to the stage Sunday night. Johnson joined fellow special guest Robert Plant at Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers’ concert in Oxford, England.

The rocker triumvirate sang the 1959 classic “Money (That’s What I Want),” with each singer taking a spin on lead vocals before harmonizing with each other at song’s end. Most notable of the three, however, was Johnson, who was told just over a year ago to quit singing live or face “total deafness.”

“That was the darkest day of my professional life,” Johnson said in April 2016 of the doctors’ ultimatum. Due to the affliction, AC/DC postponed their remaining Rock or Bust tour dates before ultimately recruiting Axl Rose to fill in for Johnson.

Last June, Johnson shared some positive news regarding his hearing after meeting with an in-ear technology specialist. “I was really moved and amazed to be able to hear music again like I haven’t heard for several years now,” Johnson said at the time. It’s unclear whether Johnson’s return to the stage was a result of that in-ear technology.

As Ultimate Classic Rock notes, Plant and Johnson were recently spotted filming together for the AC/DC singer’s A Life on the Road travelogue TV series, which airs on Sky Arts in the U.K.

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